Carol II of Romania was born on 15 October 1893, at Sinaia, in the Peles castle, as the first son of Prince Ferdinand of Hohenzollern – Sigmaringen and of Marie of Edinburgh. For the Romanian people, whose destiny was placed in the monarchy hands, his birth represented a long – awaited moment. According to tradition, this event was celebrated with the salute of one hundred salvoes of artillery. The little prince received the name Carol in the honor of his uncle, King Carol I, whose dream to consolidate the monarchy on the Romanian soil was thus accomplished.
Carol was the first Hohenzollern born in Romania and christened, according to the Constitution, in the Orthodox religion.
Carol I took on the task of his education and, in 1914, prince Carol attended the Military Academy of Potsdam.
Intelligent and educated, with a charismatic personality, he impressed his preceptors.
On 10 March 1921, he married Princess Elena, daughter of King Constantine of Greece and on October 25, their son, the future king Mihai, was born at the Foisor castle in Sinaia.
In 1925 he met Elena Lupescu, the woman who played a very important part in his life.
After repeated renunciations of the Romanian throne, both the political elite and the Royal family, decided to take harsh actions against Carol II. On 1 January 1926, the decision of the Crown Council, held at the Peles castle, on 31 December 1925, regarding Carol II renunciation was published in Monitorul Oficial, the Romanian state official publication. Three days later, by the Parliament decision, the heir to the throne became Carol II’s five years old son, Mihai, who would reign under a Regency.
Carol and Elena Lupescu settled in France, where they lived until 1930.
On 20 July 1927, King Ferdinand died and the Regency proved its inefficiency concerning the country’s economic and social problems.
All this factors contributed to the accentuation of the political crises. Carol II was seen by his old sympathizers alongside a part of the Regency as the only solution. Despite his allegations, since 1927, Carol himself wanted to come back in Romania. On 21 April 1928, while visiting Great Britain, he declared to Romania’s people via English press: ‘’I want to come back, by your will, to rule Romania” and presented a 21 points list regarding the country’s organization and development.
On 3 November, the Liberal government of Vintilă Brătianu is replaced by the National Peasant Party of Iuliu Maniu. The new government had a hudge popularity but the world depression and the inner problems emphasized the political instability.
Thus, on 6 june 1930, Carol arrived at Bucharest and two days later, on 8 June, the Parliament decided the invalidation of the succession laws and proclaimed him as King. Durig a decade, this day would be celebrated as the Restauration Day.
During Carol II’s reign, Romania saw an economic growth without precedent, partly due to numerous visits of the monarch in most European countries. His interest in agriculture, industry, commerce, army endowment and in the fields of art and literature transformed him in a very popular and sympathized king. His official responsibilities went on in parallel evolution with his hobbies, Carol II being passionate by motoring and aviation as well as a stamp collector and hunter.
Disappointed by the political class, he decided to take measures that lead to the limitation of the parliamentarian democracy system. The apogee of his authoritative policy was attained in 1938 when the royal dictatorship is declared and all the political parties were disbanded being replaced by the National Revival Front.
The instauration of Carol II’s dictatorship was facilitated by the European context and by the population’s disappointment towards the political parties undermined by their own internal struggles and uninvolved in the country’s destiny. Extremist movements such as the Legionary Movement, especially known for their violence and anti- Semitism, become more and more operatives.
During Carol II’s reign, two prime-ministers were assassinated, Ion G. Duca, the head of National Liberal Party (December 1933) and Armand Călinescu, member of the National Peasant Party and chief of an authoritative government (September 1939).
Surrounded by a group of businessmen and financiers, Carol II became more and more unpopular.
During the following years, the end of Great Romania was accelerated: in August 1939, between Germany and the Soviet Union signed a secret protocol was signed regarding, among others, Romania’s territorial falling out, thus, Carol‘s presuppositions being confirmed. One year later, this treaty was put into practice; The Soviet Union invaded Bessarabia and north Bukovina, and Hungary, with the support of Germany, invaded the north – western part of Transylvania. The loss of these territories was considered a shame by the Romanian people and Carol became the target of the nationalists. The lack of internal and international support, the inability to face the people’s resentfulness led to Carol II’s abdication, on 6 September 1930.
On 7 September 1930, Carol II and Elena Lupescu left the country. After a long pilgrimage throughout the world, they settled in Portugal, at Estoril, at Villa Mar del Sol, where he died on 3 April 1953.