Carol II file photo [26492]

Carol II

Given NameCarol II
Born15 Oct 1893
Died4 Apr 1953


ww2dbasePrince Carol Caraiman of the House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was born at Peles Castle near Sinaia, in Prahova County, Romania in 1893. His father was Crown Prince Ferdinand, his mother was Crown Princess Marie (originally of Edinburgh), and his great uncle was King Carol I of Romania. Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom was his great-grandmother on the maternal side of his family. Unlike the German elders on the paternal side of his family, he was born in Romania, he learned Romanian as his first language, and he was raised in the Romanian Orthodox faith. His childhood was somewhat unhappy, having been the object of a tug-of-war between his great uncle and his mother, each wishing to assert each of their own influence in his upbringing. In 1913, he was commissioned an officer into the 1st Prussian Guards regiment by King Carol I, who disapproved of his womanizing; he would fail to become disciplined in the eyes of the king. In fact, he would remain a womanizer for the rest of his life. His father was crowned King Ferdinand I on 10 Oct 1914, and subsequently Prince Carol was made the Crown Prince. In Nov 1914, he joined the Romanian Senate in accordance with the provisions of the 1866 Constitution of Romania, which guaranteed him a seat in the Senate upon reaching maturity. In 1918, he married Joanna Marie Valentina "Zizi" Lambrino, daughter of Colonel (later General) Constantin Lambrino, descendent of a Byzantine imperial family; the marriage was annulled in the following year, although they continued to live together. In 1921, he married Princess Helen of Greece and Denmark, who would be known in Romania as Crown Princess Elena. This was a political arrangement, and the resulting marriage was unhappy, especially with Crown Prince Carol engaging in extramarital affairs. The most scandalous of his affairs involved Elena "Magda" Lupescu, wife of Romanian army officer Ion Tampeanu; when this affair became known, political pressure and attacks on his morality ultimately led to his renouncing of the throne. He made his son (by Helen/Elena) Mihai the Crown Prince. In 1925, he moved to Paris, France, where he would live openly with Lupescu. In 1928, his marriage with Helen/Elena officially ended in a divorce.

ww2dbaseIn Jun 1930, Prime Minister Iuliu Maniu staged a coup d'état, ousting King Mihai I. Immediately, as secretly planned, Carol returned to Romania, where he was crowned King Carol II. As the new monarch, violating terms of the constitution, he was personally involved with the nation's governance. Domestically, he keenly promoted national cultural institutions. In the international arena, he strengthened ties with France in order to guarantee Romanian borders against possible foreign aggression, especially from Hungary, which had territorial disputes with Romania. As a means to secure personal power, he carefully balanced the various political parties so that he could reign supreme. In the mid-1930s, the Nazi Party of Germany began organizing ethnic Germans in Romania, and at the same time built relationships with right-wing Romanian organizations such as the National Christian Party and the Iron Guard; these actions aroused suspicions in King Carol II. As relationships between Germany and Hungary improved, he increasingly looked to France for support. In 1936, as France failed to respond effectively against the German re-militarization of Rhineland, he began to improve relations with Germany, winning a German promise of neutrality in the Romanian-Hungarian territorial disputes. In Dec 1937, Romania and Germany signed an economic treaty that placed Romania within the German economic sphere of influence, but King Carol II was keen on maintaining the military alliance with France to counter any potential German-Hungarian joint aggression. In Dec 1937, King Carol II swore in Octavian Goga, of the National Christian Party, as the new prime minister. King Carol II had hoped the appointment of Goga meant Germany would be pleased with Goga's affinity to Germany and Goga, viewed as incompetent by the king, would be easy to control. Furthermore, by installing a member of the National Christian Party, he wished to deal a strike against the growing Iron Guard party. While Goga was wielded as a puppet on some matters, King Carol II paid little attention to Goga's systematic persecution of Romanian Jews; this led to a wave of international protests. When Goga finally realized that he could not out-maneuver the king and cut his puppet strings, Goga and the National Christian Party began to coordinate their efforts with the Iron Guard. Alarmed, King Carol II suspended the constitution and seized emergency powers. With civil liberties suspended, he fired Goga and replaced him with Romanian Orthodox Patriarch Elie Cristea who was totally loyal to him. Moving to eliminate the Iron Guard, he imprisoned its leader Corneliu Zelea Codreanu and many Iron Guard members. As the Iron Guard responded with a terror campaign against the government, King Carol II ordered the execution of all Iron Guard leaders already in captivity, which was carried out after sundown on 30 Nov 1938. Meanwhile, he courted both the United Kingdom (France having been deemed weak) and Germany in an effort to minimize the risk of Hungarian aggression in the future. The discussions with the latter also secured good prices for Romanian oil being exported to Germany. In Dec 1938, he established the National Renaissance Front and made it the only legal political party in Romania. During the same month, through the newly appointed Foreign Minister Grigore Gafencu, he began courting Poland. In Mar 1939, upon the death of Patriarch Cristea, he appointed Armand Calinescu as the new prime minister. Beginning in early 1939, Germany began pressuring Romania to effective give the control of its oil fields to Germany, which King Carol II rejected, with support from Britain.

ww2dbaseThe Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of Aug 1939 alarmed King Carol II, seeing the two major powers aligning with each other. When the European War began with the German-Soviet joint invasion of Poland, he declared neutrality despite urgings from Poland and France, knowing Romania could do little in a war against any of the two giants. He did, however, order his troops to turn a blind eye to Polish troops fleeing through Romania as a small friendly gesture toward Poland. On 21 Sep 1939, with German urging, Iron Guard members assassinated Prime Minister Calinescu. In response, King Carol II's supporters rounded up nine suspects, all Iron Guard members, and executed them without trial. In the subsequent week, a total of 242 Iron Guard members were executed, all without trial. After these executions, King Carol II thought he had effectively tamed the Iron Guard by eliminating its leadership, and allowed its members to join the National Renaissance Front by Apr 1940. As Germany completed its conquest of France and the Low Countries, King Carol II, who had been balancing between the Axis and the Allies, began to favor the Axis. The series of German victories also increased the popularity of the Iron Guard, whose German connection was not a secret. In Jun 1940, the Soviet Union demanded territory from Romania, and he conceded; this was a major blow to his prestige. In Jul 1940, he publicly announced Romania's intentions to befriend Germany and appointed Iron Guard member Ion Gigurtu as the new prime minister. In the same year, he accepted Italo-German-brokered territorial concessions to Hungary to secure German favor. This would become the action that completely discredited him in the eyes of the Romanian people. Demonstrations demanding his abdication began in early Sep 1940, and within days he would be forced to transfer a great part of his powers to newly appointed Prime Minister General Ion Antonescu. Although initially content with a less powerful king, Antonescu changed his mind within hours of his appointment and demanded King Carol II's abdication, which took place on 6 Sep 1940. King Mihai I returned to the throne.

ww2dbaseTogether with Lupescu, Prince Carol exiled to Mexico and then to Portugal. He had hoped to established a government-in-exile in Mexico City, but he had nearly no support from among the Romanian expatriates in the Americas. In 1947, he married Lupescu in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; his new wife would claim the title Princess Elena von Hohenzollern after the wedding. When a Romanian National Committee was set up to oppose the Communist regime that ousted King Mihai I, the committee refused Prince Carol's request to join. He passed away in Estoril, Portugal in 1953. His son King Mihai I did not attend his funeral. His remains were initially located at the Royal Pantheon of the House of Braganza in Lisbon, Portugal, but in 2003 they were relocated to the Curtea de Arges monastery in the lower Carpathian Mountains, the traditional burial place of Romanian royalty, although they were buried outside the cathedral as Lupescu was not of royal lineage. King Mihai I again did not attend the 2003 ceremony, instead dispatching his daughter Princess Margarita and son-in-law Prince Radu.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia

Last Major Revision: Feb 2017

Carol II Interactive Map


King Carol II of Romania and his son Prince Mihai inspecting, Romania, 10 May 1939

Carol II Timeline

15 Oct 1893 Prince Carol of the House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was born at Peles Castle near Sinaia, in Prahova County, Romania.
31 Aug 1918 Crown Prince Carol married Joanna Marie Valentina Lambrino at the Cathedral Church of Odessa, Ukraine.
29 Mar 1919 The marriage between Crown Prince Carol and Joanna Marie Valentina Lambrino was annulled.
8 Jan 1920 Crown Prince Carol's son Prince Mircea Gregor Carol Lambrino was born in Bucharest, Romania.
10 Mar 1921 Crown Prince Carol of Romania married Princess Helen (Elena) of Greece and Denmark in Athens, Greece.
28 Dec 1925 Crown Prince Carol renounced the throne to Romania.
7 Jun 1930 Prince Carol reneged his renunciation for the throne and returned to Romania.
8 Jun 1930 Prime Minister Iuliu Maniu of Romania engineered a coup d'√©tat, ousting King Mihai I. Prince Carol, Mihai's father, declared himself King Carol II and made Iuliu Maniu his head of government.
10 Feb 1938 King Carol II suspended the 1923 Constitution of Romania and seized emergency powers.
11 Feb 1938 King Carol II announced the new 1938 Constitution of Romania, which concentrated powers in the throne.
30 Nov 1938 During the night, under King Carol II's orders, leaders of the Iron Guard party in captivity in Romania were executed.
6 Mar 1939 King Carol II appointed Armand Calinescu as the Prime Minister of Romania.
13 Nov 1939 King Carol II of Romania offered to mediate peace between Germany and the western powers.
15 Mar 1940 In Romania, King Carol II granted amnesty to members of the fascist Iron Guard party after they swore allegiance to him.
13 Jun 1940 King Carol II allowed the Iron Guard to join the National Renaissance Front political party of Romania.
1 Jul 1940 King Carol II of Romania renounced the guarantees given to him by the United Kingdom in 1939 and announced that hence-forward his country's alliegance would be with Germany.
2 Jul 1940 King Carol II invited a Germany military mission to be established in Romania to train Romanian troops.
4 Jul 1940 King Carol II swore in Iron Guard member Ion Gigurtu as the new Prime Minister of Romania.
5 Sep 1940 King Carol II swore in General Ion Antonescu as the new Prime Minister of Romania, and transferred a great part of the throne's dictatorial powers to him.
6 Sep 1940 King Carol II abdicated the throne of Romania.
3 Jun 1947 In exile, King Carol II of Romania married his mistress Magda Lupescu in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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King Carol II of Romania and his son Prince Mihai inspecting, Romania, 10 May 1939

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