Crown Prince Vlad
Crown Prince Vlad Bragança-Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (1958-1985) was the eldest son of Aurel I, second king of Moldova. He became a feared and deeply controversial person, widely suspected of a variety of crimes. Many journalists, historians, psychologists and commentators speculate he was a sociopath. Among the many accusations against him were that he murdered his baby sister when she was five.
Vlad was groomed from an early age by his mother, Queen Lilian, to one day unite the kingdom of Moldova with the principality of Oltenia, her homeland, based on her membership in the House of Vlas-Florea. King Aurel was allowed little time or influence over the young heir, by both his wife and by the SNOR-ist government. By all accounts he was spoiled but not excessively so. More than one observer of the royal family noted how Aurel encouraged Vlad's abcense after the death of his second child Illona in 1966. Prince Vlad was Illona when she died by falling out a window. He claimed they were playing. Although this is widely believed to be a lie, no solid evidence to refute his claim of it being an accident has ever come to light.
Most who knew Prince Vlad in his childhood described him as vain, charming and somtimes a bully. He was an indifferent student, sometimes studying certain subjects in a burst of energy and other times doing no more than he absolutely must. In 1969 he accused one of his tutors of making sexual advances towards him. The tutor, Ion Radescu, died in prison five years later. There was no known animosity between this teacher and his royal student, nor any evidence of homosexuality or pedophilia in his past.
At age 18 Prince Vlad began to attend the Moldovan Army Officer's School, where he collected a group of favorites, some of whom remained with him for years. At least two incidents of accused rape (and rumors of more) were associated with the "Crown Club," as they were called, between 1977 and 1979. The Club also accumulated what would have been a considerable criminal record for burglary, assault and car theft had the authorities not refused to press charges.
Vlad had few enough duties when he graduated as a lieutenant, rapidly winning (or at any rate receiving) promotions. His positions mostly involved staff work, which (according to rumor) he bribed others to do for him. At the same time, he and his cohorts gained an increasingly sinister reputation. The "Crown Club" was essentially broken up in 1983 when several members were proven to be involved in heroin smuggling. A few quietly resigned or were assigned to remote outposts. Two committed suicide (or perhaps were murdered by the security forces). Another two were arrested, tried and convicted of serious charges. Their families claimed that amnesty was promised if they only did not make any trouble, but both were sentenced to long prison terms. One died there in 1988. Another, released in 1996, maintained Crown Prince Vlad was the leader of the drug ring and kept most of the profits.
In the two years after the "Crown Club" broke up, Prince Vlad neglected his duties and increasingly pursued a life of pleasure in a large home outside Odesa. Rumors of wild parties, including the rape of his female staff, grew and grew. According to some of them, nuns and children were sometimes the victim of the Crown Prince's attentions, and sometimes they did not survive. Firm evidence of this has never come to light, although circumstantial evidence of some rapes does exist, including that of the fifteen-year-old daughter of laundress.
On December 21, 1985 Prince Vlad was found in his study, dead. The official reason for his passing was a hitherto unsuspected brain aneurism, but the death certificate (eventually unsealed after the fall of the SNOR) listed cause of death as "heroin overdose." Some have speculated that he was in fact murdered by agents of Oltenia's Securitate in an effort to remove a future threat to the White Regency. Certainly it is true that Queen Lilian openly supported efforts to have Vlad declared rightful Prince of that nation, and was lobbying Moscow towards that end. Members of the Moldovan government were on her side, and she had some supporters with Oltenia itself. Many records of the Securitate were destroyed, so it is impossible to say for certain, although it is known the organization was keeping a close watch over the young Crown Prince.
Legends of Vlad's crimes grew with the telling, including some fairly wild theories:
- That Vlad had body doubles, one of whom was killed in his place. According to this idea, Vlad is in fact a member of a secret cadre hoping to return the SNOR to power.
- That Vlad was a serial killer who walled up his victims in the walls of his favorite villa. That villa's demolition soon after the Crown Prince's death, in theory, lends credence to this theory.
- That Vlad sexually abused his younger siblings. Neither Petru II nor his sister ever discussed their older brother in public.
- That Vlad as a child like to capture small animals and torture them to death. No evidence of this has ever come to light.
- That Vlad had a sexual relationship with his mother. While Queen Lilian doted on her eldest son (she became erratic and severely depressed upon his death), this seems more like an effort to equate Vlad in some way with Rome's Emperor Nero.
- That Vlad was actively plotting his father's death, possibly with the aid of Queen Lilian and/or members of the Moldovan government. Again, there is little evidence to suggest such a thing might be true.
Nevertheless, multiple accounts of rape and assault have been attested to by individuals in the years after the end of the SNOR. Several of these have medical records to back their charges. If not a criminal mastermind or Antichrist, it seems certain Crown Prince Vlad was a dangerous, violent young man. A certain genre of fiction within Romania arose in the 1990s, telling fictionalized versions of Prince Vlad's life and crimes.