His Royal Highness Prince Andrej’s casket was met today at the Nikola Tesla airport by Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine, Prince Vladimir and Prince Dimitri, sons of HRH Prince Andrej; Princess Lavinia – Maria, daughter of HRH Prince Andrej with young Luka Austin Prichard (son of HRH Princess Lavinia-Maria); HRH Princess Elizabeth; Prince George and Prince Michael; Ms. India Oxenberg, granddaughter of Princess Elizabeth; Professor Oliver Antic, Special Advisor to President of Serbia; government officials and His Grace Bishop Atanasije of Hvosno, Vicar to Serbian Patriarch.
At Nikola Tesla Airport HRH Prince Andrej remains were awaited by Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Alexander and Princess Katherine, his sons Prince Vladimir and Prince Dimitri, his daughter Princess Lavinia-Maria with his grandson Mr. Luca Prichard Levy, HRH Princess Elizabeth, Professor Oliver Antic Special Advisor to President of Serbia and His Grace Bishop Atanasije of Hvosno, Vicar to Serbian Patriarch.
His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Irinej conducted a Memorial Service to Prince Andrej at the Royal Chapel of Saint Andrew the First-Called, where the caskets of Prince Andrej’s brother HM King Peter II, his sister-in-law HM Queen Alexandra and his mother HM Queen Maria, are already in place.
After the service, His Holiness Patriarch Irinej of Serbia has said: “This is a holy moment, sad and joyful, when the members of the Royal House are gathering in their homeland, this holy land. By historic injustice, they have left their homeland to live in exile in this world. Praised the Lord, the human and historic injustice has been rectified now. They came back to their home, built by their father, something they couldn’t have done during their lives. On May 26 they would be buried in Oplenac, and their return has made our nation happy“.
His Royal Highness Crown Prince Alexander II has said: “Today we are fulfilling the legacy of King Peter I, who passed to us obligation to protect our country, our faith, our people and our descendants. Earthly remains of HM King Peter II, HM Queen Maria, HM Queen Alexandra and HRH Prince Andrej have been returned to Serbia, and the historic wound and injustice have been healed. Today, we have witnessed justice and family reunion, of the family that suffered a lot, as same as our society has suffered from injustice. On behalf of the Royal Family that came from the people, I would like to express special gratitude to His Holiness Irinej, Serbian Patriarch, and the Serbian Orthodox Church, President of Serbia Mr. Tomislav Nikolic, State Committee for transfer of remains of members of Karadjordjevic Family, and to all those who have supported us on this path of historic importance. Serbia has reinstalled its integrity and legitimacy of the state that bravely reaches for the future, with respects of its ancestors, of their freedom and their rights. The Karadjordjevic Royal Family is a Serbian family that lives for Serbia, fights for Serbia and loves Serbia!“
Prof. Dr. Oliver Antic, special advisor to President of Serbia, has said: “They have had a difficult life. Their suffering is our shame, and their pain was felt here, as well. Their only sin was that they were descendants of the Father of Serbia. Prince Andrej had a difficult life, but he preserved his Family name and his heritage with dignity, as all of the Karadjordjevics did. Under highest auspices the people as a whole has been relieved of the great sin, and this injustice has been rectified. We have more things to do after May 26, and this was just a beginning“.
Following the Church service a reception for state representatives, Members of the Crown Council and Religious dignitaries took place at the Royal Palace.
A State Funeral for their re-interment in the Royal Mausoleum of St George’s Chapel in Oplenac will be officiated by His Holiness Patriarch Irinej on Sunday 26 May 2013.