Queen Marie with Carol II, and behind them Miron Cristea the Patriarch, Prince Nicholas and Princess Ileana during a procession to the Patriarchal Cathedral, Bucharest, 1 January 1931. (Photo © )
On 3rd November 2015, 26 years after the fall of communism, Queen Marie’s heart will be transferred from the storage rooms of Romania’s National History Museum in Bucharest, to Pelishor Castle in Sinaia. The heart enclosed into a silver casket will lie on a plinth placed behind the couch where she passed away 77 years ago on 18 July 1938. She was on her way back from treatment in Dresden to her official residence at Cotroceni Palace in Bucharest, but had to make an emergency stop in Sinaia as her health became critical, and the death intervened.
According to HM King Michael of Romania, the most appropriate place for Queen Marie’s heart to rest for an undetermined period, is the Golden Room in Pelishor Castle, were she died. The chapel ‘Stella Maris’ of Balchik Palace, the initial place chosen by Marie, is not longer Romanian territory, being part of Bulgaria, in the aftermath of the Treaty of Craiova between the two countries, signed on 7 September 1940.
This year, on 29 October, we celebrate 140 years since Queen Marie was born at Eastwell Park, in Kent, and also 77 years since her heart left Cotroceni Palace church to Stella Maris chapel in Balchik. Continue reading
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.
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.
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).
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.
The text is structured over five chapters:
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.