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King Mihai I of Romania died Dec-5 2017, aged 96

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King  Mihai (Michael) I of Romania died today:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_I_of_Romania

His reign was 1927-1930 and 1940-1947.

Last King of Romania, initially ally of Hitler during WW2 and later switched side and supported Soviet Union, last living recipient of Soviet Victory order.

Last of the great monarchs!

King-Mihai-I-of-Romania.jpg

MIhai_1.jpg

MIhai_2.jpg

Edited by new world

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R.I.P. King Michael.

 A very impressive entry in Wiki, including mention of 11 honoraray degrees!  Good to see that he was accpeted by the modern government and able to make a contribution, without stirring up any unrealisitic hopes for a return to monarchy as a form of geovernment in the country.

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I honestly was very surprised he was still alive, 96 years - what an amazing  life he had!

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RIP for King Mihai . my condolence to Romanians . He was the adequated King . A long life always at Romania s service . 

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May he rest in peace.

Any idea if he wrote any memoirs?

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Perhaps redundant, but here's what the NY Times had to say:

 

 

OBITUARIES

King Michael of Romania, Who Ousted a Hitler Puppet, Dies at 96

By DOUGLAS MARTINDEC. 5, 2017

 
merlin_130902672_d357eaa8-8500-4fab-977c
 
King Michael acknowledging applause after speaking in Romania’s Parliament in 2011. Beside him was his eldest daughter, Princess Margareta, and her husband, Prince Radu Duda, left.CreditDaniel Mihailescu/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

King Michael of Romania, who was credited with pre-emptively saving thousands of lives in World War II when, at 22, he had the audacity to arrest the country’s dictator, a puppet of Hitler, died on Tuesday at his residence in Switzerland. He was 96.

His death was announced in a statement from the royal family. King Michael cited a diagnosis of cancer when withdrawing from public dutieslast year.

The king was often remembered for distinctions that were not of his own making. He is, for example, said to have been the only man to both precede and succeed his own father as king.

But his shining achievement was assuredly his doing. It came on Aug. 23, 1944, when Michael, whose powers were perceived as largely ceremonial, bravely summoned Hitler’s crony Ion Antonescu, the fascist dictator of Romania, to his palace and arrested him.

Photo
merlin_129885629_87a8318c-fc34-4c84-a7cd
 
King Carol II and his son, Prince Michael, at the Royal Palace in Bucharest in November 1930. That year Carol returned to reclaim his throne, which Michael had occupied as a boy king. CreditAssociated Press

By then Michael was in league with antigovernment forces, and soon afterward he renounced Romania’s ties to the Axis powers, paving the way for a Soviet takeover as Germany’s military strength was waning. Historians say his action might have shortened the war by months, saving tens of thousands of lives.

Later, as postwar Romania slipped into communism, Michael strove to preserve its constitutional monarchy. But he was forced at gunpoint to abdicate and flee.

Continue reading the main story
 

For years, while living mainly in Switzerland, he returned only as a stirring memory on Voice of America Christmas broadcasts. After communism fell, he headed home from his exile in Geneva in December 1990.

“King Michael! King Michael!” crowds screamed on his arrival. But, the country’s rulers, who had been elected that May, were shocked at his popularity and banished him again, saying he had not received proper permission for the visit.

Photo
merlin_130906737_5d4ece82-a3b4-48e6-9e26
 
Crown Prince Michael with the British prime minister, Neville Chamberlain, on a visit to Britain in November 1938 as Europe crept closer to war. CreditAgence France-Presse — Getty Images

He was allowed to return for Romania’s celebration of Easter, however, in 1992, and again Romania’s leadership was horrified by the size of the crowds he drew, news reports said at the time. He was not allowed to return for another visit until 1997.

But on that visit his citizenship and his castle — though not his crown — were returned, and King Michael visited regularly after that. In 2011 he addressed Parliament, which that year granted him the same rights as other former heads of state. He received a standing ovation.

The Kingdom of Romania was formed in the mid-19th century when two Balkan principalities, Moldavia and Walachia, merged. Its shape and size changed radically as empires waxed and waned. It had a king only five times in its history, twice with Michael: He was king from 1927 to 1930 and again from 1940 to 1947.

He was born Prince Mihai Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen on Oct. 25, 1921, in Sinaia, Romania. His father was Crown Prince Carol; his mother, Princess Helen, belonged to the Greek royal family. Other relatives belonged to Prussian royalty, and his great-great-grandmother was Queen Victoria of England.

Photo
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Michael with his father, King Carol, in Romania in 1939. Carol was forced to abdicate the next year, returning Michael to the throne. CreditAssociated Press

In 1925, Carol, widely known as the “playboy prince,” bowed to his family’s fury over an affair he was having with a woman named Magda Lupescu. She was divorced; he was married. He renounced his right to the throne and went to live in Paris, leaving Michael heir to the kingdom. When Carol’s father, King Ferdinand I, died on July 20, 1927, his grandson — all of 5 years old — succeeded him.

When told he was king, Michael was said to have replied, “Really?” When assured that indeed he was the king, he was said to have asked for a piece of chocolate cake.

Michael had English, French and German nurses to help with languages and regents to make decisions. But he grew into his station; he was once said to have told his mother, “Madame, I am king and I want to be obeyed.” A royal spanking followed.

In June 1930, Michael’s father, tired of flitting about Europe, returned to Bucharest to renounce his renunciation. Welcomed back by the country’s political leadership, he was crowned King Carol II. Michael, now 9, was again crown prince, and he seemed to fancy the demotion.

Photo
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Romanians in 1946 carrying portraits of King Michael and government leaders after the first election since the end of World War II. CreditJim Pringle/Associated Press

“I have been terribly tired of wearing long trousers and a stiff hat and going to places I don’t want to go at all,” he said.

With the onset of World War II, King Carol tried to take advantage of his country’s political chaos by declaring a royal dictatorship. But the Soviet Union and Germany outmaneuvered him to seize Romanian territory, and the king came under fierce attack.

To placate the outraged military and Romanian fascists, he named the brutal General Antonescu to head his government. In September 1940, the general turned on King Carol and forced him to abdicate.

So, at 18, Michael was again king — but in truth, he was more of a prisoner. He seldom appeared in public. Romania’s leaders gave him chores like reviewing troops. But as the young king matured into his 20s, he prepared to act. He secretly huddled with antigovernment forces that were gathering strength as Germany began to lose the war.

Photo
merlin_129217385_0e752b13-79dd-4a0e-816d
 
Former King Michael and Princess Anne of Bourbon-Parma with attendants and guests on the grounds of the Royal Palace in Athens after their marriage there in June 1948.

CreditThe New York Times

This alliance was at first secret, but by the summer of 1944 Michael had emerged as a symbol of popular discontent. Risking the severest retribution, he publicly pressed General Antonescu to surrender to the Soviets.

The general refused. Michael summoned him to the palace and asked him again, pounding a table for emphasis. The general again refused.

Michael then uttered prearranged code words, and three soldiers and an officer came forward to arrest General Antonescu. He was locked in a vault where Michael’s father had once kept the royal stamp collection. Other arrests followed.

German pilots tried to kill Michael by bombing the palace, but the king prevailed, renouncing Romania’s alliance with Germany. Germany searched in vain for a Romanian general not loyal to the king. Its frustrated ambassador warned Michael that he was playing with fire.

Photo
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King Michael, at 75, as he addressed tens of thousands of Romanians who had gathered in University Square in Bucharest to welcome him on a visit in February 1997. CreditRadu Sigheti/Reuters

The king shrugged, and Romania became the first Axis satellite to desert Hitler. He soon unleashed 16 divisions against Nazi troops, inflicting severe losses. The coup also accelerated the Soviet takeover of the country.

Michael received the Legion of Merit from the United States and the Order of Victory from Moscow for giving help to the Red Army. He was the last living recipient of that medal, and one of only 20 to receive it.

By 1947, the Cold War had started in earnest, and Stalin ordered Romania to get rid of its king. Romania’s prime minister, Petru Groza, was persuasive: He threatened to execute 1,000 of Michael’s supporters, and Michael himself, if he did not abdicate.

“It was blackmail,” Michael told The New York Times in 2007. “They said, ‘If you don’t sign this immediately we are obliged’ — why obliged I don’t know — to kill more than 1,000 students that they had in prison.”

Michael, the last monarch behind the Iron Curtain, abdicated on Dec. 30, 1947.

He left Romania with more than 30 family members and friends on an eight-car train carrying, among other things, four American automobiles, nine cases of gin and three shotguns. The Romanian government said he had also taken valuable paintings, although he denied this.

Romance soothed the sting of leaving. In November, Michael had attended the wedding of Princess Elizabeth of England and Prince Philip of Greece, his cousin and childhood playmate. There he met Princess Anne of Bourbon-Parma. As they both later recalled, they fell instantly in love.

The couple married in an Orthodox ceremony in Athens in June 1948 after Pope Pius XII refused to permit Anne, who was half French and half Danish, to marry a non-Catholic. They remained married until Queen Anne died in 2016.

They had five daughters, Margareta, Elena, Irina, Sophie and Maria, who survive him.

Living mainly in Switzerland, Michael went on to be a commercial pilot, a stockbroker and, briefly, a chicken farmer. He always regarded his forced abdication as illegal. In his own mind — and in the minds of many Romanians — he died a king.

Photo
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A Romanian on Tuesday paid his respects at an impromptu memorial to King Michael I in front of the former Royal Palace, now the National Arts Musem, in Bucharest. CreditRobert Ghement/European Pressphoto Agency
Correction: December 5, 2017 
An earlier version of this obituary erroneously attributed a distinction to King Michael. He was not the last surviving head of state from World War II; at least one other — Simeon II, who was king of Bulgaria from 1943 to 1946 — is still alive.
Correction: December 5, 2017 

A picture caption with an earlier version of this obituary misidentified Neville Chamberlain, who was shown with King Michael in 1938. He was the prime minister of Britain, not the foreign minister.

Correction: December 6, 2017 

An earlier version of this obituary misspelled the given name of one of King Michael’s daughters. As an accompanying picture caption correctly noted, she is Margareta, not Margarita.

 

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Mihai has reigned during some difficult periods when the usual system of diplomatic exchanges between states did not work. This has most likely been reflected in the foreign awards he received (I do not think the list on Wikipedia is fully correct). Can we try to reconstruct his list of awards based on photographic evidence or other reliable sources?

 

Great Britain

Royal Victorian Chain

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Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order
regele-mihai-margareta.png

I think this order is also worn in the photo below at the British Royal wedding in 1947.

50447967.jpg.6b6a82d57fc0ee0a5b557c5aec79f2b8.jpg

 

Greece

Collar of the Royal House Order of Saints George and Constantine

Grand Cross of the Order of the Redeemer

105218285.thumb.jpg.64b0a2d02d0873874689644f1abf05e6.jpg

 

Manchukuo

Collar of the Order of Orchid Blossom (February 1941)

IMG_3717.jpg

 

Poland

Grand Cross of the Order of the White Eagle (22 May 1937)

PIC_1-D-1374-16.jpg

 

USA

Chief Commander of the Legion of Merit (20 March 1946)

 

USSR

Order of Victory (06 July 1945)

Bvz4F2kIMAEQUub.jpg

Edited by Carol I
Updating image links

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His awards according to Wiki:

Foreign honours

350px-Kremlin_plate.JPG
 
Plaque at Grand Kremlin Palace showing King Michael as one of five foreign recipients of Order of Victory of the USSR.

His Romanian awards

National dynastic honours

National state honours

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The Wikipedia list is terribly inaccurate for the national awards. It mentions for example collars for the Order of Michael the Brave and the Order of the Star of Romania (that never existed during either of his rules) and wrong grade for the Faithful Service Order, plus the title of sovereign knight instead of grand master, although this might be the same thing. This makes me suspect the foreign awards too. Although some awards seem plausible, I do not think that the references are fully reliable. For example the evidence for the Belgian award is a blurry photo. The Czech award and the Finish one have no reference, although both are plausible given the pre-war relations with Czechoslovakia (which would make it Czechoslovakian rather than Czech) or the war-time relations with Finland. Similarly, I do not know how much the references for the French or Italian awards could be trusted. Furthermore, the list does not include the Royal Victorian Chain in spite of the recent photographic evidence.

 

This is why I suggested to look for photographic evidence or other reliable sources.

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You have a point, although I am not sure photos will give us all his awards, as there were some he never or rarely wore and they were just not captured by photographers.

I also saw people making statements that he was awarded German Iron Cross (someone said it was Knights Cross grade). Not sure if this is accurate, I wasn't able to find any reference to KC IC.

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1 hour ago, new world said:

You have a point, although I am not sure photos will give us all his awards, as there were some he never or rarely wore and they were just not captured by photographers.

I also saw people making statements that he was awarded German Iron Cross (someone said it was Knights Cross grade). Not sure if this is accurate, I wasn't able to find any reference to KC IC.

I did not mean only photos, but other reliable sources as well. For example, I have found the date of the Polish award in a book on the Order of the White Eagle. The collar of the Order of the Orchid Blossom was in an exhibition of royal items in the collections of the National History Museum.

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If the Orchid Blossom is correct, then  other potential award candidates may include Japanese, Slovak [Special Grade of the Order of Prince Pribina according to http://www.axishistory.com/books/76-slovakia-general/slovakia-general-militaria/905-order-of-prince-pribina-slovakia], Croatian, and, maybe among others, even Hungarian honors.    Carol II had a Bulgarian Cyril & Methodius, disremember whether Michael got one while in Romania.  

Polish White Eagle maybe a ancillary to the various Romanian-Polish Alliances, suggesting award exchanges with other allies, e.g. Little Entente partners.   Somewhere a post here mentions that HM received a German Eagle Order.  

Edited by 922F
spelchek

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King Carol payed state visits to Poland and Czechoslovakia before 1939 , in both with the then Voivoda Mihai. Carol in Poland weared Polish uniform . at least once . he was Colonel of a Polish Regiment. of a Yugoeslavian one too.

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On ‎2017‎-‎12‎-‎11 at 03:21, 922F said:

If the Orchid Blossom is correct, then  other potential award candidates may include Japanese, Slovak [Special Grade of the Order of Prince Pribina according to http://www.axishistory.com/books/76-slovakia-general/slovakia-general-militaria/905-order-of-prince-pribina-slovakia], Croatian, and, maybe among others, even Hungarian honors.    Carol II had a Bulgarian Cyril & Methodius, disremember whether Michael got one while in Romania.  

Polish White Eagle maybe a ancillary to the various Romanian-Polish Alliances, suggesting award exchanges with other allies, e.g. Little Entente partners.   Somewhere a post here mentions that HM received a German Eagle Order.  

I really doubt Mihai received any Hungarian honours given the 1940 occupation of Northern Transylvania by Hungary.

On ‎2017‎-‎12‎-‎11 at 03:34, Bayern said:

King Carol payed state visits to Poland and Czechoslovakia before 1939 , in both with the then Voivoda Mihai. Carol in Poland weared Polish uniform . at least once . he was Colonel of a Polish Regiment. of a Yugoeslavian one too.

The photo below shows King Carol II and Prince Mihai in the presence of President Benes. Carol II appears to wear the collar of the Order of the White Lion, but Mihai has a rather plain appearance with no Czechoslovakian awards.

 

dfb3af00d14975c7b83505d8fccdbe44.jpg

Edited by Carol I

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The photo is taken during the visit of Benes to Romania . Prince Mihai wears a military uniform with no visible badges of rank .evidently the photo was made in the moment of Little Entente meeting as Prince Paul is present too .the last officer at the right appears to be Prince Nicholas . The date is June of 1936 . after , King and Prince visited Czechoslovakia .perhaps he the Prince ,was awarded in this visit.

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9 hours ago, Bayern said:

The photo is taken during the visit of Benes to Romania . Prince Mihai wears a military uniform with no visible badges of rank .evidently the photo was made in the moment of Little Entente meeting as Prince Paul is present too .the last officer at the right appears to be Prince Nicholas . The date is June of 1936 . after , King and Prince visited Czechoslovakia .perhaps he the Prince ,was awarded in this visit.

Thanks for the details of the photo. I am not saying that Mihai could not have received the Czechoslovakian award at a later time point, but June 1936 was an official event suitable for displaying the award. See for comparison the photo from the visit to Poland in 1937 where he is wearing the insignia of the White Eagle. It could also be that he was too young during the Czechoslovakian visit.

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Carol I : Thats the point .In 1936 Voivoda Mihai was too young .I think . Remember that he was commisioned in the Romanian Army just in 1937. Exists another possibilty . Post War .after all Benes was again president and King Mihai was an Allied chef of State

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Belgium

Grand Cross of the Order of Leopold (military)

Dec_Mihai.thumb.jpg.f4b32a0be67c2d76ab8908302f588350.jpg

 

As well as, a white Maltese cross, similar to that worn by his father on the 1940 cover of Life magazine.

6f703bbceb3ae274b2399b7145362fe1.jpg

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