Lest the Ages Forget - Kansas City's Liberty Memorial
by Derek Donovan
Kansas City Star Books
Kansas City, 2001

This material is presented with permission and intended for personal use only.
For any other purposes, please contact the publisher Kansas City Star Books.
Also of interest is Liberty Memorial Museum, Kansas City, Missouri.

Marie, Queen of Romania

Queen Marie, also known as Marie of Edinburgh, was born on October 29, 1875, in Kent, England. Daughter of Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh and Marie, the only surviving daughter of Tsar Alexander II of Russia, Marie was also the granddaughter of Queen Victoria. At the age of 17, she married Ferdinand of Romania, and was crowned Queen in 1914.

Americans were fascinated with Queen Marie, who strove to become Romania's first "modern queen" by personal involvement with her citizens. She famously worked as a nurse with the Red Cross during the Great War, ministering to wounded soldiers. Marie also represented Romania at Versailles, where she won back territory that had been taken in the war.

In late 1926, Marie embarked on an extended tour of America. A week before Marie's arrival in Kansas City, her trip was disrupted by J.B. Ayers, a man posing as a representative of the Ford Motor Company. The automotive maker was paying incidental expenses for Marie's trip, and Ayers faked an association with Ford to gain passage on the queen's train. Representatives from Ford had "never heard of Ayres," and he was ejected from the traveling party.

Marie spent only the afternoon and evening in Kansas City for 1926's dedication of Liberty Memorial. She was greeted at Union Station by a huge crowd of city officials and spectators. Accompanied by her daughter Princess Ileana and her son Prince Nicolas, Marie was led from the station directly to the memorial, where she laid a wreath to honor the war dead.

Marie, Ileana and Nicolas were quickly taken to several small events around Kansas City. They ended their tour at the home of Ella C. Loose, widow of Jacob L. Loose, who was founder of the Loose-Wiles Biscuit Company and one of the city's most generous philanthropists.

The royal party arrived at the Loose home at 10:45 p.m., and stayed only an hour. The Times wrote of her departure, "Queen Marie was hurried into her motor car through the crowds which made the porches and driveways almost impassible."

Observing the crushing masses that surrounded almost every move the family made, Princess Ileana remarked to The Times, "The royal party may not have seen so much of Kansas City, but Kansas City certainly saw the royal party."

Marie was also a writer, composing several novels, stories and "Story of My Life," an autobiography in two volumes. She died in 1938.