King Charles wraps up visit to beloved Transylvania
Britain’s Charles III visited the Romanian hamlet of Viscri on Tuesday, wrapping up his trip to Transylvania — a region the king has said is in his “blood” as a descendant of Vlad the Impaler.
On arriving in Viscri, Charles was greeted by dozens of locals and tourists from all around the world, who waited behind barriers to catch a final glimpse of the royal before he returns to the UK.
Charles’ solo trip to the eastern European country is his first abroad since he was crowned king on May 6.
Last Friday, the king was received with military honours at Romania’s presidential palace in the capital Bucharest before he travelled to bucolic Transylvania, where he owns a number of properties.
After visiting the region’s Valea Zalanului, where he enjoyed hikes and picnicked with locals, Charles saved Viscri for his last day in Transylvania.
Viscri won the heart of the then-prince Charles when he first visited in 1998.
The house he bought there in 2006 was initially an occasional princely residence but has been transformed into a museum dedicated to botany.
On Tuesday, some were lucky enough to shake hands with the newly crowned king as they exchanged a few words and gifted him books — including Shakespeare.
Charles is “an example for our leaders, who did less than him for promoting Romania, for the environment,” said 75-year-old Radu Marinovici, who came to Viscri from a nearby village.
Romania must be “a country close to his soul and I think here he can find peace and relaxation, which he probably can’t find anywhere else,” Marinovici, accompanied by his wife, told AFP.
Last week, Charles said he has “always felt rather at home in Romania” in a reference to his links to infamous Vlad the Impaler through his great-grandmother Queen Mary. The 15th-century prince known as Vlad the Impaler was the historical inspiration for Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” novel.
King Charles, an enthusiastic environmentalist, praised Romania for still being “home to many species of flora and fauna that have disappeared or are threatened elsewhere in Europe and the world.”
“Without him nobody would have noticed us — there are so many tourists here now,” said local Ana Iosif, 75, as she peeked out from her front door.
President Klaus Iohannis credited the king’s renovation efforts in Romania, which have made locals realise the value of their traditions, customs and crafts passed down from generations.