Prince Charles joins other European royals to farewell Romania’s King Michael

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TENS of thousands of Romanians joined European royals to pay their respects to late King Michael who was remembered for his dignity and morality, as he was given a state funeral Saturday.

Michael, who ruled Romania twice before being forced to abdicate by the communists in 1947, died at age 96 in Switzerland on December 5.

Romania's former King Michael waves to supporters in 2014. Picture: AP
Camera IconRomania’s former King Michael waves to supporters in 2014. Picture: APPicture: AP

Britain’s Prince Charles, Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, and Spain’s former King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia, were among those at a pre-funeral service at the Royal Palace where Michael’s body had been laying in state for the past two days.

The Swedish king saluted as Michael’s coffin was placed on a dais.

Non-European royals attending the funeral included Princess Muna al-Hussein, mother of King Abdullah II of Jordan.

From left, Belgium's Prince Lorenz, Princess Astrid, Princess Muna al-Hussein of Jordan, Greece's Queen Anne Marie, Britain's Prince Charles, former Spanish royals, Queen Sofia, King Juan Carlos I, Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, Sweden's Queen Silvia and King Carl XVI Gustaf, stand in the front row as they attend the funeral ceremony for the late Romanian King Michael in Bucharest, Romania. Picture: AP
Camera IconFrom left, Belgium’s Prince Lorenz, Princess Astrid, Princess Muna al-Hussein of Jordan, Greece’s Queen Anne Marie, Britain’s Prince Charles, former Spanish royals, Queen Sofia, King Juan Carlos I, Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, Sweden’s Queen Silvia and King Carl XVI Gustaf, stand in the front row as they attend the funeral ceremony for the late Romanian King Michael in Bucharest, Romania. Picture: APPicture: AP

Other royals including Henri, the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, Princess Astrid and Prince Lorenz of Belgium were joined by Romanian President Klaus Iohannis for a sung funeral service, led by the head of the Romanian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Daniel.

Bishops wafted incense in the small cathedral where Michael was crowned for the second time on September 6, 1940.

Michael, who was a great-great grandson of Queen Victoria, first became king aged 5 after his father Carol II eloped with his mistress and abdicated.

People watch as the coffin of late Romanian King Michael is driven to the patriarchal cathedral, in Bucharest, Romania. Picture: AP
Camera IconPeople watch as the coffin of late Romanian King Michael is driven to the patriarchal cathedral, in Bucharest, Romania. Picture: APPicture: AP

A funeral procession carrying his coffin drove slowly through the Romanian capital to a railway station, where accompanied by a phalanx of priests, the casket was put on a royal train.

It will arrive in the central town of Curtea de Arges for burial next to his wife Anne de Bourbon-Parme who died last year.

In the hours before Michael’s coffin was taken out of the palace, Romanians gathered silently, many in tears, in Revolution Square.

Romania's former king Michael and his wife Anne de Bourbon-Parme in 2005. Picture: AFP
Camera IconRomania’s former king Michael and his wife Anne de Bourbon-Parme in 2005. Picture: AFPPicture: AFP

Church bells tolled around the country and a choir of priests sang as the coffin was taken out and was laid on a dais in the square.

Mourner Georgeta Anastasiu, 60, said the late king had been “demonised by the communists, but in the end we found out the truth about him.” She called the king “the last moral example for Romanians.”

Princess Margaret of Hohenzollern, daughter of former Romanian King Michael, stands by her father's coffin. Picture: AP
Camera IconPrincess Margaret of Hohenzollern, daughter of former Romanian King Michael, stands by her father’s coffin. Picture: APPicture: AP

Earlier, the crowd cheered and shouted “King Michael!” as the coffin, led by Orthodox priests and a guard of honuor, was transported by an army jeep toward the cathedral.

Michael’s five daughters and his estranged grandson Nicholas Medforth-Mills, who was stripped of his title for allegedly fathering a child out of wedlock, walked behind the coffin.

Romanian King Michael's five daughters walk behind the motorcade, during his funeral ceremony in Bucharest, Romania. Picture: AP
Camera IconRomanian King Michael’s five daughters walk behind the motorcade, during his funeral ceremony in Bucharest, Romania. Picture: APPicture: AP

Journalist Vlad Mixich summed up the mood on social media.

“Today Romania is burying what it could have been; today is the funeral of a dream,” he tweeted.



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