Romeo and Julieta: King Carol of Romania and Magda (Elena) Lupescu.
The following post has nothing to do with precious stones or precious metals. Only with two people who died long time ago. Known by my maternal grandfather-Senator of the Kingdom of Romania-and admired by myself.
The original text was published in The New York Times, Friday, July 1, 1977 under the title „Magda Lupescu, 81, the Woman Behind King Carol of Rumania”
„ESTORIL, Portugal, June 29 (Reuters)-Princess Elena, the former Magda Lupescu, who had a 22-year love affair with the late King Carol of Rumania before becoming married to him in exile, died here today at the age of 81, family sources said.
The princess-the former King gave her the title immediately after their five-minute wedding ceremony in Brazil in 1947-had been seriously ill at her home in this seaside resort near Lisbon for two years.
As Magda Lupescu, the titian-haired daughter of a Jewish pharmacist, she was once described as a new Madame Pompadour and one of the most powerful women in Europe. Her flaming beauty turned the heads of royalty and she was seen as the real power behind Rumanian politics until the playboy King’s final exile in 1940.
She lived in seclusion at a villa here after the former King died in 1953.
Wedding in a Rio Hotel
Carol’s wedding to the woman who had been politely described as his companion for nearly a quarter of a century, looked like the closing chapter of one of the 20th century’s most publicized love stories.
The ceremony was performed in a hotel suite in Rio de Janeiro after doctors had told Carol that Mrs. Lupescu, then 47, was dying of leukemia. Afterward she lapsed into a coma but within two weeks had rallied and reported out of danger.
Later, Brazilian authorities questioned the validity of the marriage, insisting on further proof that Carol and Mrs. Lupescu were divorced from their former partners.
Princess Elena was born as Magda Wolff and brought up in Bucharest. Her father was German Jewish.
Met at a Military Ball
After her marriage to a lieutenant in the royal guard, she first met the then Prince Carol, already with a reputation as Europe’s leading playboy, at a military ball. Carol entered the ballroom with his wife, Princess Helen of Greece. His eyes met those of Madame Lupescu and in a moment they were dancing. One night in 1925 Carol abandoned his rights to the throne and vanished. So did Magda Lupescu.
The couple turned up in Paris a few days later, then moved to London, Biarritz and the French Riviera. They lived like honeymooners and caused a sensation wherever they appeared.
Meanwhile, King Ferdinand of Rumania died and Carol’s son, the boy-prince Michael, was proclaimed King. But palace intrigue spawned political chaos and in 1929 the Rumanian Government invited Carol to return and be crowned.
Several months after he returned home, Mrs. Lupescu joined him and began her rise to power. One writer at the time declared that „Lupescu was the sun and Carol a satellite.”
Reportedly on her advice Carol, faced with the growing power of the fascist Iron Guard in Rumania, staged a coup and proclaimed himself dictator in 1937. The end came in September 1940, when Carol was accused of leaning toward cooperation with Nazi Germany. The Government demanded his abdication and the King, protesting his innocence, once again abandoned the throne in favor of his son.
The couple secretly made their way across Europe to Spain, where they were chased by the fascist Falange to the Portuguese frontier. From Lisbon they went to Cuba, where they were refused permission to enter the United States. They took refuge in Mexico, where Carol bought a ranch and financed a nightclub.
By 1944, Carol and Mrs. Lupescu were in Brazil, having arrived at the Copacabana Palace Hotel with 40 trunks, 67 suitcases, two cars, six dogs and wast quantities of jewelry, including two gold crowns studded with gems. The couple moved into Brazilian society and were frequent visitors to gambling casinos.