Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Romania's former King Michael ends ties with German Hohenzollern dynasty

By Alison Mutler, The Associated Press

BUCHAREST, Romania — Romania's 89-year-old deposed king on Tuesday decided to sever his family's ties to an ancient German royal dynasty that gave Romania its royal family more than a century ago, his lawyer said.

Ex King Michael signed a decree ending "historic and dynastic links" with the House of Hohenzollern, which gave Romania its first king, Carol I, who was crowned in 1881, the royal house said in a press statement.

Romania invited the Hohenzollerns to reign in 1866 in order to stop feuds among local princes.

But now Michael wants to underscore the "Romanian character" of the family, his lawyer Ioan Luca Vlad said.

While Romania has been a republic since Michael abdicated in 1947, the royal family is still popular in the country. Michael has five daughters and his oldest daughter Princess Margarita is known for her humanitarian work and cultural projects in Romania since communism ended in 1989.

However, Prince Paul, grandson of King Carol II said he opposed the decision.

"I think this is a big mistake. We have very good relations with the Hohenzollerns," he said in a statement.

In 1944, Michael staged a coup that removed a pro-Hitler leader Marshal Ion Antonescu from power, paving the way for Romania to abandon the Axis in favour of the Allies.

Michael became king for the first time when he was six from 1927 to 1930, after his father temporarily renounced the throne. He was crowned a second time in 1940 following a coup against his father and reigned until 1947 when he was forced to abdicate by the communists.

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