Thousands of people of all ages stood in several lines, through the night, waiting to pay their last respects before the catafalque of King Mihai I.
Young, old people and children, most of them wearing dark clothes and a candle in their hand, and also carrying flowers, stood in line for more than five-six hours to file past the royal catafalque.
A small crowd already had surrounded the Royal Palace before noon, people coming from all over the country to bid farewell to their king, with the queue stretching from the Calea Victoriei street and Stirbei Voda boulevard to the front gates of the Palace.
“It doesn’t matter how long I have to wait. I am doing this with all my heart, for this is how my grandparents and my parents taught me. That’s why I traveled 550 kilometers from the historical Maramures, from Valea Izei. I met His Majesty in 1992, in Borsa, and I was there when he celebrated his 90th anniversary in the Parliament Hall,” said Ticala Ion.
In his turn, Ovidiu Popescu, who said he was an art historian, confessed that he stood in line for seven hours to have the chance to pay his homage to the catafalque of “His Majesty King Mihai I.”
“Waiting for six-seven hours is just who I am and this is about me acting in the spirit of the love that I feel for constitutional monarchy in Romania and paying a last homage to King Mihai, while hoping that the Romanian people, sooner or later, will realize that Prince Nicolae (Nicolae de Roumanie Medforth Mills editor’s note) could be a possible salvation for this country,” said Popescu.
He also confessed he was impressed to see how Nicolae de Roumanie Medforth Mills came “in the middle of the people and shook everybody’s hands, and everybody showed love for him.” “I hope this doesn’t have negative consequences because of his attitude and the fact that everyone loves him. I don’t if someone else in his place would have received the same amount of love,” he added.
A group of men wearing beautiful traditional costumes seemed to be in a hurry: they needed to enter the gate of the Royal Palace.
“This is a sad moment. We came with a delegation of “youngsters” to pay our homage to His Majesty King Mihai. The connections between the Youngsters from Brasov and the Royal House of Romania are old. There are two such companies of “youngsters” in Brasov that wear the royal symbols on their flags – The Brasovacheni Youngsters Company and the Rosiori Youngsters Company. And the connection with the Royal House of Romania is older than the great union of 1918, when many youngsters from Brasov participated in the celebrations occasioned by the 40th anniversary since King Carol I became ruler of Romania, at Arenele Romane venue,” said Mihai Moraru, the President of the Youngsters from Brasov.
Professor Sorin Antohi also stood in line for six hours and a half.
“I am doing this out of personal piety, for I had the privilege of knowing King Mihai quite well. I am doing this in the memory of my family, of my father, my uncle, my grandfather on my mother’s side, who were also very passionate monarchists and they knew the King. I am doing this for many other members of my family, three distinct family lines, who served the monarchy from the very beginning,” said Antohi.
He also said he was skeptical when it came to the manner in which King Mihai will be remembered by Romanians.
“Romanians’ memory is unstable and very heterogenous. Romanians forget a lot more than they remember. And when they do remember, the way they do it is very specific. In fact all societies forget or remember the same way. Historical memory needs a vector to help it survive and even to bloom and become active again. This vector needs to be a group of people, as large as possible, to include all social categories, who understood at least a bit from the exemplary attitude that King Mihai I had in every area of his life: in his private life, public life, political life. If there were more people to understand this message, then we would remember him in such a way that we will be able to move forward and learn something about ourselves, about the present and the future. If this memory does not coagulate, then it will remain just a memory, let’s say almost folkloric or etnographic, uninteresting. It may be a warm memory, sentimental, for Romanians often become sentimental, but one that will never be passed to the next generations as an urge for action,” said Sorin Antohi, according to Agerpres.
And since the gates of the Royal Palace remained open Thursday and Friday night for all those who wish to pay an homage to King Mihai to be able to do it, thousands of people continued to defy the cold weather, with flowers in their hands, with candles and a message that they wanted to leave at the gates of the Royal Palace. Then they entered the courtyard and then into the building, to pay their respects, with a tear in their eye, in the Throne Hall, in front of the catafalque of King Mihai I of Romania.