King Michael I, the last sovereign of Romania, has died at his residence in Switzerland, TVR announced on Tuesday, quoting a press release issued by the Royal House. The king had just turned 96 on October 25 and had been seriously ill for more than a year and a half.
“His Majesty, King Michael I passed away today, December 5, 2017, at 13:00hrs, at his private residence in Switzerland. Her Royal Highness Princess Maria has stayed by his side until the last moment. The Romanian Crown Custodian will make a statement to the country tonight at 19:00hrs. The funeral programme will be revealed tomorrow,” says the official press release issued by the Royal House.
Following the request of the Romanian Crown Custodian, King Michael’s funeral will observe the tradition of his late Majesty’s ancestors, so he will be brought and buried in Romania. Sources told local news agencies the king wouldbe brought in Romania on December 13.
“The body of King Michael I will be laid down at the Peleș Castle’s honorary hall (editor note: in Sinaia) and then for two days, in the Throne Hall of the Royal Palace on Calea Victoriei in Bucharest. The burial church service will take place at the Patriarchy Cathedral”.
The burial will take place at Curtea de Arges, in the new Archbishop and Royal Cathedral, where all Romanian former sovereigns are buried and also Michael’s late wife, Queen Anne.
Starting tomorrow, condolences books will be simultaneously opened at Peleș Castle, at the Royal Palace on Calea Victoriei and the Elisabet Palace in Bucharest and the people will be able to pay their last homage for 40 days. Condolences can be sent at: http://www.familiaregala.ro/mesaje/.
All those who want to bring flowers and wreaths are invited to the Royal Palace on Calea Victoriei as of Wednesday, December 6, in front of the main entrance, the Royal House also informed.
Gov’t to support logistics of the national funeral. Three days of national mourning
The Romanian Government announced on Tuesday it would support the logistics of national funeral to be held for King Michael. “In this respect, the representatives of the government institutions involved in organizing the funeral ceremonies will have a technical meeting with the representatives of the Royal House today, to establish the details and the timetable of the national funeral. Romania’s Government is next to the Royal House in these difficult moments, while conveying its condolences,” a Gov’t press release says.
Governmental sources revealed that the Executive will also approve in its Wednesday sitting a decision on establishing three national days of mourning for the death of King Michael.
Defence minister has previously confirmed the King’s body will be brought in Romania by a miliytary aircraft.The minister said there is a protocol between the Royal House and the Defence Ministry in this respect, and that the ministry will get involved in organizing the funeral, after he talks to the representatives of the royal family.
Brief history of King’s life
King Michael I, the last monarch from the Eastern European countries who was still alive, had withdrawn from the public life in early March 2016, when the Royal House announced he had been diagnosed with skin cancer and chronical leukemia. The former king had also undergone surgery in a clinic in Lausanne.
The king’s condition has aggravated since November 6 this year, with Crown Princess Margareta and Prince Radu immediately leaving in Switzerland to be with him.
With his condition getting worse day by day for the past month, there has been an intense mass media coverage on His Majesty and the Royal House lately, also due to the recent scandal prompted by his grandson Nicolae’s attempt to force into the king’s home. Nicolae had been stripped of this royal prince title and excluded from the line of succession to the Romanian Throne in 2015 amid reports he would have been the father of a girl without having been married to her mother and without recognizing the child.
King Michael I was born on October 25 1921 in Sinaia, as son of King Carol II and Queen Mother Elena. Michael ruled during 1927 and 1930, through regency, and also during 1940 and December 30, 1947, when the communists forced him to abdicate and to leave in exile. They also seized his properties and stripped him of the Romanian citizenship. He married Princess Anne of Bourbon-Parma in 1948 with whom he had five daughters. During exile, Michael worked as farmer, pilot, entrepreneur and broker.
After Ceausescu’ communist regime collapsed in 1989, the king tried to return to Romania in 1990, but he was arrested and forced to leave upon arrival. It was only after two years in 1992 when the former sovereign was eventually allowed to visit Romania on Easter. He was welcomed by huge crowds, which yet worried the government at that time and ex-president Ion Iliescu, so they reversed their decision and banned the king’s potential visits. In 1997, with a newly elected president backed by a centrist coalition, Emil Constantinescu, King Michael regained his citizenship and was allowed to come to Romania again. It was also then that he also regained possession of some of his seized properties, including the Elisabeta Palace.
Săvârșin Castle in Arad, the former private residences Peleș Castle and Pelișor in Sinaia mountain resort were also among the restituted properties. While Peleș and Pelișor are open to the public, Elisabeta Palace and Săvârșin are used as private residences.
Michael I of Romania was one of the fewest heads of state at rule during the WWII who was still alive, and the last surviving monarch or other head of state from the inter-war period.
Line of succession
Her Royal Highness Margareta of Romania will take over the helm of the Romanian Royal House.
Princess Margareta will be also the Custodian of the Romanian Crown. The other members of the Royal House are: HRH Princess Elena, HRH Princess Sofia, HRH Princess Maria. The third daughter of King Michael, Irina, has been stripped of the princess title following her arrest for illegal cockfighting at Irrigon, Oregon in 2013. She and her husband, John Wesley Walker, were also charged also for operating an illegal gambling business on their ranch.
The line of succession is as following: HRH Princess Margareta, HRH Princess Elena, Elisabeta Karina of Roumanie, HRH Princess Sofia, Elisabeta Maria Biarneix and HRH Princess Maria.
Their Royal Highnesses’ husbands and children don’t have personal titles.