|Princess Irina with her husband John, her sister Margarita, and her father King Michael of Romania on 27 October 2011.
Photograph (c) Agerpres / Cristian Nestor
Irina Walker, the princess formerly known as HRH Princess Irina of Romania, has been restored to her royal style and title by her sister, the Custodian of the Crown Margarita.
|Screenshot from an archived version of the Romanian royal family’s page on Princess Irina (2017).
|Screenshot from an archived version of the Romanian royal family’s page on Princess Irina (3 August 2020).
In October 2014, Her Royal Highness Princess Irina of Romania was stripped of her title and style, following the legal situation in Oregon, United States, involving the princess and her husband, John Wesley Walker. At that time, Irina and her descendants were also removed from the succession to the Romanian throne under the 2007 Fundamental Rules of the Royal House of Romania. The website of the royal family was updated to show that Irina was no longer considered a princess or a royal highness: the third daughter of King Michael and Queen Anne was referred to as simply “Irina Walker.” Previously, the heading of the page about the princess had read “ASR Principesa Irina.” As of August 2020, the website of the Royal Family of Romania has been updated in certain aspects. One particular change to note is that Irina is now referred to as “ASR Principesa Irina” (HRH Princess Irina), as she was titled and styled for all of her life until 2014. In a Romania Regala blogpost commemorating the fourth anniversary of the death of Her Majesty Queen Anne of Romania, Irina is again referred to as a princess, along with her three sisters (Helen, Sophie, and Marie). The line of precedence given on the royal family’s website confirms that a change has been made in Irina’s status. Previously, “Irina Walker” has appeared in the line of precedence after “ES Alexander Nixon” (His Excellency Alexander Nixon), who is the husband of HRH Princess Helen. Now, “ASR Principesa Irina” is listed after Mr Nixon in the line of precedence. The exact date on which HRH Princess Irina of Romania was restored to her royal style and title is not known at present. The princess and her descendants have not been reinstated within the line of succession.
|King Michael and Queen Anne of Romania with their daughter Princess Irina in 1953.
Princess Irina of Romania was born on 28 February 1953 at Clinique de Montchoisi in Lausanne, Switzerland. Irina was the third daughter of King Michael I of Romania and Queen Anne (née Bourbon-Parma), who married in 1948. The princess was baptised at the Beau Rivage Hotel; her godfather was King Paul of the Hellenes. Only the closest members of the family were present: Queen Mother Helen of Romania, Princess Margrethe of Bourbon-Parma (née Denmark), and Helen’s sister the Duchess of Aosta (née Princess Irene of Greece and Denmark; namesake of the little Irina). Queen Anne noted that Irina “grew into a very mild and gentle little girl.”
|Lord Roderick Gordon watches while Princess Irina of Romania drives the tractor on the Gordon farm in Alberta.
Irina was educated in British boarding schools and took a secretarial course at Oxford University. In late 1973, Irina went to work on the 1,020 acre-farm in Bentley, Alberta, Canada, which belonged to Lord Major Roderic Gordon (1914-1996) and his second wife Iona (1922-2003; née Bujoiu). The Gordons were friends of King Michael and Queen Anne. While at the Gordon farm, the princess was interviewed in August 1974. “I get very shy and stutter when I have to introduce myself as Princess Irina,” the twenty-one year-old confided. “I always wanted to go somewhere far away, but I didn’t realise I’d come this far. When I go back to Europe I’m going to miss this… I don’t know what I’ll do, but I’d like to get back to working with animals. I enjoy the physical closeness of working with the horses the most. You get to know their characters – their bad habits and their good points.” Lady Gordon, who was born during the reign of King Michael’s grandfather King Ferdinand of Romania, noted that Irina was considered as just “one of the group” at the farm. “Her parents specifically said not to give her any special treatment,” Iona Gordon said. While at the estate, the princess took part in all of the usual activities of the operation: “calving, haying, seeding, grooming, cleaning stables, driving tractors, weaning and treating horses, and keeping records.” Her time with the Gordons no doubt solidified the lifelong love for the equine race that the princess has maintained. When she was asked about her father’s position, Irina simply replied: “I don’t talk about it. It’s so very complicated.” Irina responded when asked if the royal family would ever be able to return to their country: “Well, you always hope.”
|Princess Irina of Romania and John Kreuger on the day of their religious wedding.
On 4 October 1983, Princess Irina of Romania married John Kreuger (b.1945), the son of Torsten Kreuger and his wife Diana Blanchefleur Hedberg (née Beve) in a civil ceremony at Scottsdale, Arizona. On 11 February 1984, the couple were wed in a religious ceremony at Holy Trinity Church in Phoenix, Arizona. The event was attended by the Romanian royal family: King Michael and Queen Anne, and Michael’s aunt Princess Ileana.
|King Michael and Queen Anne of Romania with their daughters, Princesses Margarita, Irina, and Sophie, and their grandchildren, Nicholas, Michael, and Angelica.
Irina and John had two children. Their son Michael Torsten Kreuger was born on 25 February 1984 at Bay Area Hospital in Coos Bay, Oregon. Their daughter Angelica Marguerita Bianca was born on 29 December 1986 at Bay Area Hospital in Coos Bay, Oregon. The birth of Angelica turned into a newsworthy event, as her baptism was covered by the press due to the attended of her grandparents, King Michael and Queen Anne. At her baptism on Wednesday, 28 January 1987, which was held at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Portland, Oregon, Angelica received three godparents: HM King Michael of Romania, Andrew Popeil of Arizona, and Lady Iona Gordon (who had hosted the baby’s mother all those years ago). After the ceremony, a smiling King Michael noted: “She’s our first granddaughter.” Thirty members of the Romanian expatriate community showed up at the church – they had learned that their monarch would be attending his granddaughter’s baptism. After Angelica was immersed in the silver font by the Reverend Elias Stephanopoulos, the priest invited the Romanians present to come and present their good wishes to the royal family.
|King Michael and Queen Anne with their daughter Princess Irina and their grandchildren Michael and Angelica.
During the Romanian Revolution of December 1989, Communist dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu was overthrown. From the 110-acre farm she shared with her husband Mr Kreuger, thirty-six year-old Princess Irina of Romania gave an interview to the AP. “For my father, Romania was always his home. But he’s had to wait, and he never lost sight of the hope, of the dream that there would be a disappearing act of this type of evil power,” the princess stated. When asked about her father’s activities, Irina elaborated: “Right now, he’s busy trying to sort everything out that’s happened in the last two weeks. My father is under an overload of work with interviews and trying to get as much support as he can for his people.” Princess Irina reiterated that she viewed her father as the rightful head of state of Romania, given the conditions of his 1948 abdication. “He was only twenty-four years-old, and they gave him four hours to decide. The communists had tanks and guns in the courtyard. He had to sign a document saying, ‘Of my own free will, I abdicate.’ Which is false. He had to do it to avoid bloodshed. My father has said that he’s available to the people, should they want him back. Whatever the future holds, we’ll just have to wait and see. We’ll have to keep everything open and take things one day at a time.”
|Princess Irina of Romania and her husband John Kreuger in 2011.
Photograph (c) Agerpres.
After twenty years of marriage, Princess Irina of Romania and John Kreuger divorced on 24 November 2003. On 10 November 2007 at Las Vegas, Nevada, Irina married a second time to John Wesley Walker (b.1945).
|Irina on horseback.
Princess Irina of Romania lives in Oregon.