Carol II of Romania
Carol II of Romania
|King of Romania|
|Reign||8 June 1930 – 6 September 1940|
(m. 1918; ann. 1919)
Helen of Greece and Denmark (m. 1921; div. 1928)
(m. 1947–53; his death)
Michael I of Romania
|House||House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen|
|Father||Ferdinand I of Romania|
|Mother||Marie of Edinburgh|
15 October 1893|
|Died||4 April 1953
Curtea de Argeș,
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.
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. 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.
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). In 1937, he was awarded the Grand Cross of Justice of the Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem and given the Grand Collar of the Order on the 16th October 1938. He served as the Grand Bailiwick of the budding Grand Bailiwick of Romania. 
On 10 February 1938, Carol suspended the Constitution and seized emergency powers. Less than two weeks later, the constitution was recast into a severely authoritarian/corporatist document that concentrated virtually all governing power in his hands—turning his government into a de facto legal dictatorship. 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. Under these conditions, an implausible 99.87 percent were reported as having approved the new charter. In December 1938, the National Renaissance Front was formed as the country's only legal party.
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, but ultimately settled in Portugal.
Carol and Magda Lupescu were married in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 3 June 1947, Magda calling herself 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 could see no point in meeting his father and did not attend his funeral.
Remains returned to Romania
Carol died in Estoril, Portugal in 1953. His coffin was placed inside the Braganca family pantheon in Lisbon. His remains were finally returned to the Curtea de Argeș monastery in Romania in 2003. They lie outside the cathedral, the burial place of Romanian kings and queens. Neither of his sons participated in either ceremony. His only legitimate son, King Michael, was represented by his daughter, Princess Margarita, and her husband, Prince Radu of Romania. His illegitimate son, Carol Lambrino was forbidden (since 1940) from entering Romanian territory.
In popular culture
- King Carol II
- "Ce citeau românii acum 68 de ani?", Ziua, 29 November 2007.
- La Vie Chevaleresque, January-April 1937, 15/16:p.129; December 1938, 21/22:p.75
- Rumänien, 24. Februar 1938 : Verfassung Direct Democracy
- (Romanian) Delia Radu, "Serialul 'Ion Antonescu și asumarea istoriei' (1)", BBC Romanian edition, August 1, 2008
- Final Report, p.320; Morgan, p.85; Ornea, p.326
- Monique Urdareanu on Elena Lupescu and Carol II at the Wayback Machine (archived June 13, 2008), Ziua, 14 January 2006
- "'Mr Selfridge Episode 10'". itv.com. 28 May 2015.
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Carol II of Romania
Cadet branch of the House of HohenzollernBorn: 15 October 1893 Died: 4 April 1953
|King of Romania
8 June 1930 – 6 September 1940