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Romania’s royals open King Michael’s car workshop to the public

Emanuel Stoica via Flickr CC

Romania’s royals have opened a whole visitor experience attraction at the Savarsin castle. The car workshop of King Michael I was opened to the public last week. The inauguration took place in the presence of Her Majesty Margareta, Custodian of the Crown of Romania, and her husband, Prince Radu. Also in attendance was the Mayor of Savarsin, Ion Vodicean.

King Michael’s car workshop includes all the original pieces and tools that the King had in Savarsin in the 1940s and during his exile in Switzerland. A team of local craftsmen from the village of Ilteu, together with the employees of the Romanian Royal Family Collection Foundation, has worked hard to restore the workshop in its historic home, which is currently in the process of a restoration.

Bricks, wood, iron, copper, lime, sand and tiles from the 19th century were used for restoration. Using the old plans from 1943 and the photographs of the sovereign’s car workshops in Switzerland, the interior was arranged as closely as possible. At the request of her Majesty Margareta, Custodian of the Crown of Romania, the workshop will include, in the exhibition space, a TV where visitors can see video clips of King Michael talking about his passion for cars and working in his mechanical workshop.

King Michael’s car workshop was set up in Savarșin castle in 1943. Between 1956 and 1976, the workshop operated in Switzerland, at Versoix, at Villa Fantasia, in a wooden warehouse built by Queen Anne. Between 1976 and 2004, the workshop was moved to Villa Serena in the same town of Versoix, and then, from 2004 to 2017, it was placed in a rented space in the Swiss town of Morges. After 74 years the workshop has returned to Savarșin, in the building where it was housed in the 1940s. Savarsin Royal Estate is open to the public in July, August and September.

Savarșin Castle is a large country house situated in a 6.5 hectare private estate that was owned by King Michael I in Romania. It is the former Romanian Royal Family’s official country residence where the statutes defining the role and powers of the Royal Family were signed. King Michael I and Queen Anne spent their annual Christmas holidays here following the Castle’s restitution to royal ownership, a tradition continued by Her Majesty Margareta, Custodian of the Romanian Crown.

About author

Senior Europe Correspondent Oskar Aanmoen has a master in military and political history of the Nordic countries. He has written five books on historical subjects and more than 700 articles for Royal Central. He has also interview both Serbian and Norwegian royals. Aanmoen is based in Oslo, Norway.