Thursday, November 17, 2016

Ileana in car crash


November 17, 1926

Queen Marie of Romania arrived tonight in Indianapolis, in a "driving rain," after "bidding goodbye" to Chicago at noon in a snowstorm, only to learn that her daughter, Princess Ileana, who had "motored down from Chicago with Prince Nicholas, was in an automobile accident," reports the New York Times.

The car collided with another car, and Princess Ileana "nearly escaped an accident which might have easily cost the girl her life."    She arrived in Indianapolis about the same time her mother's train pulled into Union Station.  She went to bed in the suite reserved for her family at the Columbia Hotel.  The Princess was "suffering from exposure to the near-blizzard through which she had driven."  She was also suffering from shock from the "narrowness of her escape.  She is said to be "otherwise unharmed" and under the care of her mother's nurse, Miss Adeline Young.

Princess Ileana and Prince Nicholas are "enthusiastic and skillful drivers," and have driven their own cards "at every opportunity" during this visit to the United States.   They had left Chicago at 9 a.m., each driving a "powerful Stutz roadster."   The trip began three hours before Queen Marie left Chicago by train.

The original plan was to stop at the Culver Military Academy at Culver, Indiana, where Prince Nicholas was to be made a colonel at the academy.   It began snowing hard after they left Chicago. Ileana was driving the Dixie Highway at about 60 miles,  when, at Grant Park, she rounded a curve, and saw a heavy truck coming the other way.  She swerved out the way, but her car hit the truck, and everything was brought to a standstill.

Newspaper correspondents were following the princess when the accident happened.  They stopped to find Princess Ileana climbing out of the roadster, "pale and shaken, as she surveyed the damage.  Prince Nicholas heard the crash.  He stopped his car, turned around, and hurried back to find his sister unhurt.

The truck driver was also unhurt, and he drove away toward Chicago.  Ileana started her car and drove for about half a mile before handing over the controls to the chauffeur.   The weather became worse, and the party stopped at a cafe when Ileana had cheese and coffee.  The reporters and photographers followed her and asked her to pose.   It became apparent that Ileana was on the verge of hysteria.  Several reporters urged her to "change her open car for their closed car," but she refused, saying she did not like to ride in a closed car.

There would be several more stops along the way,  to wrap the shivering princess in blankets to keep her warm, and then for medicine at a drug store in Rossville, Indiana.   Prince Nicholas continued his own journey, only to have his battery go dead.  He traveled the rest of the way in a state police car.

Queen Marie was not informed of her daughter's travails until after she carried out several engagements in Indianapolis and then went to the hotel for a rest.   She is also worried about recent reports from Europe of the "serious illness of her husband," and she has sent a cable for more information.  Yesterday she received a cablegram from her daughter, Queen Marie of Serbia, who said that King Ferdinand is "getting on."   The wording of the message indicated to Marie that her husband's illness is more serious than she had known.  She has cabled the Premier of Romania for more information.

Sources state there is no basis for the reports from Europe that King Ferdinand has cancer.

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