Saturday, January 27, 2018

Funeral of King Michael

The funeral of His Majesty King Michael of Romania was held on Saturday 16 December 2017 in Bucharest, eleven days after the deposed monarch died in Switzerland at the age of 96.




     The ceremonies began with the arrival of King Michael's coffin at Bucharest's Henri Coanada Airport, aboard a special flight of the Romanian Air Force. His body was transported to Peles Castle in the Carpathian Mountains. This was the summer home of the Romanian royal family and a part of the royal estate where Michael was born in 1921. His body lay in state here privately, where members of his family, members of the Romanian government, and other designated diplomats were permitted to come and pay their respects. The following day, the funeral cortege went to Bucharest, where it was to lie in state at the former Royal Palace, which today is the National Museum of Art. During this time, the general public was granted access to file past the coffin and pay their respects to the deceased monarch.

The funeral began on Saturday, 16 December with a religious ceremony in the Royal Palace, followed by an outdoor religious and military ceremony in the square outside of the Royal Palace, where King Michael's coffin was placed atop a catafalque. Members of foreign royal families joined Romanian politicians and the Romanian royal family for the services. 
As King Michael's coffin was lifted from the catafalque and placed on a gun carriage by Romanian soldiers, applause broke out among the spectators, and as the gun carriage paraded through the streets of Bucharest to the Patriarchal Cathedral, thousands of people applauded and chanted "Regele Mihai" (King Michael).
 

Afterward, the coffin was then transported by train to the town of Curtea de Arges, where members of the royal house have been buried in the city's cathedral. A burial service was held at the cathedral that evening, and His Majesty King Michael was laid to rest beside his wife, Queen Anne, who died in September 2016. 

The royal guests in attendance at the King's funeral included his immediate family and his relatives from many of Europe's royal houses. For the first time in years, all five of King Michael's daughters were reunited - Crown Princess Margareta, with her husband, Prince Radu; Princess Helen, with her husband, Alexander Nixon; Mrs. Irina Walker, formerly Princess Irina (she was deprived of her royal title following her 2014 conviction for operating an illegal cockfighting ring near her home in Oregon, USA); Princess Sophie, and Princess Maria. Two of King Michael's five grandchildren were in attendance - Nicholas Medforth-Mills (formerly Prince Nicholas of Romania) and his sister, Elisabeta-Karina Medforth-Mills, who are both the children of Michael's second daughter, Princess Helen. Nicholas was accompanied by his fiance, Alina Binder. It was a noteworthy appearance for Nicholas, as he had landed himself in the news recently due to a supposed quarrel with members of King Michael's household who blocked him from visiting his dying grandfather back in October after it was announced that the king's health had deteriorated. Two of King Michael's American-born grandchildren, Irina Walker's children Michael Kreuger and Angelica Knight - sent wreaths in memory of their grandfather, which were displayed on the gates outside of the Royal Palace. 

The British royal family was represented by HRH The Prince of Wales (Charles's father, Prince Philip, was a childhood playmate of King Michael as well as his first cousin once removed; Michael's mother, Helen, was Philip's first cousin). Belgium was represented by Princess Astrid and Prince Lorenz, Archduke of Austria-Este (Prince Lorenz is a member of the so-called "Crown Council" for the Romanian royal house). Princess Muna, the mother of King Abdullah II of Jordan, who has a close friendship with the Romania royals, was in attendance. HM Queen Anne-Marie of Greece represented her husband, King Constantine II, who is Michael's first cousin. The Greek royal party also consisted of Anne-Marie's son, Prince Nikolaos, and King Constantine's younger sister, Princess Irene. A former Greek princess, Queen Sofia of Spain, who is also Michael's first cousin, attended along with her husband, King Juan Carlos. The King and Queen of Sweden and the Grand Duke of Luxembourg were the reigning monarchs in attendance, along with the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Yugoslavia, the Crown Prince of Albania, and the heads of the deposed House of Romanov and House of Hohenzollern. During the funeral procession, Prince Georg Friedrich, Prince of Prussia, walked alongside the Romanian royal family, ostensibly as the head of the House of Hohenzollern, from which the Romanian royal family descends.  

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