IN HER OWN WORDS, PRINCESS ELIZABETH OF YUGOSLAVIA, WHO IS 82, HAS NO REGRETS ON THE PAST, ONLY PLANS FOR THE FUTURE. IN AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH AZERI OBSERVER SHE SPEAKS ON THE MISSIONS OF ROYAL FAMILIES IN THE CONTEMPORARY WORLD, HER POLITICAL AMBITIONS, KINSHIP WITH PRINCE CHARLES, AND HER IMPRESSIONS OF AZERBAIJAN.
BY EMIL M. HASANOV
AZERI OBSERVER CONTRIBUTOR
Question: What does it mean for you to be a Princess of Yugoslavia, a country that does not exist anymore?
Answer: It does feel strange because this is a prewar title and I do not know if I can change it. It has become a name, though I feel like a dinosaur from another age.
Q.: In your opinion, what is the principal mission of the Royal families in the contemporary world when their countries are ruled by parliaments and presidents?
A.: It depends on if we belong to a reigning monarchy or a defunct one like ours. I believe we all have an obligation to fulfill a beneficial role, whether we are a part of the system or not.
Q.: The motto on your heraldic arms translates into English as “Service is Love in Action.” Could you please explain its meaning?
A.: Yes, it means that actions performed with love are better than empty words.
Q.: Your mother was a Princess of Greece and Denmark, and both of your grandmothers were from noble Russian families. Moreover, you have relatives among the members of many European Royal families. Do you have any personal opinions to these countries due to the family ties?
A.: Indeed, most of us are related, and I feel closer to some than to others. I am closest to the offspring of my mother’s two sisters, the Kents, two of whom were born in Germany and three in England. I am also close with Prince Charles, who is my second cousin once removed. His father, the Duke of Edinburgh, is my mother’s first cousin.
Q.: You have visited Azerbaijan and have seen our country with your own eyes. What were your impressions of our country?
A.: I have only had the opportunity to visit the capital, Baku, which is a beautiful city. I very much enjoyed my visit to Azerbaijan. If I return, I would love to see more of the countryside.
Q.: You pay a lot of attention to humanitarian and peacebuilding activities and even got a Nuclear Disarmament Forum Award for outstanding achievements in the field of strengthening peace among nations. Could you tell us about your current initiatives in this sphere?
A.: Right now, I am more concentrated on helping talented children and those who are struggling for an identity. Without a voice, they cannot advance, even if they have exceptional talents as they are held back by prejudice. I also have a plan to help clean up the country and keep our rivers clean, without clean water there is no future.
Q.: You ran for the President of Serbia in the 2004 presidential election. Are you still involved in politics now? How do you see the future of your country?
A.: Currently, I am not in politics. I feel optimistic about our country, which has come a long way since the collapse of communism. Communism is a negative policy and belief system not only for us but others who are still dealing with it today.
Q.: You are the author of several books for children. Why did you start to write for children? What did you want to teach them with your books?
A.: My books are about love, optimism, and humor. I love spontaneity in children, which is why I decided to write books geared towards them.
Q.: Your daughter, Catherine Oxenberg, was an actress on the soap opera Dynasty. Tell us about your relationship with your daughter.
A.: My daughter is marvelous, and we are very close. She is a fighter for human rights. Recently, she was involved in saving her daughter from an awful cult, which suppresses and hurts women.
She wrote a book about her efforts to save her daughter called “Captive: A Mother’s Crusade to Save Her Daughter from a Terrifying Cult.” The book also helps parents detect warning signs should their child be caught in a cult and how to change their thoughts when they fall prey to cults. Parents are informed so they can act before their child becomes brainwashed or branded by a cult.
Q.: You created two gorgeous aristocratic fragrances, which notably differs from all your previous activity. What did you want to tell the world with these perfumes?
A.: My perfumes used to be made in America, but when I moved back to my country, I had them made here as a national image, and to give work to the people. One of them was in tribute to my Romanoff grandmother to celebrate her beautiful garden full of white flowers.
Q.: If you could go back in time and do one thing, what would it be?
A.: I believe that time is in front of me, so I have no regrets on the past, only plans for the future!
Q.: Please continue this sentence “I am the most…”
A.: I am the most unconventional princess, and I am always ready for a new experience or adventure. Age has no barrier!