Latest: The coffin with the body of King Michael I of Romania arrived at the Royal Palace in Bucharest on Wednesday evening, with hundreds of people welcoming the cortege amid cheers and chanting the king’s name. The former sovereign’s body will remain in Bucharest until Saturday, when the convoy will head to Curtea de Arges, where the burial takes places.
Spain’s Embassy to Romania announced on Wednesday that Spain will be represented by former King Juan Carols and former Queen Sofia at the funerals of King Michael I. Prince Charles will also attend the former Romanian monarch’s funeral. UK Ambassador to Romania, Paul Brummell, announced that Prince Charles will arrive in Bucharest on Saturday.
The bells of cathedrals, monasteries and churches across the entire country chimed on Wednesday at 11:00hr when the aircraft bringing the coffin with the body of King Michael I of Romania landed at the Henri Coanda Airport in Bucharest.
The coffin was brought from Switzerland to Romania by a military aircraft, with the shrine being carried to the catafalque by eight soldiers of the 30 Guard Brigade. A ceremony was held on the airport, with the Romanian and Royal anthems playing in.
Princess Elena, Alexander Nixon, Princess Sofia were on board the aircraft, next to Victor Opaschi, the representative of the Romanian Government, His Holiness Metropolitan Iosif, general Laurian Anastasof, the Romanian Army’s representative, members of His Majesty House and 11 military of the 30 Guard Brigade, as coffin’s bearers.
The ceremony at the airport was attended by the head of the Royal Family, Crown Princess Margareta, her husband Prince Radu and other members of the Royal family- the king’s third daughter, Irina Walker, princess Maria, Nicolae de Roumanie Medforth Mills, Karina de Roumanie.
Foreign Affairs and National Defence minister, Teodor Melescanu and Mihai Fifor were also present at the airport, as well as the head of the General Staff, Nicolae Ciuca, presidential adviser Andrei Muraru, chairman of the National Liberal Party, Ludovic Orban, Patriarch Daniel’s representative, metropolitan Nifon, the Archbishop of Targoviste and other priests.
According to the Romanian Patriarchy, there will three moments when the bells will ring in all cathedrals, monasteries and churches in the country, on Wednesday, December 13 at 11:00hr when the coffin arrives on the airport, on Saturday, December 16 at 12:30hr when the funeral religious service starts at the Patriarchy Cathedral and also Saturday at 18:30, at the beginning of the burial service in the New Archbishop and Royal Cathedral in Curtea de Arges.
Upon the request of the Patriarchy, only the royal family and a limited number of people will be allowed inside the cathedral and in the areas near the cathedral on Saturday, December 16, during 12:30-14:00hr.
The coffin with the former sovereign’s body is brought in the country on Wednesday and then it will be taken to the Peles Castle. Romanians who want to pay a last homage to him will be able to do it at the Royal Palace in the Capital for three days.
The full program of the national funeral is available here.
Officials pay last hommage at Peles Castle
Romanian officials have started to pay their last hommage to the former sovereign at Peles Castle since 14.00hr. President Klaus Iohannis arrived at Peles at 14.30, he laid a wreath of flowers and lit a candle. Iohannis stayed about ten minutes, talked to Princess Margareta and Prince Radu, then sat for a while on a chair next to His Majesty’s coffin in the castle’s Hall of Honour. The President wrote a message in the condolence book.
“A genuine leader passed over, he represented the Country with honour, courage and patriotism, in difficult times and became a benchmark of identity and solidarity for the nation: His Majesty King Michael I of Romania. Through all that he has done, Michael I laboured in the cause of the Romanian nation and served the country he was born in with abnegation, dignity and responsibility. Romanians have loved and respected him and I am convinced he will remain in the collective memory as a symbol of the Romanian people’s fight for freedom.
In these sad moments, I convey my condolences to the entire Royal Family. I am next to all those who respect King Michael’s memory and who, in these moments, are expressing their regrets for the death of one of the most prominent personalities of our history.
I am convinced that King Michael’s memory shall forever stay alive in the Romanians’ souls. May God rest his soul!”, reads the Romanian President’s message written down in the condolence book.
Several minutes after, the speakers of the two Chambers of the Parliament, Calin Popescu Tariceanu and Liviu Dragnea came in, followed by PM Tudose and several ministers. They laid wreaths of flowers and stayed near the coffin for about 5 minutes. Upon leaving each of them signed in the condolences book.
In a previous message posted on Facebook, Romanian PM Mihai Tudose stated: “King Michael I will remain in our memory as a symbol of dignity and nobility, through the manner he weaved his destiny with the modern Romania’s evolution. His Majesty understood that the country’s place is next to the democratic states, while constantly fighting in the past ten years to promote Romania’s European and Euro-Atlantic interests. May God rest his soul!“.
The speaker of the Republic of Moldova’s Parliament, Andrian Candu was also present.