Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia

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HRH Jelisaveta Karadjordjevic

HRH Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia, Serbian Cyrillic Њ.К.В. Кнегиња Јелисавета Карађорђевић (Belgrade, Yugoslavia, 7 April 1936) is a member of the Serbian Karađorđević dynasty, a human rights activist and a former candidate for the presidency of Serbia and Montenegro. Depending on the source, she is also known as Jelisaveta Karadjordjevic and Princess Jelisaveta of Yugoslavia.

She is the only daughter of Prince Paul of Yugoslavia (who served as regent for his cousin King Peter II of Yugoslavia) and of the Princess Olga of Greece and Denmark. She is a very distant heir to throne of the United Kingdom. Her only brother is Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia, who married, firstly, Princess María Pia of Italy and, secondly, Princess Barbara of Liechtenstein. She is a second cousin of Queen Sofía of Spain and Charles, Prince of Wales. Also, she is a great-great-granddaughter of Karageorge, a near-mythic hero who started the first Serbian uprising against the Turks in 1804.

Princess Elizabeth married, on 19 January 1961 (divorced 1969), Howard Oxenberg, an American clothing manufacturer, by whom she is mother of actress Catherine Oxenberg and sweater designer Christina Oxenberg. She married as her second husband, on 23 September 1969 (divorced), in London, politician Neil Roxburgh Balfour (1944-); they had one son, Nicholas Augustus Balfour. She married as her third husband, on 28 February 1987, in New York City, Dr. Manuel Ulloa Elias (1922-1992), the former Prime Minister of Peru as well the country's Minister of Economy, Finance, and Commerce. Between her marriages to Balfour and Ulloa, she was engaged to the British actor Richard Burton.

She is mother of three children, Catherine and Christina Oxenberg (a sweater designer formerly married to Dusan Damian Elwes) and Nicholas Augustus Balfour (married to a Dutch noblewoman).

Her education started in South Africa, then in Great Britain and Switzerland, finally she studied the history of fine art in Paris. She speaks English, French, Spanish, Italian, and Serbian and is a citizen of the United States and Serbia and Montenegro. She lives in Belgrade, where she has caused some friction within her family by demanding to set up residence in the White Palace, her childhood home, and for running for public office.

Princess Elizabeth recognized early the dangerous signs that would turn the former Yugoslavia upside down in a bloodbath of historic religious and ethnic rivalries long suppressed by Communist rule. She spoke out in Europe and America on behalf of bridging the gap between ethnic hatreds. Working behind the scenes through United Nations programs, she also journeyed to the Vatican in 1989 to ask Monsignor Taurant, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, to help improve relations between Catholic and Orthodox communities in Yugoslavia.

At the end of 1990 she created the Princess Elizabeth Foundation, a non-political, not-for-profit organization after foreseeing the crucial importance of a vehicle to address the tension brewing just below the surface. Since the subsequent civil wars, her efforts have focused heavily on transporting medical supplies, food, clothing and blankets to refugee camps, in addition to finding homes for children victimized by war and placing older students in schools and colleges in America.

Before civil war began in Yugoslavia, in January of 1990 she invited the Orthodox Bishop Sava and the Mufti of Belgrade, along with the Yugoslav Minister for Religious Affairs to attend a conference in Moscow that was hosted by Gorbachev. This was the second international gathering of political and religious leaders committed to world reform that included Mother Theresa, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Dalai Lama, Al Gore and Carl Sagan.

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Jelisaveta Karadjordjevic in Belgrade
during Serbian presidental elections 2004

She decided to run for a President of Serbia in the Serbian presidential elections, 2004, despite her cousin Alexander's objections. After the end of World War II, the ex-royal family was banished from the country, and their goods confiscated.

"In case of victory," she stated, "my priority would not be to return to a monarchy, but to form a real State." She got 63,991 votes or 2.1% finishing in 6th place.

Princess Elizabeth is a businesswomen and writer, author of four storybooks for children. She also has created perfumes that are sold on television shopping programs.

In 2002 Princess Elizabeth received the first Nuclear Disarmament Forum Award, the Demiurgus Peace International, (accompanig president Vladimir Putin, The Honorable Dr. Desmond Tutu, Mr. Ted Turner and others) for outstanding achievements in the field of strengthening peace among nations in Zug, Switzerland.


Quote

  • "I do not understand how people can feel superior to those of another faith or race. Such intolerance is deeply rooted in fear, which helps to perpetuate injustice and hatred. This deep programming prevents people from honouring and celebrating life's differences."
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