Thousands of Roma turned out for the funeral of their self-styled King as he was laid to rest in his hometown in Transylvania today. Florin Cioaba, 58, who had taken to wearing a king’s crown as the leader of the minority community, became famous around the globe for arranging a marriage for his 12-year-old daughter. After watching her storm out of the church to avoid becoming a child bride, ‘King’ Cioaba became an advocate for education for Roma girls and began preaching that girls should not marry before the age of 16.
This despite the fact that his dutiful daughter Ana-Maria had returned to the church moments later and was indeed married off to a 15-year-old boy of her father’s choice. Cioaba died of a heart attack while on holiday in Turkey last week, and received the sendoff worthy of a royal. His body was carried in an air-conditioned glass covered coffin down a four mile route in Sibiu, Transylvania.