Happy Birthday to Her Majesty Margareta, Custodian of the Crown of Romania, who turns 70 today! The Head of the Romanian Royal Family, Her Majesty has an increasingly semi-official role in the Romanian Republic and is present at a plethora of royal events. Part of the Royal Family’s increasing role in Romania is the distribution of Orders to Romanian and Foreign Citizens for extraordinary contributions to society. To mark the birthday of their Sovereign, we are taking a look at the Romanian Royal Orders-
But first an explanation of Orders in general- Almost every country, monarchy or not, has some form of an honours system that awards chivalry or merit, and is often used in diplomatic exchange of gifts. Each individual order has it’s own history, and in countries with multiple orders, has it’s own rank. The Head of State is usually the sovereign of the order, and has varied authority on deciding their recipients. National Orders are those which must be awarded with consultation from the government, and are official gifts, while the recipients of Dynastic Orders are at the discretion of the Sovereign, and many non-reigning families still award their Dynastic Orders, with no government authority.
Orders of their own countries are awarded to royals at birth, upon reaching the age of majority, upon marriage into the royal family, or after years of dedicated service to the country. Orders of foreign countries are usually awarded during State Visits, and are given according to rank, with the sovereigns receiving the higher order, the heirs the lower order, and the other members of the royal family participating in the visit receiving yet a lower one. However, these rules vary from country to country, and also depend on individual Sovereigns.
Orders are accompanied by a varied amount of insignia, which can include a Sash with a badge worn at the hip, a Star, ornate Collars, Badges to be worn on the shoulders, and smaller Pins, and the awarding of specific items differentiate the different grades in each individual order, and/or depend on the orders themselves. The wearing of the insignia depends on the occasion. The ornate collars of an Order are only worn very rarely at White Tie events or on Uniforms. The Sash and Star are more common and seen at White Tie State Banquets. The smaller badges may be worn when you are wearing the insignia of other orders, or at a Black Tie occasion where Orders are worn. The small pins are worn at formal occasions in the daytime, when you want to honour the occasion without making it too formal. Now that we have an explanation, lets learn about the Romanian Royal Orders-
The highest ranking honour of the Kingdom of Romania until the abolition of the monarchy in 1947, the Order of Carol I, Ordinul Carol I, was instituted in 1909 by King Carol I to celebrate his Ruby Jubilee. The insignia includes a Badge with the Romanian Eagle on top of a gold sunray on top of a Maltese cross. The Eagle wears the Crown of Romania, holds the Orthodox cross in its beak, holds the Sword of King Carol I in its left claw, holds the Royal Mantle in its right claw and supports the ribbon inscribed “PRIN STATORNICIE LA IZBÂNDĂ” by both its claws whilst on its chest is a small Gold effigy of King Carol I, the Sash is pale blue with gold edges bearing a narrow red stripe, worn from the right shoulder to the left hip, while the Collar is consists of 8 links of the emblems of the Danubian Principalities of the Principality of Wallachia, Principality of Moldavia, Principality of Oltenia and Principality of Dobruja, and 4 emblems on either side of the collar with 2 of the emblems of the House of Hohenzollern between each two Principalities; between each emblem is the monogram of King Carol I. Awarded in four classes, the Order of Carol I continued to be worn and awarded by King Michael in exile and is the honour worn by Her Majesty Margareta, Custodian of the Crown of Romania and her consort, Prince Radu.
Instituted by King Carol I of Romania in 1881 to commemorate the establishment of the Kingdom of Romania, the Order of the Crown of Romania was awarded as a State Order until the end of the Monarchy in 1947, and was revived in 2011 as a Dynastic Order. The Badge of the Order features a Maltese Cross with a ‘C’ and a medallion in the middle of the showing a royal crown on a dark red background, surrounded by the inscription PRIN NOI INSINE and the order’s foundation date of 14 March 1881. The Sash is light blue with two silver stripes, worn from the right shoulder to the left hip. Awarded in five classes, this Order is the one most frequently awarded to Romanian and Foreign Citizens, and also worn by most members of the Royal Family.
The Royal Decoration of the Custodian of the Romanian Crown was instituted by then Crown Princess Margareta in 2015 to symbolise a quarter of a century since her arrival to Romania after a 42-year exile. Awarded in three grades, the insignia of the Special Class Knights Decoration is crafted in white gold and consists of 25 Sapphires and topped with the Crown of Romania which hangs from the dark blue Ribbon with silver stripes on the sides, on which ‘2’ and ‘5’ are pinned.