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News 14 Dec 17

Europe’s Royals to Gather for Romanian Ex-King’s Funeral

Representatives of European royal houses are set to gather in Bucharest on Saturday to attend former Romanian king Michael I’s funeral at the Royal Cathedral in Curtea de Arges.

Ana-Maria Luca
BIRN
Bucharest
The casket with the remains of King Michael I was brought to the country on Wednesday. Photo: George Calin/Inquam Photos

Members of several European royal houses, as well as royals from as far away as Bahrain and Japan, are set to gather in Bucharest at the end of the week to attend the funeral of Romania’s last monarch, King Michael I, who died last week aged 96.

The king died at his modest residence in the village of Aubonne , in Switzerland, after over a year of battling cancer.

Britain’s Prince Charles was among the first royals to announce their presence at Saturday’s ceremonies.

Romania’s royal family is closely related to the British monarchy: ex-king Michael I is Queen Elizabeth II’s third cousin. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh is also Romanian Princess Margareta’s godfather.

Juan Carlos of Spain, as well as Queen Sofia, Michael’s cousin and close friend, have also confirmed their presence. Queen Sofia of Spain is the eldest daughter of King Paul of Greece. Her aunt was Queen Elena of Romania, King Michael’s mother.

Queen Anne-Marie of Greece is also set to attend the funeral.

Other royals who are reported to be arriving are Prince Alexander of Serbia, a cousin of King Michael; Prince Lorenz of Belgium, also a member of the Royal Council of the Romanian royal family; Prince Alexander of Sweden, and representatives of the royal families of Bahrain, Luxembourg and Japan.

Romania’s last sovereign was a great-grandson of Queen Victoria, but he also has blood ties with the Danish Royal Family. In the summer of 1948, King Michael, already in exile, married Queen Anne, the daughter of Prince Rene of Bourbon-Parma and Princess Margaret of Denmark, in Athens.

Meanwhile, the Romanian authorities are working to organise ceremonies for the three days of mourning decreed by the government to honour the former king.

The coffin with the remains was brought on Wednesday from Switzerland on a military plane, taken to Peles Castle in Sinaia, the royal summer retreat, and then brought back to the royal palace in Bucharest.

Romanians will be allowed to pay their respects on Thursday and Friday, and on Saturday night the king will be buried in the royal crypt in the Curtea De Arges Cathedral.

According to local authorities, the royal train station in the Romanian city of Curtea de Arges will be covered for the event with a mesh reproducing the building’s façade because the historical monument is still awaiting restoration works.

King Michael will be buried next to his wife, Queen Anne, who passed away in August 2016. His father Carol II is also buried in the cathedral.

Princess Margareta is now the head of the Romanian Royal House. She refused the title of Queen and instead chose “Custodian of the Crown”.

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