A Royal Flush

Perhaps because they’ve never had a monarchy, Americans have always been a little nuts over European royalty, even the lesser kings and queens.

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October 23, 1926 cover by Andre De Schaub.

In the lesser category was the Queen Marie of Romania, whose name and exploits appeared frequently in the pages of the early New Yorker. As early as Issue #4 (March 14, 1925), the magazine was reporting that New Yorkers were “agog” about a possible visit from Her Majesty, and that the North American Newspaper Alliance had offered her a contract to write her impressions of the United States.

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Queen Marie of Romania (Library of Congress)

The Queen filled the pages of both the Oct. 23 and Oct. 30 issues as she finally made her way to the American shores. “Of All Things” observed…

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“Trudy” referred to above was New Yorker Gertrude Ederley, still basking in her fame as the first woman to swim the English Channel.

Now some background on The Queen: She born into the British royal family, titled Princess Marie of Edinburgh at birth. After refusing a proposal from her cousin (the future King George V), she was chosen as the future wife of Crown Prince Ferdinand of Romania, the heir apparent of King Carol I, in 1892. She was the last Queen consort of Romania, and her trip to the U.S. would prove to be the last months of her reign (her husband, Crown Prince Ferdinand, would die shortly after her return). Her 5-year-old grandson, Michael, the son of Prince Carol, would ascend to the throne, only to be usurped by his father in 1930 (Michael is still living. He is currently 94 years old).

Things seemed fairly rosy in October 1926, as Americans awaited the queen and two of her children, Prince Nicholas and Princess Ileana, who were said to be seeking matrimonial matches in the States.

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Queen Marie, Princess Ileana, and Prince Nicholas of Romania on their American tour, 1926. (Henley Hamilton)

The issue’s “Profile” by John Winkler featured a mostly glowing account of Queen Marie…

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…although it was noted that Queen has to stoop to writing articles and endorsing products for a little extra cash…

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The “Queen of Roumania” and her Pond’s Cold Cream endorsement were featured in this April 1925 ad in Motion Picture magazine. (Image scan)

And the Queen would also be seeking a few bucks from Uncle Sam…

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The Queen’s visit was even on the mind of a cartoonist for the issue:

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The following week, in the Oct. 30, 1926 issue…

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October 30, 1926 cover by Stanley W. Reynolds

…the magazine offered an account of the Queen’s arrival, courtesy of writer Morris Markey:

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Note the observation about the “sorry trick” played on the Queen’s son, Carol. Markey is referring the fact that Carol had waived his rights to succession. Little did anyone know that “her boy” would one day seize the throne and work to discredit her name.

Markey also wryly noted the Queen’s objective to gain financial support from the U.S., even if her outstretched hand was covered in jewels:

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No Movie Queen, but she did have a flair for theatrics…

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(Kent State University)

Next Time: Fun With Harold

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Published by

David O

I read and write about history from the perspective that history is not some artifact from the past but a living, breathing condition we inhabit every moment of our lives, or as William Faulkner once observed, "The past is never dead. It's not even past." I read original source materials, such as every issue of The New Yorker, not only as a way to understand a time from a particular perspective, but to also use the source as an aggregator of various historic events. I welcome comments, criticisms, corrections and insights as I stumble along through the century.

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