Serbia holds state funeral for Yugoslavia's last king


Serbian Patriarch Irinej (C) performs a liturgy during a solemn burial ceremony for the remains of Yugoslavia's last king Petar II Karadjordjevic in the Orthodox church of Saint George in Oplenac on May 26, 2013. The remains of the last Yugoslav king who fled the country in the onset of Nazi invasion, were repatriated today for a re-burial in Serbia, 43 years after his death in exile in the United States. After being exhumed last week from the Serb Orthodox monastery Saint Sava at Libertyville, US, the coffin with remains of Peter II, covered with the Serbian flag, was brought to the church at the Royal palace of Karadjordjevic's in Belgrade.



Serbia held a state funeral on Sunday for Yugoslavia's last king, Peter II, who fled the country at the start of World War II and died in the US in 1970.

The funeral was also held for his wife, Queen Alexandria, his mother, Queen Maria, and his brother, Prince Andrew. The royal family's remains were interred in the family tomb at St. George church in Oplenac, central Serbia, in a ceremony aired live on state television.

Serb leaders, ambassadors and members of several other European royal families attended the service, and a large crowd was expected outside the church.

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"Our king was forced to leave, he was forced never to set his foot back to his homeland, but now, finally, he is here where he belongs," Milka Radojicic, a 78-year old from the nearby town of Topola, said with tears in her eyes.

Peter acceded to the throne in 1941 when he was just 17, but fled 11 days later when the Nazis invaded his country. He never returned to Yugoslavia because Communists took over after the end of the war and abolished the monarchy.

He died in exile at 47 and was originally buried at a Serbian Orthodox Church monastery in Libertyville, Illinois.