Line of succession to the former Romanian throne

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Arms of the Kingdom of Romania (1922 - 1947)

The succession order to the (defunct) throne of Romania depends on the interpretation of the applicable laws, either the Romanian kingdom's last democratic constitution, that of 1923, or the new Statute of the Royal House of Romania, named Fundamental Rules of the Romanian Royal House,[1] privately enacted by King Michael on 30 December 2007 in an attempt to replace the old 1884 Law of the Statute. The defunct 1923 Constitution stipulates Salic Law, that is agnatic primogeniture, whereas the legally non-binding Fundamental Rules of 2007 attempt to establish a male-preference primogeniture succession.

Present situation[edit]

King Michael has no sons, nor are there any undisputed legitimate male-line male descendants of the previous kings of Romania, there is at present no one from the Romanian Royal Family in the line of succession to the throne, if the succession follows the defunct 1923 constitution.

There are male line descendants of King Carol II: Prince Paul of Romania (b. 1948), his son Prince Carol Ferdinand of Romania (b. 2010) and Alexandru Hohenzollern (b. 1961). Paul and Alexandru are the sons of Carol Mircea Hohenzollern, also known as Carol Mircea Grigore of Romania according to his Romanian birth certificate,[2][3] issue of King Carol's first marriage to Zizi Lambrino. Their grandparents' marriage had been declared null and void by the Parliament of the Kingdom of Romania.[4] In 1955, however, a Portuguese court declared Carol Mircea as former King Carol II's legitimate son, a ruling later confirmed by a Parisian court[citation needed]. The court rulings allowed him to bear the surname Hohenzollern and inherit a portion of his father's properties, but did not confer him any dynastic rights to the defunct Romanian throne or rights to bear a princely title and style, despite his use of both.[5] In October 1995, a similar Romanian court ruling recognized that he was legitimate son of Carol II, allowing him the right to bear the surname "al României" and calling into question[6] the status of Michael. The court ruling was used by Paul to claim the title Prince.[3] The argument which appears prevalent is that Mircea Carol's sons are not entitled to succession rights, due to the non-dynastic nature of their grandparents' marriage.[4] Moreover, Carol Mircea never claimed any right to the Romanian throne,[7] unlike his son, Paul.

Following King Michael's abdication, the line of succession was discussed during a meeting between Michael, his uncle Prince Nicholas of Romania, and Frederick, Prince of Hohenzollern (1891-1965). Shortly after this meeting, the spokesman of Carol II, in an interview with the French paper Le Figaro, expressed his strong support for Prince Frederick, additionally asserting that Michael would never regain the throne.[8] Michael refused to ever again see his father, Carol II, after Carol's abdication in 1940.[9][10] Michael even refused to come to his father's funeral in Portugal or the reinterment of his remains in Romania, at Curtea de Arges.[11]

According to the succession provisions of the kingdom's last democratic Constitution, that of 1923, agnatic primogeniture (also known as "Salic law") determines who inherits the throne. After two intervening changes of regime, that constitution no longer carries legal weight, but it retains the weight of a tradition.[12] It must also be said that the German Hohenzollerns in the succession line descend from the previously mentioned Prince Frederick, the oldest son of Prince Wilhelm. Prince Wilhelm, along with his father, Prince Leopold, renounced his rights to the Romanian throne in favor of his younger brother, the future King Ferdinand.[13]

Male-preference primogeniture line[edit]

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

HM The King
HM The Queen

* titled according to private family rules

On 30 December 2007, explicitly based on EU legislation, in particular on the European Convention on Human Rights, which, however, does not guarantee any right to reign as a monarch of any country, and also on the values of the Romanian society, King Michael signed a new Statute of the Royal House, called Fundamental Rules of the Royal House of Romania.[1] The document clarifies the order of inheritance of King Michael's fortune and rights to the Romanian throne. The new Statute, thought by some to be undemocratic,[14] an act with eminently symbolic importance in the absence of its approval by the Parliament,[12][15] also attempts to replace the old 1884 Statute Law. According to this new Statute, the first in line of succession is King Michael's eldest daughter, newly titled "Crown Princess of Romania" and "Custodian of the Romanian Crown," Princess Margarita. In 1997 King Michael had already designated her as successor to "all" his "prerogatives and rights", indicating his desires for a gender-blind succession to the throne.[16][17]

Some argue that Margarita will only become head of the royal family because King Michael, as a constitutional monarch, is unable to alone alter the old and defunct succession laws which perpetually excluded females and their descendants. Only the Parliament could amend these laws together with the Constitution in which they had been included, assuming the monarchy were first restored. An opposing view is that Michael is able to alter these succession laws alone, effectively acting as an absolute monarch, partly in light of the nature of his second reign, during which he neither was sworn into office by any Parliament, nor took any oath on any Constitution, but was instead anointed king by the Romanian Orthodox Church. The latter opinion, however, ignores the fact that Michael never claimed to be an absolute monarch while always supporting democracy and the constitutional monarchy. It also ignores his appeal to the Romanian Parliament made on the occasion of the signing of the new Statute, for it to alter the Salic Law of succession, should the Romanian nation and Parliament consider restoring the monarchy in the future.[1]

Another invoked reason why Princess Margarita cannot succeed to the Romanian throne is her marriage against the original 1884 Law of the Statute of the Royal House of the Romanian Kingdom, which forbade marriages of heirs of the royal family to Romanians or to unequally-titled persons. Margarita's marriage is claimed to have broken this law twice over, since her husband, Radu Duda, is a Romanian and was not titled at the time of their marriage. Radu was bestowed only a name of "Prince of Hohenzollern-Veringen" through the 1 January 1999 decree (Urkunde) of the head of the House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, Prince Frederick William. No coat of arms, nor any type of "Highness" predicate were given to Radu Duda through the princely decree, despite his usage of the latter. On 30 December 2007, King Michael granted the title of "Prince of Romania" with a "Royal Highness" style to Radu, whose legal surname apparently has long been Hohenzollern-Veringen Duda. At the same time, Michael recognized Radu's new name as a title of "Prince of Hohenzollern-Veringen". Since 2007, however, he had his legal name changed to Radu al României Duda and no longer uses the name of Hohenzollern.[18]

The royal castles in Romania – Săvârşin and Pelişor – as well as the sovereignty and grand mastership of the dynastic chivalric Order of Carol I and the Order of the Crown are to be held by the successor in this line.

The line of succession, as published in Annex I of the 2007 Statute, and then modified by Michael in 2014, removing his daughter Irina and her children and grandchildren,[19] and modified again in 2015, removing his grandson Nicholas,[20] consists of:[1]

As the above list exhausts all the dynastic members of the present Royal House of Romania, the line would then not continue with the German Hohenzollerns mentioned above. In fact, the new Statute through Annex I explicitly allows only direct descendants of King Michael as dynasts; unlike the old succession rules, the German Hohenzollerns are no longer mentioned as potential dynasts. Contrary to a specific provision of the 1923 Constitution, the new Statute bans from succession all foreign princes from other royal or princely houses. In case the current line becomes extinct, however, article 79 of the defunct 1923 Constitution allowing for the election of a foreign prince presumably becomes applicable, assuming the Constitution is not changed according to King Michael's desires.

According to the former President of Romania Traian Băsescu, who does not appreciate Crown Princess Margareta's husband,[21] the Romanians seem to think that were the monarchy restored, Radu would become their king, something which, according to Băsescu, impacts negatively the Romanians' public perception of the idea of monarchy.[22][23]

Succession by Salic law[edit]

In case of the disappearance without any direct male heirs of all eligible Hohenzollerns or of their refusal to accept the throne, according to the article 78 of the last democratic royal Constitution of Romania from 1923,[24] the throne becomes vacant. In this situation, according to the article 78, the last reigning king has the right to nominate a foreign prince from a reigning royal or princely dynasty of Western Europe as successor subject to the Parliament's approval per article 79, a right which was turned down by King Michael, who nominated his daughter as successor and denied to any foreign prince any succession right through his new statute.[1] The Parliament incurs the final responsibility, according to the article 79, of electing a king from a reigning royal or princely dynasty of Western Europe, if prior to his investiture he had committed to raise his descendants in the Eastern Orthodox faith to comply with the article 77 of the Constitution.

In 1997, the Romanian monarchist leaders intended to ask Michael to designate a male heir-presumptive from the German branch of the family, in keeping with the rules of the last royal constitution. They eventually agreed on a compromise and requested him to designate a male rather than female heir-presumptive, in the person of Michael's grandson, Prince Nicholas. Under the influence of his wife Anne, the King rejected the monarchists' request and at the end of 1997, he designated his first born, Princess Margareta, as heir presumptive.[25]

In a 2009 interview, Karl Friedrich, then Hereditary Prince of Hohenzollern, stated that he was not interested in the Romanian throne.[26]


  1. ^ a b c d e Fundamental Rules of the Royal Family of Romania, The Romanian Royal Family website as retrieved on 6 January 2007
  2. ^ "General", Evenimentul Zilei
  3. ^ a b "Romanian court recognizes Briton as Carol II's grandson". The Washington Times. 1995-10-31. pp. A14. 
  4. ^ a b Easterman, A.L., King Carol, Hitler and Lupescu. London:Victor Gollancz Ltd., 1942. p. 33–34.
  5. ^ "Prince Paul of Romania" by Guy Stair Sainty
  6. ^ 'Bastard' Romanian prince goes legitimate
  7. ^ "An Innocent Had Gone," Jurnalul National, 30 January 2006
  8. ^ Michael of Romania: The King and the Country by Ivor Porter, page 195, ISBN 0-7509-3847-1
  9. ^ (Romanian) Monique Urdareanu on Elena Lupescu and Carol II, Ziua, 14 January 2006. Quote: "Voia mult sa-si vada fiul, dar dupa plecarea din Romania nu l-a mai intalnit niciodata. (...) Regele Carol a incercat de multe ori si era gata sa-si intalneasca fiul oriunde, dar regele Mihai a refuzat intotdeauna." Translation: "He wanted a lot to see his son, but after his departure from Romania he never met him again. (...) King Carol tried many times and was ready to meet his son anywhere, but king Michael always refused."
  10. ^ (Romanian) Summary of Carol II's memoirs, volume VI (1949-1951), the website of "Curtea Veche" publishing house, as retrieved on 22 February 2008
  11. ^ King Carol II’s remains are returned to Romania, the website of the London-based NGO Centre for Romanian Studies, as retrieved on 26 January 2008
  12. ^ a b (Romanian) "The King and Margarita - On The "Day of the Republic" The King Designated His Successor", Jurnalul National, 2 January 2008
  13. ^ (Romanian) Ferdinand I - The King of The Great Reunification, Jurnalul National, 19 July 2007
  14. ^ (Romanian) "A Dynastical Constitution," Romania Libera, 9 January 2008. Quote: "Desigur, nu toate reformele sunt democratice, iar cea intreprinsa in interiorul Casei Regale a Romaniei (Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen) nu aspira in nici un fel la vreo democratizare. Ba, dimpotriva. (...) Este, altfel spus, o reforma de semn contrar." Translation: "Of course, not all reforms are democratic and the one within the Royal House of Romania (Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen) does not in any way strive to any sort of democratization. On the contrary. (...) It is, in other words, a reform of opposite sign."
  15. ^ (Romanian) "The Actor Duda in The Role of A Lifetime: Prince Consort of Romania," Cotidianul, 3 January 2008
  16. ^ (Romanian) Titles and Succession, The Romanian Royal Family website as retrieved on 6 January 2007
  17. ^ (Romanian) Agenda - December 30, 1997, Website of King Michael as retrieved on 6 January 2007
  18. ^ (Romanian) Prince Radu: There is no presidential candidate named Hohenzollern, Cotidianul, 11 June 2009
  19. ^ Familia Regala - Linia de succesiune
  20. ^ Press Communication August 10, 2015
  21. ^ "The President is afraid of the Royal House!", Jurnalul National, 13 May 2008
  22. ^ (Romanian) "In two years, Basescu and Iliescu jumped from love to hatred", Gandul, 15 May 2007
  23. ^ (Romanian) "Basescu said Iliescu knew he would be accused of genocide", Cotidianul, 15 May 2007
  24. ^ (Romanian) The 1923 Constitution of Romania
  25. ^ (Romanian) "EXCLUSIVE. How the Monarchy pulled the rug from under its own feet," Evenimentul zilei, August 29, 2011
  26. ^ (Romanian) "Karl Friedrich of Hohenzollern: „Radu Duda's Hohenzollern title is a farce“, Cotidianul, June 10, 2009

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