King Carol of Romania
When Romania gained independence from the Ottoman Empire, a foreigner, Prince Carol of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, was chosen to become sovereign, in part due to political influences. Prince, then King of Romania, he was the true creator of the modern Romanian state. An austere German, feared by his family, he was also a knowledgeable collector of paintings and left behind a fabulous collection which still hangs in the Royal Palace of Bucharest.
Queen Elizabeth of Romania
King Carol married a German princess from the small Wied dynasty. She became a renowned poet and published under the name Carmen Sylva. An eccentric, she loved to bellow out her poems from the terrace above the shore of the Black Sea towards the ships in front of her palace. It was a spectacle which left the marines rather dumbfounded.
King Carol had no children, so the crown passed to his nephew Ferdinand of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen who was brought to Romania for the occasion. He was married to Princess Marie of Great Britain, the granddaughter of Queen Victoria. A great beauty, a strong personality, and rather full of herself, Marie loved to have her photograph taken in the most becoming and attractive dresses, which she herself designed, inspired by the Middles Ages and Byzantium.
Princess Marie of Romania was also a talented decorator. In addition to designing interiors, she was also a politician of great importance. In opposition to her husband, she forced Romania to enter World War I on the side of the Allies. After the war, she herself traveled to the Versailles Peace Conference to secure compensation for their war effort and doubled the size of the kingdom.
Princess Marie was an aesthete. She not only admired her own beauty, but also that of her children, who were all blessed with extraordinary physical qualities. She dressed them up as Romanian peasants and posed them in the forests that surrounded her castle in Sinaia.
Prince Nicholas of Romania was the youngest son of Queen Marie. He poses here in a costume his mother made him wear. As the brother of King Carol II, Nicholas didn’t play a particularly important roll and after entering into a morganatic marriage he was quickly sidelined by the king.