If you guessed that the Prince of Transylvania is now Charles III of England, you’re right! And you might have guess it from looking at the title image. (Courtesy of Quora, no copyright infringement intended.) If the genealogists are right, the most (in)famous Romanian of all time, namely Vlad Țepeș aka Vlad the Impaler (1431-1476), is the grandfather of the new British king – 16 times removed.
Prince of Transylvania
This past weekend the press in Romania offered non-stop coverage of the coronation of King Charles. He is already a well-known figure in Romania because he has a 20+-year history of visiting the country. Because I happen to be in Romania now, I’ve seen him a lot on television in the past few days.
He owns 10 properties in Transylvania. Perhaps the most well known is Viscri.
If you stick with the video a bit, you’ll eventually hear some English. In the meantime, it won’t hurt anyone to hear Romanian. The new king’s interest in this part of the world is because the people have maintained their traditional ways of living and farming. We would now call those ways ‘ecological’ and ‘sustainable.’
Viscri also does not allow cars.
Because I’m a map nerd as well as a linguistic nerd, you need to know where things are:
You can also stay at Viscri. It’s a sumptuous property, befitting the Price of Transylvania.
Admission: I’ve been to Transylvania any number of times. But I’ve never visited any of King Charles’s properties.
Prince of Transylvania and His Great-Great Aunt Maria
King Charles is not the first English royal with a connection to this country. Before him, a grand-daughter of Queen Victoria and cousin of George V, Maria of Edinburgh came to Romania in 1893 as the wife of Prince Ferdinand. He succeeded to the throne in 1914.
She is a beloved historical figure here. She involved herself with wounded soldiers in World War I, and she began the organization Regina Maria which developed a network of hospitals and an ambulance service. For instance, there is a Regina Maria hospital in my neighborhood on Calea Floreasca.
Among her other accomplishments, she undertook a diplomatic mission to the United States in 1926 where she met with New York mayor James Walker and US president Calvin Coolidge.
But why write about her when you can just watch.
In this context, you can now understand the witty little poem by Dorothy Parker, of Algonquin Round Table fame:
“Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
a medley of extemporanea,
And love is a thing that can never go wrong,
and I am Marie of Romania.”
There really was a Marie of Romania.
For more on Transylvania, see: Transylvania I – A Travel Blog
For even more on Transylvania, see:
This post was written by Julie Tetel Andresen