Marie of Romania
|Tenure||10 October 1914 – 20 July 1927|
|Coronation||15 Oct 1922|
|Spouse||Ferdinand I of Romania|
|Carol II of Romania
Elisabeth, Queen of Greece
Maria, Queen of Yugoslavia
Princess Ileana, Archduchess of Austria
|Marie Alexandra Victoria|
|House||House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen
House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
|Father||Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha|
|Mother||Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia|
29 October 1875|
Eastwell Park, Kent
|Died||18 July 1938
|Burial||Curtea de Argeș Cathedral, Romania|
Marie of Romania (Marie Alexandra Victoria, previously Princess Marie of Edinburgh; 29 October 1875 – 18 July 1938) was Queen consort of Romania from 1914 to 1927, as the wife of Ferdinand I of Romania. She was called Missy by her family.
She was born on 29 October 1875 at Eastwell Park in Kent, the eldest daughter of Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, and Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia. Her father was the second-eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Her mother was the only surviving daughter of Alexander II of Russia and Maria Alexandrovna of Hesse. She was baptised in the Private Chapel of Windsor Castle on 15 December 1875 and her godparents were the Empress and Tsarevitch of Russia (her maternal grandmother and uncle), the Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (her paternal grandaunt), the Princess of Wales (her paternal aunt) and the Duke of Connaught (her paternal uncle). As her father was in the Royal Navy, she spent much of her early childhood abroad, particularly in Malta. She was a bridesmaid at the 1885 wedding of Queen Victoria’s youngest daughter Princess Beatrice, to Prince Henry of Battenberg.
In her youth, Princess Marie was considered a suitable match for marriage to the royalty of Europe. Her first cousin, Prince George of Wales, later King George V of the United Kingdom, fell in love with her and proposed marriage. Marie's father and George's father approved of the marriage, but their mothers did not. Marie's mother did not like the British Royal family and George's mother did not like Germans so the idea of a marriage was nixed. Before Marie could find someone else suitable to marry, her mother found Ferdinand of Romania. He was the German-raised nephew of the King of Romania (and a distant cousin of the rulers of Prussia).
Princess Marie married Prince Ferdinand of Romania, nephew of King Carol I of Romania in Sigmaringen, Germany, on 10 January 1893. The bride was 17 years old and the groom was 10 years her senior. (Marie's father did not become Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha until a few months later.) The marriage, which produced three daughters and three sons, was not a happy one. Her correspondence with her longtime secret confidante, the American dancer Loie Fuller, revealed "the distaste, which grew to revulsion" that Marie felt for her husband.
The couple's two youngest children, Ileana and Mircea, were born after Marie met her long-time lover, Barbu Ştirbey. Historians generally agree that Ştirbey was the father of Prince Mircea, who had brown eyes like Ştirbey, unlike Marie and Ferdinand. The paternity of Ileana is uncertain, as is the paternity of Marie's second daughter, Maria (known as Mignon), the future Queen of Yugoslavia. Probably to avoid open scandal, Prince (King) Ferdinand acknowledged paternity of the three children.
Affair with Cantacuzene
In 1897, while still Crown Princess, Marie began a romantic liaison with Lieutenant Zizi Cantacuzene. The affair and subsequent scandal became widely known and was quickly terminated by King Carol I. However by autumn 1897, during the height of the scandal, Marie became pregnant. After fleeing to her mother in Coburg, Marie apparently gave birth to a child who has disappeared from history. It has been suggested that the child was either stillborn or quickly placed in an orphanage. Whatever the truth, 'the story of this mysterious child of Marie of Romania was one secret "she took to the grave."'[clarification needed]
Birth of Maria, future Queen of Yugoslavia
In 1899 Marie, pregnant with Mignon, pleaded with King Carol I to allow her to give birth in Coburg, where her father was Duke. Upon the king's refusal of this request, Marie declared 'right to his face' that the child she was carrying was in fact Grand Duke Boris Vladimirovich of Russia's. The horrified King relented and Marie gave birth to her daughter, also called Marie but always known as Mignon, in the peaceful surroundings of Coburg. Following this, whether in earnest or merely to deflect criticism from the dynasty, Crown Prince Ferdinand officially recognised the child as his.
Birth of Prince Nicolas
Marie's fourth child and second son, Prince Nicolas, was born in August 1903. The appearance of Pauline Astor, the sister of Marie's close friend and confidant Waldorf Astor, along with an Astor family doctor during the birth fanned speculation that the father of Prince Nicolas was in fact Astor and not Crown Prince Ferdinand. As with Mignon, Ferdinand accepted the child as his own and as he grew up Nicolas came to resemble his Hohenzollern relatives rather than the Astors.
Queen and Queen Mother
In 1914, Carol I died and Ferdinand ascended the throne of Romania, with Marie as the new queen. Due to World War I, they were not crowned until 1922.
Marie had become a Romanian patriot, and her influence in the country was large. A.L. Easterman writes that King Ferdinand was "a quiet, easy-going man, of no significant character… It was not he, but Marie who ruled in Romania." He credits Marie's sympathies for the Allies as being "the major influence in bringing her country to their side" in the war.
During the war, she volunteered as a Red Cross nurse to help the sick and wounded and wrote a book titled My Country to raise funds for the Red Cross, but these were by no means her most notable contributions to the war effort. With the country half-overrun by the German Army, she and a group of military advisers devised the plan by which the Romanian Army, rather than retreating into Russia, would choose a triangle of the country in which to stand and fight; and through a letter to Loïe Fuller she set in motion the series of events that brought a timely American loan to Romania, providing the necessary funds to carry out the plan. (Fortuitously, the young woman from the US embassy who delivered the letter to Fuller was the former ward of Newton D. Baker, by this time serving as U.S. Secretary of War. Fuller and the young woman travelled from Paris to Washington, DC and secured an audience with Baker who, along with U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Carter Glass, arranged the loan).
After the war ended, the Great Powers decided to settle affairs at the Paris Peace Conference. The Romanian objective was to secure the Romanian-inhabited territories from the now-defunct Austria-Hungary and Russian Empire, thereby uniting all Romanian-speakers in a single state. Romanian diplomats at the peace conference sought to achieve recognition by the Allies of the Unions of Bessarabia, Bukovina, and Transylvania with Romania, proclaimed during 1918. With the Romanian delegation losing ground in the negotiations, Prime Minister Ionel Bratianu called upon the Queen to travel to France. Marie famously declared that "Romania needs a face, and I will be that face," astutely calculating that the international press was growing tired of the endless negotiations and would be unable to resist the glamour of a Royal visit. The arrival of the so-called Soldier Queen was an international media sensation and she argued passionately that the Western powers should honour their debt to Romania (which had suffered a casualty rate proportionately far greater than Britain, France or the USA). Behind the scenes, she alternately charmed and bullied the Allied leaders into backing the Romanian cause. As a direct result of her charismatic intervention, Romania won back the initiative and successfully achieved all its pre-conference aims, eventually expanding its territory by 60%, gaining Bessarabia, Bukovina, Transylvania, as well as parts of the Banat, Crişana and Maramureş.
Marie's son, the Crown Prince Carol (later King Carol II of Romania), was never close to his father, Ferdinand—by the time Carol was an adult, their antagonism became an "open breach"—but there continued to be a "deep bond of affection and sympathy" between Carol and Marie. Their relationship, however, deteriorated. The initial conflict came over Carol's objections to Marie's relationship with Prince Ştirbey; the breach was exacerbated as Marie attempted to steer Carol toward a dynastic marriage rather than allow him to choose his own bride. During Carol's exile in Paris, Loïe Fuller had befriended Carol and his mistress Magda Lupescu; they were unaware of Fuller's connection to Marie. Fuller initially advocated to Marie on their behalf, but later schemed unsuccessfully with Marie to separate Carol from Lupescu. Eventually, when Carol became King and did not seek her counsel, the breach between mother and son became complete.
After the death of her husband in 1927, Queen Marie remained in Romania, writing books and her memoirs, The Story of My Life. She died in Peleş Castle on 18 July 1938, and was buried next to her husband in the Monastery of Curtea de Argeş. In accordance with her will, her heart was kept in a cloister at the Balchik Palace which she had built. In 1940, when Balchik and the rest of Southern Dobrudja were returned to Bulgaria in accordance with the Treaty of Craiova, Queen Marie's heart was transferred to Bran Castle.
In 1968 Communist partisans defiled the marble sarcophagus in which the heart was preserved. Both silver coffers containing Queen’s heart were transferred to Bucharest and nowadays are in the custody of National Museum of Romanian History as well as Queen’s heart. The coffers are part of Romanian National Thesaurus and can be seen at National Museum of Romanian History. The decision of preserving Queen’s heart in a museum, even though not open to the public, continues to be a controversial subject.
Bran Castle had been her principal home for much of the early 20th century, and the artefacts with which she chose to surround herself (traditional furniture and tapestries, for example) can be seen by visitors today. Many of her other personal effects can be seen at the Maryhill Museum, formerly the home of Samuel Hill, an American railroad businessman with whom Queen Marie corresponded much of her life. The famous museum, which lies in Washington State (U.S.A.) on the north side of the Columbia River, displays much of Queen Marie's regalia, furniture, and other possessions, including her crown.
She was the 1,007th Dame of the Royal Order of Queen Maria Luisa.
She is held in high esteem by members of the Bahá'í Faith. Her religious background was of the Church of England, although she is known to have embraced the Orthodox Christian beliefs of Romanian nationals. In her later years, she was approached by Martha Root, a well-recognized travelling teacher, on the topic of the Bahá'í Faith. Bahá'ís recognise Queen Marie of Romania as the first member of royalty to have declared her belief in Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith.
In regard to the Bahá'í Faith, Queen Marie stated:
"The Bahá'í teaching brings peace and understanding. It is like a wide embrace gathering together all those who have long searched for words of hope. It accepts all great Prophets gone before, it destroys no other creeds and leaves all doors open. Saddened by the continual strife amongst believers of many confessions and wearied of their intolerance towards each other, I discovered in the Bahá'í teaching the real spirit of Christ so often denied and misunderstood: Unity instead of strife, Hope instead of condemnation, Love instead of hate, and a great reassurance for all men."
Titles, styles, honours and arms
Titles and styles
- 29 October 1875 – 10 January 1893: Her Royal Highness Princess Marie of Edinburgh, Princess of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Princess of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Duchess of Saxony
- 10 January 1893 – 10 October 1914: Her Royal Highness The Crown Princess of Romania
- 10 October 1914 – 20 July 1927: Her Majesty The Queen of Romania
- 20 July 1927 – 18 July 1938: Her Majesty Queen Marie of Romania
As a male-line grandchild of a British Sovereign, Marie bore the arms of the kingdom, with an inescutcheon for Saxony, differenced by a five-point label argent, the outer pair of which bore anchors azure, the inner roses gules, and the central a cross gules. In 1917, the inescutcheon was dropped by Royal Warrant from George V.
|Carol||15 October 1893||4 April 1953(aged 59)||King Carol II of Romania from 8 June 1930; married
(1) 31 August 1918, Joanna Marie Valentina "Zizi" Lambrino, one son Mircea Carol (marriage anulled)
(2) 10 March 1921, Princess Helen of Greece and Denmark, one son, future King Michael
|Princess Elisabeth||12 October 1894||14 November 1956(aged 62)||married, 27 February 1921, King George II of Greece (1890–1947); no issue, divorced in 1935|
|6 January 1900||22 June 1961(aged 61)||married 8 June 1922, King Alexander I of Yugoslavia (1888-1934); had issue, three sons.|
|Prince Nicholas||3 August 1903||9 June 1978(aged 74)||Prince Regent (July 1927 to June 1930); married
(1) 7 November 1931, Ioana (Joanna) Dumitrescu-Doletti, no issue
(2) 13 July 1967, Thereza Lisboa Figueira de Mello, no issue; stripped of his royal title in 9 April 1937, assumes the name of Nicolae Brana, later on 10 June 1942 was recognised as H.R.H. Prince of Hohenzollern.
|Princess Ileana||5 January 1909||21 January 1991(aged 82)||later known as Mother Alexandra, married
(1) 26 July 1931, Archduke Anton of Austria, Prince of Tuscany, had issue, divorced
(2) 20 June 1954, Dr.Stefan Nikolas Issarescu, divorced
|Prince Mircea||3 January 1913||2 November 1916(aged 3)|
She once encountered a proselytiser from a religious group. She said "I have met.....I did not like him. He seemed to me to be a snob. He spoke of God as if He were the oldest title in the Almanach de Gotha. And all that business about telling one's sins in public – He wanted me...me ...to get up before my children and confess everything I had ever done! It is spiritual nudism! Ça ne se fait pas."
She was also referred to in a number of contemporaneous literary sources, including Dorothy Parker's poem "Comment":
- Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
- A medley of extemporanea;
- And love is a thing that can never go wrong,
- And I am Marie of Roumania.
Marie's interaction with the Bahá'í faith's is discussed in Her Eternal Crown: Queen Marie of Romania and the Bahá'í Faith, by author Della L. Marcus.
|About Marie of Romania|
|By Marie of Romania|
- The Lily of Life, 1912
- The Dreamer of dreams, 1912
- Ilderim, 1915
- Four Seasons, 1915
- The Story of a Heart, 1915
- Why? A Story of Great Longing, 1915
- The Stealers of Night, 1916, London
- The Story of Naughty Kildeen, 1917
- My country, 1921
- Minola, 1918, London
- Peeping Pansy, 1920
- The Queen’s of Romania Fairy Book, 1923
- The Voice on the Mountain, 1923
- The Lost Princess, 1924, London
- The Magic Doll of Romania, 1929, New York
- Lulaloo, 1929
- Crowned Queens, 1930
- Stella Maris, 1933
- The Story of My Life
|House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha|
|Descendants of Victoria & Albert|
Queen Marie of Romania Sapphire
She gives her name to the Queen Marie of Romania Sapphire. It is a 478.68 carat, rectangular cushion shaped sappire, the largest sapphire ever presented at auction.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Marie of Romania|
- Fotescu, Diana (1998). Americans and Queen Marie of Romania. Portland, Oxford: Iasi.
- Mandache (Fotescu), Diana (2004). Later Chapters of My Life. The Lost Memoir of Queen Marie of Romania. Sutton. ISBN 978-0-7509-3691-0.
- Mandache (Fotescu), Diana (2007). Marie of Romania. Images of a Queen. Rosvall Royal Books. ISBN 91-975671-2-4.
- Mandache, Diana (2011). Dearest Missy. Rosvall Royal Books. ISBN 91-975671-7-5. Text "http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dearest-Missy-Diana-Mandache/dp/9197567175/" ignored (help)
- Yvonne's Royalty Home Page – Royal Christenings
- NPG: Prince and Princess Henry of Battenberg with their bridesmaids and others on their wedding day http://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/portrait/mw145863/Prince-and-Princess-Henry-of-Battenberg-with-their-bridesmaids-and-others-on-their-wedding-day?LinkID=mp89748&role=art&rNo=2
- Julia Gelardi (2005). Born to Rule, Granddaughters of Queen Victoria, Queens of Europe. Headline Book Publishing. pp. 91–93&115. ISBN 0-7553-1392-5.
- Easterman, 1942, 58–61
- Pakula (1985). The last romantic: a biography of Queen Marie of Romania. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. p. 337. ISBN 0-297-78598-2. Text "Hannah" ignored (help)
- Easterman, 1942, 28–32
- Easterman, 1942, 31, 86–87
- Historia.ro - in Romanian language 14.02.2012
- Marcus, Della (2000). Her Eternal Crown. Oxford: George Ronald. ISBN 0-85398-442-5.
- Hassall, Graham; Fazel, Seena. "100 Years of the Baha'i Faith in Europe". Baha'i Studies Review 8 (3): 35–44. Retrieved 26 April 2007.
- Effendi, Shoghi (1991). The World Order of Baha'u'llah. Selected Letters. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. p. 234. ISBN 0-87743-231-7.
- Heraldica – British Royalty Cadency
- Nichols, Beverely (1952). All I could Never Be. Dutton. pp. 255–256.
|About Marie of Romania|
|By Marie of Romania|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Queen Marie of Romania|
- Queen Marie of Romania
- Ars Reginae. Romania's Writer-Queens
- Find A Grave
- The British Pathé has made available various archives of films taken including Marie of Edinburgh:1914, 1917, 1924, 1930, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1938
- Royal Romania
Marie of Romania
Cadet branch of the House of WettinBorn: 29 October 1875 Died: 18 July 1938
Elisabeth of Wied
|Queen consort of Romania
10 October 1914 – 20 July 1927
|Awards and achievements|
|Cover of Time Magazine
4 August 1924
John J. Pershing