Alba Iulia authorities yesterday organized, under the patronage of the Royal House of Romania, a string of events celebrating the 90th coronation anniversary of Greater Romania’s first King and Queen, Ferdinand and Maria.
Princess Margareta, Prince Radu and Prince Nicolae were welcome with applause and ovations by a couple of hundreds of people on the platform and in front of the Alba Iulia railway station. Attendees chanted for several minutes “Monarchy saves Romania”, or the name of King Mihai I, and flocked to shake hands or be taken pictures with the three guests. The three representatives of the Royal House of Romania were welcomed by delegates of county and local authorities amid the sound of a military fanfare, and then walked to the Alba Iulia Fortress, along the few hundred meters route covered by King Ferdinand at the coronation ceremony in 1922. Afterwards, the Royal House members, the other officials and attendees entered the Coronation Cathedral where a Te Deum was officiated by His Holiness Orthodox Archbishop of Alba Iulia Irineu. The Alba Iulia Cathedral is also known as the Coronation Cathedral since it was purposely built for the coronation of the first Sovereign King and Queen of Greater Romania, Ferdinand I and Maria.After the religious service, the exhibition “90 years from the coronation in Alba Iulia” was opened at the Union Hall. Among the items on display, the royal crowns, cloaks and scepter, as well as other objects that belonged to the late sovereigns. Also, a folk costume parade took place at the Vauban Fortress in Alba Iulia, as well as a public reading from “Queen Maria’s Diary” at the Union Hall. The evening wrapped up with employees of the Union Museum in Alba Iulia, dressed in historical clothing, telling stories from the coronation festivity in Alba Iulia. Organizes also prepared a fireworks display in the Fortress Square. Mediafax quoted the spokesman for the National Union Museum in Alba Iulia, Liviu Zgarciu as saying that the royal crowns alone on display in the exhibition are estimated at 15 M euro. According to the quoted source, the royalty symbol objects, which can be seen until Wednesday evening, are on display in Alba Iulia for the first time in 90 years. Admission is free. The Royal Train on board which Princess Margareta, Prince Radu and Prince Nicolae travelled to Alba Iulia was built in 1928 especially for the Royal House. The train, which has luxurious interior finishing, is now property of the Romanian National Railway Authority. Late king Carol al II-lea, as well as King Mihai I, but late communist leaders Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej and Nicolae Ceausescu, too, travelled in it. The coronation was held on October 15, 1922 the event being attended, according to historians, by nearly 80,000 people, the guests including member of European royal houses and diplomatic officials. During the communist times, the portraits of the king and the queen, which are painted on each side of the entry to the Cathedral, had been covered with a layer of paint and were restored after 1989.