The Roots of King Charles III in Romania: The Story of the Sovereign’s Great-Great-Great-Grandmother

The Roots of King Charles III in Romania: The Story of the Sovereign’s Great-Great-Great-Grandmother
The Roots of King Charles III in Romania: The Story of the Sovereign’s Great-Great-Great-Grandmother

Over the years, King Charles has shown a special affection for our country. Since 1998, he has visited Romania almost every year, from Bucharest to Maramureș, from the monasteries of Bucovina, to the Danube Delta. Many have wondered why he has special feelings for these lands, especially for the area of ​​Transylvania. Most have heard of the connections with Queen Maria and King Michael, but going even further back, King Charles found a great-great-great-grandmother in Mureș County.

Andreea Brașovean, Digi24 journalist: Today the doors of the Redely castle in Sângiorgiu de Pădure open for us. It is a place full of history that witnessed a beautiful love story, but which unfortunately ended tragically. And this is also where roots start that extend to the royal family of Great Britain because this is where Claudia Redely, the great-great-great-grandmother of King Charles III, was born. It is the reason why when he was a prince, in 2008, he visited Sângiorgiu de Pădure, and recently he sent a message to the residents here.

King Charles’ message: “Ladies and gentlemen, I send my sincere congratulations to Sângeorgiu de Pădure, for the splendid initiative to open the exhibition in Rhedey Castle and for those who contributed to it. My personal relations with Romania are very important to me and over the years I have come to love this wonderful country for its cultural and natural heritage, and for its diverse traditions and cultures. I nurture, in particular, my family ties with Romania, through Queen Maria (of Romania), of course, but also through Countess Claudia Rhedey, my great-great-great-grandmother. More than 20 years ago I learned of Countess Rhedey as the grandmother of my great-grandmother, Queen Mary (of Teck), and was fascinated to learn about her all-too-short life. As you will learn by visiting this exhibition, Countess Rhedey’s story was one of great romance, passion and tragedy. Unfortunately, he died much too early.”

A love story that led, from generation to generation, until the birth of the current King of Great Britain. Charles III has roots precisely in Sângiorgiu de Pădure, in Mureș county. 15 years ago he came to visit the place where his great-great-grandmother, Claudia Rhedey, was born.

Gaspar Peter, guide Rhedey Castle: She was born on September 18, 1812, in this castle – this castle being only the family’s summer residence, they permanently living in Cluj. Claudia was a very beautiful little girl, she became a very beautiful woman, she received a choice education, and at the age of 17, while she was in Cluj, she became very ill.

He went to be treated in Vienna, where the best specialists in Europe were at that time. There, during a horseback ride, he met Alexander von Wurttemberg, one of the princes of the Kingdom of Württemberg in Germany. The two fell in love at first sight and wanted to marry, but the families opposed it, due to differences in rank. Only after three years, the parents gave in to their insistence and they were allowed to become husband and wife. Everything was told by Claudia Rhedey in her intimate diaries, which can be found at the castle.

Gaspar Peter, guide Rhedey Castle: From their marriage 3 children are born – 2 girls, the first girl was named after her mother, Claudia, the second girl Amalia and the middle child, Franz Alexander, he marries Mary Adelaide, Princess of Cambridge, and their eldest daughter, Mary Victoria of Teck, who became the wife of King George V, became Queen Consort of England and so there is a direct link between George of the Forest and the Royal Family of Great Britain. Mary von Teck and George V had several children. Edward VIII abdicates because of the marriage, and his younger brother, Albert, becomes king as George VI. He is the stammering king, a very nice film was made about him – “The King’s Speech” – he is the father of Queen Elizabeth II. The wife was Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon who lived to be 100 years old and the eldest daughter was Elizabeth II, the former Queen of Great Britain, whose husband was Prince Philip and now we come to the current King of Great Britain, Charles the third.

Thousands of people cross the threshold of the museum dedicated to Claudia Rhedey every year, and many curious people come from abroad.

Andrea Nagy, guide Rhedey Castle: For 8 years I lived and worked in Great Britain exactly in Widsor, opposite the castle, and I could admire the royal parades at the protocol meetings of the heads of state with Queen Elizabeth. And now I am here in the castle, in the castle of Elizabeth’s great-great-grandmother and King Charles’ great-great-grandmother. In fact, then I was a spectator, now their life passes through me.

Visitors are amazed to learn the story of the tragic fate of Claudia Rhedey. The countess died at only 29 years old, after an accident, being pregnant with her fourth child. Her body is buried in the reformed church in Sângiorgiu de Pădure, the place where King Charles kept a moment of silence and laid a bouquet of flowers when he arrived here.

King Charles’ message: “11 years ago I was fortunate enough to visit your city and had the opportunity to pay my respects to Countess Rhedey at the tomb in the beautiful 14th century Gothic Reformed Church. It was also an opportunity to learn about the affection and respect my great-grandmother Queen Mary (of Teck) had for her grandmother. I was very moved to see the plaque that Queen Mary (of Teck) erected in memory of Countess Rhedey and to learn of her support for the restoration of the church and castle.”

It was, moreover, the most important visit in the recent history of the locality, and people remember the day they saw the one who became the King of Great Britain.

Gaspar Hajnal: A very approachable man, a simple, communicative man. To us it seemed totally different from the image we had. He was very pleased that Claudia Rhedey’s memory is still very much alive. We were told it would be a short visit of 10 minutes, but the visit lasted almost 2 hours. He talked to the people, he was very interested in our customs, it was a pleasant visit.

Laszlo Hegyi, history teacher: Those few moments were extraordinary for me. I knew that I shook hands with a man who would become king and I had emotions, but after a few minutes it was like a neighbor, that’s how simple the prince seemed to me. He was trying to speak, well, people didn’t know English or very few knew English, and yet he managed to converse with the simple gesture, the simple sign that he was interested in us, in our town, in his roots.

Gaspar Peter, guide Rhedey Castle: He received a root as a gift. He didn’t realize what it meant the first time, then he realized that the root means that he pulls from here, and he was impressed by this gift.

Laszlo Hegyi, history teacher: Prince Charles is the first member of the family to come to Sângiorgiu to prove that he really recognizes that he has roots in Sângiorgiu de Pădure. And after he left I read in a newspaper that he calculated somewhere that 17% of the blood belongs to the Forest Blood.

King Charles’ visit to Sangiorgiu de Pădure put the small town in Mureș county on the international tourist map. The castle, used for many years as a school, was finally restored and returned to the tourist circuit in 2019. Anyone who wants to know its story can cross its threshold.

King Charles’ message: “I am delighted that today Rhedey Castle has come back to life with this exciting museum and now with this exhibition dedicated to my ancestral family. I can only hope that it enriches and inspires visitors in one way or another. I hope you enjoy this exhibition and I am very grateful for your interest in the Rhedeys and your support of this museum.”

The article is in Romanian

Tags: Roots King Charles III Romania Story Sovereigns GreatGreatGreatGrandmother


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