(b. 1921)

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(b. Bucharest, 25 Oct. 1921)

Romanian; King of Romania 1927–30, 1940–7 Michael was the son of Crown Prince Carol of Romania, who renounced his claim to the throne in 1925. Michael succeeded his grandfather, King Ferdinand, to the throne in 1927. In 1930 Carol returned from exile and made himself king. Carol II was forced to abdicate by General Antonescu in 1940 and Michael succeeded him. Power lay in Antonescu's hands and Michael held no responsibility for Romania's declaration of war on the Soviet Union in 1941. He played a major role in organizing the coup which led to Antonescu's overthrow in August 1944. He then accepted Allied peace terms and on 15 August 1944 declared war on Germany. The Soviet authorities awarded him the Order of Victory in 1945. In March 1945 he was forced to appoint the Soviet puppet, Groza, as premier. When Britain and the United States refused to recognize this government, Michael unsuccessfully tried to manœuvre Groza out of power. In the autumn of 1945, Michael withdrew to his country estate and refused to sign any state papers. On 30 December 1947 he was forced to abdicate and went into exile. President Iliescu's regime refused to allow him to return to Romania after the revolution of 1989. After Iliescu fell from power in 1997, the government restored his citizenship and, in 2001, provided him with a residence in Bucharest, as has been done for all other former heads of state. Michael now divides his time between Switzerland, his adopted home, and Romania. There is very limited popular support in Romania for the restoration of the monarchy.

Subjects: Politics.

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