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Romania Holds State Funeral For Former King Michael

Romania Holds State Funeral For Former King Michael
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Romania has held a grand state funeral for former King Michael, who died in Switzerland at the age of 96 on December 5.

European royals joined Romanian President Klaus Iohannis for a funeral service led by the head of the Romanian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Daniel, on December 16 in the capital, Bucharest.

Britain's Prince Charles, Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, and Spain's former King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia were among those who attended the funeral.

Earlier, tens of thousands of Romanians gathered in Revolution Square in the capital, Bucharest, where Michael's coffin had been laid on a podium outside the Royal Palace.

Crowds cheered as the coffin was transported toward the cathedral where Michael will be laid to rest on December 16.

King Michael I, who was the last living monarch from Eastern European countries, had withdrawn from public life in March 2016, when the royal house announced he had been diagnosed with skin cancer and leukemia.

A cousin of Britain's Queen Elizabeth, Michael was forced to abdicate in 1947 after the postwar communist takeover of Romania and had lived in exile in the West for decades.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP