Peles Castle, the summer residence of the Romanian royal family, was one of the most modern castles of its times. Fairy tales alike, even today it is considered to be the 6th most spectacular castle in the world: 1) Hohenzollern Castle – Germany. 2) Howard Castle – Great Britain. 3) Alcázar of Segovia – Spain. 4) Himeji Castle – Japan. 5) Prague Castle – Czech Republic. 6) Peles Castle – Romania. 7) Chambord Castle – France. 8) Neuschwanstein Castle – Germany. 9) Corfe Castle – Great Britain. 10) Matsumoto Castle – Japan.
The breath-taking grounds of the castle was setting for “The Brothers Bloom” (2007)
The stars were Adrien Brody and Rachel Weisz and the movie received 3 Oscar nominations. Take a tour of the adorned saloons. You will admire a large number of statues, vases, fountains, mosaics and other art exhibits hosted within it. The story about the secret passage will captivate you. And so it will do the hand carved teak set received as gift by Their Majesties.
Queen Elisabeth of Romania’s notes
Started in 1873 in an idyllic setting, the fairy tale construction was quite an international undertaking. “Italians were masons, Romanians were building terraces, the Gypsies were coolies. Albanians and Greeks worked in stone, Germans and Hungarians were carpenters. Turks were burning brick. Engineers were Polish and the stone carvers were Czechs. The Frenchmen were drawing, and the Englishmen were measuring…” Queen Elisabeth of Romania was writing at that time. Apparently, there were 14 languages heard among the workers.
By form and function, Peles Castle is truly a palace but affectionately and consistently called a castle instead, by all. Its architectural style is a Neo-Renaissance of romantic inspiration. Its corespondent in the 19th century ideals would be the monumental Gothic Revival of Schloss Neuschwanstein in Bavaria. Ironically this is called a castle as well. Designed by architects Johannes Schultz and Karel Liman, it was decorated by famous interior designers J. D. Heymann of Hamburg, August Bembé of Mainz, and Berhard Ludwig of Vienna. With a multicolored style combining baroque and rococo influences, the magnificent castle defies any comparison…
The castle hosted grand figures guests. Royalty (Kaiser Franz Joseph I of Austro-Hungary), politicians and artists (George Enescu, Sarah Bernhardt, Jacques Thibaud or Vasile Alecsandri) came here. The last ones were often guests of Queen Elizabeth of Romania (known to literature as Carmen Sylva). In 1953 the castle was declared a museum. It shelters one of the most valuable and most important painting collections in Europe, almost 2,000 items. During the last years of communist regime (1975-1989) the entire area was declared a state protocol interest area and closed. But Nicolae Ceausescu did not like the castle very much so he rarely visited it.
In 2007, Peles estate and extensions have been re-ceded to King Michael I of Romania.
King Michael I of Romania
Born on October 25, 1921 in Sinaia, King Michael I of Romania was the son of King Carol II and of Queen Elena.
His first reign started in 1927, after the death of his grandfather King Ferdinand I. After King Carol II came back to Romania’s throne and his mother Queen Elena left the country, King Michael remained in the care of his father. When the latter abdicated in 1940, he became again King Michael I. On December 30, 1947 King Michael was forced to abdicate by the communist authorities. The abdication act, which was signed under threat, is illegal, invalid and never passed the Romanian Parliament. After an exile that started in 1948, the King returned to Bucharest in 2001. Since 2004, King Michael and Queen Anna lived in Aubonne, Switzerland. When coming to Romania, they used to reside at Savarsin Castle or at Elizabeta Palace in Bucharest.
Pearl earrings from Romanian King Carol II to his lover fetch EUR 2 million at auction (2012)
A pair of large pearl earrings was given by Romania’s King Carol II to his mistress as a gift. This layed forgotten in an English house for 35 years. Auctioned in UK, they have fetched just under EUR 2 million. Dating from the early 20th century, they a gift from the King to his lover, Elena Lupescu. After her death in 1977, Elena’s earrings were left to an English friend. This had no idea of their value and didn’t particularly like them. Thus the royal gift was left forgotten in a drawer. They only came to light when the current owner had other heirlooms valued for auction.
The Swiss Gemological Institute appraised the pearls and described them as outstanding examples, worthy of special attention. The rose/blue iridescence is known as ‘Pearl of Orient’ and is particularly sought after. Both the size and the color of the large pearls match, which is apparently quite rare. Auction house Woolley and Wallis estimated the earrings’ between about EUR 100,000 and EUR 150,000. But the price went up and up as determined bidders dead set on owning the royal pearls refused to back down. “The vendors brought them to us out of curiosity and were astonished to discover their value. We are absolutely thrilled with today’s result and delighted for the family,” said a representative of the auction house.
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