Marie of Romania
Queen of Romania
Marie of Romania
Marie of Romania was Queen consort of Romania from 1914 to 1927, as the wife of Ferdinand of Romania.
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  • 1938
    Age 62
    In February 1938, she was sent to a sanatorium in Italy, in hopes that she might recover.
    More Details Hide Details There, she was visited by Nicholas and his wife, whom Marie eventually forgave for her transgressions. She was also visited by Princess Helen, whom she had not seen in nearly seven years, and Waldorf Astor. Marie was eventually transferred to a sanatorium in Dresden. Growing weaker and weaker, she requested that she be taken back to Romania, in order to die there. Carol denied her a journey by aeroplane, and she declined a medical flight offered by Hitler, instead choosing to return to Romania by train. She was brought to Pelișor Castle.
  • 1937
    Age 61
    During the summer of 1937, Marie fell ill.
    More Details Hide Details Her personal physician, Dr. Castellani, determined she had pancreatic cancer, although her official diagnosis was cirrhosis of the liver. Marie had not been a drinker and, upon hearing the news, she reportedly said: "then there must be a non-alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver, because I have never in my life tasted alcohol." She was prescribed a diet of cold foods, injections and bed rest. Marie was so weak at times that she could not even pick up a pen.
  • 1934
    Age 58
    In 1934, Marie visited England once again, meeting the Duchess of York, later Queen Elizabeth, by whom she was enchanted.
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  • 1933
    Age 57
    After Carol turned to Ion Duca for help, the Iron Guard assassinated Duca in December 1933.
    More Details Hide Details After Duca's death, Carol's popularity plummeted and there were rumours that an attempt would be made on his life at the annual independence parade. In order to avoid this, he instead had Marie attend the parade, in what would be her final public appearance. After the parade, Carol set out to destroy his mother's popularity among Romanians and tried to push her out of the country. Marie, however, did not comply, instead retreating to either of two locales. The first was Bran Castle. Located near Brașov in southern Transylvania and given to her as a gift in 1920 by grateful local officials, she had it restored over the next seven years. The other was Balchik, where she had built a palace and a small chapel called Stella Maris and tended to her garden. She also visited Ileana and her children in Austria. Ileana rarely received permission from Carol to visit Romania; this irritated Marie greatly. She also spent some time in Belgrade with her daughter "Mignon" and her son-in-law, King Alexander.
  • 1931
    Age 55
    In 1931, Prince Nicholas eloped with Ioana Doletti, a divorced woman.
    More Details Hide Details Marie strongly disapproved of her son's actions and felt hurt by Doletti's repeated attempts to keep Nicholas from communicating with his mother. Although she blamed the women in her sons' lives for a while, she also came to blame herself, for failing to educate them properly. However, she stubbornly and continually refused to meet Magda Lupescu, even after Carol's pleas. Until her last years, Marie seldom even mentioned Lupescu's name. With Carol's mistress hated throughout the country, it was only a matter of time before opposition to the King emerged. This opposition most prominently came under the form of the Iron Guard, a group supported by Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler.
    This betrothal was, however, short-lived and Marie never managed to conclude a political marriage for her youngest daughter, instead marrying her to the Italian-born Archduke Anton of Austria–Tuscany in 1931.
    More Details Hide Details On 6 June 1930, Carol arrived in Bucharest and made his way into Parliament, where the Act of Succession 1927 was duly declared null. Thus, Carol usurped the throne from his son, becoming King Carol II. Upon hearing of Carol's return, Marie, who was abroad, was relieved. She had been growing anxious with the direction in which the country was heading and viewed Carol's return as the return of the Prodigal Son. However, as soon as she arrived in Bucharest, she became aware that things would not go well. Carol refused to accept his mother's advice to take Helen back and never sought Marie's counsel during his reign, thus making the already existing breach between mother and son complete. Desolate and almost stripped of her belief, Marie turned to the religious teachings of the Bahá'í Faith, which she found "vastly appealing". Marie was the first member of a royal family to become a Bahá'í. She later wrote:
  • 1930
    Age 54
    After talk of Ileana marrying the Tsar of Bulgaria or the Prince of Asturias, she was eventually betrothed to Alexander, Count of Hochberg, a minor German prince, in early 1930.
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  • 1929
    Age 53
    Marie's popularity was severely affected during Michael's reign and, after refusing to be part of the regency council in 1929, she was accused by the press, and even by Princess Helen, of plotting a coup.
    More Details Hide Details During this time, there were numerous rumours as to Princess Ileana's marriage.
  • 1927
    Age 51
    Morris accompanied the queen throughout her journey and offered a very detailed account of Marie's time in America in her book, published in 1927.
    More Details Hide Details Marie was delighted with the visit, and wished to return to America as soon as possible. She wrote in her diaries: "both my children and I have but one dream: to return! To return to that stupendous New World, which makes you almost guiddy because of its immencity, its noise, its striving, its fearful impetuous to get on, to do always more, always bigger, quicker, more astonishingly a restless, flaring great world, where I think everything can be realised... I know, as long as I live, breathe and think, the love for America will beautify my life and thoughts... Perhaps Fate will allow me one day to go back to America."
  • 1926
    Age 50
    Prince Carol sparked a dynastic crisis when he officially renounced his rights to succeed Ferdinand on 5 January 1926, simultaneously waiving all parental rights over Prince Michael, who had been proclaimed heir.
    More Details Hide Details A Provisional Regency Bill was passed, creating a regency council composed of Prince Nicholas; the Orthodox Patriarch, Miron Cristea; and Gheorghe Buzdugan, the president of the Court of Cassation. However, both Marie and Ferdinand were reluctant to leave the country in the hands of a five-year-old boy, even overseen by a regency, for fear that the lands gained during World War I would be reclaimed by neighbouring countries and that political disturbances might lead to civil unrest. Nevertheless, when Marie returned from America, Ferdinand's death seemed imminent. He was suffering from intestinal cancer, and by April 1927 had come so close to death as to be given the last rites of the Catholic Church. He died on 20 July, in Marie's arms. She later wrote: "'I am so tired' were his last words and when he lay so quiet in my arms one hour later, I knew that I must thank God for him at least. This was rest indeed."
    She travelled by ship across the Atlantic Ocean and disembarked in New York, on 18 October 1926, accompanied by Prince Nicholas and Princess Ileana.
    More Details Hide Details Upon her arrival, Marie was welcomed enthusiastically by the American people, with "whistle of steamers, roar of guns in white smoke puffs against gray fog, voices cheering in a stinging rain". She was formally greeted by Jimmy Walker, the serving Mayor of New York City. Constance Lily Morris, author of On Tour with Queen Marie, wrote that the people were excited for Marie's arrival mainly because of her almost mythical allure, which had been created by papers and rumour throughout her life; she observed that "the modest Queen of the Belgians had once come with her king for a brief visit and years ago the dusky Hawaiian ruler had honored us, but there had been no others. The time could not have been better set." Marie was also fairly popular within suffragette circles, where she was viewed as "a woman whose wits had devised many a coup d'état, whose brains had thought out many a difficult problem for her people, who had used the gifts given her to further every good purpose".
    Hill wished it to be dedicated in 1926, and he conceived it as a monument to peace, to his wife Mary, and to Queen Marie herself.
    More Details Hide Details Marie agreed to come to America and witness the dedication, especially as Fuller was an old friend of hers. Fuller quickly put together a committee that supported Marie's "tour" of America and arrangements were made for her departure. Marie viewed the tour as an opportunity to "see the country, meet the people and put Romania on the map".
    Marie would be received into the Romanian Orthodox Church in 1926, mentioning a desire to be closer to her people.
    More Details Hide Details The Maryhill Museum of Art in Maryhill, Washington was initially designed as a mansion for wealthy businessman Samuel Hill. However, at Loie Fuller's behest, the building was turned into a museum instead.
  • 1924
    Age 48
    In 1924, Ferdinand and Marie undertook a diplomatic tour of France, Switzerland, Belgium and the United Kingdom.
    More Details Hide Details In England, she was warmly welcomed by George V, who declared that "apart from the common aims, which we pursue, there are other and dear ties between us. Her Majesty the Queen, my dear cousin, is British born." Similarly, Marie wrote that the day of her arrival in England was "a great day for me, one of emotions, sweet, happy and the same time glorious emotions to come back as Queen to my own country, to be received officially, in all honour and enthusiastically into the bargain – to feel your heart swell with pride and satisfaction, to feel your heart beat and tears start into your eyes, while something gave you a lump into your throat!" These state visits were a symbolic recognition of the prestige Romania had gained after World War I. Whilst visiting Geneva, Marie and Ferdinand became the first royals to enter the newly established headquarters of the League of Nations.
  • 1922
    Age 46
    In 1922, Marie married her second daughter, "Mignon", to Alexander I of Serbia (later of Yugoslavia).
    More Details Hide Details She was delighted at the births of her two royal grandsons, Prince Michael of Romania (b. 1921) and Prince Peter of Yugoslavia (1923–1970); the births of two grandchildren destined to sit on Europe's thrones seemed to cement her ambitions. Marie's dynastic efforts were viewed by critics as those of a manipulative mother who would sacrifice her children's happiness in order to fulfil her ambitions; in reality, Marie never forced any of her children to marry.
    In 1922, she and Ferdinand were crowned in a specially-built cathedral in the ancient city of Alba Iulia, in an elaborate ceremony which mirrored their status as queen and king of a united state.
    More Details Hide Details As queen, she was very popular, both in Romania and abroad. In 1926, Marie and two of her children undertook a diplomatic tour of the United States. They were received enthusiastically by the people and visited several cities before returning to Romania. There, Marie found that Ferdinand was gravely ill and he died a few months later. Now queen dowager, Marie refused to be part of the regency council which reigned over the country under the minority of her grandson, King Michael. In 1930, Marie's eldest son Carol, who had waived his rights to succession, deposed his son and usurped the throne, becoming King Carol II. He removed Marie from the political scene and strived to crush her popularity. As a result, Marie moved away from Bucharest and spent the rest of her life either in the countryside, or at her home by the Black Sea. In 1937, she became ill with cirrhosis and died the following year.
  • 1920
    Age 44
    In 1920, Marie's eldest daughter, Princess Elisabeth, was engaged to Prince George of Greece, the eldest son of the deposed King Constantine I of Greece and Marie's cousin Sophia.
    More Details Hide Details After inviting George and his two sisters, the Princesses Helen and Irene, to lodge with them at Sinaia, Marie organised numerous activities for the young couple and was delighted at the prospect of marrying off her daughter, whose character was severely flawed. In October, reports of King Alexander's death came from Greece; the Greek princesses needed to be returned to their parents as soon as possible. The following day, news arrived that Marie's mother had died in her sleep in Zurich. Marie made arrangements for her departure to Switzerland, where she would take Helen and Irene to their parents and arrange her mother's funeral. Meanwhile, George and Elisabeth would remain at Sinaia. Soon enough, Crown Prince Carol proposed to Princess Helen and they were married the following year. Marie was delighted, as she had frowned upon Carol's relationship with Zizi Lambrino and had been worried at the birth of their illegitimate son Carol, who, to her great relief, had been given his mother's surname.
  • 1919
    Age 43
    Marie arrived in Paris on 6 March 1919.
    More Details Hide Details She was immediately popular with the French people, due to her boldness during the War. Upon meeting Marie, Clemenceau abruptly told her, "I don't like your Prime Minister", to which she replied, "Perhaps then you'll find me more agreeable." He did, and president Raymond Poincaré noticed a change in Clemenceau's attitude towards Romania after Marie's arrival. After staying in Paris for a week, Marie accepted King George V and Queen Mary's invitation and crossed the English Channel, lodging at Buckingham Palace. Hoping to acquire as much goodwill for Romania as possible, Marie became acquainted with many important political figures of the time, including Lord Curzon, Winston Churchill and Waldorf and Nancy Astor. She also frequently visited her son Nicky, who was then in school at Eton College. Marie was elated to have returned to England after so much time, writing that "it was a tremendous emotion to arrive in London, and to be greeted at the station by George and May."
  • 1918
    Age 42
    In 1918, Marie vehemently opposed the signing of the Treaty of Bucharest, giving rise to her description as "truly the only man in Romania".
    More Details Hide Details The Armistice with Germany (11 November 1918) put an end to fighting in Europe and, thus, to the war. In the tenth century, the Principality of Hungary had begun conquering Transylvania, which Hungarians had fully occupied by around 1200. The idea of a "Greater Romania" had existed in the minds of Romanians in Transylvania for some time and Brătianu had actively supported the concept before the war. In 1918, both Bessarabia and Bukovina voted for union with Romania. An assembly took place in the ancient city of Alba Iulia on 1 December 1918, where Vasile Goldiș read the resolution for the union of Transylvania with the Old Kingdom. This document, supported by Romanian as well as Saxon deputies, established a High National Romanian Council for the province's temporary administration. Marie wrote, "the dream of România Mare seems to be becoming a reality... it is all so incredible that I hardly dare believe it." After the assembly, Ferdinand and Marie returned to Bucharest, where they were met by general mirth: "a day of 'wild, delirious enthusiasm', with the bands crashing and the troops marching and the people cheering". Allied troops took part in the celebration and Marie was elated to see the Entente on Romanian soil for the first time.
  • 1916
    Age 40
    Marie was distraught and wrote in her journal: "Can anything ever be the same?" After Bucharest fell to Austrian troops, the royal court was transferred to Iași, capital of the Moldavia region, in December 1916.
    More Details Hide Details There, she continued to act as a nurse in military hospitals. Daily, Marie would dress as a nurse and go to the train station, where she would receive more injured soldiers; then she would transport them to hospital. After the conclusion of the Russian Revolution in early November 1917 and the victory of the Bolsheviks, Romania became, in the words of diplomat Frank Rattigan, "an island surrounded on all sides by the enemy, with no hope of assistance from the Allies". Soon afterwards, Ferdinand signed the Treaty of Focșani, on 9 December 1917. Marie considered the treaty perilous, while Brătianu and Știrbey believed it was a necessary measure for obtaining more time. Later turns of events would prove Marie to have assumed correctly.
    On 2 November 1916, Marie's youngest son, Prince Mircea, who had been sick with typhoid fever, died at Buftea.
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    Ferdinand gave in to Marie's pleas, and he signed a treaty with the Entente on 17 August 1916.
    More Details Hide Details On 27 August, Romania formally declared war on Austria-Hungary. Saint-Aulaire wrote that Marie "embraced war as another might embrace religion". After informing their children that their country had entered the war, Ferdinand and Marie dismissed their German servants, who could only remain in their service as "war prisoners" of sorts. Early on during the war, Marie was involved in aiding the Romanian Red Cross and visited hospitals daily. During the first month of war, Romania fought no less than nine battles, some on Romanian soil, such as the Battle of Turtucaia.
  • 1914
    Age 38
    On 11 October 1914, Marie and Ferdinand were acclaimed as king and queen in the Chamber of Deputies.
    More Details Hide Details Princess Anne Marie Callimachi, a close friend of Marie's, wrote that "as Crown Princess, Marie had been popular; as queen, she was more loved". Marie maintained a certain influence on her husband and the entire court, leading historian A. L. Easterman to write that "it was not Ferdinand, but Marie who ruled in Romania". At the time of Ferdinand's ascension, the government was led by the liberal prime minister Ion I. C. Brătianu. Ferdinand and Marie jointly decided to not make many changes in court and let people accept the transition from one regime to another, rather than force them. Thus, many of Carol and Elisabeth's servants were kept in place, even the ones who were not particularly liked. With Brătianu's help, Marie began pressuring Ferdinand into entering the war; concurrently, she contacted various reigning relatives in Europe and bargained for the best terms for Romania, in case the country would enter the war. Marie favoured an alliance with the Triple Entente (Russia, France and Britain), partly because of her British ancestry. Neutrality was not without perils, and entering the war with the Entente meant that Romania would act as Russia's "buffer" against possible attacks.
    On 28 June 1914, at Sarajevo, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was assassinated.
    More Details Hide Details This came as a shock to Marie and her family, who were vacationing at Sinaia when the news reached them. On 28 July, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia and, as Marie saw it, "the world's peace was torn to shreds". Then, on 3 August, King Carol held a Crown Council at Sinaia, in order to decide whether Romania should enter the war. Although Carol was in favour of his country supporting Germany and the Central Powers, the council decided against it. Not long after the council, Carol's illness worsened and he became bed-ridden; the possibility of his abdication was even discussed. Eventually, he died on 10 October 1914 and Ferdinand automatically succeeded as king.
  • 1907
    Age 31
    Marie only learned of the extent of repression used to quell the 1907 Romanian Peasants' Revolt once it was too late to intercede.
    More Details Hide Details She afterwards took to dressing quite often in folk costume, both at home and in public, initiating a fashion trend among young upper-class women. On 29 June 1913, the Tsardom of Bulgaria declared war on Greece, thus starting the Second Balkan War. On 4 July, Romania entered the war, allying itself with Greece. The war, which lasted a little over a month, was worsened by a cholera epidemic. Marie would look upon her first encounter with an epidemic as a turning point in her life. With the help of Dr. Ioan Cantacuzino and Sister Pucci, a Red Cross nurse, Marie travelled between Romania and Bulgaria, lending a helping hand in hospitals. These events would prepare her for her experiences in the Great War. As a result of the war, Romania gained possession of Southern Dobrudja, including the coastal town of Balchik (Balcic), which Marie would come to cherish in 1924 and use to host her residence. Soon after the war ended, Carol became ill.
  • 1903
    Age 27
    In 1903, Ferdinand and Marie inaugurated Pelișor, an Art Nouveau castle in Sinaia that King Carol commissioned for the royal couple.
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  • 1897
    Age 21
    As much as she condemned Marie's behaviour, her mother allowed her to come to Coburg when, in 1897, she apparently became pregnant.
    More Details Hide Details Historian Julia Gelardi believes that Marie gave birth to a child at Coburg; the child may either have been stillborn or sent to an orphanage immediately following its birth. There was speculation on whether Marie's second daughter, "Mignon", was Cantacuzène's daughter, and not Ferdinand's. Over the following years, Marie was also rumoured to have been romantically linked to Grand Duke Boris Vladimirovich of Russia, Waldorf Astor, Prince Barbu Știrbey and Joe Boyle.
    The winter of 1897/1898 was spent with the Russian Imperial family on the French Riviera, where Marie often rode horses, in spite of the low temperatures.
    More Details Hide Details Around this time, Marie met Lieutenant Gheorghe Cantacuzène, a member, albeit through an illegitimate branch, of an ancient Romanian princely family and a descendant of Prince Șerban Cantacuzino. Although not very good looking, Cantacuzène stood out using his sense of humour and fashion, as well as his talent in horse-riding. The two soon became romantically involved, but their affair was terminated after it became known by the public.
  • 1896
    Age 20
    In 1896, Ferdinand and Marie moved to Cotroceni Palace, which had been extended by the Romanian architect Grigore Cerchez, and to which Marie added her own designs.
    More Details Hide Details The following year, Ferdinand was struck down with typhoid fever. For days, he was delirious and, despite his doctor's best efforts, came close to dying. During this time, Marie exchanged numerous letters with her family in Britain and was terrified at the prospect of losing her husband. King Carol still had an heir in Prince Carol, whose young age presented issues; thus, the whole family desperately wished for Ferdinand to pull through. Eventually, he did, and he and Marie went to Sinaia, the site of Peleș Castle, for a period of recovery. Nonetheless, the couple was not able to attend celebrations for Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee that summer. During Ferdinand's convalescence, Marie spent most of her time with her two children, taking them on long walks and picking flowers with them.
  • 1894
    Age 18
    Similarly, although Marie was constantly reminded by Carol's wife Elisabeth that childbirth is "the most glorious moment in Marie's life", she could only feel a longing for her mother at the birth of her second child, Princess Elisabeth, in 1894.
    More Details Hide Details After becoming accustomed to life in Romania, Marie began to rejoice at the births of her children, namely Princess Maria (1900–61), nicknamed "Mignon" in the family, Prince Nicholas (1903–78), nicknamed "Nicky", Princess Ileana (1909–91) and Prince Mircea (1913–16). King Carol and Queen Elisabeth promptly removed Prince Carol and Princess Elisabeth from Marie's care, considering it inappropriate for them to be raised by their young parents. Marie loved her children, but found it difficult to even scold them at times, thus failing to properly supervise them. Consequently, the royal children were given somewhat of an education, but were never sent to school. As the royal household could not provide what a classroom education would have, most of the children's personalities became severely flawed as they grew older. Prime Minister Ion G. Duca would later write that "it was like Carol wished to leave for Romania heirs completely unprepared for succeeding."
  • 1893
    Age 17
    Marie gave birth to her first child, Prince Carol, only nine months after the marriage, on 15 October 1893.
    More Details Hide Details Although Marie requested the use of chloroform in order to ease the pains of labour, doctors were reluctant to do so, believing that "women must pay in agony for the sins of Eve". After Marie's mother and Queen Victoria insisted, King Carol eventually allowed the use of the drug on his niece-in-law. Marie did not derive much joy from the arrival of her firstborn, later writing that she "felt like turning her head to the wall".
    On 10 January 1893, Marie and Ferdinand were married at Sigmaringen Castle in three ceremonies: one civil, one Catholic (Ferdinand's religion) and one Anglican.
    More Details Hide Details The civil ceremony was performed in the Red Hall of the castle by Karl von Wendel, the German Emperor being the first of the witnesses present to sign the marriage act. At four o'clock, the Catholic ceremony took place at the Town Church, with Marie being led to the altar by her father. The Anglican ceremony was more modest and was conducted in one of the chambers of the castle. Although King Carol granted the couple "Honigtag" (one day of honeymoon), Marie and Ferdinand spent a few days at the Castle of Krauchenwies in Bavaria. From there, they left for the countryside, their journey being interrupted briefly by a stop at Vienna, where they visited Emperor Franz Joseph. Due to growing tensions between Austria and Romania (the visit took place during the ongoing movement of the Transylvanian Memorandum), the couple's visit was brief and they arrived in the border town of Predeal following a nighttime crossing of Transylvania by train. Marie was warmly welcomed by the Romanian people, who were longing for a more personal monarchy.
  • 1892
    Age 16
    Of course the marriage will be delayed some time as Missy won't be 17 till the end of October!" German Empress Victoria, Marie's aunt, wrote to her daughter, Crown Princess Sophia of Greece, that "Missy is till now quite delighted, but the poor child is so young, how can she guess what is before her?" In late 1892, King Carol visited London in order to meet the Duke of Edinburgh and Queen Victoria, who eventually agreed to the marriage and appointed him a Knight of the Garter.
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    Marie grew into a "lovely young woman" with "sparkling blue eyes and silky fair hair"; she was courted by several royal bachelors, including Prince George of Wales, who in 1892 became second in line to inherit the throne.
    More Details Hide Details Queen Victoria, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Edinburgh all approved, but the Princess of Wales and the Duchess of Edinburgh did not. The Princess of Wales disliked the family's pro-German sentiment and the Duchess of Edinburgh did not wish for her daughter to remain in England, which she resented. She also disliked the fact that the Princess of Wales, whose father had been a minor German prince before being called to the Danish throne, was higher than she in the order of precedence. The Duchess of Edinburgh was also against the idea of a marriage between first cousins, which was not allowed by her native Russian Orthodox Church. Thus, when George proposed to her, Marie informed him that the marriage was impossible and that he must remain her "beloved chum". Queen Victoria would later comment that "Georgie lost Missy by waiting & waiting".
  • 1886
    Age 10
    In 1886, when Marie was eleven years old, the Duke of Edinburgh was named commander-in-chief of the Mediterranean Fleet and the family took up residence at San Antonio Palace in Malta.
    More Details Hide Details Marie would remember her time in Malta as "the happiest memory of my existence". It was in Malta that Marie found her first love, Maurice Bourke, the captain of the Duke's ship, whom Marie called "Captain Dear". Marie was prone to fits of jealousy when Bourke would pay more attention to one of her sisters than to her. The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh were greatly loved in Malta and San Antonio Palace was frequently full of guests. Marie and Victoria Melita received white horses from their mother and went to the local hippodrome nearly daily, apart from Saturday. During their first year in Malta, a French governess oversaw the princesses' education, but, due to her failing health, she was replaced the following year by a much younger German woman. At San Antonio, the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh always maintained a room ready for Prince George of Wales, the second son of the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII, who was in the Royal Navy. George called the three elder Edinburgh girls "the three dearests", but favoured Marie the most.
  • 1875
    Marie's christening took place in the private chapel of Windsor Castle on 15 December 1875 and was officiated by Arthur Stanley and Gerald Wellesley, Dean of Windsor.
    More Details Hide Details The baptism, "of a strictly private nature", took place one day after the ceremony marking the anniversary of the death of her paternal grandfather, Prince Albert. Marie's godparents were Empress Maria Alexandrovna (her maternal grandmother, for whom Queen Victoria stood proxy), the Princess of Wales (her paternal aunt), the Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (her great-aunt, for whom Princess Helena of Schleswig-Holstein stood proxy), the Tsarevich of Russia (her maternal uncle, for whom Count Pyotr Andreyevich Shuvalov stood proxy) and the Duke of Connaught and Strathearn (her paternal uncle, for whom the Duke of Albany stood proxy). Marie and her siblings, Prince Alfred (b. 1874), and Princesses Victoria Melita (b. 1876, known as "Ducky"), Alexandra (b. 1878, known as "Sandra") and Beatrice (b. 1884, known as "Baby Bee"), spent much of their early life at Eastwell Park, which their mother preferred instead of Clarence House, their official residence. In her memoirs, Marie would remember Eastwell fondly. The Duke of Edinburgh was largely absent from his children's lives, due to his position in the British Royal Navy, and their life was governed by their mother. Marie would later state that she did not even know the colour of her father's hair until she looked at later portraits of him, believing it to be much darker than it actually was. When he was at home, the Duke would often play with his children, inventing many games for them.
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