Anne of Romania, wife of King Michael, dies at 92

AP News
|
Posted: Aug 01, 2016 12:43 PM
Anne of Romania, wife of King Michael, dies at 92

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Anne of Romania, the loyal and modest wife of Romania's last monarch, King Michael, has died, Romania's royal house said. She was 92.

Anne died Monday afternoon at a hospital in Morges, Switzerland, surrounded by family including four of her daughters, a statement said.

Michael, 94, who is suffering from cancer, visited her every day, and she received the last rites on Sunday, the statement said.

Born Princess Anne of Bourbon-Parma, she met Michael in November 1947 when they had both come for the wedding of the future Queen Elizabeth II and Philip Mountbatten in London.

In a 2013 documentary with Romanian public broadcaster TVR, Anne said she was formally introduced to Michael, who was in uniform, at a reception at Claridge's Hotel in London and she responded by clicking her heels and standing to attention. She said he proposed to her soon afterward, while driving.

Michael returned to Romania, and was forced to abdicate by the communists on Dec. 30, 1947, and moved into exile. He returned after communism ended and Anne's first visit to Romania was in Easter 1992.

"Michael lost a country but won an exceptional woman," commentator Stelian Tanase, an acquaintance of the royal couple, told The Associated Press. President Klaus Iohannis called her one of the "most important symbols of wisdom, dignity and a beacon of moral conduit."

Anne largely avoided the spotlight but is known for her wit and devotion to Michael.

The couple got married in an Orthodox ceremony in Athens in 1948 after Pope Pius XII refused to give Anne, who was half French and half Danish, dispensation to marry a non-Catholic. In 1966, they had another ceremony in a Catholic church in Monaco.

When she was younger, Anne studied painting in New York and later volunteered for the French Army during WWII.

She will have the most lavish royal funeral in Romania since the death in 1938 of Queen Marie, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria.

Her body will be flown from Switzerland to Romania on Thursday and will lie in state for one day in Peles Castle in the mountain resort of Sinaia where Michael was born, and then in the Royal Palace in Bucharest for one day.

She will then be buried with other members of Romania's royal family at the Curtea de Arges cemetery on Aug. 13 in central Romania.

Anne is survived by Michael and their five daughters.