Thursday, November 16, 2017

Transcript: Andrew Popper's TV interview discussing King Michael's condition & Issue of Nicholas Medforth-Mills

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Transcription of Romania 9 with Andrew Popper TVR1 15 November 2017


Issue: Romania 9

Host: Ionuţ Cristache

Invited: Andrew Popper, Head of His Majesty's King Michael
[Note:  I used Google translate for this article that appeared on Casa Regale.  It is not perfect.  I tried to fix a few of the statements, but for most part, this is the straight translation from Google.]

Host: For some time, the monarchs in Romania and those who respect the recent and real history of this country are lying in the mouth, waiting for news from Switzerland about King Michael's state of health. Unfortunately, these news are not among the best. Especially for two weeks now, it seems that the Majesty does not feel very well, and at the age of 96 she approaches the end of a tumultuous life, full of suffering and sacrifices. King Michael is the last head of state since the end of the Second World War still alive. Historians say his decision in August '44 shortened the war, saving the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Detractors bring lying to him in lieu, spread for 50 years by the Securitate. The fact is that only King Michael is a symbol for everyone. For some, it is the symbol of hope reappeared in the '90s, which will go out at the same time as its Majesty. The disappearance of King Michael will mean the end of the ruling dynasty of the kings of Romania. After that, we will only regret the chance we did not have and a royal house protected by Republican laws. In order to discuss more about what is happening and what is going to happen to the Royal House, we invited him tonight and we have his Excellency with him, Mr. Andrew Popper, the head of His Majesty's House. Good evening, thank you for attendance! we will only regret the chance we did not have and a royal house protected by republican laws. In order to discuss more about what is happening and what is going to happen to the Royal House, we invited him tonight and we have his Excellency with him, Mr. Andrew Popper, the head of His Majesty's House. Good evening, thank you for attendance! we will only regret the chance we did not have and a royal house protected by republican laws. In order to discuss more about what is happening and what is going to happen to the Royal House, we invited him tonight and we have his Excellency with him, Mr. Andrew Popper, the head of His Majesty's House. Good evening, thank you for attendance!

Andrew Popper: And I thank you for the invitation.

Host: Pleasure is on my side and I am convinced that also on the part of those who are watching tonight and who are waiting for information that sometimes seems to be delaying from Switzerland. What is His Majesty's state of health?

Andrew Popper: The state of his Majesty is, as I said, very precarious. Doctors, at this time, are concentrating their efforts to keep His Majesty without pain and in a comfortable condition. Predictions are impossible in these cases. We can not say. There are better moments, worse moments. For the moment, fortunately, the situation has stabilized, but there is no doubt that this is a precarious situation, which we have expressed very clearly.

Host: Health you say has stabilized. If you can be more precise, is His Majesty aware, is he communicating?

Andrew Popper: Depends from moment to moment. He also has moments when he is aware, he has moments when he is less conscious. It is a normal development for that situation.

Host: Many scenarios have been woven into public space in Romania. I do not know if you are aware of everything, including scenarios from his Majesty's state of health, and many people have wondered why a health certificate signed by his Majesty's doctors was issued.

Andrew Popper: The reason is very clear. And we would like Swiss doctors to publish a medical report and I asked them for it. Unfortunately, they can not do it and explain why. Because Swiss law does not give them the right to communicate like this, and at the same time they are convinced that ethically they can not communicate with a patient's health. They are required to respect the medical secret and patient privacy. This is the only reason why official medical communications have not been given.

Host: Going on this logic of scripts and interpretations, photos of  His Majesty have not been released for a long time. Why? That this would have faded away from this scriptwriting that comes rolling over us these days.

Andrew Popper: In my opinion, it's very normal not to take pictures of his Majesty. As I have already said and as I have said since we addressed the public last year. His Majesty's situation, his health situation is precarious, not a good state. He degraded physically. So, in my opinion, it would appeal to his Majesty's dignity that these photos and pictures are being published at this time. It would be a violation of his dignity, and I say to you very openly, we do not want either the Royal House or the Princess or Crown Custodian or his Majesty, we want our Majesty to be remembered by those pictures that are not pleasant. It is normal and not unique, again, our desire for His Majesty to be in the memory of the Romanian people as it was when it was healthy, and I do not see any sense that these photos with physical degradation exist. It's morbid.

 Host: Just, when did you last see his Majesty? When did you last interact?

Andrew Popper: Last time I met His Majesty in March, at Aubonne, I made a long visit, spent my Majesty almost the whole day. I arrived there in the morning and left after dinner in the evening and, I tell you, I left satisfied. Of course, this physical degradation that I speak to you, but at the same time the most encouraging thing: I found him quiet and happy, and in a happy way. It filled me with joy to see him live in peace.

 Host: What did you talk about?

 Andrew Popper: We talked about what we always talk about, and probably I'm a little selfish in these conversations, because I always try to extract memories from His Majesty and we always talk about his childhood, the very difficult time of the war. I always ask him about the act of August 23, how he acted and so on. We always talk about the relationship he had with the Russians when they came here to Bucharest.

Host: How do you relate to those moments?

 Andrew Popper: He remembers all these events very well, and I can say that the sense of humor has remained or, at least, in March, when I saw him, I was still present when he talked about these events.

Host: Because you are talking about peace of mind, looking at the latest releases that the Royal House has made public, it was stipulated there that it received the Holy Communion, so it was confessed, forgiven, it acquired that peace of mind that you you met her. But if he has gone through all these spiritual stages, why did not he forgive the former prince Nicholas?

Andrew Popper: I do not know if he has forgiven or forgiven him. That's what we can not know. At the same time I remember one of his Majesty's favorite expressions: 'We can forgive, but we can not forget.' So I do not know if he forgave Mr Medforth-Mills or not, but there are two completely separate things. It is not about forgiveness, it is about the fact that he has clearly expressed that he does not want to see him. That does not mean that he has forgiven or forgiven him.

 Host: Very clear, what does it mean?

 Andrew Popper: It would be great to remember the chronology of the events, because it is important and has been somewhat insufficiently represented in recent days. If we return to the events of August 2015, when the Majesty removed the Prince's title and removed him from the line of succession, the Majesty said very clearly what the reasons were, in that he required certain qualities.

Host: But it would have been said that the withdrawal procedure would not have been authentic.

Andrew Popper: Of course it was authentic.

 Host: And it would not depend on the will of His Majesty, but that the entourage made up of members of the Royal House would have led to these consequences.

Andrew Popper: Finally, there are two different things. First of all, that he made this decision and this decision is authentic and it was his decision. The authenticity of this act has been discussed and I turn again to this chronological aspect, because these things are very tied. His Majesty signed this act in the presence of members of the Royal Council.

 Host: Have you been there?

Andrew Popper: I was not there because, unfortunately, I was in New York for medical treatment. But other members participated and the decision was taken very firmly by her Majesty before the Royal Council.

Host: What was wrong with Mr. Medforth-Mills? What was wrong with that? Because, looking at the Royal House releases, there was room for interpretation and there, and he insisted ...

Andrew Popper: Let me read from His Majesty's Letter: 'Those who are at the helm of Romania must do so, under the sign of modesty, well balanced, with moral principles, respect, and always with the thought of others.' So her Majesty, clearly, determined that Mr. Medforth-Mills did not have these qualities and withdrew his title. He has been monitoring Mr Medforth-Mills for a few years, and he realized he did not have these qualities and decided to withdraw his title. As you know, this situation occurred in which Mr Medforth-Mills was accused of paternity of a child out of wedlock  and his Majesty realized that as long as these suspicions exist and are not clarified, it is not fit with the quality of a prince of Romania.

 Host: Had these issues been clarified and Mr. Medforth Mills would have recognized that child, he would still have been Prince Nicholas of Romania and in the line of succession to the throne.

 Andrew Popper: That can not tell you.

 Host: What does your intuition tell you?

 Andrew Popper: It is important not only that he did not solve this problem at the request of His Majesty. We are going back to the issues raised by you: the authenticity and evolution of events. First of all, it must be remembered that Mr. Medforth Mills accepted the decision of His Majesty in writing and there is a signed document.

Host: That's what I wanted to ask you. How was Mr. Medforth Mills informed?

Andrew Popper: It was communicated to him by several members of the Royal Council and his Crown Custodian.

 Host: In writing?

Andrew Popper: Written, of course. This document was signed by His Majesty. Mr Medforth Mills has accepted this decision in writing and there is a document, we can give it to you, in which he states that 'I take that decision', that 'I admit that my behavior was not at the height' and I appreciate this decision of His Majesty and I accept it. ' This is actually said in this document. So there was no question about the authenticity of this document. The document was accepted as genuine by Mr. Medforth Mills, and he has undertaken not only to recognize this decision, but also to meet other requirements of his Majesty.

 Host: How would it be?

Andrew Popper: His Majesty's main requirement, and he accepted it, was to leave Romania. His Majesty offered him material support to resume his activities outside of Romania.

 Host: Supporting material?

 Andrew Popper: In the sense of a monthly grant, something like this.

 Host: What's going on now?

 Andrew Popper: No. He accepted the decision of His Majesty and in the letter from which I quote, His Majesty says very clearly: 'You are no longer a member of the royal family, but you are a member of my family, and I continue to have a certain affection for you.' He made this very clear. And after this decision was accepted by Medforth Mills, including the fact of living elsewhere than in Romania, because here in Romania there was an ambiguous situation that had a negative effect on the general activities of the royal family, His Majesty welcomed Mr. Medforth Mills and had a very friendly conversation with Aubonne in September 2015.

 Host: A moment that Medforth Mills invokes in an interview he gave for a Romanian television. This remuneration that he received and agreed with Mr. Medforth Mills as long as he was offered?

Andrew Popper: After this meeting and after Mr. Medforth Mills accepted the decision of His Majesty, he decided not to respect His Majesty's requirements and returned to Romania and engaged in activities that were inappropriate from our point of view, such as semi-public activity, although asked not to do so, in an ambiguous situation. Things started probably in October - November 2015, and then His Majesty again contacted Mr. Medforth Mills and said, "You did not respect our requirements and withdraw your grant." So it's very clear.

 Host: Returning to this episode in September 2015, a few months after he was expelled from the line of succession, tells Mr. Medforth Mills in an interview that he talked to his Majesty for a few minutes, and then it would be asked His Majesty if this problem had been solved, suggesting that Mr. Medforth Mills would not necessarily have been an act of his own will to exclude his reign from the line of succession, but rather an act of will of those in the vicinity of His Majesty, and that thought-given and then even more so now.

 Andrew Popper: It does not seem to me to be logical what he says, but it is important to think a little about the personality of King Michael. King Michael, who opposed Antonescu with great courage, opposed the Russians with great courage, proved in his life a great will and extraordinary character, it is inconceivable that he can be manipulated in the way described by Mr. Medforth Mills. He probably does not know the circumstances quite well. His Majesty is a firm man, a man who has very well-established opinions and can not be manipulated by anyone.

Host: Is the incident of the past days, above all, his Majesty being or was he aware of what happened, the incident caused by his nephew?

 Andrew Popper: That can not tell you. I do not know whether he was conscious or not.

 Host: You do not know if he has reached the ears of His Majesty.

 Andrew Popper: I do not know.

Host: Let's go back to the incident. How did it happen exactly?

 Andrew Popper: We can talk very clearly. I was not present, so I can only say what I was told. First of all, what I was told was that before coming to His Majesty's apartment, Mr. Medforth Mills gave a phone call to the Crown Custodian and spoke on the phone and he asked for permission to visit His Majesty.  He was told  for various reasons, primarily because his Majesty explained very clearly that he did not want to see him and that it would be a violation of His Majesty's wishes to receive him, and secondly, in this context, he would be a potentially dangerous shock from a medical point of view. He was told that he could not come to see his Majesty. He accepted the phone and acted on the phone in a seemingly reasonable way.

Host: Mr. Medforth Mills has been officially notified of the aggravating situation of his Majesty's state of health, learned from alternative sources, the Romanian media?

Andrew Popper: I do not know exactly, but I think he found out ... It was not officially transmitted to him as much as I know. He learned from the Royal House.

 Host: Would it not have been just a member of the family, as his Majesty said, to be informed of his grandfather's fate?

Andrew Popper:  do not think every member has been notified individually. He gave a statement and was undoubtedly informed his mother. I think that's the normal way of communication.

Host: Is there a chance, be it minimal, at the end of His Majesty's life to receive Mr. Medforth Mills?

 Andrew Popper: I can only express my personal opinion. Based on the information I have at the moment, I think not. I do not see any reason why Mr. Medforth Mills should be allowed to visit his Majesty. Only in the exceptional case where the Majesty directly asks to see him, then he will be received. But if His Majesty does not directly express the desire to see him, he will not be given this permission.

 Host: Did you personally, as a close friend of the royal family, describe the situation of Mr. Medforth Mills?

Andrew Popper: Of course this is an unpleasant and unwelcome situation. I'm thinking first and foremost of the pain he has caused to his mother. When you see these things in a family of course they are unpleasant things. But at the same time, we must see things from the perspective of King Michael's dynasty and personality. It is important to realize that these things do not happen because of the lack of a moral standard of the royal family, on the contrary. These things happen because His Majesty has always imposed very, very high standards of behavior and very, very high requirements, as is normal. Of course it is unpleasant,

Host: What is the current status of Mr. Medforth Mills in terms of the Royal House? Is he a civilian, like all of us?

Andrew Popper: Exactly. He is a private citizen, but at the same time he is a member of the King's family, which does not mean he is a member of the royal family. The quality of a grandson....

 Host: It's a kind of paradox that tells you.

Andrew Popper: It's not a paradox. The fact that he is the grandson of King Michael is a natural event that no one can take. But he is not a member of the royal family. So from a dynamic point of view, he is a citizen like any other.

 Host: But how do you explain the actions?

 Andrew Popper: It's very hard and I do not want ....

Host: What do you guys really want?

Andrew Popper: I do not want to engage in this game and begin to read my thoughts.

 Host: I look at his actions, and what the lawyer tells him about the stakes of these week's events. There seems to be a difference between the property of the Royal House and the wealth of the members of the royal family, and that it is important who actually manages the property of the Royal House. What can we understand from here?

Andrew Popper: This gentleman's assertion is completely wrong.  There is no separation between the property of the Royal House and the royal family. The only fortune that exists is the personal property of His Majesty King Michael. There are no other properties he owns. These properties will be clearly inherited by the 5 daughters, based on the provisions of the Civic Code in Romania and based on King Michael's will.

 Host: So what a possible action in court of Mr. Medford -Mill's could produce?

Andrew Popper: Absolutely 0 from a patrimonial point of view. Mr. Medford - Mills before and after August 2015 had no patrimonial interests in King Michael's estate. After this title was removed, there were no changes in the will. It has never been included in the King's will.

Host: I mean, he did not lose anything patrimonial with exclusion from the line of succession.

Andrew Popper: Absolutely nothing.

Host: In a non-enjoyable but inevitable perspective, after the end of His Majesty's life, and the succession will follow the course, and the royal family will come to more peaceful times in relation to family members, Mr. Metford - Mills be included in the succession line for His Majesty's will in time?

 Andrew Popper: It is technically, legally possible. Because the decision at that time will be taken by who will be the head of the royal family at that time. In this case, very clear, Princess Margareta is the crown custodian. So from a technical point of view, it is possible. However, it is unlikely that this will happen.

Host: There is a legislative initiative in the Senate on the status of the Royal House and a remuneration that the Royal House would receive from the Romanian state every year, plus various other benefits. You are one of the players of this game that is running these days between the Romanian state and the royal house. What can you tell us from within? 24 million euros were spent annually, which the royal house could receive from the Romanian state. Are the numbers correct?

Andrew Popper: Undoubtedly, first of all the law does not provide any figures for the moment. Secondly, this figure of 25 million is fantasmagoric. This level will never be reached. What the law proposes are three important elements: First, it recognizes the role of the royal family as an institution in the Romanian state, secondly, by recognizing the royal family and the Royal House as an institution, it is clearly legal initiatives, to partner with various governmental or non-governmental institutions, and third, to establish the existence of an administrative staff of about 20 people to support these activities. As I understand the law, it will pay mainly for this administrative staff. The amount of 25 million, of course, is ridiculous. There will be the salaries and expenses of these staff. The head of the royal family and the head of the royal house will not receive money from the Government. The only thing the government will do will be to pay for this administrative staff and pay for some projects that the Royal House will propose and the government can approve or not. And then it will go ahead with these projects.

Host: These things have happened so far. did not prevent the Royal House no one ,. On the contrary, he encouraged the philanthropic actions, at least of the Royal House, so far. Was there a need for a law stating exactly the role of the royal house in Romania?

Andrew Popper: It is a positive element, because it recognizes the role of the Royal House, formalises it and creates a constitutional compromise that seems to me to be of great value.

 Host: A royal house in the middle of a republic ...

Andrew Popper: The fact that this constitutional compromise is somewhat unique does not mean it is not very good. And in my opinion, at international level, it will be very well received. Because it shows that Romania recognizes its history and the value of the Royal House even within a republican constitutional framework. And when we talk about comments. We are, I am the head of my Majesty's home, to be fair and the whole royal family. We have not renounced that we believe constitutional monarchy is a superior form of government and we do not cease to express the hope that one day Romania will return to the constitutional monarchy.

Host: Would this be a first step?

Andrew Popper: That's what we could not say. But sure it is a step in the right direction. But it is not our role as the royal family to demand a constitutional change. This must come from other circles and must be democratically decided by the Romanian people.

 Host: We missed historical moments after historical moments. It's a Romanian word: it's never too late. But it looks like this is too late. Even so, in the end, I would ask you what is of your own royal family, because you are a close man, the future of the royal house, what does he look like?

Andrew Popper: Again, we go back to this law, in the context of the law and beyond this law, the activities will continue on the line that continues today. And what is very important to say is that I believe that the vast majority of the public in Romania is convinced that crown custodians, Princess Margareta, will be a worthy successor of His Majesty. He has proven all the qualities necessary to be the Head of the Royal House and to continue these activities. These activities will continue on plans that are normal for the royal family, be it a reigning family, such as in England, or a family recognized by the state here. First, all activities related to charity operations, national operations that confirm the national unity and the symbol of national unity. At the same time, what is extraordinarily important and I believe it is, is the roles that the royal family plays in Romania's image abroad. And contacts with other royal families. So the image of Romania will continue to improve and will continue to benefit from the support and activities of the Royal Family.


Paige Cummings said...

Please help me to understand something. As I understand it, when a monarchy is overthrown or the monarch abdicates, they are (or may be) referred to in the highest title they ever held..such as King Michael. So all of the children of King Michael were born after the monarchy was overthrown. I can understand still referring to them as Prince or Princess. But how does one become Crown Princess when one was not born until after the monarchy ceased to exist and there is no longer a crown?

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

the monarchy may not exist but that does not mean a royal family does not exist. Even in exile, titles are acknowledged by other royal houses. Romania recognizes these royal titles. Margarita was named as the heir. This was a bit tricky because the last monarchical constitution was in 1923 - and it salic law. But Michael having no sons had to do something - and if Romania still had a monarchy - the law would have been changed. In Romania, the family has semi-official status and may get more official status.

Unknown said...

Just for the record, recently Nicholas has stated quite clearly that he has never accepted renumeration from the Royal house since the withdrawal of his status in August 2015.

Further, Mr Popper is not forthright when describing how the inheritance of the King's estate will be divided. According to the bill now before the Romanian Parliament, all properties of the Royal house in Romania (which presumably were all restituted to the person of King Michael himself) will come under the custodianship of the Head of the Royal House of Romania, as dictated by the 2007 Fundamental House Rules - dynastic changes which are also to be enshrined in law if the proposed legislation passes.

Paige Cummings said...

I can understand being referred to as Princess, I was thinking back to something you had said about Crown Prince Pavel...that King Constantine was still King, and Pavel was a Crown Prince, but that had King Constantine lost power prior to his son's birth, he would just be Prince Pavel.

Its like changing the rules of succession when there is nothing to succeed to.

I find this all fascinating, and I appreciate all your knowledge in the field.

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

Paul was born while his father was on the throne.The monarchy ended in 1973 with the plebiscite. I never said that Constantine lost power before Paul's birth (Pavlos). I doubt that Pavlos will take the title of king when his father dies.

Unknown said...

HM King Michael is in my prayers. May he receive the blessing of St Joseph of a holy and peaceful end.

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Paige Cummings said...

No, no, I was acknowledging that you said Pavlos was born while his father was still King and was therefore he became the Crown Prince. You have given other examples stating that royal families accepted the titles they had prior to the King going into exile. So I thought it interesting that Romania is no longer a ruling house (although still a Royal house), and King Michael's daughters were all born AFTER he lost power, yet still claim to be a Crown Princess to a non-existent Crown...and he cut his grandson out of a non-existent succession.

But then I also find the claimants of the non-existent French throne to be fascinating.

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

There is a proposed law making the rounds in the Romanian parliament to establish a more official status. Property has already been restored .. yes, there is a succession to the head of the family, to properties and so on. At this time, the titles are used official in Romania. Elisabetha Palace is the official residence of the royal family (and right now for the life of the King, but the legislation will extend that, if passed). In Serbia, Alexander's title is recognized and used officially. In Montenegro, Prince Nikola has an official position and was given a home.

Matthew Plooster said...

I find Paige's thoughts to be interesting. Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna doesn't claim to be the Empress/Tsarina, nor does her heir claim to be the Tsarivich. Yet, Tsar Simeone II, who lost power in 1946, named his son, Kardem, born in 1962, the Prince of Tarnovo (akin to crown prince, like the Prince of Wales is in the UK). And since Kardem's passing in 2015, his oldest son has held that title. I'm supposing that when it comes to former ruling houses, there is not a holistic rhyme or reason?

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

Kardam, not Kardem. All four of Simeon's sons have secondary Bulgarian titles. Kardam's elder son has not been named as Prince of Turnovo, although some sites, such as Wikipedia, assume that he has the title. It is not inherited but bestowed - and Simeon said a year or so ago that he will not bestow the title on his grandson. Kardam's two sons have no real tie to Bulgaria. Their lives are far more Spanish than Bulgarian-centric. Simeon's website in English does not include Kardam's death in his biography, although there are photos from his funeral. Germany, for example, since 1919. titles have become one's surname, but titles are used socially. When the head of the family dies. their successors (not all) go to court to change their surname from Prinz to Herzog or Fürst (whatever the title). Others do not change the name but are the titular head of a house. King Simeon will be the last to be styled officially as King of the Bulgarians, but his grandson will become the de jure king of the Bulgarians

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

The Bulgarian entry on Kardam refers to the death. Boris has no separate entry as the next in line.

Matthew Plooster said...

Thank you, as always, Marlene for your insight.

Additional question for you. The Romanian Royal House has a semi-official status of a former ruling house, and the state's legislature is now considering an even more official status. For official constitutional monarchies, there are governing laws/policies and procedures for changing the succession. For example, Queen Elizabeth II cannot remove her successors from succession at her will and pleasure, as those changes are acts of parliament. With the proposed legislation in Romania, will the succession to the family remain with the headship of the family or will the state have a say?

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

with the head of the family