Romanian royal family – a Regal tumultuous story

The former Romanian royal family is a branch of the Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen house and ruled Romania until 1947, when the last king, Michael I of Romania, abdicated his throne.

First representative of the Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen house was Charles I (1839 – 1914), reigned as King of Romania from 1866 to 1914. He was chosen Ruling Prince (Romanian Dormitory) of the Romanian United Principalities on April 20, 1966, after the abdication of Alexandru Ioan Cuza, know as first prince of united Romania.

During his reign, King Carol I individually led Romanian crowds during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78 and assumed command of the Russo/Romanian army through the defense and blockade of Plevna. The country reached worldwide recognized independence thru the Treaty of Berlin from 1878. Regarding his personal life, he was married with Princess Elisabeth of Wied in 1869 and they had just one daughter who died at the age of three. He reigned until his death.

His succesor was Ferdinand I (1865 – 1927), King Charles nephew, and he reigned as King of Romania from 1914 to 1927. Ferdinand I was the son of Leopold, Prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, and Infanta Antónia of Portugal (1845–1913), daughter of Queen Maria II and King Ferdinand II, a Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

As a member of a cadet branch of Germany’s ruling Hohenzollern imperial family, King Ferdinand I lead over Romania’s entry into World War I on the side of the Triple Entente rules against the Central Powers, on 27 August 1916. Consequently, he earned the nickname the Loyal, respecting his people. He was married with his distant cousin, the Lutheran Princess Marie of Edinburgh, daughter of Anglican Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh and the Orthodox Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna of Russia. They married seems to be unhappy, but together they haved six children: 3 boys (Carol, Nicholas and Mircea) and 3 daughters: Elisabeta, Maria and Ileana.

In the following years, Michael I (1921 – present), Ferdinand’s grandson and son of the Crown Prince Carol II and and Princess Elena of Greece, was crowned as King of Romania in 1927. After his breath, Shortly after his birth, her father Prince Carol II got involved in a scandalous relationship with Magda Lupescu and renounce his privileges to the throne and moved with her to Paris in exile. Michael never met his father, Carol II, after the 1940 abdication and and he did not join his father’s funeral in 1953.

King Michael I ascended the throne after the death of his grandfather, Ferdinand I, as he was still a minor. In 1930, his father returned to Romania and and substituted his son as king. Ten years later, King Carol II was deposed, and Michael once again became king, under the regime led by the military authoritarian Ion Antonescu. In 1944, King Michael I partaken in a rebellion against Antonescu. In March 1945, political forces required Michael to assign a pro-Soviet government ruled by Petru Groza. On December 1947, Groza demanded a meeting with Michael where he was required to abdicate.

One year later, in exit, he married Princess Anne of Bourbon-Parma, with whom he had five daughters and ultimately established in Switzerland. He is the last alive monarch or other head of state from the Interwar epoch. In exile, Michael worked as farmer, pilot, businessperson and broker. After the Revolution from 1989, Michael, escorted by numerous members of the royal family, arrived in Romania for the first time since his abdication from 1947. Using a Danish diplomatic passport, Michael was capable to get a 24-hour visa. He planned to reach Curtea de Arges Cathedral and pray at the crypts of his royal families, but he was stopped by a police filter, and required to leave Romania. In 1997, the Romanian government reestablished Michael’s citizenship and again permitted him to visit the land of his childhood.

In the last years, he spend his time between Switzerland and Romania. He was also able to regain the former private houses Peles Castle, Pelisor and Savarsin. The first two are opens to the public, and Savarsin and Elisabeta Palace are used as private residences. In 2016, his wife Ana died at age 90. Also, in the same year, the Crown Princess Margareta of Romania, Princess of Hohenzollern, King Michael I of Romania eldest daughter,  was named Custodian of the Crown.


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Codina Sabau
Writing is something that I've constantly treasured. I've always loved the magical, mystical legends and unknown stories from history to nature, therefore a career in marketing and communications seemed like the perfect one for me. As one of my favorite writers, Lao Tzu, said "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step".


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