Thursday, May 7, 2015

Queen Elizabeth, Esperantist

But did she write in it?
Not that Queen Elizabeth. The current Sovereign of the United Kingdom wasn’t even born when this particular Elizabeth was queen. Nor even her mother (another Queen Elizabeth). Not British royalty at all, but instead a German princess who became Queen of Romania (when she married the King of Romania). Our Esperantist Queen Elizabeth is referred to on Wikipedia as Elisabeth of Wied, daughter of the Prince of Wied, whose principality had gone out of existance before he was born.

In addition to being minor German nobility, Elizabeth was a writer, which she did under the name of Carmen Sylva. She was a prolific writer, although when you’re queen of Romania, you can get away with How I Spent Sixtieth Birthday. But it wasn’t all Thoughts of Queen, she also wrote things like Legends from River and Mountain, and Songs of Toil. She was also an Esperantist.

On May 7, 1910, the Daily Capital Journal of Salem, Oregon and the Tacoma Times of Tacoma, Washington published an item form the United Press about Queen Elizabeth of Romania.

Portland, Ore., May 7.—Queen Elizabeth of Roumania may visit Portland and the Pacific coast this autumn at the conclusion of the meeting of the International Esperanto congress which will convene in Washington, August 14 for a week’s session.

A formal invitation to visit the coast will be extended to the queen, who is also a well known writer, by the local Esperanto society, and the Harriman railroads.

Leaders of the society here said today it it practically issued that Queen Elizabeth will accept the invitation and visit the Pacific coast.

Queen Elizabeth is an enthusiastic Esperantoist, and she will come to American expressly for the purpose of attending the Esperanto congress.
The queen might have made plans to attend the 1910 Universala Kongreso, but this did not happen. In July 1910, the queen had an attack of appendicitis, whence ended any travel plans. She never made it to the Pacific coast. She did recover from the appendicitis, and didn’t die until 1916.

The Review of Reviews in October 1908 reported that
Extraordinary progress is being made in Roumania—and the new national magazine is very interesting. It is called the Esperantistul Romîn, the subscription is 4s. per annum. Naturally, the Queen, Carmen Sylva, occuplies a central place, for not only does she foster Esperanto, but she herself is studying the language, induced thereto by the needs of her blind subjects.
In 1916, Oliver Bainbridge wrote a biographical sketch of Queen Elizabeth of Romania. He wrote that
It is the object of the Queen to make Esperanto the medium of uniting the blind of all nationalities through an interchange of library-books in Braille Esperanto. Mr. Adams says that “Brailling a book is not lonely a long, expensive, and trying work, but it becomes very bulky. If done in any national language—English, for example—it can only be read by English-speaking people, but if, on the contrary the the book is done in Braille Esperanto, it is at once readable by blind people of all nationalities, so that, instead of selling one copy, they can sell a hundred at least. The Queen appreciates this fact, and has instructed the Professor of Esperanto to do everything in his power to advance the study of the language.”
Queen Elizabeth of Romania certainly was of higher noble rank than that other titled Esperantist, the Duchess of Marlborough, and it’s not clear that the (former) duchess did anything to promote Esperanto. She might not have been the Esperantist with the highest noble rank though.

Queen, poet, novelist, essayist, and Esperantist.
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1 comment:

  1. Was Queen Elizabeth the mother of Queen Marie of Rumania who was also an Esperantist?


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