The Christmas Message of Her Majesty Margareta, the Custodian of the Crown
For many decades, through the darkest days of the war and the communist dictatorship that ensued, every year on this day King Michael read his message to the nation. From early childhood, I remember the care my father took in writing his speeches and the pains he used to go through until he settled on just the right wording. During those cold days of exile, the Christmas Message was his only way of communicating directly with the Romanians he had sworn to protect and defend; it was literally his holy communion with all Romanians.
This is our first Christmas without King Michael, but this year, as we celebrate the birth of our Saviour, we also pay homage to the life and achievements of the fourth monarch of the modern Romanian State. History will inevitably pass its verdict on his reign. But I am sure that you will agree with me, that the extraordinary atmosphere of the King’s funeral, the way in which the entire nation joined together in grief for his passing, has already provided its own verdict on the reign of King Michael the Steadfast and Just.
My family and I shall never forget the simple gestures of devotion made by the millions of Romanians who grieved the King’s passing; we shall never forget the people who lined the roads and the railways during his final journey, some of them holding a single flower, others the national flag or the family Bible, the schoolchildren and their teachers who stood along the route of the funeral procession, the pupils from St Sava, my father’s school, who came to the Throne Room to be with the King for one moment.
Nor shall I ever forget the unifying response of His Holiness Patriarch Daniel and the whole of our Orthodox Church, or that of the President, Parliament, the Government, and the whole of our political class, along with that of high dignitaries from the other side of the River Prut, at my father’s ascent to Heaven. I know that nothing would have given the King greater satisfaction than the coming together of our nation. And I assure you that all the heads of state that came to Bucharest to be close to the King on his final journey realised straight away that they found themselves in the midst of a nation united in grief, united in pride in its achievements and determined as to its future.
For while we should never forget Michael the Steadfast and Just, henceforward it is our duty to look to the future. The Royal Family will continue, with the same constancy, to support and consolidate our country’s interests. In the months to come, in consonance with the state authorities, I shall make public a series of steps whereby to continue my father’s work.
I would like to conclude this Christmas Message with the words spoken by my grandfather, King Carol II, on the day when Crown Prince Michael became an officer of the Romanian Army, almost exactly eighty years ago: “It is not from whence you set out that is important,” said King Carol II to the young sub-lieutenant Michael, “but where you arrive, through your own merits and zeal.”
I wish you a radiant Christmas and New Year!
Săvâr in Castle, Christmas 2017