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
I would like to wish HM King Michael of Romania a very happy 94th birthday!
HM King Michael of Romania: “I have served the Romanian nation throughout a life that has been long and full of events, some of them happy, many of them unhappy. (…) After freedom and democracy, the most important things to be gained are identity and dignity“. (discourse in the Parliament of Romania with the occasion of the 90th birthday celebration, 25 Oct. 2011)
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:
- “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.
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
Sunday 24 May, 12:45 at Romexpo (Bucharest), Bookfest – Curtea Veche Publishing