Happy Birthday to HM King Michael

HM King Michael of Romania and HM Queen Anne of Romania

HM King Michael of Romania and HM Queen Anne of Romania

I would like to wish HM King Michael of Romania a very happy 92nd birthday!

Below is an article published in Majesty Magazine, written by Diana Mandache and the undersigned, entitled “The History Maker”, with the occasion of His Majesty’s 90th birthday, evocating his exemplary, heroic life.

Valentin Mandache, expert in historic houses

King Michael, a great personality who has decisively influenced and determined the history of his country, survived a tumultuous period. His actions saved Romania from catastrophe during the Second World War, and his uncompromising moral stand throughout his life, however difficult the personal circumstances were, constitute a supreme example for his countrymen and the rest of the world.

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I endeavour through this series of periodic articles to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural history and heritage.

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If you plan acquiring or selling a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing and transacting the property, specialist research, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.

HM King Michael of Romania – 91st birthday, 25 October 2012

Today is the 91st birthday of HM King Michael of Romania!

Bellow is the article in the British monthly magazine “Majesty” published last year, authored by Diana and the undersigned celebrating His Majesty’s life and achievements:

Article on King Michael of Romania in Majesty Magazine with the occasion of his 90th birthday

Bellow is the article in the British monthly magazine “Majesty” published in their October 2011 issue, authored by Diana and the undersigned with the occasion of the celebration of King Michael of Romania‘s 90th birthday on 25 October last year.

Article on HM King Michael in the October ’11 issue of Majesty magazine

Majesty Magazine, October 2011 issue, front cover

Dear readers,

The British monthly magazine “Majesty” has just published a richly illustrated article written by Diana Mandache and the undersigned with the occasion of the celebration of King Michael of Romania‘s 90th birthday on 25 October. This is our humble homage to His Majesty’s remarkable life, personality and achievements, and of all what he represents for the identity and history of his country!

The magazine cover is presented in the first image here, while the second, bellow, shows the first text page of the article. Majesty magazine is for sale at good newsagents in the United Kingdom and in the larger US cities and other English speaking countries.

I would like to cite here, for you, two short excerpts from the article:

King Michael stands high among royals throughout the world for having fulfilled his mission to be an example to his people, and for courageously defending their freedom against the many vicissitudes that befell that part of Eastern Europe.

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King Michael, a great personality who has decisively influenced and determined the history of his country, survived a tumultuous period. His actions saved Romania from catastrophe during the Second World War, and his uncompromising moral stand throughout his life, however difficult the personal circumstances were, constitute a supreme example for his countrymen and the rest of the world.

Valentin Mandache, expert in Romania’s historic houses.

Majesty Magazine article dedicated to the celebration of HM King Michael of Romania 90th birthday, by Valentin and Diana Mandache, October 2011 issue

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I endeavour through this series of periodic articles to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural history and heritage.

***********************************************

If you plan acquiring or selling a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing and transacting the property, specialist research, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.

King Michael of Romania’s radio message broadcast on 24 February 1997 (via Diana Mandache’s Weblog)

I would like to invite you to listen to HM King Michael of Romania’s radio message to the nation, broadcast 14 years ago by Radio Free Europe, shortly before he was allowed to return to Romania by officially regaining the country’s citizenship, abusively withdrawn by the communist regime nearly five decades before, on 2 February 1948. It is a highly emotional instance to listen to such a remarkable personality that has suffered with such a high d … Read More

via Diana Mandache’s Weblog

King Michael of Romania’s Christmas 2010 Message (via Romania Altfel)

 

King Michael of Romania’s Christmas 2010 message (via Romania Altfel. A blog by Prince Radu of Romania)click the image above to access the article [in Romanian].

King Michael of Romania, Name Day 8 November 2010 (via Diana Mandache’s Weblog)

King Michael of Romania, Name Day 8 November 2010 HM King Michael is described by his grandson HRH Prince Nicholas of Romania, in an interview which I had the privilege to be given this summer, as “a legend, you can not describe in words the way my grandfather was, what he did and his character”. Today is ‘The King Michael I Medal for Loyalty’ day, which co … Read More

via Diana Mandache’s Weblog

HM King Michael of Romania: 89th Birthday Anniversary (via Diana Mandache’s Weblog)

A Very Happy Birthday to HM King Michael of Romania, 25 October 2010! HM King Michael of Romania celebrates today his 89th birthday! He is an example to follow by all his fellow countrymen of high moral standards and dignity in the face of vicious and continuous adversity endured throughout his life, a monarch and a human being to be respected by the generations to come! In my work over the years as a historian, I came across a great multitude of … Read More

via Diana Mandache’s Weblog

Queen Anne of Romania: 87th Birthday Anniversary

Queen Anne w. King Michael of Romania, Crown Princess Margarita

A very Happy Birthday to HM Queen Anne of Romania, 18 September 2010!

This post was initially been published on Diana Mandache’s blog on royal history.

I would like to extend my well wishes to Queen Anne for her birthday anniversary! Most of the heritage architecture of Bucharest and Romania has been created during the reign of the Romanian monarchs. The Royal Family represents the link with those achievements, cultivating with abnegation, through the work of its members, the appreciation of this country’s history. Queen Anne’s exemplary life, from her education and remarkable modesty in the spirit of the catholic church, to the meritorious service during the Second World War in the French Forces, and sacrifices endured with dignity during the long exile together with her husband, King Michael of Romania, is an ideal worth emulating for us all! VM

The Royal Antifascist Coup of 23 August 1944 in Romania

Michael of Romania by Ivor Porter – book cover

On 23 August 1944, King Michael of Romania led the antifascist against the pro-German government, by personally arresting the dictator, marshal Ion Antonescu, a war criminal responsible for the death of hundred of thousands of Romanian and Soviet Jews, who allied the country with Nazi Germany and took it into a hugely disastrous war against the Soviet Union where, by some reckonings, over half a million of Romanian soldiers perished senselessly. The subsequent communist government hijacked the significance of this day claiming the entire merit for themselves and declaring it as the National Day. Nowadays the event is largely forgotten or in the best case ignored by a population that has a low level of education and interest in history, reflected also in the wholesale destruction of the country’s architectural heritage for the purpose of crude property speculation. King Michael, by allying Romania with the democratic powers and the Soviet Union, ensured the shortening of the entire WWII with at least six months, according to western historians, and obtained a better deal for Romania in the subsequent peace negotiations.

In 2008 I published, in the academic magazine “Cold War History”, a review of one of the best books on those events and the personality of King Michael, written by Ivor Porter (“Michael of Romania: The King and the Country”), a former British special operative in those days, who participated directly at the events and is a close friend of His Majesty. He died in 2012 at the age of 98 after an eventful and exemplary life, here is his obituary in the Daily Telegraph). I am extremely fortunate and honoured to have met in the past decade both these two personalities in places like London or Bucharest. The book review below is my humble tribute to HM King Michael and his heroic deeds on this day in 1944:

Cold War History

Vol. 8, No. 4, November 2008, Routledge, pp. 564-565

Michael of Romania: The King and the Country, by Ivor Porter, Stroud, Sutton, 2005, xxi + 328pp.

The relevance of monarchies in modern South-East European history is a subject that is very much underrated by the Western specialists on the region. The Balkan monarchs made crucial contributions to the process of state and nation building and even today their pre-eminence is conspicuous in countries such as Romania, where the king is a public figure of highest moral integrity who saved the country from disaster in the Second World War, or in Bulgaria, where the monarch became one of the prime ministers after the fall of communism. In this timely book Ivor Porter charts the life of King Michael of Romania with great skill and in-depth understanding. Through eloquent personal accounts and historical records from the king’s personal archive he shows how very much the life of the sovereign was intertwined with the history of his country. The author knows Romania intimately, being well known for his activity as a British special operations executive operative in the country and later as a staff member of the Allied Control Commission in Bucharest.

The book is thus an important witness statement that throws new light on the onset of the Cold War in Romania and South-East Europe. The author shows that the communitisation of the country started with the direct Western approval, and also because of Allied’s unwarranted trust in the Soviet Union, coupled with hesitation at every step, mirroring in many aspects the behaviour toward Hitler before the war. Moscow did not display such niceties and went straight for the jugular in order to achieve its objectives. In Romania there was room for manoeuvre against the Soviet plans in 1945–46, but the opportunity to act was lost because of West’s procrastination. The Russians, unlike the Western Allies, expertly knew the problems of Romania and were able to exploit them in full, as shown by the restoration of Transylvania to Romania as a powerful bargaining argument securing the country’s cooperation.

King Michael of Romania and Queen Mother Helen – Diana Mandache collection

King Michael stands apart as a moral beacon in the middle of his country’s tragedies. Even in 1943 he made a public call for the country to extricate itself from the war, causing panic among the pro-German leadership. His greatest accomplishment was the coup of 23 August 1944, when with immense courage and vision he crucially instrumented the overthrow the pro-German dictatorship, with the effect that Romania immediately joined the Allies’ cause. The country thus avoided an imminent catastrophe, and according to western sources, the king’s action shortened the war by six months. That is a most remarkable achievement, even more so for a 23-year-old monarch, revealed by the fact that the army and administration followed their sovereign unwaveringly. That brought him and Romania the esteem of the Allies, well expressed in Churchill’s instruction to the British representatives in Bucharest: ‘stick to the boy’ (p. 130). The Soviets were conscious of his popularity among the people and even decorated the king with the Order of Victory, the highest Soviet honour given to only five foreigners, among them General Eisenhower. Uniquely in Cold War Europe, this resulted in three years of uneasy cohabitation between the king and a Soviet-imposed government led by the communists, with the Red Army present all over the country.

A great merit of this book lies in confirming the continuity between the successive dictatorships that plagued Romania in the twentieth century – beginning with the royal dictatorship of King Carol II, Michael’s father, continued by the wartime fascist-military one of Marshal Antonescu, and culminating in the communist totalitarianism. There was not only continuity of methods and motifs, but also of individuals involved at all levels in propping up these successive dictatorships with equal zeal. Through his actions King Michael interrupted that vicious cycle for a very brief period, and after his forced abdication he became a symbol of democracy and hope for most Romanians in the decades to come. Even after 1989 the crypto-communists that came to power continued to put up obstacles to his definitive return home. He was allowed to reside in Romania again and regain his citizenship only in 1997, once the country made a decisive break with the legacy of the Cold War, when for the first time the opposition gained power through democratic elections. The book thus makes it abundantly clear why we need to investigate seriously the royal history of South-East Europe in order to enhance our understanding of the Cold War problems in that often unstable region of the world. © Valentin Mandache

The Romanian Royal Standard

Most of the period architecture of Romania has been built during the reign of the Romanian kings Carol I, Ferdinand, Carol II and Michael in a period spanning from the mid c19th until mid c20th. The Royal Standard has been a familiar presence on the skyline of Bucharest and many other cities during that time, indicating the presence of the sovereign there. The flag was forbidden in Romania during the communist dictatorship and the first years of post-communist transition when the country was led by a second generation of communist apparatchiks. Here is a short contemporary video, filmed in 2010, of that flag (a model that dates from the 1920s) waving graciously again from atop of the Elisabeta Palace in Bucharest indicating that HM King Michael is in residence there.