My name is Mileva Stevanović, I worked for 35 years in the museum in Oplenac, today I’m in retirement. My research was mainly concerned with Karadjordjević family. Since we are now in the town of Karadjordje, here you can see the house of Karadjordje where he lived during the First Serbian Uprising and his foundation the Church of the Holy Mother. The interesting fact about this church is that when Karadjordje was killed on 26 July 1817 in village Radovanj (this year we will mark two centuries since he was killed). He was buried in this village for a very short period of time. Already in 1819, the wife of Prince Miloš Obrenović, Princess Ljubica ordered his body to be transferred in Topola and to be buried in his foundation, in this church. Karadjordje, himself, while constructing this church planned for a place to be left near the altar for his resting place. Since Karadjordje’s body was buried in village Radovanj without his head, later his head was added to his body, so Karadjordje was once again buried in his foundation, here in Topola. Prince Miloš wrote on a plate which stood above his grave a text where he tried to justify his murder which he devised and ordered. So Karadjordje’s body rested here until 1930 when the church on Oplenac hill, mausoleum of Karadjordjević family, was finished, and Karadjordje as the progenitor of the Karadjordjević dynasty was transferred to Openac and to this very day the church is his resting place.
Here in Kardjordje’s town you can also find a monument to vožd Karadjordje. Up until 1939, Topola didn’t have a monument dedicated to its great leader. Then, a board was founded, so to say, the citizens themselves gathered around this board and took the initiative to erect a monument in Topola. The monument was the work of Petar Palavičini. Firstly, the monument was envisaged in a different way, then Prince Pavle wanted the monument to represent Karadjordje’s character of a military commander, strategist, statement, so the monument was remodelled to a statue that we have today.
The research I’ve done and I find interesting to mention concerns the jewellery of Queen Maria, that is her diadems. Within my research I established that Queen Maria had four diadems. One of the diadems she brought along with her bride’s trousseau, the other was an engagement gift by King Alexander, and the third a gift upon the birth of their son Prince Peter II, and the fourth one was given to her by her relatives. These were the golden diadem, diadem with diamonds, with brilliants. From the four diadems, only one is kept in our country, the golden one which is exhibited in the King Peter’s House. Before it was kept in Belgrade, in a chest number 23. When the chest was opened the personal belongings of Queen Maria and King Alexander were discovered. Among other things a diamond saber of King Alexander was also discovered along with the golden diadem. We also know that in 1948 Queen Maria was in London, she had left Yugoslavia in 1938 due to an illness and she never returned. According to our knowledge her jewellery was stolen, so the other diadems disappeared along with other jewellery. One diadem with diamonds and a neckless Queen Maria herself sold in 1960, a year before she died since she was left without means of living. So, she was forced to sell her jewellery. All the diadems were unique, the work of famous artists and jewellers of that time as Cartier and many others.