TRH Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine once again hosted traditional Christmas gathering for more than 1,000 children in need from Serbia and the Republic of Srpska at the home of the Royal family of Serbia, the White Palace in Belgrade.
Children without parental care, children with difficulties in intellectual development, and socially vulnerable children, aged one to fourteen, from homes and associations throughout Serbia and the Republic of Srpska, had the opportunity to rejoice Christmas together with Their Royal Highnesses and share the spirit of this beautiful Christian holiday. The receptions were supported and held in presence of His Grace the Vicar of His Holiness Patriarch Porfirije of Serbia, Bishop of hvostan Mr. Aleksej, as well as Minister of Family Welfare and Demography, HE Prof. Dr. Darija Kisić, and HRH Crown Princess Katherine’s sister, Mrs. Betty Roumeliotis.
Christmas receptions for children in need is a tradition that Their Royal Highnesses started immediately after their return to Serbia in 2001. After the 2 years period when, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the gifts were delivered directly to the institutions, Crown Prince and Crown Princess are very happy that, once again, they were able to host Christmas receptions at the home of the Royal family and give the gifts personally to the young-ones, together with numerous friends, who helped Their Royal Highnesses to deliver the gifts to the children.
The receptions were made possible thanks to great efforts of the Lifeline Humanitarian Organization of Chicago, which traditionally gathers donations to purchase gifts for children for the Christmas holidays, which they did this year as well, sending large container that arrived at the Royal Palace in November previous year. Thousands of gifts that were provided by generous donors of Lifeline Chicago including clothing, shoes, toys, hygiene bags, and school supplies.
Significant contribution was also made by children from Belgrade international schools who, together with their teachers, have joined the charity campaign “Children helping children” and brought gifts to the Palace, to be given to their peers in need on these receptions.
Her Excellency Minister Kisić thanked Their Royal Highnesses for their continuous support for our children and also said: “Today I am in the most beautiful place in the world, a place that is filled with children’s laughter and smiles. Being in the company of children who are cheerful is the greatest blessing. I would like to thank the Karađorđević family for organizing such a wonderful gathering, and I hope that here at the Palace you all feel at least partly like princes and princesses. To feel cheerful, happy, because that’s what these holidays are all about”.
During the day, three receptions were held where children enjoyed wonderful gifts and spent time with Santa Claus, the animators from the ensemble “Cigra”, as well as a music program by the Sabac Diocese Choir “St. John the Theologian”.
His Grace Vicar Bishop of Patriarch of Serbia Aleksej explained the meaning of Christmas and its significance to the children and delivered them the blessing of His Holiness the Patriarch. “There is no greeting more beautiful than the one when the angels greeted the shepherds, when Christ was born. Let that greeting adorn your hearts, my dear children, so that tomorrow when you are grown up, you know to rejoice and greet with an angelic greeting. I am heartfully glad to be here with you today.”
“You might see a few tears in my eyes today, but these are tears of joy because I am so happy to see you all here. Being blessed with an opportunity to enjoy every possible moment with these beautiful children, to give them our love, to make them feel at home and for them to know they are not forgotten, to give them presents, and to see them playing and being happy and joyful, is the most precious thing in the world. There is no sound more beautiful than the sound of children’s laughter, combined with the honest smile on their faces. The White Palace and the Royal Palace are not just our home, they are the home for all of you, we all together make one big family. My husband and I are very happy for the Joy of Giving that this day brought to the children, and all of us”, stated HRH Crown Princess Katherine on this occasion.
This wonderful Christmas gathering was greatly helped by Humanitarian Organizations Lifeline from Chicago, New York, Toronto, and London, whose patron is HRH Crown Princess Katherine, as well as by numerous donors, among which are: Embassy of Angola, Embassy of Croatia, Coca-Cola HBC – Serbia A.D, Podravka ltd. Belgrade, Žito promet Mlin AD Company, British-Serbian Chamber of Commerce, Dutch-Serbian Business Association, Balon Center Belgrade, International schools in Belgrade: Brook Hill International School, the German School in Belgrade, The British International School of Belgrade, The International School of Belgrade – Lower School Principal, Chartwell International School, Russian School, and “Milena Pavlovic Barili” High School.
Their Royal Highnesses would like to thank all the donors who generously helped with this year’s receptions for children and together made this holiday more meaningful for the young ones.