To understand how long it’s been since Romania’s former King Michael first ascended to his country’s throne, consider that he was initially crowned more than 80 years ago, some six years before Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany.
Michael, one of the last surviving leaders from World War II, on Tuesday made his first address to Romania’s parliament since he was deposed nearly 65 years ago by Communist forces.
During a special session to mark his 90th birthday Michael called on his country’s politicians to restore Romania’s dignity.
“The last 20 years have brought democracy, freedom and a beginning of prosperity,” Michael told lawmakers, according to Agence France-Presse.
“The time has come after 20 years to … break for good with the bad habits of the past,” Michael added, saying that in 2011 “demagogy, selfishness and attempts to cling to power” should not have their place in the Romanian institutions, an implicit criticism of current politicians.
“It is within our power to make this country prosperous and worthy of admiration,” he added, prompting a standing ovation.