The National Bank of Romania has issued three new coins to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Romania’s greatest Kings, Ferdinand I.
King Ferdinand is best remembered for his role in expanding Romanian territories during the First World War
Prince Ferdinand was born on August 24, 1865, the son of Leopold, Prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, and the Infanta Antónia of Portugal. Ferdinand was the nephew of King Carol I of Romania, and since the King had no sons, his brother, Ferdinand’s father, was next in line to the throne. However, both Prince Leopold and Ferdinand’s elder brother Prince Wilhelm renounced their pace in the Romanian Princely succession, leaving Ferdinand as Crown Prince, and heir apparent to the Romanian throne.
In 1893, Crown Prince Ferdinand married his cousin, Princess Marie of Edinburgh. Princess Marie was the daughter of Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, and a granddaughter of Queen Victoria through her paternal side. Although the couple had six children together, the marriage was an unhappy one. It was believed by many that their two youngest children were born as a result of an affair on the part of Princess Marie.
In 1914, shortly after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, Prince Ferdinand succeeded his uncle as King of Romania and was faced with the daunting task of leading his country into war. Ferdinand was a close relation to the German Kaiser Wilhelm II, his wife’s cousin but remained loyal to his country throughout the period of conflict. His wife, Queen Marie, helped the war effort by organising hospitals and convalescence centres.
Since Romania had entered the war on the side of the Triple Entente of Great Britain, France and Russia, they emerged victorious against the Central Powers in 1918. As a result, Bessarabia, Bukovina and Transylvania were united with the Kingdom of Romania, and King Ferdinand became the ruler of a much larger Kingdom.
King Ferdinand’s reign came to an end in 1927, when he died at the age of sixty-one. He had been King for 13 years. He was succeeded by his grandson, Prince Michael, who, after a long conflict with his father, Ferdinand’s son Crown Prince Carol, became the King of Romania. After the Second World War, King Michael was forced to abdicate by the new communist government and sent into exile. The Romanian government has since restored Michael’s citizenship, and he now divides his time between Romania and Switzerland.
The three types of coins, plated with gold, silver and copper, have been struck by the Monet?ria Statului, the State Mint of Romania. The coin bears a portrait of The King, along with his name, “Ferdinand I” above the portrait, and his designation “Rege Al Romaniei” (King of Romania) below it. The other side of the coin bears an image of the bell tower of the Coronation Cathedral in Alba Iulia. The coronation of King Ferdinand and Queen Marie took place there in 1922.
The coins are accompanied by leaflets featuring a presentation of the numismatic issue, and a certificate of authenticity bearing the signatures of the Governor and the Chief Cashier of the National Bank of Romania. The coins can be bought online, on the website of the National Bank of Romania.
Photo credit: CameliaTWU