|THE NEW FUNDAMENTAL RULES OF THE ROMANIAN DYNASTY|
Royalty Digest Quarterly, 1/2008
During the nearly five decades of Communist rule in their homeland, King Michael and his family almost lost hope of coming back to a democratic Romania. After the fall of Ceausescu’s dictatorship, the King tried unsuccessfully on several occasions between 1990 and 1991 to return to his country. The new authorities, in large part second-generation Communist apparatchiks, permitted him to return only for a short private visit in the spring of 1992, on Easter Day. Ion Iliescu, the country’s then president, and the government were too scared of the possibility that the monarchy would be restored through popular support. The 1996 elections in Romania brought a non-communist government to power for the first time since the King’s abdication. The immediate result a year later was the granting of Romanian citizenship to HM King Michael – the citizenship of which he was abusively stripped in 1948 by the Romanian Communists with the approval of the Russian occupiers. Final permission to reside in his home country was granted in 2001, 12 years after the toppling of the Communist regime.
What has happened with King Michael is not unique, the former monarchs of Yugoslavia and Bulgaria were also subjected to similar restrictions by their respective countries’ authorities, too afraid that popular support for monarchy would threaten their own positions inherited from the Communist regimes.
In December 1997, on the fiftieth anniversary of his forced abdication, HM King Michael announced a dynastic document that recognised male primogeniture among siblings, but also allowed for the succession of females to the throne. His Majesty acknowledged on that occasion that his eldest daughter Margarita (in Romanian Margareta) is the Crown Princess of Romania and his heir apparent.
On 30 December 2007, in a ceremony with highly symbolic significance at Săvârşin Castle in Romania, HM King Michael signed and presented officially the new Royal House Statute. This was timed to take place on the same day and hour as his forced abdication 60 years ago. The document is entitled the ‘Fundamental Rules of the Romanian Royal Family - The Complete Statute of the Dynasty’.
This document replaces all previous Family or House Statutes, rules and regulations of the Romanian Royal Family1. These new dispositions were an absolute necessity in order clarify and avoid all misinterpretations, misunderstandings and disputes with the collateral descendants and foreign dynastic pretenders. The many awkward situations generated by the previous unclear state of affairs was often exploited against the King and his family without restraint by the pack of Romanian politicians of Communist and fascist orientation and their affiliated press and media.
The document contains five chapters: The Royal House of Romania, The Royal Family Council, The Head of the Royal House of Romania, The Household of His Majesty the King, Transitory and Final Dispositions and Annex 1 and 2.
New Realities & The New Royal House Statute
HM King Michael made his decisions public in pursuit of the royal duty to history and to his heirs, ‘in full conformity with the values and principles of the European Union which grant everyone the right to express his identity and aspirations, and acting on My own free will’2. A new image for the Romanian monarchy requires the change accordingly of the dynastic laws in light of new realities of Romania such as the accession to the European Union in 2007, but also in recognition of the European Convention on Human Rights3. For these reasons HM King Michael changed the principles and practice of Salic law, which requires exclusive male descent, and specified that this particular tenet will ‘no longer be used in terms of determining the Succession to the Throne and to the Headship of the Royal House of Romania’4. In the absence of a male issue, the Romanian Crown will pas to the subsequent female issue5, and ‘in the absence of direct descendants, the Crown shall be inherited by the eldest brother, and in the absence of one, by the eldest sister of the Head of the Royal House’6. And if these persons are deceased their descendants follow them and the male siblings will take precedence.
Crown Princess Margarita—Sucessor after the King´s death
In this new document issued by HM King Michael, his eldest daughter, HRH Princess Margarita, is named as his successor and Head of the Royal House of Romania and Custodian of the Romanian Crown after his death. The King then mentions: ‘if the Romanian Nation and Parliament were to decide to reinstate the Monarchy as the form of government’ the King will ask the Parliament ‘to cease to implement the Salic law as the form of succession, which does not correspond either to elementary rights in Europe today, or to the values of Romanian society’7. A notable proportion of the Romanian population believes that a monarchy would bring much-needed political stability to their country. However an eventual referendum on the subject of restoring the monarchical system in the country would most probably be unsuccessful. Even so, in 2006, according to a poll (Irecson), two-thirds of Romanians believe that the royal family should be more involved in the development and democratisation of Romania. Many Romanians consider that the royal family has close connections with country’s traditions, national identity, and national pride.8
Recognition for Prince Radu
In the first chapter of The Royal House of Romania, article I – ‘Characteristics and Membership’, it is established who represents the Royal House. His Majesty also confers on the husband of Princess Margarita, Radu, the title ‘Prince of Romania’ with the style ‘Royal Highness’; ‘in appreciation of his merits in the Family and to support him in carrying out his future engagements for Romania’s development’, marking the King’s high appreciation of Prince Radu, (who will however remain a nondynastic member of the Romanian Royal House)9. HRH was essential and instrumental in guiding and helping the Romanian Royal House in navigating the difficult political and social landscape of post- Communist Romania. Also Prince Radu will receive the title ‘HRH Prince Consort of Romania’ (ad personam), when Princess Margarita becomes Head of the Royal House of Romania10.
Collateral Descendants of King Carol II—maintaining the Style & Rank but excluded from the Royal house
In the first chapter it is settled that ‘according to the wish and precedence set by His late Majesty’, the descendants of Carol II by any collateral branch, will continue to be excluded from the line of succession and will not be members of the Romanian Royal House. But those descendants will maintain the style and rank accorded to them during the reign of King Carol II11. In this regard the present Chief of the Romanian Royal Family is applying the old principles wished by King Ferdinand and Queen Marie of Romania who never agreed to the unconstitutional marriage of Prince Carol with Ioana Lambrino (Zizi). In accordance with the articles of the 1866 Romanian Constitution and also the 1923 one, that marriage was annulled during King Ferdinand’s reign by a Romanian civil court.
Another important decision made is regarding the foreign royal pretenders, including those from the Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen Family. ‘No person principally born as a member of a foreign Princely or Royal House can enter the Line of Succession of the Royal House of Romania or enjoy any other Dynastic privileges, without exception.’12
Line of Succession to the Romanian Throne & The Romanian Citizenship
The new Line of Succession to the Throne and to the Headship of the Royal House of Romania was decided by HM King Michael, in keeping with his duty to history and to the heirs of the Family:
1. HRH Crown Princess Margarita of Romania, Custodian of the Crown of Romania
2. HRH The Princess Helena of Romania
3. Nicholas de Roumanie
Medforth Mills (who shall become HRH Prince Nicholas of
4. Elisabeta Karina de Roumanie
5. HRH The Princess Irina of Romania
6. Michael de Roumanie Kreuger
7. Angelica de Roumanie Kreuger
8. HRH The Princess Sophie of Romania
9. Elisabeta Marie Biarneix
10. HRH Princess Marie of Romania
Nicholas de Roumanie Medforth Mills will assume the title, style and rank when he reaches his 25th birthday or immediately upon the demise of the current Head of the Royal House and at that time he will be included in the order of succession to the Throne (see Chapter 1, article 2 Titles of members of the Royal House).13
Every member of the Royal House, in the line of succession mentioned above, will be or must seek to become a Romanian citizen14. King Michael, Queen Anne, their daughters and those specifically mentioned in the document represent the Romanian Dynasty. Any addition to the membership of the Royal House ‘can only take effect only by approval of the Head of the Royal Family in a specific and separate decree’.15Also the Order of ‘Carol I’ is now reactivated by the Royal House of Romania as a Family Order. The Order ‘Carol I’ remains a dynastic, symbolic and a family decision as long as a change of political regime does not occur.16
The Royal House in Romania Today
The Royal House undertook numerous specific duties in Romania during recent years, but more especially since 2006, reflecting the growing role of the monarchy within Romanian society. New official duties, more often pertaining to cultural and artistic activity, but also as patrons of charities, participating also in a number of military and political festivities, have put the Head of the Royal Family, King Michael and also his family, at the centre of Romanian society. A growing number of books on the Romanian royal family is also being published, making the true history of the Romanian kingdom and monarchy better known to the Romanian people after decades of Communist indoctrination and brainwashing.
Apart from the publication of this important document concerning the proper functioning of the Romanian Royal House, a document entitled “Romania. A 30 years Vision” was also published recently with a foreword by HM King Michael. This outlines the strategy for the Romanian Royal House in the next decades of the 21st century. It is another sign that the Monarchy and its heritage is once again becoming properly known and appreciated by the new democratic Romanian society that is emerging slowly after half a century of Communist dictatorship.
The monarchy still represents a viable alternative for Romania and the present document will be an essential reference in the eventuality that the Romanian people might at some point in the future decide to move in that direction.
1 ‘Fundamental rules of the
Royal Family of Romania’, Chapter V art. 1