New exhibition by HRH The Princess Sophie of Romania

Following the success H.R.H. The Princess Sophie enjoyed during her exhibitions during the summers of 2011 and 2012 at the Chateau de Tronjoly, Her Royal Highness will be showing again. This new exhibition will run the entire month of March and will concentrate on the Breton landscapes in the style that her clients have become familiar with and from which Princess Sophie has gained much success. This is the first Exhibition of the year that The Princess will be having, but not the last. Her Royal Highness has started a busy year and is pursuing several projects, one of which is a second exhibition for 2013 running the months of May and June.

ASR Principesa Sofia a Romaniei: Noua Expozitie Fotografica – martie 2013

The announcement is rebloged from Royal History – Diana Mandache’s 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:

Princess’ Nest: a royal tree house in the Transylvanian Alps

Princess’ Nest, Princess Marie of Romania’s tree house in Sinaia. Old post-card (1900s), Valentin and Diana Mandache collection.

Queen Marie of Romania is well known for her multiple artistic qualities, ranging from writing, furniture design to theatre. She also indulged in architectural pursuits, especially in matters of interior design (see her remarkable creations at Pelishor Castle in the Transylvanian Alps for example) or gardening, ideas which she condensed in an interesting essay published in the 1920s, entitled “My Dream-Houses“. Somehow less known is a peculiar tree house structure, illustrated in the old post-card above, built following Marie’s detailed specifications, which she used for recreation in the years when was a crown princess of the Romanian Kingdom. It was known as “Princess’ Nest”, located on the property of the grand Pelesh Royal Castle in Sinaia. Bellow is the finest description of this phantasy house, which I so far found  in my research, by Maude Parkinson, an expert gardener from England who worked for many years in the service of the Romanian Royal House:

In the neighbouring forest Princess Marie, as she then was, had a “Crusoe” constructed. I understand that she adopted the idea from a celebrated arboreal restaurant in the Forest Fontainebleau, which is named after the castaway of Juan Fernandez.

A strong wooden platform was constructed amongst the trees at a considerable height from the ground, and upon this was built a house consisting of two rooms, a kitchen, and a salon.

The kitchen is fitted up with everything necessary for cooking simple dishes or preparing tea. The salon is very prettily furnished, and books in plenty, drawing and painting materials, etc., are always to be found there.

The Queen only takes her special friends to visit her “Crusoe” and a very charming retreat it is. The windows and open door command a most beautiful view. Access to the “Crusoe” is gained by means of a ladder with wide steps, which is let down when required. When the visitors are safely up, they remain there shut in three sides by foliage and cut off from communication with the world bellow save by telegraph, for a wire connects it with the palace. Nothing disturbs the perfect calm and quiet at such a height, and many pleasant hours have been spent by her Royal Highness and a chosen few in that little nest. Nest is indeed the word, for that is the meaning of the Roumanian name “cuib” by which the retreat is generally known.

Maude Parkinson, “Twenty years in Roumania”, London 1921

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.

HRH The Princess Sophie of Romania and her Deep Love for Photography

This article has initially been published in Diana Mandache’s blog on Royal History.

Romania tomorrow, 10 May 2011, celebrates 130 years since the coronation of King Carol I and Queen Elizabeth as the first sovereigns of the Kingdom of Romania, an event which marked the inauguration of the most prosperous period in the country’s history, an era when a majority of its historic architecture edifices were built. That epoch of great achievements and organic development was cut short by the communist takeover of December 1947, which gave way to a long and catastrophic decline from which the country has not yet recovered.

Courtesy of HRH Princess Sophie of Romania

H.R.H. The Princess Sophie of Romania is the fourth daughter of King Michael of Romania. She goes by “Sophie de Roumanie” professionally. Princess Sophie studied Fine Arts at the University of North Carolina, Asheville, and Graphic Design and Photography at the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington, D.C.

After several years of working and exhibiting her art successfully on both sides of the Atlantic, Princess Sophie’s life changed radically in 1989 with the fall of communism in Romania.

She committed herself to assisting the people of Romania, especially the children, in their struggle to emerge from decades of tyranny.

Princess Sophie’s first book, a collection of stories for children was published in Romania in 1995, (Copilul Soarelui – Editura Dali) and she donated all the proceeds to the Princess Margarita of Romania Foundation of which she was Vice-President.

Over the years, Princess Sophie has dedicated herself to refining her photography. She currently lives in France with her daughter where she pursues her craft full time. Princess Sophie sells her art online, through private commissions and exhibitions.
Along with several other talented artists, Her Royal Highness will be exhibiting some of her photographs at the Château de Tronjoly in Brittany. The exhibition runs from the 4th to the 13th June 2011.
Princess Sophie has also published two photography books, on sale exclusively online, one of which is the first of a series:
“Along The Flowers’ Way”
An uplifting bilingual English and French book. Delightful in its simplicity. The perfect combination of inspirational words and gentle close-up photographs of the flowers around us. So often we are in such a rush in life that we do not take the time we need to stand and stare, to ponder our direction. A breath of fresh air in our eternal hurry to get through each day.
In « Along The Flowers’ Way » we have the perfect inspirational book for that special gift, or to place in a corner of your home where a page can be turned in a quiet moment, giving your day that special uplift. The nod, the smile that makes life worthwhile.
Further titles in this series are forthcoming.
“When Nature Calls”

H.R.H The Princess Sophie of Romania, who goes by “Sophie de Roumanie” professionally, is deeply passionate and committed to her craft. Whether it is a photograph of the dawn shrouded in a foggy mist or the quiet expression on a cat’s face, Sophie’s photographs are magical and enchanting, and they touch the hearts of those who view them.
Nature is a treasure trove of wonderment. Most people don’t take the time to stop and see all the beauty in nature that surrounds us. Yet through Princess Sophie’s photographs, we have the privilege to see the intriguing, elusive and mysterious beauty that nature holds. Her Royal Highness hopes that through her photographs we will be reminded of just how precious nature is.
“When Nature Calls” is an exclusive collection of some of Princess Sophie’s photographs taken over the last 3 years, along with complementary quotes introducing each section of the book.

For further information on these books and on the Princess’ exhibition, please visit her blog:


All rights reserved Diana Mandache’s Weblog: Royal History

Soon to be published… (via Jurnal de istoric)

From the royal historian Diana Mandache- a new book soon to be printed in Sweden and distributed in many West European countries and on the North American continent- it contains the correspondence between Marie Alexandrovna, Grand Duchess of Russia, Duchess of Edinburgh and of  Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and her daughter Marie, the Crown Princess of Romania.

In curand... … noua mea carte ‘Dearest Missy’ per aspera… … Read More

via Jurnal de istoric

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

The White Hall, Cotroceni Royal Palace, Bucharest

The White Hall, Cotroceni Royal Palace, Bucharest

An inclusive descritpion, in Romanian, by the historian Diana Mandache (Fotescu), written in 1992, of the White Hall from Cotroceni Royal Palace in Bucharest. The hall is known today as Cerchez Hall after the architect who re-designed it in the 1920s. The great reception room became a source of inspiration for architects who applied its design principles to  their inter-war Neo-Romanian style projects.


I endeavor through this daily series of daily 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 a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing the property, specialist research, planning permissions, restoration project management, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.

Exclusive Interview with the Crown Princess Margarita of Romania (via Jurnal de istoric)

For those of you who speak or read Romanian, this is an interview taken by my wife, the historian Diana Mandache.

via Jurnal de istoric

Bucharest recovers its royal past: the equestrian statue of King Carol I

The statue of King Carol I, the sovereign who modernised Romania on European lines from a backwater Ottoman province and won the country’s independence on the battlefield has been put back in its former place in front of the Royal Palace in Bucharest after a seven decade absence. The original statue was the master-work of the famous Croatian/ Yugoslav sculptor Ivan Mestovic and has been inaugurated on 10 May 1939, the National Day of Romania that celebrated the day when Carol I first arrived in Bucharest from Germany in 1866 as the newly appointed Prince of the Danubian Principalities of Moldova and Wallachia. The statue has been pulled down by the communist government in 1948, a few months after the forced abdication of the King Michael, in a barbaric show of force using tanks to tear down the structure. Its bronze is said to have been used in the construction of the statue of Lenin that has stood until 1990 in front of the Casa Scanteii (the communist press house), when this was in its turn pulled down by an enraged Bucharest population in the aftermath of the 1989 anti-communist revolution. The actual statue is a loose replica of the original one, by the sculptor Florin Codre. There were controversies with the descendants of Ivan Mestrovic regarding the copyrights for this artistic master-work, which seems to have been ironed out in negotiations and compensations by the Bucharest mayoralty. I assisted on 6 Dec 2010 at the re-inauguration ceremony of this monument; bellow is a video and a photograph from that event.

PS I had the great honour to be contacted by Mrs Rumiana Mestrovic, the daughter-in-law of the great Croatian sculptor. Please read the comments section, where Mrs Mestrovic expounds her qualified view on the controversies and awkward copyright issues raised by the production of the present monument and also about the many apparent blunders committed by the Romanian government and Bucharest authorities in communicating with the descendants and copyright holders of Ivan Mestrovic’s creations. It is indeed clear that the present statue is unfortunately a recycled concoction of the the original inter-war monument, put together by the Romanian sculptor Florin Codre. The Romanian authorities, who in general are a poorly cultured lot, products of the low quality education system of Romania, have once again managed to mess up an event that if organised properly, without the usual associated corruption and clan politics, would have been so auspicious in recovering the identity and memory of this city.

The equestrian statue of King Carol I re-inaugurated in Bucharest on 6 Dec 2010. (©Valentin Mandache)


Old photograph from the early 1940s: the equestrian statue of King Carol I by Ivan Mestrovic

This post has initially been published on Diana Mandache’s blog on Royal History:

Book launch event: “Royal Cookbook” by Princess Margarita of Romania

HRH Princess Margarita of Romania has launched last Saturday, at the “Gaudeamus book fair” in Bucharest, among a wide acclaim from the public and considerable interest from the press, her new book on culinary subjects. The volume is entitled “Royal Cookbook” [“Carte regala de bucate” in Romanian] and is produced by the Curtea Veche publishing house.

"Royal Cookbook" by Princess Margarita of Romania

The book is a true work of love, the result of personal searches, culinary experiences, encounters and contributions from an important number of European royals with whom the Princess is related or in close friendship. The great distinction of this volume is represented by the small vignettes charmingly portraying its contributors, people from the immediate family like HM King Michel, HM Queen Anne and HRH Prince Radu’s mother to Archduke Georg of Austria or Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan. The vignettes interposed between enticing cooking recipes are excellent devices for communicating to the reader the culinary tastes and firsthand glimpses of the daily life and aspirations of HRH Princess Margarita’s family and friends. I very much like the concise and precise writing style of the author, which makes the book a breeze to read and reveals without doubt the leadership genes shared by the princess with her ancestors, distinguished sovereigns of Romania. The Curtea Veche publishing house is to be commended for its acumen in publishing this wonderful book.

"Royal Cookbook" by Princess Margarita of Romania

Sharing and talking about food is one of the most convivial human activities, which bring together groups and individuals, managing to break otherwise insurmountable barriers between them. Through this brilliant book, written in a straight forward manner, communicating with ease its hospitality message, the Romanian Royal House has scored very high mark public relations points, which in the more usual daily life circumstances would have necessitated a considerably greater effort and expense. The volume thus represents a direct link with the public that brings the monarchy closer to the people, further blowing away the smokescreen put between them by the uncongenial press and politicians.

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Diana and I were among the numerous public that listened to the introductory speech of HRH Princess Margarita at the book fair. The area occupied by the bookstands seemed too small to hold such an enthusiastic crowd that surged forward, with people stepping over each others’ toes to catch a glimpse of the author and get an autograph. As historians, we had thus a delightful opportunity to feel and observe at first hand the huge interest and positive emotion generated by this remarkable event.

Valentin Mandache

Exclusive interview with Prince Nicholas of Romania, soon in ‘RDQ’ by Diana & Valentin Mandache (via Diana Mandache’s Weblog)

Exclusive interview with Prince Nicholas of Romania, soon in 'RDQ' by Diana & Valentin Mandache The Royalty Digest Quarterly will publish in its December issue (4/2010) an insightful interview with HRH Prince Nicholas of Romania, entitled "I see Romania as one big history lesson", in which he speaks about his country, education, his famous grandfather- HM King Michael, plans for the future. Interviewers: Diana Mandache & Valentin Mandac … Read More

via Diana Mandache's Weblog

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