My Country - The Country That I Love
The Queen of a small Country!
Those who are accustomed to see rulers of greater lands can little understand what it means.
It means work and anxiety and hope, and great toiling for small results. But the field is large, and, if the heart be willing, great is the work.
When young I thought it all work, uphill work; but the passing years brought another knowledge, a blessed knowledge, and now I know.
This is a small country, a new country, but it is a country I love. I want others to love it also; therefore listen to a few words about it. Let me paint a few pictures, draw a few sketches as I have seen them, first with my eyes, then with my heart.
Queen Marie of Roumania
His Royal Highness Prince Nicholas of Romania
My great great grandmother, Queen Marie of Romania, a descendant of kings and queens, emperors and empresses. Marie, Princess of Edinburgh was born at Eastwell Manor in Kent County in the south of England where she spent most of her childhood as a very lively, outgoing and intelligent young girl who enjoyed a less formal education, being balanced with relative freedom on the Eastwell estate, at Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace. After living in England and Malta, she moved to Coburg where she later met Crown Prince Ferdinand.
As I travel around Romania meeting people from very different backgrounds people talk of Marie with great warmth and admiration for her which gives me the feeling that Queen Marie is still with us today. She was one of us, she represented us as a people, as a culture and as a united nation made up of many ethnicities. Due to her less formal education that gave her the freedom to explore her own identity, Marie was able to relate to the peasants, the middle and upper class but also the aristocrats. Being able to relate with them gave her the power of diplomacy that later allowed her to influence her husband, King Ferdinand, Romanian politicians, but also to negotiate on behalf of Greater Romania at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. The ability to understand a nation is the key to fully represent their values and she fully understood this.
It was not always easy for Marie in Romania and during the start of her marriage. The Romanian court under the rule of King Carol I was very strict, very German and Marie’s independence had been restricted. It took some years for Marie to adapt to her new life in the Romanian Royal Court, but once she had done so, she started to embrace her new adopted country as she discovered the traditions and cultures. These discoveries led her to be a great supporter of the arts through scholarships and an admirer of the traditional costumes, through which she became a fashion icon. Nowadays we almost always see pictures of our beautiful Queen in traditional costumes that she helped promote nationally and internationally. Queen Marie went on to support the charity "Domnița Maria", which was founded in 1893, in order to protect, preserve and to pass on the craft and the traditional Romanian folk art. A few years later, in 1901, she became the honorary president of the "Artistic Youth" charity, which evolved into the longest-lived artistic entity in Romania, in the first half of the twentieth century. But beyond all this, was the love for the country, a homeland that she came to love above all else.
When I think of Queen Marie, I think of a person that was incredibly courageous, who knew the power of setting an example and to not hide behind the palace walls. She showed her true self and the meaning of being royal while being a true ambassador, a voice for her people and her adopted nation. I find it remarkable to think that she rode her horse on the front during WWI dodging bullets to motivate the Romanian troops. I also cannot forget the courage that she showed when visiting hospitals during the Spanish flu pandemic. As well as being a hero, she was a true diplomat, one that was loved not only by Romania, but Europe and the United States where she was received by large crowds of people wherever she travelled. In society today, we may not have many examples to follow, but times are repeating themselves and personalities like Queen Marie are ones that we can follow and inspire to, even today.
“And my people and I will look at each other face to face. This was my time, a time that was not given to many beings in the world, although during this time, my dear Romanians not only cheered an idea, a tradition or a symbol, but also cheered a being that they had come to understand. The foreigner was no longer a foreigner. She was theirs…” Queen Maria