Michael I, Romania’s former king has died at the age of 96. A long time resident of Switzerland, he passed away today at his home in Aubonne, Vaud, Switzerland, a town more likely to be associated with an IKEA store than a former king.
Under pressure from communists Michael was forced to abdicate in 1947 and live in exile in Britain, Italy and Switzerland, where he spent most of his time.
He had to wait until 1992 to return to Romania, regaining Romanian citizenship, but not his crown, in 1997.
A reserved man who sometimes stuttered when he spoke publicly, he was forced to live a normal life in exile.
According to the newspaper Ploieşti, he had various jobs, working for a while as a farmer in Britain, a mechanic and test pilot for William Lear who was developing the Learjet in Switzerland, an entrepreneur, and a stock broker. His favourite job was working with aircraft. Unfortunately that job ended – Learjet production was moved to the US in 1962.
After five tough years running an electronics company he decided to try his hand at stock broking. According to an interview with his wife Anne, he found stock broking difficult. Going to client cocktail parties and running around after clients was not his thing.
Shortly before his wife Anne passed away in 2016, Michael’s doctor told him he had cancer and he withdrew from public life.
He was the great-great grandson of Queen Victoria and a cousin of Queen Elizabeth.
Michael is survived by his five daughters.