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The end was drawing near. Her health undermined by her many troubles began to fail. After some months of illness, in
she passed away, and leaving this world where for all her royal rank she had known so much of grief and
tears she entered that Great Beyond of which she had thought so often and so deeply.
Her death and obsequies were attended with all the ceremonial that befits the passing of a Queen. But who can tell what
was the greeting that awaited her on the other side where she learned in an instant how true had been her intuitions of
the manifestation of God and where she saw unobscured now by any mortal veil the white eternal splendour of the
Truth that she, alone among the earth’s queens, had risen to acclaim.
The Guardian of the Cause and the Bahá’is generally recognized the distinction of her spiritual station and the greatness
of her service to the Cause. In July, 193 8 the Guardian on behalf of all the Bahá’is sent a message of condolence to her
daughter the Queen of Yougoslavia to which her Majesty replied expressing “sincere thanks to all Bahá’i followers.”
To the Memorial Service held in the Cathedral of Washington, D. C., U. S. A. the Bahá’is of the United States and
Canada sent a tribute of flowers. The following sentences are from an account of that ceremony:
1938, the first anniversary of the death of Queen Marie of Rumania, an impressive memorial service
was held in her honor at the Cathedral of Washington in the national capital of the United States. In Bethlehem Chapel
on this mid-summer afternoon national dignitaries and humble citizens paid loving tribute to a royal personage whose
name stands out with an especial lustre in the history of her time. The spiritual beauty of the service expressed the
character of this noble Queen—the first member of royalty to embrace the Faith of Bahã’u’lláh.
“Arranged by the Rumanian Minister Radu Irimescu, the service was conducted by the Reverend Doctor Anson Phelps
Stokes, canon of the Cathedral and former Secretary of Yale University. Among the diplomatists present were the
THE BAHA’I WORLD
and Italian Ambassadors and representatives of other European embassies and legations. The Secretary of State,
Honorable Cordell Hull, headed the American delegation which included government officials and representatives of
the Army and Navy.
“Directly opposite the altar in this intimate chapel stood the imposing floral tribute ‘from the Bahá’i Friends of
America’—a cross ten feet in height with a nine- pointed star at its centre. This emblem was designed by Charles
Mason Remey and presented in consultation with the National Spiritual Assembly. It was beside the Bahá’i tribute that
the Rumanian Minister stood at the conclusion of the service to greet the audience as they passed out, according to the
continental custom on such occasions.
“Not only did Queen Marie as the Dowager Queen of Rumania attest her faith in the Divine Cause through private
letters; she claimed the spiritual bounty of calling the Teachings to the attention of others.”
In these dark and troublous times, this Day (or is it not rather this Night?) of Judgment, when there is no open vision
and when the gift of spirituality is not esteemed, the connection of Queen Marie with the Bahá’i Faith may seem to be
but a small matter, the least episode among the multifarious activities of a crowded and brilliant life. But when this
sleep in which the world’s soul is shrouded ends at last; when
men’s spirits awakening behold the glories and the bounties and the opportunities that have lain about them, unwelcome and
unregarded, all these many years, then they will look back upon the past with a new and horrified understanding. They will gaze with
amazement and indignation and pity upon the incorrigible blindness of the mighty ones of Europe who despite the manifold warnings
of God led their people through misery upon misery and flung them at last into the ultimate abyss of war. But amidst that universal
darkness of failure and misrule that fills the palaces and chancelleries of the world men will see one solitary light shining in lone
splendor and will acknowledge the true majesty of that one redeeming soul whose high faith caught and reflected far the glory of the
breaking Dawn of God.
In later times, when the prophecies of the Bible are fulfilled openly before the eyes of all, when the New Jerusalem established in the
top of the mountains and “the nations of them that are saved walk in its light and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into
it”; then men will see treasured among the sacred relics of the first champions of the Bahá’i Faith one royal ornament, a brooch of
silver and diamond, the memorial of the first Queen who recognized and acclaimed the Glory of Bahá’u’lláh; and the name and the
deed of Queen Marie of Rumania will be on the lips of men forever. GEORGE TOwN5HEND
B LILIAN MCNEILL
AN article written by Martha L. Root in
June, 1936, giving an account of various visits to Her (late) Majesty
Queen Marie of Rumania, I found the following passage: “What a memorable visit it was! She told me she has a friend in ‘Akká,
Palestine, who knows Shoghi Elfendi, and this friend has recently sent her Bahá’i pictures of ‘Akká and Haifa. The two were
playfellows when they were children and met in Malta.”
I have the great happiness of being that
friend and I would like Bahá’is all over the world to share with me some treasured memories.
In the winter of 1888-89, five happy little girls played together in the lovely, sunlit orange gardens of the palace of San Antonio,
Malta. They were the four daughters of H. R. H. the Duke of Edinburgh, second son of Queen Victoria, afterwards Duke of Saxe-
Coburg-Gotha, who was at that time the Commander in Chief of the British fleet in the Mediterranean; and my-
THE PASSING OF QUEEN MARIE
self, daughter of Major Harry Barron, Royal Artillery, in later years Major General Sir Harry Barron, Governor of
Malta for a short period, and then successively Governor of Tasmania and of Western Australia.
Our ages ranged from thirteen years to five. I was youngest but one, and being rather delicate, on account of a fall from
a pony, could not indulge in the wildest of the games and was taken great care of by the elder sisters, and always called
“little” Lilian, a name used ever afterward by Queen Marie.
When in due course we all left Malta, our games were renewed in the gardens of Buckingham Palace and at Clarendon
House, their home in London. But we all always treasured those Malta days in our memories as a dream of happiness
unforgettable. Those times are fully described in Queen Marie’s book,
of My Life. We all married very young
and our ways lay apart for many years, though we kept in touch.
Queen Marie and I were reunited in close affection through the Bahã’i teachings, with which we both became
acquainted about the same time, she in Rumania, I in Palestine.
Nearly ten years ago, making a voyage of discovery in this neighborhood, across country where then only the roughest
of tracks existed, I came upon an old house, neglected, sosue parts almost ruinous. Two gigantic cypress trees, said to
be hundreds of years old, stand sentinel beside it. An inside courtyard was surrounded by a thick, high wall. Outside
was a little paved terrace through which flows the aqueduct which supplies the orange gardens and the town of ‘Akká,
and steps leading down to further terraces of gardens. There was a Bedouin family living in a tent in the garden, and the
olive pickers from a village near Carmel had been allowed to live in the lower floor of the house three winters running
during the olive harvest, so the state of the place can be imagined!
Nevertheless I saw the possibilities and the poor old house with its vaulted lower rooms had an intense and almost
weird fascination for me.
This is how I found the house which in Dr. Esslemont’s book, Baha”u’lla’h and the New Era, is described as the
Mazra’ih.” There Bahá’u’llãh and the whole family lived for about two years after leaving the town of ‘Akká before the Mansion of
Bahji became their residence. (In a somewhat similar manner and at much the same time, Queen Marie discovered her castle in
Transylvania that she called “Brana the Beloved.”)
It was in May, 1931 when my husband retired from Government service that we took a lease of this house and it was our great
privilege to be able to restore it, and make a garden
a proper setting for a dwelling with such sacred associations. Although we found
it a good deal altered on the second floor from its condition at the time when Bahã’u’llih lived there, the main features are unchanged,
the vaulted rooms on the ground floor particularly.
There is a rough cement floor in the room downstairs which was BahI’u’-lláh’s own special room. This I left as I found it, in the belief
that His feet may have trodden it.
Queen Marie was greatly interested in all we had done to the house, and we always hoped it would be possible for her to come here.
This is our “jubilee” year, fifty years this autumn (1938) since we first met, and we had hoped somehow for a reunion. But her serious
illness and the unsettled state of this country (Palestine) made it impossible to plan, and now
No one who ever had the privilege of personal or intimate acquaintance with Queen Marie could fail to be impressed by the greatness
of her mind and spirit. Her own life story reveals so well her ardent and joyous nature, the depth of feeling that accompanied every
thought and action. Professor Seton-Watson in his
has paid eloquent tribute to her heroism, devotion
and courage in the Great War. Nobody is perfect and there are always critics, but I generally notice that the latter are almost invariably
people who had never come into personal contact with her or perhaps never even seen her at a distance. What she did for Rumania is
now history and can be best glimpsed in the touching last message to her people. The world is the poorer for the passing of such a
noble lady, and a blank, impossible to
THE BAHA’I WORLD
fill, is left in the lives of those who knew her personally. She had passed through and suffered so much, even her
wonderful health was too sorely tried and we must be thankful in spite of the great loss to us all that she is at rest and
spared any further suffering. Her spirit is surely near us still and we must try to follow her noble example of great
endurance and courage to face whatever may await us in these troublous
The following extracts are taken from various letters to myself in recent years, and through these her own words we
surely can feel that Queen Marie speaks to every one of us.
“Dear ‘little’ Lilian, it was indeed nice to hear from you and to think that you are of all things living near Haifa and are,
like me, a follower of the Bahi’i teachings. It interests me that you are living in that special house; the Teachers so
loved flowers, and being English, I can imagine what a lovely garden you have made in that Eastern climate. I was so
intensely interested and studied each photo intently. It must be a lovely place and those south-eastern landscapes and
gardens attract me with a sort of homesickness ever since our Malta days. And the house you live in, so incredibly
attractive and made precious by its associations with the Man we all venerate. Cer 5
tainly the times we live in are not easy to understand for those who were brought up as we were. So much has been overthrown, so
many conceptions been changed. The methods used today are different from those in our times, and I refrain from criticism though I
cannot always admire. Everything seems to have become so much more vulgar somehow, so mercenary, so wanting in a fine ideal.
Also money has changed hands, the rich of today are another class. Life has been hard on royalty ever since the war, and yet countries
do not seem to have become more prosperous without them. Times are troubled, alas, and this unfortunate
war (Ethiopian) has made all things so inflammable and events seem so out of control that one cannot help being anxious.
“And yet who wants war?
. . .
Who could stand a war today materially or even morally? I really hope that I shall die before there is
“I lead a very quiet life, my household has become small, but I have the feeling of being well loved in the country. My people and I
are old associates, we have shared good and bad through forty-three years, and that counts!
ttj wonder if I shall ever travel your way again? For the present I have no plans, I sit still and watch the black clouds, and pray for
peace. With love and blessing, MARIE.”
QUEEN MARIE OF RUMANIA
himself from all else but Me! Such a king is numbered with the companions of the Crimson Ark—the Ark which God
has prepared for the people of Ba/n!. All must glorify his name, must reverence his station, and aid him to unlock the
cities with the keys of My Name, the omnipotent Protector of all that inhabit the visible and invisible kingdoms. Such a
king is the very eye of mankind, the luminous ornament on
nay, your very lives, for his assistance.”
HE first Queen of the world to study and to promote Bahá’u’lláh’s great Teachings has been Her Majesty Queen Marie of Rumania,
one of the queens of this twentieth century who stands highest in intellect, in vision, in clear understanding of the
‘Gleanings from the Writhigs of Bahâ’u’llâh, p.
THE PASSING OF QUEEN MARIE
new universal epoch now opening. Her Majesty received the book
Bahá’u’lla’h and the New Era
Esslemont and a note from the writer of this article who first visited Bucharest, Rumania, in January, 1926. The
Rumanian Queen, grand-daughter of the renowned Queen Victoria of the British Empire and of Czar Alexander II of
Russia, both of whom received Tablets from Bahá’u’llãh in their day, read this volume until three o’clock in the
morning and two days later, on January 30, 1926, received me in audience in Controceni Palace, in Bucharest. Her first
words after the greeting were, “I believe these Teachings are the solution for the world’s problems today!” The account
of that historic morning appeared in
The Bahd’I Magazine
in Washington, in June, 1926, but very illuminating letters
written by Her Majesty that same year show how deep was her confirmation. Here is one written to her loved friend
Loie Fuller, an American then residing in Paris, which after these ten years can be published for the first time:
“Lately great hope has come to me from one, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, a personal follower of Christ. Reading, I have found in His
and His Father Bahá’u’llih’s Message of Faith all my yearnings for real religion satisfied. If ybu ever hear of Bahã’is or
of the Bahà’i Movement which is known in America you will know what that is! What I mean, these books have
strengthened me beyond belief and I am now ready to die any day full of hope; but I pray God not to take me away yet,
for I still have a lot of work to do.”
Other letters record that first of all she was teaching her young daughter Ileana about these beautiful truths. For ten
years Her Majesty and her daughter, H.R.H. Princess Ileana (now Archduches Anton), have read with interest each new
book about the Bahá’i Movement as soon as it came from the press.
As we know she wrote three marvelous articles about these Bahá’i peace Teachings in 1926, and as they were
syndicated each article appeared in nearly two hundred newspapers in the United States and Canada. Many millions of
people were thrilled to read that a Queen had arisen to promote
Bahã’u’llãh’s plan for universal peace. Quickly these articles were translated and published in Europe, China, Japan, Australasia and
in the Islands of the seas.
Received in audience by Her Majesty in Pelisor Palace, Sinaia, in 1927, after the passing of His Majesty King Ferdinand, her husband,
she graciously gave me an interview, speaking of the Bahá’i Teachings about immortality. She had on her table and on the divan a
number of Bahã’i books, for she had just been reading in each of them the Teachings about Life after death. She asked the writer to
give her greeting to Shoghi Effendi, to the friends in Iran and to the many American Bahã’is who she said had been so remarkably
kind to her during her trip through the United States the year before. Also, she graciously gave the writer an appreciation of these
Bahã’i Teachings in her own hand-writing, for Volume IV. of the BAHA’i
Meeting the Queen again on January 19, 1928, in the Royal Palace in Belgrade, where she and H. R. H. Princess Ileana were guests of
the Queen of Jugoslavia—and they had brought some of their Bahã’i books with them—the words I shall remember longest of all that
Her dear Majesty said were these:
“The ultimate dream which we shall realize is that the Bahá’i channel of thought has such strength, it will serve little by little to
become a light to all those searching for the real expression of Truth.”
Another happy audience was in Her Majesty’s lovely summer palace “TehnaYuva,” at Balciê, on the Black Sea, in October, 1929.
Again in the home of Archduchess Anton at Mödling near Vienna she and her mother received me on August 8, 1932, and in
February, 1933, and Her Majesty made this great statement which was used as the frontispiece to BAi-JA’I
“The BahI’i Teaching brings peace and understanding. It is like a wide embrace gathering together all those who have long searched
for words of hope. It accepts all great prophets gone before, it destroys no other creeds and leaves all doors open. Saddened by the
continual strife amongst believers of many confessions and wearied of their intolerance towards each other, I discovered in the Bahá’i
THE BAHA’I WORLD
the real spirit of Christ so often denied and misunderstood. Unity instead of strife, Hope instead of condemnation, Love
instead of hate, and a great reassurance for all men.”
Then in the audience in Controceni Palace on February 16, 1934, when Her Majesty was told that the Rumanian
translation of Baha”u’lla’h and the New Era had just been published in Bucharest, she said she was so happy that her
people were to have the blessing of reading this precious Teaching.
How beautiful she looked that afternoon
—as always—for her loving eyes mirror her mighty spirit; a most unusual Queen is she, a consummate artist, a lover of
beauty and wherever she is there is glory. Perhaps too, a Queen is a symbol, people hke to have their Queen beautiful
and certainly Queen Marie of Rumania is one of the most lovely in this world today. Her clothes, designed by herself,
are always a “tout ensemble” creation so harmonious in colors they seem to dress her soul. She received me in her
private library where a cheerful fire glowed in the quaint, built-in fireplace; tea was served on a low table, the gold
service set being wrought in flowers. There were flowers everywhere, and when she invited me into her bedroom where
she went to get the photograph which I hke so much, as I saw the noble, majestic proportions of this great chamber with
its arched ceiling in Gothic design, I exclaimed in joy, “Your room is truly a temple, a Mashriqu’l-Adhkár!” There
were low mounds of hyacinths, flowers which Bahá’u’llah loved and mentioned often in His ‘Writings; there was a
bowl of yellow tulips upon a silken tapestry in yellow gold, a tall deep urn of fragrant white lilacs, and an immense
bowl of red roses. Controceni Palace is the most beautiful palace I have seen in any country in the blending of its colors
and in its artistic arrangements.
Her Majesty is a writer as well as an artist, and Her Memoirs entitled “The Story of My Life” were just then being
published in The Saturday Evening Post. She told me she writes two hours every morning unless her time is invaded by
queenly duties, charity duties, family duties. She was
pleased with the sincere letters that were pouring in from all continents giving appreciations of her story. She told me
the American people are so open-hearted and that from the United States children, professors, farmers’ wives and the
smart people had written to her, the tone in all their letters revealing Her Majesty’s entire sincerity and the deep
humanity of her character. One teacher wrote Her Majesty that in her childhood each one lived through his own
childhood: another said, “All who read your story have their own lives stirred!” The Queen remarked, “And this is a
very satisfactory criticism for an author.”
A most pleasing letter had just arrived from Japan from a girl there who thanked God Who had allowed her to live in a
period in which such a wonderful book had been written! “This,” said the Queen, “is one of the nicest appreciations I
have ever heard.”
Then the conversation turned again to the Bahã’i Teachings and she gave a greeting to be sent to Shoghi Effendi in
Haifa. Later she mentioned an incident in Hamburg when she was en route to Iceland in the summer of 1933. As she
passed through the street, a charming girl tossed a little note to her into the motor car. It was: “I am so happy to see you
in Hamburg, because you are a Bahá’i.” Her Majesty remarked that they recognized a Bahá’i and this shows a spirit of
unity in the Bahã’i Movement.
Her Majesty said to me, “In my heart I am entirely Bahá’i,” and she sent me this wonderful appreciation: “The Bahã’i
Teaching brings peace to the soul and hope to the heart. To those in search of assurance the Words of the Father are as
a fountain in the desert after long wandering.”
And now today, February 4, 1936, I have just had another audience with Her Majesty in Controceni Palace, in
Bucharest. As I was starting to walk up the wide ivory toned stairs carpeted with blue Iranian rugs to the third floor
suites, at that very moment over a radio came the rich strains of the Wedding March from “Lohengrin,” played by an
orchestra. It seemed.a symbol:
the union of spiritual forces of the East and Europe! Again Queen Marie of Rumania received me cordially in her softly
lighted library, for the hour was six o’clock. She
THE PASSING OF QUEEN MARIE
was gowned in black velvet and wore her great strands of marvelous pearls. The fire in the grate beamed a welcome with its yellow-
glowing fragrant pine boughs and large bowls of yellow tulips adorned the apartment.
‘What a memorable visit it was! She told me she has a friend in ‘Akká, Palestine, who knows Shoghi Effendi and this friend recently
has sent her pictures of ‘Akká and Haifa; the two were playfellows when they were children and met in Malta. She also told me that
when she was in London she had met a Bahã’i, Lady Blomfield, who had shown her the original Message that Bahá’u’lláh had sent to
her Grandmother Queen Victoria in London. She asked the writer about the progress of the Bahã’i Movement especially in the Balkan
“Since we met two years ago,” said Her Majesty, “so many sad events have happened! I look on with a great deal of sorrow at the way
the different peoples seem to misunderstand one another; especially now that I have become very lonely in my home, I have all the
more time to think over these problems, and I’m sometimes very sad that I can do so little. However, I know that the right spirit and
the right thoughts go a long way towards that unity of hearts which I haven’t given up the hope to see before I pass on.”
She spoke, too, of several Bahá’i books, the depths of
and especially of
Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lldh
which she said was a wonderful book! To quote her own words: “Even doubters would find a powerful strength in it, if they would
read it alone and would give their souls time to expand.”
Her Majesty kindly promised to write for BAHA’i WORLD, Volume VI, a special appreciation and to send it after four days.
I asked her if I could perhaps speak of the brooch which historically is precious to Bahã’is, and she replied, “Yes, you may.” Once,
and it was in 1928, Her dear Majesty had given the writer a gift, a lovely and rare brooch which had been a gift to the Queen from Her
Royal Relatives in Russia some years ago. It was two little wings of wrought gold and silver, set with tiny diamond chips and joined
together with one
A Floral Tribute to Her Majesty the Late Queen Marie of Roumania.
Offered by the Bahã’is of the United States and Canada on the occasion of the service held in Washington, D. C., July 25, 1938, to
commemorate the first
anniversary of her death.
large pearl. “Always you are giving gifts to others, and I am going to give you a gift from me,”
said the Queen smiling, and she herself clasped
it onto my dress. The wings and the pearl made it seem “Light-
bearing,” Bahá’i! It was sent the same week to Chicago as a gift to the Bahá’i Temple, the Mashriqu’l-A4hkár, and at the National
BahI’i Convention which was in session that spring, a demur was made—should a gift from the Queen be sold? Should it not be kept
as a souvenir of the first Queen who arose to promote the Faith of Bahá’u’ll4h?
—However, it was sold immediately and the money given to the Temple, for all Bahã’is were giving to the utmost to forward this
mighty structure, the first of its kind in the United States. Mr. Willard Hatch, a Bahã’i of Los Angeles, California, who bought the
exquisite brooch, took it to Haifa, Palestine, in 1931 and placed it in the archives on Mt. Carmel where down the ages it will rest with
the B1shá” treasures.
Inadequate as is any one article to portray
Her Majesty Queen Marie of Rumania’s splendid spiritual attitude, still these few glimpses do show that she stands strong for the
highest Truth, and as an historical record they will present a little of what the first Queen did for the Faith of Baha’u’ll ah.
Washington, 0. C.
July 23, 1938
To His Excellency The Rumanian Minister Washington, 0. C.
On behalf of the Bahá’is of the United States and Canada, flowers in memory of Her late Majesty Queen Marie of Rumania will be
sent to Washington Cathedral for the memorial service to be held there next Monday afternoon.
Her Majesty’s acceptance of the principles of the Teachings of Bahá’u’llah and her public statements regarding His Cause have
endeared her for all time to the followers of the Bahá’i Movement the world around. It is with heartfelt sorrow and profound regret
that the Baha’is have heard of Her Majesty’s death.
(For) THE NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY op BAHA’IS op UNITED STATES AND CANADA
(By) CHARLES MASON REMET
2440 Massachusetts Avenue
Washington, 0. C.
282 THE BAHA’I WORLD
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