Queen Marie’s heart will finally find a resting place



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Queen Marie’s heart will finally find a proper and fitting resting place and peace that it deserves, the Romanian Royal Family intending to place it inside her former residence at the Pelishor Castle in Sinaia (in the Golden Room) on 3 November 2015.

Queen Marie of Romania at Pelishor Castle (DM collection)

According to Queen Marie’s last wish, her heart was to be buried separately, as in the medieval customs of which she was very found as a personality formed during Victorian times. The heart was first interred in the chapel ‘Stella Maris’ of her Black Sea palace in Balcic in 1938. After that area has been ceded to Bulgaria, the heart was re-interred by her daughter Princess Ileana in 1940 in ‘the chapel in the rock’, near Bran Castle, another property of Marie much loved by her, located in the Transylvanian Alps. The communist regime once again removed the heart from Bran and put it in storage at the National History Museum in Bucharest. Since 1940 the Queen’s heart was forced to ‘travel’ by the geopolitics of the region, reflecting the tormented history of the Balkans.

The Golden Room, Pelishor Castle, old photograph

For more details about Queen Marie’s heart: see my book ‘Marie of Romania. Images of a Queen’ (RRB, 2007) or “Balcicul Reginei Maria” (Curtea Veche, 2014).

Queen Elizabeth II becomes longest reigning British monarch



The Queen (Photo by Mary McCartney )

The Queen was described as a ‘beacon of womankind’ by celebrity photographer Mary McCartney who captured the image of her sitting at a desk in Buckingham Palace working on matters of state.

Queen Elizabeth II becomes Britain’s longest-reigning monarch later when she passes the record set by her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria. The Queen will have reigned for 63 years and seven months – calculated at 23,226 days, 16 hours and approximately 30 minutes at about 17:30 BST. (via BBC)

Long may she reign!

Book Presentation “The Cotroceni Royal Palace”


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Cotroceniul regal

Diana Mandache, “The Cotroceni Royal Palace” (Cotroceniul regal), 216 pp, 213 ill. (Sepia & colour), Curtea Veche Publishing, 2015, hardback, dust jacket, 1st edition, Romanian language.

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The text is structured over five chapters:

  • Importance” – Cotroceni beyond history; the Cantacuzène legend told to the inter-war visitors
  • Carol and Elisabeta at the ancient princely residence” (Gatherings, The Royal Family. Princess Maria. The war for independence. Guests at the Coronation in 1881)
  • A New Palace for Ferdinand and Maria” – Buildings. An Imperial Visit. The first costume balls. Ferdinand’s illness. The Last visit in Romania of Alfred Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Marriage troubles. An artistic refuge. Solemnities at the palace. Wilhelm the Crown Prince of Germany at Cotroceni. King Ferdinand and the new pro-Entente policy. The Crown Council of August 1916. The death of Prince Mircea. The dynasty in danger (WWI). Treaty with the Central Powers. Coming back. A Royal Press Conference. Coronation ceremonies, guests at the palace. Changing interior designs during the interwar period. Cotroceni Palace in Ferdinand’s will.
  • Souvenirs of Cotroceni” – Alice Martineau, the Queen’s gardener. George Huntington. Philip de Laszlo. Hector Bolitho. Cotroceni notebooks: A Royal betrothal. Dinning at the Palace. Princess Ileana’s birthdays. Funerals of King Ferdinand. News from England: the death of King George V, King Edward VIII’s abdication. The Romanian Constitution of 1938
  • At the Crossroads” – King Carol II. The Last years of Queen Marie. The Crown Council of September 1939. The Palace during the reign of King Michael. Decisions of the communist regime. Postscriptum

       Sources of documents and photographs. Notes

The book is based on newly unearthed sources that bring to light the history of one of the most important royal palaces in Romania and eastern Europe. A modern palace was first built for the princely couple 120 years ago in Bucharest on the place of a medieval residence that belonged to the Princes of Walachia, later Romania. King Carol I lived initially in this princely residence of Bucharest just during the summers or temporarily. Between 1893-1895 a new palace was built by the French architect Paul Gottereau, and in 1913-1915 a new wing was built in the Neo-Romanian style by the architect Grigore Cherchez. The grand rooms of the palace were modified starting with 1900 and also during the 1920s. Cotroceni became famous once King Ferdinand and Queen Marie of Romania made it their official residence. Two catastrophic earthquakes affected the palace, in 1940 and 1977. The palace was restored in the last decade of communism at the orders of dictator Ceausescu. The former royal palace was envisaged by him to becoming a place to host high level foreign guests. Today its royal quarters function as a museum. The text is accompanied by previously unpublished photographs from archives and private collections.

Alfred Duke of Edinburgh and of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Ferdinand of Romania, King Carol I of Romania, Emperor Franz Joseph, Marie of Romania, Cotroceni, September 1896

Alfred Duke of Edinburgh and of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Prince Ferdinand of Romania, King Carol I of Romania, Emperor Franz Joseph, Princess Marie of Romania, Cotroceni, September 1896

Book review by Marlene Eilers Koenig

Book Launch invitation: “Cotroceniul Regal” (The Cotroceni Royal Palace)


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Your are kindly invited to the book launch of my latest work: “COTROCENIUL REGAL”. Her Royal Highness Princess Maria of Romania will attend the event. Speakers: Mihai Ghyka, Liviu Mihaiu, Diana Mandache

Book signing

Sunday 24 May, 12:45 at Romexpo (Bucharest), Bookfest – Curtea Veche Publishing

Cotroceniul regal

Mihai Ghyka, Diana Mandache ASR Principesa Maria a Romaniei, Liviu Mihaiu, Miruna Meirosu

Mihai Ghyka, Diana Mandache ASR Principesa Maria a Romaniei, Liviu Mihaiu

Mihai Ghyka & Diana Mandache

Valentin Mandache & Mihai Ghyka

The official announcement from Kensington Palace!



The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are delighted to announce that they have named their daughter Charlotte Elizabeth Diana.

“The baby will be known as Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte of Cambridge.