The Royal Family of Romania honours a 151-year-old tradition

For 151 years, the Royal Family of Romania has become the most important promoter of the country’s interests. This tradition, founded by King Carol I, was not interrupted even during the exile. At present, three of the members of the Royal Family of Romania live permanently in the country: Their Royal Highnesses Princess Margareta, Custodian of the Crown, Prince Radu and Princess Maria of Romania.

Princess Margareta of Romania is the eldest daughter of their Majesties King Michael I and Queen Anne. She was born on 26 March 1949, in exile, Lausanne, Switzerland. Her Royal Highness is the first in the succession line at the Crown of Romania and the 82nd in the succession line at the Crown of Great Britain. Her godfather was Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the husband of His Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and Uncle of Princess Margareta. The Romanian Crown Princess is related to the British Royal Family, both through Prince Philip and through her great-great-grandmother, Queen Mary of Romania, who was the niece of Queen Victoria of Great Britain. Moreover, Princess Margareta of Romania is a close relative to HM King Felipe VI of Spain, Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, HM King Simeon II of Bulgaria, the Royal Family of Denmark, as well as the Royal Families of Greece and Serbia, the Imperial and Royal Families of Austria and Hungary, and many other royal families or princes throughout Europe.

HRH Princess Margareta of Romania studied at schools in Italy, Switzerland and Great Britain. When she was 14, he returned to Switzerland, where he studied at the French High School in Lausanne and obtained the French baccalaureate. After graduating high school, she went to Florence for a year to live with her grandmother, Queen Helen of Romania. On the advice of Her Majesty, Princess Margareta of Romania went to study at the University of Edinburgh, which she graduated in 1974 with a BA in Sociology, Political Science and Public International Law.

For a while, Her Royal Highness worked in various British universities and the World Health Organization. In 1983 she moved to Rome, where she worked for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and in 1986 she joined the International Fund for Agricultural Development. In the autumn of 1989, as it was increasingly evident that a wave of change was hitting Europe controlled by the Soviet Union, Princess Margareta of Romania moved to Geneva to work with her father, His Majesty King Michael I, in the benefit of the Romanians.

Immediately after the overthrow of the Communist regime, in December 1989, Her Royal Highness sent three shipments of medicines, food and clothes, weighing 40 tons each, to the country. On 18 January 1990, their Royal Highnesses Princesses Margareta and Sofia of Romania arrived in Bucharest. It was for the first time after more than four decades when the representatives of the Royal Family of Romania returned to the country from where they had been expelled by the Communists. The meeting of Princess Margareta of Romania with the country of her ancestors changed her destiny. Her Royal Highness decided to dedicate her entire life to Romania. On 9 August 1990, at Versoix, she founded Princess Margareta of Romania Foundation. The eldest daughter of His Majesty King Michael I assumed the office of President, and Her Sister, Her Royal Highness Princess Sofia of Romania became Vice-President. The first Honorary Council of the foundation included personalities such as the playwright Eugen Ionesco, the musician Lord Yehudi Menuhin, Princess Ileana of Romania, or Princess Irina of Greece.

On April 23, 1991, the Princess Margareta of Romania Foundation opened a subsidiary in Romania and at present has branches in six countries. From its establishment and up to nowadays, the Foundation has attracted many millions of euro for the benefit of the Romanians. More than 200,000 people have benefited from the Foundation’s support.

In 1994, HRH Princess Margareta of Romania met a young actor who was involved in one of the first art therapy programs in an orphanage in Romania: Radu Duda. They felt in love and married on 21 September 1996. Subsequently, the husband of Princess Margareta of Romania received the title of Prince of Romania and the prelate of Her Royal Highness. A year later, His Majesty King Michael I of Romania promulgated the new Fundamental Rules of the Royal Family. This act was signed on 30 December 1997, as a reparative gesture, exactly 50 years after the King of Romania had been forced by the Communists to sign a void abdication act. Parenthetically, on 30 December 1947, the Communist leaders told King Michael I that if he refused to sign the so-called abdication act, 1,000 students arrested by the Bolshevik Government would be executed.

Under the new Fundamental Rules of the Royal Family of Romania, King Michael I gave up the principle of the Salic law and established a new order of succession at the Crown of Romania. By this act, his first daughter, Margareta, was proclaimed Crown Princess. The Act of King Michael I was interpreted in several ways. On the one hand, it is part of the Byzantine tradition of the first millennium when at least four emperors proclaimed their daughters queen, and some of them were among the most important historical figures of this part of the world. On the other hand, it aligns the rules on the Royal Family of Romania with the treaties and other international commitments assumed by Romania after the fall of communism, which eliminates any discrimination regarding gender, religion, race or any other criterion of this kind. In particular, the European Convention on Human Rights, to which Romania adhered in 1993, explicitly establishes the elimination of all discrimination and, moreover, states that where, in the field of human rights, there is a conflict between international treaties in the field and the domestic law, the international law shall prevail. Thirdly, the decision of King Michael I was an unequivocal recognition of the important role played by HRH Princess Margareta of Romania in the development of the country after the fall of communism.

10 years later, on 30 December 2007, His Majesty King Michael I decided to grant Crown Princess Margareta of Romania the title of Custodian of the Crown and ruled that his elder daughter would take on most of his public duties. On 1 March 2016, due to his age and illness, His Majesty King Michael I gave up all his public duties, which have been met ever since by his successor. Furthermore, as of 1 March 2016, the title of Crown Custodian takes precedence over that of the Crown Princess.

HRH Prince Radu of Romania was born in Iasi in 1960. He graduated from one of the best high schools in the capital of Moldova, Costache Negruzzi. Then, in 1984, he graduated from the University of Theatre and Cinematography in Bucharest and began an artistic career that would take him to the stages of many countries around the world. At first, HRH Prince Radu of Romania played on the stage of the theaters in Suceava, in Iași, and then returned to Bucharest. Between 1990 and 1994, he became an assistant professor at the higher education institution he had graduated from. However, since 1999, as a result of his increasing public engagements in the Royal Family and for the benefit of the Romanians, HRH Prince Radu of Romania had to give up his artistic career. Instead, he managed to continue writing, and he is currently one of the most appreciated Romanian authors of books in which he analyses lucidly the condition of Romania and its elites. In order to serve his country better, HRH Prince Radu of Romania continued to deepen his studies. In 2002, he graduated from the National Defence College. Then, in 2006, he obtained a Doctorate in Military Sciences at the National Military Academy, today the National Defence University King Carol I. As a consequence of the deepening of his studies in this field, in 2005, HRH Prince Radu of Romania became Colonel placed on reserve status of the Romanian Army, the only marshal in life of which is His Majesty King Michael I. From 1999 to 2008, HRH Prince Radu of Romania devoted his energy to supporting Romania in two fundamental steps for his status in the world: accession to NATO and the European Union. Together with other members of the Royal Family of Romania, especially with their Majesties King Michael I and Queen Anne and His Royal Highness Crown Princess Margareta, Prince Radu of Romania participated in the Millennium Tour, one of the most innovative and most effective actions of royal diplomacy. Between 2002 and 2008, His Royal Highness Prince Radu of Romania was High Representative of the Government for Integration, Cooperation and Sustainable Development. Following the success of Romania’s accession to the European Union, HRH Prince Radu of Romania decided to renounce this capacity, but this did not mean that he put an end to his activity. Every year, the Royal Family of Romania promotes the country’s interests in at least 12 official visits abroad and numerous public engagements in the country. Moreover, HRH Prince Radu of Romania assumed the support of the efforts of the Republic of Moldova’s accession to the European Union.

Signs of gratitude to the work of members of the Royal Family of Romania are increasingly evident. In March 2015, their Royal Highnesses Crown Princess Margareta and Prince Radu of Romania became honorary citizens of Cluj County. Subsequently, the Romanian Parliament decided that the Royal Day, 10 May, would become a national holiday. Another remedy was the restitution of the Royal Crown on the Romania’s official coat of arms. At present, all important political forces in Romania have agreed to the recognition of the public status of the Royal House of Romania, which gives a new official dimension to the role played by the Royal Family of Romania and could be a decisive step towards the restoration of the monarchy.

The third member of the Royal Family of Romania who lives permanently in Romania is the youngest daughter of King Michael I, HRH Princess Maria of Romania. She was born in exile on 13 July 1964, in Copenhagen. Her godmother was her Sister, Princess Margareta of Romania. Princess Maria of Romania lived and studied in Switzerland, then spent most of her life in the USA. Her Royal Highness attended studies in the field of childcare, then worked in the fields of childcare, public relations and private consultancy. Since 2015 she has permanently moved to Romania and assumes an increasing role in promoting Romanians’ interests.

 

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