A Romanian princess pleads guilty to cockfighting. Say what?

Princess Elsa she’s not.

FILE - An Aug. 16, 2013, booking photo provided by the Multnomah County Sheriff's office shows Irina Walker. Walker, a Romanian princess, has pleaded guilty to operating an illegal gambling business in connection with a cockfighting enterprise in eastern Oregon. Walker and her husband, John, accepted plea deal in which the government dismissed charges of animal fighting and conspiracy to violate the animal welfare act. (AP Photo/Multnomah County Sheriff, File)
Irina Walker. (Multnomah County Sheriff via AP)

Irina Walker, a 61-year-old Romanian princess, pleaded guilty to operating an illegal gambling business in rural Oregon, according to USA Today.

That business? Cockfighting.

Not familiar with the sport? For some, it’s a tradition.

Others take a harsher view. A primer from the Humane Society: “In a cockfight, two roosters fight each other to the death while people place bets. Cockfighters let the birds suffer untreated injuries or throw the birds away like trash afterwards. Besides being cruel, cockfighting often goes hand in hand with gambling, drug dealing, illegal gun sales and murder.”

Tiaras not required.

But how did the third daughter of King Michael I go from ball gowns to blood sport in half a century?

In short: She moved to America, married a former sheriff’s deputy and got a little weird.

In 1947, King Michael — a cousin of Queen Elizabeth — was forced to abdicate by communists. He fled to Switzerland, where Irina was born in 1953.

The princess moved to the United States from Switzerland in 1983. Her first husband, John Kreuger, loved Oregon.

“We tried to live as normal as possible around here,” Angelica Kreuger, her daughter, told the Associated Press last year. “Then you go over to Europe and that’s sort of like all fancy.”

In 2007, Irina divorced and married John Walker, a neighbor.

She kind of turned hippie,” Angelica Kreuger told the AP. “From when we were growing up to when she moved to Hermiston, she just kind of did the whole free-spirit thing. She just wanted to wake up in the morning and tend to her goats and mess with her horses.”

Walker, a former sheriff’s deputy also involved in the cockfighting ring, also pleaded guilty.

How it worked, via USA Today: “People who brought roosters to fight paid $1,000 to enter, and the pool ranged from $10,000 to $18,000. The person whose roosters won the most fights took home the money, except for the 10 percent takeout kept by the referees.”

The price to attend? A $20 cover.

Irina provided food at first, but that didn’t work out. The cockfighters preferred Mexican, the Oregonian reported.

The joint was raided last year, and Irina had to wear an electronic-monitoring bracelet.

Sentencing is set for Oct. 22. The couple may have to forfeit their ranch and pay the government $200,000 from cockfighting proceeds.

Justin Moyer is the deputy editor of the Morning Mix.
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