She was not only a queen of poetry, but also a queen of many arts, journalism, charity and... Romania!
Pauline Elisabeth Ottilie Luise zu Wied (December 29 1843 - March 3 1916) was the Queen Consort of King Carol I of Romania, widely known by her literary name of Carmen Sylva.
Born in Neuwied, she was the daughter of German Prince Hermann of Wied and his wife Marie, daughter of Wilhelm, Duke of Nassau (and sister of Grand Duke Adolphe of Luxembourg). She was a prospective bride for Edward VII of the United Kingdom, then Prince of Wales. She first met the future king of Romania at Berlin in 1861, and was married to him on 15 November 1869 in Neuwied. Her only child, a daughter, Maria, died in 1874. In the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878 she devoted herself to the care of the wounded, and founded the Order of Elizabeth (a gold cross on a blue ribbon) to reward distinguished service in such work. She fostered the higher education of women in Romania, and established societies for various charitable objects. Because of this, the people called her 'The mother of the wounded'. She was the 835th Dame of the Royal Order of Queen Maria Luisa.
Early distinguished by her excellence as a pianist, organist and singer, she also showed considerable ability in painting and illuminating; but a lively poetic imagination led her to the path of literature, and more especially to poetry, folklore and ballads. In addition to numerous original works she put into literary form many of the legends current among the Romanian peasantry.
As "Carmen Sylva", she wrote with facility in German, Romanian, French and English. A few of her voluminous writings, which include poems, plays, novels, short stories, essays, collections of aphorisms, etc., may be singled out for special mention:
* Her earliest publications were 'Sappho' and 'Hammerstein', two poems which appeared at Leipzig in 1880.
* In 1888 she received the Prix Botta, a prize awarded triennially by the Académie française, for her volume of prose aphorisms 'Les Pensees d'une reine' (Paris, 1882), a German version of which is entitled Vom Amboss (Bonn, 1890).
* 'Cuvinte Sufletesci', religious meditations in Romanian (Bucharest, 1888), was also translated into German (Bonn, 1890), under the name of Seelen-Gespräche.
Several of the works of Carmen Sylva were written in collaboration with Mite Kremnitz, one of her maids of honor; these were published between 1881 and 1888, in some cases under the pseudonyms Dito et Idem. These include:
* Aus zwei Welten (Leipzig, 1884), a novel
* Anna Boleyn (Bonn, 1886), a tragedy,
* In der Irre (Bonn, 1888), a collection of short stories
* Edleen Vaughan, or Paths of Peril, a novel (London, 1894),
* Sweet Hours, poems (London, 1904), written in English.
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