Birthday of Princess Margarita

HRH Princess Margarita of Romania, eldest daughter and heiress of King Michael, celebrates her 62nd birthday tomorrow, March 26.

Named for her maternal grandmother, Princess Margrethe of Denmark (styled Princess Rene of Bourbon-Parma after her marriage), Margarita of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was born in Lausanne, Switzerland on March 26, 1949. Margarita was born fifteen months after her father's abdication and flight from Romania. He had married her mother, Princess Anne of Bourbon-Parma, the previous year in Athens. Margarita's paternal grandparents are King Carol II of Romania and Princess Helen of Greece and Denmark, and her maternal grandparents are Prince Rene of Bourbon-Parma and Princess Margrethe of Denmark. Through her father, Princess Margarita is a great-great-great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, and through both her parents is a great-great-great-granddaughter of King Christian IX of Denmark.

Margarita and her four sisters - Helen, Irene, Sophia and Marie - were reared in Switzerland. Margarita attended the University of Edinburgh in Scotland where she was romantically involved with Gordon Brown, who became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in 2007. According to Margarita, the romance fizzled out due to Brown's devotion to his rising political career.

Margarita married the Romanian charity developer Radu Duda in 1996, who was named prince of Hohenzollern by the head of the Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen branch in 1999. In 2007, King Michael created Radu a royal prince of Romania in accordance with the private laws of the royal family, which do not hold official legal standing in Romania.

In 1990, King Michael returned to Romania for the first time in 40 years. Margarita had arrived there earlier as part of a humanitarian effort to aid orphanages and various charities in Romania. The government of the day claimed that King Michael and his family entered the country illegally and barred them from returning. Subsequent governments have rescinded the banishment, and since 1997 Princess Margarita, her husband and her parents have established permanent residences in Bucharest.

Princess Margarita has been designated by her father as heir to the headship of the royal house of Romania, and should the Romanian monarchy ever be restored she would be the likely successor to the crown. However, the previous monarchical constitution legally ratified in Romania banned women from inheriting the throne. King Michael has stated that the Salic law be removed should Romania ever choose to restore its monarchy.