Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Bulletin: Michael has quit Romania

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January 4, 1948

King Michael and his mother, Queen Helen, left Sinaia, Romania, tonight at 8:25 for "a life in exile," reports the New York Times.

Michael was forced to abdicate by the Communist government on December 30.

The former king was accompanied a "few members of his personal staff," but the exact number was not announced by the "former royal court or by the Government, which has been declared a "people's republic."

Government officials decided to take a take a chance that "there would be a last-minute demonstration in favor" of Michael by keeping the time of departure a secret.  A large number of secret police agents were on duty at Sinaia's royal train station to make sure there were no demonstrations.

Three correspondents, including the Time's reporter, W.H. Lawrence, were asked to leave the train station nearly an hour before Michael arrived.    Several Romanians were also at the station, but were asked to leave a half hour earlier and were told that all train service through Sinaia had been suspended for the rest of the evening.

Lawrence observed about 30 persons, "standing in the snow on a bluff above the station, watching the king and his mother arrive by car at 8:10 p.m.  A red carpet was rolled out for their arrival.  They boarded the ten-car "special train" that had been in the station since about 6: 00 p.m.

No members of the Romanian government were present at the station to say their farewell to the former king.

The Communist-run Government had originally approved passports for thirty-five members of the king's staff, but that number was  "reduced to twenty-one."

If there has been a financial arrangement between the king and the Government it has not been made known.  Michael owed "expensive property," including the palaces at Sinaia.

Michael will travel by train to Budapest and Vienna and then to Lausanne, Switzerland, where he is expected to reunite with his fiancee, Princess Anne of Bourbon-Parma.

Happier memories with Michael and Prince Philip

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