reaching majority

Carol II of Romania

Carol II of Romania (15 October/16 October 18934 April 1953) reigned as King of Romania from June 8, 1930 until September 6, 1940. Eldest son of Ferdinand I, King of Romania, and his wife, Queen Marie, a daughter of Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, the second eldest son of Queen Victoria. He was the first of the Romanian royal family who was baptized in the Orthodox rite.

Carol was born in Peleş Castle. In November 1914, Carol joined the Romanian Senate, as the 1866 Constitution guaranteed him a seat there upon reaching majority. Known rather for his romantic misadventures than for any leadership skills, Carol (Romanian for "Charles") was first married in the Cathedral Church of Odessa, Ukraine, 31 August, 1918, in contravention of royal law, to Joanna Marie Valentina Lambrino, ("Zizi" Lambrino) (1898–1953), daughter of a Romanian general; they had one son, Mircea Gregor Carol Lambrino, and the marriage was annulled by decision of the Ilfov Tribunal in 1919. He next married, in Athens, Greece, on 10 March, 1921, Princess Helen of Greece and Denmark (who was known in Romania as Crown Princess Elena), but the marriage soon collapsed in the wake of the king's affair with Elena "Magda" Lupescu (1895?–1977), the Roman Catholic daughter of a Jewish pharmacist and his Roman Catholic wife. Magda Lupescu had formerly been the wife of Army officer Ion Tâmpenu. As a result of the scandal, he renounced his right to the throne on 28 December 1925 in favour of his son by Crown Princess Helen, Michael (Mihai), who became King in July 1927. Helena divorced Carol in 1928. Carol also had a son and a daughter by his mistress Maria Martini, a high-school student.

Through all these adventures, he became known above all as a playboy king. Purported eyewitnesses even claim him to have gone with a famous prostitute, Foamea Neagră, from the Crucea de piatră district. A fictionalized version of the episode is narrated by Petru Dumitriu in his novel Cronică de familie (Family Chronicle).


Returning to the country unexpectedly on 7 June, 1930, Carol reneged on the renunciation and was proclaimed King the following day. For the next decade he sought to influence the course of Romanian political life, first through manipulation of the rival Peasant and Liberal parties and anti-Semitic factions, and subsequently (January 1938) through a ministry of his own choosing (the National Renaissance Front), with a constitution (27 February) reserving ultimate power to the crown. In 1938, he banned the Iron Guard, which he had supported in the 1930s.

Carol also sought to build up his own personality cult to counter the growing influence of the Iron Guard, for instance by setting up a paramilitary youth organization known as Straja Ţării in 1935.

An excellent fictionalized account of life in Bucharest in the final years of Carol's reign can be found in Olivia Manning's novels The Great Fortune and The Spoilt City.


Forced under first Soviet and subsequently Hungarian, Bulgarian, Italian and German pressure to surrender parts of his kingdom to foreign rule, he was outmaneuvered at last by the pro-German administration of Marshal Ion Antonescu, and abdicated in favour of Michael, settling ultimately in Portugal.

Some believe Carol left Romania in a train laden with royal treasure -- paintings by Old Masters such as Titian, Rubens, and Rembrandt, hundreds of canvasses, jewels, the armor that had decorated the walls of the royal palaces of Pelişor and Peleş --, while others accuse his son, Michael, of the same things. A death squad of Iron Guard legionnaires fired on the royal train, but failed to stop it. The sale in Portugal of much of this treasure gave him enormous wealth, which he spent lavishly, living a life of wasteful luxury.

Carol and Magda Lupescu were married in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 3 June, 1947, Magda taking the title of Princess Elena von Hohenzollern. Carol remained in exile for the rest of his life. He was never to see his son, King Michael, after his 1940 departure from Romania. Michael refused to meet his father ever again.

Remains returned to Romania

Carol died and was buried in Estoril, Portugal, in 1953; his remains were returned to Romania in 2003, at the Curtea de Argeş monastery. They lie outside the cathedral that is the burial place of most Romanian kings. Neither of his sons participated in either ceremony. His younger son and successor, King Michael, was represented by his daughter, Princess Margarita, and her husband, Radu Duda, Prince of Hohenzollern-Veringen. His eldest son, Carol Lambrino was forbidden (since 1940) to enter Romanian territory.

Foreign honors

The UK awarded Carol the Order of the Garter.



See also

External links

Search another word or see reaching majorityon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2015, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature