Queen Anne of Romania (1923-2016)

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The passing of Queen Anne of Romania, aged 92, was announced on August 1, 2016. An official statement by the Royal Family described her final hours with her family at hand: “Keeping watch over the Queen until her last breath were Their Royal Highnesses Crown Princess Margareta and Prince Radu, Princess Elena, Princess Sofia and Princess Maria. His Majesty King Mihai I kept coming to see the queen in the hospital each day over the last week. One day previously, Queen Anne received the last rites from the priest of the Catholic St. Mary’s of Morges Church.”

Princess Anne Antoinette Françoise Charlotte of Bourbon-Parma was born in Paris on September 18, 1923, the only daughter of Prince René of Bourbon-Parma and Princess Margarethe of Denmark. The family line was an illustrious one, which included the first and last kings of France, Louis Philippe I and Charles X. On her maternal line Anne was the great-granddaughter of Christian IX of Denmark.

Anne first met King Michael in November 1947 at the wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark. He was smitten and proposed within days but she held back – there were big issues playing out in Michael’s life with Romania’s communists in the process of forcing him into exile, succeeding by the end of that year.

Michael and Anne were married the following year in Athens, courtesy of Prince Paul of Greece (King Michael’s maternal uncle). Being King Michael’s consort during the long years of exile was not an easy role to play but the marriage would be a long and close one, lasting sixty-eight years. Anne and Michael made Switzerland their home and went on to have five children – daughters Margareta, Elena, Irina, Sophie and Marie.

Throughout Queen Anne was a discreet presence, which remained the case after King Michael’s return to Romania in the 1990s. She also showed her commitment to his cause by continuing to visit the country whilst Michael fought hostile politicians to regain his citizenship. Whilst a restoration has not happened, in 2008 Michael and Anne  celebrated their diamond wedding with three days of celebrations in Romania in which they were joined by relations from Europe’s royal houses and representatives of the Romanian government.

Queen Anne is survived by her husband and children.