Queen Anne of Romania

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Anne of Romania
Queen Anne of Romania,
Princess of Bourbon-Parma
King and Queen of Romania with David Cregeen.jpg
Spouse King Michael I of Romania
Issue Crown Princess Margareta
Princess Elena
Princess Irina
Princess Sophie
Princess Maria
Full name
French: Anne Antoinette Françoise Charlotte
House House of Bourbon-Parma (by birth)
House of Romania (by marriage)
Father Prince René of Bourbon-Parma
Mother Princess Margaret of Denmark
Born (1923-09-18) 18 September 1923 (age 91)
Paris, France

Queen Anne of Romania, née Anne Antoinette Françoise Charlotte (born 18 September 1923), is the wife of the former King Michael of Romania.

Early life[edit]

Anne was born in Paris, France, the only daughter of Prince René of Bourbon-Parma and Princess Margaret of Denmark. With her three brothers she spent her childhood in France. In 1939 her family fled from the Nazis and escaped to Spain. From there they went on to Portugal and then to the United States.

She attended the Parson's School of Design in New York from 1940 to 1943. She also worked as a sales assistant at Macy's department store. In 1943 she volunteered for military service in the French Army. She served in Algeria, Morocco, Italy, Luxembourg and Germany, driving ambulances, and received the French Croix de guerre.


In November 1947 Anne met King Michael I of Romania who was visiting London for the wedding of Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom) to Prince Philip of Greece, Michael's cousin and childhood playmate. In fact, a year previously Queen Mother Elena had invited Anne, her mother, and brothers for a visit to Bucharest, but the plan did not come off.[1] Meanwhile, Michael had glimpsed Anne in a newsreel and requested a photograph from the film footage.[1]

She did not want to have to accompany her parents to London for the royal wedding so as to avoid meeting King Michael in official surroundings. Instead, she planned to stay behind, go alone to the Paris railway station and, pretending to be a passerby in the crowd, privately observe the king as his entourage escorted him to his London-bound train.[1] However, at the last moment she was persuaded by her cousin, Jean of Luxembourg to come to London, where he planned to host a party. Upon arrival, she stopped by Claridge's to pay respects to her parents, and found herself being introduced unexpectedly to King Michael. Abashed to the point of confusion, she clicked her heels instead of curtseying, and fled in embarrassment. Charmed, the king saw her again the night of the wedding at the Luxembourg embassy soirée, confided in her some of his concerns about the Communist takeover of Romania and fears for his mother's safety, and nicknamed her Nan.[1] They saw each other several times thereafter on outings in London, always chaperoned by her mother or brother.

A few days later, she accepted an invitation to accompany Michael and his mother when he piloted a Beechcraft aeroplane to take his aunt, the Duchess of Aosta, back home to Lausanne.[1] Sixteen days after meeting, Michael proposed to Anne while the couple were out on a drive in Lausanne. She accepted and, although Michael gave her an engagement ring a few days later, he felt obliged to refrain from a public announcement until he informed his government, despite the fact that the press besieged them in anticipation.[1]

Michael returned to Romania, where he was told by the prime minister that a wedding announcement was not "opportune". Yet within days it was used as the government's public explanation for Michael's sudden "abdication", when in fact the king was deposed by the Communists on 30 December.[1] Anne was unable to get further news of Michael until he left the country. But they finally rendez-voused in Davos on 23 January 1948.[1]


As a Bourbon, Anne was bound by the canon law of the Roman Catholic Church, which required that she receive a dispensation to marry a non-Catholic Christian (Michael is Orthodox). At the time, such a dispensation was normally only given if the non-Roman Catholic partner promised to allow the children of the marriage to be raised as Roman Catholics. Michael refused to make this promise since it would have violated Romania's monarchical constitution, and would be likely to have a detrimental impact upon any possible restoration.[1] The Holy See (which handled the matter directly since Michael was a member of a reigning dynasty) refused to grant the dispensation unless Michael made the required promise.

Helen, Queen Mother of Romania and her sister Princess Irene of Greece and Denmark, Duchess of Aosta (an Orthodox married to a Catholic Prince) met with the fiancée's parents in Paris, where the two families resolved to take their case to the Vatican in person. In early March, the couple's mothers met with Pope Pius XII who, despite the entreaties of the Queen Mother and the fact that Princess Margrethe pounded her fist on the table in anger, refused permission for Anne to marry Michael.[1]

It has been surmised that the Pope's refusal was, in part, motivated by the fact that when Princess Giovanna of Italy married Anne's cousin King Boris III of Bulgaria in 1930, the couple had undertaken to raise their future children as Roman Catholics, but had baptized them in the Orthodox faith in deference to Bulgaria's state religion.[1] However, Michael declined to make a promise he could not keep politically, while Anne's mother was herself the daughter of a mixed marriage between a Catholic Princess (Marie d'Orléans) and a Protestant (Prince Valdemar of Denmark), who had abided by their pre ne temere compromise to raise their sons as Protestant and their daughter, Margrethe, as Catholic.[1]

The engaged couple resolved to proceed. Anne's paternal uncle, Xavier, Duke of Parma, issued a statement objecting to any marriage conducted against the will of the Pope and the bride's family. It was he, not the Pontiff, who forbade Anne's parents to attend the wedding.[1] Michael's spokesman declared on 9 June that the parents had been asked and had given their consent, and that the bride's family would be represented at the nuptials by her maternal uncle, Prince Eric of Denmark, who was to give the bride away.[1]

The wedding ceremony was held on 10 June 1948 in Athens, Greece, in the throne room of the Royal Palace, where it was performed by Archbishop Damaskinos and King Paul of Greece served as koumbaros.[1] Guests at the wedding included: Helen, Queen Mother of Romania, Michael's aunts Queen Frederica, Princess Irene of Greece and Denmark, Duchess of Aosta, Princess Katherine of Greece and Denmark; his cousins Alexandra, Queen Consort of Yugoslavia, Prince Amedeo, Duke of Aosta, Princess Sophia of Greece and Denmark, Crown Prince Constantine of Greece and Princess Irene of Greece and Denmark, the three youngest ones serving as bridesmaids and pageboys; Anne's maternal uncle Prince Eric of Denmark; Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna of Russia, Prince George William of Hanover and many other dignitaries.[2] Michael's father Prince Carol and his sisters, Maria, Queen Mother of Yugoslavia, Princess Elisabeth of Romania (ex-Queen Consort of Greece) and Princess Ileana of Romania were notified, but not invited.[1]

As no papal dispensation was given for the marriage, when it was celebrated according to the rites of the Eastern Orthodox Church, it was deemed invalid by the Roman Catholic Church. But the couple would eventually wed again, on 9 November 1966 at the Roman Catholic Church of St. Charles in Monaco, thus fulfilling obligations to both faiths.[1]


Romanian Royal Family
Coat of arms of the Kingdom of Romania (1881-1947)

HM The King
HM The Queen

* titled accordingly in private family rules
Main article: Royal Family tree

Anne and King Michael have five daughters, three son-in laws, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren:

  • Crown Princess Margareta (born 1949)
  • Princess Elena (born 1950)
  • Princess Irina (born 1953)
    • Michael (born 1984)
      • Kohen (born 2012)
    • Angelica-Margaretta (born 1986)
      • Courtney (born 2007)
      • Diana (born 2011)
  • Princess Sophie (born 1957)
    • Elisabeth-Maria (born 1998)
  • Princess Maria (born 1964)

Anne is the younger sister of Prince Jacques of Bourbon-Parma and elder sister to Prince Michel of Bourbon-Parma who is married to Princess Maria Pia of Italy, eldest child of King Umbero II of Italy and Queen Marie José; Prince André of Bourbon-Parma.

As a granddaughter of Robert I, Duke of Parma she is first cousin to King Boris III of Bulgaria, Robert Hugo, Duke of Parma, Princess Alicia, Dowager Duchess of Calabria, Carlos Hugo, Duke of Parma, Crown Prince Otto of Austria and Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg

In Romania[edit]

In 1992 Anne and Michael visited Romania for three days; it was Anne's first visit to the country. From 1993 to 1997, despite repeated attempts, Michael was refused entry to Romania by the hostile crypto-Communist Romanian government. During these years Anne visited the country a number of times representing her husband. Since 1997, there have been no restrictions on Anne and Michael's entry into Romania. Elisabeta Palace was put at their disposal by the government, and they recuperated from the state some proprieties among which are Săvârşin Castle and Peleş Castle.[1]

Queen Anne and King Michael celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary in June 2008 with a series of public events in Romania, including a reception at the Athenee Palace Hilton Hotel in Bucharest, a performance by Romania's National Philharmonic Orchestra, and a formal dinner at Sinaia. Attendees included ex-King Constantine II of the Hellenes and his wife Queen Anne-Marie, née Princess of Denmark, ex-King Simeon of Bulgaria and his queen, Margarita of Bulgaria, Crown Prince Alexander of Serbia, Aimone, Duke of Aosta, Duarte Pio, Duke of Braganza, Prince Lorenz of Belgium, Archduke of Austria-Este, Archduchess Marie-Astrid of Austria, née Princess of Luxembourg, Prince Philip of Bourbon-Parma, Queen Sofia of Spain (Anne's attendant at the original wedding), as well as the couple's two eldest daughters and a couple of their grandchildren.[1]

Titles, styles and honours[edit]

Styles of
Queen Anne of Romania
Kingdom of Romania - Big CoA.svg
Reference style Her Majesty
Spoken style Your Majesty
Alternative style Ma'am
Monogram of HM Queen Anne of Romania
National honours
Foreign honours


  • Radu, Prince of Hohenzollern-Veringen, Anne of Romania: A War, an Exile, a Life, Bucharest: The Romanian Cultural Foundation Publishing House, Bucharest, 2002 ISBN 973-577-338-4. (A quasi-official biography by her son-in-law, originally published in Romanian as Un război, un exil, o viaţă, Bucharest, 2000).[10]



External links[edit]

Queen Anne of Romania
Cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty
Born: 18 September 1923
Titles in pretence
Loss of title
Monarchy abolished in 1947
Queen consort of Romania
10 June 1948 – present