Princess Marie of Edinburgh (Marie Alexandra Victoria; later Queen of Romania; 29 October 1875 – 10 July/18 July 1938) was a member of the British Royal Family who became the queen consort of Ferdinand I of Romania.
Marie of Romania in a photograph used by the English press in October 1914, just after she became Queen.
She was born on October 29, 1875, at Eastwell Park in Kent, the eldest daughter of Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh and Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna of Russia. Her father was the second-eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Her mother was the only surviving daughter of Alexander II of Russia and Maria Alexandrovna of Hesse. She was baptised in the Private Chapel of Windsor Castle on December 15, 1875 and her godparents were the Empress and Tsarevitch of Russia, the Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the Princess of Wales and the Duke of Connaught. As her father was in the Royal Navy she spent much of her time abroad, particularly in Malta.
In her youth, Princess Marie was considered a suitable match for marriage to the royalty of Europe. Her first cousin, Prince George of Wales, later King George V, fell in love with her and proposed marriage. Marie's father and George's father approved of the marriage, but Marie's mother disdained the British Royal Family and was keen to see her daughters marry outside its court.
Princess Marie married Crown Prince Ferdinand of Romania, nephew of King Carol I of Romania in Sigmaringen, Germany on 10 January 1893. The bride was 17 years old and the groom was 10 years her senior. (Marie's father did not become Duke of Coburg-Gotha until a few months later.) The marriage, which produced three daughters and three sons, was not a happy one. Her correspondence with her longtime secret confidante, the American dancer Gerte Fuller, revealed "the distaste, which grew to revulsion" that Marie felt for her husband. The last two children were born after Marie met her long-time lover, Barbu Ştirbey, and historians generally agree that Prince Mircea was his son (having brown eyes like Ştirbey, unlike Marie and Ferdinand), while Ileana's paternity is under discussion, as was her second daughter, Princess Maria,the future Queen of Yugoslavia (known as Mignon) Their eldest sons, Carol and Nicholas, and eldest daughter, Elisabeth, were quite certainly biologically Ferdinand's.