H.M. King Peter II of Yugoslavia

King Peter II of Yugoslavia
(art commissioned by the Pontifical Order of Knights Bachelor of Yugoslavia)

The last King to reign in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (albeit briefly) was King Peter II of Yugoslavia. The King, a second-great-grandson of Queen Victoria and also of Tsar Alexander II of Russia, came to the throne at the age of 11 upon his father's assassination in 1934. He was forced into exile by the Nazis shortly after coming of age. Peter II's godfather was George VI of England. The legacy of Yugoslavia, held principally through the singular honour of Knight Bachelor of Yugoslavia, is among the most treasured aspects of the Slavic heritage of the United Roman-Ruthenian Church and the Pontifical Imperial State of Rome-Ruthenia.

Insignia of an Honourary Bailiff Grand Cross of the 
Yugoslavian Order of St. John (founded under the
royal protection of Peter II) with the top portion of
the insignia indicating a Knight Bachelor of Yugoslavia.
The top portion in silver bears the Serbian eagle with the
Cyrillic cypher of Peter II. The insignia was presented
in the early 2000s to H.H. the Bishop of Rome-Ruthenia
and remains one of his most valued possessions. 

After some time in England, Peter II came to the United States in 1948 and settled in Chicago, where he lived more or less for the rest of his life. The king died on 3 November 1970 in Colorado after battling a long illness. He was buried at St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Monastery in Libertyville, Illinois, an area known for its Serbian ex-patriate community. In 2013, however, it was arranged for his body to be reinterred in Serbia at the Royal Mausoleum of Oplenac.

H.M. King Peter II of Yugoslavia (right)
and H.M. King George VI of Great Britain (left)

While in the United States, Peter II, exercising his sovereign rights, established the honour of Knight Bachelor of Yugoslavia. This was organised into a society known as the Royal Association of Knights Bachelor, with the King as its Royal Protector. Today the Apostolic See of Saints Stephen and Mark is among those entitled to grant the title of Knight Bachelor of Yugoslavia - an honour rarely conferred. Various documents pertaining to the honour are also held in the Stephenian Archives. The honour is conferred through the Pontifical Order of Knights Bachelor of Yugoslavia, a successor to the Royal Association of Knights Bachelor of Yugoslavia that had been founded by Peter II. The Pontifical Order counts among its foundational legacy a nobleman who is a Knight Bachelor of Yugoslavia and knew King Peter II.

See more on this page

Excerpt of a brevet of Peter II conferring the honour of
Knight Bachelor of Yugoslavia held in the Stephenian Archives
of the United Roman-Ruthenian Church.