A gypsy wife has become the world's youngest grandmother - aged just 23. Rifca Stanescu, from the village of Investi, Romania, gave birth to her daughter, Maria, while only 13. Despite her mother's pleas to stay in school, Maria decided to follow in her footsteps and marry herself at the age of 11. Within six months she too had fallen pregnant with Ion.
Ion, now 2, is already engaged to a girl aged 8.
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, Rifca fell pregnant with Maria.
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 who affect a good dowry from the families of prospective husbands. Loss of virginity means a deal is cancelled.
Picture is of Rifca and her grandson Ion.
Cute, but....em....no words.......OK a few words. I think there is a lot an 11 year-old can look forward to (in our society) apart from child bearing.