Commemoration: 140 years ago Maria of Hohenzollern died


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Maria Hohenzollern, the only child of  Carol I and Elizabeth of Romania, was born on 8 September 1870 and baptised in the  Orthodox Greek rite. She was meant to be the first scion born on the native soil of the new dynasty, in effect the first Romanian Hohenzollern.


Sadly she died at the infant age of nearly 4, on 9 April 1874, a victim of scarlet fever, like so many children from the Victorian epoch. The funeral service took place at the Cotroceni Church within the grounds of the Cotroceni Royal Palace. The coffin was covered with white satin, criss-crossed with silver lace ornaments and was as large as one for an adult, because the infant princess’ body was enclosed in several decreasing size caskets placed one inside another. After the religious service in the Romanian Orthodox rite, the cortege walked through the palace gardens to the burial place next to the palace church. Those gardens were the favorite playing grounds for the young princess, where only half a dozen days previously she played with her nurse. On the headstone were engraved the words of St. Luke viii.53: “”Weep not, for she is not dead, but sleepeth”.

Maria of Hohenzollern: Death certificate 28 March/9 April 1874 (Source: RNA)

On 5th May 1874, Carol wrote to his father Prince Karl Anton of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen that they decided to have their residence at the Cotroceni Palace to be close by the resting place of their daughter: “Elizabeth’s nerves are so shaken that the greatest care is necessary. I must confess to you - noted Carol – that I am often anxious myself, and am much depressed by pain, sorrow, and apprehension. I get but very little sleep at night, and have repeatedly heard my poor Elizabeth cry out in her dreams: ‘Dead, dead!’. This cry of pain is each time a fresh stab in my wounded heart!” In another letter to the Romanian prime minister, Carol said: “The sweetest memory which our lost daughter has left us as an inestimable treasure is her boundless love for the country in which she was born, a love so strong that despite her tender age she felt the pangs of homesickness during her first stay abroad”. When Queen Elizabeth died in 1916, according to her wishes, her daughter’s remains were exhumed and the casket placed on her coffin for the public procession. Mother and daughter were then buried together in the same tomb at Curtea de Arges Church.  Diana M



Queen Elizabeth meets Pope Francis for the first time


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Queen Elizabeth II meets Pope Francis for the first time on 3 April 2014 on a visit that coincides with the anniversary of the start of the Falklands War between Britain and Argentina. Previously, Elizabeth II had met with four Pontiffs, starting with Pius XII in 1951, a year before her accession to the throne. The queen has visited the Vatican twice during her reign, once to meet John XXIII in 1961 and again in 2000 to see John Paul II, and met Benedict XVI in Britain, during his Apostolic Visit in September 2010.

Pope Francis presented the Queen with a priceless gift for Prince George at the Vatican. The orb made from lapis lazuli semi-precious stone featuring a silver cross of St Edward the Confessor was given to the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh to pass on to her heir. This was accompanied by a manuscript dating back to 1679 proclaiming the saint day of Edward the Confessor. The Pope explained “it’s for the little boy” as he handed the gifts over. The ornament – made especially for the occasion – featured an inscription saying: “From Pope Francis to Prince George of Cambridge.” Prince Philip was delighted with his gift from the Pope – three gold medals bearing the Pontiff’s face. He joked: “That’s very kind of you, that’s the only gold medal I have ever won.” In a friendly exchange they presented two signed pictures of themselves in silver frames and a hamper of goodies from the Royal Estates.

More photos

New photo: George of Cambridge poses with parents & their dog Lupo


Prince George of Cambridge shows how much he has grown in a touching new official family photograph released on Mother’s Day. It is just the third official official release of photos of Prince George and shows him with his parents aged eight months at their home in Kensington Palace. The Cambridges moved into the property, which had been the home of Princess Margaret, late last year after it had been refurbished. Celebrity portrait photographer Jason Bell took the picture and was also the official photographer for George’s christening last October.

King Michael of Romania & his Family


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King Michael of Romania in the garden of his home, Ayot House in Hertfordshire, with his daughters Helena and Margarita, 2 September 1953.

King Michael of Romania in the garden of his home, Ayot House in Hertfordshire, with his wife, Queen Anne and their daughters, Princesses Margarita and Helena, 2 September 1953.

King Michael of Romania in the garden of his home, Ayot House in Hertfordshire, with his wife, Queen Anne and their daughters, Princesses Margarita and Helena, 2 September 1953.

Queen Anne of Romania & her daughters Princesses Helena and Irina

Source: Getty Images©

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Hugh Seton-Watson in Bucharest, 1970


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(c) DM

As I was reviewing files and notes, which I uncovered in the “CNSAS” archives for my current research, I found an interesting bit of information about one of the great British historians, Hugh Seton-Watson, who visited Romania in April 1970, at the height of the Cold War. He stayed in Bucharest at the famous Athenee Palace Hotel, in room 412, as the secret police officer informs in the note.  On April the 3rd, 1970 the historian wrote a message to a local acquaintance, Mrs Domnita Filotti, a lecturer at the University of Bucharest. Of course the message was intercepted by the Romanian “securitate” and filled together with other documents. There Hugh Seton-Watson asked Mrs Filotti for a meeting to update himself about her situation and that of her family’s. He said that he came for a couple of weeks, and usually went out of his room at 9 am to go to work at the Romanian State Archives, close by Cismigiu Park, and returned at the hotel at 6 pm. Those details were useful to the communist secret services, who no doubt closely followed each of his moves in the capital of captive Romania. Diana Mandache

Maria Cristina di Savoia: Italian queen beatified


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Queen Maria Cristina of Savoy (1812-36), whose husband, King Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies, ruled the largest of the Italian kingdoms before national unification, was beatified in Naples on 25 January 2014.

TRH the Duke and Duchess of Noto, The Duchess of Calabria, the Duke and Duchess of Castro, the Duke of Capua, the Duchesses of Palermo and Capri, Archduchess Maria and Archduke Simeon of Austria, Princess Ines de Borbon Dos Sicilias de Carelli Palombi, Princess Beatrice de Bourbon-Deux Siciles, Prince Casimiro di Borbone-Due Sicilie and his sons Prince Luigi Alfonso and the Rev Alessandro di Borbone-Due Sicilie, the Duke of Braganza, the Duke and Duchess of Savoy (Amadeo and Silvia), Princess Maria Gabriela of Savoy, Archduke Martin of Austria-Este, Prince Serge of Yugoslavia, Countess Maria Beatrix von und zu Arco-Zinneberg, her daughter Countess Margherita and Prince Manfred of Windisch-Graetz, attended the Beatification and afterwards paid homage at the tomb of the Blessed Queen.

Basilica of Santa Chiara in Naples. Courtesy of Manuel Beninger

In his homily at the Mass of beatification, Cardinal Angelo Amato, the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, discussed the queen’s innocence, modesty, and mortification with respect to food and entertainment, as well as her love for the poor and sick. All Christians, the prelate emphasized, are given opportunities to become holy, whatever their state of life.

Following his Sunday Angelus address, Pope Francis described Queen Maria Cristina as a “woman of deep spirituality and great humility. She was able to bear the suffering of her people, becoming a true mother of the poor,” he added. “Her extraordinary example of charity shows that the good life of the Gospel is possible in every environment and social status.”

see Regina di Cuore; “Credo, Domine! Credo, Domine!”

Conference invitation: the formative years of King Michael and Queen Marie – 15 Jan. ’14


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Valentin and I would like to invite you to the new conference from the already traditional series inaugurated last year at the Liberal Cafe in Bucharest, on the royal and architectural history of Romania.

The subjects this year are the following:

Diana Mandache:

“King Michael as a school pupil: curriculum, marks, field trips”

Valentin Mandache:

“Eastwell Manor: the birthplace of Queen Marie”

The event is organised by the National Liberal Party’s Bloggers’ Club, and is scheduled to take place on Wednesday 15 January, starting at 6.30 pm (The Liberal Cafe: 9, Doamnei Street, Lipscani quarter, just across the road from the National Bank).

Conference on the formative years of King Michael and Queen Marie

Conference: *King Michael as a school pupil, *Eastwell Manor: the brithplace of Queen Marie

There will be shown and discussed photographs and period newsreel footage about the school pupil Michael, from the Regency period and then as a Crown Prince, and architectural photographs of Eastwell Manor, images of Queen Marie during her childhood and as an adult visiting her birthplace, and how these formative years in such significant circumstances and environments influenced those two royal figures later in their life.

Conference on the formative years of King Michael and Queen Marie

Conference: *King Michael as a school pupil, *Eastwell Manor: the brithplace of Queen Marie

The Bloggers’ Club of the National Liberal Party and the presenters are looking forward to welcoming you at the conference!

King Michael’s forced abdication: lessons from a letter


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History and historical facts discussed over the envelope of a letter sent from Bucharest to Paris in February 1948, just a few weeks after the forced abdication of King Michael of Romania. The envelope contains a two sets of stamps, one from the just ended royal period and another form the newly installed communist regime, constituting a good material witness of a watershed event in Romania’s history.

Article first published on the Historic Houses of Romania blog by Valentin Mandache