Carmen Sylva, Queen of Roumania
by Fritz Morris
Photos by Ch: Chasseau-Flaviens
The Burr McIntosh Monthly, April 1907

The Queen in her conservatory

CARMEN SYLVA, Roumania's Queen, greatly resembles the Admirable Crichton. She is eminent as an author, as a dramatist, as a poet, painter, and musician, as a worker in tapestry and embroidery, and as a scientist, she having received the Paris Bronze Medal for a paper on hygiene. She was the Princess Elizabeth of Wied, and the way she met her husband, the King of Roumania, is sufficiently romantic to inspire a worker in the walks of fiction. It was at the German Court in 1861 that the youthful lieutenant, the Prince Charles of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, was attracted by the Princess's beauty. He kept her so closely in his sight that he was able to render a signal service. 'Coming down the grand staircase the Princess caught her foot in her train, and was just saved from disaster by the promptitude of the lieutenant, who soon after was called to the throne of Roumania. Six years later the Princess and her mother were at Cologne, whither they had gone for the Beethoven festival. They were staying at the luxurious Hotel du Nord, and had gone into the famous German garden for dinner when they met the King again, and recognition was mutual and instantaneous, The King sat and talked, talked of his throne, of his hopes and fears, his am­bitions, and the dangers besetting his regal estate. The Princess listened, rapt and eager, until the hour of the concert was long passed, and that night marked the Princess as the future Queen of Roumania.


Visiting her blind protégées

The Queen's diary is extremely interesting, and shows how strenuous a worker, and how simple a liver, she is, despite her sixty odd years. She rises at four in the summer at three—and writes or paints until eight o'clock. Then comes bath and breakfast, during or after which she reads to the King his letters and telegrams. Next a short walk is indulged in, and then more work—embroidery or literature. From twelve o'clock until one, the King and Queen enjoy a simple lunch, and the three hours between this and tea are occupied by the Queen in reading-English literature by choice. From five until eight, she devotes her time to the service of others, and at eight, after a slight dinner and supper combined, retires for the night.

A characteristic anecdote is told of Queen Elizabeth's kind-heartedness. One summer evening, some fifteen years ago, a little baby-girl barely a week old was discovered hidden in a basket at the door of the royal palace in Bucharest. All efforts to find the child's parents proving fruitless, Queen Elizabeth, having no children of her own, adopted the infant, which was christened Elizabeth, and has been brought up under the Queen's direct supervision and at her personal expense. The Queen is greatly attached to her adopted daughter and has made a handsome provision for her in her will.


The Queen at her needlework