BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Romania's top court reopened a decades-old royal spat this week by officially recognizing the claims of aged former King Michael's older half-brother.
The late Mircea Grigore Lambrino died in 2006, but the judgement in the 21-year-old court case may give impetus to the claims of Lambrino's son Paul, who says he is entitled to a share in the royal inheritance.
"After this final recognition of me as a member of the royal house, there will be a lot of trials to partition (property)," the 63-year-old who styles himself as Prince Paul Philippe of Romania told Evenimentul Zilei newspaper.
Mircea Lambrino was the son of Michael's playboy father, King Carol II and socialite Ioana Zoe "Zizi" Lambrino. The couple eloped while Carol was still crown prince and secretly wed in 1918. However, their marriage was annulled before Lambrino was born.
Michael is Carol's son from his later marriage to Princess Helen of Greece and was forced to abdicate his throne in 1947 by the communists who ruled Romania until dictator Nicolae Ceausescu was executed in a violent 1989 revolution.
The royal family has since regained three residences in Romania, including Peles Castle in the Carpathian mountains and a palace in Bucharest, which were returned to the family after the fall of communism.
"This ruling does not create any dynastic rights nor does it establish the affiliation of the previously mentioned person (Lambrino), currently deceased, to the Royal Family," the royal household said in a statement on its website.
"This is valid also for its descendants, whoever those are. King Michael I is the only one who can speak on dynastic matters."
Paul Lambrino has close connections with Romania's President Traian Basescu, who baptized his now two-year-old son.
Last year, the president criticized Michael in public and declined to attend a speech he delivered in parliament last October for his 90th birthday.
Editing by Paul Casciato