Peter II and Queen Alexandra of Yugoslavia

As news surfaced Peter II is to be reburied in Serbia, let’s have a look at the life of a man who was the last King of Yugoslavia.

Peter II with his younger brothers, Andrej and Tomislav

Peter II with his younger brothers, Andrej and Tomislav

Peter II was the eldest son of Alexander I and Queen Maria of Yugoslavia. He had two younger brothers – Prince Andrej and Prince Tomislav. Peter ascended to the Throne in 1934, upon the assassination of his father, aged just 11. Until he came of age, regency was established with Prince Paul of Yugoslavia acting as the country’s Regent.

At the start of World War II commenced, the young King was strongly against the Nazi Germany. However, Prince Paul felt the only way to save Yugoslavia from horrors of the war was to join the Tripartite Pact, which the country did on 25 March 1941. Two days later, on 27 March, the 17-yeaar-old King was proclaimed of age and led the British-supported coup d’état against the Pact. Germany’s response was swift and ruthless; within a week the joint troops of Germany, Italy, Hungary and Bulgaria invaded Yugoslavia, forcing Peter’s Government to surrender. Peter II had to leave the country; he settled in England where he led the Yugoslav Government-in-exile. During the time, the young Monarch joined the Royal Air Force to be of practical help, as well as worked to raise the morals his people.

Peter II and Princess Alexandra

Peter II and Princess Alexandra

Despite the constant worries about his country and people, Peter found happiness in those years; soon after arriving in London in 1941, he met the beautiful Princess Alexandra of Greece and Denmark, the only daughter of King Alexander of Greece and Aspasia Manos. The two teens immediately bonded over the tragic loss of their fathers (Peter’s father was killed by an assassin, while Alexandra’s father had died of blood poisoning after being bitten by a monkey).

(more…)

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