Speech of Prince Radu at the Solemn Session of the Romanian Academy
Speech given by His Royal Highness Prince Radu in the name of the Royal Family at the session of the Romanian Academy held to commemorate the centenary of the death of King Carol I
The Great Hall, 6 October 2014
Ladies and gentlemen academicians,
King Carol I was the founder of the modern Romanian State, and 10 May is the birthday of the independent, sovereign European state named Romania. King Carol was a trailblazer, a visionary, and a man of action. Over the course of forty-eight years, he achieved the most durable development in our history, founding vital institutions, giving shape to our identity, and bolstering our national security.
It is very simple to evaluate the reign of Carol I. If we take the basic criteria of the European Union and NATO, we will see that despite the limitations of the time, Carol appears surprisingly contemporaneous: the founder of the fundamental institutions of the State, a promoter of professionalism in politics, society and the economy, a strategist and reformer of the Armed Forces, a proponent of soft power (education, culture, foreign policy, tradition, national identity), a European voice par excellence, a personal example, an initiator of civil projects, a defender of sovereignty while adapting to the regional game, and a contributor of troops to continental military alliances.
The Royal Family continues the European, democratic and constitutional covenant of King Carol I, contributing to the consolidation of the state and symbolically representing the nation, encouraging traditions, supporting education and our national culture, sustaining the benefits of democratic opportunities and globalisation, reinforcing Romania’s ties with Europe, promoting human rights and freedoms, and encouraging communication and individual initiative.
A society’s strength does not reside in politics alone, the destiny of a nation is not written by its leaders alone, and a society’s future is not mapped out by the minds that enlighten it alone. When after decades of darkness Romanians understood that patriotism is measured in infrastructure, that rôle models are as necessary as parliamentarianism, that the strength of personal example is as valuable as prosperity, when they experienced for themselves the fact that the legitimacy bestowed by the ballot box cannot replace either pride or competence, when they intuited that political ability cannot stand in for loyalty, today’s Romanians declared Carol I to be the second greatest Romanian of all time. It was also today’s Romanians, almost half a million in number, who demanded that the State restore their King to his rightful place.
You only have to look at the statue of King Carol and the Library he founded, as they appear today in Royal Palace Square, to understand that it is possible to build a clean but prosperous Romania, a delicate but institutionally sound Romania, a peaceful but vigorous, an elegant but pragmatic, a beautiful but powerful Romania.
The Royal Family founded by King Carol I almost one and a half centuries ago is a historical state institution capable, like its founder, of discovering, both today and tomorrow, new, flexible, motivated and suitable ways of being useful.
Today’s commemoration is a source of inspiration for the younger generation, because it pays homage to courage, professionalism, loyalty, and a new European beginning in our modern history.