The Corner

World

Good King Michael

There is a cliché: Sometimes you don’t know a man till he dies. Do you know King Michael of Romania? We call him a “monarch and mensch.” I have sketched him out on the homepage today, here.

When he was five, he ascended to the throne. On hearing the news, he asked for a piece of chocolate cake. He later contended with the Nazis. He led a daring coup d’état against a fascist dictatorship. His mother earned the designation “righteous among the nations.” He then contended with the Soviets. There was a long exile — then a return to Romania after the fall of the Wall.

“It’s good to be king,” people say, and often it is: gold, power, harems! It was not especially good for Michael. But he carried out his duty, and he set an example of modesty and morality in kingship.

Anyway, a life to know, and a life that tells us a lot about the century just past.

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