Rifca Stanescu (Photo Credit: CC BY-ND/AJ/Acontecimentos Insólitos)

Rifca Stanescu, a 25-year-old Romani gypsy woman from the village of Investi, has a daughter named Maria. Maria is currently a 13-year-old mother with a 2-year-old son named Ion. This makes Rifca Stanescu the youngest known grandmother ever, according to research conducted by the Sun and Daily Mail.

Gypsy Stanescu became a grandmother at 23

Rifca Stanescu, who was born in 1985, ran away and married jewelry seller Ionel Stanescu when she was only 11 years old, and he was 13. This occurred despite the desires of Rifca’s parents, who wanted their daughter to stay in school. Within a year, Rifca Stanescu gave birth to Maria. In a replay of Rifca’s childhood experience, Maria went against her own mother’s wishes when she was 11, and young Ion was the result. Maria’s schoolhouse days came to an abrupt end.

Despite the gypsy tradition prizing virginity and the commonality of young marriage, Rifca Stanescu harbors some regret.

“I am happy to be a grandmother, but I wished something else for Maria – and something else for me,” Stanescu told the Sun.

However, Stanescu sees a good future for grandson Ion.

“Ion is a good boy – and he is already engaged to a girl aged 8. Boys are always good to have – they don’t have to suffer as much as girls I think.”

Promised to another at 2 years old

Rifca Stanescu’s elopement with Ionel was made legitimate in Rom gypsy culture when they spent their first night together. Even though she had been promised to another boy’s family when she was only 2, a virginity contract exists within the culture that expects that a bride be a virgin. A virgin can also warrant a fine dowry from the family of the husband. If virginity is lost before the marriage is official, the “contract” is typically considered breached, and the marriage is canceled.

The marriage arrangement between Rifca and Ionel did not go off without a hitch. As Rifca explained it to the Sun, violence ensued during the early stages of negotiation:

“Before that there was a lot of fighting – once my father had even attacked my husband with a knife. He wanted him to pay 500,000 lei in compensation,” she said.

Sources

Daily Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1363699/Rifca-Stanescu-Gypsy-wife-worlds-youngest-grandmother-23.html?ito=feeds-newsxml
Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/08/rifca-stanescu-became-wor_n_833108.html
Sun: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3449681/Worlds-youngest-granny-is-just-23.html

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