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400th Anniversary
A Russian Moment
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Eagar, Margaretta
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Olga Konstantinovna GD
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Paul Alexandrovich, GD
Paul Gilbert
Paul I, Emperor
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Monday, 22 April 2013
Royal Russia Launches Facebook Page
Topic: Royal Russia


I am pleased to announce that Royal Russia has launched a page on Facebook, the popular online social networking service which serves over 1 billion active users around the world.

The new Facebook page does not mean the end of my blog. I felt that Facebook was a good way to promote Royal Russia to a larger audience. It will also give people the option of viewing updates on both my web site and blog on one page.

Our Facebook page will be updated daily with all the latest updates to our web site, blog, book shop and more.

You can also add your own comments and engage in discussions with others about the Romanov dynasty, their legacy, the monarchy, Imperial Russian history and more.

This is an exciting new venue for Royal Russia, one of which I am sure will be enjoyed by Romanovphiles and Russopiles alike.

Follow us on Facebook page by clicking on the following link;  

Royal Russia - The Romanov Dynasty on Facebook

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 22 April, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 11:45 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 23 April 2013 10:11 AM EDT
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The Romanovs and Russia Film Week
Topic: 400th Anniversary

The State Russian Film Fund, with the assistance of the Office of HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna will present The Romanovs and Russia Film Week  at the Illusion Cinema in Moscow from April 19th - 25th, 2013.

The grand opening of the film events was held on April 19th at the State Film Archives theater with masters of Russian cinema in attendance. 

In the lobby of the cinema is an exhibition dedicated to the 400th anniversary of the reign of the Romanov dynasty. During the Film Week viewers will have the opportunity to see more than 15 feature and documentary films made in different periods of the last century, and the modern interpretation of the events of the past through the eyes of filmmakers of the century. On the first night film expert E.M. Barykina addressed the attendees on the catalog of films dedicated to Russian rulers of the Rurik and Romanov dynasties. This year's catalog was reissued in an expanded form by Gosfilmofonda Russia.

The Romanovs and Russia Film Week will end on April 25th with a screening of the award willing film Russian Ark by Alexander Sokurov.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 22 April, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:20 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 22 April 2013 9:33 AM EDT
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Sunday, 21 April 2013
Beautiful Orthodox Churches of Russia No. 8
Topic: Beautiful Orthodox Churches


One of the most spectacular churches in the Moscow region is that of Our Lady of Kazan at Kolomenskoye. Construction of the church began during the reign of Tsar Mikhail Feodorovich (1596-1645), and completed by his son Tsar Alexis Mikhailovich (1629-1676) in the 1660s. The Church of Our Lady of Kazan is crowned with five striking blue onion-shaped domes with golden stars.  

After construction works were finished, the church was painted and richly decorated with various fabrics and carpets. The metal floor of the central part and the stone floor of the side-altars were felted to make them warmer. The wall icons were decorated with veils and towels; many icons were kept in carved cases. It was mentioned that most of the court prayed in the refectory, the tsar's confidants prayed in the church in front of the icon-stand. The Tsar and the Tsarina sat on the festively decorated prayer thrones.

Up until the late 18th-century, the church was connected with a vast four-storey wooden palace built by Tsar Alexis in 1667. The palace was dismantled in the 1760s by order of the Empress Catherine II. A reconstruction of the wooden palace began in 2007 and was completed in 2010. Today it is heralded by some as the "Eighth wonder of the world" and has become one of Moscow top attractions. 

The Romanov's decision to dedicate this church to the Kazan Virgin was influenced by the role the icon played during the tumlutuous Time of Troubles. During the siege of the Kremlin in 1612, Russians carried the icon with them, as did the liberation troops, who ousted the Poles from Moscow and restored the monarchy.


The beautiful 17th-century icon of Our Lady of Kazan, mounted into the carved icon screen to the left of the royal gates, was recovered seventeen years after Tsar Ivan IV (the Terrible) captured the Kazan fortress from the Tatars in 1552.

The Icon of of Our Lady of Kazan miraculously appeared in Kolomenskoye on the 2nd of March 1917, on the day of the abdication of the throne of the Emperor Nicholas II, and she is now housed in a side chapel of the church. For more information on the Icon of of Our Lady of Kazan, please refer to the following article posted on March 25th, 2011: The Icon of the Mother of God.

Services at the church ceased between 1941-1942, but have resumed and are now held year round.

© Royal Russia. 21 April, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:15 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 20 April 2013 5:13 PM EDT
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Saturday, 20 April 2013
A Russian Moment 11 - Aerial View of Peterhof Palace and Park
Topic: A Russian Moment


Photo credit: 

This magnificent aerial view of Peterhof is a perfect example of the  sheer size of the palace and park complex. The Grand Palace and its extensive wings spread out in both directions, complete with a gold-domed church flanking each wing.

The extensive parks on both sides of the Grand Palace are among the lovliest in Russia. The pathways are dotted with sculptures, the gardens afford a variety of blossoms and sculptured hedges. Numerous pavilions can be found in the north park leading down to the Gulf of Finland.

Gatting to Peterhof is easy, but getting there by sea is the only way to go. During the summer months, visitors arrive from St. Petersburg by hydrofoil (departing from the pier directly in front of the Winter Palace on the Neva River). I have made this journey several times and highly recommend it. You can sit back, relax, enjoy the view of maritime Petersburg, and arrive at Peterhof in style avoiding the traffic jams that seem to plague the city's highways these days.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 20 April, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:43 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 20 April 2013 5:15 PM EDT
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Friday, 19 April 2013
Imperial Days at Peterhof Honour Alexander II
Topic: Peterhof


The Farm Palace, located in the Alexandria Park at Peterhof will host a series of events this month to mark the 195th anniversary of the birth of Emperor Alexander II.

The life of the "Tsar-Liberator" is closely connected with that of Peterhof. It was here, during the warm summer months that he spent much of his childhood and youth. He later took up residence in the Farm Palace with his new wife, Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovina (nee Princess Marie of Hesse and by Rhine) and their children.

The Farm Palace opened to the public in 2010 after undergoing restoration. Today, it is the only major museum dedicated to the memory of Alexander II and retains many personal items associated with his life and times.

The rooms on the second floor of the Farm Palace will be open to visitors this summer 

Events at the Farm Palace will take place from April 17-27 and include tours, lectures, and the opportunity to view the newly restored rooms on the second floor of the palace, which will open to the public this summer.

On a more personal note, I had the opportunity of visiting the Farm Palace last year. I was the only visitor and had the entire palace to myself. The restoration of the interiors is superb! Each room is filled with furniture, art work, portraits, photographs, and many other personal items once belonging to Alexander II and his family. The recreation of the historical interiors is so unique that one expects the Emperor to enter the room at any time. The gardens are an explosion of colour, and the surrounding park make it a must on any one's agenda when visiting St. Petersburg. 

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 19 April, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:46 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 21 April 2013 6:38 AM EDT
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Faberge Gift of Love from Empress Alexandra to Nicholas II for Sale at Bonhams
Topic: Faberge


Faberge cigarette case estimated to sell for £150,000 to £200,000. Photo: Bonhams.

The Russian Sale at Bonhams on Wednesday 5th June in London, features a stunning Imperial Romanov cigarette case of historic interest estimated to sell for £150,000 to £200,000.

This magnificent cigarette case of lavender guilloche enamel with heraldic eagle was purchased by the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, and presented to her husband Nicholas II on May 29, 1897, on the occasion of the birth of their second daughter Grand Duchess Tatiana.

Sophie Law, Director of Bonhams Russian Department comments: “There can be few items of recent Russian history that bear such a weight of sentiment – a gift of love between a doomed royal couple on the occasion of their daughter’s birth. It is made with superb craftsmanship by Faberge, but more importantly it commemorates three people whose lives were to end violently bringing to an end an historic era. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to own a Romanov item that passed from hand to hand from Czarina to Czar and would have been in daily use by Nicholas II.”

This important Imperial jewelled silver gilt and enamel cigarette case being sold by Bonhams was produced by Faberge, workmaster August Holmstrom, c. 1897.

From the Collection of Emperor Nicholas II, St. Petersburg it was moved to storage in the Kremlin Treasury in early 1917 for safe-keeping. Nationalized as part of Imperial treasures after October 1917 and probably de-accessioned (made available for sale) in late 1920s it was acquired by an American businessman in Moscow, at the Torgsin store on August 18, 1931 for 103 roubles. A copy of the original invoice is offered with the lot.

It is a happy coincidence that this sale coincides with the 400th anniversary of the Romanov royal dynasty’s ascent to power. The Romanovs ruled Russia for three centuries, until the Russian Revolution in 1917 when Nicholas II and all his immediate family were murdered in July 1918 in Yekaterinburg.

© Bonhams. 19 April, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:27 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 19 April 2013 6:34 AM EDT
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Thursday, 18 April 2013
"The Tsar and the President" Film Presented at the Library of Congress
Topic: Alexander II


A little-known friendship between Russia’s Tsar Alexander II and US President Abraham Lincoln in the mid-1800s came to light in a documentary shown in the United States for the first time Monday evening at the Library of Congress in Washington, and organizers of the event hope it can serve as a model for US-Russian relations today.

“This film ought to be in the schools. American children should know what a marvelous history we share with the Russians, and they don’t,” said former US Rep. James Symington, chairman of the nonprofit American-Russian Cultural Cooperation Foundation(A-RCCF), which arranged the screening of “The Tsar and the President: Alexander II and Abraham Lincoln, Liberator and Emancipator.”

As for the US administration, Symington said, “I don’t think they even understand Russia as well as they should because Russia is our friend, basically, through the ages, and that’s never been looked at.”

“It’s really hard to build a future when we don’t have historic perspective, and the truth is that Russia at the time of the US Civil War was the only friend of the United States. The US had absolutely no one who was on their side, so Russia was the only one,” said A-RCCF Executive Director Alexander Potemkin in an interview with RIA Novosti.

“In showing this film my hope and I think the hope of our board is that we can remember this and build on these positive things,” he added.

The 25-minute documentary, produced in Russian with English subtitles, explores a warm and cordial correspondence between Tsar Alexander II, the heir-apparent to the throne who enjoyed a privileged life from his earliest years, and Abraham Lincoln, the second child of a poor family who lived in a one-room log cabin, a self-educated lawyer who rose to power through political office.

During his reign, Alexander II wrote a series of letters to American presidents, but it was the exchange with Lincoln that reveals a personal friendship reflected in political actions that came at a crucial time for the United States.

“These were warm, friendly, familial letters between the two, not at all political, one announcing the birth of a grand duke in the family. It was all very warm, ending with ‘Wishing you great success,’ and ‘God’s love on your country,’” said Marilyn Pfeifer Swezey, a guest curator for A-RCCF who produced the US version of the 2009 exhibition entitled “The Tsar and the President,” a collection of more than 200 documents, photos and letters that form the basis for the film.

The exhibit opened in Russia in 2011, and the film debuted there. Organizers hope to show it in New Jersey and say they have also received interest from the Reagan Library in California.

Though the two men never met, and came from vastly different backgrounds, there are odd similarities. Both freed slaves in their respective countries, Alexander II with a manifesto that abolished serfdom, signed in 1861, and Lincoln with the Emancipation Proclamation, issued in 1862 and signed in 1863. And both were later assassinated.

With the United States in the throes of a debilitating civil war, “Russia was the only European country that supported the cause of the union (the North). Russia was asked, Alexander II was approached by England and France to join them in supporting the South, the confederacy, and he refused,” Swezey said.

Months later, in September of 1863, shortly after the North had lost several bloody battles, two Russian Navy squadrons arrived in America. They served as a symbol to the South and its allies that there was a barrier for any ships sent to support the confederacy.

“When the Russian fleet arrived in New York and several months later in San Francisco, Lincoln and all the officials in Washington were overwhelmed and said ‘Thank God for the Russians.’ They received the news as a powerful sign of support,” said Swezey.

“Russian-American relations right now are not very good and it’s really important to point out how close and friendly they were in the past. Maybe we should think differently about Russia, and we should think again about the fact that Russia really was a great friend in the past and I would think would be again a great friend,” she added.

© RIA Novosti. 18 April, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:45 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 18 April 2013 10:56 AM EDT
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Putin Revives Tsarist Regiments
Topic: Imperial Russia

President Vladimir Putin has assigned the First Separate Rifle Regiment the honorary name Semenovsky, the Kremlin press service reports. “With the aim of reviving glorious military historical traditions I hereby order that the First Separate Rifle Regiment be given the honorary name Semenovsky and from now on be called the First Separate Semenovsky Rifle Regiment,” the head of state said in a decree.

Putin also recreated the Preobrazhensky Regiment last month. This name was given to the 154th Separate Commandant Regiment.

President Putin first mentioned the need to return the historical names in his address to the federal assembly in December 2012. “The morale of our Armed Forces is held up by traditions, by a living connection to history, by the examples of bravery and selflessness of our heroes. I feel that we should revive the names of the most renowned regiments, military units and major formations of past eras within the Russian army – both from Soviet times and earlier eras, such as Preobrazhensky and Semenovsky regiments,” Putin said.

The Preobrazhensky and Semenovsky regiments were created by Peter I in the late 17th century and went on to serve Russia valiantly in numerous military in the years that followed.

© Russkiy Mir. 18 April, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:45 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 18 April 2013 8:03 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 17 April 2013
Faberge Reigns Supreme at Sotheby's Auction
Topic: Faberge


Photo credit: Sotheby's 

The April 16th Sotheby's (New York) auction of Russian works of art which included numerous pieces of Faberge brought in over $5.6 million.

The centerpiece of the Russian portion of the sale is a Rare and Important Fabergé Jewelled Gold, Nephrite, and Translucent Enamel Imperial Presentation Table Portrait by Workmaster Henrik Wigström with a miniature by Vasilii Zuev (St. Petersburg, 1909). In Imperial Russia, the diamond-studded portrait of the emperor was the most prestigious award that could be bestowed and this extraordinary piece is one of the few remaining in private hands. This piece sold above the high estimate at $413,000.

© Sotheby's and Royal Russia. 17 April, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:19 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 17 April 2013 5:38 PM EDT
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Orel Hosts Romanov Exhibition
Topic: 400th Anniversary

A portrait of Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna entitled The Nun by the Russian artist Mitrofanov 

An exhibition dedicated to the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty has opened at the Orel Regional Museum in the Russian city of Orel which is situated approximately 360 km (220 miles) southwest of Moscow.

According to museum director Andrew Minakova, the uniqueness of the exhibition is that is it presents items stored in the collections of various institutions for the first time - museums, archives and libraries. On display are portraits of the Romanov monarchs and their families, lithographs, paintings, medallions and rare photos and prints, albums and magazines, and a coronation album. 

Of particular interest are the original autographs of Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich, who owned land in the region, and the Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich, known in the literature as the poet KR.

In addition, a portrait of Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna entitled The Nun, by the Russian artist Mitrofanov. The portrait comes from the collection of the Turgenev Museum and the current Romanov exhibit marks the first time that the portrait has been put on public display.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 17 April, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 4:28 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 17 April 2013 5:17 PM EDT
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