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Naval Academy Mircea cel Btrn


Advisor Teacher Cristina HOMICHI

By Master Sergeant Mihai CHIRIAC

Brila July, 2012

Maria, Queen of Romania


1. Early Years 2. Marriage with Ferdinand, Crown Princess Maria 3. Mary, Queen of the Kingdom of Romania, First World War 4. The years of post-war reign, the regency 5. Post regency period

1. Early Years Maria Alexandra Victoria of Edinburg was born on October 29th 1875, being the second child of the Duke of Edinburg, Count of Kent and Ulster, who was the son of Queen Victoria of England, and the Duchess Maria Alexandrovna Romanov, daughter of Tsar Alexander II of Russia. Maria was raised almost exclusively by her mother at Eastwell Park, Kent region, the country residence of the family of Edinburg. Eastwell will always remain the paradise of the first years of her life. In 1886 the Duke of Edinburg was in charge with command of the British Mediterranean Fleet, which was deployed in Malta and he moved to Malta with his whole family. Maria, also nicknamed Missy, spent in Malta the rest of her childhood and the beginning of her adolescence. About this period the future Queen will write: It was a happy and carefree childhood, childhood of a healthy and rich child, without strikes and crude realities of life In Malta, young English woman with a very strict education will turn into a teenager opened to the outside world. Also in Malta, Maria will meet again with one of her dearest cousin, George, Duke of York, future King of The United Kingdom, who had ten years old and she will fall in love. In 1889 the family of Duke of Edinburg moved again, from this time in a small German dukedom Coburg, were the Duke owned a neighbouring territory, Gotha. In Germany, Missy discovered two new pleasures, theatre and opera. In 1891 with the complicity of her mother, the Duchess of Edinburg and German Emperor, Wilhelm II, Maria knows Ferdinand of Hohenzollern, successor of the throne of Romania. First meetings ended in failure because Crown Prince Ferdinand was extremely shy person. In the spring of 1892, the Duchess of Edinburg organised a party in Munich where Ferdinand was always invited. He was pushed by the Duchess and German Emperor to walk with Missy everywhere. It was then that Ferdinand decided to purpose Missy. The Duke of Edinburg, Missys father, was not consulted about the possible marriage of his daughter with the Crown Prince of Romania. After some time, the Duke would accept that for his oldest daughter although he dreamt about a different future for her. 2. Marriage with Ferdinand, Crown Princess Maria Marys engagement with Ferdinand was celebrated in Postdam in May 1892. The Duke of Edinburg was absent, this way expressing his disagreement about the union. In England, Marias engagement news caused outrage and caused consternation at The British Court. One of the comments was:

We are disgusted to see the marriage announcement of poor and very cute Duchess Maria of Edinburg with Crown Prince of Romania! It is cruel and disgraceful to this beautiful girl to connect to a half barbarian Romania and people whom Europe know that this Crown Prince desperately loves another woman On January 10, 1893, under the eye of satisfied Wilhelm II and in front of a large number of German, English and Russian princes, Maria Alexandra Victoria of SaxaCoburg-Gotha married with Ferdinand Victor Albert Meinrad of HohenzollernSigmaringen. The young couple came to Romania through Transylvania, crossing from west to east. But, to avoid any signs of Romanian in Austro-Hungarian Empire, the transition will be at night. The couple entered the Romanian Kingdom through Predeal. A large crowd gathered to view the new Crown Princess who was said to be very beautiful. All of them were stunned by the young eighteen years old blonde with blue eyes and pearly skin. Adapting to new country was difficult for the Princess, King Carol choosing her home, imposing the entourage, all was disliked by the young woman, the only joy that she had practice was riding the horse. During this time the future Queen will write: I know loveliness in a crowd; I knew the pain of a stranger in a foreign country and had strong desire to run away. On October 15th 1893, Crown Princess gave birth to a boy at the castle at Sinaia. This prince was named Carol in honour of the Romanian King. A year later, on October 12th 1894, the future Queen gave birth to a little princess who will be named in honour of Queen Elisabeth, Queen Consort of King Carol, also known under the pseudonym Carmen Sylva in the artists world. At maturity, in 1922, by marrying to Crown Prince George of Greece, Elisabeth will become Queen of Greece. In 1898 Maria was compromised by a young lieutenant named Ioan Cantacuzino. This deal had a large spreading and Queen Victoria himself, her grandparent, wrote to her some careful words. This episode will leave the Crown Princess to Coburg. When her son, Carol, contracted typhoid fever, she returned home and the couple reconciled. But after some disagreement with King Carol, Maria went back to Coburg. At Coburg, Maria gave birth to her third child, also named Maria, the family using Mignon to distinguish from the Crown Princess. This daughter will be known as Queen Marija, wife of King Alexander I of Yugoslavia. The year 1903 brought to monarchy another child, prince Nicolae. In 1913, in a Balkanic war, Romanian troops contracted a new opponent, cholera. Maria doesnt count the order of the King that no woman should cross the Danube and she crossed into the territory of Bulgaria. Maria was badly impressed by the situation in Bulgaria, which made her to make a decision to organise a military hospital, after she gave the permission from King Carol. Maria became leader of a camp management near Zimnicea, where she comforted many dying people. About this time it will tell in her memoirs:

No matter how terrible were those days of misery, bless them, for I came to the soul of my people The year 1913 brought the end of a terrible Balkan war, that 1914 will bring beginning of kingdom of Ferdinand and Maria, who is now Queen of Romania. At the bedside of the dead body of King Carol she has made it one last promise: "Not fear, uncle, we will move forward with courage. Your hand was heavy, tormented me in my youth, but faithful to your principles, you have been fair and impartial. I will never forget your lessons, even though I hardly understood and knelt here beside you, knowing that you have no orders to give me, I feel I still have a message for me, your niece once outraged. Yes uncle, I will try to be what were you, I will be faithful until death, to love the country as you loved it. If God wants, we will continue the work, faith and courage. Amen. " 3. Mary, Queen of the Kingdom of Romania, First World War The next day, the crowning of Ferdinand and Maria took place. After the death of King Carol, the monarchy in Romania went through hard times. Divide between his duty by King and German officer, King Ferdinand was tempted to abdicate. Maria imposed terms and Ferdinand remained King. Queen was able to convince him that his abdication was only a proof of cowardice incompatible with the honor of a leader. In August 1914, Romania was the subject of many discussions. Germany, through the voice of German Emperor Wilhelm II, asked to meet alliance signed by his uncle, King Carol, and tiny Entente try to attract Romania with various promises. The Queen, an English woman called for Allies in support of the election came and the prime minister, Brtianu. In 1916 King was convinced that Romania could link their destiny than the Entente, by Maria and circumstances. The support received from the Queen received a unusually support from great love of young Ferdinand, Elena Vcrescu, who returned from Paris. Romania entered the war on the Entente side, in August 1916 and didnt determine the allied states to meet the initial commitments, and Maria sensed the danger that Romania was to face, risking to be constraint by the enemy. "We are living days of horror, our borders are very large, the enemy is everywhere, and we are beginners of modern warfare," the Queen telegraphed to her cousin, King of England. Romania losses were increasingly higher both numerically and in terms of territory. The Queen was deeply touched by the courage of the soldiers and their suffering. But not content to be a witness from a distance and she became actively involved. Oversaw operations of the ambulance service, went to the hospital every day, went to the front to be closer to the soldiers and to encourage them. The end of

1916 would bring mixed national drama to the queen's personal life. The Germans conquered all the port of Constanta Dobrogea and Oltenia and Wallachia were also swallowed by the invading troops. The Queens personal drama was reflected in the fact that the last born of the royal family, Prince Mircea, got sick of typhoid fever. Although the child's health worsened, Maria continued to care for the fate of the wounded, visited to hospitals, but especially cared of the fate of the country, through meetings with various military attachs, especially with General Berthelot. "I do not want to suddenly lose my baby and my country", noted in his diary queen. But her destiny prepared something else for her. Her baby died and almost simultaneously with his death, the capital Bucharest felt into the enemy hands. After the occupation of Bucharest, the royal family, parliament, government and part of the population fled to Moldova. The Queen was appalled by what she saw in the capital of circumstances, politically and military. Rather than seeking solutions to the plight agreement, they were trying to find culprits. This thing got the Queen very angry and she decided to replace the civilian power with the military one as a solution for the crisis. In Iasi, Maria is fully committed the only thing that she lean on, the absolute devotion for his martyr people. Count Saint-Hall, French envoy to Romania says: "Every morning, the queen, in nurse's uniform, accompanied by a lady and a group of volunteer stretcher bearers went to the station to welcome the wounded. Sometimes, when opening a car door, then found that no one was alive. Wounded soldiers or sick refugees had died of cold. The Queen and the most elegant women of the Romanian society faced death and fatigue." Maria brought physical and moral comfort, cakes, coffee and brandy. The Queen was closely related to her peasant people. For lost soldiers and abandoned she was the Queen Mother. The year 1917 brought the great victories from Mrti and Mreti for the Romanian people. But the situation on the Eastern Front is worsened because of the dismemberment of the Russian army after the dethronement of the Tsar by the communists. Romania is forced to sign an armistice with the Central Powers. The Queen fulfils her attributions disapproving this great betrayal in public. Mary starts to visit the Russian forces trying to pull soldiers from numbness and to make them combative, she tells them about democracy and reforms. The Queens magic puts a spell on the soldiers who exclaim: "Ah, if we had had a queen like you, I would have guarded her and died for her." However, the queen cannot do anything. The separate peace is accepted by everybody, and those who are against it are quiet. The year 1918 brought Romania enslaving peace, Maria is thinking of abdication now. She feels abandoned by everybody and everything, including his good friend, General Berthelot is bound to leave with his soldiers. February of the terrible year 1918 brings Mary an important

distinction. At the suggestion of Georges Clemenceau, the Academy of Fine Arts chose the Romanian peoples queen as corresponding member. It was the first time when a woman received such a distinction from the Institute. The end of the war means the end of the long agony of Romania and her Queen. King Ferdinand did not ratify the peace treaty and declared general mobilization. The Queen was not wrong this time either, she correctly chose the winning party in 1916. She returned triumphantly to Bucharest, in the front of her regiment of Hussars. The Romanians millenary dream becomes reality: Bessarabia, Bukovina and Transylvania whole the body of the country. The victorious queen may exclaim: "The terrible nightmare has finished, the Greater Romania dream came true". After the war, Mary went to Paris to defend Romanias cause, and her arrival in the French capital was a part of an intense media campaign, she had many friends who had not forgotten her, they were former members of the French military mission. Mary fervently supported Romanias interest in front of Clemenceau who did not admit territorial claims through separate peace. Supported by several influential persons, Maria manages to convince Clemenceau by force of arguments. 4. The years of post-war reign, the regency The year 1922 will bring Mary a great coronation as queen of all Romanians, and this could be achieved only in the heart of Transylvania, in Alba Iulia. Missy became now the Queen of all Romanians. After the war, Maria was spiritually connected with two places, Balchik and Bran, places which she greatly influenced and whose influences can be seen even today. "Balchik and Bran are my dream houses, my heart," said Maria. They say that she discovered Balchik with the help of Alexander Satmari, who insisted that Mary should go to Quadrilater in 1924. A year later, the construction of the Balchik estate was going to begin. Every year the estate was embellished with constructions and the famous gardens. Thanks to Maria, that period of time was an urban boom for Balchik. The town hall appropriated the artists who were coming in summer and painted there, and they began to build houses. When everything indicated that things were following a normal path, the bomb went off. Carol, the Crown Prince gave up his capacity as a heir, in favour of his son, he fled with his lover, abandoned his wife and minor son, Mihai, but mostly his country. The Queen and King felt the full blow. The year 1927 brought the end of King Ferdinand, Maria was left alone. The destiny of the country remained in the hands of Prince Michael of only five years and a regency. Maria started to withdraw quietly from the political scene and began to devote more time to her passions and also began to write her memoirs.

5. Post regency period The prodigal son returned in 1930, reinstated and proclaimed King Carol II, but this would cause his mother disappointment and inconvenience continuously. Since 1933 the destiny gave Mary blow after blow, her friends and relatives were passing one by one into the world of righteousness, as a dark omen. The first was her old friend, I.G. Duca who was assassinated in Sinaia railway station by the Iron Guard members. In 1934 her son-in-law, Alexander of Yugoslavia, died in Marseille, killed by bullets. But death continued to reap persons whom Missy loved. Her dear sister, Ducky died in 1936. Also in 1936 they lost their dear cousin, George V of Great Britain, at whose arm she could have reigned over England. These strikes are fully felt by Mary, and her health begins to deteriorate, is touched by the mysterious illness. They speak of esophagus cancer, liver cirrhosis and even poisoning with a substance containing alcohol. Since 1937 her health deteriorated and Maria begins to spit blood. In 1938 she moved to a nursing home in Italy. Later, she was transferred to a nursing home in Germany. Hitler paid special attention to her, he ordered that in the sick womans room there always should be flowers. The Queens condition worsens and she expressed her desire to die in Romania. July 17th 1938 is, if not the date of her death, is at least the final loss of consciousness following a violent hemorrhage suffered on the way back home. Carol, her son, would announce that his mother died in Sinaia on July 18th. The Queen's death created a shock throughout the world. Henri Prost wrote: "His disappearance sparked pain throughout the entire nation. Of all the royal family members, she was by far the most loved ". She represented the great queen of the war. She remained the subject of deep venerable admiration for everybody. On July 24th, 1938 there were held national funerals, the funeral of a soldier. She was buried with the other members of the royal family in Curtea de Arge. It can be said that Queen Mary occupies a central position during the Romanian Royal period and her positioning, historically speaking, on a place equal to the kings of Romania is not an indulgence, she certainly contributed to the events of those years more than her offspring did. We associate the Great Union of December 1st, 1918 in Alba Iulia with the Queens name, who, even in her will, does not forget the legacy that has this nation and she directs it to a higher and better future:

"My Country and My People, when you read these letters, my people, I will have crossed the threshold of eternal Silence that remains for us a great mystery. Yet, from the great love that I felt for you, I want my voice to reach you again, even beyond the grave silence. I had just turned 17, when I came to you, I was young and ignorant, but extremely proud of my native country, and I embraced a new nationality, I tried to become a good Romanian. (...) No one is judged fairly as long as he or she is alive: only after death is she or he remembered or forgotten. Maybe you will remember me as I have loved you with all my heart and my love was strong, full of enthusiasm: later it became patient, very patient. (...) I bless you, beloved Romania, the country of my pleasures and pains, beautiful country that lived in my heart and whose paths I have known entirely. Beautiful country that I've seen a whole, whose fate I was allowed to see fulfilled. Be always abundant, be big and full of glory, the glory to remain forever among nations, be honest, loved and understood. "

BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. Maria, Regina Romniei, Povestea vieii mele, Iai 1991. 2. http://ro.wikipedia.org Regina Maria a Romniei 3. http://www.balcic.net Regina Maria