Playboy King, Femme Fatale Head Home

Now, six decades after Carol fled on the treasure-laden train, his son, former King Michael, has regained some of the royal properties that were seized when the communists took power. Mircea, Carol's illegitimate son with Zizi Lambrino, and his son, "Prince Paul," have also put in claims for a share of the royal property.

As for Carol, his earthly property will now come down to a tomb in the chapel at the royal necropolis at Curtea de Arges. Lupescu, still snubbed by her royal in-laws, will be buried in a separate crypt some distance away.

Carol, despite his poor political and marital record, seems to have escaped the brunt of the opprobrium, which instead has settled on Lupescu. That's not strictly fair, says Michelson.

He believes Lupescu has gone down in history as a more infamous figure, in part, because people would rather believe their monarch is not culpable, but rather influenced by corrupt advisers.

"I think that part of that goes back to an Eastern European and Russian tradition that the king or the czar is a good guy but the people around them are bad," Michelson says. "I think secondly, there's the anti-Semitic element. She's Jewish."

Lupescu's reputation may also suffer because of "some level of distaste for women in politics," says Michelson. And she's not the only woman to get the brunt of the blame when a man is equally guilty, he says.

"Under Ceausescu, people hated Elena more than they did Nicolae, and attributed to her the masterminding of all sorts of evil which I think he was just as good at himself."

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