May 3 marked this year the commemoration of the 125th anniversary of the birth of Queen Mother Helen of Romania. Her soul and character profoundly marked the lives of her son, King Michael of Romania, and his daughters. She was the only Queen in Europe who was awarded the title of “Righteous among the Nations” after saving Jews from deportation to the Nazi extermination camps.
“There are losses which no one can evaluate, not even those who have experienced them. They belong to a greater evaluation capacity, which is out of this world,” said King Michael about his mother’s reposing in the Lord.
In the same interview granted to Romanian writer Mircea Ciobanu, His Majesty also said about Queen Helen: “The context of her life made her live an ordinary life. But, even though she lived like that, she never ceased to think like a queen”.
Queen Helen was born on May 3, 1896, in Athens, as Princess of Greece and Denmark. She was the eldest daughter of King Constantine I of Greece and Princess Sofia of Prussia.
“My mother’s relatives thought about God more than all the people I knew. I don’t know how to explain, they were connected to life not through material things, but through their faith. My mother had inherited from them this good part, as well as a meekness which did not exclude firmness in her relations with people,” declared King Michael to Mircea Ciobanu.
Romanian historian Alina Pavelescu said in a radio show that Queen Helen’s role was “one of the most important during the Second World War when she supported her son in the attempt to resist the Nazification of Romania”.
The sovereign “made a gesture that very few people did at the time in Europe: she effectively participated – therefore not passively – in saving Jews from deportation to the German camps,” the historian added.
Princess Helen had gotten married to Romania’s Crown Prince Carol, the future King Carol II of Romania, in 1921. Between 1924 and 1930 she was Regent and in the troubled years which followed she was separated from her son.
While her husband King Carol II thrust her aside and far from Romania, she lived for four decades at Villa Sparta in Florence, Italy, where King Michael would spend his summer holidays.
In 2019, Queen Mother Helen’s remains were reinterred at Royal Necropolis from the New Archdiocesan Cathedral in Curtea de Argeș, Romania, next to her son, King Michael, according to His Majesty’s wish.
On the occasion, Patriarch Daniel evoked the queen’s luminous personality and strong faith in God, which
“did limit itself to respecting rites, but it was a profound inner experience which she also transmitted to her son, King Michael. He often confessed that he had learned from his mother, Queen Helen, to pray a lot, to read the Scriptures, to go to Church, to confess his sins and to partake of the Holy Communion,” said the Patriarch of Romania.
His Beatitude also recalled that King Michael, when asked by Mircea Ciobanu what books he treasured the most, said: “The Bible, undoubtedly”.
The sovereign added: “No other book. The conversations with my mother meant for me more than many theological books. My mother was a real pillar of my life. She was strong through prayer. Prayer is our most needed deed in relation with God”.
Photo source: Stiripentruviata.ro