Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia (born 7 April 1936) is a member of the House of Karageorgevich, a human rights activist and a former presidential candidate for Serbia. She is also known as Jelisaveta Karađorđević.
She was born in Belgrade as the third child and the only daughter of Prince Pavle of Yugoslavia (prince regent of Yugoslavia 1934–1941) and Princess Olga of Greece and Denmark. Her older brother is Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia, who married, firstly, Princess María Pia of Savoy and, secondly, Princess Barbara of Liechtenstein. She is a second cousin of Queen Sofía of Spain and Charles, Prince of Wales. She is a first cousin of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and his siblings, Prince Michael of Kent and Princess Alexandra, The Honorable Lady Ogilvy. She is a great-great-granddaughter of Karađorđe, who started the first Serbian uprising against the Turks in 1804.
A businesswoman and writer, she is the author of four storybooks for children] and she has created two perfumes- "Jelisaveta" and "E".
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 but not her property, and for running for public office.
Her education started in Kenya, 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 Kingdom and Serbia.
Princess Elizabeth married Howard Oxenberg (1919–2010), an American clothing manufacturer, on 21 January 1961 in a civil ceremony in Manassas, Virginia. The couple had two daughters together: actress Catherine Oxenberg and author Christina Oxenberg. They divorced in 1966.
A few years later in London on 23 September 1969, she married banker Neil Balfour (born 1944); they had one son, Nicholas Augustus Balfour. In 1974 actor Richard Burton announced that he intended to marry Elizabeth "as soon as practically possible". Her marriage to Balfour ended shortly afterwards, and she was briefly engaged to Burton.
On 28 February 1987 in New York City she married the former Prime Minister of Peru Manuel Ulloa Elías (1922–1992), at the time the country's Minister of Economy, Finance, and Commerce. By 1989 the two were separated, although the marriage wasn't officially dissolved. In 1992 Ulloa Elías died, which made the princess officially a widow.
After the death of King Alexander I, and during the Regency administration (of Regent Prince Paul, Radenko Stanković and Ivo Perović) that followed, the City of Belgrade District Court issued Decree No. 0.428/34 on 27 October 1938. The decree, which became official law on 4 March 1939, pronounced King Alexander I’s underage sons King Peter II, Prince Tomislav and Prince Andrew, in equal parts, heirs to his entire estate. This included all real estate at Dedinje: the Royal Palace (Old Palace) in Belgrade, its surrounding land and forest, and the White Palace, with its appertaining houses.
On 2 August 1947, Edvard Kardelj, then vice president of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, issued a decree that confiscated all these properties from the royal Karadjordjević family. This followed an earlier decree in March 1947, stripping the family of their citizenship.
His decree, the ‘National Assembly of the Presidency of the People’s Federal Republic of Yugoslavia,’ was abolished in 2001 after the deposing of Slobodan Milošević. The new government of Yugoslavia restored to all members of the royal family both their citizenship and the use of the entire royal complex in Dedinje.
In 2013, it was announced that the villa "Crnogorka", in Uzicka Street, Dedinje, was to be returned to Princess Elizabeth. The villa was bought by Princess Olga in 1940, and taken by the state in 1947. It is currently owned by the Serbian government and used as the official residence of the Ambassador of Montenegro.
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 Tauran, then Holy See Secretary for Relations with States, 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 the breakup of Yugoslavia began in 1991, 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 Mikhail Gorbachev. This was the second international gathering of political and religious leaders committed to world reform that included Mother Teresa, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Dalai Lama, Al Gore and Carl Sagan.
“ 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 honoring and celebrating life's differences ”
She decided to run for President of Serbia in the 2004 Serbian presidential election, despite her cousin Alexander's objections, stating that the Royal Family should stay out of politics. After the end of World War II, the 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 out of fifteen candidates.
In 2002, Princess Elizabeth received the first Nuclear Disarmament Forum Award, the Demiurgus Peace International, (accompanying president Vladimir Putin, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Ted Turner and others) for outstanding achievements in the field of strengthening peace among nations in Zug, Switzerland.