Vampires and the mythical character of Britain’s forgotten Queen Marie of Romania was explored at a special event celebrating Romania’s centenary.
Edge Hill University hosted Queen of the Damned celebrating the life and mystery of Queen Marie whose heart lies buried in Transylvania’s clifftop Bran Castle, famed for being the home of Dracula.
The granddaughter of Queen Victoria, Queen Marie married the heir to the Romanian throne and became one of the country’s most revered personalities through her sexual digressions and contribution to the First World War and Romanian unity.
After making numerous visit to the front and tending the wounded she affectionately became known as the ‘Soldier Queen’ and was instrumental in gaining international recognition for the new, united Romanian state in 1918.
Yet despite her great political and war influence the photogenic queen is long forgotten in Britain and mystery surrounds her private life with several alleged affairs and illegitimate children.
The Queen of the Damned programme includes a photographic exhibition highlighting the roles Romanian women played in the war, including Queen Marie, and a screening of ‘The Rest is Silence’, a film about the making of the first ever Romanian feature film in 1912 showcasing visual recreations of Romania’s War of Independence of 1877.
Reader in Media and Communications, Ruxandra Trandafoiu, who has studied the role of women in war, said:
“Queen Marie is a key figure in Romanian history, she played a vital role in WW1, formed many diplomatic alliances and lobbied for Romania’s unification, yet representations of her life have taken a fictional turn and she is often portrayed as a controversial angel-demon character.
“She is widely photographed and as she was considered a beautiful queen she has been demonised and vilified for her affairs and transgressions. Outside of Romania her two fantastical castles, including Bran Castle of Dracula fame, all add to her mystique.
“The theme of this event is fact and fiction in historical representation. By exploring war memories, the role of women and the fictional mythology of vampires and knights we hope to explore how Romania’s history has been shaped over the last 100 years.”
Speakers at the event included; Andreea Berechet from the Romanian Consulate in Manchester, Viorel Raducanescu, Romanian Honorary Consul, Liverpool; Prof Matthew Pateman from Edge Hill University on the appeal of vampires in popular culture; and Prof Raluca Radulescu from Bangor University on kings and knights in western and eastern medieval cultures.