Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Carol II of Romania

Carol II of Romania (15 October 1893 - 4 April 1953) reigned as King of Romania from June 8, 1930 until September 6, 1940. Eldest son of Ferdinand von Hohenzollern, King of Romania, and his wife, Princess Marie of Edinburgh (better known as Marie of Romania), who was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and also of Czar Alexander II of Russia.


Known more for his romantic misadventures than for any leadership skills, Carol (Romanian for Charles) first married in Odessa, Ukraine, 31 August, 1918, in contravention of royal law, Joanna Marie Valentina Lambrino, ("Zizi" Lambrino) (1898-1953), daughter of a Romanian general; they had one son, Mircea Gregor Carol Lambrino, and the marriage was annulled by royal decree in 1919. He next married, in Athens, Greece, (10 March, 1921), Princess Helena of Greece and Denmark, but the marriage soon collapsed in the wake of the king's affair with Elena Wolff (known as "Magda Lupescu" -- Lupescu is the Romanian form of Wolff -- 1895-1977), a daughter of Nicolas Grünberg, a Jewish pharmacist, who adopted the name Nicolas Wolff, and his wife née Elizei Falk. Elena Wolff had formerly been the wife of Army officer Ion Tampenu. As a result of the scandal, he renounced his right to the throne in December 1925 in favour of his son by Helena, Michael, who became King in July 1927. Carol and Helena were divorced in 1928. He had additional illegitimate children by a mistress, Maria Martini.


Returning to the country unexpectedly on 7 June, 1930, Carol was proclaimed King the following day. For the next decade he sought to influence the course of Romanian political life, first through manipulation of the rival Peasant and Liberal parties and anti-Semitic factions, and subsequently (January 1938) through a ministry of his own choosing, with a constitution (27 February) reserving ultimate power to the crown.


Forced under first Soviet and subsequently Hungarian pressure to surrender parts of his kingdom to foreign rule, he was outmanoevred at last by the pro-German administration of Marshal Ion Antonescu, and abdicated in favour of Michael, settling ultimately in Portugal. He and Magda Lupescu were married in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 3 June, 1947, styling herself thereafter as Princess Elena von Hohenzollern.

He remained in exile for the rest of his life. Carol died in Portugal, but his remains were returned to Romania in 2003.

See also