Princess Margareta was born on 26 March 1949 as the eldest child of King Michael and Queen Anne in Lausanne, Switzerland. She has four younger sisters: Princess Elena, Princess Irina, Princess Sophie and Princess Maria.
Margareta was baptised into the Romanian Orthodox Church with Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh as her godfather. She would grow up in Lausanne, Switzerland, and Hertfordshire, England, as her father was no longer reigning as he had been deposed in 1947, and the family was living in exile. King Michael often told them of their homeland that, at the time, they were not allowed to visit.
She began her education, which occurred in several countries, in Florence, Italy, while living with her paternal grandmother, Queen Helen. She returned to Switzerland for her primary education up until the age of nine. At this point, she then attended school in Hampshire, England until she was 13. She credits her studying and time in England for the improvement of her English. For her secondary education, she again returned to Switzerland where she received her education in French – which was a time she did not enjoy. Her Royal Highness later said, “I did my baccalaureate in Switzerland, got my driving licence the next day, and I left very fast. I really didn’t enjoy the baccalaureate. I didn’t enjoy school. I didn’t enjoy Switzerland.”
She took a gap year in Florence where she spent time with Queen Helen. Margareta then enrolled at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland majoring in sociology, political science and public international law. She graduated in 1974.
She became an accomplished equestrian and also served as a bridesmaid in the wedding of King Constantine of Greece and Princess Anne-Marie of Denmark.
Margareta worked for several universities after graduating from the University of Edinburgh and would also participate in a research programme focusing on the development of health policy recommendations and preventive pilot projects with the World Health Organisation. The royal also spent time working for the United Nations under the Population Fund, the World Health Organisation and the Food and Agriculture Organisation.
By 1986, she had joined the International Fund for Agricultural Development. There she was responsible for handling relations with non-governmental organisations and fundraising. Three years later, she moved to Geneva where she began working for the Romanian Crown Council. After the Romanian Revolution, she and her family returned to Romania. Margareta and her sisters were finally able to step foot in their beloved homeland in 1990. They were warmly welcomed in Bucharest.
What Margareta saw upon their arrival in Romania broke her heart, and after a child in a dirty cot died in front of her, she created the Princess Margareta of Romania Foundation.
In 1997, King Michael declared that Margareta was his successor and requested that the Salic law be overturned and replaced with absolute primogeniture. Ten years later, Michael issued “The Fundamental Rules of the Royal House of Romania” – new statutes for the Royal House that comply with the European Convention on Human Rights. He also requested the Romanian government install absolute primogeniture if they ever were to restore the monarchy. That same year, he named Margareta as Crown Princess of Romania and Custodian of the Crown of Romania.
The family took up permanent residence in Romania and participated in public activities. In 2015, she was named as the President of the Romanian Red Cross.
Margareta met Romanian Radu Duda in 1994 through the work of her foundation. They married two years later on 21 September 1996 in Switzerland. Three years later he was granted the style of “Radu, Prince of Hohenzollern-Veringen,” and in 2007, King Michael granted him the title of “His Royal Highness Radu, Prince of Romania.” The couple has no children, and as such, Margareta’s heir to the throne is her sister, Princess Elena. Margareta and Radu live in Bucharest at Elisabeta Palace.
Upon the death of King Michael on 5 December 2017, she became the Head of the House of Romania. She delivered an address to the Romanian people on that day where she vowed to continue his work “for the fulfilment of our mission towards the Romanian people,” which can be seen at the top of this article (in Romanian).
The full English translation of the speech can be read here.