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Crown Princess Helena of Romania 
~ King Carol II of Romania
In The Shadow Of Madame Lupescu

 

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The Romanian Monarchy existed for well over 80 years from 1866 to 1947.  Like the Greek Monarchy it was based on a West European prince, elected by the Great Powers, to be king of Romania.  

The second generation was King Ferdinand I, who in his marriage to Princess Mary of Sachsen-Coburg and Gotha had six children. 

  • Crown Prince Carol, the eldest son of king Ferdinand I and Queen Mary of Romania. In 1921 The Crown Prince married Princess Helena of Greece. 
  • King Ferdinand I and Queen Mary. 
Princess Helena of Greece was born 1896 as the third child and eldest daughter of King Constantine I of Greece and Queen Sophie, born Princess of Prussia. 

Her grandfather was thus King George I of Greece (born Prince Vilhelm of Denmark), and her mother was a sister of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany. Her great-grandmother was Queen Victoria of Great Britain.  

Romania 1940. King Carol II.

Romania 1945. Crown Princess Helena.

  • Romania 1940. King Carol II. 
  • Romania 1945. Crown Princess Helena. Semi-postal in a set of four stamps for the benefit of Romanian Red Cross. Note the surcharge being 4 times the face value of the stamp! 

In 1921 Princess Helena married the Romanian Crown Prince Carol (1893-1953). Their marriage, however, was unhappy, as the restless prince soon lost interest in his wife, and instead took more than normal interest in Madame Magda Lupescu. The name "Lupescu" means literally "The She-Wolf", which seems rather appropriate in this case. 

Many people think that the beautiful and sympathetic Greek princess would have been worthy of a better fate than marrying the Romanian Playboy Prince, but the truth may well be that the Greek King Constantine I had very little -- if any at all -- knowledge of his coming son-in-law. 

In spite of the fact that Carol was an elegant, brightly intelligent and charming officer, he also had a weak character.  From his young youth he had been the royal family's black sheep. Already in 1918 he deserted his regiment and left for Russia. In Odessa (Ukraine) he married -- without his family's prior consent -- Miss Zizi Lambrino, the daughter of a Romanian general, by whom he had a son, Mirceau Lambrino. 

  • Crown Prince Carol and Magda Lupescu. 

King Ferdinand I, being devastated, asked in very ultimate terms his son either to return to Romania without his wife, or to renounce on his rights to the Romanian throne for the benefit of his 10 year younger brother Nicolas. But Carol did return to Romania, and the marriage to Zizi was cancelled by royal decree. Instead a marriage to the Greek Princess Helena was hastily arranged by Queen Mary and King Ferdinand. 

The royal marriage lasted for seven years until 1928, when the couple was finally divorced because of the king's inappropriate and long lasting love affair with Mrs. Magda Lupescu, an intriguing figure of Romanian-Jewish origin, divorced from a local craftsman. 

She was three years younger than Helena. With her red hair, voluptuous figure, flaming temper and unscrupulous recklessness she was much more fit for turning the king's head than the more silent Princess Helena.  

  • Princess Helena of Greece, who married Crown Prince Carol of Romania. 

Romania 1947. King Michael. Late 1921 Princess Helena gave birth to her only child, Prince Mihai, (Michael).  In 1927, when Michael was only 6 years old, his father Carol renounced on the Romanian Throne because of his relationship to Mrs. Lupescu, whom he had in the meantime employed as his chamber-maid (!). 

With  Carol's exit from Romania he left Princess Helena back in Bucharest together with their son, who was now formally king of Romania upon the death of his grandfather, King Ferdinand I, in 1927.  Princess Helena, who never became Queen of Romania, was renamed "Regina Mama".   

  • Romania 1947. King Michael. 

However, in the beginning of 1930 the public opinion demanded that Carol returned home (again) to assume the throne after his late father, King Ferdinand I.  The Romanians simply missed him for his bright intelligence !!!  In 1938, during the growing pressure of Nazism and Fascism, he dissolved the Parliament, and instituted Royal Dictatorship.  

All political parties were prohibited and the leader of the Iron Guard (Codreanu, leader of the Fascist Movement) was arrested and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. In 1940 the general Ion Antonescu took over as sole dictator, and forced King Carol's abdication for the benefit of his son, ex-king Prince Michael, who  (again) became King of Romania until 1947, when he was forced away by governmental conspiracy, influenced by Stalin. 

His father, ex-King Carol, now toured the world together with Mrs. Lupescu, by whom he had a son (born 1934), and whom he finally married in Brazil in 1947. Other than being a playboy, Carol was known as a great philatelist. His son, Michael, was king of Romania 1927-1930,and again 1940-1947. 

In 1948, when Michael was no longer king and had left Romania for good, he married the Danish Princess Anne of Bourbon-Parma, born in 1923. Princess Anne was a grandchild of the Danish Prince Valdemar, (the youngest son of King Christian IX), and Princess Mary. 

  • Family photograph of ex-King Michael, his wife Princess Anne, and four of their five children. 

The couple settled in Versoix, close to Lausanne in Switzerland, where they live as civil citizens.  They have five children, the princesses Margarita, Helena, Irina, Sophia and Maria. Their youngest daughter, Princess Sophia, is not on this photo. 

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First published May 2000. Revised 03-jan-2007  
Copyright © 2000-2007 Ann Mette Heindorff
All Rights Reserved


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