The Romanian Succession Law of 1923/1938

The following text was published at the newsgroup on 10 March 1997 by William A. Reitwiesner (d. 2010), and is reproduced here by his permission. Romanian readers are welcome to suggest improvements in the translation.

The Romanian Succession Law of 1923/19381

Art. 77 (Art. 34). Puterile constitutionale ale Regelui sunt ereditare in linie coboritoare, directa si legitima a Majestatii Sale Regelui Carol I de Hohenzollern Sigmaringen, din barbat in barbat, prin ordinul de primogenitura si cu exclusiunea perpetua a femeilor si coboritorilor lor.

Coboritorii Majestatii Sale vor fi crescuti in religiunea ortodoxa a Rasaritului.

(The constitutional powers of the King are hereditary in the line of direct and legitimate descendants of King Carol I (d. 1914), male to male in order of primogeniture, with the perpetual exclusion of females and their descendants. The descendants of the King must be Eastern Orthodox.)

Art. 78 (Art. 35). In lipsa de coboritori in linie barbateasca ai Majestatii Sale Regelui Carol I de Hohenzollern Sigmaringen, succesiunea Tronului se va cuveni celui mai in varsta dintre fratii Sai, sau coboritorilor acestora, dupa regulile statornicite in articolul precedent.

(On the extinction of Carol I's male-line descendants, the succession to the Throne reverts to the oldest of his brothers and his descendants, subject to the same conditions listed in Article 34.)

Daca niciunul din fratii sau coboritorii lor nu s'ar gasi in vieata, sau ar declara mai dinainte ca nu primesc Tronul atunci Regele va putea indica succesorul Sau dintr'o dinastie suverana din Europa occidentala, cu primirea Reprezentatiunii Nationale data in forma prescrisa de art. 36.

Daca niciuna nici alta nu va avea loc, Tronul este vacant.

(If these brothers and their descendants declare in advance their non-acceptance of the Throne, the King will indicate his successor from one of the reigning Eastern* European dynasties, with the acquiescence of the National Assembly, as laid out in Article 36.

In the absence of alternatives, the Throne becomes vacant.)

*Please read Western. The mistake stems from the original ATR posting.

Article 79 (article 36) then describes how the Assembly meets and votes, etc.

Reitwiesner read the text as saying that on the death of King Michael without sons, the heir is the next Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen male.2 He stresses that there is no provision for morganatic marriages, just that the descendant have to be «directa si legitima».


(1) The text of the Succession Law is taken from the Constitution of 10 February 1938, which was abolished by royal decree of 4 September 1944 (cf. Gould-Lee, Arthur. Crown against sickle, p. 91) and the country then reverted to the 1923 Constitution. Romania was a dictatorship until 1944, when the Antonescu regime was toppled. The Succession Law of 1938 was the same as the Succession Law of 1923.

(2) On 30 December 1997 HM The King of Romania designated his eldest (of five) daughter, HRH Princess Margarita, Mrs. Duda, as heir to the headship of the Romanian Royal Family. The statement does not say that Princess Margarita has become heir to the throne, she will only become head of the family. New text in 2016: 10 years later King Michael left his former principles of accepting the succession law of 1923 as binding and made his eldest daughter heir with the title of crown princess.

I will try to get hold of the (full) English text of the Romanian Constitutions of 1866, 1923 and 1938 later.

DTH 13.03.2003/01.01.2008/11.08.2016: I have got hold of translations of the constitutions of 1923 (in French) and 1938 (in English) and hope to put them on my website in a not too distant future.

This page was last updated on Thursday 11 August 2016
(first time published at in 1999).

© 1999–2016 Dag Trygsland Hoelseth