Princess Margareta of Romania
|Crown Princess of Romania
Custodian of the Romanian Crown
|House||House of Romania|
|Father||Michael I of Romania|
|Mother||Anne of Bourbon-Parma|
26 March 1949 |
|Romanian Royal Family|
|* titled according to private family rules|
Princess Margareta of Romania, now using the style Crown Princess Margareta of Romania, Custodian of the Romanian Crown, formerly also Princess of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (born 26 March 1949, Lausanne, Switzerland), is the eldest daughter of former King Michael I of Romania and his wife Queen Anne. Princess Margareta's father named her the heiress presumptive to Romania's abolished throne in 1997.
Margareta has four sisters and no brothers or children. Her heir is her next sister, Princess Elena of Romania. According to the defunct last democratic royal Constitution of 1923 which barred women from wearing the crown, Margareta and her sisters could not succeed to the throne of Romania (see also "Line of succession to the Romanian throne").
On 30 December 2007, King Michael designated Princess Margareta as heiress presumptive to the throne with the titles "Crown Princess of Romania" and "Custodian of the Romanian Crown" by an act which is not recognized by the Romanian Republic and lacks legal validity without approval by Romania's Parliament. 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.
Margareta was born in exile on the 26th of March 1949 in Lausanne, Switzerland as the first of King Michael I and Queen Anne's five daughters. She was baptised in the Romanian Orthodox Church; her godfather is Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh. She was followed by four sisters: Princess Elena (born 1950), Princess Irina (born 1953), Princess Sophie (born 1957) and Princess Maria (born 1964).
Margareta spent her childhood at family homes in Lausanne and at Ayot House, St Lawrence in Hertfordshire, England. During holidays she and her sisters spent time with their grandparents; paternally with Helen, Queen Mother at Villa Sparta in Italy and maternally, with Princess Margaret and her husband Prince René of Bourbon-Parma in Copenhagen. She and her sisters were told "fascinating tales of a homeland they couldn't visit" by their father. She also spent time with relatives in Greece, Italy, Denmark, Luxembourg and Spain.
- 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.
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.
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.
"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.
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 "...(M)y 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.
Queen Helen's aesthetic tastes extended Margareta's cultural horizons and excited her to meet interesting people who were part of her grandmother's circle of acquaintances, in which she met Romanian and Greek diplomats, artists, intellectuals, scientists and craftsmen, as well as subjects. The grandmother took the opportunity to encourage the granddaughter to attend a university and pursue a career at the United Nations.
As relatives and friends of her parents lived in London, Margareta was hesitant to attend a university there, not wanting to be tied down by formalities associated with being a princess, and chose instead to attend the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Known there as "Margareta de Roumanie", for the first few weeks she felt a depressing "sense of foreignness". She studied sociology, political science and public international law. Engaging herself in activities on the campus, she became a member of the students' representative council. In 1974 she completed her studies and obtained her degrees.
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 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.
After graduation, she worked in a number of British universities over nine years, specialising in medical sociology and public health policy. Later she participated in an international research program coordinated by the World Health Organisation that focused on developing health policy recommendations and preventive pilot projects.
In 1983 she moved to Rome and joined the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations where, as a member of the World Food Day project team, she worked for five years on the public awareness campaign concerning agricultural programs, nutrition, and poverty alleviation. She belonged to the International Fund for Agricultural Development team until 1989
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 royal family, whose members began preparing themselves for what was to come.
"Getting on the plane was quite emotional. We didn't know what was going to happen to us," she recalls. "It was so strange to look out of the plane window and see the fields; they were huge...We stayed for a few days and found that villages had been knocked down and 150,000 children were living in orphanages. Ceausescu had wanted to boost the population. Family planning was forbidden, abortion was forbidden, women were compelled to have four children but they had nowhere to bring them up and had to give them to the state. A lot of children had AIDS. It was a shock to the eyes and to the soul."
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. a non-profit organisation that has contributed to the development of civil society in Romania. "I just didn't want this ever to happen again," she says.
Operating in Romania, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, France, Belgium and the United States, the Princess Margareta of Romania Foundation develops programs that:
- improve the living conditions of children and young people, families at risk and the elderly;
- stimulate intergenerational solidarity and create bridges of communication between the young and the elderly;
- contribute to the institutional development of NGOs working with children and seniors;
- foster local creativity and talent.
Taking up permanent residence in Romania, along with her parents, Princess Margareta continues to engage in public activities there, sometimes along with officials of the Romanian Republic including, for example, in January 2015 the celebration of the 25th year since her return to Romania held at the Romanian Athenaeum, followed by a dinner at the CEC Palace with Romania's Prime Minister Victor Ponta and Senate President Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu; as well as hosting 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.
In 1994 she met Radu Duda, a Romanian citizen and actor, through the work of the Princess Margareta Foundation. Duda was working as an art therapist in orphanages when he was introduced to the princess during her tour of the foundation's programs. On 21 September 1996 in Lausanne, Margareta married Duda. He was accorded the style "Radu, Prince of Hohenzollern-Veringen" on 1 January 1999, and was subsequently styled "HRH Radu, Prince of Romania", being referred to by King Michael on 30 December 2007, as future "Prince Consort of Romania". In Margareta's company and, more often alone, he has represented the former royal family publicly on various occasions. They live in the Elisabeta Palace in Bucharest.
Princess Margareta is a second cousin to King Felipe VI of Spain, Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, former King Constantine II of the Hellenes, ex-King Simeon II of Bulgaria and former Crown Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia, as well as Archduke Karl of Austria and Carlos, Duke of Parma.
BAE Systems, 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, some of which, it has also been alleged, ended up in the pockets of the Hohenzollern royal family to which Margareta belongs. The "Gardianul" newspaper, noting that both Princess 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, 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.
The main pro-monarchist party PNŢCD, currently extra-parliamentary, is ambiguous in its support for Princess Margareta. In 2002, it rejected any role for her or her husband in a restored monarchy, 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.
In a July 2013 survey about a potential restoration of monarchy in Romania, 19% of respondents gave Princess Margareta as their favorite, while 29.9% supported her father. 48.1% said they did not know or did not answer.
Titles, styles, honours and awards
Crown Princess Margareta of Romania
|Reference style||Her Royal Highness|
|Spoken style||Your Royal Highness|
Since June 2005, School no. 114 in Bucharest has been named in Margareta's honour.
- 26 March 1949 – 30 December 2007: Her Royal Highness Princess Margareta of Romania, Princess of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen
- 30 December 2007 – Present: Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Margareta of Romania
- National honours
- House of Romania: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Carol I
- House of Romania: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown
- House of Romania: Grand Master Knight of the Order of the Custodian of the Romanian Crown
- Foreign honours
- Czech Republic: Medal of the Cross of Merit of the Ministry of Defence
- France: Knight of the Legion of Honour
- Malta: Knight Grand Cross of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta
- Moldova: Recipient of the Dimitrie Cantemir Medal
- Portuguese Royal Family: Dame Grand Cross of the Order of Saint Isabel
- Sweden: Commemorative Badge of the 50th Birthday Medal of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden
- National awards
- Romania: Honorary Citizen of the Cluj County
- Romania: Honorary degree of the University of Pitești
- Romanian Olympic and Sports Committee: Recipient of the Gold Olympic Order
- Foreign awards
- United Kingdom: Honorary Citizen of Scotland
- United Kingdom: Alumni Graduate of the University of Edinburgh
- Montgomery-Massingberd, Hugh (editor). Burke's Guide to the Royal Family, Burke's Peerage, London, 1973, p. 279. ISBN 0-220-66222-3
- de Badts de Cugnac, Chantal. Coutant de Saisseval, Guy. Le Petit Gotha. Nouvelle Imprimerie Laballery, Paris 2002, p. 769 (French) ISBN 2-9507974-3-1
- (Romanian) King Michael I announces the severance of all historical and dynastic ties to the House of Hohenzollern, Adevarul, 11 May 2011
- (Romanian) The history of the conflicts between the Royal House of Romania and the Princely House of Hohenzollern, Adevarul, 11 May 2011
- "Compression," Time, 12 January 1948
- "Milestones," Time, 21 June 1948
- Fundamental Rules of the Royal Family of Romania
- (Romanian) "Princess Margarita, heir to the throne of Romania," Evenimentul Zilei, 30 December 2007
- (Romanian) "The King and Margareta – On The "Day of the Republic" The King Designated His Successor", Jurnalul National, 2 January 2008
- (Romanian) "The Actor Duda in The Role of A Lifetime: Prince Consort of Romania," Cotidianul, 3 January 2008
- Romanian: http://www.hotnews.ro/stiri-esential-2142475-principesa-margareta-mostenitoarea-tronului-romaniei.htm
- Princess Margaret of Romania Trust website http://www.pmrt.co.uk/
- (Romanian) 2006 Annual Report, The Princess Margarita of Romania Foundation website
- (Romanian) "The Prime Minister proposed Radu Duda a seat as a Senator of the Democrat Social Party (ruling party in Romania)," MEDIAFAX AGENCY, 6 August 2004
- (Romanian) "10 May – Sad Destiny, Memorable Date", Dilema Veche, 12 May 2006
- Official biography PMRT website http://www.fpmr.ro/index.php?page=hrh-the-princess-margarita
- "Blair hit by Saudi 'bribery' threat," The Sunday Times, 19 November 2006
- "Bribery inquiry may force £7m refund to Romania", The Guardian, 15 June 2006
- (Romanian) Zeamă de dude, "Mulberry Juice", Gândul, 21 June 2006
- (Romanian) BAE – sponsor regal, "BAE: Royal Sponsor", Gardianul, 16 June 2006
- (Romanian) Principele Duda, coleg la Colegiul de Apărare cu semnatarul contractului cu BAE, "Prince Duda, Classmate at The National Defence University with The Signer of The BAE Contract", Gardianul, 17 June 2006
- (Romanian) PNŢCD gândeşte revenirea la monarhie prin Prinţul Nicolae, "PNŢCD Plans The Restoration of Monarchy through Prince Nicholas", Ziua, 1 March 2002
- (Romanian) PNŢCD caută un Rege, "PNŢCD Is Looking for A King", Evenimentul Zilei, 1 March 2002
- (Romanian) Principesa Margareta invitată să candideze, "Princess Margarita Invited to Run for Office" , Ziarul Financiar, 24 July 2003
- (Romanian) "The Princess in The Senate", Evenimentul Zilei, 25 July 2003
- "King Mihai I Turns 85", Ziua, 25 October 2006
- 41% dintre romani ar vota pentru mentinerea republicii, 27,2% ar alege monarhia - INSCOP. Retrieved 2013-08-02.
- Speaker biography http://www.microsoft.com/romania/diversity/wlc/speakers.aspx
- http://www.familiaregala.ro/ro/familia-regala-astazi/ordine-si-medalii/ Ordine si medalii
- Ordine si medalii
- The Royal Forums
- Royal Family of Romania visits Roma
- Order of Saint Isabel
- The Princess Margareta of Romania Foundation website
- The official website of The Romanian Royal Family
Princess Margareta of RomaniaBorn: 26 March 1949
||Line of succession to the former Romanian throne
according to the 2007 Statute