|Queen Anne looking after King Michael
Picture taken at the Elisabeta Palace in Bucharest
Today marks three years since the death of Queen Anne of Romania. After many years of declining health, the Queen died Monday, 1 August 2016, in hospital at Morges, Switzerland, at the age of ninety-two. Himself suffering from cancer, her ninety-four-year old husband King Michael had been visiting her every day.
In 1943, Princess Anne of Bourbon-Parma volunteered for military service in the French Army. She served in Algeria, Morocco, Italy, Luxembourg and in liberated Germany, as an ambulance driver. Anne received the French Croix de guerre for her wartime service. In 1944, with the support of several political parties, King Michael of Romania removed (in an event known as King Michael’s Coup) the government of Ion Antonescu, which had aligned Romania with Nazi Germany, after the Axis front in northeastern Romania collapsed in the face of a successful Soviet offensive. The Romanian Army declared a unilateral ceasefire with the Soviet Red Army on the Moldavian front, an event viewed as decisive in the Allied advances against the Axis powers in the European theatre of World War II. It has been suggested that the coup may have shortened World War II by six months, thus saving hundreds of thousands of lives.
Michael and Anne met at London in November 1947. Sixteen days after meeting, Michael proposed to Anne while the couple were out on a drive in Lausanne. She initially declined, but later accepted after taking long walks and drives with him. They married at Athens on 10 June 1948: their union would last sixty-eight years.
In an interview that Queen Anne gave to Romanian TV in the 2000s, she said: “Je suis comme je suis…You can take me or leave me, as they say in English.” The interviewer Eugenia Vodă quickly responded: “Well, then, we take you!”