Remarks by His Majesty The King in Bucharest, Romania
Published 02 June 2023
I cannot describe what great pleasure it gives me to be visiting Romania once again.
Domnule Presedinte, doamnelor si domnilor,
Mr President, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I cannot describe what great pleasure it gives me to be visiting Romania once again. Thank you, Mr. President, for your kind words and your immense generosity in hosting this reception.
I can scarcely believe that twenty-five years have gone by since my first visit to this most remarkable country, although even before I came here I felt a deep connection to Romania. Your own much-loved Queen Marie was, as you well know, the first cousin of my great-grandfather King George V, while Queen Mary, my great-grandmother – whom I remember well – was descended from Countess Claudia Rhedey with links that go back deep into Romania’s history, and of course my father was a first cousin of King Mihai and cherished memories of their playing together as children here. So, if I may say so, I have always felt rather at home in Romania!
Throughout all these years, I have had the joy of being able to travel widely across the country and to meet Romanians from many walks of life. This has afforded me the opportunity to witness, at first hand, the extraordinary development which has taken place and which is, I must say, a testament to your innovation, energy and resilience. I have met and been most impressed by a new generation of young, enterprising and resourceful Romanians who are meeting the challenges of the modern world, working with flair in all areas from technology and eco-tourism, and environmental protection to the production of environmentally-friendly building materials and techniques.
I have also been inspired by the many people I have met who have tirelessly worked for others. From FARA, whose efforts to support young people in the most difficult circumstances I first encountered in the early nineteen nineties – and moved me to become their Patron twenty-three years ago – to, more recently, Associata Monumentum, whose work to train craftspeople and architects across Romania has been supported by The Prince’s Foundation. It is so impressive to see how many young volunteers work every year with such love and dedication, and attention to detail, with their ‘Ambulance for Historic Monuments’ to help preserve Romania’s wonderfully diverse architectural inheritance.
As I have said before, I have come to love Romania – your culture and art, your heritage and history, your sweeping landscapes and priceless biodiversity, this “tara de gloria, tara de dor”, if I may paraphrase your national poet, Mihai Eminescu. Romania has retained, in its ancient forests, pristine countryside, and through some remarkable examples of sustainable farming, an incomparable richness of Nature. This is still home to many species of flora and fauna that have disappeared, or are threatened elsewhere in Europe and the world, which makes it all the more precious.
But most of all, I cherish my Romanian friends here. I am enormously grateful to many people in this audience for their kind help on so many occasions, and for their support for projects which are doing so much good in communities throughout the country. On my last visit here I was also able to see something of Romania’s incredibly generous support to all our Ukrainian friends.
Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen, I came to Romania all those years ago because I felt deeply for what so many Romanians had been through since the Second World War and how you had suffered so much. I particularly wanted to remind the world of everything that has always made Romania such a special country. Today, we need no reminding. More and more Britons visit Romania every year, and over a million Romanians play a crucially important part in British life. Our bonds of friendship are as strong today as they have ever been in our long histories, and I look forward to seeing them playing my part in seeing them strengthen even further in the future.
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