Communists were affraid I could talk to the people on the New Years Day, 1948.
L.V.: What were you doing in the last days of December 1947?
H.M. King Michael: I went to Sinaia to celebrate the Christmas. It was a sad Christmas, being worried about the future of our country. It was a strange and unnatural political silence, nobody from the government called me. But this silence was interrupted on 30th of December when I’ve been asked over the phone to return to Bucharest to have a meeting with Groza(1).
L.V.: Did Your Highness have any idea the true meaning of this meeting was to abolish the Monarchy?
H.M. King Michael: No, I was sure Groza wanted to talk about my marriage with Princess Anna, since it was soon after I requested the government permission for this marriage. On the other hand though, I knew that Groza and his allies wanted to have a resolution regarding the Constitutional Monarchy in Romania. I had been informed that the communists were preparing to change the Constitution in April next Year, thus abolishing the Monarchy. Why did they changed their minds and started the deportation procedures on 30th of December, I’m not sure but I can make a guess: They were afraid I could talk once again to the population during the traditional New Year’s message. So, they forced me to abdicate just to avoid this. They were afraid on how the population, which I might say was 100% besides me, would react.
I was blackmailed and forced to abdicate
L.V.: What were your impressions, Your Highness, about this meeting with Petru Groza and Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej(2) (Elisabeth Palace, 30th of December 1947)?
H.M. King Michael: Besides the sadness of the situation and the documents thrown in my nose, the way they brought up the discussion and their arguments made me really sick (i.e. the Palace was surrounded by artillery troops from Tudor Vladimirescu(3) Division, phone lines were cut). I was totally disgusted.
L.V.: Is it true, Your Highness, that Groza emphasized the fact he had a handgun in his pocket?
H.M. King Michael: No, he didn’t actually said that… But after everything was finished he asked me to check his pocket. I felt a handgun in there!… Then Groza turned towards my mother and said: "This is to make sure I won’t end up like Antonescu(4)!"…
L.V.: So, the "Republic" was actually established under treats, with a gun held in the pocket of an unconstitutionally elected prime-minister.
H.M. King Michael: It is very clear for everybody, how the so called "Republic" was established … and it’s establishment was in total and brutal contradiction with the legal constitutional system of our country! The fact I was threatened with a handgun by the Prime-Minister, it’s illegal for me and all the documents signed by me, or derived from them, doesn’t have any legal value! In any civilized country, a document, signature or promise obtained through blackmail or threat are null and void. So, since I was forced and blackmailed to abdicate and the Romanian population wasn’t consulted, I cannot recognized this document as legal.
We haven’t been allowed to take anything from Peles Castle(5), not even an ashtray
L.V.: Were you afraid you will be killed on that day of December 30th 1947?
H.M. King Michael: It could have happened, and I was aware of that! And it wasn’t my safety I was worried for, but my first thoughts were what is going to happen to the country. I was to preoccupied with analyzing the troubles our country was going through to spend time thinking about my life!…
L.V.: What happened after December 30th, 1947?
H.M. King Michael: We returned to Peles. Here everything was under the control of Tudor Vladimirescu troops. There was a commission sent by Groza, taking inventory of everything in the Castle. My mother was suffering so much. It was so humiliating for all of us, but for her it was worst. It was the fourth time for her she was going into exile. She had to fled Greece twice with her father, and the third time was exiled by my father. Now she had to leave because of the Russians… All the time we were at Peles, my mother was followed by one of the commission’ members, and she wasn’t allowed to take anything from the house, not even an ashtray from the table…
I was forced to grow up before time
L.V.: Isn’t the legend you left in exile carrying wagons of gold too cynical?
H.M. King Michael: Oh, yes it is. It is very cynical! This legend, or more precisely this shameless lie, it’s not new. It started right after we left the country and the authors were the communists. The only thing I was allowed to take were the four cars, transported in two separate wagons. One was a Jeep I received as a present from the American government in 1944. The other three were cars that we bought during the fall of 1947, to be used by the Palace, cars that General Motors delivered shortly before we left.
L.V.: Your Highness, for the last question can you give us a brief characterization of what happened in Romania between 1947 ands 1948?
H.M. King Michael: These were the years when, protected by the Russian tanks, the communism was implemented in Romania. I was 20 years old and the king of a country who have just joined the war. Three years later I had to fight, almost by myself, against Russians and communists trying to prevent them to take the power. I was forced to grow up before time. Now, my nightmare continues. I am not allowed to visit my country, see the places were I grew up, places that have so much sentimental value for me… But this are personal thoughts, less important details… The most important thing for me now, is our country and what she has been through since 1948 till nowadays! This is what hurts me and this is what I’m thinking of day and night!
1. Groza, Petru - Prime Minister of Romania in the first communist majority government following falsified elections.
2. Gheorghiu-Dej, Gheorghe - First President of Romania, after Monarchy abolition.
3. Tudor Vladimirescu Division - Division established in Russia from trustful (meaning communists) Romanian POWs
4. Marshal Ioan Antonescu - First Romanian marshal. Accused for complicity with the Germans and for war crimes.
5. Peles Castle - Crown possession in the Romanian mountains located near Sinaia.Translated by Adi Cernea