Last king of Serbia returns home

THE remains of the last king of Yugoslavia have been repatriated to Serbia, four decades after he died in exile after fleeing to the West during the Second World War.

Petar II Karadjordjevic, whose body was exhumed from a Serbian Orthodox cemetery in Libertyville, Illinois, will be re-interred at a state funeral in May, along with other members of the royal family whose remains are also being repatriated.

Many Serbs cherish the Karadjordjevic dynasty as the creators of an independent Serbia following an uprising against Ottoman Turks in 1804, and for their opposition to the Austro-Hungarian empire, Germany and Turkey in the First World War.

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Petar II fled in April 1941 after the Nazis invaded what was then the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. He spent the rest of his life in Britain and the US, where he died in 1970, aged 47.

After the war, the entire Karadjordjevic dynasty was declared traitors by the communist government, which also abolished the monarchy and confiscated its property. The family was finally allowed to return to Serbia in the mid-1990s, under the late Slobodan Milosevic.