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Romania: King Returns After 50 Years

Bucharest, 28 February 1997 (RFE/RL) - Romania's former King Michael arrived in Bucharest today for his first visit in 50 years as a citizen of Romania.

Michael was accompanied by his wife, Anne of Bourbon-Parma. Prime Minister Victor Ciorbea and a crowd of several hundred well-wishers met him at the airport.

Last Friday, the Romanian government restored the citizenship of Michael and his family, which the communists stripped from them 50 years ago.

The former monarch, who has lived in exile in Switzerland, recently said he intends to offer his services to the recently elected conservative-liberal government of Emil Constantinescu. The former king is scheduled to meet Constantinescu, attend religious services in Bucharest and to travel to his family's ancestral grave at Curtea de Arges, some 100 kilometers northwest of Bucharest.

Michael last visited Romania in 1992, when he was greeted by hundreds of thousands of people.