Those who vacation in Sinaia – the best-known Prahova Valley resort – will have the opportunity to also visit an interesting exhibition that has to do with a little piece of Romania’s history. We are talking about the ‘Ferdinand I – The king who unified the country’ exhibition that opened in mid-July at the Peles Castle.
The ‘Ferdinand I – The king who unified the country’ temporary exhibition, set up to mark 90 years since his death, opened on 15 July 2017, at the Peles Castle. The exhibition will be open to the public until 27 October 2017, based on the following schedule: Wednesday: 11 a.m. – 4.15 p.m.; Thursday – Sunday: 9.15 a.m. – 4.15 p.m.); Monday-Tuesday: closed. Entrance is free of charge.
The exhibition consists of several items that belonged or were connected with King Ferdinand I, which are now part of the patrimony of the Romanian National History Museum, the ‘King Ferdinand I’ National Military Museum and the Peles National Museum. Thus, visitors will be able to see: King Ferdinand I’s sceptre used at his coronation in Alba Iulia, made out of gold, gilded silver, white enamel, turquoise and pearls by the Rene Boivoin Workshop in Paris in 1920; the steel crown of Romania’s kings – made out of polished cast steel and velvet by the Army’s Arsenal Workshop in Bucharest; King Ferdinand I’s coronation cloak, made out of velvet, golden thread and ermine by the Workshop in Paris; King Ferdinand I’s Air Marshal’s cap and uniform, model 1924; King Ferdinand I’s revolver, 8mm, model 1915; numerous orders that King Ferdinand I received and owned: Italy’s ‘Anunnziata’ Order – Collana Class, Netherlands’s Dutch Lion Order – Grand Cross Class, Sweden’s Order of the Seraphim – Grand Cross Class, Czechoslovakia’s White Lion Order – Collana Class. Those interested in taking home with them what they saw at the Peles Castle can purchase the exhibition’s catalogue – 22x28x2 cm, 360 pages – for RON 60. At the same time, the organisers will come up, this week, with another event that centres on King Ferdinand I. On Thursday, July 20, 12 p.m., the Peles Castle’s Concert Hall will host the conference given by university professor Ioan Scurtu, titled “King Ferdinand I of Romania – Private life and political activity.”
Concerning King Ferdinand I’s figure and role in Romania’s history, here is some information published on the familiaregala.ro website. Prince Ferdinand Victor Albert Meinrad de Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was born in Sigmaringen, on 24 August 1865, the son of Prince Leopold de Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (1835-1905), claimant to the Throne of Spain, and of Infanta Antonia of Portugal, Princess of Braganca and Saxa-Coburg-Gotha (1845-1913).
Prince Ferdinand first came to Romania in 1881, at the age of 15. On 14 November 1886, he enlisted in the Romanian Army’s 3rd infantry regiment, as junior lieutenant. He was a Romanian Army officer for 38 years, rising from the rank of junior lieutenant to that of marshal. Ferdinand officially became Romania’s Crown Prince in November 1888, at the age of 23. Ferdinand remained Crown Prince for 26 years and showed extraordinary loyalty toward King Carol I, preparing discretely, systematically and thoroughly to take over Romania’s Steel Crown. King Ferdinand’s official arrival in Romania occurred on 19 April 1889. Wearing his junior lieutenant uniform, he was welcomed at the Gara de Nord train station by King Carol I and Queen Elisabeth. On 10 May 1891, at the jubilee of his uncle’s reign, Ferdinand was promoted to the rank of captain.
In November 1892, King Carol I paid a visit to London and Windsor, in which he asked Queen Victoria for the hand of Princess Mary of Edinburgh for his nephew Ferdinand. Subsequently, Ferdinand and Princess Mary of Great Britain and Ireland, Princess of Edingburgh and Princess of Saxa-Coburg-Gotha married in Sigmaringen, on 10 January 1893. In 1896, Crown Prince Ferdinand and Princess Mary represented the Romanian Royal Family at the coronation of Czar Nicholas II. Ferdinand I took the throne on 28 September/11 October 1914 and ruled for 13 years, to the day he died, 20 July 1927. His loyalty toward the country, the strength of his convictions and the irreproachable way he served the nation and the Crown resulted in him being called “Ferdinand the Loyal.”
It is worth mentioning that King Ferdinand’s reign was marked by two major events in the country’s history: the First World War and the Great Union that followed that war. After the war, Ferdinand I, also called the “Unifier,” saw the fulfilment of the Romanians’ dream, through the successive union of Bessarabia, Bukovina and Transylvania with the Old Kingdom.