Monday, September 2, 2019

Queen Helen to be reburied in Romania

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 It was the late King Michael's greatest wish to have his mother's remains brought back to Romania for reburial.

The Romanian royal family has been working with official in the Vaud canton to for the return of Queen Helen's remains.

Queen Helen died at Lausanne, Switzerland, on November 28, 1982.  She was buried at the Bois-de-Vaux cemetery in Lausanne.

A national funeral will take place on October 19 at the Cathedral at the Curtea des Arges, where she will be reburied.

According to a release from the royal house,  the remains of Queen Helen will arrive at  Henri Coanda-Otopeni International Airport on October 18.

Princess Helen of Greece and Denmark was born at Athens on May 2, 1896, the third of six children, and eldest daughter of King Constantine I and Queen Sophie of the Hellenes.

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She met Crown Prince Carol, the eldest son of King Ferdinand and Queen Marie, in Switzerland, where she and her family were living in exile.   Queen Marie and Queen Sophie were first cousins, granddaughters of Queen Victoria.

King Constantine gave his assent to the engagement only after Carol's first marriage to Romanian commoner Zizi Lambrino was annulled.  The engagement was announced in November 1920.

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The marriage took place in Athens on March 10, 1921.  Helen was the first princess to marry in Greece.

Helen gave birth to her only child, Michael, less than eight months after the wedding.

Within three years of the marriage, Carol had abandoned his wife for another woman, Elena Lupescu.  This had not been the first time that Carol had been unfaithful to Helen, but this time, the relationship was serious and Carol was determined to live with Elena.  On December 28, 1925, he renounced his position as Crown Prince and his right to the throne.

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The marriage was dissolved on June 21, 1928, nearly a year after King Ferdinand died and five-year-old Michael succeeded to the throne.   In 1930, Carol returned to Romania and claimed his throne.  Michael was demoted to Crown Prince. 

The relationship between Carol and Helen was divisive and difficult, fraught with tension for Helen, who was determined to maintain contact with her son. It was only after Carol was forced to leave Romania in September 1940 and Michael, now 18, back as king that Helen returned to Romania.

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Romania's fascist dictator Ion Antonescu  bestowed the title Queen Mother of Romania.   By 1944, Romanian communists, aided by the Soviet Union, were making inroads into Romania's political system.  Michael had single highhandedly  overthrown the Antonescu regime, throwing the country's support with the Allied Nations.  Unfortunately, this mean that Soviets could make their move to add Romania to their list of countries that they would control after the war.

It was on December 30, 1947 at the Elisabetha Palace in Bucharest that King Michael, at gunpoint, was forced to abdicate.  The Romanian Peoples' Republic was established within hours of the announcement of Michael's abdication .  He and Queen Helen left Romania on January 3 and settled in Switzerland.

After her son's marriage to Princess Anne of Bourbon-Parma in June 1948, Queen Helen left Switzerland and settled in Villa Sparta in Fiesole, Italy, a house that belonged to her mother, which Helen bought after her death in 1932.

Queen Helen remained at Villa Sparta until 1979, when she moved back to Switzerland, living first in an apartment in Lausanne, and then, in 1981, moving in with her son and his family at their home in Verosix.

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The plan to rebury Queen Helen has been in the works since January 2018, when the Romanian royal family announced that the remains of King Carol II would be moved to Curtea des Arges as well as the remains of Queen Helen, would be moved to the new Archdiocesan and Royal Cathedral.


The Blessed Virgin said...

It will be interesting to see if King Carol's third wife is also placed in the same chapel or not... Also if both Helen and Carol are buried next to each other.

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

Helen will be buried next to Michael. Elena is buried in the cemetery and not in the royal chapel.

Monkmkd said...

Do you have information for the reburial of Prince Nicholas and Prince Mircea ? Earlier it was reported that they will also be reburied there?