b. Oct. 25, 1921, Sinaia, Rom.
Romania and, during World War II, a principal leader of the coup d'etat of
August 1944, which severed Romania's connection with the Axis powers.
After his father--the future king Carol II-- had been formally excluded
from the royal succession by an act of state (January 1926), Michael was
proclaimed king of Romania under a three-member regency on the death of
his grandfather, King Ferdinand (July 20, 1927). But upon the return of
Carol from exile (June 1930), the regency was dissolved, and Michael was
reduced to the rank of crown prince. With Carol's abdication in September
1940, Michael again became king but was in effect a prisoner of the newly
established military dictatorship of Gen. Ion Antonescu. Michael was
strongly influenced by his mother, Queen Helen, who at this time was
recalled from a 10-year exile. Becoming the focus of opposition against
the Antonescu regime, he arrested the dictator on Aug. 23, 1944,
signalling the overthrow of the military government. From the end of World
War II in 1945, he strenuously opposed the Communists' accession to power
in Romania but was ultimately forced to abdicate on Dec. 30, 1947, and go
into exile, finally settling near Geneva (with his wife, Anne de
Bourbon-Parma) and becoming an executive for a U.S. brokerage firm.