Anne Antoinette Françoise Charlotte Zita Marguerite was born in Paris on 18 September 1923 and was the only daughter of René of Bourbon-Parma and Margaret of Denmark.
Anne was raised in France along with her three brothers, however they family had to flee Paris in 1939 after the Nazi Occupation and eventually settled in the United States. Anne went to the Parsons School of Design in New York City before working as a sales assistant at Macy’s department store. In 1943, she volunteered for military service in the French Army, serving in Algeria, Morocco, Italy, Luxembourg and Germany, as an ambulance driver. Anne was awarded the Croix de guerre for her wartime service.
In November 1947, Anne met Michael I of Romania who was in London for the wedding of Elizabeth of York and Lt. Philip Mountbatten, however Michael had glimpsed Anne in newsreel footage prior to this and his mother, Helen of Greece and Denmark, had tried to get her to come to Romania for a visit. Knowing Michael was waiting to meet her, Anne decided she did not want their first meeting to be a formal occasion so she made arrangements to travel to London separately so she could observe him at the station in Paris unobtrusively. However, at the last minute, Anne received an invitation from her cousin, Jean of Luxembourg, to attend a party and when she visited her parents at Claridges, Michael was in their company. Unprepared for the meeting, Anne fled in embarrassment but the couple met again at the party and they soon began their courtship.
Sixteen days after first meeting, Michael proposed to Anne, although she initially declined until they had spent more time together. News of the engagement was kept quiet until Michael had had the opportunity to inform his government, however they told him it was not a good time for a wedding. Days later Michael was despised by the Communists but the excuse was made that he had abdicated in order to marry Anne. Michael was finally allowed to leave Romania at the end of January 1948 and he was reunited with Anne.
In order to marry, Anne had to receive a special dispensation from the Catholic Church since Michael was Orthodox, but the norm was for the non-Catholic partner to agree to raise any children born of the union in the Catholic faith and Michael refused since it would affect his reign in the event the monarchy was restored. Under those circumstances, the dispensation was refused so Michael’s mother and Anne’s mother met with Pope Pius XII who continued to refuse permission for Anne to marry Michael.
Disappointed, Anne and Michael resolved to go ahead with the wedding, however Anne’s parents were barred from attending the wedding by her uncle, Xavier, who was the head of the ducal House of Bourbon-Parma. Michael announced Anne’s parents had give their consent to the marriage and would be represented by her maternal uncle, Erik of Denmark, who was to give the bride away.
The wedding was held on 10 June 1948 in Athens, Greece, in the throne room of the Royal Palace, with the majority of the Greek royal family in attendance. Michael’s father, Carol II, and his sisters, Maria, Elisabeth and Ileana were not invited due to an estrangement in the family. Since the marriage was celebrated according to the rites of the Eastern Orthodox Church and no papal dispensation had been received, it was considered invalid to the Roman Catholic Church until the couple were finally allowed a Catholic ceremony on 9 November 1966 in the Church of St Charles in Monaco.
After their wedding, Anne and Michael rented a house in Hertfordshire where they became market gardeners and farmed poultry but they eventually moved to Switzerland in 1956 where they raised their five daughters. After the abdication, Michael began using the title of Prince of Hohenzollern, however after deeming his abdication was illegal due to it being forced upon him, he been using his sovereign title once more.
After the Communists were overthrown in Romania in 1990, Michael and the rest of the royal family who had been exiled returned for a brief visit, however the new government was hostile and Michael was later refused entry. On those occasions, Anne was the one who travelled to Romania to represent her husband, until the restrictions on Michael entering were lifted in 1997 and the couple were given Elisabeta Palace to use. In June 2008, Anne and Michael celebrated their Diamond Wedding Anniversary and 3 days of events were planned in Romania which were attended by most of the extended family and the government.
On 30 December 2007, Michael designated his eldest daughter, Margareta, as heir presumptive to the throne, however since Romania is still a republic, the act remains illegal without the approval of the Parliament. Michael also requested that if the monarchy were ever restored, the government consider dropping Salic law as it prevent a female succession.
Although the monarchy in Romania has not been restored, the government did declare a day of national mourning when Anne passed away on 1 August 2016.
House (birth): House of Bourbon-Parma
House (marriage): House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen
Father: René of Bourbon-Parma
Mother: Margaret of Denmark
Born: 18 Sep 1923
Died: 01 Aug 2016
Spouse: Michael I of Romania
HRH Princess Anne of Bourbon-Parma
18 Sep 1923 – 10 Jun 1948
HM Anne, Queen of Romania and Princess of Bourbon-Parma
10 Jun 1948 – 01 Aug 2016
Born: 26 Mar 1949
Spouse: Radu Duda
Born: 15 Nov 1950
Spouse 1: Robin Medforth-Mills (divorced)
Spouse 2: Alexander Nixon
Born: 28 Feb 1953
Spouse 1: John Kreuger (divorced)
Spouse 2: John Wesley Walker
Born: 29 Oct 1957
Spouse: Alain Biarneix (divorced)
Born: 13 Jul 1964
Spouse: Casimir Mystkowski (divorced)