02 August 2016

In Memoriam: Queen Anne of Romania

Anne of Romania (Photo: DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP/Getty Images)

On Monday, the former royal family of Romania announced the death of their matriarch. Anne, the wife of Romania's last king, died at the age of 92 in Switzerland.

Born a princess of Bourbon-Parma, Anne's royal pedigree was impeccable even before she married a (former) monarch. Her father, Prince Rene of Bourbon-Parma, was a son of Robert, the last reigning Duke of Parma, and Infanta Maria Antonia of Portugal. Her paternal uncles and aunts included Queen Marie Louise of Bulgaria, Empress Zita of Austria-Hungary, and Prince Felix of Bourbon-Parma (husband of Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg).

Anne's mother, Princess Margrethe of Denmark, was the daughter of Prince Valdemar of Denmark and Princess Marie of Orleans. Valdemar's parents were King Christian IX and Queen Louise of Denmark -- which means that Anne's maternal great-aunts and great-uncles were King Frederik VIII of Denmark, Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom, King George I of Greece, Crown Princess Thyra of Hanover, and Empress Marie Feodorovna of Russia.

Anne's long list of royal cousins includes the reigning monarchs of the United Kingdom, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Spain, and Luxembourg, plus the former kings of Bulgaria, Greece, and Romania. That last one -- King Michael I of Romania -- also happens to have been her husband. Anne was never Romania's queen consort, because Michael was forced to abdicate a year before their marriage, but she was still often referred to as "Queen Anne of Romania" by courtesy.

Before her marriage, Anne studied at Parsons School of Design in New York and even worked behind the counter at Macy's. She also served as an ambulance driver during World War II, earning the Croix de guerre for her service. She met her husband in London during the celebrations surrounding the wedding of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in November 1947. Michael and Anne were married for nearly 70 years, and they had five daughters: Margarita, Elena, Irina, Sophie, and Maria.

To celebrate Anne's life, here's a selection of images, including a few where you can see a bit of royal jewelry. Enjoy!

Photo: OFF/AFP/Getty Images

Michael and Anne stroll through the Bois de Boulogne in Paris in March 1948, a few months before their wedding. Anne is wearing a simple string of pearls

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Michael and Anne in Athens on their wedding day: June 10, 1948. Anne wore the Romanian Greek Key Tiara as her bridal diadem, plus Queen Marie's diamond sautoir. Anne's parents did not attend the wedding; they were Catholics, and Michael was Orthodox. There were complicated questions about the marriage, to the point that the pope was consulted. Rene and Margrethe were advised to stay away by Rene's brother, Prince Xavier (head of the house of Parma at that time). They agreed, and the family was represented at the wedding by Prince Erik, Count of Rosenborg, Anne's uncle

Photo: OFF/AFP/Getty Images

Anne in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 1951; note the rings on her left hand

Michael and Anne in exile in England with their eldest daughters, Margarita and Elena, in 1952

Wearing the Romanian Greek Key Tiara, Anne chats with Princess Lilian of Belgium during the wedding celebrations of King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola of Belgium in 1960

Michael and Anne with Constantine and Anne-Marie of Greece at a service celebrating the 100th birthday of the Queen Mother at St. Paul's Cathedral in 2000

Michael and Anne attend a gala reception for their daughter Margarita's charitable foundation in December 2003


Anne arrives at the National Opera in Bucharest for a concert celebrating Michael's 90th birthday in 2011