While the story may be every republican’s dream come true, Buckingham Palace has denied the reports, but the Romanian media – which has something of a love affair with the British Royal family – won’t take no for an answer.
According to the claims, on the incapacity or death of Queen Elizabeth, Prince William would ascend the British throne and, according to one Transylvanian daily, Ziua de Cluj, the Prince of Wales would be crowned “Regele Carol al treilea” – King Charles III – in that country.
The tale has been picked up by national dailies and TV channels, with tens of thousands of blogs and comments online. In neighbouring Hungary the speculative Romanian article has been factually reported under a telling headline: “A British king on Romanian throne – Could Prince Charles and Camilla be Romania’s next ruling couple?”.
The fact that Romania has been a republic since 1947, with President Basescu firmly in power, has not diminished the interest in a British prince coming to the rescue, fairy-tale style, of the crisis-hit country.
There are some deep-seated reasons for this. The Prince of Wales is a frequent visitor to the country’s Transylvania province, where he owns several properties, including a manor house in a community once owned by his Transylvanian ancestors. His trust is involved, through the Mihai Eminescu Foundation, in salvaging the nation’s medieval Saxon villages and preserving “the timeless quality of life”.
Last month, in a television programme, he described Transylvania as “a unique treasure of Europe” and affirmed his ancestral links to the country by saying “genealogy shows that [on his mother’s side] I am descended from Vlad the Impaler. So I have a bit of a stake in the country”.
Charles’s professed love for Romania and his lyrical reflections on Transylvania caused Bucharest columnist Bogdan Chiriac to ask: “Has anyone ever heard Prince Charles referring with such beautiful words to England?”
In 2006, British historian Tom Gallagher said in an interview with Bucharest daily Romania Libera that Prince Charles was invited to take the Romanian crown, but declined.
This script has now apparently been revived by restive monarchists and politicians disillusioned with the republic and President Basescu.