New Record: World’s youngest grandmother – aged 23
Romanian gypsy became the youngest grandmother in the world. 23-year-old Rifka Stanesku gave birth to her daughter Mary when she was just 13 and Maria gave birth to son Ion at the age of 11.
Rifca Stanescu, from the village of Investi, Romania, now 25, told the Sun: ‘I am happy to be a grandmother but I wished something else for Maria – and something else for me.
‘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.’
Born in 1985, Rifca defied her family’s wishes and ran away with jewellery seller Ionel Stanescu when she was 11 and he was 13.
A year after they were married, She said: ‘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 virginity is greatly prized and women are married young so that new husband’s can be sure their new wives are virgins.Loss of virginity means a deal is cancelled.
She added: ‘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. My family even took me home but after three days I ran away again to be with him.’
After Maria’s birth, Ionel’s family paid Rifca’s father a dowry and all was settled.
Maria’s birth made Rifca’s mother a grandmother aged 40.
Rifca said she begged daughter Maria to stay in school and finish her education.
Maria decided to follow in her footsteps and marry herself. Within six months she too had fallen pregnant with Ion.
She told how in Romanian gypsy community it is common for couples to marry young.
Rifca added: ‘I did not try to stop my daughter getting married because this is the tradition, it’s what happens.’
According to Guinness World Records The youngest grandmother was 26-year-old from Rotheram, Yorkshire whose 12-year-old daughter gave birth in 1999.