Welcome to 'Lost in the Myths of History'

It often seems that many prominent people of the past are wronged by often-repeated descriptions, which in time are taken as truth. The same is also true of events, which are frequently presented in a particular way when there might be many alternative viewpoints. This blog is intended to present a different perspective on those who have often been lost in the myths of history.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Maria of Hohenzollern, the Romanian daughter of King Carol I

Princess Marie of Romania

Maria of Romania together with her English nurse and minder (Diana Mandache collection)

Maria Hohenzollern, the only child of Carol I and Elizabeth of Romania, was born on 8 September 1870 and baptised in the Orthodox Greek rite, as are the majority of ethnic Romanians. She was meant to be the first scion born on the native soil of the new dynasty, in effect the first Romanian Hohenzollern. Sadly she died at the infant age of nearly 4, on 9 April 1874, a victim of scarlet fever, like so many children from the Victorian epoch. The funeral service took place at the Cotroceni Church within the grounds of the Cotroceni Royal Palace. The coffin was covered with white satin, criss-crossed with silver lace ornaments and was as large as one for an adult, because the infant princess' body was enclosed in several decreasing size caskets placed one inside another. After the religious service in the Romanian Orthodox rite, the cortege walked through the palace gardens to the burial place next to the palace church. Those gardens were the favorite playing grounds for the young princess, where only half a dozen days previously she played with her nurse. On the headstone were engraved the words of St. Luke viii.53: ""Weep not, for she is not dead, but sleepeth".

Elizabeth & Marie, 1870 - DM
On 5th May 1874, Carol wrote to his father Prince Karl Anton of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen that they decided to have their residence at the Cotroceni Palace to be close by the resting place of their daughter: "Elizabeth's nerves are so shaken that the greatest care is necessary. I must confess to you - noted Carol - that I am often anxious myself, and am much depressed by pain, sorrow, and apprehension. I get but very little sleep at night, and have repeatedly heard my poor Elizabeth cry out in her dreams: 'Dead, dead!'. This cry of pain is each time a fresh stab in my wounded heart!" In another letter to the Romanian prime minister, Carol said: "The sweetest memory which our lost daughter has left us as an inestimable treasure is her boundless love for the country in which she was born, a love so strong that despite her tender age she felt the pangs of homesickness during her first stay abroad".

The image below shows Princess Maria's grave and her mourning parents, Elizabeth and Carol of Romania; one can see on their faces the deep sadness and sorrow.

Elizabeth, Leopold Hohenzollern & Carol I of Romania (right), May 1874, Cotroceni

Source ILN 1916

When Queen Elizabeth died in 1916, according to her wishes, her daughter's remains were exhumed and the casket placed on her coffin for the public procession. Mother and daughter were then buried together in the same tomb at Curtea de Arges Church. The coffin containing the child's remains is seen here on the funeral-car, image published by Illustrated London News. DM