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September 26, 2022

The holograph testament and the boxes in which Queen Marie’s heart was deposited in the chapel of Balchik, exhibited for the first time at the Peles Castle

The eight decades since Queen Marie has passed away on July 18, 1938, are marked in a totally special way at the Peles Castle in Sinaia. An exhibition dedicated to her personality was opened here, but, among others, her holograph testament and the two boxes in which Queen Marie’s heart was deposited in the chapel of Balchik, are exhibited for the first time.

On July 21, in order to celebrate the eight decades since Queen Marie has passed away, the exhibition called “Maria a Romaniei. Portretul unei mari regine” (“Marie of Romania. The Portrait of a Great Queen” – e.n.) was opened at the Peles Castle from Sinaia; it includes also the release of the catalogue of this exhibition, edited in two volumes and having 720 pages. Designed as a project, the exhibition is made on three modules, aiming at reflecting Queen’s personality; to this end, objects deemed to have an exceptional value have been brought to public’s attention for the first time.

They are Queen Marie’s portrait made in 1936 by the painter Philip de Lászlo, the robe she wore at the coronation at Alba-Iulia on October 15, 1922, made according to the sketches of the painter Costin Petrescu in Elena Niculescu-Frunzeanu’s workshops from Bucharest, the popular costumes of Arges and Muscel, as well as a composite attire with elements of the port of Banat, the popular costumes being deemed to be testimonies of the Queen’s love for her adoptive country, Romania.

At the same time, also for the first time, a number of objects related to the Queen’s death are presented to the visitors at the Peles Castle. They are the holograph testament, the death certificate and the two boxes in which Queen Marie’s heart was deposited at the Stella Maris Chapel from Balchik. The representatives of the National Peles Museum mentioned that the project “Maria a Romaniei. Portetul unei mari regine” benefited from a large and generous support from the National Archives of Romania, the National Museum of Romanian History, the National Museum of Art of Romania, the National Village Museum “Dimitrie Gusti”, the national Cotroceni Museum, as well as from some passionate and generous private hobbyists: Daniel-Cosmin Obreja, Paul-Cezar Florea, Razvan Brancoveanu, Mihai Ghyka, Adina Nanu, Vlad-Andreas Grunau. As for the authors of this exhibition’s catalog, they are personalities of the Romanian cultural world, namely Dr. Narcis Dorin Ion, univ. Prof. Dr. Ion Bulei, along with the team of specialists from the National Peles Museum, led by Dr. Mircea Hortopan. The exhibition will remain open for the public until October 21, 2018, the entry is free, and the visiting program is as follows: on Wednesday, 11.00 – 16.15 (last entry), from Thursday to Sunday – 9.15 – 16.15 (last entry); on Monday and Tuesday, the exhibition is closed.

Queen Mary of Romania has passed away on July 18, 1938, at the Pelişor Castle from Sinaia. She demanded by testament that her body will be buried at the Curtea de Arges Monastery, and her heart will be kept in a shrine at the Stella Maris Chapel of the Balchik residence. Her testamentary desires have been fulfilled.

Thus, her body was buried in the episcopal church of Curtea de Arges, alongside her husband, King Ferdinand, and her heart was deposited in the Stella Maris Chapel, in Balchik. The heart was placed in a silver octagonal box, and it was put in a gilt silver jewelry box engraved and decorated with precious stones, both of which were deposited at the chapel of Balchik with all the honors. Later, in 1940, when Romania lost Southern Dobruja, the Queen’s heart was brought back in Romania and deposited in the chapel of the royal residence in Bran, after which it entered the patrimony of the National Museum of Romanian History.

However, on November 3, 2015, the military ceremony of the “Return of the Queen’s Heart” took place, which began in Bucharest in front of the National Museum of Romanian History, and finalized in Prahova, in Sinaia, at Pelişor Castle. Practically, after 44 years, while it was in the patrimony of the National Museum of Romanian History, in 2015, at the initiative of the former King Michael, the Royal House and the Ministry of Culture agreed that the place of Queen Marie’s heart is in the Golden Salon of the Pelisor Castle, the very place where the heart of Queen Marie stopped beating.


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