Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Michael ends dynastic link with Hohenzollerns

King Michael of Romania has ended the historic link between Romania and the House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. Family members will "give back all their titles" given to them by the heads of the Princely House, and will no longer use the title Prince or Princess of Hohenzollern, in addition to Prince or Princess of Romania.

The Royal House will now be known as the Royal House of Romania, and not the House of Hohenzollern.  Since 1921, the family name has been of Romania  or de Roumanie, which was based on a decision by King Michael's grandfather, King Ferdinand.

Michael, who will celebrate his 90th birthday in October, said that he wanted to underscore :the Romanian character" of his family.

King Michael and Queen Anne have five daughters, Crown Princess Margarita,  Princess Helen, Princess Irina, Princess Sophie and Princess Marie. 

The announcement did not sit well with Paul Lambrino, whose father was King Michael's older half-brother, Carol.   Paul, who calls himself Prince, is not a recognized member of the dynasty.   The late King Carol II married a Romanian commoner Zizi Lambrino in an Orthodox ceremony in Odessa in 1918.  But the marriage was not approved by Carol's father, King Ferdinand.  Members of the Romanian royal family could not marry Romanians or other untitled persons according to the 1884 Romanian royal house's statue.    The marriage was annulled in January 1920, shortly before Zizi gave birth to Carol's son.

In March 1921,  Carol married Princess Helen of Greece and Denmark.  Seven months later, Helen gave birth to a son, Michael.

At no point during King Carol's ten year reign did he effect legislation or issue decrees concerning titles for his elder son, Carol Mircea, who used the surname Lambrino.  King Carol II made no attempt to establish a father-son relationship with his elder son. 

King Michael's decision to change the House's name and break the bonds between Romania and the House of Hohenzollern may be due to tensions between the two families.  At the time of Margarita's marriage to Romanian Radu Duda, King Michael asked the then head of the House, Friedrich Wilhelm, to create a title for Radu.  (Legally, Friedrich Wilhelm could not do this, but he issued a decree - Urkunde - giving the name of Prince of Hohenzollern-Veringen. 

Friedrich Wilhelm's son, Karl Friedrich, at the time the Hereditary Prince, did not approve of his father's decision. He has maintained a friendship with Paul Lambrino.  On December 30, 2007. King Michael issued new family statues, creating his daughter, Margarita, as Crown Princess, and Radu as Prince of Romania.  On that day, he ceased using Prince of Hohenzollern-Veringen.

Paul Lambrino stated earlier today that he opposed Michael's decision.  "I think this is a big mistake. We have very good relations with the Hohenzollerns."  Perhaps Paul's relationship with the Hohenzollerns is very good, but he's not a prince, and he is not a member of the Romanian royal family, so his view is irrelevant.

This was a smart thing to do.  King Michael is trying to protect his legacy, and his family's heritage.   There is no doubt in my mind that if the monarchy had flourished or was restored, the succession law would have been changed to allow for female inheritance.  Michael has to firmly establish his family's position.  Crown Princess Margarita is highly regarded in Romania, and she does not need Paul Lambrino to be looking over her shoulder.  She's a princess.  He's not a prince or a member of the dynasty.  The members of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen family no longer have any close ties to Romania.  Thus, in my view, King Michael did the right thing.  Clueless armchair Ruritanians are talking out of their armpits, and do not have a real sense of why things are done.

Archduke Otto, as head of his house, changed the rules for marriage several times since the 1950s.




Unknown said...

So, legally, which will be their surname? They're gonna still use privately the Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen surname?

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

They use de Roumanie as a surname, and have been using de Roumanie since 1921.

Unknown said...

Thank you for your reply, Marlene. In that case, what I don't understand it's why King Michael is stating that they will not be called Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen anymore if they had always used de Roumanie? I will be very grateful if you explain this to me.

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

The House name will no longer be House of Hohenzollern. It will be Royal House of Romania. They have stopped using the titles Prince or Princess of Hohenzollern, along with their Roumanian titles. Michael was also a Prince of Hohenzollern - he has now renounced this. The family has used de Roumanie as a last name since 1921. A last name is different from a House name.