FROM THE DEPOSITION OF PRINCE COUZA (1866) TO THE
CORONATION OF KING
Accession of Prince Charles of Hohenzollern—Signs the Constitution—Former differences between the Prince and the Parliament—(Note: State of parties with leaders in 1881)—Action of Russia prior to the war of 1877—Turkish incapacity and obstinacy—Perplexing position of Roumania—Reluctance of the nation to interfere—First attitude of neutrality—The Porte declares the Prince an enemy—The Prince and army organisation—Value of Roumanian co-operation to Russia—The Russian army of operations—Crosses the Danube and occupies Sistova and the Shipka Pass—Repeated defeats at Plevna and elsewhere—Gloomy outlook for the Russians—The Roumanians cross the Danube—First estimates of them—Contemptuous criticisms and anecdotes—Changing views regarding them—Prince Charles appointed Commander-in-Chief of the allies before Plevna—Defences of Plevna—The Grivitza redoubt—Strength and composition of the armies—Commencement of the attack (August 31, 1877)—Capture of Loftcha by Skobeleff—Russian operations against Plevna—Great assault of September 11—Defeat of the Russians—Ineffectual bravery of Skobeleff—His appearance after the repulse—The Roumanians—The ‘indomitable’ Grivitza redoubt—Roumanian approaches (September 7 to 10)—Assaults and final capture and retention of the redoubt by the Roumanians (11th)—Carnage in the redoubt—Unsuccessful attempt to capture a second redoubt—Flattering criticisms upon their bravery—Further Roumanian victories and services in the war—Failure of Osman Pasha to break the lines of the allies—His submission—Interview between Osman, the Grand Duke, and Prince Charles—Russian ingratitude to Roumania—’Exchange’ of Bessarabia for the Dobrudscha—Treaty of San Stephano and Berlin Conference—Roumania independent—Coronation of the King and Queen—Conclusion of historical review.
After the fall of Couza the two Chambers elected the Count of Flanders, a younger brother of the King of Belgium, as his successor, but, owing probably to the threatening attitude of the Porte, that Prince declined the honour. Their choice then fell upon the reigning sovereign, Prince Charles of Hohenzollern (son of Prince Charles Anton, of Hohenzollern-Siegmaringen), who accepted the nomination, and was proclaimed Prince of Roumania on the anniversary of his birthday, April 20, 1866, and was received with great joy on his arrival at the capital. The Sublime Porte protested as usual, but this time the Roumanians threatened—at least, they determined to uphold their choice, and collected a strong force with that object. After vainly endeavouring to enlist the Powers on his side, the Sultan gave his assent to the nomination, and the Prince was invested with the sovereignty for himself and his heirs.