Carol II of Romania

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Carol II
King Carol II of Romania young.jpg
Carol II of Romania
King of Romania
Reign 8 Jun 1930 – 6 Sept 1940
Coronation None
Predecessor Michael I
Successor Michael I
Prime Minister
Spouse Zizi Lambrino,
Helen of Greece and Denmark,
Magda Lupescu
Issue Carol Lambrino
King Michael I of Romania
Full name
Carol Caraiman
House Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen
Father King Ferdinand I of Romania
Mother Queen Marie
Born (1893-10-15)15 October 1893
Sinaia, Romania
Died 4 April 1953(1953-04-04) (aged 59)
Estoril, Portugal
Burial Royal Pantheon,
Portugal (1953)
Curtea de Argeș,
Romania (2003)
Religion Romanian Orthodox
Monarchical styles of
Carol II of Romania
Royal monogram of Carol II of Romania.svg
Reference style His Majesty
Spoken style Your Majesty
Alternative style Sir

Carol II (15 October 1893 – 4 April 1953) reigned as King of Romania from 8 June 1930 until 6 September 1940. He was the first member of the Romanian royal family to be raised in the Orthodox faith.[1]

Early life[edit]

Crown Prince Carol training during World War I with a Chauchat machine gun

Carol was born in Peleș Castle. In November 1914, Carol joined the Romanian Senate, as the 1866 Constitution guaranteed him a seat there upon reaching maturity.[2] Known more for his romantic misadventures than for any leadership skills, Carol (Romanian for "Charles") was first married in the Cathedral Church of Odessa, Ukraine, 31 August 1918, to Joanna Marie Valentina Lambrino (1898–1953), known as "Zizi", the daughter of a Romanian general. The marriage was annulled on 29 March 1919 by the Ilfov Suburban Court. Carol and Zizi continued to live together after the annulment. Their only child, Mircea Gregor Carol Lambrino, was born 8 January 1920.

Carol next married, in Athens, Greece, on 10 March 1921, Princess Helen of Greece and Denmark (who was known in Romania as Crown Princess Elena). They were second cousins as both were great-grandchildren of Queen Victoria. The marriage soon collapsed in the wake of Carol's affair with Elena "Magda" Lupescu (1895?–1977), the Roman Catholic daughter of a Jewish pharmacist and his Roman Catholic wife. Magda Lupescu had formerly been the wife of Army officer Ion Tâmpeanu.

As a result of the scandal, Carol renounced his right to the throne on 28 December 1925 in favour of his son by Crown Princess Helen, Michael (Mihai), who became King in July 1927. Helen divorced Carol in 1928.


Returning to the country on 7 June 1930, in a coup d'état engineered by Prime Minister Iuliu Maniu, Carol reneged on the renunciation and was proclaimed King the following day, replacing his son Michael on the throne. For the next decade he sought to influence the course of Romanian political life, first through manipulation of the rival Peasant and Liberal parties and anti-Semitic factions, and subsequently (January 1938) through a ministry of his own choosing.

Carol also sought to build up his own personality cult against the growing influence of the Iron Guard, for instance by setting up a paramilitary youth organization known as Straja Țării in 1935.

He was made the 892nd Knight of the Order of the Garter in 1938 by his second cousin, George VI (King of the United Kingdom).

On 10 February 1938, Carol overthrew the democratic system and proclaimed a royal dictatorship. Less than two weeks later, the constitution was recast into a severely authoritarian/corporatist document. The new constitution was approved in a plebiscite held under far-from-secret conditions; voters were required to appear before an election bureau and verbally state whether they approved the constitution; silence was deemed as a "yes" vote.[3] In December 1938, the National Renaissance Front was formed as the country's only legal party.

On September 5, 1940, Antonescu became Prime Minister, and Carol transferred most of his dictatorial powers to him.[4][5]


Forced under Soviet and subsequently Hungarian, Bulgarian, and German pressure to surrender parts of his kingdom to foreign rule, he was finally outmaneuvered by the pro-German administration of Marshal Ion Antonescu, and abdicated in favour of Michael in September 1940. He went into exile, initially in Mexico,[6] but ultimately settled in Portugal.

Carol and Magda Lupescu were married in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 3 June 1947, Magda taking the title of Princess Elena von Hohenzollern. Carol remained in exile for the rest of his life. He was never to see his son, King Michael, after his 1940 departure from Romania; Michael refused to meet his father ever again.[7]

Remains returned to Romania[edit]

Carol died and was buried in Estoril, Portugal, in 1953; his remains were returned to Romania in 2003, at the Curtea de Argeș monastery. They lie outside the cathedral that is the burial place of most Romanian kings. Neither of his sons participated in either ceremony. His younger son, Michael, was represented by his daughter, Princess Margarita, and her husband, Prince Radu of Romania. His eldest son, Carol Lambrino was forbidden (since 1940) to enter Romanian territory.


16. Charles, Prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen
8. Charles Anthony, Prince of Hohenzollern
17. Marie Antoinette Murat
4. Leopold, Prince of Hohenzollern
18. Karl, Grand Duke of Baden
9. Princess Josephine of Baden
19. Stéphanie de Beauharnais
2. Ferdinand I of Romania
20. Prince Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
10. Ferdinand II of Portugal
21. Maria Antonia, Princess of Koháry
5. Infanta Antónia of Portugal
22. Pedro I of Brazil
11. Maria II of Portugal
23. Maria Leopoldina of Austria
1. Carol II of Romania
24. Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
12. Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
25. Princess Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
6. Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
26. Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn
13. Queen Victoria
27. Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
3. Marie of Edinburgh
28. Nicholas I of Russia
14. Alexander II of Russia
29. Charlotte of Prussia
7. Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia
30. Louis II, Grand Duke of Hesse
15. Marie of Hesse
31. Princess Wilhelmine of Baden

See also[edit]


  1. ^ King Carol II
  2. ^ "Ce citeau românii acum 68 de ani?", Ziua, 29 November 2007.
  3. ^ Rumänien, 24. Februar 1938 : Verfassung Direct Democracy
  4. ^ (Romanian) Delia Radu, "Serialul 'Ion Antonescu și asumarea istoriei' (1)", BBC Romanian edition, August 1, 2008
  5. ^ Final Report, p.320; Morgan, p.85; Ornea, p.326
  6. ^
  7. ^ (Romanian) Monique Urdareanu on Elena Lupescu and Carol II at the Wayback Machine (archived June 13, 2008), Ziua, 14 January 2006

External links[edit]

Carol II of Romania
Cadet branch of the House of Hohenzollern
Born: 15 October 1893 Died: 4 April 1953
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Michael I
King of Romania
8 June 1930 – 6 September 1940
Succeeded by
Michael I