“I believe I have an understanding of you: I haven’t judged you, I’ve loved you.” These are the words of Queen Marie of Romania, the one who left a stirring testament in which she tells stories, prays, hopes and blesses the people she joined.

Tatiana Niculescu Bran wrote an extraordinary book dedicated to the Queen. “Queen Marie. Her Last Wish” was published by Humanitas in 2015. A book in which the Queen’s presence is intense and plethoric, and the author’s presence is humble and discreet, akin to a Byzantine icon painter. Discreet and elegant to such degree, I’m surprised she even signed the book.

“Marie is born and raised in this romantic atmosphere, where the heart beats full of love of nature and sea, in an era of archeology and botany, of fascination with the Orient and faraway lands, an epoch of glory for the British Empire. For a romantic, beauty is truth, truth beauty, says John Keats. So Queen Marie believes: “If all beautiful things will remind you of me, the love I had for you will have been fully rewarded, as, for me, beauty was one of my faiths.      

It’s a book-tribute to Her Majesty’s last wish to have her heart buried in Balcic, in her beloved chapel, on the fabulous grounds imagined by the Queen herself.

“Little Stella Maris! […] a small Orthodox church raised from the heart of a woman who knew joy and sorrow, love and renunciation, defeat and victory, but whose heart is today just as young as when she wandered around the park covered in dead leaves at Eastwell, or when she galloped like a savage along rocky roads in Malta, because for her, beauty was always the strongest reality.”


Today, October 29th, 2015, is the 140th anniversary of the birth of the Queen. About her heart, which will return to rest starting November 3rd in the Gold Salon at Pelisor, where her good heart stopped beating, Tatiana Niculescu Bran tells us with tenderness and so much love: “Along the Queen’s life and writings, her heart is filled with hope, is troubled, pained, broken, it hurts, struggles, it’s disturbed, tears apart, it’s scarred, dies, it shakes, melts, it’s torn, ripped apart by thoughts, is heavy, full, tormented, bleeds, is tough, soothed, courageous, it’s golden, it’s unsettled. It’s never rock-hard. It’s never vacant.”

Allow me to transcribe the blessing of Queen Marie of Romania: “Bless you, beloved Romania, country of my joys and sorrows, beautiful country, who resides in my heart and whose many paths I know in their entirety. Beautiful country that I’ve seen united, whose destiny I was allowed to see fulfilled. May you always be prosperous, may you be great and filled with honor, may you stand proud among nations, may you be honest, loved and proficient.”

These are the words of a Queen who loved us, who became Romanian for us, believed in us and saw us as being strong and beautiful, the way it would be good to start seeing ourselves. The Queen is also telling us why: “…because beauty was always the strongest reality of all.”

Published:, October 29th, 2015.
Colorization: Florin Roștariu, Colorostariu

Translated from the Romanian by Elena and Paul Richard.


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