THE ROYAL FAMILY OF ROMANIA

HSH Radu Prince of Hohenzollern-Veringen
Humanitas, Bucharest, 2004
ISBN 973-50-0612-X


History has faithfully witnessed the efforts the King made to keep his country free from any foreign interference, as well as the devotion and loyalty he showed towards his people, to the extent of leaving his native land to avoid with his sacrifice a conflict between Romanians of unforeseeable consequences.

His Majesty King JUAN CARLOS I of Spain

 

Throughout all the incomprehensible horror and madness Michael has never become embittered or vengeful. He has always retained his statesmanlike humanity, his civilised values and his calm compassionate composure. He has remained a beacon of hope in the darkness for many Romanians and his countrymen are now, at last, able to see the truth that has for so long been obscured by all the lies and propaganda.

HRH The Prince of Wales


from the INTRODUCTION

Romania is a gifted country, with a generous geography including a large chain of mountains, the Carpathians, a spectacular Delta in the South East, formed by the encounter of the Danube and the Black Sea; it has a large and fertile plain in the South as well as beautiful hills in the East and West. The North of the country is lucky to possess some of the most magnificent monasteries on the continent, built in the Middle Ages between the 13th and the 16th Centuries. Some of these monasteries are painted not only on the inside, but also on the outside, which is both rare and highly original. There was a time when Romania could ensure food for half of Europe and her mineral resources seemed to be inexhaustible. Traditions and folklore are particularly rich, for the Romanian nation has been exposed for more than two thousand years to the influence of so many civilisations: Roman, Byzantine, Slav, Ottoman, and Austro-Hungarian. The Romanian language, however, kept a very Latin structure, as did Romanian spirituality. With one peculiarity: we are the only Latin people to have taken up the Orthodox faith. The setting of the countryside is full of beauty, welcoming and pure. If, by chance, you find yourselves in Romanian villages in the autumn or spring, you will certainly find the experience unforgettable.

In Romania, people are very hospitable and genuine. There is a paradox here: Romanians learned throughout their history that one rarely came to them in order to give, but often to ask or to take by force. This makes people cautious and distrustful. But, at the same time, Romanians are happy to welcome strangers, for they have a real pleasure in discovering new people, new civilisations, and new customs. And there is also a question of pride, to see that people are pleased to pass the threshold of our home. Nowhere else in the world have I found the tradition which exists in Romanian villages: to have in one's house a special room set aside for guests which the host never uses, where there are the best bed, table, chairs, curtains, carpets, some kind of sanctuary in which only the visitors are allowed. When the guest comes, we offer him or her almost religiously, like some kind of ritual of kindness and hospitality, all the comfort and all our joy so that their stay becomes memorable.

Romanians are very creative, with a lot of energy and imagination. They are very lively and don't like their existence to be boring.

In the cultural field, Romania, a relatively small nation, has produced great artists and scientists.

Romania is a beautiful country, always coveted by strong neighbours, for over two millennia of history. The second part of the twentieth century brought communism as an ideology in the eastern part of the European continent. This absurd and criminal system smothered creativity, hope, dignity and liberty, qualities and aspirations that our people always had. But, as you know, one may be conquered, but one cannot be vanquished. In 1989, 23 million people inside Romania, plus millions of Romanians abroad, started to hope again.

When my wife, Princess Margarita of Romania, discovered her country early in 1990, the streets and the buildings, as well as people's eyes still held the traces of the brutality of the events that had exploded some weeks before. The Princess knew already in her heart about her country, for the Royal Family of Romania had, in exile, kept a strong love and faith for their land. True, they did it discreetly. This discreet but unflinching love and faith brought by the Princess to her Motherland was like the fragrance of a linden tree in the midst of the smog and debris of a damaged society.

The story of the Romanian Royal Family began in the 19th century, in 1866. The dynasty was founded on the 20th of April of that year. The Romanian Parliament decided to give the crown of the United Principalities of Valachia and Moldavia to Prince Karl of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. On that same day, the Prince celebrated his 27th birthday.