Romania in tears has bid farewell to its last King on Saturday, with crowds joining the funeral procession throughout the day to accompany King Mihai on his last journey from Bucharest to Curtea de Arges.
Thousands of people of all ages came to the Royal Palace dressed in mourning clothes and holding candles and flowers, to bid farewell to the former sovereign.
The coffin with King Mihai’s body was laid on a bier in the Royal Palace Square, on Saturday morning, for a brief religious and military ceremony, in the attendance of President Klaus Iohannis, Prime Minister Mihai Tudose, the chairmen of Parliament’s Chambers, and members of some foreign royal families.
This public ceremony, also attended by a few thousand persons, was carried out after a brief private religious service, which was officiated in the Throne Hall of the Royal Palace on Saturday morning. Before the religious service, members of His Majesty’s House and the Royal Council ensured in turn the guard to the bier of the former sovereign.
Alongside Her Majesty Margareta, the Romanian Crown Custodian, and Prince Radu, also participating in the ceremonies devoted to King Mihai were Princess Elena, Alexander Nixon, Irina Walker, Princess Sofia, Princess Maria and Nicolae Medforth-Mills, the former sovereign’s grandson.
Royal families of the UK, Sweden, Spain, Belgium, Jordan, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia, Albania, France, Prussia, Italy and Portugal, as well as imperial families of Russia, Austria and Germany, the grand duchy family of Baden, the royal family of Wurttemberg and the prince family of Ligne were represented to King Mihai I’s funeral ceremonies.
King Carl Gustaf of Sweden, Queen Silvia of Sweden, the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, King Carlos of Spain, Queen Sofia of Spain and Charles, Prince of Wales, were among the royal figures attending King Mihai’s funeral ceremonies.
Among the officials present in the Royal Palace Square were President Klaus Iohannis with his wife, Carmen Iohannis, Senate President Calin Popescu Tariceanu, Deputies’ Chamber Speaker Liviu Dragnea, members of the Government – Defence Minister Mihai Fifor and Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu, and representatives of the diplomatics corps, among whom US Ambassador to Romania Hans Klemm. Former president of Romania Emil Constantinescu, former PM Dacian Ciolos, National Liberal Party (PNL) Chairman Ludovic Orban, and Ombudsman Victor Ciorbea also attended the ceremonies.
The procession took place on foot, on the route the Royal Palace Square – the Victoriei Road – Splaiul Independentei – Unirii Square – the entrance to the Metropolitan Church Hill.
The coffin with King Mihai’s body was accompanied on this route by members of the Royal Family of Romania, military and Romanian Orthodox Church representatives. A group of priests walked in front of the funeral convoy. When it reached the Patriarchy Hill, the procession stopped and the thousands of people gathered in the area applauded for minutes and chanted the name of the former sovereign.
There followed a brief religious and military ceremony, and then the coffin was carried on the Metropolitan Church Hill to the Cathedral where the funeral service is about to begin.
All the way to the Patriarchal Cathedral, people followed the funeral procession, in sign of homage to the former sovereign. The crowds gathered on both sides of the road, applauded and threw flowers in front of the convoy.
The funeral service for King Mihai I at the Patriarchal Cathedral of Bucharest has begun on Saturday at noon, officiated by Romanian Orthodox Church Patriarch Daniel and eight Metropolitan Bishops.
The coffin with King Mihai’s body was brought to the Patriarchal Cathedral at 12:20, where 77 years ago, on the morning of September 6, 1940, he was crowned with the Steel Crown of King Carol I and anointed with the Holy and Great Oil in front of Patriarch Nicodim.
When the procession came closer to the Cathedral Bell Tower, the bells rang for more than 15 minutes.
The funeral convoy stopped in the square in front of the Bell Tower, and the eight military lowered the coffin from the gun-carriage and carried it into the Cathedral.
Patriarch Daniel, at former sovereign funeral service: King Mihai was a believer his entire life
Romanian Orthodox Church Patriarch Daniel, who officiated on Saturday the funeral service of King Mihai at the Patriarchal Cathedral, together with an arch-hierarch’s group made up of eight metropolitan bishops, priests and deacons, said during the ceremony that the former sovereign was a profound believer his entire life.
“King Mihai I of Romania was a profound believer his entire life. His faith wasn’t a formal one, but an existential and practical one. The King felt the presence and work of God in his life especially during the tough moments of his life. The faith in God was for him light and support in life,” Patriarch Daniel said.
Also officiating the service together with the Patriarch were Metropolitan Bishop Nifon, Archbishop of Targoviste, His Holiness Andreicut, Metropolitan Bishop of Cluj, His Holiness Ioan, Metropolitan Bishop of Banat, His Holiness Irineu, Metropolitan Bishop of Oltenia, His Holiness Laurentiu Streza, Metropolitan Bishop of Transylvania, His Holiness Petry, Metropolitan Bishop of Basarabia, and His Holiness Iosif, Metropolitan of Western Europe.
The coffin with the body of King Mihai arrived at the Patriarchal Cathedral at 12:20, where 77 years ago, on the morning of September 6, 1940, he was crowned with the Steel Crown of King Carol I and anointed with the Holy and Great Oil in front of Patriarch Nicodim.
After the service, the foreign Royal Families, foreign and Romanian dignitaries exited the Cathedral, waiting for the coffin.
Then, the funeral convoy walked to the Bell Tower, where the funeral cars were waiting. The Steel Crown was placed in the first car, and the coffin with King Mihai’s body, covered in the Royal Flag, and the cross were placed in the second car.
The bells rang for minutes on end, until the procession went down the Metropolitan Church Hill.
The funeral convoy than headed to the Baneasa Royal Train Station on the route Unirii Square – University Square – Victoriei Square – Charles de Gaulle Square – the Arch of Triumph – Kiseleff Boulevard – Baneasa Station.
Alongside the Royal Family of Romania, also attending the funeral service at the Patriarchal Cathedral were President Klaus Iohannis, Prime Minister Mihai Tudose, Senate President Calin Popescu Tariceanu, Deputies’ Chamber Speaker Liviu Dragnea, Foreign Affairs Minister Teodor Melescanu, National Defence Minister Mihai Fifor, representatives of the European Commission, Georgia, Macedonia, the UK, Turkey and the Holy See.
Moreover, the service was attended by representatives of the Royal Families of the UK, Sweden, Spain, Belgium, Jordan, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia, Albania, France, Prussia, Italy and Portugal. Members of the Imperial Families of Russia, Austria and Germany, the Grand Duchy Family of Baden, the Royal Family of Wurttemberg and the Prince Family of Ligne also attended the funeral service.
Gendarmes on horseback accompany King’s procession from Arch of Triumph to Baneasa Station
The funeral procession of King Mihai, heading to the Baneasa Royal Station, was taken over from the Arch of Triumph by troops of the gendarmerie on horseback.
A number of 16 horses from the Cavalry Detachment of the Capital Gendarmerie were accompanying the coffin of King Mihai I on the route the Arch of Triumph – the Baneasa Royal Train Station, where a military ceremony took place with the participation of the Guard of Honour and Romanian Gendarmerie’s Representative Military Music.
The convoy has started on the route Unirii Square – University Square – Victoriei Square – Charles de Gaulle Square – the Arch of Triumph – Kiseleff Boulevard – Baneasa Station.
Thousands of people have been on the streets all through the procession route, to pay a last homage to the former sovereign.
They applauded and chanted King Mihai’s name and threw flowers before the coffin carrying the former sovereign’s body.
Coffin carrying King Mihai I’s body arrives at Baneasa Station
The procession with the coffin carrying King Mihai’s body arrived at the Baneasa Royal Station, escorted by gendarmes of the Cavalry Detachment of the Capital Gendarmerie.
30th Guard Brigade servicemen took over the coffin and the cross and carried them inside the station to the platform, where the Romanian Gendarmerie in ceremony uniforms saluted and performed funeral marches until the coffin was placed in the mortuary car.
Thousands of people waited at the Baneasa Station the arrival of the coffin carrying the former sovereign.
Thousands of people welcome Royal Train in Pitesti
A few thousand people of all ages, among whom very many children, on Saturday after-noon in Pitesti, welcomed the Royal Train carrying the coffin with King Mihai’s body to the Royal Necropolis of Curtea de Arges, where he will be buried.
The arrival was preceded by the National Anthem playing in the station loudspeakers.
The train didn’t stop, but slowed down when it reached the station.
The people came on the platform with flowers, tricolour flags, some of them with monarchic insignia. The crowd welcomed the train with flowers, icon lamps and lit candles. Many threw flowers in front of the Royal Train.
People applauded and chanted the name of the former sovereign of Romania. Most lit their mobile phones.
All through its passage through the station of Pitesti, the train whistle sounded without interruption.
The members of the Royal Family, aboard the train watching the King, saluted the crowd gathered on the platform.
King Mihai was buried in the new cathedral at Curtea de Arges next to Queen Ana
The coffin with King Mihai’s body was laid in the evening in the Curtea de Arges Monastery Cathedral, where a religious service was officiated in the presence of Romania’s Royal Family members.
The procession went from the station to the Archbishopric and Royal Cathedral on an approximately 3-km route, crossing the town from the south to the north. Along the route, as well as in the area of Curtea de Arges Monastery, there were thousands of people who came to pay a last homage to King Mihai.
The coffin was taken out from the mortuary vehicle and laid in the Cathedral. Religious songs played in the monastery’s yard all this time.
After the religious service officiated by a group of high hierarchs of the Romanian Orthodox Church, the coffin was carried in a walking procession to the New Archbishopric and Royal Cathedral, where the burial religious ceremony took place.
The service was officiated by a group of high hierarchs of the Romanian Orthodox Church.
During the ceremony, cannon salvoes were fired. At the same time, the National Anthem of Romania and the Royal Anthem were performed.
King Mihai was buried in the new cathedral next to Queen Ana.
President Iohannis, impressed with crowd joining procession: Authentic expression of love for the King
President Klaus Iohannis voiced himself impressed with the crowd that joined the funeral procession, which in the head of state’s opinion means an authentic expression of the love and respect for King Mihai I.
“With deep regret, we saw off on his last journey a true man of state, King Mihai I, who, with dignity and courage, represented his country during one of the harshest times of our history. I was impressed with the crowd that joined the funeral procession, an authentic expression of the Romanians’ love and respect for King Mihai I. I am positive he will remain in the national memory as a landmark of integrity, a symbol of solidarity and aspiration to freedom,” the President wrote in a Facebook post.