Thursday, February 09, 2006

Rascally Romanian Royal; RIP

Before there was Paris Hilton, celebrity news was usually made by royalty:

HRH Prince Carol of Romania, who has died aged 86, spent much of his life in the quest to prove his legitimacy.

His paternity was never in doubt. He was the son of Crown Prince Carol of Romania (later King Carol II) and Jeanne Marie (Zizi) Lambrino, an aristocratic Romanian girl whom the future King had married in contravention of the rules of the Royal House.

Carol's birth caused grave problems. His father was the eldest son and heir of King Ferdinand I and Queen Marie (daughter of the Duke of Edinburgh - later Duke of Saxe-Coburg - and thus a granddaughter of Queen Victoria). The Crown Prince was handsome and intelligent, but not without an element of instability in his character. He was also highly sexed, some believing that he suffered from satyriasis. Anatomical descriptions, when overheard, were mistaken for descriptions of the Eiffel Tower.

As the result of being trained by a socialistic Swiss tutor, doubts were sown in his mind about the merits of royal life. Madly in love with Zizi, he took her over the Russian border from Jassy, thus effectively deserting from the Army, a crime punishable by death. The pair were married in Odessa on September 14 1918. The Crown Prince's mother, Queen Marie, described the crisis as "a staggering family tragedy which hit us suddenly, a stunning blow for which we were entirely unprepared".

A week later Queen Marie had the Crown Prince confined in a monastery, while his bride returned to Jassy, feverishly searching for an announcement of her wedding. Then King Ferdinand forced an annulment in January 1919 at Bucharest. But Carol remained attached to Zizi, who was by now expecting his child.

Whose death is the subject of this obituary. Read it for a story that should have been a film starring Yul Brynner and Ingrid Bergman...with a bit role for Magda Lupescu.

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