Friday, March 25, 2016

More from Nicholas' interview

More from Ion Cristoiu's interview with Nicholas Medforth-Mills, published today.  I used Google translate from Romanian to English.

Mr. Cristoiu asked Nicholas about the Romanian media, especially the tabloid press, and the Royal Family.  He wanted to know if the media was too reverent toward the Royal Family or if the family avoid scandal.

"I think it is a combination of these two aspects.  Many people do show respect for the Royal Family as it is one of the institutions with a positive and clean image due to it activity in Romania and abroad through scholarship, diplomacy, etc."

He added that "fame is a relative notion.  You can be famous just because you are visible, just because you want to be visible.  But you can also do remarkable things without the media seeing you as a celebrity.  When I came to the country, I became visible, and I did things of interest to me: concretely and constructively in the cultural and educational environment of Romania."

Although Nicholas, as a Prince of Romania - and recognized as such within the country -- he accepted that a part of his life would be in the public arena.  But he was also determined to "keep a part of me" private with his family and friends.

Cristoiu's mentioned that when Nicholas' discomfiture was made public, there were references to his great-grandfather, Carol II.   Did King Michael ever talk to Nicholas about Carol II

"Grandfather spoke to me about King Carol II, focusing on the good decisions that he made for the country and the people.  The decisions that Carol II made in his private life were less important in my discussions with Grandpa."

Members of the Romanian royal family live in England, France and the United States as well as in Romania.  Cristoiu asked if the different members of the family keep in touch.

Nicholas' response was diplomatic.  "I can tell you about my relatives and events when I have met them, but to meet them all would be a full time job as they have chosen to build their lives in different parts of the world.  Before August, there would good communication between myself and the immediate family, but then, they built a wall between me and them.  The first and only time the whole family was together was in Bucharest at Christmas 2007."

Cristoiu also broached the sensitive topic of  Paul Lambrino (aka "Prince Paul of Romania", who is facing a myriad of legal issues, and is currently under house arrest in Bucharest.  Paul is the elder son of the late Mircea Lambrino,  King Michael's older half brother.  

Nicholas' response:  "I never never met him and never intend to do so.  I do not want to comment on his actions."

Nicholas was also asked if he thought that his style and way of life corresponded to the image of a modern monarchy.  "I am a person who values passion, yet I also treat the workload very seriously.  I believe there must be a balance between what we must do and what we love to do.  I believe in authenticity more than the label."

He also spoke out in defense of volunteerism, an idea not yet fully supported or understood in Romania.

"Volunteering is something that I have done for a very long time, long before I came to Romania.  It has been a part of my activities, and not a PR strategy.  The most important thing is that I have a passion and I am happy when I get to work with others who feel the same.  You can also learn a lot where you volunteer.  For example, having traveled throughout Romania, I discovered that people with disabilities are neglected by society, which hinders their situation for themselves and their family.  I chose to go to Targu Mures, where I volunteered for Alpha Transylvania.  Here I learned a lot about the difficulties and obstacles encountered by people with disabilities and their families, in the little things in their every day routines.  I realized then that they are worthy of admiration, and they deserve as much attention as every one else."

He added: "Volunteering is way of relating to others, and should be a part of our daily life, regardless of our age.  It is the way we can show that we care for those around us. It also gives an unmatched satisfaction.  The reasons why I volunteer are many: I can meet new people, to learn about the life and hardships they face, and with other volunteers, we can make a difference in the lives of the people.  Also through volunteering, we can develop a special relationship with the environment.  I realized how important it is to relate to nature.  It also helps me develop as a person."

Nicholas is 31 years old, and has not yet settled down with a wife and family.

"I think to start a family it is first necessary to meet the right person, and that has not happened so far as I was more focused on the obligations of my position, and the burden that would be placed on the woman.  On the other hand, there was pressure from the family about who would be chosen.  But now, I will have more options, and I can freely love the person next to me without external influences."

He said that his personal belief is to "know the surrounding world and how people live in other parts of the world.  Education is an essential part of each of us."

He also dismissed the reports that he moved out of the Elisabetha Palace because of an order of pizza.

"I don't deny that I love pizza, but the story is not true.  I could only laugh about it when I read it in the papers, and I have no idea how the media came to this conclusion.  It is indeed untrue.  I moved out the palace as needed personal space and the ability to work away from the office."

After he lost his title, he ceased to be the patron of the Children's Books Association.  He said the charity continues in a "good direction even without my direct partition.   His favorite children's book is Peter Pan.  Nicholas noted that Peter had many adventures which he faced with courage.

He was also asked about Romania and the country's politicians, officials, business people.  Cristoiu wondered if Nicholas had any views on this topic.

"I have met people from all parts of Romanian society.  The biggest personal change that must occur is that those who make decisions on behalf of the Romanian people must listen to the communities.  There has to be an honest exchange between the country and its people, and this involves giving and receiving.  These actions will help Romania to keep people who are tempted to leave the country.  The economy will be able to develop, tourism will increase and Romania's reputation internationally will be enhanced due to new investments in education and culture."  He also said the country needed to invest in its infrastructure for roads, for example.

Last November, there were political demonstrations, where people were demanding to find new solutions to the country's problems.  Could monarchy be the answer, Cristoiu asked Nicholas.

"The monarchy is a very strong competitor, and could be an alternative form of government, having provided continuity, stability and a single interest: Romania and its people."

Nicholas added that Romania lacks a "central government that is accountable for ecology and heritage.  Investments in these areas will have a huge impact on education, tourism, pride for our country, agriculture and wildlife.  At the same time, Romania could establish a European ecological center in the Danube Delta, where researchers from around the world could study and learn about global warning and the human impact on nature.  We must remember that we have the ability to protect nature rather than protect peoples' material or financial interests.  This is just one of many examples, but others I could mention include the levels of bureaucracy and infrastructure."

Nicholas was also asked what he learned from his grandfather.  "The most important lesson that I received from him was fairness, altruism, accompanied by diplomacy, and, not least, the advice to always keep my word and promises.  He, in turn, was taught by his mother, Queen Helena,  however difficult the situations that we find ourselves in, only those decisions are right and fair.  I firmly believe that through these values and rules of conduct can provide the best examples in life. King Michael gave these examples throughout his life, and I see him as a role model for his actions and decisions, as a true leader."

He has no desire to enter Romanian politics.  "Up to this moment I have not taken it into account.  Politics is not an environment that attracts me.  If I had to choose a position where I think I could make a difference in society it would most likely be a symbolic view."

In a February 2008 interview with another journalist, Nicholas was asked if Romania's political leaders chose to restore the monarchy, would he accept the position as king.  He responded at the time: "If Romania calls me, I am ready to answer their call.  I chose to come to Romania.  I am ready to take this step, even if it's hard to say what the strategy would be to restore the monarchy.  It would involve the reconstruction of the country to make Romania stronger, and more respected internationally."

Fast forward eight years and Nicholas' change in status. How will he respond to the same question.

Instead of answering the questions, I would like to invite all Romanians to turn their thoughts and pray for the health of King Michael in these difficult times.  I hope that together, with the same thoughts in mind, we will overcome these difficult moments for the Romanian monarchy. I would like to assure everyone that no matter where I am, my soul will be with Romania and the Romanian peope and I will try to do everything in my power to honor everything that is in human nature, respect, commitment  values that I learned from my grandparents."

Part I:

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