The Royal Palace and King Carol I Foundation, Bucharest December 1989



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The royal palace and King Carol I Foundation were badly affected by machine-gun fire exchanges during the Romanian Revolution when Ceausescu was toppled from power, December 1989.


I endeavour in the “Weekly Pictures” post series to bring to light worthy of note, often less known images from the royal past and present and thus further enhance the understanding of royal history and what it represents for us.


All rights reserved 

New Book: The Balchik of Queen Marie



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Diana Mandache, “The Balchik of Queen Marie”, Curtea Veche Publishing, Book Launch 22 November 2014

Diana Mandache, “The Balchik of Queen Marie”, 204 pp, 201 ill. (Sepia & colour), Curtea Veche Publishing, 2014, hardback, dust jacket, 1st edition (Romanian language)

The text is structured over seven chapters:

  • “Overseas” (The Duke of Edinburgh, Marie at Osborne, Eastwell, Malta, Fabron. Heraldry and symbols);
  • “In search of Paradise” (The Marriage, Cotroceni Palace – The Image of a New Identity),
  • “Queen Marie’s Balchik (The Orient of Romania, Photographers. American delegation, Tenha Yuvah of the Sultana)
  • “From Paradise: letters, journal, photographs” (Roxo Weingartner. “Vahdah”, Regency, Visits, Eugen Zwiedinek, Ray Baker Harris, Madonna Stella Maris)
  • “The Queen’s Heart” (Funerals, Will, Mignon’s inquire in England, Stella Maris, Carol and Michael at Balchik)
  • Tenha Yuvah after the Treaty of Craiova” (Royal Property, Romanian Urban Property, Holiday home for writers in communist Bulgaria, Cultural Center “Dvoretsa”);
  • “Diplomatic documents”

Sources of documents and photographs. Notes

This new book is based on new sources which bring to light a novel understanding of the vision of the Romanian Queen for the creation of her Fool’s Paradise, as she called the new residence on the Black Sea shore in the interwar period. The text is accompanied by photographs from various sources, mainly from Queen Marie’s diary. The Balchik of Queen Marie thus becomes an imago mundi whilst her marine royal residence “Tenha Yuvah” (The Solitary Nest) stands as the center of the world, being the home reuniting important personalities from her inner circle and also from royal history (King Ferdinand of Romania, Victoria Melita, Sandra of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, Beatrice Infanta of Spain, Queen Maria of Yugoslavia, King Alexander II of Yugoslavia, King Peter II of Yugoslavia, Ileana, Princess of Romania and Archduchess of Austria, Anton Archduke of Austria, King Carol II of Romania, Crown Prince Michael of Romania, Princess Helen of Romania). I also found information about King George V, Queen Mary,  King George VI, or about the Edinburghs at Eastwell, Osborne, Fabron, in Malta, etc. Past times, royalty and politics, the magnificent royal gardens of the Balchick royal estate, all of these recall a glorious period from this part of the world, the Queen’s views on international politics and events in the 1930s. Marie asked in her will to have her heart interred at Stella Maris chapel on the grounds of her Black Sea estate. As a consequence of the changing of the frontieres in 1940 and loss of that territory by Romania, a new destiny started for her former sea shore domain. The diplomatic documents that I unearthed, from the tumultuous period 1940-1948 also reveal the evolution on the property, a fate that was in the end decided by the communist regimes of Romania and Bulgaria. This volume is a book about royal destinies, royal heritage, historic architecture and the beautiful riviera of interwar Romania, Balchik is now a part of Bulgaria after the Treaty of Craiova concluded in September 1940. Today the former royal estate is a Cultural Center in the neighbouring country, a magnet for Romanian tourists and also for many travellers all over the world fascinated by the multifaceted personality of Romania’s great queen.

Millennium journal. Book review by Valentin Mandache: Peter Siani Davis -The Romanian Revolution 1989



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theromanianrevolution19891This is a book review of one of the most comprehensible books on the Romanian anticommunist revolution. I highly recommend it.

The Romanian revolution of 1989 was the harbinger which ultimately made possible the return of the Romanian royal family home.

Millennium – Journal of International Studies, Dec 2006; vol. 35: pp. 237 – 239.

Peter Siani-Davies, The Romanian Revolution of December 1989 (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 2005, 315 pp.)

For any scholar interested in the former communist world, Romania is an odd case in many ways. The late-Soviet and East European studies discipline, at its heart a Russian and Slavic- centred field of enquiry, was always inadequately equipped to deal with the peculiarities of a Latin country deeply anchored within the political culture of southeast Europe. As a result, works published on Romania by western academics even since the fall of communism are still limited in number and scope. The country deserves more attention because of its size and strategic importance due to its former position as the second largest Soviet satellite state in Europe. Its foreign and military policy was also quasi-independent from Moscow, and it was governed by one of the harshest communist dictatorships, which, in 1989, underwent a uniquely violent regime change akin to the classical revolutions.

Peter Siani-Davies, with this highly detailed book, represents one of the few notable exceptions to the rule regarding academic publications on Romania. He sets himself the enormously ambitious task of charting the events of the Romanian revolution between December 1989 and January 1990. His chief objective is ‘to provide as accurate and as credible a narrative of the revolution as possible’ (p. 6). He also, to a lesser extent, seeks to ascertain the relevance of these events to the current debates about the nature of revolutions.

There was little public dissent in Romania during the forty-two years of communist rule. The party, through its well-oiled structure and large security apparatus that included political police (the dreaded ‘securitate’), militia (militarised police), army, and armed workers’ formations (‘patriotic guards’), constituted a totalitarian regime of truly Orwellian dimensions governing an impoverished population of over 22 million. The revolution, in just a matter of days, pulverised this monstrous monolith and reached a climax when the presidential couple, the regime’s symbolic embodiment, was executed on Christmas Day 1989. Continue reading

Olive Schreiner mentioned in Queen Marie’s writings



“Holiness is an infinite compassion for others; 

Greatness is to take the common things of life

and walk truly among them. 

Happiness is a great love and much serving”.

This is one of the favourite quotations from Olive Schreiner mentioned by Queen Marie of Romania.

Book Launch invitation: “The Balchik of Queen Marie”


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Your are kindly invited to the book launch of my latest work: “The Balchik of Queen Marie”. His Royal Highness Prince Radu of Romania will attend the event.

Speakers: Stelian Tanase, Andrei Muraru, Diana Mandache

Book signing

Saturday 22 November, 3.45 pm at Romexpo (Bucharest), The Gaudeamus Book Fair International – Curtea Veche Publishing


HM King Michael of Romania: 93rd Birthday Anniversary

I would like to wish HM King Michael of Romania a very happy 93rd birthday!

Album: The Balcic of Queen Marie, revisited


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Stella Maris church. Photos© Diana Mandache & Valentin Mandache

to view the Album click here

Netherlands celebrates Bicentenary Kingdom in Maastricht


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King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of The Netherlands greet supporters during the celebration to the 200 Years of the Kingdom of the Netherlands on August 30, 2014 in Maastricht

Grand Duchess Maria Teresa & Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, Queen Maxima & King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, King Philippe of Belgium with Queen Mathilde, Daniela Schadt and Federal President of Germany Joachim Gauck attend celebrations marking the 200th anniversary of the kingdom of The Netherlands.