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Sunday, 31 August 2014
From St. Petersburg to Petrograd
Topic: St. Petersburg

One hundred years ago, on 31st August  [O.S. 18th August] 1914, the name of St. Petersburg disappeared from the map of the Russian Empire.  Emperor Nicholas II ordered the renaming the city during the First World War, for political and ideological reasons, on a wave of anti-German sentiment. It’s German name was considered irrelevant and alien due to the conditions of the war with Germany, so a decision was made to remove the German words Sankt and Burg from the city name.

The renaming of the Russian capital, however, was to turn into stormy public debate. Not every one in St. Petersburg considered changing the name as the right step. Many treated it with irony and bitterness. Emperor Nicholas II, who signed this manifesto on August 31st,  listened to much ridicule on the matter, even from his mother. "Soon, we shall call Peterhof,  Petrushkin yard"- feared the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna.

Petrograd, meaning "Peter's City",  - the new name of the then Russian capital corresponded with the political sentiment of the time, and in line with the Slavic spirit of the people, who inspired their fellow Slavs in the Balkans. The city wanted that the capital should reflect a Russian name, and St. Petersburg was about to become Holy Petrograd. But in the end it was shortened to Petrograd. The city lived with this name for the next 10 years, a period which became one of the most complex and dramatic periods in its history.

The headline of a special edition of the newspaper Commercial News announced: "We went to bed at St. Petersburg, and woke up in Petrograd!". 
After 10 years, the city was renamed Leningrad. And in 1991, returned to it’s original historic name - St. Petersburg. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 31 August, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:00 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 4 September 2014 7:05 AM EDT
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Saturday, 30 August 2014
A Russian Moment No. 45 - Bust of Emperor Nicholas I, Vitebsky Railway Station
Topic: A Russian Moment

A bust of Emperor Nicholas I sits at the top of the main staircase of the art nouveau hall of the Vitebsky Railway Station, St. Petersburg
During tsarist times, a total of 15 monuments of Emperor Nicholas I had been established in Russia. During the Soviet era they were all destroyed, except one: the equestrian statue located at St. Isaac’s Square in St. Petersburg. In recent years, a second monument to the "Iron Tsar" has been unveiled in Russia.

A bust of Nicholas I was unveiled on May 19, 2003 on the grand staircase of the elaborate art nouveau hall of the Vitebsky Railway Station (formerly known as the Tsarskoye Selo Station) in St. Petersburg. The bust is made of tinted plaster, the pedestal is made of granite, height 350 cm. The creators are sculptors V.S. and S.V. Ivanov, and the architect T.L. Toricha.

This particular railway station is a fitting location for such a monument to Emperor Nicholas I, during whose reign Russia's first railway was opened in 1837. Two plaques have been placed to the left and right of the bust. The inscription on the left reads: "The first Russian railway - Tsarskoye Selo - opened in the reign of Emperor Nicholas I, October 30, 1837." On the right: "St. Petersburg - Vitebsky Railway Station opened in the reign of Emperor Nicholas II, August 1, 1904." 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 30 August, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:46 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 30 August 2014 7:51 AM EDT
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Friday, 29 August 2014
Royal Russia Annual No. 6 - Summer 2014 - NOW IN STOCK
Topic: Books



The No. 6 - Summer 2014 issue of our official magazine, Royal Russia Annual is now in stock and available for purchase from our online bookshop.

This issue features 121 pages, with 108 black and white photographs, and the following 8 full-length articles:

Elizabeth Petrovna: The Heart of an Empress
- Empress Elizabeth's personality and some of the theories concerning her secret marriage to Rozumovsky as well as the later legends of the two supposed daughters of that marriage: Princesses Elizabeth and Augusta are examined 
by Irena W. Galaktionova

The Russian Imperial and Royal Order of St Stanislas
- the first comprehensive English language study on the history of the Order of Saint Stanislas
by Nicholas B.A. Nicholson

My Russia: The Imperial Yacht Museum at Peterhof
- a brief look at the collection of the little-known Imperial Yacht Museum at Peterhof  
by Paul Gilbert 
My Visit to the Holy Trinity Monastery at Jordanville, New York
- Review of the new Foundation of the Russian History Museum, the Russian Nobility Association Reading Room and my investiture into the Imperial and Royal Order of St. Stanislas
by Paul Gilbert 

The Kitchen Building of the Alexander Palace
- Historian Igor Zimin explores the history of the Kitchen Building of the Alexander Palace, and dispels many of the Imperial Kitchen myths
Translated by Irena W. Galaktionova

‘An Energetic and Chivalrous Protector’
- Danish Efforts to Help the Imprisoned Romanovs after the fall of the monarchy in Russia
by Coryne Hall

‘How Lovely a Country This Is’ 
- the 1924 Visit of the Grand Duchess Victoria Melita, Empress-In-Exile to the United States
by Nicholas B.A. Nicholson

Crowns and Coronations
- an introduction to the coronations and Imperial regalia of the Russian Empire

Plus 2 collections of rare and vintage photographs:

Frozen in Time
- featuring photographic memories of the Russian Imperial family

The Lost World of Imperial Russia 
- featuring vintage photographs of Imperial Russia before the Revolution

Watch for our advertisements in upcoming issues of Majesty and Russian Life magazines. Royal Russia Annual can be purchased at the NEW Royal Russia Bookshop (Canada), (United States), Booksellers van Hoogstraten (Den Haag, Netherlands), and Librairie Galignani (Paris, France). 
© Gilbert's Books / Royal Russia. 29 August, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:36 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 29 August 2014 8:46 AM EDT
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Thursday, 28 August 2014
Romanov Readings Dedicated to Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich at Ostashevo
Topic: Constantine Constantinovich, GD

Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich (1858-1915)
On August 23, the XXII Annual Romanov Reading was held at Ostashevo and dedicated to the estate's former owner, Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich (1858-1915). The event coincided with the 156th birthday of the Romanov grand duke, popularly known by his pseudonym “KR”.  Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich, was an honorary member of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society (IOPS) - one of the organizers of the event. From 1903, Ostashevo, served as a residence of the grand duke and his family. The estate is situated near Moscow on the banks of the River Ruza 

KR was a cousin and close friend of the first chairman of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society, Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich (1857-1905) and his wife, Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna (1864-1918). Konstantin was an outstanding personality who served as Adjutant General, General of Infantry, inspector general of military schools, the president of the St. Petersburg Imperial Academy of Sciences, poet, musician, translator and playwright. As a result, this year’s Romanov Readings attracted not only historians, and researchers, but also fans of his poetry and theatrical works. His diaries have just recently been published in Russian.

The readings were confined to the 100th anniversary of the First World War, so it was impossible not to remember the grand duke’s son, Prince Oleg Konstantinovich (1892-1914). Oleg was also a member of the IOPS, who died three months after the outbreak of the First World War and was buried at Ostashevo, a memorial church was built at his grave. The fate of Prince Oleg Konstantinovich and his entourage was recalled in a report by the historian G.I. Shevtsova. 

In attendance at Prince Oleg’s funeral was the Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna, who served as the IOPS Chairman from 1905 to 1917. A review of her charitable activities during the First World War was presented by L.V. Shumsky, a spokesman for the "Elisabeth-Sergivskoe Society”. 

Many other speakers paid tribute to the Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich, reflecting on his life and his rich contribution to Russia’s history, art and culture.

Abbot Seraphim (St. Nicholas), of the Provost Church of Volokolamsk district thanked everyone who continue to keep the memory of the members of the imperial family near to their hearts, and remembering the forgotten pages of Russian history. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 28 August, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 2:28 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 31 August 2014 8:38 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 27 August 2014
Naryshkin Supports Reburial of Grand Duke Nicholas Nicholayevich's Remains in Russia
Topic: Nicholas Nicholayevich, GD

Grand Duke Nicholas Nicholayevich (1856-1929)
State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin supports the reburial of Grand Duke Nicholas Nicholayevich’s remains in Russia. The member of parliament made the announcement during the opening of the International Forum "The Great War. Lessons of History", dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War. The opening ceremony was held in the Central Museum of the Great Patriotic War on Poklonnaya Hill in Moscow. 

"I have been approached by representatives of the Romanov dynasty, descendants of the Grand Duke Nicholas, who at the beginning of the First World War was the supreme commander of all land and naval forces of the Russian Empire," - he said. "The last will of the Grand Duke, was his desire to find peace in his native land, Russia, close to his soldiers," - said the speaker, who is also the chairman of the organizing committee of the activities related to the 100th anniversary of the First World War. 

Naryshkin noted that the remains of Grand Duke Nicholas Nicholayevich and his wife, Grand Duchess Anastasia Nicholayevna (born Princess Anastasia Petrovi-Njegoš of Montenegro) are currently interred in the St. Michael the Archangel Church in Cannes, France. "I think that from both a human and government perspective, it would be wise to support the initiative of the descendants of the Grand Duke of the reburial of his remains at home," - he concluded.
Grand Duke Nicholas Nicholayevich is currently the subject of a new biography, Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich: Supreme Commander of the Russian Army. For more information on this title, or to order your copy, please visit our online bookshop:


© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 27 August, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 1:35 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 29 August 2014 1:47 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 26 August 2014
Descendent of Explorer on Hunt for Faberge 'Nest-egg' Left to Him
Topic: Faberge
Copyright Notice: The following article was originally published in the August 26th, 2014 edition of the Lancashire Evening Post, who own the copyright of the work presented below.
The descendant of a Preston man suspected to have been a spy today revealed his family could have been left an egg-stremely large fortune – in the shape of a rare Faberge egg.

Dr Maxwell Naesmyth Wilcock, a 6ft 10in giant with size 19 feet, lived in Fishwick Parade and Deepdale Road in Preston in the 1930s and 1940s before embarking on a life of mystery, travelling to far flung places and never telling anyone what he did.

His cousin Robin Maudsley, 61, of Meadow Street, Deepdale, Preston, was stunned when a team of heir hunters contacted him in December 2011 to tell him Max had died in hospital with £13,000 cash stuffed in his pyjamas.

Since then his family have uncovered more and more incredible facts – with the valuable ‘nest egg’, potentially worth millions, the latest twist in the tale.

Two people – Max’s fiancee, Lily Dong, in San Francisco and an elderly woman from Preston who was friends with him – confirmed they had seen him with an ornamnental egg.

Robin says: “I last spoke to Uncle Max in 2009 and he said he wanted to come back to Preston to right a wrong, and to give us something from a safety deposit box in Preston.

“We now think that may have been the egg. I think he had been carrying the egg around with him but on realising its value, put it in a safe in Preston, probably in a bank.

“However it is difficult for us to find out more because he was known by 13 different aliases. He really is an enigma.”

Lily told them about the egg but at first Robin believed it was “just another story”, having heard increasingly bizarre tales about his late relative.

But following Evening Post coverage last year, a woman who knew Max came forward and told Robin about the same egg.

There are only thought to be around 50 Fabergé eggs in the world, with the most famed eggs being the Imperial collections.

Robin said: “If any readers who remember Max can verify anything else about the egg, we would be very grateful.” 
Photo: Dr Maxwell Wilcock - pictured, in front of Lenin's tomb in Moscow's Red Square. Photo ©
© Lancashire Evening Post. 26 August, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:19 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 26 August 2014 5:28 PM EDT
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Monday, 25 August 2014
Tsarskoye Selo Adds Unique Item to its Collection
Topic: Tsarskoye Selo

A pair of shoes which are believed to have once belonged to Grand Duchess Anastasia Nicholayevna have been
acquired by the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum. Photo © Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve  
In July, the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum added a unique and valuable item to it’s collection - a pair of shoes that are believed to have belonged to the Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna, the youngest daughter of Emperor Nicholas II. The shoes are made of white fabric and decorated with a buckle. The sole is made of leather brand "VKAN 24 III 1909 g». The length of the shoe 21.5 cm and is comparable to the size of the feet of an eight-year girl. Grand Duchess Anastasia Nicholayevna was 8 years old in 1909.

The four grand duchesses were often photographed wearing matching outfits, including shoes, as depicted in the photograph below, taken in the early 20th century.

Photo © Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve
Up until now, the vast collections of the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum lacked any shoes belonging to the daughters of Nicholas II. The State Hermitage Museum are known to have several pairs of shoes that once belonged to the grand duchesses dating from their early childhood. These shoes are currently on display in the exhibition, At the Russian Imperial Court: Costumes of the 18th – Early-20th Centuries in the Hermitage Collection, which runs until September 21st at the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. 

The acquisition of this pair of shoes is of special importance for the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum - acquiring  personal items of the Russian Imperial family is a priority. This exhibit will take its rightful place in the exposition of the Alexander Palace. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 25 August, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:15 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 25 August 2014 6:23 AM EDT
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Sunday, 24 August 2014
First World War I Museum in Russia Opens in Tsarskoye Selo
Topic: Tsarskoye Selo

The Sovereign's Martial Chamber at Tsarskoye Selo has been restored and now houses Russia's first museum dedicated to World War One
Copyright Notice: The following article was originally published in the August 24th, 2014 edition of the Russia Beyond the Headlines. The author Irina Kruzhilina, own the copyright of the work presented below.
The first museum in Russia dedicated entirely to Russia’s participation in the First World War has opened in Tsarskoye Selo (Pushkin), just outside St. Petersburg. Three years and 292,000,000 rubles ($8 million) were spent on the restoration of the town’s Martial Chamber, which now houses an exhibition titled ‘Russia in the Great War’. The museum features vehicles, military paraphernalia, documents, and even gas masks used for animals. 
To read the full article re-published on Royal Russia News, please click on the link below:

First World War I Museum in Russia Opens in Tsarskoye Selo 

© Irina Kruzhilina / Russia Beyond the Headlines. 24 August, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:42 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 25 August 2014 5:55 AM EDT
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Saturday, 23 August 2014
A Russian Moment No 44 - Dulber, Crimea
Topic: A Russian Moment

Dulber, the palace of Grand Duke Peter Nicholayevich and Grand Duchess Militsa Nicholayevna in the Crimea
It was in 1893, when the Grand Duke Peter Nicholayevich, who adored Yalta purchased a plot of land for the construction of his new residence along the southern coast of the Crimea. Constructed between 1895-1897, the majestic palace’s design was based on the sketches created by the Grand Duke himself. Having poor health since childhood, he often traveled to the Middle East on his doctor’s advice and always brought back albums filled with his sketches of architectural monuments that had impressed him. The implementation of the project was assigned to Yalta’s main city architect, Nikolai Petrovich Krasnov who had already had a rich experience in the construction of palace’s and manor homes in and around Yalta for both members of the Russian Imperial family as well as members of the aristocratic and noble families of Russia.

Built in the romantic Moorish style, the palace was noted for its original and unique design, one which was skillfully blended into the Crimean landscape. Dulber was crowned with silver cupolas and castellated parapets with balustrades. The palace’s dazzlingly white facades were adorned with carved stone inserts, blue ornament and mosaic compositions. The building, which was surprisingly simple and luxuriously elegant alike, had more than 100 rooms.

The palace’s owners enjoyed their new home and had no idea, the role Dulber would play in their destiny some years later. 

In February 1918, members of the Russian Imperial family residing in the region, including the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, were placed under detention at Dulber. The following month they were freed by the Germans who had occupied the area after signing the Treaty of Brest Litovsk. They were rescued by two British battleships, HMS Marlborough and HMS Lord Nelson, which had been sent by King George V. They left Russia from Yalta in April 1919.

In 1922, one of the first Soviet health resorts was opened at Dulber, and today it ranks among one of Russia’s most prestigious sanatoriums.  

During World War II, Dulber was damaged, and restored in 1946  with the cooperation of German and Romanian prisoners of war. After the war, Dulber hosted senior party leaders of the USSR and other socialist countries. 

A beautiful park is laid out on the terraces surrounding the palace. It stretches from the main entrance gates to the sea. The park’s territory is adorned with numerous sculptures and arbours, and a pool with water lilies, around which a palm alley meanders. Its highlight is a miniature botanical garden with many beautiful flowers and trees.

Today Dulber is a luxury spa complex where visitors come to relax and recuperate. It is considered one of the brightest architectural gems that dot the southern coast of the Crimea. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 23 August, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:21 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 24 August 2014 6:30 AM EDT
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Friday, 22 August 2014
Reconstruction in the Kremlin to Surpass all the Project's Ever Coordinated With UNESCO
Topic: Kremlin

The Chudov Monastery was destroyed during the Soviet years
Reconstruction of the monastery on the territory of the Moscow Kremlin will considerably surpass all other projects that were coordinated with UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), reported Russia’s permanent representative at the organization Eleonora Mitrofanova.

Earlier president of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin proposed to restore within the Moscow Kremlin two monasteries and one church that until 1930 had been situated on the site of the Building 14 of the Kremlin. According to him, such a plan can be implemented only after approval by the public and by UNESCO, reports the Kommersant newspaper with the reference to RIA-Novosti.

“The proposed project, which, according to the Russian president Putin, is still ‘just an idea, a proposal’, is a large-scale one and it considerably surpasses the actions that were coordinated with UNESCO before. And the organization’s requirements are very, very strict,” said Mrs. Mitrofanova.

At the same time, she insists that we must not disregard “the deep symbolism of the proposed project for our country, which is standing in the new phase of its historical development, its perception of the world”. “Hence, the degree of responsibility for the final decision regarding the beginning of the reconstruction on the territory, I would say, of the central Russian cultural and historical monument is of major state importance,” Eleonora Mitrofanova added.

She earlier informed that Russia was to prepare a detailed experts’ report on the influence that the future construction would have on the universal value of the Kremlin. “Outstanding universal value” is the main criterion which is taken into account at the inclusion of one or another object into the UNESCO World Heritage list. The decision of UNESCO will depend on substantiation of these works, the permanent representative then stated. 
For more information on this topic, please refer to the following articles: 

Restore Destroyed Orthodox Monasteries in Kremlin, says Putin 

Archaeologists Believe Excavation of Kremlin Monasteries to Yield Great Discoveries

Putin Wants Monasteries, Church Rebuilt in Kremlin

© 22 August, 2014



Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:41 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 14 November 2014 6:14 AM EST
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