Well, wolvies, you wanted DRAMA and INTRIGUE for your novel "A Feast
of Eagles". You certainly got it!
(What, you thought we wouldn't figure it out??? These are Google's
First, I MUST give heartfelt acknowledgment to Researchers Leli and
Tehuti: Leli was instrumental in finding the critical web page and
assisting in its translation, and Tehuti did a smash job of
translating parts with which Leli and I had difficulty.
You are the beneficiary of a GREAT Researcher team effort here!!!
Alexander John Cuza's wife's name was Elena Rossetti; his mistress'
name was Maria Catargi Obrenovic, who was married to Prince Milosh
Obrenovic of Serbia (they divorced in 1855).
Information can be found using Google Search engine with various
combinations of the following names:
(Ignore search results with references to "Lizeum" and
"Universitatea"; these are references to Alexandru Ioan Cuza
University in Jassy (Iasi), Romania.)
"1859: 01/17: Col. Alexander Couza (an unknown officer) is elected
Prince of Moldavia" http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Oracle/9853/History_Europe.html#ROUMANIA
"First there was Prince Alexandru Ion Cuza, a Moldavian who in 1859
was chosen as both Prince of Moldavia and Prince of Wallachia... Cuza
also started to enjoy some of those princely privileges. Such as, his
favorite merry widow, the shapely Maria Catargi Obrenovic, even though
he already had a wife. This became an affair of state when he and
Maria had children, potential pretenders to the throne... He took his
wife, Elena Rossetti, from one of the leading liberal families of
Wallachia, and his favorite mistress from the Catargiu family, the
most powerful conservatives of Moldavia... So in 1868, Maria's
legitimate son, at the age of 14, became Prince Milan of Serbia. In
1882, he would be the first ruler of Serbia to take the title of
king... Milan abdicated his throne in 1889, turning it over to his son
Maria's real first name, strangely, also appears to be Elena, the same
as Alexander's wife:
THE OBRENOVIC LINEAGE (SERBIA)
[Maria Catargiu's first husband, before Cuza]
"6b) Milosh (25 Nov 1829-20 Nov 1861); m.Bucharest 22 Apr 1851 (div
1855) Elena Maria Catargiu (1831-Jassy 28 Jun 1879); ...[there is a
passage here speculating about a possible daughter of Milosh and
[their legitimate son Milan]
1c) MILAN, Pr of Serbia 10 Jun 1868, became King of Serbia 6 Mar
1882, abdicated 6 Mar 1889 (Marasesci, Romania 22 Aug 1854-Vienna 11
Feb 1901); m.Belgrade 17 Oct 1875 (div 1888) Natalija Kesko (Florence
14 May 1859-Paris 8 May 1941); m.2d 7 Mar 1893 his first wife
[Milan's legitimate son Alexander]
1d) ALEXANDER, King of Serbia from his father's abdication
(Belgrade 15 Aug 1876-assassinated at Belgrade 10 Jun 1903);
m.Belgrade 5 Aug 1900 Draga Lunjevic (Jornji Milanovac 23 Sep
1867-assassinated at Belgrade 10 Jun 1903)
[Milan's second son]
2d) Sergei (Belgrade 14 Sep 1878-Belgrade 19 Sep 1878)
[Milan's third son]
3d) [by Artemisia Christic] Obren Christic (1889- ), who took
the name Prince George Obrenovic; he attempted to gain the throne in
Excerpt from Henry Bogdan's book "From Warsaw To Sofia": "On January
24, 1859, the two assemblies elected Alexander Ion Couza, who took the
title of Prince of Rumania. This went unchallenged by the European
nations, and the sultan himself recognized it two years later. The
Rumanian state was born."
Bogdan's book mentions what may be a possible descendent of Alexander:
"Beginning in 1920, several fiercely anti-Semitic and
ultra-nationalist factions broke away from the People's League to form
the National Christian party led by Alexander Cuza, and the National
Christian Defense League of Corneliu Codreanu."
This possible descendent had the dubious distinction of being "Founder
of modern antisemitism in Romania", according to the Simon Wiesenthal
However, Cuza was not an uncommon name, and there may be no connection
between the two.
Different form for Alexander's name, from "Patrin: Timeline of Romani
History": "1864. Complete legal freedom for Roma in the united Balkan
states is granted by Prince Ioan Alexandru Couza."
Encyclopedia.com's entry for "Cuza, Alexander John": "(koo´zä) , or
Alexander John I, 1820-73, first prince of Romania (1859-66), b.
Moldavia. An officer who participated in the 1848 revolution and in
the political struggle for the union of the principalities, he was
elected prince of both Moldavia and Walachia in 1859, and in 1862 he
was recognized by the Ottoman Empire as sovereign of the united
principalities, thenceforth known as Romania..."
This page contains a description in French of Ruginoasa Palace, and
mentions TWO SONS OF ELENA.
"Le palais fut restauré et meublé avec beaucoup de goût par la
Princesse Elena, l'épouse de Cuza. Après la mort de son époux et de
ses deux fils, la Princesse Elena quitta, elle même, le Palais de
Ruginoasa. En 1907, la dépouille mortelle de Cuza fut réinhumée dans
la cripte de l'église, construite en 1833 et devenue ultérieurement,
la chapelle du Palais"
[The palace [at Ruginoasa] was restored and furnished with great taste
and style by Cuza's wife, Princess Elena. After the death of her
husband and her two sons, Princess Elena herself left Ruginoasa
Palace. In 1907, [Alexandru] Cuza's mortal remains were re-interred in
the crypt of the church, which had been constructed in 1833 and later
became the Palace's Chapel.]
http://ibelgique.ifrance.com/romania/chat.htm select "Ruginoasa"
This is where things start to get sensational.
"Elena Cuza - dincolo de legenda" [Elena Cuza: Neglected Woman and
Wife (1825-1909)] by Radu R. Florescu, professor Emeritus, Boston
This page contains the Romainian text of one of Florescu's "Essays on
contained in the book of that name (see
Some key passages from this page (with our "best guess" translation
from the Romanian):
"La scurta vreme dupa reîntoarcerea ei, Cuza a informat-o, în maniera
lui dura, ca Maria îi nascuse un fiu nelegitim, Alexandru. In 1865 i-a
urmat un altul, Dimitrie...
Decizia ei de a accepta sa adopte pe cei doi fii naturali ai lui Cuza
a venit tot din acest sentiment matern neîmplinit I-a iubit si i-a
crescut de parca ar fi fost ai ei. La fel ca în tot ceea ce a facut,
s-a dedicat lor în totalitate, renuntând la viata de Curte si la
Pâna la urma, tocmai acest gest a salvat casatoria ... In plus, el
stia ca sotia lui era o mama mult mai buna decât Maria.
Elena i-a purtat lui Cuza aceeasi dragoste si dupa moarte. Si-a
dedicat toata energia educarii celor doi baieti, Alexandru si
Dimitrie, o sarcina nu tocmai usoara. Alexandru era un tip flegmatic,
lipsit de vointa, in tentiona sa faca o cariera politica. Si-ar fi
dorit sa îl mosteneasca pe Cuza, dar o afectiune congenitala cardiaca
l-a obligat sa duca o viata linistita.
Dimitrie, mezinul, mostenise doar viciile tatalui. Stia ca nu avea
mult de trait din cauza unei afectiuni pulmonare, asa încât întelegea
sa îsi traiasca viata din plin, la Paris. Si-a zburat creierii la
Ruginoasa, în toamna anului 1888. Urma exemplul mamei sale, Maria
Obrenovici, care, atunci când a aflat ca este bolnava de cancer, s-a
sinucis la Dresda, la 16 iulie 1876. Avea 41 ani. A fost înmormântata
mai întâi la biserica Sf. Spiridon, din Iasi. In 1908, a fost
deshumata si mutata în cavoul familiei din cimitirul "Eternitatea". Cu
acel prilej, sicriul a fost deschis. Spre surprinderea tuturor corpul
ei era intact si arata de parca atunci adormise.
Alexandru, în ciuda sfaturilor Elenei si ale doctorilor, s-a casatorit
cu Maria Moruzi. A murit în timpul unei calatorii în Spania, apoape de
Madrid, în 1889. Prin testament, Ruginoasa revenea sotiei alaturi de
care traise numai sase luni si nu mamei adoptive."
[A short time after returning to her [Elena], Cuza informed her, in
his everlastingly polite manner, that Maria had given birth to an
illegitimate son, Alexandru [somewhere between 1862 and 1864]. In 1865
she [Maria] subsequently had another, Dimitrie...
She [Elena] decided to accept and adopt them as her natural sons by
Cuza, thus satisfying her maternal instincts ... she dedicated herself
completely to the children, renouncing the life of the royal court and
its social obligations...
So it followed, that it was precisely this gesture which saved her
marriage ... Furthermore, she made a better, kinder mother than
Elena continued to love Cuza even after his death [in 1873]. She
dedicated her whole energy to educating the two little boys, Alexander
and Dimitri, which was not exactly an easy task. Alexander had a
phlegmatic nature, lacking willpower against the temptation of a
political career. He was expected to be Cuza's heir, but a congenital
cardiac condition obliged him to lead a quiet life.
Dimitri, the youngest, inherited only the vices of his father. He knew
that he would not live long, on account of a lung condition [probably
tuberculosis], so he understood he would have to live the life he had
to the fullest, in Paris. He blew out his brains at Ruginoasa in the
autumn of 1888. He followed the example of his mother, Maria
Obrenovici, who, when she found out that she was suffering from
cancer, killed herself in Dresden on July 16, 1876. He was 41 years
old. He was initially buried in the church of St Spiridon in Iasi. In
1908, he was exhumed and transferred to the family crypt in the
"Eternity" cemetery. At that time the coffin was opened. To everyone's
surprise, the corpse was intact, looking as if it had only just fallen
Alexander, going against Elena's advice, became a doctor and married
Maria Moruzi. He died near Madrid in 1889 while travelling in Spain
[probably due to the congenital cardiac condition]. In accordance
with the [his] will, his wife [Maria Moruzi] returned to Ruginoasa,
where she lived with her "adoptive" mother [Elena Rossetti Cuza] for
only six months.]
More information may be contained on the following page:
"Alexandru Ioan Cuza and his beloved Maria Obernovici" by D. Olian
(also in Romanian)
Professor Radu Florescu would be a great person to contact for the
minute details of Cuza's life, possibly including information on the
children he had with Maria:
"Prof. Radu Florescu, Professor Emeritus of History at Boston College
and Director of the East European Research Center of New England, has
been named Honorary Consul for New England by the Romanian Foreign
Minister in 1996 ... He has written nnumerable academic articles and
books on Romanian history ... If you would like to send a personal
message to Prof. Florescu please eMAIL at email@example.com ".
The web site has a 2002 update, so he is still alive (aged 77).
Another good place to contact for the minute details of Cuza's life:
"Alexandru Ioan Cuza" University of Iasi (Jassy) Romania
Carol I Boulevard
11 Iasi 6600
phone: +40 32 201000
fax: +40 32 201201
Tel: +40 (232) 201000
Fax: +40 (232) 201201
A picture of Alexandru Ioan Cuza from the Government of Romania
Ministry of Public Information's Illustrated History of Romanians (
Alexander John Cuza
Alexandru Ioan Cuza
Alexandru Ioan Couza
"Maria * Obrenovic"
Elena Rossetti Cuza
Before Rating my Answer, if you have any questions, please post a
Request for Clarification, and I will be glad to see what I can do for
Leli, Tehuti, and I hope this provides you with exactly what you need
to make your novel more exciting!