Marie of Edinburgh

Marie of Edinburgh

Infobox Romanian Royalty|majesty|consort
name =Marie of Edinburgh
title =Queen consort of Romania

imgw = 208
caption =Queen Marie of Romania
reign =10 October 191420 July 1927
spouse =Ferdinand I
issue =Carol II of Romania
Elisabeth of Romania
Maria of Romania
Prince Nicholas of Romania
Princess Ileana of Romania
Prince Mircea of Romania
full name =Marie Alexandra Victoria
titles ="HM" Queen Marie of Romania
"HM" The Queen of Romania
"HRH" The Crown Princess of Romania
"HRH" Princess Marie of Edinburgh
royal house =House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen
House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
father =Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
mother =Maria Alexandrovna of Russia
date of birth =birth date|1875|10|29|df=y
place of birth =Eastwell Park, Kent
date of christening =15 December 1875
place of christening =St George's Chapel, Windsor
date of death =death date and age|1938|7|18|1875|10|29|df=y
place of death =Sinaia
place of burial =Curtea de Argeş Cathedral, Romania|

Princess Marie of Edinburgh (Marie Alexandra Victoria; later Queen of Romania; 29 October 1875 – 10 July/18 July 1938) was a member of the British Royal Family who became the queen consort of Ferdinand I of Romania.

Early life

She was born on October 29, 1875, at Eastwell Park in Kent, the eldest daughter of Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh and Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna of Russia. Her father was the second-eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Her mother was the only surviving daughter of Alexander II of Russia and Maria Alexandrovna of Hesse. She was baptised in the Private Chapel of Windsor Castle on December 15 1875 and her godparents were the Empress and Tsarevitch of Russia, the Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the Princess of Wales and the Duke of Connaught. As her father was in the Royal Navy she spent much of her time abroad, particularly in Malta.


King Ferdinand and Queen Marie of Romania, photographed in Belgrade in 1923 at the christening of her grandson Prince Peter of Yugoslavia. Standing right is The Duchess of York]

In her youth, Princess Marie was considered a suitable match for marriage to the royalty of Europe. Her first cousin, Prince George of Wales, later King George V, fell in love with her and proposed marriage. Marie's father and George's father approved of the marriage, but Marie's mother disdained the British Royal Family and was keen to see her daughters marry outside its court.

In Sigmaringen, on 10 January 1893, a few months before her father became Duke of Coburg-Gotha, Princess Marie married Crown Prince Ferdinand of Romania, nephew of King Carol I of Romania. The marriage, which produced three daughters and three sons, was not a happy one. [Born to Rule, Granddaughters of Queen Victoria P38, 50 91-93] Her correspondence with her longtime secret confidante, the American dancer Gerte Fuller, revealed "the distaste, which grew to revulsion" that Marie felt for her husband. (Easterman, 1942, 58) The last two children were born after Marie met her long-time lover, Barbu Ştirbey, and historians generally agree that Prince Mircea was his son (having brown eyes like Ştirbey, unlike Marie and Ferdinand) [cite book | first = |Hannah | last = Pakula | title = The last romantic : a biography of Queen Marie of Roumania | id = ISBN 0297785982 | publisher = Weidenfeld & Nicolson | year = 1985 | location = London | pages = ] , while Ileana's paternity is under discussion, as was her second daughter, Princess Maria,the future Queen of Yugoslavia (known as Mignon) [Born to Rule, Granddaughters of Queen Victoria P93] [Born to Rule, Granddaughters of Queen Victoria, Queens of Europe By Julia Gelardi Headline Book Publishing 2005 P93&115] Their eldest sons, Carol and Nicholas, and eldest daughter, Elisabeth, were quite certainly biologically Ferdinand's.Fact|date=August 2008

Affair with Cantacuzene

In 1897, while still Crown Princess, Marie began a romantic liason with Lieutenant Zixi Cantacuzene [Born to Rule, Granddaughters of Queen Victoria, P91] . The affair and subsequent scandal became widely known and was quickly terminated by King Carol I. However by autumn 1897, during the height of the scandal, Marie became pregnant. After fleeing back to her mother in Coburg, Marie mysteriously gave birth to a child who has disappeared from history. [Born to Rule, Granddaughters of Queen Victoria P92] It has been suggested that the child was either stillborn or quickly placed in an orphanage. Whatever the truth, 'the story of this mysterious child of Marie of Roumania was one secret "she ... took ... to the grave."'

Birth of Maria, future Queen of Yugoslavia

In 1899 Marie, pregnant with Mignon, pleaded with King Carol I to allow her to give birth to her daughter in Coburg, where her father was Duke. After he refused Marie declared, 'right to his face [Born to Rule, Granddaughters of Queen Victoria, P92] that the child she was carrying was in fact Grand Duke Boris Vladimirovich of Russia's. [Born to Rule. Granddaughters of Queen Victoria, P 92] The horrified King relented and so Marie gave birth to her daughter, also called Marie though always known as Mignon, in the peaceful surroundings of Coburg. Following this, whether in earnest or merely to deflect criticism from the dynasty is unknown, Crown Prince Ferdinand officially recognised the child as his.

Birth of Prince Nicolas

Marie's fourth child and second son, Prince Nicolas, was born in August 1903. The appearance of Pauline Astor, the sister of Maire's close friend and confidant Waldorf Astor, along with an Astor family doctor during the birth fanned speculation that the father of Prince Nicolas was in fact Astor and not Crown Prince Ferdinand. As with Mignon, Ferdinand accepted the child as his own and as he grew up Nicolas came to resemble his Hohenzollern relatives rather than the Astors. [Born to Rule, Granddaughters of Queen Victoria, P115]

Queen and Queen Mother

In 1914, Carol I died and Ferdinand ascended the throne of Romania. Crown Princess Marie then became styled "Her Majesty Queen Marie of Romania". Due to World War I, they were not crowned as monarchs until 1922.

Marie had become a Romanian patriot, and her influence in that country was large. A.L. Easterman writes that King Ferdinand was "a quiet, easy-going man, of no significant character… it was not he, but Marie who ruled in Roumania." He credits Marie's sympathies for the Allies as being "the major influence in bringing her country to their side" in the war. (Easterman, 1942, 28–29)

During the war she volunteered as a Red Cross nurse to help the sick and wounded and wrote a book, "My Country" to raise funds for the Red Cross, but these were by no means her most notable contributions to the war effort. With the country half-overrun by the German army, she and a group of military advisers devised the plan by which the Romanian army, rather than retreating into Russia, would choose a triangle of the country in which to stand and fight; and through a letter to Loïe Fuller she set in motion the series of events that brought a timely American loan to Romania, providing the necessary funds to carry out the plan. (Fortuitously, the young woman from the U.S. embassy who delivered the letter to Fuller was the former ward (legal) of Newton D. Baker, by this time serving as U.S. Secretary of War. Fuller and the young woman traveled from Paris to Washington, DC and secured an audience with Baker who, along with U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Carter Glass, arranged the loan.)

After the war ended, the Great Powers decided to settle affairs at Versailles. The Romanian objective was to gain territories from the now-defunct Austria-Hungary and also from Russia, thereby uniting all Romanian-speakers in a single state. With the Romanian delegation losing ground in the negotiations, Prime Minister Ionel Bratianu called upon the Queen to travel to France. Marie famously declared that "Romania needs a face, and I will be that face," astutely calculating that the international press was growing tired of the endless negotiations and would be unable to resist the glamour of a Royal Visit. The arrival of the so-called "Soldier Queen" was an international media sensation and she argued passionately that the Western powers should honour their debt to Romania (which had suffered a casualty rate proportionately far greater than Britain, France or the USA). Behind the scenes, she alternately charmed and bullied the Allied leaders into backing the Romanian cause. [Born to Rule:Granddaughters of Victoria, Queens of Europe by Julia Gelardi ISBN 0755313925] As a direct result of her charismatic intervention, Romania won back the initiative and successfully achieved all its pre-conference aims, eventually expanding its territory by 40%, gaining Transylvania, Bessarabia as well as parts of Bukovina and the Banat.

Ferdinand and Marie's son, the Crown Prince Carol (later King Carol II), was never close to his father—by the time Carol was an adult, their antagonism became an "open breach" (Easterman, 1942, 29)—but there continued to be a "deep bond of affection and sympathy" between Carol and Marie. (Easterman, 1942, 30–31) Their relationship, however, deteriorated. The initial conflict came over Carol's objections to Marie's relationship with Prince Ştirbey; the breach was exacerbated as Marie attempted to steer Carol toward a dynastic marriage rather than allow him to choose his own bride. (Easterman, 1942, 31–32) During Carol's exile in Paris, Loïe Fuller had befriended Carol and his mistress Magda Lupescu; they were unaware of Fuller's connection to Marie. Fuller initially advocated to Marie on their behalf, but later schemed unsuccessfully with Marie to separate Carol from Lupescu. (Easterman, 1942, 58–61) Eventually, when Carol became King and did not seek her counsel, the breach between mother and son became complete. (Easterman, 1942, 31, 86–87)

After the death of her husband in 1927, Queen Marie remained in Romania, writing books and her memoirs, "The Story of My Life". She died in Peleş Castle on July 18, 1938, and was buried next to her husband in the Monastery of Curtea de Argeş. In accordance with her will, her heart was kept in a cloister at the Balchik Palace which she had built. In 1940, when Balchik and the rest of Southern Dobrudja were returned to Bulgaria in accordance with the Treaty of Craiova, Queen Marie's heart was transferred to Bran Castle. This had been her principal home for much of the early 20th century, and the artifacts with which she chose to surround herself (traditional furniture and tapestries, for example) can be seen by visitors today. Many of her other personal effects can be seen at the Maryhill Museum, formerly the home of Sam Hill, an American railroad businessman with whom Queen Marie corresponded much of her life. The museum, which lies in rural Washington State (U.S.A.) on the north side of the Columbia River, displays much of Queen Marie's regalia, furniture, and other possessions, including her crown.

Religious beliefs

She is held in high esteem by members of the Bahá'í Faith as she was the first Royal to declare faith in that religion. Her religious background was of the Church of England, although she is known to have incorporated herself into the Orthodox Christian beliefs of Romanian nationals. In her late years, she was approached by Martha Root, a well-recognized traveling "teacher", on the topic of the Bahá'í Faith. Bahá'ís recognize Queen Marie of Romania as the first Monarch to have declared her belief in Bahá'u'lláh. [cite book | first = |Hannah | last = Pakula | title = The last romantic : a biography of Queen Marie of Roumania | id = ISBN 0297785982 | publisher = Weidenfeld & Nicolson | year = 1985 | location = London | pages = pg. 337] [cite book | title = Her Eternal Crown | first = Della | last = Marcus | publisher = George Ronald | id = ISBN 0853984425 | year = 2000 | location = Oxford] [cite journal | last = Hassall | first = Graham | coauthors = Fazel, Seena | title = 100 Years of the Baha'i Faith in Europe | journal = Baha'i Studies Review | volume = 8 | issue = 3 | pages = pp. 35–44 | url = | accessdate = 2007-04-26 ]

In regard to the Bahá'í Faith, Queen Marie stated:

"It is like a wide embrace gathering all those who have long searched for words of hope… Saddened by the continual strife amongst believers of many confessions and wearied of their intolerance towards each other, I discovered in the Bahá'í teaching the real spirit of Christ so often denied and misunderstood." [cite book |first = Shoghi |last = Effendi |authorlink = Shoghi Effendi |year = 1944 |title = God Passes By |publisher = Bahá'í Publishing Trust |location = Wilmette, Illinois, USA |pages = p. 392 |id = ISBN 0877430209 |url = ]

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

*29 October 187510 January 1893: "Her Royal Highness" Princess Marie of Edinburgh
*10 January 189310 October 1914: "Her Royal Highness" The Crown Princess of Romania
*10 October 191420 July 1927: "Her Majesty" The Queen of Romania
*20 July 192718 July 1937: "Her Majesty" The Dowager Queen Maria of Romania

British arms

As a male-line grandchild of a British Sovereign, Marie bore the arms of the kingdom, with an inescutcheon for Saxony, differenced by a five-point label argent, the outer pair of which bore anchors azure, the inner roses gules, and the central a cross gules. In 1917, the inescutcheon was dropped by royal warrant from George V. [ [ Heraldica – British Royalty Cadency] ]



She once encountered a proselytizer from a religious group. She said "I have met ..... I did not like him. He seemed to me to be a snob. He spoke of God as if He were the oldest title in the Almanach de Gotha. And all that business about telling one's sins in public -- He wanted me ... me ... to get up before my children and confess everything I had ever done! It is spiritual nudism! Ça se ne fait pas." [ Nichols, Beverely "All I could Never Be" pages 255-256 Publisher Dutton 1952]



* Marie was famously mentioned in Dorothy Parker's poem "Comment":
*: "Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
*: "A medley of extemporanea;
*: "And love is a thing that can never go wrong,
*: "And I am Marie of Roumania.

* She is discussed in "Her Eternal Crown: Queen Marie of Romania and the Bahá'í Faith", by author Della L. Marcus.

* Science fiction author Joanna Russ also mentions Marie of Romania in her 1975 novel, "The Female Man".

* In "", Bruce Benderson also explores the relationship between Marie, her son King Carol II and his mistress Magda Lupescu.

* The Romanian Navy Type 22 frigate Regina Maria (formerly HMS London (F95) in the Royal Navy) is named after her.


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1= 1. Marie of Edinburgh
2= 2. Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
3= 3. Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia
4= 4. Albert, Prince Consort
5= 5. Victoria of the United Kingdom
6= 6. Alexander II of Russia
7= 7. Marie of Hesse
8= 8. Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
9= 9. Princess Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
10= 10. Prince Edward Augustus, Duke of Kent and Strathearn
11= 11. Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
12= 12. Nicholas I of Russia
13= 13. Charlotte of Prussia
14= 14. Louis II, Grand Duke of Hesse
15= 15. Princess Wilhelmine of Baden
16= 16. Francis, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
17= 17. Princess Augusta Reuss of Ebersdorf
18= 18. Augustus, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
19= 19. Duchess Louise Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
20= 20. George III of the United Kingdom
21= 21. Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
22= 22. Francis, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld (= 16)
23= 23. Princess Augusta Reuss of Ebersdorf (= 17)
24= 24. Paul I of Russia
25= 25. Sophie Dorothea of Württemberg
26= 26. Frederick William III of Prussia
27= 27. Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
28= 28. Louis I, Grand Duke of Hesse
29= 29. Landgravine Louise of Hesse-Darmstadt
30= 30. Charles Louis, Hereditary Prince of Baden
31= 31. Landgravine Amalie of Hesse-Darmstadt

ee also

* List of British princesses
* Samuel Hill
* Maryhill Museum of Art

External links

* [ Ducal House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha]
* [ Royal House of Great Britain]
* [ Royal House of Romania]
* [ Princely House of Hohenzollern]
* [ Maria, Queen of Romania (1875-1938)]
* [ Queen Marie of Romania]
* - Find A Grave



* Fotescu, Diana, "Americans and Queen Marie of Romania", Iasi, Portland, Oxford, 1998.
*Mandache (Fotescu), Diana, "Later Chapters of My Life. The Lost Memoir of Queen Marie of Romania", Sutton, 2004. ISBN 978-0750936910.
* Mandache (Fotescu), Diana, "Marie of Romania. Images of a Queen", Rosvall Royal Books, 2007. ISBN 9197567124. [link]

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