Romania’s King Michael has passed to his daughter, Princess Margareta, the responsibility to represent Romania’s Royal House after he was diagnosed with cancer.
King Michael, 94, had a meeting with the Royal Council on Wednesday, March 2, at his residence in Morges, Switzerland, informing them of his decision. The Royal Council will continue to serve the Crown Custodian, Princess Margareta.
“In the past few weeks I have been informed of a serious medical diagnosis. This comes in a year when the Family and the Country celebrate 150 years since the Dynasty and the modern Romanian State were founded. I am sure that my daughter, Margareta, the Crown Custodian, will find the wisdom and strength to represent me and to carry out all my public duties,” reads a statement signed by King Michael.
According to the Royal Council, King Michael has recently had surgery and is currently undergoing a complex and difficult treatment, which prevents him from appearing in public. He was recently diagnosed with metastatic squamous cell carcinoma and chronical leukemia.
King Michael’s last public appearance was in November 2014 when he invited 12 former Presidents for dinner to celebrate 25 years from the fall of Communism. His daughter, Princess Margareta, has been representing the Royal House in public events in recent years.
King Michael was born on October 25, 1921, in Sinaia. He is the son of Prince Carol II of Romania and Princess Helen of Greece and Denmark and the grandson of King Ferdinand. He became king of Romania in July 1927, after King Ferdinand’s death. He was less than 6 at the time and a regency ruled the country in his name. In June 1930 his father, Carol II, returned to Romania and took the throne.
Michael was again crowned King of Romania in September 1940, at age 18, after Marshal Ion Antonescu staged a coup d’état against Carol II. Romania was Germany’s ally during World War II, but broke the alliance and signed a treaty with the USSR in August 1944.
After the war, King Michael appointed a communist government, which later forced him to abdicate and leave the country, in November 1947. King Michael married Princess Anne of Bourbon-Parma in 1948. They first lived in England and then moved to Switzerland.
After the Romanian Revolution in December 1989, King Michael tried to return to Romania twice, in 1990 and 1992, but each time he was sent away by President Ion Iliescu. After Emil Constantinescu was elected President, King Michael the Romanian government restored Michael’s citizenship and again allowed him to visit the country.
On 30 December 2007, on the 60th anniversary of his abdication, King Michael signed the Fundamental Rules of the Royal Family of Romania, by which he designated Princess Margareta as his heir to the throne with the titles of “Crown Princess of Romania” and “Custodian of the Romanian Crown.” He also severed all of the dynastic and historical ties with the princely house of Hohenzollern, where Carol I, the first king of Romania came from.