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".
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.
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