Today it is difficult or almost impossible to find evidence about the time when the former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill temporarily declared an apartment in a luxurious London hotel Claridge’s a territory of Yugoslavia in 1945, so that the crown prince Aleksandar could be born on the soil of his own country and obtain the title of the prince immediately after birth.
According to a popular story, Churchill then made a favour to the Yugoslav King Petar II by issuing an order to declare the apartment 212 in that London hotel a territory of the former Yugoslavia for one day only.
During the Second World War, King Peter II, at the age of only 17, left Yugoslavia together with the government and emigrated to London. Years later, his wife, Queen Aleksandra, got pregnant while they were residing in Claridge’s, the hotel that used to be and still is one of the most prestigious hotels in the British capital. Prince Aleksandar was born on July 17, 1945 in London.
British newspaper wrote articles about the United Kingdom decreasing in size and Yugoslavia gaining in size, how doors of one apartment became an international border, so that the room service was prepared in one and delivered in another country.
Story about the apartment 212 can be read on web sites of Prince Aleksandar and in official history of the Claridge’s hotel. However, according to the BBC, there is only one problem. There is not a single piece of evidence to prove the story true.
One document from 1945 which mentions Yugoslavia and the Claridge’s hotel is a letter to the British Ministry of Foreign Affairs from July 23. The letter informs that Queen Aleksandra gave birth to a son, but the agreement between Churchill and King Peter II is not mentioned.
The agreement is not mentioned in Hansard, the official record of debates in the British parliament, nor in Churchill’s biography, and not even in the diaries of the private secretary of the British King George VI, who was godfather to the Prince Aleksandar Karađorđević.
Hotel Claridge’s is among the most famous hotels in the world. There is an anecdote that says that if you call the reception and ask to speak to the king, the receptionist will kindly ask you: “Sorry, to which king?”.
This speaks enough about the hotel itself, the hotel that has accommodated numerous famous guests over its 150-year-long history.
(Source: klix.ba/photo: claridges.co.uk)