Sitting resplendent on a throne-like chair King Michael I, 90, called for politicians to provide greater democracy and to restore the dignity of a country that has struggled to bring wealth and prosperity to all of its people since the overthrow of the despotic regime of Nicolae Ceausescu in 1989.
The king had been afforded the rare privilege of addressing both houses of the Romanian parliament in honour of his 90th birthday.
"The time has come after 20 years to ... break for good with the bad habits of the past", said the king. Taking a swipe at the country's present ruling elite, often chided for apparent self-interest and corruption, he added in 2011 "demagogy, selfishness and attempts to cling to power" should not have their place in Romania.
"All united, we have to pursue our efforts in order to become once more respected and dignified", he said in a speech that won a standing ovation and shouts of "Long live the King!" from some MPs.
Michael ruled Romania as a child from 1927 to 1930, and again from 1940 to 1947, overseeing a tumultuous period for the country which saw the country fall under fascist then communist rule, while in the meantime switching sides in the Second World War.
In 1947 he abdicated after the communist government said it would shoot 1,000 people if he failed to step down. Michael left for exile and was only allowed to return in 1992.
Despite the genuine warmth the king's address received not all politicians were happy with his presence in parliament.
President Traian Basescu refused to attend, describing Michael's abdication as a "betrayal" and calling him "Russia's servant". Although there is little sentiment in Romania for the re-establishment of the monarchy some politicians resent the king's willingness to use his position to highlight their shortcomings and the country's problems.
After his address to parliament the king attended a glittering birthday meal attended by members of other European royal families, including King Carl Gustaf of Sweden and Queen Sofia of Spain.