Born to British and Russian royalty, Maria spent much of her childhood abroad, as her father, Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, was in the royal navy. At age 17 she married Ferdinand I of Romania, for political reasons. She spent the rest of her life as Queen of Romania. As queen, she was very popular, both in Romania and abroad. Marie is primarily remembered for her work as a nurse, but is also known for her extensive writing, including her critically acclaimed autobiography.