A gypsy woman has claimed the title of the world’s youngest grandmother – aged only 23.

Rifca Stanescu, from Investi in Romania, told how she gave birth to her daughter, Maria, when she was just 13.
Despite her mother’s desperate pleas to stay in school, Maria gave birth to son Ion at the age of 11.

Stanescu, 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 girls I think.”

Born in 1985, Rifca disobeyed her family and ran away with jewellery seller Ionel Stanescu when she was 11 and he was 13. A year after their nuptials, Rifca fell pregnant with Maria.

In gypsy culture virginity is highly prized and women are married young so that husbands can be sure their wives are virgins. Virgins affect a good dowry from the families of prospective husbands and loss of virginity means a deal is cancelled.

Stanescu said: “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 Stanuscu’s’s father a dowry and all was settled. Maria’s birth made Stanescu’s mother a grandmother aged 40.

Stanescu added: ‘I did not try to stop my daughter getting married because this is the tradition, it’s what happens.’

The youngest British grandmother was an unnamed 26-year-old from Rotheram, Yorkshire whose 12-year-old daughter gave birth in 1999.