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The political turmoil in Romania in late December 1947 and early January 1948 when King Michael was forced by the communist government with the approval of their Russian masters to abdicate and leave the country is excellently described in a diplomatic despatch signed by a member of the British Legation in Bucharest. The communists, in their intreviewning five decades of dictatorship, perpetuated the lie, that HM King Michael abdicated and left Romania on his own will, taking abroad a full-load with priceless treasure train. The document also shows the crude manners and Mafia-like behaviour of the communists leaders Gheorghiu-Dej or Dr. Groza with whom King Michael and Helen, the Queen Mother had to deal during the dramatic events six decades ago. Diana Mandache


King Michael & Queen-Mother Helen

 Extract from a document of the British Legation in Bucharest addressed to the Right Honourable Clement Richard Attlee

   „…Subsequent reports from wholly reliable sources in direct touch with King Michael have confirmed the view that the King’s abdication was forced upon him, and that the event constituted a coup d’état.

 King Michael received a telephone call from Dr. Groza who spoke from his country estate at Deva where he was on holyday, requesting the King to come to Bucharest the following morning for “very imporrtant family business of a grave nature”. The King was asked to bring with him the Queen in view of the nature of the business to be discussed. The King pressed dr. Groza for further details, but Groza, if indeed by that time he had been let into the secret, refused to give the King any further details. The Royal family were completley baffled by this message and debate late into the night on its significance. For although it was commonly agreed that abdication was not far off, no-one had expected the crisis to break so suddlenly during the Christmas and New Year holidays, which in Romania normally extend well past Epiphany.


The soviet tanks advacing through the streets of Bucharest (Diana Mandache collection)

 The Royal party set out next morning for Bucharest in four cars, and on reaching the top of Boulevard Kiseleff on which lies the Princess Elisabeta’s palace, the King observed large numbers of Russian trained Communist “Tudor Vladimirescu” troops armed with light automatics, who closed in as soon as the King’s car approached. On seeing the King they allowed his car to pass, but barred the road to the cars of the suite. The King drove on into Princess Elisabeta’s palace, which he found filled with Tudor Vladimirescu troops, and he has made the comment since that he had the impression that the troops were not all Romanian. I have, however, been unable to obtain any confirmation of this impression.

Queen-Mother Helen & King Michael in exile, 1948 (Diana Mandache collection)

Five minutes after the arrival of the King, which is said to have been about midday, Dr. Groza arrived accompanied by M. Gheorghiu-Dej. Dr. Groza and M. Dej came into the King’s presence, and asked all but the King and the Queen to leave. Dr. Groza then stood on one side and took no part in the interview. M. Dej, standing in front of the King, said, “ New and grave events have intervened which make it essential that your Majesty should abdicate immediately”. The King asked for twentyfour hours’ respite to consider the startling development, to which M. Dej replied that he could have ten minutes. After some discussion it was finally agreed that the King could have an hour to consider, but M. Dej added that if the abdication was not signed at the end of an hour there might be a “bloodbath” in which the King would be involved. The King in fact is said to have signed some two and a half hours later; and having signed asked what he should do, to which Dej replied “We admire and like you, but you must go”, adding that he was now a private citizen and could either have the country or stay, and if he left take with him whoever he liked ..”.

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