Tens of thousands of Romanians joined European royals to pay their respects to late King Michael who was given a state funeral on Saturday, the AP reports. Michael, who ruled Romania twice before being forced to abdicate by the communists in 1947, died at age 96 in Switzerland on Dec. 5. Britain's Prince Charles, Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, and Spain's former King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia, were among those at a pre-funeral service at the Royal Palace where Michael's body had been laying in state for the past two days. The Swedish king saluted as Michael's coffin was placed on a dais. Non-European royals attending the funeral included Princess Muna al-Hussein, mother of King Abdullah II of Jordan.
Bishops wafted incense in the small cathedral where Michael was crowned for the second time on Sept. 6, 1940. Michael, who was a great-great grandson of Queen Victoria, first became king at age 5 after his father Carol II eloped with his mistress and abdicated. In the hours before Michael's coffin was taken out of the palace, Romanians gathered silently, many in tears, in Revolution Square. Church bells tolled around the country and a choir of priests sang as the coffin was taken out and was laid on a dais in the square. Earlier, the crowd cheered and shouted "King Michael!" as the coffin, led by Orthodox priests and a guard of honor, was transported by an army jeep toward the cathedral.One mourner called the king "the last moral example for Romanians."