Zizi Lambrino – “La misere noire” (Part two)

zizi lambrino
(Fair use via Wikimedia Commons)

Read part one here.

During this separation from Zizi, Carol took a mistress which apparently frightened his parents to such an extent that they allowed Zizi to come to Bucharest where they lived together. Carol spent the mornings with his regiment while the afternoons and evenings were for walking or driving with Zizi. However, Zizi soon discovered she was pregnant, and she wrote, “a shadow… fell across that second honeymoon.” Carol was delighted, but Zizi wanted an abortion. In May, his father asked him to go on a mission to the Far East, and Carol responded to this by shooting himself in the leg. Carol and Zizi then moved to Monastirea in the Danube delta to an “unprincely” house, according to Zizi herself. Zizi was not well during her pregnancy, and the heat in Monastirea did not help at all. Carol helped her dress her hair so she would not have to lift her arms and put on her shoes for her.

In July 1919, his regiment was ordered to go to Hungary, but Carol refused to go and considered it a “purely political expedition.” He then considered his options and offered to go if he could remarry Zizi. This was refused, and Carol reluctantly headed for Hungary all while preparing his renunciation of the succession. He arrived in Hungary to find the fighting already over. The regiment returned to their army camp at Bistritza where Zizi was not allowed to join him. Marie wrote to her son, “All we ask of you is to do your soldier’s duty and keep the promise you gave us not to forsake your country before it is out of trouble. Your happiness, like the happiness of many another, must wait till your duty is accomplished. This is not too much to ask of a man & a prince.” He wrote her several angry letters in return. Marie resolved to keep him completely away from Zizi, and they were kept apart for much through the late summer and fall.

Their son Mircea Gregor Carol Lambrino was born on 8 January 1920 and Marie wrote, “The fight with her will be deadly.” A few days later, she added, “The anxiety is still that they should get Carol to recognise the child as his. All this sounds so ruthless, would be so ruthless, if the woman were not quite such a beast.” The baby was registered with the name Lambrino to Marie’s great relief.

Carol wrote to Zizi promising her that soon they would be “the happiest and most united family possible.” This was quickly followed by a letter that stated that a life together would only end in “la misere noire” (black misery). It appeared that Carol had had a change of heart and Marie seized the chance and sent him on an eight-month cruise around the world. She promised him she would help Zizi and the baby. Marie later wrote, “I quite realised that for some I must seem a tremendously ambitious woman who got her way, destroying my son’s happiness because of my formidable pride, crushed another woman, casting her out into darkness…”

Shortly afterwards, Zizi and their son were exiled to Neuilly-sur-Seine with a pocket full of money. Carol refused to see her but wrote to her, “Do not believe that I was disarmed without a struggle. I resisted until the last extremity, and it was only at the moment when I saw I was alone that I declared myself beaten.” Carol never came to see their son and refused to be a part of the discussion over a settlement for her. Marie later wrote, “What she (Zizi) cannot get over and which, from a woman’s point of view I quite understand, is that Carol never came to see the child.”

Marie became determined to find a suitable match for her son, and he eventually married Princess Helen of Greece and Denmark, a marriage which would turn out to be deeply unhappy.

Zizi continued her fight against Carol for many years and later filed a ten-million-franc lawsuit against him for damages incurred by grief over their divorce. By then, Carol was living with Magda Lupescu in Paris, and her lawyer claimed that Zizi had been forced to submit to the divorce on the grounds of state and dynastic interested, which were invalidated by his subsequent abdication (he had renounced his throne for a second time).

Any income she got from Carol stopped in 1948 when communism had taken over Romania. In 1953, Carol received a telegram from his son that read, “Mother died, have no money for funeral.” Carol did not respond to his son’s message. Zizi had died on 11 March 1953. Carol himself died a few weeks later on 4 April 1953.1

  1. Read more:

    Dracula’s Bloodline: A Florescu Family Saga by Radu R. Florescu and Matei Cazacu

    The last romantic: a biography of Queen Marie of Roumania by Hannah Pakula

About Moniek 1925 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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