ROMANIA IN WORLD WAR II
MICHAEL, THE LAST ROMANIAN KING
Michael, born 1921, was king of Romania between 1927-30 and 1940-47). His father, Prince Carol (later King Carol II), renounced his right of succession in 1925, and young Michael ascended the throne under a regency on the death of Ferdinand. However, in 1930 his father returned to be recognized as king. When the King Carol II abdicated in 1940, Michael once more became king.
Please see above and below portraits of King Michael, taken from different periods. On the first stamp King Michael is shown together with the Marshal Ion Antonescu (and with the Prince Michael the Brave between both). The stamp was issued on Sept. 6, 1943, and commemorated the 3rd anniversary of the government of King Michael and of Marshal Antonescu.
In 1944 he overthrew the dictatorship of Ion Antonescu. In August, 1944, two Soviet army groups entered Romania. Michael overthrew Antonescu's regime, concluded an armistice with the Allies, surrendered to the USSR, and ordered Romanian troops to fight on the Allied side.
The set issued on May 9, 1948 (Sc. B404-408, CB18-19) commemorates the brotherhood in arms between Romanian and Soviet armies during the WW II. The Romanian army participated in the liberation of Romania, Hungary and Czechoslovakia from the Nazi troops. Eventually compare this set with the brotherhood set issued in 1941 and dedicated to the collaboration between Romanian in German armies.
Conflicts with the Communist-dominated coalition government, installed after World War II and supported by the USSR, led to the forced abdication of King Michael (Dec., 1947) and to his exile; he was stripped of his Romanian citizenship a year later.
The peace treaty between Romania and the Allies, signed at Paris in 1947, in essence confirmed the armistice terms of 1944. Romania recovered Transylvania, but lost definitively Bessarabia, N Bukovina, and S Dobrudja. Romania was proclaimed a people's republic in 1947.
King Michael married Princess Anne of Bourbon-Parma in 1948; both live in Switzerland. Since the collapse (1989) of Communist rule in Romania, he and his family have often visited the country, but initially the leftist government, led by the then President Iliescu, had tried to hinder him from moving freely. His citizenship was restored n 1997 only.
The above stamps, on the left, were issued on August 15, 1947 and April 8, 1948 respectively. On the stamp on bottom the image of the king and the crown are heavily overprinted. On the right I show an interesting error, where the king's image escaped from being overprinted. The RPR overprint means Republica Populara Romana (Romanian Popular Republic). This marked also philatelically the start of a new (and longest) dictatorship period in the tumultuous history of the modern Romania. Only the happy nations don't have history.