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Ferdinand I of Romania

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Ferdinand I of Romania

Ferdinand I
Ferdinand I of Romania
King of Romania
Reign 10 October 1914 – 20 July 1927
Coronation 15 October 1922
Predecessor Carol I
Successor Michael I
Spouse Marie of Edinburgh
Issue Carol II
Elisabeth, Queen of the Hellenes
Maria, Queen of Yugoslavia
Nicholas, Prinz von Hohenzolllern
Ileana, Archduchess of Austria
Prince Mircea
Full name
Ferdinand Viktor Albert Meinrad
House House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen
Father Leopold of Hohenzollern
Mother Antónia of Braganza
Born (1865-08-24)24 August 1865
Sigmaringen, Germany
Died 20 July 1927(1927-07-20) (aged 61)
Sinaia, Romania
Burial Curtea de Argeș, Romania
Religion Roman Catholicism

Ferdinand I (Ferdinand Viktor Albert Meinrad; 24 August 1865 – 20 July 1927) was King of Romania from 10 October 1914 until his death in 1927.


  • Early life 1
    • Marriage 1.1
  • King of the Romanians 2
    • World War I 2.1
    • After the war 2.2
  • Titles, styles and honours 3
  • Ancestry 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Early life

Born in Sigmaringen in southwestern Germany, the Roman Catholic Prince Ferdinand Viktor Albert Meinrad of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. The name was later shortened simply to Hohenzollern. Within his family, he was called Nando.

Ferdinand I was the son of Leopold, Prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen and Infanta Antónia of Portugal (1845–1913), daughter of Queen Maria II and King Ferdinand II, a Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and heir to the Slovakian-originated Hungarian magnates of Kohary on his mother's side.[1]

Following the renunciations, first of his father in 1880 and then of his elder brother Prince Wilhelm of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen in 1886, young Ferdinand became the heir-presumptive to the throne of his childless uncle, King Carol I of Romania, who would reign until his death in October 1914.[2] In 1889, the Romanian parliament recognized Ferdinand as a prince of Romania. The Romanian government did not require his conversion to Eastern Orthodoxy from Catholicism, as was the common practice prior to this date, thus allowing him to continue with his born creed, but it was required that his children be raised Orthodox, then the state religion of Romania. For agreeing to this, Ferdinand was excommunicated from the Catholic Church, although this was later lifted.

Ferdinand's mother's first cousin Tsar Ferdinand I of Bulgaria sat on the throne of the neighbouring Bulgaria beginning in 1887 and was to become the greatest opponent of the kingdom of his Romanian cousins. The neighboring Emperor Francis Joseph, monarch of Austria-Hungary and as such, ruler of Transylvania, was Ferdinand's grandmother's first cousin.

Ferdinand, a complete stranger in his new home, started to get close to one of Queen Elisabeth's ladies in waiting, Elena Văcărescu. Elisabeth, very close to Elena herself, encouraged the romance, although she was perfectly aware of the fact that a marriage between the two was forbidden by the Romanian constitution (according to the 1866 Constitution of Romania, the heir-presumptive to the throne was not allowed to marry a Romanian).

The affair caused a sort of dynastic crisis, in 1891. The result of this was the exile of both Elisabeth (in Neuwied) and Elena (in Paris), as well as a trip by Ferdinand through Europe in search of a suitable bride, whom he eventually found in Queen Victoria's granddaughter, Princess Marie of Edinburgh.


In Sigmaringen on 10 January 1893, Prince Ferdinand of Romania married his distant cousin, the Lutheran Princess Marie of Edinburgh, daughter of Anglican Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh and the Orthodox Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna of Russia. Marie and Ferdinand were third cousins in descent from Franz Frederick Anton, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. Marie's paternal grandparents were Victoria of the United Kingdom and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Her maternal grandparents were Alexander II of Russia and Marie of Hesse and by Rhine. The reigning Emperor of the neighbouring Russia, at the time of the marriage was Marie's uncle, Tsar Alexander III, who would be succeeded by his eldest son, Marie's cousin, Tsar Nicholas II, the following year.

The marriage produced 3 sons: Carol, Nicholas and Mircea (one of whom, Mircea, died in infancy) and 3 daughters: Elisabeta, Maria (Mignon) and Ileana. The marriage was unhappy and the couple's two youngest children, Ileana and Mircea, are generally acknowledged to have been sired by Marie's long-time lover, Barbu Știrbey.[3][4]

King of the Romanians

Romanian Royalty
House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen
Carol I
    Elisabeth of Wied
    Princess Maria
    Marie of Edinburgh
    Carol II
    Elisabeth, Queen of the Hellenes
    Maria, Queen of Yugoslavia
    Nicholas, Prinz von Hohenzolllern
    Ileana, Archduchess of Austria
    Prince Mircea
Carol II
    Anne of Bourbon-Parma
    Crown Princess Margareta
    Princess Elena, Mrs. McAteer
    Princess Irina, Mrs. Walker
    Princess Sofia
    Princess Maria

Ferdinand succeeded his uncle on the latter's death (Carol I died without surviving issue) as King of Romania on 10 October 1914, reigning until his own death on 20 July 1927.

He was the 1,174th Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece in Austria in 1909 and the 868th Knight of the Order of the Garter in 1924.

World War I

Though a member of a cadet branch of Germany's ruling Hohenzollern imperial family, Ferdinand presided over his country's entry into World War I on the side of the Triple Entente powers against the Central Powers on 27 August 1916. Thus he gained the nickname the Loyal, respecting his oath when sworn in before the Romanian Parliament in 1914:'I will reign as a good Romanian'.

Wilhelm and Ferdinand (British World War I poster)

As a consequence of this "betrayal" toward his German roots, Kaiser Wilhelm II had Ferdinand's name erased from the Hohenzollern House register.

Despite the setbacks after the entry into war, when Dobruja and Wallachia were occupied by the Central Powers, Romania fought in 1917 and stopped the German advance into Moldavia. When the Bolsheviks sued for peace in 1918, Romania was surrounded by the Central Powers and forced to conclude the Treaty of Bucharest, 1918. However, Ferdinand refused to sign the treaty. When the Allied forces advanced on the Thessaloniki front, they knocked Bulgaria out of the war, and Ferdinand ordered the re-mobilization of the Romanian Army. Romania re-entered the war on the side of the Triple Entente.

The outcome of Romania's war effort was the union of Bessarabia, Bukovina and Transylvania with the Kingdom of Romania in 1918. Ferdinand became the ruler of a greatly enlarged Romanian state in 1918–1920 following the Entente's victory over the Central Powers, a war between the Kingdom of Romania and the Hungarian Soviet Republic, and the civil war in Russia, and was crowned King of Romania in a spectacular ceremony on 15 October 1922 at the historic princely seat of Alba Iulia, in Transylvania.

A new period of Romanian history began on the day of the Union of Transylvania with Romania (Great Union Day, Marea Unire).[5][6][7] This period would eventually come to an end with the international treaties that led up to World War II. These ceded parts of Romania to its neighbors. As such, they are widely seen as an attempt to provoke the country into taking sides and joining the war.[8][9][10]

After the war

Domestic political life during his reign was dominated by the conservative National Liberal party led by the brothers Ion and Vintilă Brătianu. The acquisition of Transylvania ironically enlarged the electoral base of the opposition, whose principal parties united in January 1925 – October 1926 to form the National Peasant Party.

Ferdinand died in Sinaia in 1927, and was succeeded by his grandson Michael I, under a regency. The regency had three members, one of whom was Ferdinand's second son, Prince Nicholas.

Titles, styles and honours

Monarchical styles of
King Ferdinand I of Romania
Reference style His Majesty
Spoken style Your Majesty
Alternative style Sir
  • 24 August 1865 – 16 September 1886: His Serene Highness Prince Ferdinand of Hohenzollern
  • 16 September 1886 – 10 October 1914: His Royal Highness Crown Prince Ferdinand of Romania, Prince of Hohenzollern
  • 10 October 1914 – 20 July 1927: His Majesty King Ferdinand I of Romania
National honours
Foreign honours



  1. ^ "Ferdinand I". Retrieved 28 March 2013. 
  2. ^ "The Royals: King Ferdinand I". Retrieved 28 March 2013. 
  3. ^ Julia Gelardi (2005). Born to Rule, Granddaughters of Queen Victoria, Queens of Europe. Headline Book Publishing. pp. 91–93&115.  
  4. ^ Pakula, Hannah (1985). The last romantic: a biography of Queen Marie of Romania. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. p. 337.  
  5. ^ "MAREA UNIRE DE LA ALBA IULIA - 1 DECEMBRIE 1918". Retrieved 7 December 2014. 
  6. ^ Vasile Goldiș
  7. ^ page 158
  8. ^ Institute for Operative-Strategic Studies and Military History, Romania in World War II 1941–1945, Publishing House Sylvi, Bucharest 1997. ISBN 973-9175-24-4
  9. ^ Duțu, A.; Institute for Operative-Strategic Studies and Military History; Alexandrescu, I. (1997). Romania in World War II, 1941-1945. Publishing House Sylvi.  
  10. ^ "King Ferdinand I". Retrieved 28 March 2013. 
  11. ^ "Flickr". Retrieved 7 December 2014. 
  12. ^ "Pin by Sandbeard on Beards & Moustaches | Pinterest". Retrieved 7 December 2014. 
  13. ^ "wp-content/uploads/2012/05/After-the-death-of-King-Charles-2". Retrieved 7 December 2014. 
  14. ^ "crown-prince-ferdinand-of-romania-bprince-og-hohenzollern | Diana Mandache's Weblog". Retrieved 7 December 2014. 
  15. ^ "Poster Showcase : King Ferdinand I of Romania - Official Website of | Arts, Posters and More...". Retrieved 7 December 2014. 
  16. ^ "Classify Ferdinand I of Romania". Retrieved 7 December 2014. 
  17. ^ "WorldHeritage/commons/9/9c/Ferdinand_Crown_Prince_of_Roumenia_1895_Uhlenhuth". Retrieved 7 December 2014. 
  18. ^ "King Ferdinand I from the first visit in Country to his death | Only in Romania". Retrieved 7 December 2014. 
  19. ^ "National Portrait Gallery - Large Image - NPG x129715; King Ferdinand of Romania". Retrieved 7 December 2014. 
  20. ^ "Crown Prince Ferdinand of Romania. | Romania | Pinterest". Retrieved 7 December 2014. 
  21. ^ "- Person Page 10096". Retrieved 7 December 2014. 
  22. ^ "Ferdinand I was King of the Romanians from 10 October 1914 until his... News Photo 481655603 | Getty Images". Retrieved 7 December 2014. 
  23. ^ "Pin by Gina Hommer on Royalty through the years! | Pinterest". Retrieved 7 December 2014. 
  • (Romanian) Wolbe, Eugen:Ferdinand I – Întemeietorul României Mari (Ferdinand I, founder of Greater Romania), Humanitas, 2006.

External links

  • A short biography mainly about his role in WW1
Ferdinand I of Romania
Cadet branch of the House of Hohenzollern
Born: 24 August 1865 Died: 20 July 1927
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Carol I
King of Romania
10 October 1914 – 20 July 1927
Succeeded by
Michael I
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