This Day in History: September 18th- The Princess Who Worked at Macy’s

Today in History: September 18, 1923

queen-anneOn September 18, 1923, Princess Anne Antoinette Francois Charlotte of Bourbon-Parma was born in Paris, France. The second child of Prince Rene of Bourbon-Parma and princess Margrethe of Demark, she spent her early years with her parents and three brothers in France before they fled from the Nazis and headed for Spain in 1939.

The family eventually settled in New York where Anne attended the Parson’s School of Design and took a job at Macy’s, an unusual occupation for a princess. She volunteered for the French army during World War II, driving an ambulance in many European countries which earned her the Croix de Guerre.

Anne met her future husband King Michael I of Romania at the nuptials of England’s Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) to Prince Philip of Greece. Michael’s mother had been plotting behind the scenes for some time to secure a meeting between her son and the Bourbon princess. Anne wasn’t adverse to the idea, but didn’t want their first meeting to take place under the microscope of an official event like a royal wedding.

But fate had other ideas. She was persuaded to come to London by her cousin, and when she arrived and popped by Claridge’s to see her parents, King Michael was there calling as well. This turn of events threw Anne off so badly that instead of curtseying to the King she clicked her heels instead, causing the poor girl to flee in horror. (Nice to know princesses get social anxiety too.)

Michael found this behavior completely endearing, and by the night of the wedding Anne and the King were sharing confidences and spending as much time together as possible (properly chaperoned, of course.) A week later, the two were engaged to be married, but there would be no official announcement until King Michael could notify his government upon his return to Romania. Unfortunately, this point was rendered moot just a few weeks later on December 30, 1947, when he was deposed by the Communists.

On June 10, 1948, Anne and Michael were married in the Royal Palace in Athens, Greece. Because of religious considerations, getting to the altar wasn’t all smooth sailing. Anne was Catholic, and to receive a dispensation from the Pope to marry a non-Catholic, it was usually required for a couple to promise that any offspring would be raised Catholic.

This was something that King Michael would not and could not do, as his country was Orthodox, and he had to consider the possibility of him or his offspring being recalled to the throne. So the couple was married according to the rites of the Eastern Orthodox Church, and was finally allowed to marry within the Catholic Church on November 9, 1966. Anne became known as Her Majesty Queen Anne of Romania, even though her husband had been deposed before their marriage. The couple eventually had five daughters.

Neither Anne nor Michael had been able to enter Romania while Ceausescu was in power. Up until 1992, the King was still banned from entering the country, but Queen Anne was allowed to visit representing her husband. Since 1997, they both have been welcome in Romania, and several of their properties have been returned to them, such as Savarsin Castle and Peles Castle.

The Elizabeta Palace in Bucharest serves as their base when the couple is residing in Romania. They recently celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary.

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