Sunday, December 31, 2017

Victim of a Communist coup: King Michael prepares to leave Romania

The New York Times is reporting that King Michael's abdication was not voluntary and he was the victim of a "cold-blooded Communist-dictated coup d'etat against the monarchy."

Michael, who was beloved by his people, is now a private citizen and is prepared to leave Romania "without a single known public demonstration against abdication."

After more than three years of "Communist domination," the Romanians are unable to "manifest in any public way their loyalty to the young monarch, whose personal record was spotless."

Many Romanians have wept for the king's abdication in the privacy of their homes.

The efforts of the Communist government to "inspire rejoicing" over the elimination of the popular monarchy has fallen flat.    There have been a few "obviously organized groups dancing in the streets," and the hastily prepared signs "Long live the Romanian People's Republic."

Premier Groza met with the former king this morning at a Bucharest palace and told reporters that Michael would spend New Year's Eve with his mother, Queen Helen, and his friends at Peles in Sinaia. 

Groza over affirmed that Michael was "free to remain in Romania" or to leave whenever he wanted and return again if that was his desire.  He also acknowledged that Michael "wished to leave the country" to marry Princess Anne of Bourbon-Parma.

The premier has also promised passports and exit visas for Michael, Queen Helen, and their personal staff, numbering between forty and sixty persons., and would leave Romania by special train by Sunday at the latest.

The New York Times can confirm that the King's engagement was not the reason for the abdication.  Although the king and his staff "are sworn to secrecy about yesterday's developments," the New York Times' correspondent has received "from a reliable source" a chronology of yesterday's events.

On Monday (December 29), the king and his mother were at Sinaia. He had been at Peles since before Christmas and planned to return to Bucharest until New Year's Day when he would attend the annual traditional reception for the diplomatic corps.   Late Monday evening, Premier Groza telephoned the king to ask him to return to Bucharest "for the discussion of an urgent state problem."

Michael agreed to return, although neither he nor his staff "were puzzled" about what the problem would be,

He arrived at the Elisabeta Palace, on the outskirts of Bucharest, on Tuesday morning.  Michael observed that the "area was heavily guarded by soldiers."  Groza arrived about 10:30 and handed the king the act of abdication.  Groza gave no reason for the "drastic step."   The King "could clearly sign or risk the consequences.  Groza did not allow for any deliberation, apart "concerning the desire" of the King to get his family and staff out of the country.

The act of abdication was signed at 1 p.m., and at 3:30 p.m., members of the Romanian Parliament, which had been in recess, were called into a special session at  Parliament accepted the abdication and the People's Republic was proclaimed.

Groza would not discuss yesterday's events with reporters.  He told them that what happened was a "normal development" and there was "nothing sudden about it."

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Breaking news: Michael abdicates, People's Republic established

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December 30, 1947

News organizations, including the New York Times and the Associated Press, are reporting that King Michael of Romania abdicated earlier today and the "Communist-dominated Government immediately proclaimed a 'People's Republic.'"

King Michael, 26, is the last surviving monarch behind the Iron Kingdom.  He apparently made the decision to abdicate "suddenly," and his decision was "announced by radio to the Romanian people without warning" at 6 p.m.

His reason for abdicating was not made public.

The king returned to Romania only nine days ago from his "first trip abroad since the war."  He returned to the country "determined" to fight for his throne and to obtain the Communists' permission to marry Princess Anne of Bourbon-Parma, whom he met while he was in London to attend Princess Elizabeth's wedding.

The Associated Press is reporting that a Government official told their reporter that the King was "free to live in Romania and marry Princess Anne."

The Communist takeover of Eastern European countries is now complete.  Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Albania, Bulgaria and Romania are now completely under the influence of Communist governments "subservient to the Soviet Union."

King Michael was "undoubtedly loved by his people," but there have not been any "publicly known demonstrations against his removal."  Government radio has reported demonstrations in favor of the new government.

The King's abdication degree stated that "because of the great political, economic and social changes effected in Romania since the war, the monarchy no longer corresponded to the present conditions of a state and thus represented a serious obstacle to the country's future development," reported the New York Times.

The Groza Government immediately proclaimed a "people's republic."  The removal of the monarchy "opened great opportunities for the advancement of popular democracy and for increasing the welfare of workers, peasants and intellectuals."

The King's decision "obviously came with great speed."  Members of his Court had no idea of what was happening and believed that the King would, "as usual receive all members of the foreign diplomatic corps on New Year's Day.

It is not known whether Michael will leave Romania or not.  News organizations have not been able to "establish contact with members of his staff by telephone or in person."

Michael's father, former King Carol II, who lives in Estoril, Portugal, received the news of his son's excitement with "apparent satisfaction and excitement."  But he refused to make any comment when he was interviewed by a reporter.

"I have always refused to make statements to the press until now as I did not want to embarrass in any way the course of events in Romania.  In the view of the latest events, I feel I shall soon be able to speak freely, but this I shall do only after my son is safely out of Romania."

King Michael succeeded his father in 1940.

Princess Anne of Bourbon-Parma, who is staying with relatives in Copenhagen, has received no word from King Michael.  She is believed to be engaged to Michael.   She would not comment on "the news of the abdication.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

HRH Princess Helene (Hella) of Bavaria (1921-2017)

the wedding of Countess Hella and Prince Konstantin  @Marlene A Eilers Koenig Collection
HRH Princess Helene (Hella) of Bavaria, widow of  HRH Prince Konstantin of Bavaria (1920-1969) and HRH Prince Eugen of Bavaria (1925-1977)  died on Christmas Day at her home at  Bad Hindelang (Landkreis Oberallgäu.)  She was 96 years old.

The princess was born Countess Helene Maria Anna Franziska of Khevenhüller-Metsch on April 4, 1921, the youngest child of  Franz Eduard Adam Odemar Leopold Hubertus Maria, 8th Prince of Khevenhüller-Metsch and HSH Princess Anna of Fürstenberg, who was the daughter of Maximilian Egon, Prince of Fürstenberg and Countess Irma of Schönborn-Buchheim.

Hella's first marriage to HRH Prince Konstantin Leopold Ludwig Adalbert Georg Thadäus Josef Petrus Johannes Antonius Franz von Assisi Assumption et omnes sancti of Bavaria took place at Hochosterwitz on August 15, 1953.  Hella was Konstantin's second wife.  His first marriage -- to HSH Princess Maria Adelgunde of Hohenzollern --was annulled in 1950.
Princess Ysabel and Princess Hella  @Marlene A. Eilers Koenig Collection

Princess Hella and Prince Konstantin had one child, HRH Princess Ysabel Helene Anna Augusta Maria de la Paz Ludovica-Fernanda et omnes sancti, who was born at Munich on July 20, 1954.

Prince Konstantin was the eldest son of HRH Prince Adalbert of Bavaria and Countess  Auguste von Seefried auf Buttenheim, daughter of Count Otto von Seefried auf Buttenheim and HRH Princess Elisabeth Maria of Bavaria.  He was a noted German journalist and politician.    He was killed in a plane crash in 1969

Fifteen months after Prince Konstantin's death,  Princess Hella married HRH Prince Eugen of Bavaria, the only child of HRH Prince Konrad of Bavaria and HRH Princess Bona of Savoy, daughter of HRH Prince Tomaso of Savoy, Duke of Genoa and HRH Princess Isabella of Bavaria.

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Princess Hella is survived by her only child,  Princess Ysabel, who is married to Count Alfred Hoyos, two grandchildren, Countess Stephanie (married to Baron Franz von Brackel) and Count Johannes von Hoyos and four grandchildren, Baron Constantin and Baronesses Antonia and Johanna von Brackel and Count Balthasar von Hoyos.

She is also survived by two stepsons, HRH Prince Leopold and HRH Prince Adalbert of Bavaria, the issue of Prince Konstantin's first marriage.

Monday, December 25, 2017

A wonderful photo: Meghan Makes her Christmas Debut with aplomb and a smile -

@Karen Anvil

First and foremost, my sincere thanks to Karen Murdoch who allowed me to use her awesome photo of the TRH the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Miss Meghan Markle and HRH Prince Harry of Wales, which she took earlier this morning at Sandringham.

The photo was taken as the two couples walked toward St. Mary Magdalene Church at Sandringham for Christmas Day Services.  

There is no doubt that this is the best picture of the day,

Karen, who lives near Sandringham, and her 17-year-old daughter, Rachel,  were in the crowd to watch the arrivals of the members of the Royal Family.   To say Karen had a great spot is an understatement.  She had perfect placement.

This was Karen and Rachel's second time to Sandringham for Christmas Day.  She told me thought Meghan was "amazing!"   She added:  "The crowd was larger than normal and everyone cheered as they all walked past!  It was a lovely, lovely experience." 

Karen,  your photo is amazing!   Congratulations for the best photo of the day!!

Karen Murdoch and her daughter Rachel at St. Mary Magdalene Church this morning.   

Thank you for your Christmas present to royal watchers, royal fans ... and this royal historian.    

If you want to use Karen's photo, please contact her at @Anvilus on Twitter.  She is the copyright holder of the image.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas message from SM Margareta

@Cristian Coposesc

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

The Snowdons attend Alexander Dundas' 18th birthday party

The Earl and Countess of Snowdon and their two children,  Viscount Linley, 18.  and 15-year-old Lady Margarita Armstrong-Jones, were among the guests at the coming of age party for Alexander Dundas, who turned 18 on December 16.
The party was held in London.

Alexander is the son of Lord and Lady Richard Dundas.  Lord Richard is the youngest son of the 3rd Marquess of Zetland

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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

A daughter for Archduchess Gabriella of Austria and Prince Henri of Bourbon-Parma

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HI & RH Archduchess Gabriella of Austria, younger daughter of  Archduke Carl Christian of Austria and Princess Marie Astrid of Luxembourg, shared family news this morning.  She is a new mother.

Gabriella is the niece of Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg.

She's engaged to be married to HRH Prince Henri of Bourbon-Parma.  He popped the question on October 22  before Gabriella gave birth to their daughter,   Victoria Antonia Marie-Astrid-Lydia, on October 30 in Geneva.

Archduchess Gabriella is 23 years old and her future husband is 27.   They are second cousins as they share common great-grandparents:  Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg and Prince Felix of Bourbon-Parma.

Gabriella descends from Charlotte's eldest child, Grand Duke Jean, who married Princess Josephine Charlotte of Luxembourg.  Princess Marie Astrid is Jean's eldest child.

Henri is a descendant of  Grand Duchess Charlotte through her 4th child, Princess Marie Gabrielle who married a Danish nobleman,  Knud , 7th Count of Holstein-Ledreborg.   They were the parents of seven daughters, the second of whom, Countess Lydia, married as her first husband, Prince Eric of Bourbon Parma, the eldest son of Prince Michel of Bourbon-Parma and his first wife, Princess Yolande de Broglie-Revel.

Countess Lydia and Prince Eric were married in 1980 and divorced in 1999.  Henri, who was born at Roskilde, Denmark, on October 14, 1991, is the youngest of five children.

Another Bourbon-Parma connection is through Duke Roberto I (1848-1902) and his second wife,  Infanta Maria Antonia of Portugal (1862-1959)

Roberto I - Zita - Carl Ludwig - Carl Christian - Gabriella
Roberto I - Felix - Jean - Marie-Astrid  -Gabriella
Roberto I - Felix - Marie Gabrielle - Lydia - Henri
Roberto I - Rene - Michel -Erik -Henri

Gabriella and Henri also are descendants of King Christian IX of Denmark.

Christian IX- Frederik VIII - Ingeborg (married Carl of Sweden) - Astrid - Josephine Charlotte - Marie Astrid - Gabriella

Christian IX - Valdemar - Margrethe (married Rene of Bourbon-Parma) - Michel - Eric - Henri

There are also multiple lines of descent from Miguel I of Portugal

Miguel - Maria José - Elisabeth - Leopold III (Belgium) - Josephine Charlotte - Marie Astrid - Gabriella

Miguel -  Maria Ana - Charlotte  - Jean - Marie Astrid - Gabriella
Miguel - Maria Ana-   Charlotte - Marie Gabrielle -Lydia- Henri
Miguel - Maria Antonia - Zita - Carl Ludwig - Carl Christian - Gabriella

Miguel - Maria Antonia - Felix - Jean - Marie Astrid - Gabriella

Miguel - Maria Antonia - Rene - Michel - Erik - Henri

Prince Rene and Princess Margarethe were the parents of four children: Jacques, Anne (consort of King Michael of Romania, Michel, and Andre.   Prince Jacques was married to Countess Brigitte of Holstein-Ledreborg, younger sister of Count Knud, who married Princess Marie Gabrielle of Luxembourg.  Thus,  Henri's parents,  Prince Erik, and Countess Lydia are first cousins of  Prince Jacques' son, Prince Philipp of Bourbon-Parma.

At this time, the couple is living apart as Henri is currently studying for a master's degree in corporate law at the University of Copenhagen.  He received a Bachelor's degree in International Sales & Marketing from the Copenhagen Business Academy and has worked as Key Account Manager at the GodBank in Copenhagen and interned in Sales Marketing at the Schloss Kaltenberg Brewery, which is owned by Prince Luitpold of Bavaria, whose maternal grandmother was Princess Antonia of Luxembourg, a younger sister of Grand Duchess Charlotte.

 Gabriella and Victoria are living in Geneva with Archduke Carl Christian and Archduchess Marie Astrid.   At this time, Gabriella is focusing on motherhood but hopes to resume her education next year.

A date for the wedding has not been announced.

Having a child before the wedding (or being pregnant on the wedding day) is nothing new in the Luxembourg or Bourbon-Parma royal families.

Joan Dillon was three months pregnant when she married Prince Charles of Luxembourg, younger brother of Grand Duke Jean, in March 1967.

Prince Jean of Luxembourg's first child, Princess Marie-Gabrielle of Nassau was born nearly nine months before Jean, the middle son of Grand Duke Jean, married the mother, Helene Vestur.

Prince Louis of Luxembourg and his girlfriend, Tessy Antony, became the parents of a son,  Gabriel, in March 2006.  The couple married in September 2006 and are now in the process of finalizing their divorce.

Henri's grandfather, Prince Michel of Bourbon-Parma.  He has five children by his first wife, Princess Yolande de Broglie-Revel,  twins by his  second wife, Princess Maria Pia of Italy (who was still married to Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia when she began her relationship with Michel).  Michel also has a daughter,  Amelie de Bourbon-de Parma (1977) by Laure le Bourgeois.

Henri's paternal aunt, Princess Ines (1952-1981) gave birth to a daughter, Marie Melodie, in 1977.   Prince Michel adopted his granddaughter in 1982.

Two of Henri's sisters, Marie Gabrielle and Alexia, had children out of wedlock.  In 2003, Marie Gabriella gave birth to a son, Mark. She has not married the father.  A year later, Alexia's first daughter, Rebecca, was born.  Three years later, she married Rebecca's father, Fabian Davis.

One of Henri's first cousins, Tatiana Munro, elder daughter of Countess Silvia of Holstein-Ledreborg, gave birth to a son, Marcus, in 2009.  Two years later, she married the baby's father, Martin Skaarup Munro-Thers.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Margarita must vacate Elisabeta Palace within 60 days

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Crown Princess Margareta, heir to King Michael of Romania, who died on December 5, will have to move out of the Elisabeta Palace within 60 days, according to a report in the Libertatea newspaper.

The agreement that allowed King Michael to live in the Elisabeta Palace during his lifetime will expire in February 2018.

According to the Romanian Law 406/10.7/2001, the "family members of the holder enjoy free use during the lifetime of the holder and will leave the dwelling within 60 days."

@Marlene Eilers Koenig
 Margarita and her husband, Prince Radu, will have to leave the Elisabeta Palace, once the property of Margarita's great-aunt, Princess Elisabeth of Romania, at the beginning of February unless Parliament votes for the bill that will give the head of the Royal House continued use of the residence.

There is an assumption that the legislation will be enacted into law and lease for the head of the house will be extended for the next 49 years.

Margareta has used the palace as an official residence, hosting dinners and other events, where guests included members of the Romanian government.

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Monday, December 18, 2017

an interview with Alina-Maria Binder

@Nicholas Medforth-Mills

This interview was published in September 2017 in

The reporter is Nicoleta Nicolae


Alina-Maria Binder: "I admire my fiance the ability to take on, the spirit of adventure and the courage to get over the hardships. He knows how to be funny, cheerful and sometimes childish "

Besides being young and beautiful, Alina-Maria Binder (29) has countless other qualities: cooks, paints, plays piano and pilots planes. All this convinced Prince Nicholas to marry her one month ago, on the holiday they had spent in England in Cornwall.

Nicholas Medforth-Mills, grandson of King Michael and former Prince of Romania 

Who is Alina-Maria Binder, the one you want the world to know?

I want the world to know me as friends know me: a cheerful, sociable person who loves to laugh. I like to think that I have retained the ability to become a child again and again.The close ones say about me that I am a good listener, but at the same time, I have a very critical eye and attention to detail. I like people who know how to live nicely, well balanced and great value when it comes to private life. And one more thing, I really like the Japanese garlands.

What kind of childhood did you have?

My childhood was very beautiful, somehow divided between Bucharest, the town where I went to school and the summer holidays from my grandparents, some spent in Constanta and others in Sibiu. A childhood without smartphones, no tablets and other gadgets, outdoors in nature, with a bunch of kids in the block or with grandparents' animals. We, the children, wanted to spend the whole day out and play the games then: Sotron, Leap, Hidden, Leaf and more. I also remember that I spent a lot of time with my mother in the kitchen, paying attention to the wonderful dishes she prepared, and perhaps because of this I have the skill and cooking talent.

What does the family mean to you?

Family for me is the most important aspect of life because I have an extraordinary example from my parents, whose love and care I have always felt. I am lucky to have two wonderful parents who have guided and helped us in everything we wanted to do, while giving us the freedom to choose. We took care that during childhood we can try different sports or educational activities: karate, dance, swimming, but also painting, piano, guitar and foreign languages, activities that caught us well.

Are you alone with your parents?

I have a younger brother two years old than I have a very good understanding of.

Where's the passion for airplanes? Generally, youngsters have other hobbies at your age ...

Ever since I was a little, I preferred toy cars and toys in front of dolls. This is certainly due to my father who was a pilot in civil aviation. Every time he got the chance, my dad took me to the cockpit and explained to me how the plane was working, and I always asked him what the countless buttons make there, always discovering a new one. It was fascinating!

What else do you like to do when you have time?

Free time is often occupied by sports, cycling, playing tennis, yoga, hiking in nature. In the evening, after a long day at the office, I like to relax with a good book or a recipe. 

I read somewhere that you attended the School of Music and Fine Arts in Bucharest.What talent do you have?

In parallel with the primary school, I attended the School of Music and Fine Arts no. 4, where I attended painting, drawing, modeling. I enjoyed these activities a great deal, they helped me to make the surrounding world different, more detailed, deeper.

Do you live in Romania or Germany?

I lived in Germany during my studies. Now I do not live in Romania, but every time I come back home.

About your job, what can you tell us?

I worked as PR at the Aircraft Pilots and Owners Association, organizing events and seminars in Romania and Germany. I continue my profession in this field, following parallel theoretical courses for the private pilot license. 

How important is the image for a woman?

The image is very important because it is a business card that reveals many aspects: self-esteem, respect for one's own and others, caring for one's own body. I'm not talking about exaggerating, but about the ability to perceive the new balance, the women, the requirements of the society in which we live.

If you were to choose a place to live, work and raise your children, who would it be?Why?

Romania, of course. It's my country and here I have many friends and family. It's a wonderful country, and the scenery and its riches are unique in the world. I love Romanian customs and traditions and I would like my children to grow up in this environment and to carry on these traditions, the dowry of our ancestors. I remember that in the summer holidays my mother went to the creative camps organized by the Village Museum, where I learned from craftsmen from all parts of Romania little about the art of pottery, sculpture, glass painting of icons and eggs. I wish that these mysteries are not lost and used as much as possible.

Do you believe in true love? But in the institution of marriage?

I believe in love and I always considered it the foundation of a lasting relationship. I feel that a relationship is beautiful and harmonious when love interweaves with maturity and respect for the other. A long-lasting love relationship, however, requires good self-knowledge and, implicitly, psychological maturation from both partners. I also believe in marriage, because I see it as a natural, natural result of a mature relationship of love.

When you were young, did you dream when you get married?

I have grown up with stories and cartoons like Snow White, Cinderella, stories that teach children, that no dream is too great or impossible. Recently, we found out about the Disney 'Dream big, Princess' campaign that encourages girls of all ages to have great dreams and find the ambition to turn them into reality. I think such a campaign is welcome because every girl needs to understand that she is the princess of her own story and nothing should stop her from dreaming.

How would a dream look like?

You will surely know next year.

What do you admire most about a man?

I can tell you what I admire to my fiancé: I admire the ability to assume and overcome any life-related situation, I admire the spirit of adventure, the courage to overcome the hardships, and I crazy that she knows to be funny, cheerful and sometimes childlike.

And who do you think is the ingredient that makes a relationship last?

There are several ingredients: common values and passions, mutual respect, friendship with the loved one. The fact that a relationship lasts is a natural consequence of some spiritual values like the above. 

Do you like to travel? What is your last vacation?

I like to travel. I'm lucky that my partner is just as in love with me as traveling. We love to discover new places, traditions, and customs of people living in different corners of the world. The last vacation was in Cornwall, England, where I was asked for marriage.

What is the best lesson of life so far?

To be balanced in everything I do.


Simple or Milk Coffee?

Coffee with milk.

Skirt, trousers or jeans?

All three are in my wardrobe.

Movie or book?

Good movie anytime and the book accompanies me everywhere.

Money or love?

Health :) to enjoy both of you.

Flowers or chocolates?

Chocolate candy anytime, although nothing overwhelms me like a bunch of flowers.

Last wedding at the Palace

The last wedding at the Royal House was on June 10, 2008, when their Majesties King Mihai and Queen Ana celebrated sixty years of marriage. The moment was marked by a series of events at Elisabeth Palace, at the Romanian Athenaeum and at Peles Castle. The King and Queen celebrated with his family, with members of other royal European families, close to home and abroad, including: Their Royal Highness Princess Margareta and Prince Radu, His Royal Highness Princess Elena, His Excellency Mr. Alexander Phillips Nixon, His Excellency Nicholas and his sister, Elisabeth-Karina.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Nicholas Medforth Mills has married in secret

Nicholas de Roumanie Medforth-Mill's lawyer has confirmed that Nicholas and Alina-Maria Binder have married in a civil ceremony.  The date and place of the wedding has not been made public.

The couple will marry in a Romanian Orthodox ceremony in the summer of 2018.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

King Michael and his American grandchildren

Although Michael and Angelica Krueger are unable to attend their grandfather's funeral, they did sent a wreath, which can be seen on display outside the Royal Palace.  (I hope to be able to share a photo of it, as I have asked the photographer about it.)

Here is a selection of photos taken in Bucharest in 1998 by Raymond Reuter.

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Prince Philip talks about his cousin, King Michael

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In October 2016,  Prince Philip spoke to a Romanian filmmaker about his cousin, Michael.

King Michael - scenes from the first two days

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Thousands wait in line to pay respects to Michael

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 The line outside the Royal Palace on Calea Victoriei  began to grow even before the hearse carrying the the coffin of the late King Michael left Castle Peles for the two hour drive to Bucharest.

King Michael will lie in State in the Throne Room at the Royal Palace through Saturday morning.

By Thursday evening tens of thousands of people have come through the palace doors to their respects to their much loved and respected King, who was forced to abdicate on December 30, 1947.

The Royal House's press office announced that the palace will remain open throughout Thursday night and will remain open until 10:00 p.m., on Friday.

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The Romanian philosopher Mihail Sora was the first to enter the Hall of Thrones on Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m.  He left a message in the book of condolences. "Deeply grieved, to the death of the King of my heart."

One woman said "I came tonight and I will do it in the next few days.  For King Michael, especially for Michael. For the example that remains to us, the Romanian people."

King Simeon of the Bulgarians,  accompanied by Crown Princess Margarita and her husband, Prince Radu, came to the palace to pay his respects to the late king.

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People have placed candles, flowers and messages outside the palace.

The official guest list for Michael's funeral

Here is the official guest list for the funeral of King Michael.

TM The King and Queen of Sweden

HRH The Grand Duke of Luxembourg

TM King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain

HRH The Prince of Wales

HM King Simeon of the Bulgarians

HM Queen Anne Marie of the Hellenes

HRH Princess Muna of Jordan

TRH Princess Astrid & and Prince Lorenz of Belgium

TRH Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine of Serbia

HRH The Duke of Braganza

HRH  The Duke of Vendome

HI & RH Prince Georg Friedrich of Prussia

HI & RH Archduke Karl of Austria

HI & RH Grand Duchess Maria of Russia

TRH Crown Prince Leka II and Crown Princess Elia of Albania

His Excellency Rashid bin Khalifa al Khalifa of Bahrain

HRH Princess Rym of Jordan

HRH & HI & RH the Margrave and Margravine of Baden

HRH Princess Irene of Greece

TI & RH Archduke Dominic and Archduchess Emmanuella of Austria

HI & RH Archduchess Maria Magdalena of Austria and Baron Hanns-Ulrich von Holzhausen

Baroness Alexandra von Holzhausen, Mrs. Ferch

HI & RH Archduke Georg of Austria

TI & TH Archduke Martin and Archduchess Katharina of Austria

HRH The Prince of Venice

HRH Prince Nikolaos of Greece

HRH Duke Eberhard of Württemberg

HRH Princess Chantal of France and Baron Francois-Xavier de Sambucy de Sorgue

HSH Princess Anne de Ligne and  Chevalier Charles de Fabribeckers

HSH Princess Tatiana Radzivill, Mrs. Fruchaud and Dr. Fruchaud

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Of course Elizabeth knew Philip

I just read a comment on a royal forum that had me shaking my head in disbelief:  Elizabeth barely knew Philip when they were children.   This is incorrect.

The future Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark have known each other for nearly their entire lives.  

The Duchess of York gave birth to a daughter on April 21, 1926.  On that day,  the Crown Princess of Sweden, the Dowager Marchioness of Milford Haven, and Princess Andrew of Greece visited King George V and Queen Mary at Windsor Castle and they stayed for lunch.  I have no doubt that the king and queen and their guests toasted the health of the newborn princess.  It seemed unlikely that the king and queen or their guests would have considered that  Princess Andrew's young son, Philip, would marry the princess who was born on the day that his mother and grandmother had lunch with the baby's paternal grandparents.

Two years later,  Princess Andrew's son, Prince Philip, then seven years old, was sent to London to attend Cheam School.  He lived with his maternal grandmother, Victoria, the Dowager Marchioness of Milford Haven, and with his maternal uncle, George, the 2nd Marquess of Milford of Haven.  Uncle George was named as Philip's guardian, but Philip probably spent more time with Sir Harold and Lady Zia at their country home.

Lady Zia's younger sister, Nada, was married to George Milford Haven.  They were the daughters of Grand Duke Michael Mikhailovich of Russia whose morganatic marriage to Countess Sophie von Merenberg, sent him into exile and saved his life.  The Grand Duke and his wife were mainstays of London society and lived for many years at Kenwood House in Hampstead Heath.   The Russian Revolution led to the loss of Michael's massive income from his own estates and he and Sophie were forced to downsize.  King George V was one of several family members who helped out financially.

The Grand Duke Adolphe of Luxembourg, who was Sophie's uncle, created her as Countess Torby after her marriage.  This title was also used by her three children: Michael, Anastasia (Zia), and Nadejda (Nada).

The young Countesses Zia and Nada needed to marry well.  Zia certainly did that when on July 20, 1917, she married Major General Harold Wernher, son of the German-born financier, Sir Julius Werhner, Bt whose fortune was made in the South African diamond mines.  Two months after the wedding, King George V accorded Zia the style and precedence of a daughter of an earl.  This was done by Royal Warrant.   In 1948,  Harold succeeded his brother, Derrick as the third Baronet.

The Milford Havens had two children, Lady Tatiana (1917-1988), who was mentally disabled, and David, then styled Earl of Medina (1919-1970)

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The 2nd Marquess of Milford Haven was a career officer in the Royal Navy.  UIn 1916, he received the KVCO and in 1932 received the GCVO (Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order.  He was also an accomplished mathematician.   Queen Elizabeth II once said of her cousin that "he was one of the most intelligent and brilliant of people."      He died in 1937 of bone cancer.

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Sir Harald and Lady Zia were the parents of three children: Alex (1918-1942), Georgina (1919-2011), and Myra (1925)

Lord Milford-Haven's younger brother, Lord Louis Mountbatten, and his wife the Hon. Edwina Ashley were the parents of two daughters,  Patricia (1924-2017) and Pamela (1929).

The cousins were part of a childhood social circle that also included Prince Philip, who was a first cousin to Lady Tatiana,  Lord Medina, and Patricia and Pamela Mountbatten.

This social circle also included Princess Elizabeth (1926) and  Princess Margaret Rose (1930-2002) of York.

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Alex Wernher was very much a mentor and an older brother to Prince Philip.

The future Queen was very fond of Lady Zia as both shared a great love for racing.

The parents all moved in the same social and court circles.  At Ascot, for example, in 1924,  the Duke and Duchess of  York were in the Royal Box, along with Prince and Princess Arthur of Connaught, Lord Carnegie and Lady Maud Carnegie, Princess Andrew of Greece with her two eldest daughters,  Princess Margarita and Theodora, the Marchioness of Cambridge, Lady Helena Gibbs, the Marquess and Marchioness of Worcester, Lady Zia  Wernher and her father, Grand Duke Michael of Russia and King Manoel and Queen Augusta Victoria of Portugal.

Gina Wernher was a lifelong friend of the Queen and Prince Philip.  She married twice, first to Harold "Bunny" Phillips,  Lady Louis Mountbatten's discarded lover, and after his death, she wed Sir George Kennard, Bt.   Lady Kennard was one of Prince Andrew's godparents.   Two of her daughters,  Sasha and Natalia, married the Dukes of Abercorn and Westminster, respectively.  Tally Westminster is the godmother of Prince William and her son, Hugh, the current duke, is Prince George's godmother.

Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret were among the guests at the wedding in November 1946 when Myra married David Butter at St. Margaret's, Westminster.  Their son, Charles, has been a close friend of Prince Andrew's since childhood.
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In 1933,  Prince Philip's family -- he was raised by a committee made up of family members, including his grandmother, Victoria, and his uncle, George, Marquess of Milford  -- decided to send him to the Salem School, which was owned by the Margrave of Baden, who was married to Philip's sister, Theodora.  The decision to send Philip to Salem was due to economic reasons. No worries about school fees when your uncle owns the school.   But after only two terms at Salem,  Philip was back in the United Kingdom.  He was sent to Gordonstoun in Scotland, which was run by Kurt Hahn, the former headmaster at Salem, who had fled Germany as he was Jewish.

Yes, Philip would continue to visit his family in Germany.  In September 1937, joined his grandmother, Victoria, at Schloss Wolfsgarten, near Darmstadt, where he spent time with his sister, Cecilie,  her husband, Georg Donatus "Don", the Hereditary Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine, and their three young children, Ludwig, Alexander, and Johanna.

Victoria had spent most of the summer at Wolfsgarten caring for her younger brother, Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig, who was looking forward to traveling to London in mid-October for the wedding of his younger son, Prince Ludwig, to Margaret Geddes, the daughter of a British diplomat and former Ambassador to the United States.   The wedding was slated for mid-October, but following Ernie's death on October 9th,  the wedding date was moved to November 20, 1937.

Back at school in Scotland,  Philip received a letter from his grandmother, writing from Kensington Palace,  telling him that he was expected to attend the wedding that Saturday.

Early afternoon on November 16, 1937,  Don, Cecilie, Ludwig, and Alexander, Eleonore, the Dowager Grand Duchess, and several other people, boarded a plane bound for Brussels, then London.   Due to heavy fog,  the pilot was advised to land at Ostend.   The experienced pilot, who often flew planes for the King the Belgians, should have gone straight to London.  As he approached Ostend, also engulfed in fog, he was only able to see one of the flares, as the other two failed, as he tried to approach the airport.   One of the wings of the plane clipped a chimney.  The plane crashed to the ground and burst into flame.  It took hours before it was safe enough to approach the wreckage. Everyone on board had been killed instantly.   There would be one more victim: the body of a newborn infant.   Cecilie was due to give birth shortly before Christmas.

Gordonstoun's headmaster broke the news to 16-year-old Prince Philip.   The wedding of Prince Ludwig and Margaret Geddes took place privately on November 17th.  The newlyweds spent their honeymoon identifying the remains, preparing for a funeral, and adopting their niece, Johanna Marina, who died in 1939 from meningitis.

Prince Andrew came to London to accompany his son to the funeral in Darmstadt.  It was the first time Alice and Andrew had seen each other in several years.

Thus,  Philip and Elizabeth certainly met as children at parties and other events at Lynden Manor and Luton Hoo.  It is no coincidence that for many years the Queen and Prince Philip spent their wedding anniversary at Luton Hoo.

They began corresponding in 1939 after Princess Elizabeth, along with Margaret, accompanied their parents on an official visit to Dartmouth, where Prince Philip, a student, was asked to give the young princesses a tour.

In 1941, Sir Henry Channon, known as Chips, was in Athens, where he met a member of the Greek royal family at a cocktail party, where the conversation turned to Prince Philip. "He is extraordinarily handsome, and I recalled my afternoon's conversation with Princess Nicholas. He is to be our Prince Consort, and that is why he is serving in our Navy."

Princess Nicholas -- Grand Duchess Helen of Russia -- was the mother of the Duchess of Kent.

Another connection between Philip and the Queen took place in November 1934 when Philip's first cousin, Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark, married Elizabeth's uncle, Prince George, the Duke of Kent.  Philip attended the wedding and Princess Elizabeth was one of the bridesmaids.  (Marina's older sister, Olga, was married to Prince Paul of Yugoslavia, one of the regents for the young King Peter II, whose father, King Alexander I, had been assassinated in late October.  In England,  Paul moved in the same social circles as the Duke of York and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon and he was thought to be one of her suitors.]

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So, yes, Philip and Elizabeth knew each other from childhood, but their romantic relationship did not develop until the mid-1940s.  Their childhood friends (who were also cousins) -- Countess Mountbatten of Burma, Lady Pamela Hicks, Lady Kennard, and Lady Butter remained (and remain for Lady Pamela and Lady Butter) close friends of the Queen and Philip.   Alex Wernher was killed in the second world war.   David, the 3rd Marquess of Milford Haven served as Philip's best man, soon he blotted his copybook and fell out of favor with his first cousin.  He died in 1970, suffering a heart attack at Liverpool Street Station.

The focus tends to be on George VI and Elizabeth and their daughters and their family, but do not realize that there was a wider circle of friends and family.  Philip's grandmother, Victoria, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, had a grace and favor apartment at Kensington Palace, given to her by George V after the death of her husband in 1921 until she died in 1950.

One of the best sources for the Wernher family is the book, Grand Dukes and Diamonds.

Tim Heald and Philip Eade's biographies of Prince Philip provide more information about his early life.

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UPDATED: funeral program for King Michael

December 12, 2017
Secretariat of the Romanian Royal Household

Program of the funeral of King Michael I of Romania

The Press Office of the Romanian Royal Household has been authorised to transmit the following updates regarding the program of the funeral of King Michael I of Romania for Saturday, December 16, 2017 and the journey with the Royal Train:

On Wednesday, December 13, 2017, at 11.00 a.m., His Late Majesty King Michael’s coffin will arrive at Otopeni Airport, whence it will be conveyed by hearse to Pelesh Castle. The event will take place in the presence of the new Head of the Royal House of Romania, Margareta, Custodian of the Crown, and the members of the Romanian Royal Family, representatives of the Romanian Government and of the Orthodox Church and members of the Royal Household. The press will have access to the ceremony. Members of the public will not have access.

From 2.00 p.m. to 6.00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 13, 2017, the King’s coffin will lie in state in the Hall of Honour at Pelesh Castle. During this interval, the Custodian of the Crown and the Royal Family will be in Sinaia. The timetable for officials visiting Pelesh Castle to convey their condolences is as follows:

- 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.: The Presidential Institutions of Romania and the Republic of Moldova, members of the Government of Romania and the Government of the Republic of Moldova, members of the Parliament of Romania and the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova.
- 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.: Representatives of institutions of the Romanian State (National Bank, city and town halls, schools and universities, central and local institutions).
- 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.: Representatives of the Diplomatic Corps, the European Union, N.A.T.O., and international organisations.
- 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.: Representatives of the Romanian Academy and the State Academy of the Republic of Moldova, the Orthodox Church, the Catholic Church, and other religious institutions.

Access to Pelesh Castle will be on the basis of the lists communicated in advance to the Royal Protocol by the aforementioned institutions by e-mail at

Members of the public will not have access to the Hall of Honour while the coffin lies in state at Pelesh Castle. The press will have limited access to the Hall of Honour.

Wednesday December 13, 2017, at 6.00 p.m., His Late Majesty’s coffin will be taken from Pelesh Castle and from 8.30 p.m. will lie in state in the Throne Hall of the Royal Palace (Calea Victoriei, nos. 49-53). The ceremony of the arrival of the coffin in the Throne Room will be private. The press and members of the public will not have access.

All those who wish to lay flowers and to say a prayer at the catafalque of His Late Majesty King Michael I will have access to the Throne Hall of the Royal Palace on Wednesday, December 13, 2017, between 9.00 p.m. and midnight, Thursday, December 14, 2017, between 8.00 a.m. and 10.00 p.m. and Friday, December 15, 2017, between 08.00 a.m. and 10.00 p.m. Entry will be free for everybody. The press will also have access.

Those coming to the Royal Palace to pay their last respects to His Late Majesty King Michael I are asked to abide by the following rules:

They should be dressed appropriately, in dark colours.
They should not be carrying shopping bags, other kinds of bags, or bulky luggage of any kind.
They should not be accompanied by children below the age of seven or by wheeling pushchairs.
They should not use cameras or mobile telephones or any other electronic devices. Out of respect for the solemnity of the occasion, it will be forbidden to film or take photographs.
They should have their identity cards with them.
Members of the public will not be allowed to lay flowers at the catafalque personally. Flowers shall be laid in the garden in front of the Royal Palace or on the pavement in front of the Palace railings. The staff of the Royal Household will be on hand to advise the public.
Those coming to the catafalque are asked not to bring books, letters, postcards, stamps, documents or photographs with them. These may be sent by post to the Elisabeta Palace after the event.
It is strictly forbidden to smoke or to use mobile telephones within the precincts of the Royal Palace.
They should cooperate with the staff of the Ministry of Internal Affairs during the security checks that will be carried out in the garden and inside the Royal Palace.
Running in the perimeter is strictly forbidden.
They should respect the program of activities and the travel route set by the organizers and the instructions of the staff of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

A first-aid post will be in service during the period of access to the Royal Palace.

At 10.25 a.m., on Saturday, December 16, 2017, a short religious service will be held in the Throne Hall of the Royal Palace.

At 11.00 a.m., His Late Majesty’s coffin will be laid on a catafalque in Royal Palace Square, in front of the Palace. A military and religious ceremony will be held. The public will have free access to Royal Palace Square, within specially marked out areas. The press will also have free access.

At 11.10 a.m., the coffin will be placed on a gun carriage. The funeral cortege will include, a part from the Royal Family, servicemen and women from the Ministry of National Defense and representatives of the Romanian Orthodox Church. As a sign of respect, the gun carriage will be pulled by an operational vehicle of the Romanian Armed Forces.

Between 11.30 a.m. and 12.45 p.m., the funeral cortege will walk from the Royal Palace Square, along Calea Victoriei, then Unirii Square, to the Patriarchal Cathedral.

Between 12.50 p.m. and 2.00 p.m., a funeral mass will take place in the Patriarchal Cathedral of Romania. The press and members of the public will not have access.

At 2.00 p.m., the funeral cortege will travel to Băneasa Royal Railway Station taking the following route: Unirii Square – University Square – Romana Square – Charles de Gaulle Square – The Triumphant Arch – Kiseleff Av. – Bucureşti – Ploieşti Av.

At 2.40 p.m., His Majesty’s coffin will be transported in the Royal Train to Curtea de Argeș.

In the Royal Train will travel the Custodian of the Crown and the Royal Family of Romania. The press and public will have access in front of Băneasa Royal Railway Station.

The Royal Train will travel at low speed through the following cities: Chitila (2.51 p.m.) – Titu (3.41 p.m.) – Pitești (4.46 p.m.). All those who want to pay their respects to His Late Majesty King Michael I are welcomed in the railway station of their city. 

The Royal Train will arrive at Curtea de Argeş Railway Station, at 5.30 p.m. The funeral cortege will travel from the railway station to Curtea de Arges Cathedral. The press and public will have access in front of Curtea de Arges Railway Station.

At 5.50 p.m., His Late Majesty’s burial service will take place in Curtea de Argeș Cathedral. At 6.20 p.m. His Late Majesty’s coffin will be taken to the New New Episcopal and Royal Cathedral in a procession. The burial will end at 6.40 p.m. 

The ceremony will be attended only by the Custodian of the Crown, the Royal Family of Romania and members of foreign Royal Families. The public will not be allowed past the front gates of the Park of the Curtea de Argeș Monastery.

The press will not be allowed inside the New Cathedral, either before or during the burial ceremony. The New Cathedral will be closed to visitors during the seven days following the funeral.

The Royal Family announces heavy mourning for 40 days and mourning for the first three months after the day of His Late Majesty’s passing.

For further details, please contact the Royal Secretariat and the Press Office by e-mail at and by phone at +40 21 319 09 72.

Books of condolence are open at Pelesh Castle, the Royal Palace (Calea Victoriei), and Elisabeta Palace. The public will be able to sign the books of condolence for forty days after the date of the decease.

Messages of condolence may also be left online, at the following address: 

Confirmed guests for King Michael's funeral

As of Tuesday morning, the confirmed royal guests for King Michael's funeral are:

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HRH The Prince of Wales

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 TM King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain
HRH The Grand Duke of Luxembourg
TM King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden
HM Queen Anne Marie of the Hellenes
HRH The Margrave and H& RH Margravine of Baden
TRH Princess Astrid and Prince Lorenz of Belgium
HRH Princess Muna of Jordan

Monday, December 11, 2017

The funeral of King Michael - details

Funeral of King Michael I of Romania 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 – Saturday, December 16, 2017

I have edited the press accreditation email that I received earlier today with details about the funeral. 

The Romanian National Television (TVR) is the official broadcaster of the funeral.

Henri Coanda International Airport – Bucharest, Official Lounge
Wednesday, December 13, 2017, 11 A.M.

At 11 A.M., His Late Majesty King Michael’s coffin will arrive at Henri Coanda International Airport (Official Lounge) where a short religious service will be held.

Pelesh Castle
Wednesday, December 13, 2017, 2 P.M. – 6 P.M.
From 2 P.M. to 6 P.M., the King’s coffin will lie in state in the Hall of Honour of Pelesh Castle.

The Romanian National Television will broadcast live from Pelesh Castle. Only the photographers will have access inside the Castle.

Royal Palace, Throne Hall
Wednesday, December 13, 2017 – 9 P.M. – 12 A.M.
Thursday, December 14, 2017 and Friday, December 15, 2017 – 7.00 A.M – 10 P.M.

At 8.30 P.M., His Late Majesty’s coffin will lie in state in the Throne Hall of the Royal Palace in Bucharest (Calea Victoriei, nos. 49-53). The ceremony will be private. The press and members of the public will not have access during the ceremony. Access will be granted afterward, from 9 P.M. to 12 A.M.
Also, all those who wish to lay flowers and say a prayer at the catafalque of King Michael I will have access to the Throne Hall of the Royal Palace on Thursday, December 14, 2017 and on Friday, December 15, 2017, from 8 A.M. to 10 P.M.

Royal Palace, Throne Hall and Royal Palace Square
Saturday, December 16, 2017, 10.25 A.M. – 11.30 A.M.

At 10.25 A.M., a short religious service will be held in the Throne Hall of the Royal Palace.
At 10.55 A.M., His Late Majesty’s coffin will be laid on a catafalque in Royal Palace Square. A military and religious ceremony will be held. 
At 11.20 A.M., the coffin will be placed on a gun carriage. At 11.30 A.M., the funeral cortege will walk from the Royal Palace Square, along Calea Victoriei, then Unirii Square, to the Patriarchal Cathedral.

The Romanian National Television will broadcast live the ceremony from the Throne Hall. 
The press will have free access only in the Royal Palace Square, within specially marked out areas. 

Patriarchal Cathedral
Saturday, December 16, 2017, 12.45 P.M. – 2 P.M.

From 12.45 P.M. to 2 P.M., a funeral mass will take place in the Patriarchal Cathedral of Romania.
From 2 P.M, the funeral cortege will travel to Baneasa Royal Railway Station taking the following route: Unirii Square – University Square – Romana Square – Charles de Gaulle Square – The Triumphant Arch – Kiseleff Av. – Bucuresti – Ploiesti Av.

The Romanian National Television will broadcast live the ceremony from the Cathedral. 

Baneasa Royal Railway Station 
Saturday, December 16, 2017 
2.40 P.M. – The Royal Train departure to Curtea de Arges

The press will have free access in front of Baneasa Royal Railway Station.

Curtea de Arges Railway Station 
Saturday, December 16, 2017 
5.30 P.M. – The Royal Train arrival to Curtea de Arges

The press will have free access in front of Curtea de Arges Railway Station.

Curtea de Arges Cathedral
Saturday, December 16, 2017, 5.45 P.M. – 6.40 P.M.

5.45 P.M. – The Funeral Cortege arrives in front of Curtea de Arges Cathedral. King’s Michael coffin will be laid on a catafalque in the Cathedral.
5.50 P.M. to 6.20 P.M. – Short religious service inside the Cathedral.
6.20 P.M. to 6.30 P.M. – Funeral procession from the Cathedral to the New Episcopal and Royal Cathedral. 
6.30 P.M. to 6.40 P.M. – Burial of His Late Majesty King Michael. The burial will be private. No media access. 

The Romanian National Television will broadcast live the ceremony from the Cathedral.