Princess who worked at Macy’s
September 18, 1923 Princess Anne-Antoinette Francois Charlotte of Bourbon-Parma was born in Paris (France). Like most European aristocrats, she was quite closely associated with many ruling or former monarchs, but to be more precise, she was the second child of Prince René of Bourbon-Parma and Princess Margrethe.
She spent her early years with her parents and three brothers in France, but because of the tension that quickly grew between France and Germany and the inevitability of war, her family was forced to leave for Spain in 1939. Soon they left Europe and went to America.
The family settled in New York, where Anna attended school until she was 18 years old. She then entered the Parson School of Design, where she managed to complete a three-year program in just two years. To pay for her tuition, she took a job as an assistant sales manager at Macy’s department store in Herald Square, and later worked at Bloomingdale’s and her mother’s hat shop.
Nevertheless, in 1943, Anna, outraged by the raging war in Europe and her inaction, decided to join the French army as an ambulance driver and nurse. During the war she served in Algeria, Morocco, Italy, Luxembourg and Germany itself. She received the rank of lieutenant and was awarded the Military Cross, which is awarded to individuals for heroic or other exemplary deeds worthy of being marked by a special award.
Soon the life of the princess will change again, and she will become the queen, in part due to her service in Morocco.
Anna met her future husband and second cousin King of Romania Mihai I at the marriage ceremony of Princess Elizabeth (now Queen of Great Britain Elizabeth II) and Prince Philip in 1947.
Prior to this, for some time, Mihai’s mother secretly tried to arrange a meeting between her son and the Princess of Bourbon-Parma, but to no avail.
A handsome young king spotted Anna while watching a movie in a cinema hall. The princess was not there, as was the actress herself. So how did he meet her? Before the film an excerpt of real hostilities was shown - in this case, footage from Morocco.They were captured and Princess Anna.
The young king immediately fell in love with her. He made a small photograph of the frame with the princess, which he kept sacred. After a while, he told his mother that he had found a bride - and things started to turn around.
Anna, having learned about this idea, did not seem to mind, but she did not want their first meeting to take place at an official event, such as a royal wedding, so she decided to decline the invitation. You see, unlike many other royals, who led a rather chic lifestyle, she was not sure that she would not get into awkward situations associated with etiquette.
But fate, or, most likely, the couple's parents, had other plans for this. Anna was persuaded to come to London by her cousin, Prince Jean Luxemburg. And when she arrived at the hotel to see her parents, King Mihai just called her by chance at that very moment.
Such a turn of events so excited Anna, that instead of curtsy to the king, she clicked his heels in greeting. However, the lack of royal grace and subtle awkwardness seemed to only increase Mihai’s interest in the unusual princess, and they began to spend time together while in England.
Being an avid aviation enthusiast and pilot, he later invited her to fly with him to Switzerland to take home his aunt, Irina Grecheskaya (duchess of Aosta). Since then, the couple has been inseparable. And sixteen days after their first meeting, the king offered the princess to become his wife.
She refused ... But soon changed her mind.
A week later, they became engaged without making any official statement until Mihai returned to Romania and announced his marriage to the government. However, on December 30, 1947, the Communists surrounded his palace; army units loyal to the monarchy were too far away to help. Thus, Mihai was forced to abdicate the throne at gunpoint. According to him, the rebels said: "If you do not sign this immediately, we will be forced to kill more than 1,000 students in prison."
However, they apparently allowed him to leave the country with a small amount of values and a few people from his close circle.
The fact that Mihai was no longer king and was left without everything did not frighten the princess away, and they continued preparations for the wedding.
But there was another problem.You see, Anna was a Catholic, so she needed permission from the Pope to marry a non-Catholic. They also had to promise that their offspring would be brought up in the spirit of Catholic traditions.
This was something King Mihai could not do because of the 1923 Romanian constitution. And although formally he was no longer king, he had to consider the possibility that he or his posterity would be able to return the throne. If he agreed to the terms of the church, then such an opportunity would dissolve into the air.
The refusal of the Pope to give permission for marriage also did not matter for the princess, and on June 10, 1948 they were married in the Royal Palace in Athens (Greece).
For this, Anne was forbidden to take communion in any Catholic church in accordance with an official decree of the Vatican. The church also refused to recognize the marriage, although almost two decades later, she changed her mind and allowed the couple to marry again, on November 9, 1966, this time in the Catholic Church.
Despite the fact that her husband was forcibly expelled from his monarchy, Anna was called Her Majesty the Queen of Romania, although formally she was never crowned.
Having lost the throne and resources, the happy couple began to lead a relatively quiet life. At one point they even ran a chicken farm together. The queen also opened a furniture manufacturing business. Then she placed on her brittle shoulders larger projects, such as the construction of a workshop, buildings and other things. She also earned money by selling her art and breaking the stereotypes of that era, because she was an avid hunter and off-road enthusiast.
As for the king, in addition to managing the poultry farm, he also worked in various jobs, including a test pilot and a stockbroker.
The couple spent about five decades in exile. In the late 1990s, they were finally able to return to Romania and even returned some of his property to the king, including the magnificent Savarsin and Peles castles.
And although only about 14% of Romanians were interested in the restoration of the monarchy, according to a survey conducted in the early 2000s, the couple, however, enjoyed extraordinary popularity in the country. Despite this, Mihai did not seek to return the throne.
Anna and Mihai have been married for 68 years. The queen died in 2016 at the age of 92.The king left this world next year in the 96th year of his life.