Last week, Princess Maria da Gloria of Orleans-Bragança, Duchess of Segorbe and former Crown Princess of Yugoslavia, gave an interview to the Serbian paper Kurir. The princess was wrapping up her fourth visit to Serbia: the first was in 2005 for the sixtieth birthday of her ex-husband Crown Prince Alexander, the second was in 2017 for the wedding of her son and daughter-in-law Hereditary Prince Philip and Hereditary Princess Danica, and the third was in 2018 for the baptism of her grandson Prince Stefan of Serbia.
Maria da Gloria’s fourth visit to Serbia was rather unexpected. The princess had been in Venice with her husband, the Duke of Segorbe. During dinner, Maria learned that her son had been admitted to hospital. She immediately caught the first available flight to Belgrade…and, like any caring mom, she showed up unannounced. As Princess Danica was with her husband, Princess Maria da Gloria went ahead and picked up her grandson Prince Stefan from his kindergarten, where he made sure she was introduced to his teachers and classmates. Maria da Gloria then went to the hospital to check on the condition of her son. Fortunately, he was alright. The Duchess of Segorbe remarked: “I came on the first flight as soon as I heard that my son Filip was in the hospital. Thank God it was nothing serious, everything is fine now. I told my ex-husband, the heir to the throne Crown Prince Aleksandar of Serbia, that I was here, that I wanted to go to the court [Royal Palace], but no – he didn’t invite me, nor Filip, nor Danica. The attempt to be like a family, for Stefan to be with his grandfather, who practically does not know him, failed. All this hurts me a lot, because family is the most important thing. You can be Karađorđević or whatever, carry important titles, but family is family.”
The Duchess of Segorbe commented on the renunciation of her eldest son Prince Peter: “Peter left his rights to the Serbian throne to Filip, and that is an act of patriotism. He himself said that he is not ready to take on that duty. His abdication is perfectly fine with me. First of all, because of Peter’s happiness, and then – here, in Serbia, Filip has married a beautiful Serbian woman, who understands all of that. See, Dana even looks like me, like she is my daughter! And my son Alexander also supported this, and he and Peter told me: ‘Mom, whatever Filip needs, we will fight for him.’” The princess then added: “The relationship with Crown Prince Alexander is a difficult story.” When asked if Crown Princess Katherine was a factor in the schism within the Serbian royal family, Princess Maria da Gloria noted: “You should ask Crown Prince Alexander, not me. He almost never sees his grandson, and Stefan has been in Spain many times, for Christmas and so on… It’s very sad. The attempt to be like a family, for Stefan to be with his grandfather, has not worked.“
Princess Maria da Gloria of Orleans-Bragança recalled when she met her first husband, Crown Prince Alexander of Serbia: “Oh, my goodness, it was beautiful. I met Alexander at a dinner at my aunt and uncle’s house, the Count and Countess of Paris, in Estoril. He came with the King of Italy, Umberto II, whom we called Uncle Beppo. It was a time of exile, there were many kings and princes were around. Alexander and I became very good friends from the start, and as he was in the British Army, I went to Ireland, where he was stationed, to see him. Then we got engaged and I went back to Brazil to tell my parents. My mother was a strong Catholic, and the first thing she asked me was not what his religion was, but: ‘Is he taller than you?’“
The Duchess of Sergorbe noted how proud she was of all of her children. “All my children help each other, they would do anything to save each other. They are brothers and sisters. Basically we are a very happy family. Thank God for that.“
A thank you to Lucas Szkopinski for finding the full interview in English! In order to read everything that Princess Maria da Gloria, Duchess of Segorbe, had to say, please visit this link: