Friday, May 9, 2008

Queen Marie of Romania

The British princess who was to become the beloved Queen of Romania wrote of herself:

I was hardly seventeen when I came among my people. I had left a home I loved and all the faces that had been familiar to the days of my childhood. At first it was not easy. I had to steal my way into hearts that were foreign to me, to get accustomed to strange faces, to strange habits, to a foreign tongue. It was years before I felt at home.

Yet from the very beginning I loved the land and its people. I understood the country’s varied beauties. I was in sympathy with its silent peasants, its vast fields, its deep forests and its rocky mountains. At first I was much too young to comprehend its soul and, with it, its needs and its longings.

Marie of Edinburgh (1875-1938) was the granddaughter of Queen Victoria on her father's side; her maternal grandfather was Tsar Alexander II of Russia. She fell completely in love with Romania. Marie started out as an Anglican, and converted to Orthodoxy in 1926. She may not have had the most edifying private life although she at least was discreet. However, in spite of an awful marriage Marie persevered to become the leader her people needed in the dark days of World War I. She used her personal charm as well as her pen to bring the needs of her country to the attention of the world.

According to a contemporary account:
For the Queen of Rumania is a woman of remarkable beauty, gifted alike in feature and texture of skin, the whole played upon by the glow of a charming graciousness of manner and spirit. No picture is adequate to portray the unique quality of her loveliness. When she speaks, it is not only with her lips, but also with the swift play of her countenance, the flash of her eyes, the motions of her head and body, and the gestures of her hands. One's thought turned instinctively to the delight that Queen Victoria would have had in the beautiful blossoming of this one of her granddaughters.
As another article says:
Meriel Buchanan wrote a touching tribute to her: "Whatever mistakes she may have made, she was never petty or trivial or ungenerous. If she brought sorrow to some, she brought joy to thousands of others by her gaiety and magnetic personality. When she came into a room, she seemed to bring light and animation with her, stimulating by her appearance even the most elderly and weary statesmen and Court attendants, making them forget their aching feet and straighten their tired backs in a sudden alacrity."
Marie had six children, all of whom had difficult lives, except for the one who died as a baby. Her youngest
daughter Princess Ileana eventually became an Orthodox nun. Marie was one of the last great European monarchs, trained in the tradition of putting their people first. Share

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