Mother-of-two, Rifca Stanescu, was only 12 when she gave birth to her first child, Maria.
She urged her daughter not to follow her example, however, Maria had her son Ion while only 11-years-old.
Stanescu was only 11 when she married jewelry seller Ionel Stanescu and he was 13. Stanescu revealed “marrying young” is a way of life in the Romanian gypsy culture.
They had to elope because Stanescu feared her father wanted her to marry a fellow villager in Investi, Romania.
Stanescu reveals her feelings about Ionel Stanescu, “I wanted to marry him, so I agreed, and of course after we had spent the night together then there was no way anyone could separate us. I had been promised to another boy’s family since I was two years old but I didn’t want that.”
In gypsy culture ones virginity is highly prized, therefore women are married young as possible so that new husband’s can be sure their new wives are virgins who affect a good dowry. The loss of virginity translates to a terminated deal.
Stanescu was forgiven for her secret marriage once her daughter was born.
Her second child, son Nicolae was born a year later. The young mother tried to persuade daughter Maria to stay in school, however her efforts were to no avail.
Maria left her mother’s home and wed when she was ten and had her first child six months later.
Stanescu revealed to The Sun as she cuddled grandson Ion, now two, and said: “I am happy to be a grandmother but wished more for Maria.”
Will Rifca also be the world’s youngest great-grandmother?