Margareta of Romania

Margareta, Custodian of the Crown of Romania[1] (born 26 March 1949) is the eldest daughter of King Michael I and Queen Anne of Romania.[2][3] She assumed her father's duties in March 2016, upon his retirement, and has claimed the headship of the House of Romania since his death on 5 December 2017. She also heads the Margareta of Romania Royal Foundation.[4]

Margareta
Custodian of the Crown of Romania
Regina Margareta (cropped).jpg
Margareta in 2017
Head of the House of Romania
(disputed)
Tenure5 December 2017 – present
PredecessorKing Michael I
Heir presumptivePrincess Elena
Born (1949-03-26) 26 March 1949 (age 72)
Lausanne, Switzerland
Spouse
(m. 1996)
HouseRomania (since 2011)
Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (until 2011)
FatherMichael I of Romania
MotherAnne of Bourbon-Parma
ReligionRomanian Orthodox
SignatureMargareta's signature

Until 2011, Margareta also used the style of a princess of Hohenzollern.[5][6][7][8][9][10] Margareta has four sisters and no brothers or children. Her heir-presumptive is her next sister, Princess Elena of Romania. According to the defunct royal constitutions of 1923 and 1938, women were barred from wearing the crown, and Margareta and her sisters would not be in the line of succession to the throne.

On 30 December 2007,[11][12] King Michael designated Margareta as heir presumptive to the defunct throne by an act that is not recognized by the Romanian government and lacks legal validity without approval by Romania's Parliament.[13][14] On the same occasion, Michael also requested that, should the Romanian Parliament consider restoring the monarchy, the Salic law of succession not be reinstated, allowing female succession. According to the new statute of the Romanian Royal House as declared by Michael, no illegitimate descendants or collateral lines may claim dynastic privileges, titles or rank and any such are excluded from the Royal House of Romania and from the line of succession to the throne.[15]

Early life

Birth

Margareta was born on 26 March 1949 at Clinique de Montchoisi in Lausanne, Switzerland[7] as the first of King Michael I and Queen Anne's five daughters.[5][6] She was baptised in the Romanian Orthodox Church; her godfather was Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.[16] Her godmother was her maternal grandmother Princess Margaret of Denmark who was also her namesake. She was followed by four sisters: Princess Elena (born 1950), Princess Irina (born 1953), Princess Sophie (born 1957) and Princess Maria (born 1964).

Childhood

Margareta spent her childhood at family homes in Lausanne and at Ayot House, St Lawrence, in Hertfordshire, England.[17][self-published source] During holidays she and her sisters spent time with their grandparents; paternally with Helen, Queen Mother,[5][6] at Villa Sparta in Italy and maternally, with Princess Margaret[5][6] and her husband Prince René of Bourbon-Parma in Copenhagen.[18] She and her sisters were told "fascinating tales of a homeland they couldn't visit" by their father.[19] She also spent time with relatives in Greece, Italy, Denmark, Luxembourg and Spain.[20]

Margareta met Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom for the first time in the summer of 1952 at Balmoral Castle, when she was three years old. In her childhood, she spent holidays with Prince Charles and his sister, Princess Anne, who were close to Margareta, as well as Prince Amedeo, Duke of Aosta (her cousin), and the Greek, Danish and Luxembourg royal families.[21]

Queen Helen's[5][6] interest in horses influenced Margareta to become an equestrian.[20][22]

In 1964, along with five other princesses, Margareta was a bridesmaid at the wedding of Princess Anne-Marie of Denmark to King Constantine II of Greece.[citation needed]

Education

Early education

In 1956, Margareta lived with Queen Helen for six months at her villa in Florence, attending kindergarten until returning to Switzerland, where she attended a primary school, with Princess Sophie, from age six to nine.[20]

Secondary education

In 1960, she was sent to a boarding school in Old Basing, Hampshire, where she stayed until she was 13; she found it difficult to be away from home but was glad that she became more mature, noting that her English improved later.[20]

Her favourite subjects were: art, riding and natural sciences (she learned how to grow plants) and also piano lessons.

In 1964, she began secondary education at a French school in Switzerland, where she studied philosophy.[18]

"I did my baccalaureate in Switzerland, got my driving licence the next day and I left very fast. I really didn't enjoy the baccalaureate, I didn't enjoy school, I didn't enjoy Switzerland" Margareta said in an interview in 2007.[16]

After her Swiss-French baccalaureate, rather than heading straight for Paris and studying at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, her preferred destination, she was persuaded to return to Florence to spend a year with her Romanian grandmother, whom she described as "my spiritual guide, my mentor, guiding star. She taught me a lot about life, opened my eyes to all that is beautiful and good in the world". Her dreams of art school were soon replaced by a determination to go to university.[16]

Further education

Margareta studied sociology, political science and public international law at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, graduating in 1974. Known there as "Margareta de Roumanie", for the first few weeks she felt a depressing "sense of foreignness" but later became active in campus politics, becoming a member of the students' representative council.[23]

During an interview from 2011, she confessed that her first desire was studying philosophy: "I really enjoyed philosophy, but I realized I had to be a bit more practical. Then, in the 1970s, sociology was fashionable, so I chose it alongside the international law I wanted for the United Nations, and the political sciences because they could relate to international relations and give the opportunity to know systems. This combination of studies was very interesting. Maybe now, if I had to resume, I would do something more practical."[21]

While at the university during her twenties, Margareta was involved in a five-year romantic relationship with Gordon Brown, who would serve as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2007 to 2010; in 2007, she was interviewed by an editor of The Daily Telegraph: "It was a very solid and romantic story; I never stopped loving him, but one day it didn't seem right any more, it was politics, politics, politics, and I needed nurturing," she said.[16][24]

Careers

After her graduation in 1974, she worked in a number of British universities for a few years, specialising in medical sociology and public health policy. Later she participated in an international research program coordinated by the World Health Organization that focused on developing health policy recommendations and preventive pilot projects.[20]

In 1979, she then worked for the agencies of the United Nations: The World Health Organization and The United Nations Population Fund, where she joined Social projects in public health, based in Africa and Latin America where she came into contact with suffering and deficiencies of the disadvantaged which was the kick start of her experience of the beginning of a road in humanitarian service, which she has still followed since then.[25]

In 1983, she moved to Rome and joined the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations where, as a member of the World Food Day project team, she worked for three years on the public awareness campaign concerning agricultural programs, nutrition, and poverty alleviation. She belonged to the International Fund for Agricultural Development team until 1986.[20]

In 1986, she joined the International Fund for Agricultural Development where she handled relations with nongovernmental organizations and assisted in raising funds for IFAD programs.[25]

Problems started to arise in Romania and in the summer of 1989 Margareta resigned from her job. Concluding that something fundamental was needed in Eastern Europe, she moved to Geneva to work with the Romanian Crown Council and the Royal family, whose members began preparing themselves for what was to come.[20]

Romania

Romanian revolution

In mid 1989, civil and governmental unrest started arising in the Eastern Bloc as the loosening of control of Eastern Europe by the Soviet Union had triggered most of the impact for the former states which started a Revolutionary wave leading to the Revolutions of 1989.[26][27]

In early December 1989, there was civil unrest by the anti-government protesters and on 16 December the 12-day Romanian Revolution started; on the commands of President Nicolae Ceaușescu a mass genocide was led by members of the military who unanimously switched on the 22nd from supporting him to backing the protesting population.[citation needed] On 25 December, President Nicolae Ceaușescu and his wife Deputy Prime Minister Elena Ceaușescu were deposed, captured and executed by orders from a Drumhead military tribunal; 42 years of the Socialist Republic of Romania had ended. The revolution was the first overthrow of the ruling governmental system since King Michael's Coup which he successfully staged in 1944 by arresting members of the Military Government which supported Nazi Germany.[citation needed]

During the Revolution, all members of the Royal Family took a part to console the situation outside of Romania.[19]

Arrival in Romania

While she was visiting one orphanage, a child in a filthy cot died in front of her. It spurred her to establish the Princess Margareta of Romania Foundation in 1990.[28] The foundation has raised more than five million euros, through which it contributes to the development of Romanian civil society.[29]

A 25th anniversary celebration of Margareta's return to Romania was held at the Romanian Athenaeum,[30] followed by a dinner at the CEC Palace with Romania's Prime Minister Victor Ponta and Senate President Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu;[31] around 200 other prominent guests participated in the festivities.[32] Margareta also hosted a March 2015 gala at the dynasty's historical family seat, Peleș Castle, in honour of the Romanian Rugby Union, attended by Klaus Johannis, the first incumbent Romanian president to pay an official visit to the former royal family.[33][34][35]

Romanian Red Cross

On 15 May 2015, the General Assembly of the Romanian Red Cross elected Margareta as President of the Romanian Red Cross.[36] The Red Cross was instituted as a Romanian branch of the International Red Cross in 1876, under the reign of her great-great grand uncle King Carol I of Romania. In her acceptance statement, she expressed her gratitude to the Romanian Red Cross representatives, who re-established a long and valuable tradition of partnership between the oldest organization in the country and the Romanian Crown.[37][38][39]

Custodian of the Crown of Romania

Succession

Although at Margareta's birth she was not expected to inherit the defunct Romanian throne and the headship of the Romanian Royal Family, the birth of four younger sisters and no brother meant that without a change in the royal family's succession laws, male members of the House of Hohenzollern would succeed her father as pretenders to the Romanian throne, in accordance with the Salic law enshrined in both the defunct royal Romanian Constitution of 1923 and the defunct Statute of the Romanian royal house, dated 1884.

In 1997 King Michael designated Margareta as successor to "all prerogatives and rights" of his, indicating his desire for a gender-blind succession to the throne;[40] although there was much consideration of altering the line of succession, no actions were taken until 30 December 2007, when King Michael I issued the statutes for the Royal House, called The Fundamental Rules of the Royal House of Romania.[citation needed]

Following the announcement of The Fundamental Rules, King Michael asked the Romanian Government that, should it consider restoring the monarchy, it should also abolish the Salic law of succession.[41]

Margareta does not use the title of Queen and prefers instead to be known as Custodian of the Romanian Crown, a title that Michael I offered her.[42][43][44]

Paul-Philippe Hohenzollern (son of King Michael's illegitimate half-brother, Carol Lambrino) denounced King Michael's actions of creating The Fundamental Rules and severing ties with the House of Hohenzollern. Paul also claims to be head of the Romanian Royal Family, unlike his father.[45]

Foreign relations

Although Margareta has no official role within the politics of Romania to maintain ties with other countries, she has fostered diplomatic relationships with numerous foreign dignitaries in her capacity as a head of the House of Romania. During these visits she is often accompanied by her husband Prince Radu, who is a special Romanian Government representative for Integration, Co-operation and Sustainable Development.[46]

Marriage

In 1994, Margareta met Radu Duda, a Romanian citizen and part-time actor, through the work of the Princess Margareta Foundation. He was working as an art therapist in orphanages when he was introduced to her during her tour of the foundation's programs. On 24 July 1996, she married Duda in a civil wedding at Versoix.[47]

Radu Duda was accorded the style "Radu, Prince of Hohenzollern-Veringen" on 1 January 1999,[48] and was subsequently styled "HRH Radu, Prince of Romania",[11] being referred to by King Michael on 30 December 2007, as future "Prince Consort of Romania".[11] In Margareta's company and, more often alone, he has represented the former royal family publicly on various occasions.[49] They live in the Elisabeta Palace in Bucharest.[50]

Controversies

BAE Systems,[51] one of the donors to the Princess Margareta of Romania Foundation, and its representatives have been involved in a corruption scandal involving purchase by the Romanian government of two decommissioned UK Royal Navy frigates refurbished by BAE, for which an alleged £7 million bribe was paid,[52] some of which, it has also been alleged,[53] ended up in the pockets of the Hohenzollern royal family to which Margareta belongs. The "Gardianul" newspaper,[54][55] noting that both Margareta and her husband, as Special Representative of the Government, had met a number of times with the BAE Systems representatives before and after the signing of the governmental contract, inquired whether the royal family was involved in any lobbying on behalf of the company. In an official communiqué sent to the newspaper,[55] Prince Radu denied any such lobbying activities, stating that as patron of the British-Romanian Chamber of Commerce of which BAE Systems is a member, he met with its representatives as well as those of other British companies.

Political support

The main pro-monarchist party PNŢCD, currently extra-parliamentary, is ambiguous in its support for Margareta. In 2002, it rejected any role for her or her husband in a restored monarchy,[56][57] while in 2003 the Cluj branch of PNŢCD officially invited her to be its electoral candidate to the Senate of the Republic in upcoming elections.[58][59]

Prior to his death, King Michael had not given up the hope for the restoration of the throne: "We are trying to make people understand what Romanian monarchy was and what it can still do."[60]

In a July 2013 survey about a potential restoration of monarchy in Romania, 19% of respondents gave Margareta as their favorite, while 29.9% supported her father. 48.1% said they did not know or did not answer.[61] In December 2017, on the backdrop of the increased capital of trust in the Royal House of Romania, re-emerging with the death of King Michael, the executive chairman of the ruling Social Democratic Party Nicolae Bădălau said that one could organize a referendum on the transition to the monarchical ruling form, arguing that "it is not a bad thing, considering that the countries that have the monarchs are developed countries", being a project of the future.[62] At the same time, the leader of the coalition party and the president of the Senate of Romania, Călin Popescu Tăriceanu, reinforced this idea, claiming that he is a convinced monarchist and "Constitutional monarchy has the advantage of placing the monarch over political games, case: the president, instead of being an arbitrator, prefers to be a player. "[63]

Honours and awards

Honours

Dynastic

Foreign

Honorary titles and medals

In Romania

Outside Romania

Honorific eponym
Honorary academic degrees

Ancestry

Publications

  • The Romanian Crown at 140 years. Coroana română- la 140 de ani, 2008 [90]
  • The Diamond wedding. Nunta de diamant, 2008 [91]
  • Royal cookery book. Carte regală de bucate, 2010 – recenzie
  • The king's music. Albumul Muzica Regelui, 2011[92]
  • The royal Christmas. Crăciunul Regal, 2013, 2014 [93]
  • Săvârșin. The detail. Săvârșin. Detaliul* , 2015 [94][95]
  • Encourage with your hand the Romanian Crown. Susţine cu a ta mână Coroana Română, 2017 - The volume includes texts about the kings and queens of Romania, as well as about the current generation of the Royal Family.[96]

See also

References

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External links

Margareta of Romania
Born: 26 March 1949
Romanian royalty
Preceded by — TITULAR —
Head of the Romanian royal family
Disputed by Paul-Philippe Hohenzollern
5 December 2017 – present
Incumbent
Heir presumptive:
Princess Elena of Romania
Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by President of the Romanian Red Cross
2015–present
Incumbent