Birthday: October 15, 1893
Emperors & Kings
Died At Age: 59
Sun Sign: Libra
Also Known As: Carol Caraiman
Born Country: Romania
Born in: Peleș Castle, Sinaia
Famous as: King
Spouse/Ex-: Magda Lupescu (m. 1947), Helen of Greece and Denmark (m. 1921–1928), Zizi Lambrino (m. 1918–1919)
father: Ferdinand I of Romania
mother: Marie of Edinburgh
siblings: Elisabeth of Romania, Maria of Yugoslavia, Prince Mircea, Prince Nicholas of Romania, Princess Ileana of Romania
children: Carol Lambrino, Michael I of Romania
Died on: April 4, 1953
Cause of Death: Heart Attack
Carol II was the king of Romania from 1930 till he abdicated in 1940. His reign was very controversial and it established a personal and monarchial dictatorship as well. He was the eldest son of King Ferdinand I, and he became the crown prince after his grand uncle, King Carol I, passed away. He was known to be hedonistic, a trait that led to many controversies, and his reign was also marked by numerous scandals. Despite being married, he had numerous extramarital affairs, including a long-term affair with Magda Lupescu. He was eventually forced to renounce his succession rights, forced to leave the country and go into exile. After the death of King Ferdinand, Carol II’s five-year-old son ascended the throne as Michael I. In 1930, Carol II eventually came back and took over, replacing his son as well as the regency that were in place. His reign was known for its realignment with Nazi Germany and anti-Semitic laws. In 1938, he began his own personal dictatorship. Eventually, his prime minister and the public forced him to leave the country and go into exile. His son Michael became the successor. Carol II passed away in 1953, in Portugal.
Childhood & Early Life
Carol II was born in Peles Castle, in the Kingdom of Romania, on 15th October 1893. He grew up under the care of his grand uncle, King Carol I, who was known to be dominating. He excluded Carol’s parents, Crown Prince Ferdinand and Crown Princess Marie, from raising him. Since his mother, Marie, had a bad reputation for having affairs with various other men despite her marriage, King Carol I felt she was not qualified to raise the boy.
As Carol I was childless, he treated young prince Carol as his surrogate son. Growing up, he was emotionally caught between his grand uncle and his mother, as both had different ideas on raising him. Because of this, Carol ended up being a spoilt child, deprived of love.
During his teenage years, he showed a lack of seriousness in life and spent most of his time drinking and partying. He also chased after numerous women. By the time he was 19, he had fathered two illegitimate children. He became a gossip among columnists around the world, and his photographs partying were published in various newspapers.
He was introduced to a Russian princess when he was in his twenties, with hopes that they would marry, but neither of them showed interest.
In 1918, he secretly got married to Zizi Lambrino, a general`s daughter. After his family found out, he was sent off to a monastery, and Zizi was also sent back to her family. Though they had a son, their marriage was annulled. Carol II had to later marry Princess Helen, with whom he had a son named Michael.
Even after his marriage, Carol II didn’t leave his womanizing ways. He disliked royal and aristocratic women, whom he found too formal and preferred more informal, humorous and passionate women.
He eventually fell in love with a married woman named Magda Lupescu. She was Jewish and the wife of an army officer. He ran off to Italy with her in 1925, and after renouncing his right to the throne, he took her to live with him in Paris. His wife eventually divorced him in 1928.
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Accession & Reign
King Ferdinand passed away in 1927, and Michael, son of Carol II and Helen, was put on the throne. He was just five years old at the time. After several consultations with politicians and military leaders, Carol II eventually came back to Romania in 1930. He seized the throne, while his lover Magda Lupescu lived in a mansion in Bucharest.
He took his royal oath on 8th June 1930. He promoted the development of a modern and free economy, and also encouraged cultural initiatives of all kinds during his reign. He is known for maintaining postwar alliances with France and French allies in eastern Europe as well.
An ardent admirer of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and his authoritarian methods, he eventually chose to proclaim a dictatorship in 1938, to counter the growth and political menace of a national fascist group named the Iron Guard. It was partly financed by the Nazis. As Magda was Jewish, they also felt that he was dominated by her.
Eventually, he was left with no choice but to abdicate in 1940. His son succeeded him as the new ruler. He and his wife Magda went into exile with some of his servants.
Later Years & Death
Carol II eventually married Magda in 1947. After the Communist takeover of Romania, a Romanian National Committee was set up in order to oppose the Communist regime.
Carol II made several efforts to join the committee, but he failed as all the factions were opposed to him. The committee members also made it clear that they now regarded King Michael as the legitimate king of Romania.
Carol II was forced to remain in exile till his death, and he also never got to see his son again. His son had no interest in meeting his father, as Carol II had humiliated his mother on several occasions by having affairs with other women. When Carol II passed away on 4 April 1953, King Michael didn’t attend his father’s funeral.