Wednesday, March 10, 2010

King Michael arrives in New York

March 10, 1948

Former King Michael of Roumania arrived today in New York. He and his mother, Queen Helen, had traveled aboard the Queen Elizabeth. This is their first visit to the United States.
Michael, who still considers himself the "rightful ruler of Romania," was "poised and smiling," as he answered questions from about 150 reporters and photographers, reported the AP.
He indicated that he hoped to marry Princess Anne of Bourbon-Parma, acknowledging the religious issues. The princess is Roman Catholic, and Michael is a member of the Orthodox church. He also believes that he will "eventually regain his throne." Most of the questions were about how he would "attain his aims." The king, smiling, said "I wouldn't know."
Michael and his mother will be in the United States for about three weeks, but they do not have a defined itinerary set up.
Michael was asked if Romanian Communists forced his abdication. His answer was an emphatic "Yes." Another reporter asked if ope Pius XII's refusal to allow Anne to marry Michael would prevent the marriage from taking place.
"I'll have to get back first and ask her. We hope to be married in Copenhagen but we don't know when."
Michael referred to the meeting between the Pope and Queen Helen and Princess Margarethe, as a "court call, one of courtesy, and there was no question of a dispensation."
He was also asked if war was the only way to rid Romania of communism. Michael answered: "Not in the present circumstances."
Michael and Helen left Romania with only "personal belongings" and little money. He was asked if he would look for a job and "whether he would like something connected with mechanics."
"Well, I've driven an automobile since I was young." Queen Helen then interjected: "Yes, he has frightened the wits out of me since he was 6 years old."
"I hope to visit industrial plants in this country, but I do not know where. I hope to visit the middle west if I have enough time."
Michael also said that "he wanted to know the Americans." He added that he wanted to visit the United Nations, meet with Romanians who are in the United States, and he "would welcome the opportunity" to meet with officials in Washington. Michael said that he had not thought about establishing a government-in-exile, although Gen. Nicholas Radescu, the former Prime Minister of Romania, "led a delegation of Rumanian-Americans down the bay to greet" Michael. In Roumanian, the general said that he "believed the young king would be a rallying figure for the people of Rumania here."
The king said he did not see any Russians on the day he abdicated. The press wanted to know if he left voluntarily or was he "forced out" after Petru Groza, Romania' premier "insisted on the abdication?"
He responded" "They didn't say it, but it felt like that." He did not believe that Groza was a "loyal Rumanian," but declared that "all the Rumanian people, in his opinion, were loyal to their King."
Michael was also asked about the Foreign Minister, Ana Pauker, a committed Communist. Michael smiled when he was asked if Ana was a cruel woman? His retort: "look at her photograph."
The interview took place in the ship's veranda grill, "where tables had been removed and chairs of arranged for the interview." When the interview was over, the king "admitted with a rueful smile that he had never experienced such a press interview before," the New York Times reported. No, nothing, "of this kind," Michael said.

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