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May 2013 - Clans of Ireland Represented at State Funeral in Serbia
The remains of the last reigning royal family of Yugoslavia were recently accorded a State Funeral by the modern Republic of Serbia, after decades of exile and entombment abroad. Clans of Ireland was represented amongst the various European and other royal and noble families, and other dignitaries present.
H.E. Ambassador Francis Martin O’Donnell, delegate of Clans of Ireland laid a remembrance wreath at the foot of the cask of the late King Peter II of Yugoslavia, on behalf of Ireland’s ancient royal and noble clans and historic families.
The mortal remains of King Peter II Karadjorjević, Queen Alexandra and the Queen mother, Maria, as well as Prince Andrew, had been exhumed and repatriated some months ago from disparate burials over several decades in the USA (King Peter was the only monarch ever buried in the USA), England, and Greece. The funeral to the Royal Mausoleum of St. George in Oplenac in central Serbia on Sunday was led by H.R.H. Crown Prince Alexander II and Serbia’s President H.E. Mr. Tomislav Nikolić, attended by Prime Minister Mr. Ivica Dačić, and other dignitaries. President Nikolić observed that this was a cause for national reconciliation and unity, by correcting a historic injustice that had been perpetrated on the Karadjorjević dynasty by the former communist rulers of Yugoslavia, who abolished the monarchy and exiled its members. Crown Prince Alexander II, heir of the late King, observed that this event was a momentous occasion not only for his family but for all of Serbia, whose modern statehood was created when his ancestor, Kara-Djordj, liberated the country from foreign occupation. The former Serbian and later Yugoslav monarchy was one of the few dynasties indigenous to the region.
Among representatives of foreign countries with reigning royal families the funeral was also attended by several ambassadors as well as leaders of the Orthodox, Catholic, and Islamic faiths. The President of the UN General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Vuk Jeremić, a former Serbian foreign minister, also attended. In addition to Clans of Ireland being represented by Ambassador O’Donnel, Ireland was represented by Ms. Anne Pesic, resident Honorary Consul of Ireland in Serbia.
Ambassador O’Donnell served in Belgrade from 2000 to 2004 as the UN resident representative and coordinator, supporting the immediate post-Milosevic transition to stability in both Serbia and Montenegro. He was subsequently the UN representative/coordinator in Ukraine during and after the Orange Revolution, and recently completed a term as ambassador of the Sovereign Order of Malta to Slovakia. He is a member of the Board of the Clans of Ireland, the authority for authenticating and registering Irish clans and historic families, where he has represented the Clan O’Donnell of Tyrconnell for the past two years.