Michael I (Romania)

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Michael I of Romania (1947)
Michael of Romania Signature.svg

Michael I of Romania ( Romanian Mihai I ; born October 25, 1921 in Sinaia ; † December 5, 2017 in Aubonne , Switzerland ) from the House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was King of Romania from 1927 to 1930 and from 1940 to 1947 .


Michael I of Romania (2007)

Youth and domination

Michael I was born as the son of the Romanian heir to the throne Prince Karl (Rum. Carol) and his wife Princess Elena of Greece and Denmark in the Carpathian town of Sinaia. His father was excluded from the line of succession in 1926 because of his life in favor of his son. At the age of five, Michael I (Rum. Mihai I.) ascended the Romanian throne in 1927 after the death of his grandfather Ferdinand . The affairs of state at this time were carried out by his uncle Prince Nikolaus and a regency council.

However, Karl returned to Romania from his exile in Paris on June 6, 1930 and ascended the throne as Carol II . After he came under increasing domestic political pressure due to territorial losses during his reign ( Bessarabia , North Bukovina , South Dobrudscha and - after the second Vienna arbitration on August 30, 1940 - North Transylvania ), Michael became king again on September 6, 1940 called out. Although he was de jure ruler again, the actual power to govern was held by the general and Ion Antonescu, who was proclaimed “leader” ( Roman conducătorul ) . From the end of 1941 there were increasing tensions between Michael and Antonescu.

During the Second World War , Romania joined Germany in the war against the Soviet Union. When the Red Army launched a major attack on Romania in the summer of 1944 , Michael dismissed Antonescu after the royal coup on August 23, 1944, switched sides and declared war on the German Reich on August 25. He hoped that his cooperation with the USSR would bring about a quick peace agreement, but the Red Army initially occupied all of Romania before a peace treaty was signed on September 12th.

After the end of the Second World War, Michael continued to rule as head of state with severely restricted powers until he was forced to abdicate and leave the country on December 30, 1947 by the ruling Romanian Communist Party .


Until the fall of the Ceaușescu regime , Michael lived in exile in Switzerland , where he earned his living by raising poultry, as a test pilot and as a stockbroker. On December 25, 1990, after 43 years in exile, he traveled to Romania for the first time, equipped with a Danish diplomatic passport and a 24-hour visa, to attend the Christmas service in the Cathedral of Curtea de Argeș and to pray at the graves of his ancestors . On the way, however, he was stopped by the police and taken back to the airport. In 1992, with government approval, he returned to attend the Easter celebrations. In Bucharest, over a million people took to the streets to see him. President Ion Iliescu , who was alarmed by the ex-king's unexpected popularity, then again banned him from entering the country. Only his successor Emil Constantinescu gave him back his Romanian citizenship and thus the right of residence five years later.

Return to Romania

In the course of the law regarding the status of the former head of state, Michael was granted the right to reside in the Elisabeth Palace in Bucharest under President Traian Băsescu in 2001 , which was built in 1936 for his aunt Elisabeth and which he himself enforced after the fall of Antonescu from 1944 until his Abdicated in 1947 to live in the city center, as the Cotroceni Castle , which had been inhabited up to that point, is a bit outside.

Regarding Romania's relationship with Moldova , Michael stated in 2001: “We have no territorial claims against our neighbors. But we can not tolerate attempts to rewrite our history by stating that Romanians living outside our country, belonging to another nation or speaking another language will not tolerate. "

In the same year Michael applied for the restitution of the Peleş , Pelişor , Foişor castles , their art collections and twenty other properties in Sinaia , which had been confiscated and nationalized by the communist regime in 1948 . In 2004 the Romanian government passed a bill on compensation of 30 million euros. However, in November 2005 the Romanian Constitutional Court ruled that the Financial Compensation Act was unconstitutional. Michael's official return to the castles Peleş and Pelişor took place on June 5, 2008. The two castles are still used as museums, while the Săvârşin Castle , which was also restored to him , was used for celebrations. Michael lived with his wife in Aubonne , Switzerland, since 2004 .

In 2005 Michael and his wife Anna went on a journey together in the footsteps of the Romanian soldiers who died in Slovakia and the Czech Republic at the end of World War II.

On January 27, 2006, Michael's one year older half-brother Carol died in London. He was the son of Carol II from his first morganatic marriage to Zizi Lambrino .

At the beginning of March 2016, Michael retired from public life due to illness due to chronic leukemia and metastatic squamous cell carcinoma . He spent the last months of his life under intensive medical care in his Swiss residence, where he died on December 5, 2017. After his death Michael was buried in the Cathedral of Curtea de Argeș .

Historically, Michael belonged to the Romanian Hohenzollern family . The first Romanian king Karl I or Carol I (1839-1914) was a son of Karl Anton von Hohenzollern , the last ruling prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen . On May 10, 2011, the now 89-year-old former king and the members of his house dropped the suffix “von Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen” and have been calling themselves “von Romania” ever since. The background for the separation was evidently disputes over a title of nobility: A Romanian court recognized a relative of Michael's from the title "Prince of Hohenzollern". As a result, Michael broke off the relationship with Sigmaringen that had already been described as "not close".

Marriage and offspring

Michael and Anna on a Romanian postage stamp (2014)

On June 10, 1948, he married Anna from the Bourbon-Parma house . The couple had five daughters, all of whom were born in exile:

  • Margarita (born March 26, 1949)
  • Elena (born November 15, 1950)
  • Irina (born February 28, 1953)
  • Sophie (born October 29, 1957)
  • Maria (born July 13, 1964)

Anna died on August 1, 2016 in Morges, Switzerland .

Titles and awards

Michael held the following titles:

  • October 25, 1921 - December 28, 1925
"Alteța Sa Regală Mihai, Principe al României, Principe de Hohenzollern" ( German  His Royal Highness Michael, Prince of Romania, Prince of Hohenzollern )
  • December 28, 1925 - July 20, 1927
"Alteța Sa Regală Mihai, Principe Moștenitor al României, Principe de Hohenzollern" ( German  His Royal Highness Michael, Crown Prince of Romania, Prince of Hohenzollern )
  • July 20, 1927 - June 7, 1930
"Majestatea Sa Regele României" ( German  His Majesty King of Romania )
  • June 7, 1930 - September 6, 1940
"Alteța Sa Regală Mihai, Mare Voievod de Alba Iulia, Principe al României, Principe de Hohenzollern" ( German  His Royal Highness Michael, Great Voivode of Alba Iulia , Prince of Romania, Prince of Hohenzollern )
  • September 6, 1940 - December 30, 1947
"Majestatea Sa Mihai I, Regele Românilor" ( German  His Majesty King Michael I of the Romanians )

His full title during his reign was "Majestatea Sa Mihai I, prin grația lui Dumnezeu și voința națională, Rege al României, Mare Voievod de Alba Iulia, Principe al României, Principe de Hohenzollern" ( German  His Majesty Michael I, by God's grace and national will, King of Romania, Grand Duke of Alba Iulia, Prince of Romania, Prince of Hohenzollern ).

In 1945 Michael was awarded both the Order of the American Legion of Merit and the Soviet Order of Victory . On May 10, 2007, Michael received the Hanno R. Ellenbogen Citizenship Award . Since April 8, 2008 Michael was an honorary member of the Romanian Academy .

The loyalty medal awarded by Michael serves to recognize services to the former royal family and is awarded to a maximum of 250 living personalities.


In July 2011, Romanian President Traian Băsescu expressed his controversial opinion that the former king was a “traitor” and “servant of the Russians”, and also complicit in the Holocaust in Romania . During the Second World War, around 211,000 Romanian Jews were deported to concentration and extermination camps or shot . A commission of experts appointed by Băsescu in 2006 had dealt with the effects of the communist dictatorship and praised the historical role of the former king, particularly in connection with the arrest of Antonescu. The Romanian German writer William Totok described the statements of Băsescu as "scandalous". The daily newspaper Die Welt commented on the remarks as a contradiction to "guaranteed historical facts".

The veneration of Antonescu and the degradation of Michael I is part of the ideology of both Romanian right-wing radicals and supporters of the former communist secret police Securitate .

A survey from April 2006 on the royal house characterized Michael as family-related (73%), religious (64%), close to the people (46%) and honest / moral (45%).

The Bucharest Parcul Regele Mihai I al României is named after him.


  • Andreas Hillgruber: Michael I. , in: Biographisches Lexikon zur Geschichte Südosteuropas . Vol. 3. Munich 1979, p. 184 f.
  • Prince Radu of Hohenzollern-Veringen: HM King Michael I of Romania. A tribute. = SM le Roi Michel I de Roumanie. Un homage. Captions and Conclusion by Arturo E. Beéche-Bravo Hohenzollern-Veringen. Rosvall Royal Books et al., Falköping Sweden et al. 2001, ISBN 91-973978-3-0 .
  • Michel de Roumanie: Le Règne inachevé. Conversations with Philippe Viguié Desplaces. Michel Lafon, Paris 1992, ISBN 2-908652-15-3 .

Web links

Commons : Michael I of Romania  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. The last Romanian king. In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung , from December 5, 2017, accessed on December 5, 2017.
    Romania's ex-King Michael has died. In: Spiegel Online from December 5, 2017, accessed on December 5, 2017.
  2. a b schwaebische.de , Schwäbische Zeitung, Michael Hescheler: Romania's ex-king breaks with the Hohenzollern. The 90-year-old resigned and has been calling himself "Michael of Romania" since October 26, 2011, accessed on October 28, 2011
  3. ^ The New York Times, December 27, 1990
  4. a b sevenbuerger.de , Siebenbürgische Zeitung : First meeting Iliescu-Michael I. , August 9, 2001, accessed on September 29, 2011
  5. derstandard.at , Der Standard , 30 million euros compensation for the ex-king of Romania , October 23, 2004, accessed on September 29, 2011
  6. welt.de , Die Welt : Romania's former king receives no compensation , November 11, 2011, accessed on September 29, 2011
  7. sevenbuerger.de , Siebenbürgische Zeitung : Ex-King Michael I back at Peleş Castle , June 15, 2008, accessed on September 29, 2011
  8. ^ MS Regele Mihai I , familiaregala.ro
  9. a b eab-berlin ( Memento of the original from March 27, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF; 23 kB), Radu Duda , Prince of Hohenzollern-Veringen: The contribution of the royal family to the Euro-Atlantic transformation of Romania (The ten commandments to survive) , European Academy Berlin , June 29, 2006, accessed on September 29, 2011  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.eab-berlin.de
  10. http://www.familiaregala.ro/conferinte/articol/declaratia-consiliului-regal-2-martie-2016
  11. Ziua despărţirii de Regele Mihai , Adevărul December 16, 2017
  12. adz.ro , Allgemeine Deutsche Zeitung für Romania , Werner Kremm: Decision on the ninetieth , May 13, 2011, accessed on May 3, 2013
  13. ^ The wife of Romania's ex-king died. In: stern from August 1, 2016
  14. sevenbuerger.de , Siebenbürgische Zeitung: Royal Medal for Michael Schmidt , November 5, 2009, accessed May 3, 2013
  15. a b c taz.de , TAZ , William Totok : President calls ex-king "traitor" , July 5, 2011, accessed on September 29, 2011
  16. ^ Joe J. Heydecker, Johannes Leeb: The Nuremberg Trials
  17. a b welt.de , Die Welt : Romania upset Russia with "Barbarossa" praise , June 30, 2011, accessed on September 29, 2011
predecessor Office successor
Ferdinand I. King of Romania
Charles II
Charles II King of Romania