News / Europe

Serbia Gives State Funeral to Former King, Family

The coffins of Serbian King Petar II Karadjordjevic and his wife Queen Aleksandra, mother Queen Maria and brother Prince Andrej lie inside the St. George's Church on Oplenac Hill during their funeral in Topola, Serbia, May 26, 2013.
The coffins of Serbian King Petar II Karadjordjevic and his wife Queen Aleksandra, mother Queen Maria and brother Prince Andrej lie inside the St. George's Church on Oplenac Hill during their funeral in Topola, Serbia, May 26, 2013.
Reuters
Serbian government officials and hundreds of mourners attended the reburial of King Petar II Karadjordjevic and other members of the deposed Yugoslavian royal family on Sunday decades after their deaths in exile - an event seen as an important act of national reconciliation.
    
The bodies of Petar, his wife Queen Aleksandra, mother Queen Maria and brother Prince Andrej, had been exhumed from cemeteries in the United States, Britain and Greece.
    
The four coffins draped in Serbian royal flags and escorted by Serb army guardsmen were transferred to the Oplenac royal chapel in the southwestern town of Topola.
    
Petar succeeded his father King Aleksandar in 1934, who was assassinated in Marseilles, France, by Croatian and Bulgarian nationalists.
    
After Nazi Germany invaded Yugoslavia in April 1941, Petar fled the country and spent the most of World War II in exile in Britain. After the war, Petar was proclaimed a traitor by the communist leadership, which also abolished the monarchy.
    
His property was confiscated and he remained exiled until death in 1970 in the United States.
    
President Tomislav Nikolic, Prime Minister Ivica Dacic, Patriarch Irinej and the head of Serb Orthodox church were among those attending the state funeral.
    
The ceremony was an act of reconciliation between Serbs who supported the royal family or communist forces during World War II.
    
Tens of thousands of people died in Serbia between 1941 and 1945 in a civil war between royalist guerrillas and communist partisans who also fought the German occupiers. The two camps are still at odds decades after the war.
    
"More Serbs were killed by the Serbian hand than by the hand of the occupier," Nikolic said in a eulogy. "We cannot, we must not allow divisions and injustice anymore."
    
After the war, royalist supporters were killed or persecuted by the government of Josip Broz Tito.
    
Petar's son, Crown Prince Aleksandar Karadjordjevic, and his family were allowed to return to Serbia in mid-1990s by Slobodan Milosevic as Yugoslavia disintegrated.
    
"This funeral was the fulfillment of historic justice. They had to be brought home," said Zoran Kotarac, a mourner from the village of Slankamen, north of Belgrade.

You May Like

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid