Michael I of Romania

Michael I of Romania

Infobox Romanian Royalty|monarch
name =Michael I
title =King of the Romanians

caption =
succession =King of the Romanians
reign =20 July, 19278 June, 1930
coronation =6 September, 1940
predecessor =Ferdinand I
successor =Carol II
succession1 =King of the Romanians
reign1 =6 September, 194030 December, 1947
predecessor1 =Carol II
successor1 ="Monarchy abolished"
spouse =Anne of Bourbon-Parma
issue =Princess Margarita Princess Elena Princess Irina Princess Sofia Princess Marie
royal house =House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen
royal anthem =
father =Carol II
mother =Elena of Greece and Denmark
date of birth =birth date and age|1921|10|25
place of birth =Sinaia, Romania
date of death =
place of death =
buried =

Michael, King of the Romanians, Prince of Hohenzollern [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,794131,00.html "Compression"] , "Time, January 12, 1948] [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,798826,00.html "Milestones"] , "Time", June 21, 1948] [ [http://www.geocities.com/henrivanoene/genromania.html Genealogy of the Royal Family of Romania] , retrieved October 2, 2006] (born October 25, 1921), reigned as King of the Romanians ( _ro. Maiestatea Sa Mihai I Regele Românilor, literally "His Majesty Michael I King of the Romanians") from July 20, 1927 to June 8, 1930, and again from September 6, 1940, until forced to abdicate by the communists backed up by orders of Stalin to the Soviet armies of occupation on December 30, 1947. A great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria and a third cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, he is one of the last surviving heads of state from World War II, [ [http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2005/05/38D4D252-BE7E-4943-A6A9-4E3C1B32A05F.html World War II—"60 Years After: Former Romanian Monarch Remembers Decision To Switch Sides"] , RFE/RL, May 6, 2005] [Oliver North, [http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=14054 “Looking for Leadership”] , "Human Events", April 14, 2006] [Peter Kurth, [http://www.peterkurth.com/MICHAEL%20OF%20ROMANIA.htm "Michael of Romania"] ] Craig S. Smith, [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/27/world/europe/27michael.html "Romania’s King Without a Throne Outlives Foes and Setbacks"] , "The New York Times", January 27, 2007] the others being Simeon II of Bulgaria [ [http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9067835/Simeon-Saxecoburggotski Simeon Saxecoburggotski] , Encyclopædia Britannica] and King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia.

Early life

Michael was born in the Foişor Castle or Peleş Castle, Sinaia, Romania, the son of the then-Crown Prince Carol II and Princess Elena of Greece, and grandson of the then-reigning King Ferdinand I of the Romanians. When Carol II eloped with his mistress Elena "Magda" Lupescu and renounced 'temporarily' his rights to the throne in December 1925, Michael was declared the heir apparent. He succeeded to the throne upon Ferdinand's death in July 1927. In August 1927 he appeared on the cover of "Time" magazine: he is the longest-surviving person to have appeared on the magazine's cover.Fact|date=April 2008


1930s and the Antonescu era

A Regency, which included his uncle, Prince Nicolae, Patriarch Miron Cristea and the country's Chief Justice (Gheorghe Buzdugan, from October 1929 on Constantin Sărăţeanu) functioned on behalf of the 5-year-old Michael. [ [http://www.rulers.org/rulqr.html#romania Rulers of Romania] ] In 1930, Carol II returned to the country at the invitation of politicians dissatisfied with the Regency, and was proclaimed king by the Parliament, designating Michael as Crown Prince with the title "Grand Voievod of Alba-Iulia". In November 1939, Michael joined the Romanian Senate, as the 1938 Constitution guaranteed him a seat there upon reaching the age of eighteen. [ [http://ziua.net/display.php?data=2007-11-29&id=230045 "Ce citeau românii acum 68 de ani?"] , "Ziua", November 29, 2007.] In September 1940, the pro-German anti-Bolshevik régime of Prime Minister Marshal Ion Antonescu staged a "coup d'état" against Carol II, whom the Marshal claimed to be 'anti-German'. Antonescu suspended the Constitution, dissolved the Parliament, and re-installed the 18-year-old Michael as King by popular acclaim. (Although the Constitution was restored in 1944 and the Romanian Parliament in 1946, Michael did not either subsequently take a formal oath or have his reign approved retroactively by Parliament.) Michael was crowned [http://www.familiaregala.ro/upload/p0002_FundamentalRules.pdf Fundamental Rules of the Royal Family of Romania] , [http://www.familiaregala.ro/ The Romanian Royal Family website] as retrieved on January 8, 2008] with the Steel Crown and anointed King of Romania by the Orthodox Patriarch of Romania, Nicodim Munteanu, in the Patriarchal Cathedral of Bucharest, on the day of his accession, September 6, 1940. [ro icon [http://www.sfaturiortodoxe.ro/bejan2-7.htm "The Joys of Suffering," Volume 2, "Dialogue with a few intellectuals"] , by Rev. Fr. Dimitrie Bejan - [http://www.sfaturiortodoxe.ro/en/index.htm "Orthodox Advices"] website as of June 9, 2007] Although King Michael was formally the Supreme Head of the Army and entitled to appoint the Prime Minister with full powers named 'Leader of the people' = "Conducător", in reality he was forced to remain only a figurehead until August 1944. [ro icon Ioan Scurtu, Theodora Stănescu-Stanciu, Georgiana Margareta Scurtu, [http://ebooks.unibuc.ro/istorie/istorie1918-1940/13-15.htm "The History of the Romanians between 1918-1940" ("Istoria românilor între anii 1918–1940")"] , page 280.]

Turning against Nazi Germany

In 1944, World War II was going badly for the Axis powers, but the military dictator Prime Minister Marshal Ion Antonescu was still in control of Romania. As of August 1944, the Soviet conquest of Romania had become inevitable, being expected in a few months according to Encyclopedia Britannica [http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-42751/Bulgaria "Bulgaria - Bulgarian resistance to the Axis alliance,"] [http://www.britannica.com/ Encyclopædia Britannica] ] . On August 23, 1944, Michael joined the pro-Allied politicians, a number of army officers, and armed communist-led civilians in staging a "coup" against Antonescu, whereas it was recognized in the late 70's that King Michael ordered his arrest by the Royal Pallace Guard. On the same night, the new Prime Minister, Lt. General Constantin Sănătescu-who was appointed by King Michael I- gave custody of Antonescu to the communists (in spite of alleged instructions to the contrary by the King), who delivered him to the Soviets on September 1. [ [http://www.worldwar2.ro/generali/?article=96"Marshal Ion Antonescu",WorldWar2.ro, Romanian Armed Forces in the Second World War] ] [ [http://www.ziua.net/display.php?id=205697&data=2006-08-19&ziua=31a759d5aafc28a47a9c0b5534f29c38 “23 august - radiografia unei lovituri de Palat”, paragraph ”Predaţi comuniştilor”, Dosare Ultrasecrete] , "Ziua", August 19, 2006] In a radio broadcast to the Romanian nation and army, Michael issued a cease-fire just as the Red Army was penetrating the Moldavian front, proclaimed Romania's loyalty to the Allies, announced the acceptance of the armistice offered by Great Britain, the United States, and the USSR, and declared war on Germany. [ro icon [http://www.curierulnational.ro/Specializat/2004-08-07/“Dictatura+a+luat+sfarsit+si+cu+ea+inceteaza+toate+asupririle” "The Dictatorship Has Ended and along with It All Oppression" - From The Proclamation to The Nation of King Michael I on The Night of August 23 1944"] , "Curierul Naţional", August 7, 2004] However, this did not avert a rapid Soviet occupation and capture of about 130,000 Romanian soldiers, who were transported to the Soviet Union where many perished in prison camps. [http://countrystudies.us/romania/23.htm "Country Studies: Romania"] , Chap. 23, Library of Congress] Although the country's alliance with the Nazis was ended, the "coup" speeded the Red Army's advance into Romania. The armistice was signed three weeks later on September 12, 1944, on terms the Soviets virtually dictated. Under the terms of the armistice, Romania recognized its defeat by the USSR and was placed under occupation of the Allied forces with the Soviets, as their representative, in control of media, communication, post, and civil administration behind the front. The coup effectively amounted to a "capitulation", [ [http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/washingtonpost_historical/access/148133682.html?did=148133682&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:AI&dids=148133682:148133682:&date=Aug+25%2C+1944&author=&pub=The+Washington+Post++ "Hitler Resorts To 'Puppets' In Romania"] , "Washington Post", August 25, 1944] an "unconditional" [ [http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F4081FF93D5B1B7B93C6AB1783D85F408485F9&scp=1 "King Proclaims Nation's Surrender and Wish to Help Allies"] , "The New York Times", August 24, 1944] "surrender". It has been suggested that the "coup" may have shortened World War II by six months, thus saving hundreds of thousands of lives.ro icon Constantiniu, Florin, "O istorie sinceră a poporului român" ("An Honest History of the Romanian People"), Ed. Univers Enciclopedic, Bucureşti, 1997, ISBN 973-9243-07-X]

King Michael I was the last monarch behind the Iron Curtain to lose his throne. At the end of the war, King Michael I was awarded the highest degree (Chief Commander) of the Legion of Merit by U.S. President Harry S. Truman. He was also decorated with the Soviet Order of Victory by Joseph Stalin "for the courageous act of the radical change in Romania's politics towards a break-up from Hitler's Germany and an alliance with the United Nations, at the moment when there was no clear sign yet of Germany's defeat," according to the official description of the decoration. [ro iconen icon "Armata Română în Al Doilea Război Mondial. Romanian Army in World War II." Bucharest: "Meridiane" publishing house, 1995, page 196] However, according to both Encyclopedia Britannica and the Albanian Communist leader Enver Hoxha,Enver Hoxha. [http://www.marx2mao.com/Other/TT82v.html "The Titoites"] . The "Naim Frasheri" publishing house, Tirana, 1982, page 518] King Michael surrendered in a situation in which he could do nothing else, when the Soviet conquest had become inevitable. It is rather for his surrender that he was awarded the Order of Victory according to Hoxha.

The reign under communism

In March 1945, political pressures forced King Michael to appoint a pro-Soviet government dominated by the Romanian Communist Party. Under the communist régime King Michael functioned again as little more than a figurehead. Between August 1945 and January 1946, during what was later known as the "royal strike," King Michael tried unsuccessfully to oppose the first communist government led by the communist Prime Minister Petru Groza, by refusing to sign its decrees. In response to Soviet, British, and American pressures, [ro icon [http://www.ziua.ro/display.php?data=2000-08-23&id=49004, "What was done in Romania between 1945 and 1947 it has also been done since 1989"] , "Ziua", August 24, 2000] King Michael eventually gave up his opposition to the communist government and stopped demanding its resignation. He did not pardon former Marshal Antonescu, who was sentenced to death "for betrayal of the Romanian people for the benefit of Nazi Germany, for the economic and political subjugation of Romania to Germany, for cooperation with the Iron Guard, for murdering his political opponents, for the mass murder of civilians and crimes against peace". Nor did King Michael manage to save the leaders of the opposition such as Iuliu Maniu and the Bratianus, [ro icon [http://www.bbc.co.uk/romanian/news/story/2007/04/070418_sighet_istoric.shtml Brief history of Sighet prison] , BBC, April 18, 2007] victims of communist political trials, as the Constitution prevented him from doing so without the counter-signature of the justice minister, who was a communist Lucreţiu Pătrăşcanu, (who was ironically also eliminated later by Gh.Dej's opposing communist faction). The memoirs of King Michael's aunt Princess Ileana [ [http://www.tkinter.smig.net/PrincessIleana/ILiveAgain/Chapter21.htm "I Live Again" by Ileana, Princess of Romania, Chapter 21] ] quote her alleged lover, [ro icon [http://www.jurnalul.ro/articole/18837/istoria-ca-telenovela-barfele-unui-raport-secret-iii "History as a Soap Opera - The Gossips of a Secret Report (III)"] , "Jurnalul Naţional", June 18, 2006] and Romania's communist minister of defense (and Soviet spy), [ [http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?frd/cstdy:@field(DOCID+ro0197) "Development of the Romanian Armed Forces after World War II", Library of Congress Country Studies] ] Emil Bodnăraş, as saying: "Well, if the King decides not to sign the death warrant, I promise that we will uphold his point of view." Princess Ileana was skeptical: "You know quite well (...) that the King will never of his free will sign such an unconstitutional document. If he does, it will be laid at your door, and before the whole nation your government will bear the blame. Surely you do not wish this additional handicap at this moment!"

Forced abdication

In November, 1947 King Michael I travelled to London for the wedding of the future Queen Elizabeth II, an occasion during which he met Princess Anne of Bourbon-Parma, who was to become his wife. According to unconfirmed claims by so-called Romanian 'royalists', King Michael did not want to return home, but certain Americans and Britons present at the wedding encouraged him to do so; [ [http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/washingtonpost_historical/access/293287632.html?did=293287632&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:AI&dids=293287632:293287632:&date=Dec+31%2C+1947&author=&pub=The+Washington+Post "Churchill Advised Mihai to Return"] , "The Washington Post", December 31, 1947] Winston Churchill is said to have counseled Michael to return because "above all things, a King must be courageous." According to his own account, [ [http://www.cs.kent.edu/~amarcus/Mihai/english/agende/mar2697.html "Speech By His Majesty Michael I, King of Romania to the Royal United Services Institute for Defence Studies"] , London, March 26, 1997] King Michael rejected any offers of asylum and decided to return to Romania, contrary to the confidential, strong advice of the British Ambassador to Romania.

However, on December 30th 1947, King Michael I was forced at gun point by Petru Groza to abdicate Romania's throne in his own Royal Pallace which was surrounded by the communist government's numerous secret police forces. Later the same day, the communist-dominated government announced the 'permanent' abolition of the monarchy and its replacement by a People's Republic, broadcasting the King's pre-recorded radio proclamation ["Friends & Enemies, Presidents & Kings" by Tammy Lee McClure, Accendo Publishing, page 99. Another account comes from the Romanian anti-communist dissident Paul Goma's ro icon [http://paulgoma.free.fr/paulgoma_pdf/pdf/LRP_JURNAL_PE_SARITE.pdf "Skipped Diary" ("Jurnal pe sarite")", page 57.] ] of his own abdication. On January 3 1948, Michael was forced to leave the country, followed [ [http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/nytimes/85191692.html?did=85191692&FMT=ABS&FMTS=AI&date=Jan+13%2C+1948&author=Special+to+THE+NEW+YORK+TIMES.&pub=New+York+Times++(1857-Current+file)&desc=2+PRINCESSES+EXILED+BY+RUMANIAN+REGIME "2 Princesses Exiled By Romanian Regime"] , "The New York Times", January 13, 1948] over a week later by Princesses Elisabeth and Ileana, who collaborated so closely with the Russians that they became known as the King's "Red Aunts." [W. H. Lawrence, [http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/nytimes/85189260.html?did=85189260&FMT=ABS&FMTS=AI&date=Jan+7%2C+1948&author=By+W.H.+LAWRENCESpecial+to+THE+NEW+YORK+TIMES.&pub=New+York+Times++(1857-Current+file)&desc=AUNTS+OF+MICHAEL+MAY+BE+EXILED+TOO "Aunts of Michael May Be Exiled Too"] , "The New York Times", January 7, 1948]

There are several accounts as to why King Michael I abdicated. As recounted by Michael himself, the communist prime-minister Petru Groza had threatened him at gun point [ [http://www.b-info.com/places/Bulgaria/Jewish/jul12.shtml "The Rescue of the Bulgarian Jews"] , as retrieved on January 21, 2008] [ro icon [http://www.geocities.com/capitolhill/lobby/8957/960510.html "The Republic was installed with a pistol"] , Ziua, May 1996] [ro icon [http://www.cs.kent.edu/~amarcus/Mihai/romanian/cronologiero.html "Timeline"] , [http://www.cs.kent.edu/~amarcus/Mihai/index.html semi-official site dedicated to HM King Michael I] , as retrieved on January 21, 2008] [ro icon [http://www.antena3.ro/Se-implinesc-60-de-ani-de-cand-Romania-a-devenit-Republica_act_43794_ext.html "Princess Margareta, designated dynastic successor"] , Antena 3, December 30, 2007] and blackmailed him that the government was to shoot 1,000 arrested students if King Michael didn't abdicate. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2005/06/12/bopor12.xml "A king and his coup"] , "The Daily Telegraph", June 12, 2005] In an interview with "The New York Times" from 2007, Michael recalls the events: “It was blackmail. They said, ‘If you don’t sign this immediately we are obliged’ — why obliged I don’t know — 'to kill more than 1,000 students' that they had in prison.” According to "Time" magazine, the communist government threatened Michael that it would arrest thousands and steep the country in blood if he did not abdicate.

But according to the book "", the autobiography of the former leader of the Soviet intelligence agency NKVD, major general Pavel Sudoplatov, the deputy Soviet foreign minister Andrey Vyshinsky personally conducted negotiations with King Michael for his abdication, guaranteeing part of a pension to be paid to Michael in Mexico. [Pavel Sudoplatov, Anatoli Sudoplatov, Jerrold L. Schecter, Leona P. Schecter, "Special Tasks: The Memoirs of an Unwanted Witness—A Soviet Spymaster". Little, Brown and Company, Boston, 1994, page 232. ISBN 0316773522 : "Vyshinsky personally conducted negotiations with King Michael of Romania for his abdication, guaranteeing part of his pension in Mexico."] According to a few articles in "Jurnalul Naţional",ro icon [http://www.jurnalul.ro/articole/33199/intoarcerea-de-la-londra-si-abdicarea "The return from London and the abdication,"] "Jurnalul Naţional", November 17, 2005] ro icon [http://www.jurnalul.ro/index.php?section=rubrici&article_id=6092 "Communism - King Michael I's Abdication",] "Jurnalul Naţional", December 11, 2006] Michael's abdication was the result of his negotiations with the Communist government, not of a blackmail, which allowed him to leave the country accompanied by the goods he requested and by some of the royal retinue.

According to the Albanian communist leader Enver Hoxha,Enver Hoxha. [http://www.marx2mao.com/Other/TT82v.html "The Titoites"] . The "Naim Frasheri" publishing house, Tirana, 1982, pages 519-522, 572] who recounts his conversations with the Romanian communist leaders on the king's abdication, King Michael was threatened with a pistol by the Romanian Communist Party leader Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej rather than Petru Groza so as to abdicate- which has no factual evidence. He was allowed to leave the country accompanied by some of his and, as confirmed also by the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev recounting Dej's confessions, [Nikita Sergeevich Khrushchev, Sergeĭ Khrushchev. [http://books.google.com/books?id=EkFZqlgdzCkC&pg=RA1-PA701&dq=king+michael+romania&sig=s9B8__XDcPT1NZr2s6G55jEOdyA "Memoirs of Nikita Khrushchev: Statesman, 1953-1964"] , Pennsylvania State University Press, 2007, page 701, ISBN 0271029358 : "As Dej reminisced, 'We told him he could take everything with him that he considered necessary, but he had to leave his kingdom.'"] with whatever properties he desired, including gold and rubies. Hoxha does say in his book that the Romanian communist leaders had threatened King Michael with their loyal army troops, which had encircled the royal palace and its troops loyal to King Michael.

According to "Time" magazine, [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,779700,00.html "Anne & I"] , "Time", March 15, 1948] in early 1948 there had been (unconfirmed) negotiations between King Michael and the communist government over the properties he left behind in Romania and those negotiations delayed his denunciation of the abdication as illegal.

There are reports [http://evz.ro/articole/detalii-articol/677728/Miscellaneous/ "Miscellaneous"] , "Evenimentul Zilei", March 24, 2005] [ [http://evz.ro/articole/detalii-articol/676830/Miscellaneous/ "Miscellaneous"] , "Evenimentul Zilei", March 14, 2005] [http://evz.ro/articole/detalii-articol/639374/The-Lia-Roberts-hope/ "The Lia Roberts hope"] , "Evenimentul Zilei", January 19, 2004] [ro icon [http://www.adevarul.ro/articole/monarhia-singurul-bastion-impotriva-comunistilor/336307 "Monarchy, the only bastion against the communists"] , "Adevărul", December 29, 2007] [ro icon [http://www.romanialibera.ro/a113797/mihai-pelin-a-incetat-din-viata.html "Mihai Pelin has died"] , "Romania libera", December 17, 2007] that Romanian communist authorities, obedient to Stalin, allowed King Michael to part with 42 valuable Crown-owned paintings in November 1947, so that he would leave Romania faster. Some of these paintings [Michel van Rijn, [http://web.archive.org/web/20070710080141/www.michelvanrijn.nl/artnews/mvrhotartcoldcash.pdf "Hot Art, Cold Cash"] , pages 177, 184, Little Brown & Co., October 1994. For more on the credentials of the UK police expert in art smuggling Michel van Rijn, see [http://www.museum-security.org/cyprus-and-michel-van-rijn.htm 1] and [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/arts/3724256.stm 2.] ] were reportedly sold through the famed art dealer Daniel Wildenstein. One of the paintings belonging to the Romanian Crown which was supposedly taken out of the country by King Michael in November 1947, returned to Romania in 2004 as a donation [ro icon [http://ziua.ro/display.php?id=162992&data=2004-11-20&ziua=1e5692b536aa233f6d6ac3b1d11dd6c9 "Raibolini's "Madonna" at the National Museum of Art of Romania"] , "Ziua", November 20, 2004] [ro icon [http://www.onlinegallery.ro/museums/muzeul_de_arta/donatie.html "A Prestigious Donation: "Madonna with the Infant" by Francesco Raibolini, named "Il Francia""] , Online Gallery site as of December 8, 2006] made by John Kreuger, the former husband of King Michael's daughter Princess Irina.

In 2005 Romanian Prime Minister Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu [ro icon [http://www.adevarulonline.ro/2005-04-19/Politic/nu-exista-dovezi-ca-regele-mihai-ar-fi-scos-tablouri-din-tara_125216.html "There Are No Proofs That King Michael Took Paintings out of Romania"] , Adevărul, April 19, 2005] denied these accusations about King Michael, stating that the Romanian government has no proof of any such action by King Michael and that, prior to 1949, the government had no official records of any artwork taken over from the former royal residences. However, according to some historians, such records existed as early as April 1948, having been, in fact, officially published in June 1948. [ro icon [http://www.itcnet.ro/history/archive/mi1998/current10/mi18.htm "Testimonials of contemporary history - Peles, January-April 1948. The inventorying of the former royal art works (III)," by Radu Bogdan, Ph.D. in history] , Magazin istoric, October 1998]

According to Ivor Porter's authorized biography, [ro icon Andrei Pippidi, [http://www.revista22.ro/html/index.php?art=2523&nr=2006-03-08 "The King and The Country"] , "Revista 22", March 8, 2006] "Michael of Romania: The King and The Country" (2005), which quotes Queen-Mother Helen's daily diary, the Romanian royals took out paintings belonging to the Romanian Royal Crown on their November 1947 trip to London to the wedding of the future Queen Elizabeth II; two of these paintings, signed by El Greco, were sold in 1976.

According to recently declassified Foreign Office documents, when he left Romania, the exiled king Michael's only assets amounted to 500,000 Swiss francs. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4118629.stm "Exiled king 'should become pilot'"] , "BBC News", January 2, 2005] Recently declassified Soviet transcripts of talks between Joseph Stalin and the Romanian Prime-Minister Petru Groza [ro icon "King Michael in exile - from poultry grower to test pilot and broker", ROMPRES, April 13, 2005] [ro icon [http://www.jurnalulbtd.ro/articol-Regele-Mihai-in-exil---de-la-crescator-de-pui-la-pilot-de-incercare-si-broker-35-532.html "King Michael in exile - from poultry grower to test pilot and broker"] , Jurnalul de Botosani si Dorohoi, April 13, 2005] show that shortly before his abdication, King Michael received from the communist government assets amounting to 500,000 Swiss francs. King Michael, however, repeatedly denied [ro icon [http://www.familiaregala.ro/?id2=010202&lng= "Romania under King Michael I"] , [http://www.familiaregala.ro/ the Royal Family website] , as of April 12, 2008] [ [http://www.geocities.com/capitolhill/lobby/8957/adi.html Translation of King Michael's interview to Ziua daily, undated.] ] [ro icon [http://www.adevarul.ro/articole/nato-era-mai-important-in-sens-militar-insa-europa-este-politic-mai-mult-decat-ne-dam-seama-acum-afirma-m-s-regele-mihai/127348 ""NATO was more important militarily, but Europe is politically more than we realize now", states H.M. King Michael"] , "Adevărul", May 3, 2005] that the communist government had allowed him to take into exile any financial assets or valuable goods besides four personal automobiles loaded on two train cars.

Life after the loss of the throne

Infobox Monarch styles

royal name=King Michael I of Romania
dipstyle=His Majesty
offstyle=Your Majesty

In January 1948, Michael began using one of his family's ancestral titles, "Prince of Hohenzollern," [Nikita Sergeevich Khrushchev, Sergeĭ Khrushchev. [http://books.google.com/books?id=EkFZqlgdzCkC&pg=RA1-PA947&vq=hohenzollern&sig=r8A9Ly8-azWqIgPJ9DyjM_fZ2Tw "Memoirs of Nikita Khrushchev: Statesman, 1953-1964"] , Pennsylvania State University Press, 2007, page 947, ISBN 0271029358] instead of using the title of "King of Romania." After denouncing his abdication as forced and illegal in March 1948, Michael resumed use of the kingly title.

On 10 June 1948 in Athens, Greece, he married Princess Anne of Bourbon-Parma (b. Paris, 18 September 1923). They lived first in Britain and later settled in Switzerland. The Communist Romanian authorities illegally stripped him of his Romanian citizenship in 1948. He became a commercial pilot and worked for an aircraft equipment company. He and his wife have five daughters.

In 1992, three years after the revolution which overthrew the Communist dictatorship, the Romanian government allowed Michael to return to his country for Easter celebrations, where he drew large crowds. In Bucharest over a million people turned out to see him. [ Kings Without Crowns "Michael of Romania", Danish Norsk Television ] Michael's popularity alarmed the government of President Ion Iliescu so Michael was forbidden to visit Romania again for five years. In 1997, after Iliescu's defeat by Emil Constantinescu, the Romanian Government restored Michael's citizenship and again allowed him to visit the country. He now lives partly in Switzerland at Aubonne and partly in Romania, either at his [http://ro.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%C4%83v%C3%A2r%C5%9Fin%2C_Arad Săvârşin] castle in Arad county or in an official residence in Bucharest—the Elisabeta Palace—voted by the Romanian Parliament by a law concerning arrangements for former heads of state.

Michael has the following children:
*Margarita (born 1949)
*Elena (born 1950)
*Irina (born 1953)
*Sofia (born 1957)
*Maria (born 1964).

Both Elena and Irina have sons as well as daughters. Sofia, whose marriage was not accepted by her father, has a daughter.

For further details, see the genealogical listing. [ [http://www.btinternet.com/~allan_raymond/Roumanian_Royal_Family.htm "Genealogy of the Romanian Royal Family," web site as of October 2, 2006] ]

According to the succession provisions of the Romanian kingdom's last democratically approved monarchical constitution of 1923, upon the death of King Michael without sons, the claim to the Crown devolves once again upon the Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen family, (see "Line of succession to the Romanian throne").

However, on December 30, 2007, on the 60th anniversary of his abdication, King Michael signed the "Fundamental Rules of the Royal Family of Romania", [ro icon [http://evz.ro/articole/detalii-articol/473235/Principesa-Margareta-mostenitoarea-coroanei-regale/ "Princess Margarita, heiress to the throne of Romania,"] Evenimentul Zilei, December 30, 2007] by which he designated Princess Margarita as heiress to the throne with the titles of "Crown Princess of Romania" and "Custodian of the Romanian Crown." On the same occasion, Michael also asked the Romanian Parliament that, should it consider restoring the monarchy, it should also abolish the salic law of succession.

Political positions

Michael cannot be said to have encouraged monarchist agitation in Romania and royalist parties have made little impact in post-communist Romanian politics. He takes the view that the restoration of the monarchy in Romania can only result from a decision by the Romanian people. "If the people want me to come back, of course, I will come back," he said in 1990. "Romanians have had enough suffering imposed on them to have the right to be consulted on their future." King Michael's belief is that there is still a role for, and value to, the monarchy today: "We are trying to make people understand what the Romanian monarchy was, and what it can still do" (...for them). [ [http://www.ziua.ro/display.php?id=209809&data=2006-10-25 "King Mihai I Turns 85] ", "Ziua", October 25, 2006] According to a 2007 opinion poll conducted at the request of the Romanian Royal House, only 14% of the Romanians would agree with the restoration of the monarchy. [ro icon [http://www.cotidianul.ro/pnl_monarhia_salveaza_basescu_mania-56647.html "NLP: Monarchy saves Basescu-mania"] ("PNL: Monarhia salvează Băsescu-mania"), Cotidianul, August 31, 2008] Another 2008 poll found that only 16% of Romanians are monarchists. [ro icon [http://www.cotidianul.ro/monarhia_dorita_de_doar_16_din_populatie-58787.html "Monarchy: desired by only 16% of the population"] ("Monarhia, dorită de doar 16% din populaţie"), Cotidianul, September 21, 2008]

Michael has undertaken some quasi-diplomatic roles on behalf of post-communist Romania. In 1997 and 2002 he toured Western Europe, lobbying for Romania's admission into NATO and the European Union, and was received by heads of state and government officials.

In December 2003, to the "stupefaction of the public opinion in Romania", [http://evz.ro/articole/detalii-articol/636756/The-Watchtower-The-king-and-the-jester/ "The King and The Jester,"] Evenimentul Zilei, December 18, 2003] [ro icon [http://www.adevarul.ro/articole/adrian-nastase-si-a-primit-premiul-din-mana-regelui-mihai/64492 "Adrian Nastase received his prize from King Michael's hand] , Adevarul, December 17, 2003] Michael awarded the "Man of The Year 2003" [ [http://www.princeradu.ro/index.php?page=articol&aid=292&cid=132&cid2=146 "100 %" Talk Show on Realitatea TV, Prince Radu's website, April 12, 2004] ] prize to the then Prime Minister Adrian Năstase, leader of the PSD party, on behalf of the tabloid [ro icon [http://www.revistavip.net/Publicitate/ VIP - Advertising] , [http://www.revistavip.net/ The "VIP" website] as of July 22, 2008] "VIP." The daily "Evenimentul Zilei" subsequently complained that 'such an activity was unsuited to a king and that Michael was wasting away his prestige', with the majority of the political analysts 'considering his gesture as a fresh abdication'. One notes that such commentaries implicitly admit that Michael is "still a king",albeit without his throne, and that they would like to retain the "status quo" on the 'basis' of unproven speculations which are often repeated that "he might be unfit to rule again as a parliamentary king".

Personality and personal interests

Michael has had a reputation for taciturnity. He once said to his grandmother, "I have learned not to say what I feel, and to smile at those I most hate."Before getting to know his future wife Anne of Bourbon-Parme, Michael had a romantic relationship with, among others, [Enver Hoxha [http://www.marx2mao.com/Other/TT82v.html "The Titoites"] . The "Naim Frasheri" publishing house, Tirana, 1982, page 521: "<> continued Dej, <>"] a Greek woman, Dodo Chrisolegos, a protégé of the former Romanian Communist Party leader Ana Pauker.ro icon [http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_des_Cars Guy des Cars] . "Inimoasele Regine ale României" (original title in French: [http://www.amazon.fr/gp/offer-listing/2863914413/ref=dp_olp_3 "Les Reines de cœur de Roumanie"] ), Dorana publishing house, Braşov, 1995, ISBN 97396211, page 197] Some claim that political influences had been exerted upon King Michael through this liaison. [ro icon [http://www.romanialibera.ro/a100327/sexul-de-partid-si-de-stat.html "The Party and State Sex"] , România liberă, July 7, 2007]

Michael is passionate about cars, [ro icon Andrei Săvulescu. [http://hem.passagen.se/vlad/rm.gif"King Michael - Car Driver, Mechanic, Professional Pilot"] , Humanitas publishing house, Bucharest, 1996] especially military jeeps. [ [http://legacyeditorial.gettyimages.com/source/search/details_pop.aspx?iid=50864710&cdi=0 "King Michael of Rumania driving down steps leading out of Sinaia palace," Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images, April 1, 1946] ] [ [http://legacyeditorial.gettyimages.com/source/search/details_pop.aspx?iid=50864714&cdi=0 "King Michael of Rumania driving down steps leading out of Sinaia palace," Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images, April 1, 1946] ] He is also interested in airplanes, [ [http://www.cs.kent.edu/~amarcus/Mihai/pictures/matur/mihai_avion.jpg"King Mihai in an airplane"] , Site dedicated to HM King Mihai I of Romania, retrieved November 26, 2006] having worked as a commercial flight pilot [ [http://legacyeditorial.gettyimages.com/source/search/details_pop.aspx?iid=50344523&cdi=0 "Ex-King Michael, in Switzerland where he works for an American aircraft company"] , Time Life Pictures/Getty Images, January 1, 1957] during his exile.

On May 10 2007, King Michael received the Prague Society for International Cooperation and Global Panel's 6th Annual Hanno R. Ellenbogen Citizenship Award, previously awarded to Vladimir Ashkenazy, Madeleine Albright, Václav Havel, Lord Robertson, and Miloš Forman. [ [http://globalpanel.org/english/charity/HRE_infopage.html "Hanno R. Ellenbogen Citizenship Award"] , [http://www.globalpanel.org] ] On April 8, 2008, King Michael and Patriarch Daniel were elected as "Honorary Members" of the Romanian Academy. [ro icon [http://www.familiaregala.ro/?id2=02020214&lng= Communique] , [http://www.familiaregala.ro/ The Royal Family website] , April 8, 2008] [ro icon [http://www.antena3.ro/Patriarhul-Daniel-si-Regele-Mihai-au-devenit-membri-ai-Academiei-Romane_clt_43452_ext.html Patriarch Daniel and King Michael have become members of the Romanian Academy] , Antena 3, December 19, 2007]


style=font-size: 90%; line-height: 110%;
boxstyle=padding-top: 0; padding-bottom: 0;
boxstyle_1=background-color: #fcc;
boxstyle_2=background-color: #fb9;
boxstyle_3=background-color: #ffc;
boxstyle_4=background-color: #bfc;
boxstyle_5=background-color: #9fe;
1= 1. King Michael I of Romania
2= 2. Carol II of Romania
3= 3. Helen of Greece and Denmark
4= 4. Ferdinand I of Romania
5= 5. Marie of Edinburgh
6= 6. Constantine I of Greece
7= 7. Sophia of Prussia
8= 8. Leopold, Prince of Hohenzollern
9= 9. Infanta Antónia of Portugal
10= 10. Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
11= 11. Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia
12= 12. George I of Greece
13= 13. Olga Constantinovna of Russia
14= 14. Frederick III, German Emperor
15= 15. Victoria, Princess Royal
16= 16. Charles Anthony, Prince of Hohenzollern
17= 17. Princess Josephine of Baden
18= 18. Ferdinand II of Portugal
19= 19. Maria II of Portugal
20= 20. Albert, Prince Consort
21= 21. Victoria of the United Kingdom
22= 22. Alexander II of Russia
23= 23. Marie of Hesse
24= 24. Christian IX of Denmark
25= 25. Louise of Hesse-Kassel (or Hesse-Cassel)
26= 26. Grand Duke Constantine Nikolaevich of Russia
27= 27. Princess Alexandra of Saxe-Altenburg
28= 28. William I, German Emperor
29= 29. Augusta of Saxe-Weimar
30= 30. Albert, Prince Consort (= 20)
31= 31. Victoria of the United Kingdom (= 21)

ee also

* Kings of Romania
* Communist Romania
* Line of succession to the Romanian throne


External links

* [http://pages.prodigy.net/ptheroff/gotha/romania.html Royal House of Romania]
* [http://pages.prodigy.net/ptheroff/gotha/parma.html Ducal House of Parma]
* [http://www.familiaregala.ro The official website of The Romanian Royal Family]
* [http://www.cs.kent.edu/~amarcus/Mihai/ Semi-official Michael of Romania website]
* [http://www.princeradu.ro/index.php?page=info&cid=120 Royal Family events] , Official website of Radu Duda, Prince of Hohenzollern-Veringen
* [http://www.time.com/time/covers/0,16641,1101270801,00.html "Bonny King Michael"] (Michael at age 5), on the cover of "Time", August 1, 1927
* [http://www.peterkurth.com/MICHAEL%20OF%20ROMANIA.htm "Michael of Romania"] , interview with Peter Kurth, 1990
* [http://www.praguepost.com/P03/2005/Art/0512/news3.php "King of Romania recalls sacrifices"] , "The Prague Post", May 2005
* [http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3724/is_199706/ai_n8774484 "We reigned in darkness"] , "The Spectator", June 14, 1997
* [http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2005/5/38D4D252-BE7E-4943-A6A9-4E3C1B32A05F.html "World War II -- 60 Years After: Former Romanian Monarch Remembers Decision To Switch Sides"] , Radio Free Europe, May 6, 2005
* [http://www.princeradu.ro/index.php?page=articol&aid=1078&cid=132&cid2=144 "The King’s Revenge] ", "Evenimentul Zilei", April 20, 2006
* [http://evz.ro/articole/detalii-articol/636756/The-Watchtower-The-king-and-the-jester/ "The King and The Jester"] , Evenimentul Zilei, December 18, 2003
* Oliver North, [http://washingtontimes.com/commentary/20060416-103033-4292r.htm "A Lesson in Leadership"] , "The Washington Times, April 17, 2006
* Costel Oprea, [http://www.romanialibera.ro/a93510/regele-mihai-retrocedare-de-un-miliard-de-euro.html "Regele Mihai, retrocedare de un miliard de euro"] , "România Liberă", April 27, 2007
* Costel Oprea, [http://www.romanialibera.ro/a92647/harta-marilor-retrocedari-ii.html "Harta marilor retrocedări (II)"] , "România Liberă", April 18, 2007


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