Romania's former King Michael I, a cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, has died in Switzerland at the age of 96. A year ago, he was diagnosed with leukemia and another type of cancer and he was unable to attend the funeral of his wife Queen Anne, in Romania last year. President Klaus Iohannis declared "days of mourning," saying Michael "wrote the history of Romania."
King Michael ruled Romania twice, from 1927 to 1930 and then from 1940 to 1947, before the communist government ended the monarchy. He lived much of his life in exile and returned with alternated period in Switzerland after the fall of the country's communist leader, Nicolae Ceausescu. King Michael is best remembered for his role in making Romania change sides, from the Nazis to the Allies, when he was 22-year-old, in August 1944. King Michael's Romanian citizenship was restored in 1997.
Former Romania's King Michael I
The former king had to find work during the exile. He said one of his favorite jobs was as a test pilot on private aeroplanes in Europe and the United States. Michael's death leaves only two people alive who headed their nations during the war - former King Simeon II of Bulgaria, and the Dalai Lama of Tibet, both of whom were children at the time. Michael's body will be flown to Romania and will lie in state for two days at the Royal Palace in Bucharest. Romanians associate their royal family, particularly Michael, with elegance and dignity. King Michael I had five daughters.