Ferdinand I

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Ferdinand Viktor Albert Meinrad
Extra names:
Фердинанд I, Ferdinand I, Фердинанд Виктор Мейнард Альберт
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Ferdinand I (Ferdinand Viktor Albert Meinrad; 24 August 1865 – 20 July 1927), nicknamed Întregitorul ("the Unifier"), was King of Romania from 1914 until 1927. Although a member of Germany's ruling Hohenzollern imperial family, Ferdinand sided against the Central Powers in World War I. Thus, at the war’s end, Romania emerged as a much-enlarged kingdom, including Bessarabia, Bukovina and Transylvania, and Ferdinand was crowned king of ‘Greater Romania’ in a grand ceremony in 1922. He died from cancer in 1927, succeeded by his grandson Crown Prince Michael under a regency.

Early life

Prince Ferdinand Viktor Albert Meinrad of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was born in Sigmaringen in southwestern Germany. The name was later shortened simply to Hohenzollern after the extinction of the Hohenzollern-Hechingen branch in 1869. The princes of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen had ruled the principality until 1850, when it was annexed to Prussia.

Ferdinand I was the son of Leopold, Prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, and Infanta Antónia of Portugal (1845–1913), daughter of Queen Maria II of Portugal and Prince Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, heir to the Slovakian-originated Hungarian magnates of Kohary on his mother's side.

Following the renunciations, first of his father in 1880 and then of his elder brother Prince Wilhelm of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen in 1886, young Ferdinand became the heir-presumptive to the throne of his childless uncle, King Carol I of Romania, who would reign until his death in October 1914.[2] In 1889, the Romanian parliament recognized Ferdinand as a prince of Romania. The Romanian government did not require his conversion to Eastern Orthodoxy from Catholicism, as was the common practice prior to this date, thus allowing him to continue with his born creed, but it was required that his children be raised Orthodox, the state religion of Romania. For agreeing to this, Ferdinand was excommunicated from the Catholic Church, although this was later lifted.

Ferdinand's mother's first cousin Tsar Ferdinand I of Bulgaria sat on the throne of the neighbouring Bulgaria beginning in 1887, and was to become the greatest opponent of the kingdom of his Romanian cousins. The neighboring Emperor Francis Joseph, monarch of Austria-Hungary and as such, ruler of Transylvania, was Ferdinand's grandmother's first cousin.

Ferdinand, a complete stranger in his new home, started to get close to one of Queen Elisabeth's ladies in waiting, Elena Văcărescu. Elisabeth, the Queen consort of Romania, very close to Elena herself, encouraged the romance, although she was perfectly aware of the fact that a marriage between the two was forbidden by the Romanian constitution (according to the 1866 Constitution of Romania, the heir-presumptive to the throne was not allowed to marry a Romanian).

The affair caused a sort of dynastic crisis, in 1891. The result of this was the exile of both Elisabeth (in Neuwied) and Elena (in Paris), as well as a trip by Ferdinand through Europe in search of a suitable bride, whom he eventually found in Queen Victoria's granddaughter, Princess Marie of Edinburgh.


In Sigmaringen on 10 January 1893, Prince Ferdinand of Romania married his distant cousin, the Lutheran Princess Marie of Edinburgh, daughter of Anglican Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh and the Orthodox Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna of Russia. Marie and Ferdinand were third cousins in descent from Franz Frederick Anton, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. Marie's paternal grandparents were Victoria of the United Kingdom and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Her maternal grandparents were Alexander II of Russia and Marie of Hesse and by Rhine. The reigning Emperor of the neighbouring Russia, at the time of the marriage was Marie's uncle, Tsar Alexander III, who would be succeeded by his eldest son, Marie's cousin, Tsar Nicholas II, the following year.

The marriage produced 3 sons: Carol, Nicholas and Mircea (one of whom, Mircea, died in infancy) and 3 daughters: Elisabeta, Maria (Mignon) and Ileana. The marriage was unhappy and the couple's two youngest children, Ileana and Mircea, are generally acknowledged to have been sired by Marie's long-time lover, Barbu Știrbey.

King of Romania

Romanian RoyaltyHouse of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen 
House of RomaniaCarol I


Princess Elisabeth of Wied


Princess Maria

Ferdinand I


Princess Marie of Edinburgh


Carol II

Elisabeth, Queen of the Hellenes

Maria, Queen of Yugoslavia

Nicholas, Prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen

Princess Ileana

Prince Mircea

Carol II


Princess Helen of Greece and Denmark


Michael I

King Michael I


Princess Anne of Bourbon-Parma


Princess Margareta

Princess Elena

Princess Irina

Princess Sophie

Princess Marie

Ferdinand succeeded his uncle on the latter's death (Carol I died without surviving issue) as King of Romania on 10 October 1914, reigning until his own death on 20 July 1927.

He was the 1,174th Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece in Austria in 1909 and the 868th Knight of the Order of the Garter in 1924.

World War I Further information: Romania during World War I and Diplomatic history of World War I §  Romania

Though a member of a cadet branch of Germany's ruling Hohenzollern imperial family, Ferdinand presided over his country's entry into World War I on the side of the Triple Entente powers against the Central Powers on 27 August 1916. Thus he gained the nickname the Loyal, respecting his oath when sworn in before the Romanian Parliament in 1914: "I will reign as a good Romanian."

As a consequence of this "betrayal" toward his German roots, Kaiser Wilhelm II had Ferdinand's name erased from the Hohenzollern House register.

Despite the setbacks after the entry into war, when Dobrujaand Wallachia were occupied by the Central Powers, Romania fought in 1917 and stopped the German advance into Moldavia. When the Bolsheviks sued for peace in 1918, Romania was surrounded by the Central Powers and forced to conclude the Treaty of Bucharest, 1918. However, Ferdinand refused to sign the treaty. When the Allied forces advanced on the Thessaloniki front, they knocked Bulgaria out of the war, and Ferdinand ordered the re-mobilization of the Romanian Army. Romania re-entered the war on the side of the Triple Entente.

The outcome of Romania's war effort was the union of Bessarabia, Bukovina and Transylvania with the Kingdom of Romania in 1918. Ferdinand became the ruler of a greatly enlarged Romanian state in 1918–1920 following the Entente's victory over the Central Powers, a war between the Kingdom of Romania and the Hungarian Soviet Republic, and the civil war in Russia. He was crowned as king of "Greater Romania" in a spectacular ceremony on 15 October 1922 at the courtyard of the newly opened "Coronation Cathedral" in the historic princely seat of Alba Iulia, in Transylvania.

A new period of Romanian history began on the day of the Union of Transylvania with Romania (Great Union Day, Marea Unire). This period would eventually come to an end with the international treaties that led up to World War II. These ceded parts of Romania to its neighbors. As such, they are widely seen as an attempt to provoke the country into taking sides and joining the war.

After the war

Domestic political life during his reign was dominated by the conservative National Liberal party led by the brothers Ion and Vintilă Brătianu. The acquisition of Transylvania ironically enlarged the electoral base of the opposition, whose principal parties united in January 1925 – October 1926 to form the National Peasant Party.


Ferdinand died from cancer in Sinaia in 1927, and was succeeded by his grandson Crown Prince Michael, under a regency. The regency had three members, one of whom was Ferdinand's second son, Prince Nicholas.

Titles, styles and honours

Styles of
King Ferdinand I of Romania

Titles and styles
  • 1865–1888: His Serene Highness Prince Ferdinand of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen
  • 1888–1914: His Royal Highness The Crown Prince of Romania
  • 1914–1927: His Majesty The King of Romania
Honours National honours
  •  Romania: Sovereign Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Carol I
  •  Romania: Sovereign Knight with Collar of the Order of Michael the Brave, 1st Class
  •  Romania: Sovereign Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of the Star of Romania
  •  Romania: Sovereign Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown of Romania
  •  Romania: Sovereign Knight of the Medal of Military Virtue
Foreign honours
  •  Austria-Hungary: 1, 174th Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece
  •  Denmark: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Elephant
  •  France: Grand Cross of the Légion d'Honneur
  • German Empire German Imperial and Royal Family: Knight Grand Cordon with Collar of the Order of the Black Eagle
  •  Kingdom of Italy: Knight of the Supreme Order of the Most Holy Annunciation
  •  Kingdom of Italy: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus
  •  Kingdom of Italy: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown of Italy
  •  Malta: Knight of the Order of St. John
  •  Poland: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Military Virtue
  •  Sweden: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Seraphim
  •  United Kingdom: 868th Knight of the Order of the Garter
  •  United Kingdom: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
  •  United Kingdom: Recipient of the Royal Victorian Chain
  •  United Kingdom: Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order
  •  Kingdom of Yugoslavia: Knight Grand Cordon of the Order of the Star of Karađorđe

Source: wikipedia.org, timenote.info

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        Relation nameRelation typeBirth DateDeath dateDescription
        1Leopold Prince o fHohenzollernLeopold Prince o fHohenzollernFather22.09.183508.06.1905
        2Infanta Antónia of PortugalInfanta Antónia of PortugalMother17.02.184527.12.1913
        3Elisabeth of  RomaniaElisabeth of RomaniaSon12.10.189414.11.1956
        4Maria of YugoslaviaMaria of YugoslaviaDaughter06.01.190022.06.1961
        5Marie of RomaniaMarie of RomaniaWife29.10.187518.07.1938
        6Alfrēds Edinburgas, Olsteras un Kentas, Saksen- Koburgas  un Gotas HercogsAlfrēds Edinburgas, Olsteras un Kentas, Saksen- Koburgas un Gotas HercogsFather in-law06.09.184431.07.1900
        7Maria AlexandrovnaMaria AlexandrovnaMother in-law17.10.185324.10.1920
        8Георг IIГеорг IISon in-law19.07.189001.04.1947
        9Prince AlfredPrince AlfredBrother in-law15.10.187406.02.1899

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