Succession to the Romanian throne

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Arms of the Kingdom of Romania (1922–1947)

The succession order to the throne of the Romanian monarchy, abolished since 1947, was regulated by the monarchical constitution of 1938, suspended by the Royal Law Decree no. 3052 of September 1940 and the 1884 Law of the Romanian Royal House Rules enacted pursuant to the 1866 Constitution of Romania which had confirmed the enthronement of Prince Karl (Carol) of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. The 1938 Constitution stipulated Salic law, according to which the throne was hereditary in King Carol I's legitimate descent and, if his male issue failed, in the descent of his brothers of the Sigmaringen princely branch of the House of Hohenzollern, according to agnatic primogeniture and to the perpetual exclusion of females and their descendants. The last monarch to reign in Romania was King Michael I, who was born in 1921, abdicated his throne on 30 December 1947 under coercion,[1][2][3] and went into exile in Switzerland. He died on 5 December 2017 in Aubonne, Switzerland.

Present situation[edit]

The last King, Michael I, had no sons, nor are there any undisputed legitimate male-line male descendants of the previous kings of Romania.

There are male line descendants of King Carol II: Paul of Romania (b. 1948), his son Carol Ferdinand (b. 2010), and Alexandru Hohenzollern (b. 1961). Paul and Alexandru are the sons of Mircea Carol Hohenzollern, also known as Mircea Carol Grigore of Romania (according to his Romanian birth certificate).[4][5] Mircea Carol (8 August 1920 – 27 January 2006) is the issue of King Carol II's first marriage to Zizi Lambrino, which marriage had been declared null and void on 18 January 1919 by a Romanian court.[6] In 1955, however, a Portuguese court declared Mircea Carol as former King Carol II's legitimate son, a ruling later confirmed by a Parisian court [Citation needed]. The court rulings allowed him to bear the surname Hohenzollern and to inherit a portion of his father's properties, but did not confer upon him any dynastic rights to the defunct Romanian throne or rights to bear a princely title and style, despite his use of both.[Citation needed] In October 1995 a Romanian court ruling also recognized Mircea Carol as a legitimate son of Carol II, allowing him the right to bear the surname "al României", a ruling which evoked some speculation that called into question the status of Michael.[7] The court ruling was cited by Paul to assert a right to the title "Prince".[5] The argument which appears prevalent is that Mircea Carol's sons would not be entitled to succession rights, due to the non-dynastic nature of their grandparents' marriage.[6] Moreover, Mircea Carol never claimed any right to the Romanian throne,[8] unlike his son, Paul.

Following King Michael's abdication, the line of succession was discussed during a meeting between Michael, his uncle Prince Nicholas of Romania, and Frederick, Prince of Hohenzollern (1891–1965). Shortly after this meeting, the spokesman of Carol II, in an interview with the French paper Le Figaro, said that Carol, who was not in contact with Michael, strongly supported Prince Frederick, additionally asserting that Michael would never regain the throne.[9]

According to the succession provisions of the kingdom's suspended constitution, that of 1938, agnatic primogeniture and so-called "Salic law" determine who would inherit the throne. After two intervening changes of regime, that constitution no longer carries legal weight, although the 1884 Law of Romanian Royal House Rules was never abrogated.[10] It must also be said that the remaining current German Hohenzollerns in the succession line descend from the previously mentioned Prince Frederick and his brother Prince Franz Joseph, the sons of Wilhelm, Prince of Hohenzollern (Wilhelm's father, Prince Leopold renounced his rights in 1880), who renounced his rights to the Romanian throne, on 20 December 1886,[11] in favor of his younger brother, the future King Ferdinand.[12]

Male-preference primogeniture[edit]

On 30 December 2007, the 60th anniversary of his loss of the throne, the former King Michael issued the Fundamental Rules of the Royal House of Romania.[13] in which he again appealed to the Romanian Parliament to alter the Salic Law of succession, should the Romanian nation and Parliament consider restoring the monarchy in the future,[13] and calling for the first in line of succession to be Michael's eldest daughter, newly titled "Crown Princess of Romania" and "Custodian of the Romanian Crown". This decree was explicitly based on "the values of Romanian society" and on EU legislation, specifically the European Convention on Human Rights (which, however, does not guarantee any right to reign as a monarch in any country). The document clarifies the order of inheritance of Michael's fortune and claim to the Romanian throne. The private castles of the former monarch in Romania – Săvârșin and Pelișor – are to be held by the successor in this line.

It is an act with eminently symbolic importance in the absence of its approval by the Parliament,[10][14] and the declaration is alleged by some to be undemocratic.[15]

It also attempts to replace the 1884 Statutory Law. According to this private statute Michael had, in 1997, already designated his oldest child (Margareta) as successor to "all" his "prerogatives and rights", indicating his desire for a gender-blind succession to the throne.[16][17] Only the Parliament could amend the succession rules together with the Constitution in which they had been included, assuming the monarchy were first restored.

The line of succession, as published in Addendum I of the 2007 Statute, modified by Michael in 2014 to remove his daughter Irina and her children and grandchildren,[18] and then modified again in 2015 to remove his grandson Nicholas,[19] consists of:[13]

As the above list exhausts all the dynastic members of the present Royal House of former king Michael I, the line would not continue with the German Hohenzollerns mentioned above. In fact, this private Statute through Addendum I, explicitly allows only direct descendants of King Michael as dynasts; unlike the old succession rules, the German Hohenzollerns are no longer mentioned as potential dynasts. Contrary to a specific provision of the 1923 Constitution, the private Statute bars from the succession any prince from another, foreign dynasty.

According to the former President of Romania Traian Băsescu, who does not appreciate Crown Princess Margareta's husband,[20] the Romanians seem to think that were the monarchy restored, Radu would become their king (king consort), something which, according to Băsescu, impacts negatively the Romanians' public perception of the idea of monarchy.[21][22]

Succession by Salic law[edit]


X Excluded due to the annulment of Carol II's marriage to Zizi Lambrino.

In case of the extinction without any direct male heirs of all eligible Hohenzollerns or of their refusal to accept the throne, according to article 35 of the last royal Constitution of Romania from 1938,[23] the throne becomes vacant. In this situation, article 35 provided that the last reigning king had the right to nominate a foreign prince from a reigning dynasty of Western Europe as successor, subject to the Parliament's approval as required by article 36. The Parliament incurs the final responsibility, according to article 36, of electing a king from a reigning dynasty of Western Europe if, prior to his investiture, he had committed to raise his descendants in the Eastern Orthodox faith to comply with article 34 of the Constitution.

In 1997, Romanian monarchist leaders asked former King Michael to designate a male heir presumptive from the German branch of the family, in keeping with the rules of the last royal constitution. Under the influence of his wife Anne, the former King rejected the request and, at the end of 1997, he illegally designated his first born, Princess Margarita, as heir presumptive.[24]

In a 2009 interview, Karl Friedrich, then Hereditary Prince of Hohenzollern, stated that he was not interested in the Romanian throne.[25]

Line of Succession in December 1947[edit]


  1. Kaplan, Robert. In Europe's Shadow: Two Cold Wars and a Thirty-year Journey through Romania and Beyond. 2016. Random House. US. p. 99.
  2. Montgomery-Massingberd, Hugh. Burke’s Royal Families of the World: Volume I Europe & Latin America. Burke's Peerage Ltd., 1977, pp. 453, 456, 458. ISBN 0-85011-023-8
  3. Joseph Valynseele. Les Prétendants aux Trônes d'Europe. Saintard de la Rochelle, 1967, Paris, pp. 341-342, 349-352.
  4. "General"[permanent dead link], Evenimentul Zilei
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Romanian court recognizes Briton as Carol II's grandson". The Washington Times. 1995-10-31. pp. A14.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Easterman, A.L., King Carol, Hitler and Lupescu. London:Victor Gollancz Ltd., 1942. p. 33–34.
  7. 'Bastard' Romanian prince goes legitimate Archived 2008-06-12 at the Wayback Machine
  8. "An Innocent Had Gone," Archived 2008-06-12 at the Wayback Machine Jurnalul National, 30 January 2006
  9. Michael of Romania: The King and the Country by Ivor Porter, page 195, ISBN 0-7509-3847-1
  10. 10.0 10.1 (in Romanian) "The King and Margarita - On The "Day of the Republic" The King Designated His Successor" Archived 2016-03-15 at the Wayback Machine, "Jurnalul National", 2 January 2008. retrieved 21 March 2016
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 (in French) With copy of the official acts related to the renunciation of prince Leopold, in 1880, and prince William of Hohenzollern, on 20 December 1886, to the throne of Romania - Gheorghe Bengescu (1907)- Bibliographie franco-roumaine depuis le commencement du XIXe siècle jusqu'à nos jours.
  12. (in Romanian) Ferdinand I - The King of The Great Reunification Archived 2008-03-14 at the Wayback Machine, Jurnalul National, 19 July 2007
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Fundamental Rules of the Royal Family of Romania, The Romanian Royal Family website as retrieved on 6 January 2007
  14. (in Romanian) "The Actor Duda in The Role of A Lifetime: Prince Consort of Romania," Cotidianul, 3 January 2008
  15. (in Romanian) "A Dynastical Constitution," Archived 2008-01-10 at the Wayback Machine Romania Libera, 9 January 2008. Quote: "Desigur, nu toate reformele sunt democratice, iar cea intreprinsa in interiorul Casei Regale a Romaniei (Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen) nu aspira in nici un fel la vreo democratizare. Ba, dimpotriva. (...) Este, altfel spus, o reforma de semn contrar." Translation: "Of course, not all reforms are democratic and the one within the Royal House of Romania (Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen) does not in any way strive to any sort of democratization. On the contrary. (...) It is, in other words, a reform of opposite tendency."
  16. (in Romanian) Titles and Succession, The Romanian Royal Family website as retrieved on 6 January 2007
  17. (in Romanian) Agenda - December 30, 1997 Archived April 11, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, Website of King Michael Archived 2012-07-12 at the Wayback Machine as retrieved on 6 January 2007
  18. Familia Regala - Linia de succesiune
  19. Press Communication August 10, 2015
  20. "The President is afraid of the Royal House!" Archived 2008-05-14 at the Wayback Machine, Jurnalul National, 13 May 2008
  21. (in Romanian) "In two years, Basescu and Iliescu jumped from love to hatred", Gandul, 15 May 2007
  22. (in Romanian) "Basescu said Iliescu knew he would be accused of genocide", Cotidianul, 15 May 2007
  23. (in Romanian) The 1923 Constitution of Romania
  24. (in Romanian) "EXCLUSIVE. How the Monarchy pulled the rug from under its own feet," Evenimentul zilei, August 29, 2011
  25. (in Romanian) "Karl Friedrich of Hohenzollern: "Radu Duda's Hohenzollern title is a farce" Archived 2009-06-12 at the Wayback Machine, Cotidianul, June 10, 2009

External links[edit]