The royal standard of the Queen of Romania draped the coffin during the state funeral of the wife of the former king. For a couple of days Romanian television and state protocol put the Royal House of Romania centre stage.
Queen Ana (Anne) has died at the age of 92. She was the wife of King Mihai (Michael) who was Romania’s head of state 1927-1930 and 1940-1947. Ana was born in Paris, France in 1923 and she died on Monday 1 August 2016 in the Canton of Vaud, Switzerland.
Queen Ana was given a state funeral in Romania. Her body was flown from Geneva to Bucharest on 9 August and was received with full military honours. The coffin was draped with the Queen of Romania’s standard, a flag which has been very rarely used in Romania since the abolition of the monarchy by the Communists in 1947.
From the airport the queen’s body was escorted to the Peleș Castle in Sinaia. Here, the President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis, the President of Moldova, Nicolae Timofti, and the head of the Romanian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Daniel of All Romania, payed their respects. From 10 August the body lay in state for three days in the throne room of the Royal Palace in Bucharest.
Saturday 13 August 2016, the day of Ana’s funeral, was declared a national day of mourning in Romania and Moldova. While thousands of mourners lined the streets the funeral cortege passed through the Romanian capital. The queen was buried in the Royal Cathedral in Curtea de Argeș north of Bucharest.
Known from birth as Princess Anne of Bourbon-Parma she was the granddaughter of Robert, the last sovereign Duke of Parma, and the niece of Zita, the last Empress of Austria. Her mother was a Princess of Denmark and on her father’s side she was closely related to the Grand Dukes of Luxembourg.
During World War II Princess Anne served as an ambulance driver in the Free French Army under General Charles de Gaulle. In 1947 she met the King of Romania. After his forced abdication the young couple married in Athens, and from 1956 they lived in Switzerland. They had five children.
After the fall of Communist dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu the royal couple visited Romania together for the first time in 1992. Confiscated property was returned to the royal family and they slowly returned to playing a role in Romanian society, and on behalf of Romania in the wider world. Today, the 94-year old King Mihai is respected as an institution outside of day-to-day politics, a living link with the nation’s history and traditions.
Like other royal flags of Romania Queen Ana’s standard shows symbols of the country’s sovereignty and connects her to all of its regions:
1. The golden eagle with an Orthodox cross in its beak is a symbol of Wallachia or, in a narrower sense, Muntenia. This is the historic region centered around the capital city of Bucharest.
2. The bull’s or aurochs’ head is a symbol of Moldavia, a historic region covering both the Republic of Moldova and the Moldavia region of eastern Romania.
3. The lion on the bridge (Emperor Trajan’s bridge crossing the River Danube) represents the southwestern regions of Oltenia and the Banat.
4. The seven castles and the eagle surrounded by a sun disc and a moon crescent represent the central and western regions: Transylvania, with its minorities of Hungarians, Szeklers and Siebenbürger Saxons, and Crișana and Maramureș, until 1920 part of Hungary.
5. The two dolphins is a symbol of the coastal region of Dobrogea.
This coat of arms is similar to that of the modern Romanian republic, the difference being the quartered white-black inescutcheon superimposed on the shield which is the ancestral Hohenzollern arms of the royal family.