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A true Romanian Interview with HRH Prince Paul of Romania

His Royal Highness, Prince Paul of Romania, is the son of HRH Carol Mircea of Romania and of Helene Henriette Nagavitzine, the paternal grandson of King Carol II of Romania. He is married to Princess Lia and they have a son, Carol Ferdinand, the first royal descendant born in Romania in the past 90 years.

Your Highness, you were the first member of a royal house to return to a former communist bloc country.
I have returned to Romania becau­se I am Romanian through and throu­gh. I tried, and succeeded, through my own efforts, to bring the humanitarian aid I viewed as necessary at the time, namely a plane full of medicines, on January 10, 1990. I fought for a united family, which is why I have written a letter to my uncle, King Mihai, asking him to come back to Romania with me. Unfortunately, he never answered.
The mass-media, political circles and most of the Romanians know that, upon returning to the country, you brought the tradition of charity work.
As I was saying, I feel Romanian through and through, and this is why after returning to the country I established the “HRH Prince Paul for Romania Foundation,” by means of which I support the Romanian society’s effort to return to normalcy, by contributing over 6 million euro to charity. I am a man of action, not words, and as a member of the Royal House and a descendant of the Kings of Romania, Carol I, Ferdinand I and Carol II, the founders of modern Romania, together with my wife, Princess Lia and in keeping with the tradition, I have conducted extensive support and promotion work for the country, using personal funds exclusively. We were proud to receive the appreciation of both international organisations, and of the Romanian Orthodox Church.
You are well known in Europe and around the world. What can you tell us about your contacts with the world’s great personalities?
Since this is a very long list, with your permission I’ll mention just a few names:  James Brewington – chairman AT&T Global Network, Sarah, Duchess of York, Julio Iglesias, Charles-Earl Spencer (Princess Diana’s brother), actor Larry Hagman, director Francis Ford Coppola, the late Michael Jackson, Naomi Campbell, Gheorghe Zamfir, Tom Jones, Lech Walesa (former president of Poland), His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, the Royal Academy of Music in London, and so on. The HRH Prince Paul for Romania Foundation has signed countless protocols with well-known Romanian and foreign organisations and personalities, like the ones listed above.
You are increasingly popular in Romania, because you speak nicely about Romanians to the great personalities of the world.
I always have nice words to say about my people. One year ago, I was invited with my wife, Princess Lia, to attend the wedding of Prince Albert II of Monaco to Charlene Wittstock. We were the only royal couple from Romania invited to this ceremony. We met the crown princes Joachim of Denmark, Haakon of Norway and his wife, Felipe of Spain, Philippe of Belgium, the King of Sweden Carl XVI Gustaf and his wife, and others, with whom we talked about Romania.
We are the only royal couple of Romania to have been invited in 2008, to president Barack Obama’s inauguration ceremony at the White House and to the concert given in his honour at Lincoln Memorial.
What was the first official contact you had with the United States after you returned to Romania?
My wife, Princess Lia and I organised in 1995 a roundtable attended by the then-president of Romania, Ion Iliescu, the national defence minister of that time and an American military telecommunication expert, James Brewington, who was working at the White House and received approval from the Pentagon to attend the meeting. J. Brewington came to Bucharest by a private plane sent by Bill Clinton. After this visit, a lobby channel for Romania was opened in the USA. The first step Romania made towards the Pentagon was with Princess Lia’s and my support, but strangely enough nobody speaks about that event.
In 2011 you were named Romania’s Ambassador of Friendship with China. What is Your Highness’ relation with the People’s Republic of China?
I should start by saying that Princess Lia worked at the White House with president Jimmy Carter and during his term in office she travelled to China, to research how the Americans are perceived by the Chinese people. She returned to the USA with a positive report. Later, Jimmy Carter invited the president of the Chinese Communist Party, Deng Xiaoping, to the White House. Together with Princess Lia I helped AT&T to enter the Chinese market, and, in token of appreciation for the support that we give to China, a Chinese political friendship organisation last year offered me a gold medal. They said only four Romanian personalities had received this award. Attending the award ceremony were the foreign minister of the P.R. of China and a representative of the Romanian Embassy in Beijing, because an ambassador had not yet been appointed. A very nice surprise for me and Princess Lia was that president Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn were in Beijing, scheduled to return to the USA. They waited for us and we met at the Raffles, the largest hotel in Beijing, where we had photos taken. We have very good relations with the Embassy of China in Romania, both with the former ambassador and the current one.
What are your relations with Brussels?
An American-German group organises regular meetings between former and current political leaders. Princess Lia and I have been invited by this group several times and have talked about Romania at the European Parliament in Brussels. I remember that in the 2007 meeting, the prime minister of the Netherlands, Jan Peter Balkenende, was sitting next to me. Also attending were Queen Fabiola of Belgium and Marie Aglaë, Princess of Liechtenstein. What we do in these meetings is we lobby for Romania. In that meeting, we spoke about the beauty and richness of the country for an hour and a half.
What are your relations with Romanian officials?
We had several meetings with Adrian Năstase when he was foreign minister. He organised a roundtable to which we invited Princess Diana’s brother. We had a cordial relation with president Emil Constantinescu. During president Ion Iliescu’s terms in office, I was invited to several receptions, he received me and Princess Lia in Cotroceni, and facilitated our wedding at Caşin Monastery, where Father Galeriu performed the ceremony. In fact, my wedding to Princess Lia was the first royal wedding in Romania in 50 years (Princess Margareta married Radu Duda in Laussane, Switzerland, at the Greek-Orthodox Church, editor’s note).

A February 12, 2012 ruling by the High Court of Cassation and Justice officially acknowledges you as the first male branch of the Royal House.
As I have stated before, I would like both branches of the royal family to work together to improve Romania’s image abroad.

(to be continued in our next issue)
(Interview by Virginia MIRCEA)

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