Beloved Queen returns to Serbia
Her Majesty Queen Maria Remains were brought back today to her homeland of Serbia with the gracious permission of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Dean of Windsor, Anglican Church, Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia
A memorial service for late HM Queen Mother Maria, who died on 22 June 1961 while in exile and was buried at The Royal Burial grounds in Frogmore near Windsor Castle, was officiated yesterday in London at The Serbian Orthodox Church St. Sava in London in the presence of Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Alexander, Crown Princess Katherine, Prince Peter, Prince Philip, Princess Katarina (daughter of Prince Tomislav); Prince Dimitri and Princess Lavinia (children of Prince Andrej), Mr. Nicholas Balfour (representing and son of HRH Princess Elisabeth), H. E. Dr. Dejan Popovic Ambassador or Serbia in United Kingdom and many devoted citizens members of Serbian and Yugoslav diaspora who paid their final respects to the late Queen Mother.
HM Queen Maria’s casket was met today at the Nikola Tesla airport (Belgrade) by Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Alexander, Crown Princess Katherine, Princess Elizabeth, Prince George and Prince Michael, H.E. Mr. Ivica Dacic, Prime Minister of Serbia, Professor Oliver Antic Special Advisor and Mr. Radoslav Pavlovic Cultural Advisor to President of Serbia H.E. Mr. Tomislav Nikolic, government officials and Serbian Orthodox Church representative His Grace Vicar Bishop of Hvosno Atanasije with blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Irinej of Serbia.
People gathered in great number to welcome the blessed late Queen Mother as she entered the gates of her home in Dedinje where she once lived as a Queen, wife, mother and a widow. The solemn atmosphere of respect and gratitude to a lady who was epitomized the prayers of the Serbian people as an ideal person, dedicated mother, dignified Queen and great benefactor of hospitals, schools, art and all those in need.
A memorial service for HM Queen Maria at the Royal Chapel was officiated by His Holiness Patriarch Irinej of Serbia in the presence of Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Alexander, Crown Princess Katherine, Princess Elizabeth, Prince George and Prince Michael (sons of HRH Prince Tomislav), H.E. Mr. Ivica Dacic, Prime Minister of Serbia, Professor Oliver Antic Special Advisor and Mr. Radoslav Pavlovic Cultural Advisor to President of Serbia H.E. Mr. Tomislav Nikolic, government officials and Serbian Orthodox Church representative His Grace Vicar Bishop of Hvosno Atanasije, His Grace Vicar Bishop of Remesiana Andrej, H.E. Mr. Daniel Banu, Ambassador of Romania to Serbia, Mr. David Andrew McFarlane, deputy of the UK Ambassador to Serbia.
His Royal Highness Crown Prince said after the service:”My grandmother, Queen Maria, is finally at home and soon she will join her family members in Oplenac. I wish to express my special gratitude to His Holiness Patriarch Irinej for being here today and for all his prayers. My grandmother died fifty two years ago and was buried in Great Britain. Although surrounded with her ancestors and relatives, she was far away from Serbia, our country and her people whom she had loved with all her heart, and whose great benefactor she was. The return to Serbia was a great wish of my grandmother and today she has finally returned, to be buried with her husband and her sons. By paying respect to Queen Maria, Serbia today pays respect to all who took part in creating her history.” Crown Prince also thanked H.E. Mr. Tomislav Nikolic, President of Serbia, H.E. Mr. Ivica Dacic, Prime Minister of Serbia, members of the State Committee for transfer of remains of the members of Karadjordjevic Royal Family and all members of the Government for their support. He especially thanked Professor Oliver Antic, for his personal initiative and engagement.
His Holiness Patriarch Irinej of Serbia: “Queen Maria was embodiment of nobility, and fulfilment of best wishes of the Serbian people, people that she respected, helped and loved so much. Today the great injustice has been rectified, she has returned to her country, to rest in peace, and all our prayers have been fulfilled. She didn't practice politics, she cared like a mother for people both in Serbia and Yugoslavia, following her superior sense of duty.“ .
Professor Oliver Antic: “Queen Maria was most loved among all Queens of Europe, and has had many virtues, like honesty, care for others and nobility. Therefore it is my great pleasure to announce that Mr. Tomislav Nikolic, President of Serbia, has authorized that decoration of Queen Maria, that was sealed at compartment 555 of National Bank of Serbia, will be put on her coffin during the state funeral in Oplenac on May 26.“
H.E. Mr. Ivica Dacic, Prime Minister also addressed the gathering: “I am very proud that we have rectified great injustice today, and our lesson learned could be that state and the people were doing so not because of the past, but for the future. This is great day for our country, and on May 26 we will host dignitaries from all over the world, and we will host them in the best tradition of our nation”.
Following the church service a reception took place in the Royal Palace for State officials, members of the Crown Council and Religious leaders.
Her Majesty Queen Maria was placed next to her son His Majesty King Peter II in The Royal Chapel of St. Andrew the First Called in Belgrade until 26 May when the official State Funeral ceremony for Their Majesties King Peter II, Queen Alexandra and Queen Mother Maria will be officiated in The Family Mausoleum in Oplenac.
Their Royal Highnesses extend their special gratitude for support to realization of this initiative to Sir Christopher Geidt, Private Secretary to the Sovereign, as well as the Serbian national air carrier JAT Airways for transport without remuneration as well as extraordinary efforts of the Embassy of Serbia in United Kingdom’s Consul Councilor Mrs. Ljiljana Zarubica who managed to coordinate all parties involved and contributed to the success of this initiative.
The Royal Chapel in the Royal Compound in Dedinje is open for citizens who wish to pay their respects to Their Majesties King Peter II and Queen Mother Maria every weekend Saturday and Sunday, from 10 am to 2 pm.
Source: Office of HRH Crown Prince Aleksandar Karadjordjevic