CEOL
Prince Tomislav buried in presence of family

OPLENAC, Jul 17, 2000 -- (Reuters) Prince Tomislav Karadjordjevic, brother of Yugoslavia's last king, was laid to rest in the family crypt on Sunday in the presence of his nephew Crown Prince Alexander and other members of the royal family.

Prince Tomislav, 73, died in his family home in Oplenac, some 80 km (50 miles) south of Belgrade, last Wednesday. He returned to the country in 1991, the only member of Yugoslavia's exiled royal family to move back after decades of exile.

Hundreds of ordinary people, many of them older men dressed in Serbian national costume or in old Serbian army uniforms, crowded around the church where the service was read by Serbian Orthodox Patriarch Pavle.

A black flag flew from the church bell and the entrance was edged with a black sash.

The official guests, including Tomislav's four children by two marriages, members of the Karadjordjevic house Gerd Armbrust and Princess Victoria, the Serbian opposition and officials were inside the church.

The government was represented by low-profile members of the Serbian Ministry of Culture and of the Yugoslav Red Cross.

Prince Tomislav was the second son of King Alexander I and the brother of late King Petar II, who left Yugoslavia in 1941 after Nazi Germany overran his country, which later came under communist rule.

Crown Prince Alexander, who was accompanied by his wife Katarina and eldest son Petar, made a short funeral address praising his uncle, whom he had known in exile in Britain. It did not touch on politics.

Alexander has been critical of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and in recent months met Serbia's fragmented opposition in Hungary, Bosnia's Serb Republic and Greece, urging them to unite to bring democratic changes to the country.

Leaving the church after the service, the crowd greeted Alexander with cries of "long live the king" and "it's not good without the king", as he waved to them. Members of the Serbian opposition present included head of the Democratic Party Zoran Djindjic and Belgrade city officials from the Serbian Renewal Movement. Former president of Bosnia's Serb Republic Biljana Plavsic also attended.



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