Prince Nicholas of Romania

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This article is about the son of Ferdinand I. For the son of Princess Elena, see Prince Nicholas of Romania (b. 1985).
Prince of Romania
Spouse Ioana (Joanna) Dumitrescu-Doletti
Thereza Lisboa Figueira de Mello
House House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen
Father Ferdinand of Romania
Mother Marie
Born (1903-08-03)3 August 1903
Peleş Castle, Sinaia, Romania
Died 9 June 1978(1978-06-09) (aged 74)
Madrid, Spain
Religion Romanian Orthodox

Prince Nicholas of Romania (Romanian: Nicolae de România; also known, after 1937, as Nicolae Brana; 5 August/18 August 1903, Peleş Castle – 9 June 1978, Madrid) was the second son of King Ferdinand and Queen Marie of Romania.


Born in Peleş Castle, Sinaia, Nicholas was the younger brother of Carol, heir apparent, who renounced his rights of succession on 12 December 1925. When Ferdinand died in 1927, he was succeeded as king by Carol's five-year-old son, Michael; Nicholas himself had been proposed as heir-apparent when Carol married the commoner Zizi Lambrino in 1918 (a marriage later annulled). Given Michael's youth, a regency council had to be formed (20 July), and Prince Nicholas was forced to abandon his career in the British Royal Navy in order to return home to serve on the council, alongside Gheorghe Buzdugan and Patriarch Miron Cristea.

Standard of the Regent of Romania (1927-1930)

Although unofficially referred to as "the first-ranking regent", Nicholas resented having to abandon his naval career and had no interest in politics. He tried to continue his father's cooperation with the National Liberals (PNL), and to contain the opposition of the National Peasants' Party (PNŢ) to the regency by appointing a national government under Ion I. C. Brătianu. Refused by Brătianu, he witnessed a change in Carol's stance in mid 1927, when the latter argued that he had been forced to give up his throne. The cooperation between Carol and the PNŢ was successfully neutralized by the PNL, but Brătianu's death in 1927 restored contacts and increased the appeal of the PNŢ. By then, the regency was widely perceived as consisting of figureheads, and, after Constantin Sărăţeanu (an appointee of PNŢ leader Iuliu Maniu) succeeded the deceased Buzdugan in 1929, it was believed to be torn apart by contrasting political ambitions. According to Nicolae Iorga, Miron Cristea himself had said:

"The Regency does not work because it has no head. The Prince smokes his cigarettes, Sărăţeanu looks through his books, and I, as a priest, can only try to reconcile."

Nicholas was at first delighted when Carol returned home to Romania in 8 June 1930 (becoming King Carol II and thus putting an end to the regency arrangement). He welcomed the Parliament session that voted to repeal the 1926 legislation, and accompanied his newly arrived brother from Băneasa Airfield to Cotroceni Palace.

However, the cordial relations between Nicholas and Carol were short-lived. Nicholas wanted to marry Ioana (Joanna) Dumitrescu-Doletti, a divorced woman, but was aware that it might be embarrassing for the king to have to authorize such a marriage. Carol himself suggested that the couple should marry without first seeking his consent (even though members of the royal family were required to obtain the king's consent before marrying). Carol had intimated that in these circumstances he would accept the marriage as a fait accompli, but after the wedding Carol promptly used it as an excuse to deprive Nicholas of his royal privileges and titles and to exile him from Romania. He left for Spain, and ultimately settled in Switzerland.

Prince Nicholas in the Romanian Air Force

Nicholas was married twice. His first marriage took place in Tohani, Romania, on 7 November 1931, the bride being Ioana (Joanna) Dumitrescu-Doletti (Bucharest, 24 September 1902/1909 (other dates of birth have been named in various sources) – Lausanne, 17 February/19 February 1963). Dumitrescu-Doletti's first husband had been Radu Savianu, whom she married on 11 December 1924. Nicholas' second marriage took place on 13 July 1967 in Lausanne. His second wife was a Brazilian, Thereza Lisboa Figueira de Mello (Rome, 10 June 1913 – Madrid, 30 March 1997), the daughter of Col. Jerónimo de Ávila Figueira de Melo and his wife Cândida Ribeiro Lisboa, and the sister of Francisco Lisboa Figueira de Melo, former ambassador of Portugal to Germany (b. Vienna, 12 March 1912). Figueira de Mello's first husband was Andrés Boulton Pietri (Caracas, 1910-1998), whom she married in Caracas on 2 July 1936, a union that produced four children: Roger (1937), Maria Thereza (1939), Andres (1943) and William (1945).

The Prince also took an interest in motor racing, competing in the 1933 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 1935 24 Hours of Le Mans driving his own Duesenberg Model SJ.

Titles, styles and honours[edit]

Styles of
Prince Nicholas of Romania
Kingdom of Romania - Big CoA.svg
Reference style His Royal Highness
Spoken style Your Royal Highness
Alternative style Sir
  • 3 August 1903 - 20 July 1927: His Royal Highness Prince Nicholas of Romania, Prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen
  • 20 July 1927 - 9 April 1930: His Royal Highness Prince Nicholas, The Prince Regent of Romania, Prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen
  • 9 April 1930 - 10 June 1942: Mr Nicholas Brana[1]
  • 10 June 1942 - 9 June 1978: His Royal Highness Prince Nicholas, Prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen[2]
National honours
Foreign honours
Honorary Military Rank and other awards


External links[edit]