The Embassy Flag Flies Again in Milton Road

Yugoslav Embassy flagpole replaced

Any Dutch national travelling along Milton Road on 6th January 2021 may have been offended to observe what appeared to be the flag of the Netherlands flying upside-down from the flagpole at No. 53. No insult was intended, as this was the historic flag of the Royal Kingdom of Yugoslavia flying once again from the house that was occupied by the Embassy of Yugoslavia from 1941 to 1944. 

The Kingdom of Yugoslavia was proclaimed on the 6th January 1929, and was invaded in World War II by the Axis powers. King Peter II of Yugoslavia and his Government fled to the United Kingdom in 1941 to set up a government in exile, establishing an embassy at 53 Milton Road, Harpenden safe from the Blitz in London. In 1943 a Democratic Federal Yugoslavia was proclaimed by the Partisan resistance, and was recognised as the legitimate government by King Peter in 1944 leading to the abolition of the Monarchy of Yugoslavia in 1945. 

The original 20 foot flagpole, erected by the Embassy at 53 Milton Road in 1941, lasted for almost 80 years until its top section blew down in the gales of January 2019.  The current owner commissioned the manufacture of a new flagpole in laminated Columbian Pine by the craftsmen of Freeland Yacht Spars of Dorchester-on-Thames, and local firm Birch Engineering of Great Amwell generously donated a stainless-steel mounting pin.  

The new flagpole was erected in October 2020, and the flag of the old Kingdom of Yugoslavia was flown once again on 6th January 2021 to mark the birth of the Kingdom on this day in 1929.

Comments about this page

  • Thank you so much for restoring this icon of Harpenden’s hidden history. We do intend to add more about the embassy, and other notable residents in Milton Road as featured in our exhibition on the Parkview Estate in December 2019.

    By Rosemary Ross (12/01/2021)

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