Sângeorgiu de Pădure Castle

Sângeorgiu de Pădure (also spelled Sîngeorgiu de Pădure; Hungarian: Erdőszentgyörgy; German: Sankt Georgen auf der Heide) is a small town in Mureş County, Transylvania, Romania. It is located 34 km south-east from Târgu Mureş, on Târnava Mică River.

Traces of housing dating from the Bronze Age and Iron Age have been found on the territory of the city. The first written mention of the city dates from 1333, in a document where a priest from Sancto Georgio pays a sum of 6 dinars to the neighboring diocese. The city was then known by its Hungarian name Erdőszentgyörgy. Sângeorgiu de Pădure belonged to the Kingdom of Hungary, Austrian Empire, Austria-Hungary Empire. Since 1918 it belongs to Romania, after the re-unification of Transylvania with Romania. It was occupied by Hungary between 1940-1944, time when the Jewish community was exterminated by the Nazis during the Shoah (Holocaust). It received the status of city in 2003.

In the early 17th century the domain came into possession of Counts Rhédey which since 1647 had seized the castle from the village center, the most beautiful and famous building in the area. It was connected to the church across the street with a balcony. The new castle was built in the 18th century on the same spot and was renovated in 1759 and 1809, in Neo-Baroque style. The new building was higher than the old one by one floor, had large vaulted salons and many murals, which fortunately have survived quite well. But after the building was nationalized in the late '40, the castle was reduced, the ceiling was made of wooden beams, and from the park that can compete with the great French gardens, remained only a small garden. In 14th century was built a church in Gothic style, which was restored in 1710 and 1935. Under the castle and the church is an phylum of tunnels and underground rooms, which were built especially for defense and as a refuge from invaders. The building is still functional and quite well maintained.

Count Rhédey János changed his domains in Hungary with his brother István and settled in Sângeorgiu de Pădure. In September 1, 1812, here was born Rhédey Claudine, a daughter of Baroness Inczedi Ágnes and Count Rhédey László, the successor of János. The small girl received a high education, being surrounded by nannies and all sorts of teachers of foreign languages and music. After she turned 15 years, the graceful teenager attended the Imperial court of Vienna, where she participated at the frenetic monden life of the Austrian capital. Chronicles of the time describe her as a predatory beauty, so she was rapidly noticed by the princes and counts from the royal court. At a ball, Claudine met Duke Alexander of Würtemberg, who stole his heart forever. The two fell in love at first sight and they decided to get married. The old Count, Rhédey Ferenc, stubbornly opposed due to the difference of rank of nobility which exists between the two ones. Only in 1835, after the death of Count, Claudine and Alexander married. Their marriage was fulfilled and blessed by the birth of three children: Claudia, Ferenc and Amalia. In 1841 Claudine died prematurely in Vienna and was buried in Sângeorgiu de Pădure. Duke Alexander was so marked by the death of his beautiful wife, that he left the Imperial court and retired for the rest of the days on the estate of Sângeorgiu. Some stories say that, in order to have always his beloved near him, Duke would have put the heart in a box of silver, which he carried with him throughout his life.

The only son of the couple, Ferenc Würtemberg-Rhédey met at a ball Princess Mary Adelaide. A new romance and a wedding like in stories marked the beginning of ascension to the throne of the United Kingdom. Their daughter, Mary Prinzessin von Teck, married George, grandson of Queen Victoria of Great Britain and grandfather of Elizabeth II. Their son, George VI married the Greek princess Marina (Lady Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon), which had a daughter, Elizabeth II, Queen of England.