Monday, October 25, 2021

King Michael's statue unveiled in Sinaia


In Sinaia today, HM Margareta, Custodian of the Crown, and HRH Prince Radu of Romania unveiled a life-size statue of King Michael to commemorate the 100th anniversary of his birth.  Three of Her Majesty's younger sisters, HRH Princess Helen, HRH Princess Sophie, and HRH Princess Marie were also present at the ceremony.  

Princess Helen arrived in Romania several days ago for the centenary events.  Princess Sophie and Princess Marie both live in Romania.

The unveiling took place at the city center, in the park opposite Sinaia's City Hall.

all three photos @Daniel Angelescu/Romanian Royal House

The marriage of Prince Philippos of Greece and Denmark

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HRH Prince Philippos of Greece and Denmark, the youngest child of King Constantine II and Queen Anne Marie of the Hellenes Nina Nastassja Flohr were married on October 23 at the Metropolitan Cathedral.  This was the first royal wedding at the Cathedral since the marriage of King Constantine II and Princess Anne Marie of Greece and Denmark in 1964.

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 The couple was married in a civil ceremony in St. Moritz, Switzerland on December 12, 2020.

Princess Nina, 34, is the daughter of Thomas Flohr and Katharina Konečný. Flohr, a billionaire is the founder of VistaJet.  Her parents divorced when she was five.  Her mother was Faberge's creative and managing director until 2014.

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 The guests at the wedding included members of the Greek and Danish royal families, including King Constantine II (in a wheelchair),  Queen Anne Marie, Crown Prince Pavlos, and Crown Princess Marie Chantal and their five children, Princess Olympia, who was accompanied by her boyfriend, the Hon. Peregrine Pearson,  Prince Constantine-Alexios, Prince Achileas-Andreas, Prince Odysseas-Kimon, and, Prince Aristidis-Stavros, Princess Alexia and her husband Carlos Morales and their four children, Prince Nicholas and Princess Tatiana, and Princess Theodora, whose fiance Matthew Kumar, did not attend the wedding.

Other guests included three of his five surviving godparents, Princess Benedikte of Denmark (his aunt), Infanta Elena of Spain (first cousin), and Prince Kyril of Bulgaria.  His other two living godparents, King Juan Carlos of Spain and the Countess Mountbatten of Burma did not attend the wedding.   [Philippos' other two godparents were Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and Diana, Princess of Wales.]

Princess Benedikte was accompanied by her daughter, Princess Alexandra of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg and her husband Count Michael of Ahlefeldt-Laurvig-Bille. 

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Queen Sofia of Spain and her younger sister, Princess Irene of Greece and Denmark and their first cousin, Princess Tatiana Radziwill and her husband, Dr. John Fruchaud, were also at the wedding along with the Hereditary Prince and Princess of Hanover, Prince and Princess Christian of Hanover, Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank.

Philippos' nieces, Anna Maria and Amelia Morales y de Grecia were Nina's bridesmaids.

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Two receptions followed.  The first reception was held at the National Gymnastics Association and a more formal reception, hosted by the groom's parents, took place at the  Piraeus Yacht Club.

Prince Philippos is an Analyst at Ortelius Capital in New York, a firm that was co-founded by his brother, Prince Pavlos.  Princess Nina is the creative director of her father's firm, VistaJet.

King Michael - 100th centenary of His Birth.

The Times  October 27, 1926

Michael was born at the Foisor Hunting Lodge on the Sinaia estate, which includes Peles Castle and Pelisor, which is right next door.  The Foisor residence is older than both castles and served as the royal family's residence.  The property was not included when Peles and Pelisor were returned to King Michael.  

The lodge is owned by the Romanian Government and is not open to the public.

The young prince was born second in line to the throne after his father, Crown Prince Carol, who married Princess Helen of Greece and Denmark on March 10, 1921.   

The marriage soon foundered as Helen realized that Carol was never going to settle down and be a responsible and faithful husband, let alone a respectful heir to the throne. By 1925, he was involved with Elena Lupescu, and could not be persuaded to renounce their relationship.  Instead, he renounced his right to the throne and left Romania to live with Elena.  He was removed as a member of the Romanian Royal House.

It was 6-year-old Michael, not his father, who succeeded King Ferdinand, when he died on July 20, 1927.   A year later, Carol and Helen were divorced.   The regency that ruled in Michael's name proved to be ineffective, which lead to Carol returning to Romania as King on June 8, 1930.  

Michael was named as Crown Prince.   Although there were numerous press reports in the British and American press that led some people to believe that Carol and Helen would remarry and she would become Queen Consort.  This was far from the truth.  Elena Lupescu was never far from Carol's side and Helen, much loved and very popular in Romania, was forced by Carol to leave her adopted country and her son behind as she went to live in Italy.

Michael grew up with an indifferent father, who used his son as a weapon against Helen.  He eventually allowed Michael to spend more time with his mother.   It was a difficult situation for an impressionable and stoic young man who felt more freedom when spending time with his mother and her family. 

Carol II's position as king became precarious by the late 1930s.  In 1937, he abolished the 1923 Consitution and all political parties except for the National Renaissance Party, which tried to stand up to the growing power of the Iron Guard, a fascist organization.

The outbreak of World War II certainly changed the dynamics of Carol's reign.  The king had hoped for an alliance with Poland, but once that country fell to the Nazis, Carol had to change his strategy.  He had hoped for Romania to remain neutral but was a near impossibility when the Germans took control of France.

Carol made another mistake.  He decided to align with Germany, as he wanted an agreement from Germany that they would not invade Romania.  Unfortunately for Carol, he was unaware of several clauses in the Ribbentrop=Molotov agreement that led to the loss of substantial land (Bessarabia, Northern Bukovina, northern Transylvania, and Dobruja) to the Soviet Union,  Hungary, and Bulgaria.

[Today Bessarabia includes the republic of Moldova and a part of Ukraine,  as is northern Bukovina.  Northern Transylvania was returned to Romania in 1947.  Dobruja remains a part of Bulgaria.]

It must be said that Carol tried to balance his position between the Allies and the Nazis.  But it was for naught.  His prime minister Calinescu, who supported the Allies was assassinated by the Ion Guard.   There was also the battle for Romania's Ploesti oil fields that both sides wanted to control.   Carol called for higher taxes to pay for the defense of the country.  

But there was nothing the feckless king could do to save his kingdom after France had fallen to the Germans.  So what did Carol do?  He threw Romania's lot in with the Axis Powers and by May 1940, after Belgium fell to the Germans,  the king informed the Crown Council that they must support Germany because it will win the war.

Fed up with their duplicitous king, Romanians took to the streets to demand that Carol abdicate. Matters became worse when he named Iron; Guard's Ion Antonescu as his prime minister and transferred all of his dictatorial powers to him.   Romania was now fully entrenched within the fascist Axis control.   

Further demonstrations took place as Romanians did not support the new government or their king, who in a matter of weeks had lost a large chunk of Romanian land to the Soviets and oversaw the establishment of Antonescu's regime.    Carol abdicated on September 8, 1940.  He and Elena settled in Mexico and later in Portugal, where he died on April 4, 1953.

Michael, now nearly 19-years-od, was again King of Romania. One of the first things he did was to invite his mother to join him in Romania.  He never supported the Antonescu government and long for the day when he could show his support for the Allies.   It was only after the Axis troops were losing in the Romanian front that Michael and members of several political parties, including the communists, took part in a coup on August 23, 1944, that overthrew Ion Antonescu and his regime.   Michael quickly brought Romania into the Allied cause, but sadly, even tragically, this coup would also lead to the Communists taking control of the country only three years later.     

In October 1944, British Prime Minister Winston Church and Soviet leader Josef Stalin's agreement on Eastern Europe led to the Soviet Union having a "90's share of influence" in Romania.  

Soviet troops moved quickly into Romania. After the end of the war,  Michael was largely a figurehead king with the Soviet Union calling the shots.  Only a month after attending the wedding of Princess Elizabeth to Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark),  Michael was forced at gunpoint to abdicate.  He and Queen Helen and other members of the Romanian royal family went into exile.  

[Prince Philip, who was four months older than Michael, and Queen Helen were first cousins.  He and King Michael were childhood playmates.]

The Socialist Republic was established soon afterward.   In June 1948,  Michael married Princess Anne of Bourbon-Parma, whom he had met in London the previous November,   They lived in England for several years before finally settling in Switzerland, where they raised five daughters, HM Margareta, Custodian of the Crown,  Princess Helen, Princess Irina, Princess Sophie, and Princess Marie.   

After the fall of Ceausescu in 1989,  Michael attempted a return to his homeland only to be rebuffed and arrested.  It was not until 1997 that Emil Constantinescu's government restored the king's citizenship.  He was allowed to return to Romania.  Several years later,  Peles Castle, Pelesor, and  Săvârșin, all of which were privately owned by the king before 1947, were returned to him.

Queen Anne died on August 1, 2016.   Only 16 months after Anne's death, Michael who had been diagnosed with leukemia and other cancers died at his some in Arbonne, Switzerland.   He was 96 years old.  

The late king was accorded a state funeral. He and Queen Anne are buried in Curtea des Arges. 


the boy king
Michael and his father, King Carol II

King Michael and his American jeep
King George II with Princes Philip and Michael

Washington, D.C. 1991 @Marlene A. Eilers Koenig

Washington, D.C.  Photo by Marlene A. Eilers Koenig

Thursday, October 21, 2021

A night in the Throne room


Daniel Anglescu

all photos courtesy of HM Margareta

Scenes from the October 15 ceremonies at the Royal Palace (National Museum of Art), presented by HM Margareta Custodian of the Crown.  This is the former throne room.  The throne behind HM Margareta is King Michael's throne, which was found in 2020, restored and returned to its rightful place.   

  Her Majesty's official photographer, Daniel Angelescu, who sat next to me, received the Cross of the Royal House.

It was an emotional and amazing evening.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would receive an honor.

On Friday, October 15, 2021, at the Royal Palace in Bucharest, in the Throne Room, were distinguished institutions, organizations and personalities from Romania and the Republic of Moldova, around the centenary of the birth of King Michael I.

Her Majesty Margaret the Crown Custodian presided over four successive ceremonies, in which six royal scholarships, six High Patrons, seventeen Royal Supplier patents and twelve royal decorations were handed out. The ceremonies were attended by His Royal Highness Prince Radu and Her Royal Highness Princess Maria.

Her Majesty Margaret and Prince Radu awarded the following Royal Scholarships: 

  • King Ferdinand I Scholarship, Year I, to student Dumitru Stoica from the State University of Moldova;
  • Regina Maria Scholarship, Year I, to student Elena Malanici from the State University of Moldova;
  • King Mihai I Scholarship, Year II, to student Mihai Macovei from the University of Agronomic Sciences and Veterinary Medicine in Bucharest;
  • Regina Ana Scholarship, Year II, to student Ana-Maria Magdalena Popescu from the University of Agronomic Sciences and Veterinary Medicine in Bucharest;
  • King Mihai I Scholarship, Year II, to student Nicolai Ursatii from the State Agrarian University of Moldova;
  • Regina Ana Scholarship, Year II, to student Ana Vădănescu from the State Agrarian University of Moldova.

Her Majesty Margaret has awarded the High Patronage to the following organizations and events of an annual nature:

  • Asociației Memory and history of Romanian graves in France;
  • The Royal Club of Physicians;
  • Ploiești Jazz Festival;
  • Romanian Hospitality Awards.

His Royal Highness Prince Radu granted the High Patronage to the Military Tradition Association, and Her Royal Highness Princess Maria to the Association of Children in Difficulty.

The status of Royal Supplier has been renewed for the following companies:

  • Asigest - for insurance consulting services;
  • Beautik Parfumerie - for perfumes;
  • Purcari wineries - for Purcari wines;
  • Electrolux - for household appliances;
  • Event Stuff - for the logistics necessary to organize events;
  • Gealan Romania - for windows and PV profiles;
  • Help Net - for pharmaceutical services;
  • Luna Solai - for cold pressed oils;
  • Floral Art Pot - for floral arrangements;
  • Rue du Pain - for pastries.

New companies have received the quality of Supplier of the Royal House of Romania:

  • Anna Boutique - for manufactured products;
  • Camscape - for web hosting and email services;
  • Casa Auto Sebeş - for transport services with Mercedes vehicles;
  • Casa Auto Vâlcea - for Mercedes commercial vehicles, V Class;
  • Geysha Perfumery - for perfumes;
  • Profi Rom Food - for food and non-food products;
  • Promasibevent - for the production of promotional materials. 

Her Majesty the Custodian of the Crownr conferred the following royal decorations:

Royal Medal for Loyalty:

  • Doamnei Marlene A. Eilers Koenig;
  • Igor Vieru Academic High School of Arts in Chisinau;
  • Iasi National Athenaeum;
  • Mr. Ion Tucă.

Romanian Crown Custodian Medal:

  • Mr. Shajjad Rizvi 

Cross of the Royal House of Romania:

  • Mr. Daniel Angelescu;
  • Mr. Gabriel Badea Păun;
  • Mrs. Doina Gradea;
  • Mr. Ioan Silviu Lefter;
  • Corneliu Coposu Foundation;
  • His Holiness Bishop Macarie of Northern Europe;
  • To His Excellency Ambassador Ovidiu Dranga.

Queen Elizabeth II spent Wednesday night in the hospital


Council cannot ban "antisocial" Rowan Lascelles, nephew of Lord Harewood

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The Westminster Council has "failed in its attempt to ban" Rowan Nash Lascelles from the "borough after years of violence, threats, criminal damage, and racist behavior," reports The Times.

Lascelles, 43, is the son of the Hon. James Lascelles, whose late father, the 7th Earl of Harewood was Queen Elizabeth II's first cousin, and his first wife, Fredericka Duhrssen.

According to The Times,  the Westminster Council had applied for an order to bar Lascelles from the area due to his behavior as a "persistent offender."   Olwen Davies, the District Judge, denied the council's application stating an "order will not deter his entrenched criminality."

Every time the Council tried to place Lascelles in council housing, his "unreasonable behavior" would lead to another eviction.

He has been convicted for several "racially aggravated offenses." and has been banned from Sainbury's store in the Strand where he ranted against several members of the staff there screaming "Go back where you come from. I'm going to kick you out of the country. You're not English."

But it was Lascelles who would be kicked out of his previous accommodation at the King George's Hotel in Victoria, due to his antisocial behavior.  Lascelles is currently living in a hotel room in Victoria that is paid for by his father.

George Bossman, who is the coordinator for Westminster's homeless, told the Times that Lascelles "only viable alternative to homelessness in London," is a farm in France owned by his mother, Fredericka, and her second husband, Paddy Hayter, who are the co-founders of the Footsbarn  Traveling Theatre, in La Chaussée, Maillet, France.  Due to health concerns, Hayter is stepping down as the company's artistic director.

The Hayters have a "very, very big farm there and when he works there it calms him down. However, when he does not like something he gets extremely angry and abuses people and we need to put boundaries  in his place to control his behavior." Bossman said.    "There have been frightening, aggressive outbursts and racist behavior and he had been engaging in the illicit use of substances and buying it in Westminster."

According to Bossman, Rowan hangs out with drug users, especially those who are using Spice, a "form of synthetic marijuana.   "If this behavior continues in Westminster there could be a fatality," Bossman added.  "We have tried everything in the book to contain his behavior, with mental health and drug alcohol teams attempting to help him."

Judge Davies said Rowan is "either unable or unwilling to change and ignores the criminal law.  An order excluding him from Westminster would simply be ignored.  If he does not obey the law he will not obey a Criminal Behavior Order and simply offend in other London boroughs and transfer his misery to Camden or Wandsworth."

In 2019,  an arrest warrant was issued for Lascelles after he failed to turn up for trial in the City of London's Magistrate Court.  He had been "found guilty of "racially aggravated assault and aggravated threatening behavior,"   On June 18, 2019, Lascelles was outside the Hippodrome Casino where he was beaten by three homeless men.  Two of the casino's bouncers came to his aid, but instead of saying thank you, Lascelles "spat blood and saliva" at one of the doormen, asking if he were "fucking legal?"

Last December, Lascelles was convicted for a "third racial abuse crime" following his statements to Sainsbury's staff after his credit card had been declined. He told the staff members to "go back to where you came from."

Lascelles had spent two days in police custody before his first court appearance in November 2020.  He received a sentence to a 12 month Community Order which included Drug Rehabilitation requirements.  He was also given an  Executive Order barring him from entering Sainsbury's in the Strand for 12-months.

The judge told him to stay away from drugs, as "they'll mess with your brain. Hopefully, you will stay out of trouble for the next year."

The court's Probation officer told the Daily Mail that Lascelles claims that he has ADHD  which was triggered by "physical and violent abuse" by his stepfather, Paddy Hayter, during his childhood. Lascelles also blames "the emotional neglect" by his mother for his ADHD.

He also said he suffers from PTSD.

In December 2020,  Lascelles told the court that he hoped to join his mother in France "when he sorts his life out.."  He also said he had stopped smoking crack cocaine and heroin."

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 The Hon. James Lascelles. 68, is the second of three sons of George, the 7th Earl of Harewood (1923-2011), and his first wife, Marion Stein.  His older brother, David, is the 8th Earl of Harewood.

The late Lord Harewood was the elder of two sons of HRH Princess Mary, Princess Royal, only daughter of King George V and Queen Mary, and Henry Lascelles, 6th Earl of Harewood.  James married Frederika Duhrssen in 1973 in Wortham, Suffolk.  They had two children, Sophie and Rowan, before divorcing in 1985.  Most of their married life was spent living in a commune.  

 When Rowan was 18, he wanted to learn how to play the piano so he asked his grandmother, Marion Thorpe, a former concert pianist to teach him. "My father James plays the piano and I wanted to learn, so my grandmother agreed to teach me -- but I'm still a bit limited," Rowan told the Daily Mail's Nigel Dempster in April 1996.

James married his second wife, Lori "Shadow" Lee, a Native American,  in 1985, four years after the birth of their first child, a daughter, Tanit.  A son, Tewa, was born shortly after the couple's marriage.   

James and Lori divorced in 1996.  He has been married since 1999 to his third wife, the Nigerian-born Joy Elias-Rilwan.   James continues to be involved with music and is a member of a quartet, James Lascelles Talking Spirits.   He and his wife live in London.

The Earl of Harewood and his family are not members of the Royal Family although the present earl and his two younger brothers and their parents were included in the larger family events including the annual Trooping the Colour balcony appearances.  This ended in 1965 following the death of the Princess Royal.  Both of her sons were living apart from their first wives. The younger son, the Hon. Gerald Lascelles was already the father of a natural son, Martin, born in 1962.  Two years later, Lord Harewood became the father of a son, Mark, by Patricia Tuckwell.  They did not marry until 1967 following his contentious and public divorce from Marion Stein, who later married Liberal politician,  Jeremy Thorpe.  

Lord Harewood's divorce meant that he became a social pariah.  He was not invited to the funeral of his uncle, the Duke of Windsor, in 1972.   He and Lady Harewood were guests at the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer in July 1981.

Victoria - Edward - George - Mary - George - James - Rowan

Rowan Lascelles is the Duke of Cambridge's third cousin.


Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Romania Day one: a visit to Bran Castle

 Now back home after spending 5 days in Romania.  This was my third trip to the country, and my first overseas trip since January 2020, when I was in Bucharest for the 30th anniversary of HM Margareta's Custodian of the Crown's first visit to Romania.

I flew on British Airways to Heathrow and then onto Bucharest.  I stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn, which is located in Lipscani, the Old Town area of Bucharest.   Very convenient to good restaurants and a clinic for my Covid test, which I had to do the day after I arrived.  The hotel concierge recommended a clinic on Coltei street, just a few minutes away.  Convenient.  Cost me 199 Lei.  I had an 8:30 appointment and I had the result in less than 6 hours. Headed back to the hotel to grab my camera and a few other things, walk to the subway to go to the Gare de Nord train station, where I purchased a first-class round trip ticket to Brasov.  The cost of the ticket was about $24.00.  

A two hour train ride to Brasov, where I got a taxi to Bran (30 minutes).  Overcast, rainy day, which made the walk up the stone path to the castle a bit treacherous for me.   I had to show proof of vaccination (CDC card) at the ticke window.  

Castle Bran capitalizes on Dracula and Queen Marie and Princess Ileana.  The Castle's restaurant is closed due to COVID-19.   Plenty of visitors to the Castle, however.  I came home with a guidebook, a few postcards, a key ring, which will be turned into a Christmas ornament) and two fridge magnets, the castle and Queen Marie.

As the castle's restaurant is closed, I decided to have a late lunch in one of the local restaurants before getting a taxi back to the Brasvo train station. As I had nearly 2 hours to wait, I walked over to a local shopping center to have dessert at the Karma Lounge (on the top floor) before catching the train back to Bucharest.

Castle Bran was on my bucket list, now crossed off.  This was my third visit to Romania, and the third time was the charm.  

It rained every day ... from the time I got off the plane and until I got to the airport to return home ... rain. 

the new tourist attraction - a clinic where I got my PCR test

Archduchess Elisabeth, Archduke Dominic and Archduchess Maria Magdalena, the owners of Castle Bran.  The two archduchesses are deceased.

I bet the gardens look even nicer when the sun is shining

the stairs lead to the Music Hall

Being short does come in handy at times

the stairs to the entrance 

Hot chocolate and white chocolate cake