Claridge's: Was the London hotel really part of Yugoslavia?

Suite at luxury hotel reportedly became Yugoslav territory in 1945

Claridge's Hotel in Mayfair.

In 1945, a suite in London hotel Claridge's reportedly became Yugoslav territory when the Crown Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia was born. But experts have questioned the story as no evidence to date has been found.

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Suite 212 is said to have become Yugoslav territory for a day on 17 June 1945 on the orders of Winston Churchill after the King of Yugoslavia and his wife were exiled as a result of the war and took up residence in Claridge's. The king wanted his child born on home soil.

There are rumours that soil from Yugoslavia was placed under the bed where the queen gave birth.

The story features on the Claridge's website, which states: "At the request of Winston Churchill, suite 212 is declared Yugoslavian territory so that Crown Prince Alexander II could be born on his own country's soil."

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It is also mentioned on The Royal Family of Serbia website, which reads: "On 17 July 1945 while living in Claridge's Hotel, Queen Alexandra gave birth to a son – HRH Crown Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia. Crown Prince Alexander, the heir to the throne, was born on Yugoslav territory as the British Government under the orders of Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill declared suite 212 in Claridge's Hotel Yugoslav territory. His Holiness Patriarch Gavrilo of Serbia baptized the newborn Crown Prince in Westminster Abbey with Godparents King George VI and HRH Princess Elizabeth (now HM The Queen Elizabeth II)."

Speaking to the BBC about the king's deal with Winston Churchill, Crown Prince Alexander said: "Unfortunately, all the files have long ago disappeared from my father's office."

There is no evidence in the Churchill Archives and no trace in the National Archives.

Dr Bob Morris, a constitutional expert at University College London, told the BBC: "There is no power of which I am aware for the prime minister, or anyone else, to designate any UK territory as even temporarily someone else's - it would require an act of parliament.

"Somehow or other a romantic fiction took root with an overlay of imagined credibility based on Churchill's reputation for impulsive generosity."

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