Princess Ileana of Romania

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Princess Ileana
Archduchess Ileana of Austria, Princess of Hungary, Croatia, and Bohemia
Printesa Ileana de Romania.jpg
Spouse Archduke Anton of Austria, Prince of Tuscany
Dr. Stefan Nikolas Issarescu
Issue Archduke Stefan
Archduchess Maria Ileana
Archduchess Alexandra
Archduke Dominic
Archduchess Maria Magdalena
Archduchess Elisabeth
House House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen
House of Habsburg-Lorraine
Father Ferdinand of Romania
Mother Marie
Born (1909-01-05)5 January 1909
Bucharest, Romania
Died 21 January 1991(1991-01-21) (aged 82)
Youngstown, Ohio, US
Religion Romanian Orthodox
Romanian Royalty
House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen
House of Romania
Carol I
Princess Elisabeth of Wied
Princess Maria
Ferdinand I
Princess Marie of Edinburgh
Carol II
Elisabeth, Queen of the Hellenes
Maria, Queen of Yugoslavia
Nicholas, Prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen
Princess Ileana
Prince Mircea
Carol II
Princess Helen of Greece and Denmark
Michael I
King Michael I
Princess Anne of Bourbon-Parma
Crown Princess Margareta
Princess Elena
Princess Sophie
Princess Maria
Prince Nicholas

Princess Ileana of Romania (also Mother Alexandra) (5 January 1909 – 21 January 1991) was the youngest daughter of King Ferdinand I of Romania, and his consort Queen Marie of Romania. She was a great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria and of Czar Alexander II. She was born Her Royal Highness Ileana, Princess of Romania, Princess of Hohenzollern. After marriage she was known as Her Imperial and Royal Highness, Ileana, Archduchess of Austria, Princess Imperial of Austria, Princess Royal of Hungary and Bohemia, Princess of Tuscany, Princess of Romania, Princess of Hohenzollern.

Birth and early life[edit]

Ileana was born in Bucharest on 5 January 1909, the youngest daughter of Queen Marie of Romania and King Ferdinand I of Romania. Although it was rumored that Ileana's true father was her mother's lover, Prince Barbu Ştirbey, the king admitted paternity. Ileana had four older siblings: Carol, Elisabeth – later Crown Princess of Greece, Princess Maria – later Queen of Yugoslavia – and Nicholas. Her younger brother Mircea was also claimed to be the child of Prince Ştirbey even though the king also claimed to be his father.

Girl Guiding[edit]

Before her marriage, Ileana was the organizer and Chief of the Romanian Girl Guide Movement.

Later Princess Ileana was involved in Guiding in Austria and served as president of the Austrian Girl Guides[1][2] from 1935 until Girl Guiding and Scouting were banned in 1938 after the Anschluss.

Other achievements[edit]

Ileana was the organizer of the Girl Reserves of the Red Cross, and of the first school of Social Work in Romania.

She was an avid sailor: she earned her navigator's papers, and owned and sailed the "Isprava" for many years.

Before King Michael's abdication[edit]


In Sinaia on 26 July 1931, Ileana married the Archduke Anton of Austria, Prince of Tuscany. This marriage was encouraged by Ileana's brother, King Carol II, who was jealous of Ileana's popularity in Romania and wanted to get her out of the country.[3] After the wedding, Carol claimed that the Romanian people would never tolerate a Habsburg living on Romanian soil, and on these grounds refused Ileana and Anton permission to live in Romania.[3]

After her husband was conscripted into the Luftwaffe, Ileana established a hospital for wounded Romanian soldiers at their castle, Sonneburg, outside Vienna, Austria. She was assisted in this task by her friend Sheila Kaul. In 1944, she and the children moved back to Romania, where they lived at Bran Castle, near Brasov.[4] Archduke Anton joined them but was placed under house arrest by the Red Army. Princess Ileana established and worked in another hospital in Bran village, which she named the Hospital of the Queen's Heart in memory of her beloved mother Queen Maria of Romania.

After exile[edit]

After Michael I of Romania abdicated, Ileana and her family were exiled from the newly Communist Romania. They escaped by train to the Russian sector of Vienna, then divided into three parts. After that they settled in Switzerland, then moved to Argentina and in 1950, she and the children moved to the United States, where she bought a house in Newton, Massachusetts.

The years from 1950 to 1961 were spent lecturing against communism, working with the Romanian Orthodox Church in the United States, writing two books: I Live Again, a memoir of her last years in Romania,[5] and Hospital of the Queen's Heart, describing the establishment and running of the hospital.

On 29 May 1954, Ileana and Anton officially divorced and she married secondly in Newton, Massachusetts, on 20 June 1954, to Dr. Stefan Nikolas Issarescu (Turnu-Severin, 5 October 1906 – Providence, 21 December 2002).

In 1961, Princess Ileana entered the Orthodox Monastery of the Protection of the Mother of God, in Bussy-en-Othe, France. Her second marriage ended in divorce in 1965. On her tonsuring as a monastic, in 1967, Sister Ileana was given the name Mother Alexandra. She moved back to the United States and founded the Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration in Ellwood City, Pennsylvania, the first English language Orthodox monastery in North America. She was the third female descendant of Queen Victoria to become a Mother Superior in a convent of her own foundation. She served as abbess until her retirement in 1981, remaining at the monastery until her death.

She visited Romania again in 1990, at the age of 81 in the company of her daughter, Sandi.

In January 1991, she suffered a broken hip in a fall on the evening before her eighty-second birthday, and while in hospital, suffered two major heart attacks. She died four days after the foundations had been laid for the expansion of the monastery.

Family history[edit]

Doubts about paternity[edit]

There is some doubt about Ileana's true paternity. It has been suggested[who?] that Ileana's biological father was actually Prince Barbu Ştirbey, but this, according to Hannah Pakula's biography of her mother, Queen Marie (The Last Romantic) appears to be simply rumor.


Ileana and Anton had six children; they were raised in the Roman Catholic faith of her husband and of the country:

  • Stefan of Austria (5 August 1932 – 12 November 1998)
  • Archduchess Maria Ileana of Austria (Minola) (18 December 1933 – 11 January 1959); married Count Jaroslaw Kottulinsky, Baron von Kottulin (3 January 1917 – 11 January 1959), and had one daughter:
    • Countess Maria Ileana Kottulinsky, Baroness von Kottulin (Mino) (25 August 1958 – 13 October 2007); married Jonkheer Noel van Innis (born 15 December 1939) on 10 October 1997.
  • Archduchess Alexandra of Austria (Sandi) (born 21 May 1935); married Duke Eugen Eberhard of Württemberg, son of Princess Nadezhda of Bulgaria (born 2 November 1930) on 3 September 1962 and had no issue. They divorced in 1972 and she married Victor, Baron von Baillou (born 27 June 1931) on 22 August 1973 and had no surviving issue.
  • Archduke Dominic of Austria (Niki) (born 4 July 1937), inheritor of Bran Castle; married Engel von Voss (31 March 1937 – 27 September 2000) on 11 June 1960, and had two sons. He divorced her in 1999 and married Emmanuella Mlynarski (born 14 January 1948) on 14 August 1999.
    • Count Sandor von Habsburg (born 13 February 1965); married Priska Vilcsek (born 18 March 1959) on 15 May 2000, and had one son. He divorced her on 22 December 2009 and married Herta Öfferl on 24 December 2010.
      • Count Constantin von Habsburg (born 11 July 2000)
    • Count Gregor von Habsburg (born 20 November 1968); married Jacquelyn Frisco (born 17 November 1965) on 13 August 2011.
  • Maria Magdalena of Austria (Magi) (born 2 October 1939); married Hans Ulrich, Baron von Holzhausen (born 1 September 1929) on 27 August 1959, and had three children:
    • Johann Friedrich Anton, Baron von Holzhausen (born 29 July 1960 in Salzburg, Austria), married Brunilda Castejón-Schneider (born 14 July 1962 in Madrid, Spain) on 23 September 2001 in Wartberg, Germany, and had one son:
      • Laurenz, Baron von Holzhausen (born 21 June 2001 in Vienna, Austria)
    • Georg Ferdinand, Baron von Holzhausen (born 16 February 1962 in Salzburg, Austria), married Elena, Countess von und zu Hoensbroech (born 1 May 1965) on 30 April 1993 in Vienna, Austria, and had three children:
      • Alexander von Holzhausen (born 28 November 1994 in Vienna, Austria)
      • Tassilo von Holzhausen (born 4 May 1997 in Vienna, Austria)
      • Clemens von Holzhausen (born 26 April 2003 in Vienna, Austria)
    • Alexandra Maria, Baroness von Holzhausen (born 22 January 1963 in Salzburg, Austria), married Christian Ferch (born 4 August 1959 in Salzburg, Austria) on 2 July 1985 in Salzburg, Austria, and had four children:
      • Ferdinand Georg Botho Ferch (born 17 October 1986 in Salzburg, Austria)
      • Leopold Anton David Ferch (born 18 August 1988 in Gmunden, Austria)
      • Benedikt Peter Nikolaus Ferch (born 22 March 1993 in Munich, Germany)
      • Elisabeth Patricia Katharina Ferch (born 23 February 1995 in Munich, Germany)
  • Elisabeth of Austria (Herzi) (born 15 January 1942), married Dr. Friedrich Josef Sandhofer (born 1 August 1934 in Salzburg, Austria) on 3 August 1964 in Mondsee, Austria, and had four children:
    • Anton Dominic Sandhofer (born 26 October 1966 in Salzburg, Austria), married Katarzyna Marta Wojkowska (born 23 November 1962 in Warsaw, Poland) on 29 May 1983, and had one son:
      • Dominik Alexander Sandhofer (born 7 January 1994 in Innsbruck, Austria)
    • Margareta Elisabeth Sandhofer (born 10 September 1968 in Innsbruck, Austria), married Ernst Helmut Klaus Lux (born 13 September 1954 in Graz, Austria) on 20 June 1992, and had two sons:
      • Maurito Maria Ernst Lux (born 29 April 1999 in Vienna, Austria)
      • Dorian Augustinius Maria Lux (born 12 May 2001 in Vienna, Austria)
    • Andrea Alexandra Sandhofer (born 13 December 1969 in Innsbruck, Austria), married Jörg Michael Zarbl (born 25 September 1970 in Vienna, Austria) on 30 August 1996 and had two sons:
      • Ferdinand Hans Friedrich Konstantin Maria Zarbl (born 8 December 1996 in Salzburg, Austria)
      • Benedikt Bonifatius Maria Manfred Rainer Zarbl (born 19 February 1999)
    • Elisabeth Victoria Madgalena Sandhofer (born 16 November 1971 in Innsbruck, Austria), unmarried and without issue.

Major family events[edit]

  • In 1954, her marriage to Anton ended in divorce. Later that year, she married Dr. Stefan Nikolas Issarescu in Newton, Massachusetts.
  • Eldest son Stefan suffered a debilitating illness in 1959 which required extensive nursing, which his wife and his mother provided.
  • Eldest daughter Marie Ileana and her husband were killed in a plane crash in Brazil, along with their unborn second child. They left an infant daughter.
  • Son Dominic was awarded retroactive rights to Bran Castle in May 2006 by the Romanian authorities as inheritance from his mother Ileana.

Honours and awards[edit]

National dynastic honours
National state honours
Foreign honours
National awards
Foreign awards



  1. ^ Pribich, Kurt (2004). Logbuch der Pfadfinderverbände in Österreich (in German). Vienna: Pfadfinder-Gilde-Österreichs. p. 279. 
  2. ^ Pribich, Kurt (2004). Logbuch der Pfadfinderverbände in Österreich (in German). Vienna: Pfadfinder-Gilde-Österreichs. p. 106. 
  3. ^ a b Pakula, Hannah (1985). The last romantic : a biography of Queen Marie of Roumania. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 0-297-78598-2. 
  4. ^ Middleton, Christopher (11 May 2014). "Buy a stake in Dracula’s castle". Daily Telegraph. 
  5. ^ Complete text of I Live Again from the Internet Archive
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  7. ^ a b c d
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External links[edit]