03.11.

1970: Death of the Last King of Yugoslavia

1970: Death of the Last King of Yugoslavia
Photo Credit To http://www.anistor.gr/english/enback/Yugo_Peter2.gif

Story Highlights

  • historical event: Peter II Karađorđević came to the throne after his father – Alexander I – was assassinated in Marseilles. Little Peter was only 11 years old at the time. When Nazi Germany occupied Yugoslavia in 1941, the 17-year-old King Peter II fled the country by plane, taking with him the country's gold reserves.

Peter II Karađorđević – the last king of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia – died in exile on this day in 1970. He came to the throne after his father – Alexander I – was assassinated in Marseilles. Little Peter was only 11 years old at the time.

When Nazi Germany occupied Yugoslavia in 1941, the 17-year-old King Peter II fled the country by plane, taking with him the country’s gold reserves.

He first went to Greece, then to Jerusalem, and finally to Cairo. He finally ended up in England, together with many other governments in exile which had fled before the Nazi war machine.

King Peter II received his education at the renowned Cambridge University, and then entered the British Royal Air Force (RAF). He was not able to return to his country after the end of the war, because Tito and his communists had taken power there and forbade the king to return.

In London, King Peter II married Greek Princess Alexandra. It was a very favorable marriage, since Alexandra was the daughter of the Greek king, and was a direct descendant of British Queen Victoria. Through this marriage, Peter formed ties with the Greek, British, and Danish royal families, as well as with the Russian and German imperial families.

The couple’s only son – Alexander – was born in 1945 in London. He still has pretensions on the Serbian throne. Alexander’s godparents were Queen Elizabeth II and her father – King George VI.

After World War II, King Peter II moved to the U.S. He died on this day in 1970, in the city of Denver, Colorado. The cause of his death at an early age (47) was cirrhosis of the liver.

King Peter II was buried in the Monastery of St. Sava in the American town of Libertyville, Illinois. It is interesting that Peter II is the only European king to be buried on U.S. soil.

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