King Carol II, formerly of Romania is a man of more than average doggedness. In September of 1940, when he abdicated, it was widely supposed that at last he had had his fill of politics, both international and domestic. Most people familiar with the muddled history of Romania assumed that Carol’s days as a working king were over.
This was a natural conclusion. The crown never quite fitted Carol; it gave him a headache. Owing to his rather gaudy private life, the Romanian people always lacked confidence in Carol. Groups of dissidents were constantly rising inside the country to suggest that he was not the best of all possible rulers. Carol managed to refute these arguments by means of his excellent strong-arm organization, which was modeled along the lines of a Chicago gang of the prohibition era.
(Exiled Romanian King 1941: Ex-King Carol II of Romania (in sunglasses) drives through Hamilton, Bermuda in a horsedrawn carriage, having been forced to abdicate his throne the previous year. With him are his mistress Elena Magda Lupescu, and his Royal Chamberlain, Ernest Urdarianu. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images) -- Image Date: 01/01/1941,
It was the flowering of Fascism that finally unhorsed Carol. Hitler decided that the Romanian king was not competent to keep order in Romania, from which Germany wished to extract as much oil and grain as possible. The Iron Guard, a Fascist organization patterned after the Nazis, became the leading political party in Romania, and Carol, in an effort to appease Hitler, appointed Fascist-minded gen. Ion Antonescu to head his government. Antonescu showed his gratitude by forcing Carol’s abdication. The king hastily boarded a special train in the dead of night, after scooping up all the art works and money he could lay his hands on. His exit was not so hurried, however, that he neglected to take along his mistress, Madame Magda Lupescu. Also, as an afterthought, he added to his equipage Ernest Urdareanu, his palace chamberlain. Michael, the king’s son, was left behind to succeed to the crown. The boy’s mother, formerly the Princess Helen of Greece, whom Carol deserted for Lupescu, subsequently returned from her voluntary exile in Italy.
This kind of byplay might be regarded as a nuisance by some men, but apparently not by Carol. In Mexico City the former king of Romania is training for a comeback. A few weeks ago he told this writer that at present he is merely killing time until he can get his Free Romania movement started. He would like to come to the Unites States to launch the movement, but recently the State Department refused to give him a visa. Of late, the king’s activities in behalf of Free Romania have consisted largely of writing letters to other prominent Romanians in Latin and North America. “There is much discontent in my country,” he says. “I am pressing my compatriots everywhere to join me in the fight to liberate our native land. It can be done. I have met this Hitler. I found him a most common German; also I could see no spark of genius; beside, he is a damned liar.” Carol says he would like to fight Hitler, for “democracy must triumph.”
Besides his Romanian correspondence, Carol has been writing quite a few letters to Americans who might be influential in helping him overcome the State Department’s coolness. Not long after arriving in Mexico, the king proclaimed himself the government in exile, and said, “Hitler consider me the chief obstacle to his ambitions in Europe.” Carol says that Michael, although nominally the ruler of Romania, is a moral prisoner. “When my Free Romania movement gets started, I will release him from his bondage.”
In spite of his preoccupation with politics, the government in exile has found time for relaxation in his new home. There has been a scarcity of kings in Mexico lately, and Carol made a big social splash. The celebrated refugees are in high standing with major-league society in Mexico. They are generally accompanied by the chamberlain, Urdareanu, who acts as a kind of fender, keeping at respectful distance people who look boisterously amiable. The guests who feel up to meeting royalty are presented to Carol by Urdareanu.
During the early days of their residence in Mexico there was considerable speculation, and some anxiety, about how to address Madame Lupescu. Carol, in a friendly, democratic gesture, has since solved the problem neatly. He has advised everybody to address her simply as “Madame,” or as “Madame Lupescu.” Lupescu’s background is a little cloudy. There are several versions, the most popular of which is that her father was a dealer in junk. Members of the American colony look upon Lupescu as one of the best-dressed women in Mexico. She wears little jewelry. Lupescu is able to speak English, but not so fluently as Carol, and Urdareanu has no English whatever.
The king speaks English with only a slight accent. His conversation is sprinkled with humor; he is regarded as one of the leading wits in Mexico City. Ordinarily, he wears three or four heavy gold or platinum rings. In addition, he wears on one wrist a silver band of the sort known among American high-school students as a “slave bracelet,” and on the other wrist a watch with a shiny gold-mesh strap. One of the world’s most feverish cigarette smokers, he keeps a yellow-gold, crested cigarette case in constant transit to and from the inside pocket of his jacket. His suits are English in cut and expensive-looking.
The Coyoacán-Mexico City, the Romanian Transplant
King Carol Hohenzollern is described by Claire Hollingworth in “There’s A German Just Behind Me” as “a swindler, a traitor to his country.” This gentleman is ready to try another break. His royal loot of several million dollars, plundered from the Romanian people and now safely deposited with an American bank, enables Caro, to carry on his political circus. He lives luxuriously at Coyoacán on the outskirts of Mexico City and holds court there as “Regent of Free Romania.”From Mexico he directs his network of political schemes and intrigues in Washington, London, Lisbon and Buenos Aires. Chased from Romania, he believes that money will buy democratic support for his eventual return to the throne.
Carol and Lupescu are living in an eight-room villa in Coyoacán, a fashionable suburb of Mexico City. The chamberlain, a valet, a maid, two Cuban houseboys-picked up on the trip from Romania- and twelve dogs live with them. Behind the house is a garden, where the king and his lady usually have lunch and sometimes entertain in the afternoon. A high wall surrounds the grounds and a few police-men generally surround the wall. The living room of the house is about as remindful of Romania as the king could make it. On every table are photographs of the royal family. There are several of Carol himself, about a dozen of Michael taken at different stages of his boyhood, one or two of Lupescu and numerous others of the late Queen Marie, the late King Ferdinand and various relatives. There are two excellent ones of Helen, Michael’s mother. Most of the frames are of beautifully wrought gold or silver.
Carol is a connoisseur of art and, fortunately, was able to gratify his collector’s urge by bringing out some very valuable paintings from Romania. All of them, Carol says, are part of his own personal collection, but immediately after his exodus there was a rather strong feeling in Bucharest that the pictures belonged in the state museum.
Soon after Carol arrived in Mexico there was a story that he had deposited around six million dollars in Mexican banks. The king refuses to talk about his financial situation. Most people who know him, though, think that he will not have to worry about money for some time to come. The king is over- joyed, also, at having been able to get away with his stamp collection, which he considers among the best in the world. “I think it’s a as good as President Roosevelt’s,” he says.
Carol is not squandering his money. At a bullfight that he attended, the customers in the cheap seats became aware of his presence and, as is the custom when a celebrity is on hand, set up a cry for him to buy another bull at the end of the regular program. Carol maintained an admirable calm; he stalked out to a chorus of housing boos. However, he recently gave $1000 to the Mexican branch of the Red Cross (Carol also made jointly with his lady friend Magda Lupescu and Urdareanu, a contribution of $500 to the American Red Cross. This is an extraordinarily mean sum considering the size of the fortune which he smuggled out of Romania). The chapter’s enthusiasm over this event was somewhat dampened when the check bounced almost immediately, Carol’s funds being temporarily frozen in the Mexican banks. But everybody was happy again later when the check finally cleared. Madam Lupescu is also contributing to the Red Cross by knitting socks and sweaters.
During their early residence in Mexico the lovers were much in evidence at the night clubs. Lately they have confined their social activities largely to private parties and to the musical concerts. The king and Lupescu have been staying at home a good deal lately. Lupescu has taken to cooking; frequently she spends several hours in her kitchen whipping up elaborate Romanian dishes for Carol. This has been a source of much satisfaction to the king, since he has always had a remarkable appetite and had been growing restive under the spicy Mexican diet. Another out standing evidence that the émigrés are becoming more earthy is Carol’s newborn predilection for gardening.
American neighbors of the pair are delighted by their democratic ways. A wealthy Coyoacán resident who owns an automobile agency said in discussing Carol, “Why, the other morning Madame Lupescu came running over to borrow a cake pan from my wife.” Another neighbor was similarly entranced not long ago. Carol telephoned in the middle of the afternoon and said, “Why don’t you and your wife come over and play some bridge? We’re bored to death.”
“We’re having a garden party for the kids,” the neighbor replied. “Why don’t you and Madame Lupescu come over here?” The king and his lady thereupon attended the children’s party and, according to all reports, had a wonderful time. Bridge is the favorite recreation of the neighborhood. Carol and Lupescu play with nearly all of their neighbors. Lupescu plays a good, cautious game, but the king seems to be a little headstrong in bidding.
King Carol’s Visit to U.S.A.
Ex-king carol is on the move again, attempting to visit the headquarters of the Romanian Church in the United States. Rebuffed by the American Government when he applied for a U.S. visa, he tries to enter in disguise. He is helped in his manoeuvres by a number of fascist ecclesiastics who, claiming from the American authorities equality of treatment with other Churches, have invited him on behalf of the Romanian Church to visit them as a pilgrim. Informed columnists of the Washington papers have already inserted paragraphs to discover whether the authorities will stand by their previous decision to refuse the visa, or whether they will now reverse it and admit the ex-king turned religious.
Carol is pledged to refrain from any overt political activity during his proposed trip. To gain publicity for carol’s pilgrimage, young couples are persuaded to time the celebrating of their religious marriage during the visit of the wandering ex-monarch. He used to turn into national holidays similar celebrations in Romania.
There is no doubt that Carol’s presence in U.S.A. would cause much agitation among the Romanian colony. The Romanian Americans hold Carol and his accomplices mainly responsible for the present fate of Romania. When he first attempted to get into the United States, the colony organized a successful campaign of protest.
The Romanian Americans relentlessly fought Carol’s dictatorship while is lasted and were thankful when it ended. “America”, the organ of the Romanian colony, was not even allowed in Romania during his reign. On the day after his abdication in 1940, this paper wrote under the title “The End of a Dreadful Regime” : “Carol is gone. He has left the blackest record of a frivolous ruler. We hope, will go all the nefarious influences supporting the Throne, a regime which battened upon the sweat labour of the poor peasantry… As Carol has gone from Romania, so let his supporters be weeded out from amongst us here.”
Complicity of Fascist Priests
Charles Davila, the Romanian statesmen in exile, has warned the Romanian Church in America about the risks to which is expose itself by being foolish enough to sponsor Carol.
He declared: “Trading on the respect shown by the American authorities towards all Churches, Carol’s political supporters may succeed in getting for him a permit to spend two weeks at “Vatra”, the See of the Romanian Church, near Detroit. They are being helped by the priest who, in the Bishop’s absence heads the Romanian Episcopate of America”.
“The former king is trying a new trick. This time it is the disguise of a holy pilgrim. His soul doubtless craves retreat as a change from his usual life in Mexico City. He has naturally pledged himself to refrain from all political activities. This time, there is no political purpose whatsoever in his coming here. Just religion”.
“The priests who support him and who hope to benefit now or later from his holy errant are known to have been out-right fascists, following the example set by the Church of Romania during the last six years. The Bishop Policarp Morusca sent here from Bucharest showed such fascist and anti-semitic tendencies that, when I was Minister in Washington, I had to admonish him officially and to report him home to the Romanian Government and to the Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church”.
“When on leave in Romania, I called on the Patriarch and tried to convince him that this anti-democratic drift of the Romanian Orthodox Church represented danger for the Church itself, especially in a democracy like the United States. My intervention had no effect for the Church had already aligned itself with the fascist and anti-semitic policies of our ruling clique. Morusca remained Bishop in the U.S.A. and continued his fascist activities protected by the Cross”.
“When Carol broke his oath to the country’s Constitution and established his dictatorial regime, I returned to the United States. After consulting with officials of the Department of States, I went to Cleveland and addressed the Romanian Americans to try to obviate their confusion at the fact that the Romanian Patriarch had himself become the head of carol’s fascist government”.
“At that time, Iuliu Maniu, who had fought continuously against the political activities and fascist tendencies of the Church, wrote to the Patriarch Cristea. In his now famous letter Maniu showed what consequences for the country and for the Church itself would inevitably follow the Patriarch’s decision to head the royal dictatorship”.
“Today we are witnessing here in America, under the protection of the Cross, the same fascist partnership of Carol and group of priests. While he disguises himself as a pilgrim, they disguise themselves as democrats. Naturally, they claim to be anti-communistic which is a common excuse for fascism”.
“The activities of Carol’s other partisans-of the Fathers Morariu and Opreanu’s type-need no emphasizing. The simple ruse of these men consists in pandering to Carol’s absurd ambition while milking him for money. They help Carol for their own personal advantage by exploiting the innocent religious feelings of unwary worshippers”.
“But I must give a most serious warning to Father Mihaltean, who heads the Episcopal Council, in the absence of the fascist Bishop Morusca, and who is flouting the feelings of most Romanian priests in America. My warning is identical to that given by Maniu to Patriarch Cristea in 1938. Father Mihaltean must know that he is bringing the greatest disrepute upon the Romanian Orthodox Church in America by his contacts with the Hohenzollern and the fascist priests supporting him politically, and by the attitude of the Episcopal newspaper “Solia”. This will result in either the total severance of this Church from the Church of Romania or in a mass-move of its member towards other more democratic denominations”.
“As for the political activities of the fascist priests supporting Carol it is well worth recalling Under-Secretary of State Summer Wells’ clear and dignified statement of February 13, 1942, concerning the former royal dictator. He said that “the ex-king’s presence in the United States would not be conducive to America’s war effort or to national unity”.
“By comparison with the Romanian democrats in exile who are poor, Carol’s gang have the advantage of being handsomely subsidized from his funds. This money is the solo support of their ”movement” in the midst of American democracy. I wonder where Carol, his money and his fascist priests fit in the “World Revolution,” as described by Vice-President Wallace. One cannot see how all this intrigue, a hang-over from a defunct regime and a discredited system, conforms with the new and intense belief in democracy which is spreading throughout the world as a result of the war”.
(Note. The History of the Royal family of Romania has not be written yet. The new documents selected from different American archives and newspaper still reveal astonishing information about the latest years of life of the former king Carol and his mistress Madame Lupescu. Some of the information from this article come from a newspaper source named “Saturday Evening Post”, a rare publication but very popular at that moment. Other sources are tailored from different unpublished American archives and foreign collections.)
Prof. Dr. Marius Petraru, Sacramento, California