Carol II Caraiman of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, King of Romania

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Carol II Caraiman of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen), King of Romania

German: Carol ll von Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (Hohenzollern), König von Rumänien, Romanian: Carol al II-lea von Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (Hohenzollern), Rege al României, Russian: Кароль 2 Гогенцоллерн-Зигмаринген, King of Romania
Also Known As: "крал Карол II"
Birthplace: Castle Pelesch,Sinaia,Romania,,, Romania
Death: April 04, 1953 (59)
Villa Mar y Sol,Estoril,Portugal,,, Portugal
Place of Burial: Cathedral of Curtea de Argeş, Romania
Immediate Family:

Son of Ferdinand von Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen I, König von Romania and Maria Alexandra Victoria von Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha, Princess, Queen Consort of Romania
Husband of Magda Lupescu
Ex-husband of Joana (Zizi) Lambrino and Helen Carol Schleswig-Holstein, Glücksburg, Queen Consort of Romania
Father of Prince Carol Lambrino and Michael I of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, King of Romania
Brother of Elisabeth Charlotte Josephine Alexandra Victoria von Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, Queen of the Hellenes; Queen Maria of Yugoslavia; Prince Nicholas of Romania; HRH Princess Ileana of Romania and Prince Mircea of James von Hohenzollern

Occupation: King of Romania 1930-1940, King of Romania
Managed by: Günther Kipp
Last Updated:

About Carol II Caraiman of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, King of Romania

Carol II von Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, King of Romania gained the title of Prinz von Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. His marriage to Joana Maria Valentina Lambrino was annulled on 8 January 1919 because the marriage was without permission. He gained the title of King Carol II of Romania on 8 June 1930. He abdicated as King of Romania on 6 September 1940.

Predecessor: Michael Successor: Michael

Carol II reigned as King of Romania from 8 June 1930 until his enforced abdication on 6 September 1940.

Carol was the eldest son of Ferdinand I and became crown prince upon the death of his grand-uncle, King Carol I in 1914. He was the first of the Hohenzollern kings of Romania to be born in the country (both of his predecessors were born and grew up in Germany and only came to Romania as adults). Carol, by contrast, spoke Romanian as his first language and was the first member of the Romanian royal family to be raised in the Orthodox faith.

He possessed a hedonistic personality that contributed to the controversies marring his reign, and his life was marked by numerous scandals. Among them, marriages to Zizi Lambrino and Princess Helen of Greece and Denmark, daughter of King Constantine I of Greece. His continued affairs with Magda Lupescu obliged him to renounce his succession rights in 1925 and leave the country. Princess Helen eventually divorced him in 1928. King Ferdinand died in 1927 and Carol's five-year-old son ascended the throne as Michael I.

Carol returned to Romania in 1930 and replaced his son (Michael I) and the regency that had been in place. His reign was marked by re-alignment with Nazi Germany, adoption of anti-semitic laws and ultimately evolved into a personal dictatorship beginning with 1938. On 6 September 1940, he was forced by his Prime Minister Ion Antonescu to leave the country and withdraw abroad into exile. He was succeeded by his son Michael.

Carol was born in Peleș Castle. Carol grew up under the thumb of his dominating grand-uncle King Carol I, who largely excluded his parents, the German-born Crown Prince Ferdinand and the British-born Crown Princess Marie from any role in bringing him up. Romania in the early 20th century had a famously relaxed "Latin" sexual morality, and in this environment, Princess Marie pursued a series of love affairs with various, predominantly Romanian men who offered her more emotional and sexual satisfaction than her husband Ferdinand could. For his part, Ferdinand fiercely resented being cuckolded. The stern Carol I felt that Marie was unqualified to raise Prince Carol because of her love affairs and her young age, as she was only seventeen when Carol was born, whereas Marie regarded the king as a cold, overbearing tyrant who would crush the life out of her son. The childless Carol I (who had always wanted a son) treated Prince Carol as his surrogate son and thoroughly spoiled him by indulging his every whim. Ferdinand was a rather shy and weak man who was easily overshadowed by the charismatic Marie, who would become a much-loved member of the Romanian royal family. Growing up, Carol felt ashamed of his father, whom both his grand-uncle and mother pushed around. Carol's childhood was spent caught up in an emotional tug-of-war between Carol I and Marie, who had very different ideas about how to raise him. The Romanian historian Marie Bucur has described the battle between Carol I and Princess Marie as one between traditional 19th-century Prussian conservatism, as personified by Carol I, and the 20th-century liberal values of a modernist and sexually-liberated "New Woman," as personified by Princess Marie. Aspects of both Marie's and Carol I's personalities were present in Carol II. Largely as a result of the battle between the king and Marie, Carol ended being both spoiled and deprived of love. From Carol I, he certainly acquired a "profound love of German militarism" (in the words of the American historian Margaret Sankey) and the idea that all democratic governments were weak governments, but he was also influenced by the intense Francophilia that prevailed in Romania of his day. Romania in the early 20th century was perhaps the most Francophile nation in the entire world; the Romanian elite obsessively embraced all things French as the model for perfection in everything.

During his teenage years, Carol acquired the "playboy" image that was to become his defining persona for the rest of his life. Carol I expressed some concern at the direction that Prince Carol's personal development was taking. His only serious interest was stamp collecting, and the young prince spent an inordinate amount of time drinking, partying, and chasing after women. Carol rapidly become a favorite of gossip columnists around the world owing to the frequent photographs that appeared in newspapers showing him at various parties holding a drink in one hand and a woman in the other. In order to teach the prince the value of the Prussian virtues, the king had him commissioned as an officer into a Prussian guards regiment in 1913. His time with the 1st Prussian Guards regiment did not achieve the desired results, and Carol remained the "playboy prince". In November 1914, Carol joined the Romanian Senate in accordance with the provisions of the 1866 Constitution of Romania, which guaranteed him a seat in the Senate upon reaching maturity.

Known more for his romantic misadventures than for any leadership skills, Carol was first married in the Cathedral Church of Odessa, Ukraine, to Joanna Marie Valentina Lambrino on 31 August 1918. Lambrino, known as "Zizi", was the daughter of a Romanian general, Constantin Lambrino. The fact that Carol had technically deserted to marry Lambrino (as he left his post at the Army without permission) caused immense controversy at the time. The marriage was annulled on 29 March 1919 by the Ilfov County Court. Carol and Zizi continued to live together after the annulment. Their only child, Mircea Gregor Carol Lambrino, was born 8 January 1920.

Carol next married Princess Helen of Greece and Denmark (who was known in Romania as Crown Princess Elena) in Athens, Greece, on 10 March 1921. Helen had known Carol's indissolute behaviour and previous marriage, but was undeterred, being in love with Carol. They were second cousins, both of them great-grandchildren of Queen Victoria, as well as third cousins in descent from Nicholas I of Russia. The intention behind this arranged marriage was to help organise a dynastic alliance between Greece and Romania. Bulgaria harbored territorial disputes with Greece, Romania and Yugoslavia and all three of the latter states tended to be close during the period between World War I and World War II due to their shared fears of the Bulgarians. Their only child, Michael, was born seven months after Helen and Carol's marriage, sparking rumours that Michael was conceived out of wedlock. Apparently close at first, Carol and Helen drifted apart, and he frequently engaged in extramarital affairs. The elegant Helen found Carol, with his love of heavy drinking and constant partying, rather too wild. Carol disliked women of royal and aristocratic background, whom he found too stiff and formal, and displayed an extremely marked preference for commoners, much to the chagrin of his parents. Carol found low-born women to have the qualities he sought in a woman, such as informality, spontaneity, humor and passion. The marriage with Princess Helen collapsed completely in the wake of Carol's affair with Elena "Magda" Lupescu, the Roman Catholic daughter of a Jewish pharmacist and his Roman Catholic wife. Magda Lupescu formerly had been the wife of the army officer Ion Tâmpeanu. As a result of her husband's open infidelity, Helen divorced Carol in 1928.

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Carol II Caraiman of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, King of Romania's Timeline

October 15, 1893
January 26, 1894
București, Municipiul București, Municipiul București, Romania
January 8, 1920
Age 26
Bucharest, Romania
October 25, 1921
Age 28
Sinaia, Romania
April 4, 1953
Age 59