Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Breaking News

Romania’s Anti-Nazi King Michael Feted on 92nd Birthday

Hundreds of Romanians feted former King Michael’s 92nd birthday on Friday and streamed into his palace in the capital Bucharest to pay respects to the monarch who was forced to abdicate by Soviet-backed communists more than six decades ago.

Some 1,500 people chanted his name as Michael waved from a balcony of the white Elisabeta Palace – built at the end of a leafy avenue in the 1930s, blending Moorish and other styles.

The former monarch, who was accompanied by his daughter, Princess Margareta, and his nephew, Prince Nicolae, opened the palace to the public to celebrate the occasion.

Restoration of the monarchy is not an issue in the European Union’s second-poorest state, but Romanians respect Michael as they grow increasingly disillusioned with the country’s political class which they link with poverty and corruption.

“Our political leaders are not role models, but the royal family is,” said 29-year-old marketing specialist Ioana Patrascoiu, who took a day off from work to see the former king.

“King Michael worked hard to support his family after he was exiled and people look up to him because he deserves their respect, not just because of his royal blood.”

Born in 1921 in the Peles castle in the Carpathian Mountains, the former king is a descendant of the German Hohenzollern dynasty and a cousin of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth.

Michael played a major part in changing Romania’s fate in World War Two, participating in a 1944 coup against fascist wartime leader Marshal Ion Antonescu, after which Romania broke with Nazi Germany and switched to the Allied side.

After communism fell in 1989, politicians fearing Michael’s influence blocked his first few attempted visits after decades of exile in Switzerland, Britain and the United States.

He finally returned to Romania in 1992 and regained citizenship in 1997. He made various appeals for monarchy restoration in the early 1990s, but then-President Ion Iliescu, a former communist, responded by deporting him on several occasions.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.