Carol II of Romania

From Metapedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Prince Michael & his father King Carol II of Romania.

Carol II (3 October 1893 - 4 April 1953) was the King of Romania from 8 June 1930 until his enforced abdication on 6 September 1940. As the eldest son of Ferdinand I, he became Crown Prince upon the death of his grand-uncle, King Carol I, in 1914. He was the first of the Hohenzollern kings of Romania to be born in the country; as both of his predecessors had been born in Germany and came to Romania only as adults. As such, he was the first member of the Romanian branch of the Hohenzollerns who spoke Romanian as his first language and was also the first member of the royal family to be raised in the Orthodox faith.[1]

Women and controversy

Carol's life and reign were surrounded by controversy. One was his marriage to a commoner, Zizi Lambrino, which resulted in two attempts by Carol to give up the rights of succession to the royal crown of Romania, both of which were refused by his father King Ferdinand.[2] Finally, after the dissolution of his marriage, he met Princess Helen, daughter of King Constantine I of Greece, and married her in March of 1921. They had a child in the same year, Prince Michael of Romania. But the handsome Carol's love of women continued and after his affair with Elena Lupescu he was obliged to renounce his succession rights in 1925 and leave the country. His name was even removed from the Royal House of Romania by King Ferdinand I. Carol moved to France with Lupescu, using the name Carol Caraiman. Prince Michael, aged 5, inherited the throne under a Regency upon the death of King Ferdinand in 1927. Princess Helen divorced Carol in 1928.

Assumes throne

In the political crisis created by the deaths of Ferdinand I and Ion Brătianu, and the ineffective Regency of Prince Nicholas of Romania, Miron Cristea, and Gheorghe Buzdugan, Carol was allowed to return to Romania in 1930 and his name and position was restored. He displaced his son's Regency and assumed the throne. The beginning of Carol’s reign was marked by the negative economic effects of the Great Depression which affected all countries.


Carol is said to have weakened the parliament of Romania, often appointing minority factions of historical parties to the government and attempting to form nationally concentrated governments, such as the Iorga-Argetoianu government. He also allowed for the formation of a corrupt court circle around him, under the patronage of Lupescu. A political crisis followed the December 1937 General Elections, where no party achieved an absolute majority and a coalition could not be formed due to disagreements between the National Liberal Party and the National Peasants Party and the Iron Guard, all of whom were needed to form a coalition Government. The parties being unable to resolve this crisis, Carol established a Royal dictatorship in 1938 by suspending the 1923 constitution, abolishing all political parties, and forming a new single party, the National Renaissance Front, which consisted mostly of former members of the National Peasants Party and the National Christian Party under the King's patronage. The National Renaissance Front was the last of several attempts to counter the popularity of the fascist Iron Guard.


Following the start of World War II on 3 September 1939, Carol reaffirmed the Treaty of Guarantee between Poland and Romania, dated 26 March 1929, which was a mutual military alliance. However any military assistance was now declined by Poland who wished to follow their so-called 'Romanian Bridgehead' plan that required a neutral Romania. Following the fall of Poland and the involvement of the USSR, Carol maintained a neutrality policy. After the fall of France in June 1940, Carol's policy changed towards re-alignment with Germany in the hope of gaining German guarantees for Romania. He was however not aware of the secret clauses of the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact between Germany and the Soviet Union that would see Romania lose significant parts of its territory. So-called Greater Romania was now fragmented by the ceding of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina to the USSR, Northern Transylvania returned to Hungary (via revanchism), and southern Dobruja returned to Bulgaria. Although after which a German guarantee was finally achieved, the situation had a disastrous effect on the reputation of King Carol. The reorientation of Romania's foreign policy towards Germany had failed and could not prevent his regime from collapsing, and he was forced to abdicate by General Ion Antonescu, the newly appointed Prime Minister. Carol was again succeeded by his son Michael.


After his abdication, Carol was permitted to leave the country with a special train loaded with his personal fortune. An attempt on his life was made by the Iron Guard, who fired on the train in the hope of killing the former king. For the rest of his life, he travelled the world, finally marrying Elena Lupescu while living in Brazil in 1947. After finally settling in the Portuguese Riviera, Carol II died peacefully in exile aged only 59.


  • Hohenzollern, Prince Paul, King Carol II, Methuen, London, 1988, ISBN: 0-413-16570-1.
  • Porter, Ivor, Michael of Romania, Sutton publishing, U.K., 2005, ISBN: 0-7509-3847-1.
  • Lauder-Frost, Gregory, "Romania" in The Monarchist League Newsletter, Spring 1989, London, pages 1 to 3.