Royalty view Hoover photo collection

Royalty view Hoover photo collection

By NICHOLAS CHAN


The former King of Romania concluded a short tour of the United States with a stop at Stanford on Friday. King Michael, 78, spoke to a group of reporters about life in Romania and his impressions of the United States.

Michael and several family members toured the Hoover Institution Archives, which houses an extensive collection of photos of the king.

"I'm really impressed about this place," the king said. "I see all the documents . . . many more than I've had."

The king and his daughter, Margarita, also came to promote the Princess Margarita of Romania Foundation.

Ten years ago, the king's daughter visited a Romanian orphanage. The princess said she was touched by social problems affecting Romania, and the family created a foundation to help children and the elderly and to promote Romanian culture.

The foundation developed several measures to protect Romanian health, including a community health clinic, a public health education program and several other measures aimed at health care for the elderly and cultivation and protection of Romanian culture. Now the foundation has grown throughout the United States, England and Switzerland and is still going strong.

"Our mission . . . is to continue to renew dignity, support grassroots initiatives and to ensure that the programs we launch become self-sustaining," the princess wrote in a letter to her supporters.

After his tour of the archives, Michael also held an informal press conference with reporters from newspapers in Romania and the United States regarding such issues as Romanian youth and their hopes for the future, the King's relationship with the church and with the government of Romania.

Michael was king of Romania from 1927 to 1930. His father, Carol II, returned to rule in 1930, but Michael took over when his father abdicated the throne in 1940. One of his most important moments in history involved overthrowing Romania's fascist dictator and removing Romania from World War II in 1944. He was exiled by the Communist Party in 1947 and returned to visit Romania in 1992. In 1998, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in helping to shorten World War II.

To the king, the social situation in Romania is less than satisfying.

"The people who do know and should know don't do anything," he told reporters.

The education system also contributes to Romanian troubles. "We learn here, we try to get jobs and nothing happens," the King said. The lack of jobs has caused many Romanians to move west to the United States.

Despite this dark description, the King still believes there is hope for the future. The King's relationships with the church and government are healthier, and although he believes that the Catholic Church of the past "cut a compromise with the Communist Party," he also believes that his relationship with the church has improved.

When Michael returned to Romania after his exile, he was greeted by more than 1 million enthusiastic Romanians, who believed he was returning to stay. The king does not live in Romania, but said he will keep working to improve life for the people.

"In the right environment, anyone can blossom," the King said. "I want to give some hope to those back home, but I can't find the right words."


from: The Stanford Daily

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