Exclusive interview: Young royals look forward to their historic wedding day
September 26, 2017
Britić is delighted to publish an exclusive interview with HRH Prince Filip (Philip) Karađorđević son of Crown Prince Aleksandar Karađorđević and Princess Maria da Gloria of Orleans Bragança and Princess-to-be Danica, daughter of a renowned Serbian artist Cile Marinkovic, as they make their preparations for the first Serbian royal wedding in the country since 1922.
We are a strong nation, there is not much that can take us away from our dreams.
Cultured and accomplished, Prince Filip and Danica are not only Serbian royals but Serbian royals raised in the Diaspora. Their experience is one that many readers might identify with. As Prince Filip explains, adding our Serbian heritage to an education and early life in the West makes for a “culturally rich” mix. In what could almost be a rallying cry he goes on to say, “As long as we are working hard, with our strength we can succeed anywhere we want”.
HRH Prince Filip, 35, was born in Fairfax, Virginia, USA and is second in line to the throne. He met his fiancée Danica Marinković at a dinner at the Royal Palace. Their engagement was announced in July this year and the nuptials will be at one of Belgrade’s loveliest landmarks, the Cathedral of St. Michael the Archangel (Saborna crkva) in Belgrade on Saturday, 7 October 2017.
They describe their cosmopolitan upbringing as being “very dynamic”. Prince Filip recalls:
I have lived in London and Danica used to live in Paris. We would occasionally return to Belgrade, to see our family and friends, building wonderful memories.
The couple reminisced on their romance following that fateful dinner at the palace. As they talked realised they were drawn together by much that they share in common.
The royals are certainly well-appointed for international duties speaking English, French and Spanish as well as Serbian
What language do you speak to one another in private moments?
“I spent much of my childhood and life in Paris and, as we love French culture and the language, we often speak French, its very romantic”, says Dana.
Prince Filip adds, “I spent a lot of my childhood in Spain, so sometimes we speak in Spanish, it’s a beautiful language. But we usually speak to each other in English and Serbian, to honour to the country we live in and the country we are from.”
The young couple are in the throes of preparing for the wedding with a formidable team at their side. Huge media attention is expected to set the wedding apart as exceptionally high profile event and the couple are are happy to share their special day with beloved friends and family, and the whole nation who, they say, deserve to be a part of the first Serbian Royal Wedding since 1922.
[this will be the first royal wedding in Belgrade since 1922. Three royal weddings have taken place at Topola in the last two decades, the most recent was in July.]
Looking beyond the wedding, the couple plan to preserve the centuries-old traditions of the Karadjordjević family. Besides her new duties, Danica will continue to work in the arts which is her passion and profession. Prince Filip currently works for a renowned global asset management firm in London and for the time being their life in the city will continue. Both are clear about their wishes looking ahead – a return to Serbia.
: How do you let your hair down in London and Belgrade?
“It is great to be a young couple in a dynamic metropolis like London. We particularly love going to musicals and the theatre, the choice in London is great. Also, we appreciate exploring nature, and having a healthy lifestyle. When in Belgrade, as a leading city in terms of having a good time, we enjoy the company of our close family and friends, and having long lasting lunches and dinners, talking and laughing, just making ourselves feel at home.”
Danica, have you felt at all daunted by the responsibilities associated with being a princess?
“Like every new period in life, marriage brings new roles and responsibilities that naturally come with the union to the person you love. I welcome every new moment in my life with joy, respect, and excitement. Therefore I am ready to respond with great attention to all the duties that my title will bring in the future.”
Did you ever read fairy tales and imagine you would marry a prince?
“Fairy tales are part of our childhood, and it is a great way to build the imagination in the young ones. Moreover, I had the chance to grew up in an artistic family as my father Cile Marinković is a painter. When I was child I spent a lot my time in his art studio where my curiosity and creativity flourished.”
He used to create an atmosphere where we would make some art together, he would create a beautiful little universe for us, filled with love and joy, endless imagination, and he would paint me in every possible character from my all favourite fairy tales that I loved. These moments were really very important for me, and now they became reality.
Artist Cile Marinković donated works for the Lifeline Humanitarian Organisation’s charity auction earlier in the year in aid of children with disabilities.
Being proud of Serbia
The royal lovebirds say they are proud of Serbia and feel an acute sense of duty to contribute fully to the people of Serbia. However, neither do they neglect the heritage of the onetime Kingdom of Yugoslavia, whose first monarch was the Prince’s great grandfather King Aleksandar I:
It is important to know that the former Yugoslavia was a great country, Belgrade was the capital of six states. Belgrade is considered to be one of the most important cities Eastern Europe, drawing the boundaries of East and West, the Orient and the Occident.
The Prince reflects on the importance of the British Royal Family to the UK in its global outreach, an institution to which he is 103rd in line for succession. He expands on the distinctiveness of each of the European dynasties, a fact which makes our own heritage all the more relevant:
“The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was one of the most important of its time, and the heritage we carry is crucial to the development of our nation. All the changes that we have witnessed over the years made Serbia what it is today. Serbia is lucky to have a Royal background that gives it a historical context of great importance, an aspect that many other countries would love to have. Over the past 20 years that value, importance and respect is slowly coming back. That is the pathway that we will follow.”
The Prince also backs initiatives like the Kingdom of Serbia Association (Udružanje Kraljevina Srbije) which has been actively promoting the restoration of the monarchy in Serbia since its inception in 2008. He sees a collective and inspirational role as we “all work together for the progression and prosperity of our beautiful country. Serbia is open to different nationalities, cultures, religions. The nation has many great minds, minds that when are united can achieve many great things, just as we did in the past and will do again in the future.”
My thanks to Britic, the British Serb magazine and the Palace in Belgrade, for allowing me to reprint the article and photos.