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Europe/Other : King Michael of Romania

 

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Guthrum
Members Picture


09 Dec 2017
05:46:37am
This must be some sort of record: two stamps, issued 86 years apart, featuring the same living person. Those who follow Eastern European stamps, or even a 'Royalty' topic, will doubtless be familiar with these:

Image Not Found...Image Not Found

Michael von Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, who died earlier this week at the age of 96, was King of Romania from 1927-1930 and again from 1940-1947. These were difficult times indeed. His father, not a good role model, abdicated twice and reconsidered once (hence Michael's ten year gap when a teenager), and Michael himself was compelled when barely adult to have dealings with both Hitler and his great admirer, the Romanian dictator Ion Antonescu.

That King Michael insisted on and maintained a royal presence during the occupation years in the Second World War may be inferred from the many stamps issued in that period. Intermingled with propagandist issues dealing with Romania's fortuitous acquisition of territory are several sets featuring King Michael - indeed his face appears on no less than 40% of Romania's wartime issues, mostly definitives. Antonescu, unlike his often-featured Croatian counterpart, the scowling dictator Ante Pavelic, is rarely glimpsed. Michael, however, had to deal with him - here is a propagandist stamp featuring the uneasy alliance...

Image Not Found

...as the two of them mark the first anniversary of the annexation of Bessarabia (an area formerly part of Imperial Russia).

But it was Michael who eventually did for Antonescu, mustering sufficient popular and political support to overthrow the dictator in 1944 and establish the parliamentary democracy he had always favoured.

Realpolitik intervened rapidly. Churchill had already made a deal with Stalin: the Allies get Greece, the Soviets Romania. King Michael, still only 23, stood no chance, and the Red Army marched in within days. Naturally they claimed the removal of the fascist Antonescu as their own doing.

Michael hung on for another couple of years, finally bowing to the inevitable in 1947 and exiling himself to the West. He cut an unhappy figure, his daughters remembering him as a "silent, sad, serious" man during their childhood. He tried his hand at chicken-farming, commercial flying, and stockbroking, while always striving to keep channels open with Romania. After the fall of Ceausescu in 1989 he returned briefly to wide acclaim, but was denied citizenship until 1996.

The royal families of Europe intermarried on an industrial scale, and King Michael was a great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria on both sides of his family. With his death goes the last hope of a Hohenzollern restoration in Romania, but really his fate had been sealed, with a mixture of Soviet intransigence and British connivance, decades earlier.


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bobgggg

Past President Cortlandt Stamp Club

09 Dec 2017
12:31:13pm
re: King Michael of Romania

Ian...thank you for a great piece of history...Thumbs Up

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Author/Postings
Members Picture
Guthrum

09 Dec 2017
05:46:37am

This must be some sort of record: two stamps, issued 86 years apart, featuring the same living person. Those who follow Eastern European stamps, or even a 'Royalty' topic, will doubtless be familiar with these:

Image Not Found...Image Not Found

Michael von Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, who died earlier this week at the age of 96, was King of Romania from 1927-1930 and again from 1940-1947. These were difficult times indeed. His father, not a good role model, abdicated twice and reconsidered once (hence Michael's ten year gap when a teenager), and Michael himself was compelled when barely adult to have dealings with both Hitler and his great admirer, the Romanian dictator Ion Antonescu.

That King Michael insisted on and maintained a royal presence during the occupation years in the Second World War may be inferred from the many stamps issued in that period. Intermingled with propagandist issues dealing with Romania's fortuitous acquisition of territory are several sets featuring King Michael - indeed his face appears on no less than 40% of Romania's wartime issues, mostly definitives. Antonescu, unlike his often-featured Croatian counterpart, the scowling dictator Ante Pavelic, is rarely glimpsed. Michael, however, had to deal with him - here is a propagandist stamp featuring the uneasy alliance...

Image Not Found

...as the two of them mark the first anniversary of the annexation of Bessarabia (an area formerly part of Imperial Russia).

But it was Michael who eventually did for Antonescu, mustering sufficient popular and political support to overthrow the dictator in 1944 and establish the parliamentary democracy he had always favoured.

Realpolitik intervened rapidly. Churchill had already made a deal with Stalin: the Allies get Greece, the Soviets Romania. King Michael, still only 23, stood no chance, and the Red Army marched in within days. Naturally they claimed the removal of the fascist Antonescu as their own doing.

Michael hung on for another couple of years, finally bowing to the inevitable in 1947 and exiling himself to the West. He cut an unhappy figure, his daughters remembering him as a "silent, sad, serious" man during their childhood. He tried his hand at chicken-farming, commercial flying, and stockbroking, while always striving to keep channels open with Romania. After the fall of Ceausescu in 1989 he returned briefly to wide acclaim, but was denied citizenship until 1996.

The royal families of Europe intermarried on an industrial scale, and King Michael was a great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria on both sides of his family. With his death goes the last hope of a Hohenzollern restoration in Romania, but really his fate had been sealed, with a mixture of Soviet intransigence and British connivance, decades earlier.


Like 
15 Members
like this post.
Login to Like.
bobgggg

Past President Cortlandt Stamp Club

09 Dec 2017
12:31:13pm

re: King Michael of Romania

Ian...thank you for a great piece of history...Thumbs Up

Like 
2 Members
like this post.
Login to Like.
        

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