Prince René of Bourbon-Parma
17 October 1894|
Schwarzau am Steinfeld
30 July 1962 (aged 67)|
|Spouse||Princess Margaret of Denmark|
Anne, Queen of Romania
|House||House of Bourbon-Parma|
|Father||Robert I, Duke of Parma|
|Mother||Infanta Maria Antonia of Portugal|
Prince René of Bourbon-Parma (17 October 1894 – 30 July 1962) was the seventh surviving son of Robert I, Duke of Parma, and his second wife, Infanta Maria Antonia of Portugal. In 1921, he married Princess Margaret of Denmark. They had four children including Queen Anne of Romania, the wife of Michael I, former King of Romania.
Prince René of Bourbon-Parma was the nineteenth child among the twenty four children of the last reigning Duke of Parma, Robert I (1848–1907). Prince Rene's mother was Duke Robert's second wife, Princess Maria Antonia, a daughter of the exiled King Miguel I of Portugal. By his father's first and second marriages, Rene had seventeen siblings who survived childhood. Two of the most famous included Empress Zita of Austria and Prince Felix, the consort of Charlotte, Grand Duchess of Luxembourg. Prince Rene was born in Schwarzau am Steinfeld. He was raised in Austria. Educated at the Theresianum in Vienna, he graduated from a military academy and served at the Imperial and Royal armed forces as a cavalry officer.
During World War I, René's brothers, Princes Sixtus and Xavier decided to fight for the cause of the allies while René and his brothers, Elias, Duke of Parma and Felix fought on the opposite side joining the Austrian Army and the cause of the central powers. Their sister, Zita, was married to Archduke Charles of Austria, who became the Austrian Emperor on November 21, 1916. At the fall of Habsburg monarchy in 1918, Prince René moved to France.
Marriage and children
On 9 June 1921, Prince René married Princess Margaret of Denmark in Copenhagen. She was a daughter of Prince Valdemar of Denmark (himself a younger son of Christian IX of Denmark) by his wife Princess Marie of Orléans. Though her father was a Lutheran, Margaret had been raised in her mother's Catholic faith. Her parents had agreed before the marriage that all their sons would be raised as Lutherans, their father's religion, and that all their daughters would be raised as Roman Catholics.
The couple had four children:
|Prince Jacques of Bourbon-Parma||9 June 1922||5 November 1964(aged 42)||married 1947 to Countess Birgitte Alexandra Maria af Holstein-Ledreborg (1922–2009); had issue|
|Princess Anne of Bourbon-Parma||18 September 1923||1 August 2016 (aged 92)||married king Michael I of Romania; had issue|
|Prince Michel of Bourbon-Parma||4 March 1926||7 July 2018 (aged 92)||married 1st, Princess Yolande de Broglie-Revel, 5 children; married 2nd, Princess Maria Pia of Savoy, no acknowledged issue|
|Prince André of Bourbon-Parma||6 March 1928||1 October 2011(aged 83)||married 1960 to Marina Gacry; had issue|
Prince René was a French citizen. A few weeks before the birth of their first child, René and his wife traveled to Paris for a few weeks in order to ensure he was born on French soil. The birth was witnessed by René's three brothers. Although Prince René's father had been very wealthy, René's own personal fortune was not large. Nevertheless, he enjoyed a comfortable existence with his wife and their children. They lived in a large villa in Saint-Maurice, Val-de-Marne. The family's prosperity was reduced during financial crisis in the 1920s and 1930s.
At the outbreak of World War II, Prince René tried to join the French Army, unable to do it, he traveled to Finland, where he volunteered for service with the Finnish army. He received a mission from the commander-in-chief, Field Marshal Baron Mannerheim, to acquire support for Finland from France and Italy, a task more suitable for him than fighting.
His three eldest children joined the allied effort. His sons, Jacques and Michel, fought in Europe and the Far east. His daughter, Anne, trained as a mechanic in Morocco. René's wife, Princess Margrethe, fled from the Nazis in 1939 and escaped to Spain. From there she went to Portugal and then to the United States. In September 1944, Prince René witnessed the liberation of Luxembourg, where his brother, Prince Felix, was the consort of Grand Duchess Charlotte.
After the war ended, Prince René settled with his wife in Denmark. In 1947, they took their daughter, Anne, to the wedding of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, both of which, like Princess Margrethe, were direct descendants of Christian IX of Denmark. At the wedding, Princess Anne met her future husband King Michael I of Romania.
In 1953, Prince Rene was halted by irate motorists for driving while intoxicated, according to a police statement. As a result, Frederick IX of Denmark forbade Rene from driving an automobile in Denmark for a year. Frederick apparently told Rene to find someone else to drive him if the Prince desired to travel somewhere within the year.
In 1964, Rene's eldest son, Prince Jacques, was killed. He was a motor sport enthusiast, and died in a traffic accident on a highway in Denmark. Rene himself died on 30 July 1962 at the age of 67.
Titles, styles and Honours
- 17 October 1894 – 30 July 1962: His Royal Highness Prince Rene of Bourbon-Parma.
- Duchy of Parma: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Saint Louis for Civil Merit.
- Denmark: Knight of the Order of the Elephant (09/06/1921).
- Lundy, Darryl. "The Peerage: René Carlo Maria Giuseppe di Borbone, Principe di Parma". Retrieved 18 August 2010.
- "Princess Soon to Marry Belongs to Danish Royalty", The Washington Post, 14 March 1921
- Finestone, p. 199.
- "Dane Prince Born in France", The Washington Post, Paris, 14 June 1922
- "Bourbon Prince to Fight For Finns", The New York Times, London, 9 February 1940
- "Danish Prince Marries", The New York Times, Copenhagen, 10 June 1947
- "King Forbids Prince to Drive For Year", The Washington Post, Copenhagen, 26 March 1953
- "Danish Prince is Killed", Tucson Daily Citizen, Copenhagen, 6 November 1964
- Finestone, Jeffrey (1981). The Last Courts of Europe: A Royal Family Album 1860-1914. London: J.M. Dent and Sons Ltd. ISBN 0-517-41472-4.