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Thursday, 13 February, 2003, 18:40 GMT
Romanian king's remains go home
Service for Carol II in Lisbon cathedral
An Orthodox service was held for the late king in Lisbon
The remains of Romania's controversial king, Carol II, have been repatriated from Portugal 50 years after his death.

This moment is significant for us because it is another sign of our reconciliation with ourselves and with our past

Prime Minister Adrian Nastase
He was re-interred on Friday together with his lover, Elena Lupescu - a Jewish divorcee whom he eventually married.

King Carol's reign in the 1930s was marked by intense economic modernisation, but also by rampant corruption and intrigue, political violence and the rise of fascism.

Correspondents say the return of his remains to Romania marks a further step in the country's reconciliation with its troubled twentieth-century past.

'Fractures' healed

Romanian diplomats attended an Orthodox service in a Roman Catholic cathedral in Lisbon where the king was originally buried.

Man carrying portrait of King Carol II
Romania is trying to come to terms with its troubled past
The two coffins - his draped with the Romanian monarchist flag - were then flown to Bucharest.

The couple were then re-buried in a 16th century cathedral in the town of Curtea de Arges, 130 kilometres northwest of Bucharest.

"This moment is significant for us because it is another sign of our reconciliation with ourselves and with our past," Prime Minister Adrian Nastase said on Thursday at a brief airport ceremony to receive the body back from Portugal.

Coups

King Carol's affair with Lupescu incurred the wrath of Romania's traditional politicians who forced him to leave the country in the mid-1930s.

But he later returned and ruled as a dictator until 1940, when he was ousted in a pro-Nazi coup.

His young son, Michael, later staged his own coup against the pro-Nazi regime, but was forced to abdicate after the Communists took power in the late 1940s.

Carol settled in the Portuguese coastal resort of Estoril, a favourite destination for exiled European monarchs.

See also:

26 Nov 02 | Europe
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