Remains of Serbian royals laid to rest

OPLENAC -- Coffins with remains of Prince Pavle, his wife Olga and son Nikola were buried in the crypt of St. George's Church in Oplenac on Saturday.


The remains of the Serbian royals were transferred from the cemetery in Lausanne to Serbia last week.

Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić and members of the family said that this helped put right an injustice committed several decades ago.

The burial was attended by members of the family and numerous citizens who had been waiting for the ceremony to begin ever since early morning hours.

The coffin holding the remains of Prince Pavle was lowered into the crypt by members of the Serbian Army Guard while the coffins of Princess Olga and son Nikola were laid down by young men in the traditional costumes of the Šumadija region.

Addressing the crowd gathered in front of the church built by King Petar I Karađorđević, Nikolić said that this was a great day for Serbia and that all Serbian citizens should be proud because this is their debt to their ancestors.

Nikolić recalled that Princess Pavle shared the destiny of many other famous Serbs who enjoyed great respect abroad and were condemned in Serbia.

“Serbs should start appreciating their Serbia again and only then can we prove it to the Karađorđević dynasty that the moment of their rehabilitation has come and that they have won the respect and appreciation of Serbs once more,” the president said.

Crown Prince Aleksandar Karađorđević underscored that Princess Jelisaveta had worked for 20 years on having the remains of her father, mother and brother brought back to Serbia.

Pointing out that the family of Prince Pavle had finally been united, he noted that he wanted to bring back to Serbia the remains of his father king Petar II, mother and grandmother in 2013.

Princess Jelisaveta Karađorđević also said that this was a great day both for the Karađorđević family and Serbia because a great injustice had been put right and a deep wound had healed.

The burial was also attended by Jelisaveta’s daughter Catherine Oxenberg.

She said that the time had come to change the textbooks of history so that Serbia could move forward without any doubts.

Prince Pavle was rehabilitated on December 15, 2011, whereby the decision from 1945 was annulled according to which he was declared a war criminal and deprived of civil rights and property in the country.

Prince Pavle was born in St. Petersburg in 1893 and he ruled over the Kingdom of Yugoslavia for seven years, from 1934 until 1941. He died in Paris in September 1976.