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Saturday, 29 April 2017
Memorial Apartments of Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich in St. Petersburg
Topic: Constantine Constantinovich, GD

Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich (1858-1915)
This article was researched from Russian media sources and written by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2017

Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich (1858-1915) was an accomplished Russian poet, who wrote under the nom de plume K. R. and was an excellent translator of Goethe, Schiller and Shakespeare’s works. He was the son of Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolaevich (1827-1892), a grandson of Emperor Nicholas I, and also a senator and a president of the Academy of Sciences. He inherited the Marble Palace in 1888. During his time there the Marble Palace became the centre of cultural life in the capital. Musical evening parties were held in the rooms of the palace. Intellectuals of the capital (Afanasy Fet, Apollon Maikov, Anton Rubinstein, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, etc.) gathered there, read and discussed the best works by foreign and Russian writers, staged performances in which Konstantin Konstantinovich, his wife Grand Duchess Elizabeth Mavrikeyevna and their children took part. 

The rooms which were designed in the 1880s–1900s, were miraculously spared during the turbulent years of revolution and war in the 20th century. During the Soviet era, the palace successively housed the Ministry of Labour (1917–19), the Academy of Material Culture (1919–36), and, most notably, the main local branch of the Moscow-based Central (i.e. National) Lenin Museum (1937–91)  and only in 1992 was transferred to the Russian Museum. In 1998, the Memorial Apartments of Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich opened in the original interiors located on the ground floor of the palace facing Millionnaya Street. 

The Working Study of Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich (above and below).

The Library of Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich. Photo © FRITZ VON DER SCHULENBURG  

The Gothic Music Room of Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich (above and below).


The Working Study of Konstantin Konstantinovich is the main room of his private apartments, one which reflect the Grand Duke’s personal tastes. The walls are covered with gilded Spanish leather wallpaper bearing the Romanov coat-of-arms, the ceiling is decorated with mahogany, and oak parquet floors. A secret door hides the personal chapel of the August poet. Konstantin was a very religious man - the existence of the chapel next to his desk was not a whim, but a spiritual need. Every day an icon of a saint, who was worshiped on this day was brought to the chapel from the house church of the Marble Palace, which was located on the third floor. Some of these icons can be seen today in the grand duke’s hidden chapel. Grand Duke Konstantin was the only person who used the chapel, no one else in the household was permitted to enter it, not even his children. Konstantin and Elizabeth had nine children - six sons and three daughters. Their photos - along with portraits of his wife and mother - decorate the shelves in the office of the poet.

The Library features open shelves of cabinets filled with old books on science, literary and theater magazines, dictionaries and art albums. It was in this room, that the Grand Duke kept only those books which he needed at hand, for engaging in literature, or in preparation for meetings of the Academy of Sciences.

Between the office and the library is the Music Room. The walls here are also decorated with leather wallpaper and oak wood paneling. The Gothic design was not just a fad, but a reflection of the personal taste of the owner. He traveled extensively, taking an interest in European architecture the German Gothic style in particular.

This small room is decorated throughout with oak wood paneling. The shelves and walls are adorned with icons, Easter eggs and portraits of loved ones. Previously, on the wall hung a large icon of St. Constantine. One of the carved panels of the Gothic room has a secret door. It leads into the inner corridor, which connects the apartments with the private bathroom of Konstantin Konstantinovich. 

The Memorial Apartments of Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich in the Marble Palace consist of seven rooms: a vestibule, Library, Music Room, Working Study, Reception Room, Large living room, and Small Lounge (part of the private apartments of Grand Duchess Elizabeth Mavrikeyevna). Entry is gained through an inner courtyard (see above photo), situated directly to the left of the main entrance to the palace museum. Admission is 600 Rubles ($10 USD), and worth every Ruble!

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 29 April, 2017


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 4:00 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 29 April 2017 4:18 PM EDT
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Monday, 22 August 2016
On This Day: Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich Was Born
Topic: Constantine Constantinovich, GD

Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich (1858-1915)
This article has been revised and edited from its original by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2016

Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich  was born at Strelna on 22 August (O.S. 10 August) 1858. He was the second son of Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolayevich and Grand Duchess Alexandra Joseph, and a grandson of Emperor Nicholas I. According to the existing practice, during the baptism he was awarded numerous orders, as well as put on the lists of various military units. Konstantin received a versatile education at home. Among his mentors and teachers were historians S. M. Soloviev and K. N. Bestuzhev-Rumin, music critic G. A. Laroche, cellist I. I. Seifert, writers I. A. Goncharov and F. M. Dostoevsky.

Konstantin Konstantinovich was trained from childhood for military service, namely to serve in the Russian Imperial Navy. The famous naval officer, I. A. Zelenoy, was assigned as his tutor, who taught his August student according to the curriculum of the Naval School. During two years, 1874-1876, Konstantin took part in a long voyage through the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea on board the frigate "Svetlana", after which, having passed the relevant examinations, was promoted to the rank of warrant officer.

Konstantin Konstantinovich’s “baptism of fire” took place during the Russian-Turkish war of 1877-1878. He served on the frigate "Svetlana", which, under enemy’s fire, accompanied pontoons from the mouth of Olta River to a bridge near Zimnitsa. For his participation in combat operations Konstantin was awarded the Order of St. George, 4th Class.

In 1878-1882 Konstantin, promoted by then to the rank of lieutenant, held various positions: commanded a company of the Guards, and navigated the Mediterranean until January 1882. However, due to poor health his service in the Navy was cut short. In 1882, due to illness, he was transferred to a land office and promoted to staff captain of Guard. His service continued in the Izmailovo Regiment, and in 1891 Konstantin was appointed commander of the Life Guards of Preobrazhensky Regiment at the rank of colonel, and later – that of major general. In 1900, he became the head of the military schools. In this position, the Grand Duke did a great job of organizing military training, especially in establishment of cadet corps and military schools. In 1901 and in 1907 Konstantin was consistently awarded the title of Lieutenant-General and General of Infantry.

In addition to military services, the Grand Duke had another passion that occupied a great part of his life - the love for art and poetry. Konstantin inherited his father's artistic tastes and abilities: he played musical instruments, and tried his hand as an actor in various productions. In 1887 he was awarded the title of honorary member of the Imperial Academy of Sciences. In 1889 Konstantin was appointed its president. On his initiative, at the Department of Russian Language and Literature, was established a Rank of belles lettres, according to which I. A. Bunin, V. G. Korolenko, A. P. Chekhov, and others were elected honorary academicians. In addition, the Grand Duke led committee for celebration of the 100th anniversary of birth of Alexander Pushkin.

As a poet, he was known by the initials K. R. under which he published several books of poetry. Although he did not have a first-class talent, he managed to take his place in the history of Russian literature. Many of his poems were notable for melody and set to music. In addition, the Grand Duke was the author of several translations of foreign writers in Russian, including Schiller and Goethe, and his translation of "Hamlet" by Shakespeare had been acknowledged by critics as quite successful and reprinted several times.

Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich died on 15 June (O.S. 2 June) 1915, in his palace at Pavlovsk. He was the last of the Romanovs, who died before the revolution. Konstantin was buried in the grand-ducal mausoleum of the Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg.

© Presidential Library / Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 22 August, 2016


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:15 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 22 August 2016 5:19 AM EDT
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Monday, 7 December 2015
Monument to Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich Dismantled in Odessa
Topic: Constantine Constantinovich, GD

Monument to Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich was established in 1999 at the Military Academy in Odessa
On 27 November a monument to Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich - a cousin of the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II - was dismantled at the Military Academy in Odessa. Despite the protests of teachers and students of the institution, the decision to remove the monument was made by the Minister of Defence of Ukraine Stepan Poltorak.

The removal of his monument is part of the decommunization process which has swept across Ukraine in recent months. The new laws came into effect in April 2015 which outlawed communist and Soviet symbols. Ukrainian authorities have since declared war on the legacy of the Russian Empire as well. 

The monument of the highly respected grand duke was established in 1999 at the initiative of the then chief of the Odessa Institute of Land Forces Anatoly Trots. The monument was not protected by the state, and according to local media “had no cultural value”. The bronze bust has been stored in a warehouse, to be replaced with a monument honouring Ukrainian soldiers who died in the Donbass region of the country.

Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich (1858-1915) served in the Izmailovsky Regiment of the Imperial Guard, as inspector general of military schools, president of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences, and is also known as a poet, translator and playwright. 

The Cadet Corps in Odessa was established on 16 April, 1899 to provide secondary and military education for boys intending to become officers. The Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich Russia (1858-1915), who was inspector of military educational institutions, attended the blessing of the School of St. Cyril and St. Methodius Chapel on 6 October 1902. Upon the death of Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich in 1915, the school was renamed in his honour and functioned up until 1917.

During the 1917 revolution, the Cadet Corps in Odessa remained loyal to Emperor Nicholas II. In May 1917 they refused to participate in a military parade attended by Minister Guchkov. On 31 August, 1917, the school was evacuated to Rostov-on-Don and then to Novocherkassk and later dissolved. Some students returned to their families, while others joined the White Army to fight the Bolsheviks. Of the 1196 graduates of the institution, 446 took part in the fight against Bolshevism. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 07 December, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:44 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 7 December 2015 5:56 AM EST
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Wednesday, 28 October 2015
St. Petersburg Mark Centenary of Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich's Death
Topic: Constantine Constantinovich, GD

The year of 2015 marks the centennial of death of the Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich Romanov (1858-1915), a Russian patriot who held senior government and military posts in the Russian Empire. He was the infantry general, the inspector general of military schools, the president of the Imperial Academy of Sciences. But most of all, the Grand Duke is known to posterity as a poet, translator and playwright who wrote under the pen name "K. R."

The centennial commemorates the vivid and distinctive personality as well as a rich literary heritage of the Grand Duke. It is obvious that this date should be an event in the cultural life of St. Petersburg.

Guided by this idea, a number of museums and institutions associated with the name of the Grand Duke took the initiative of celebrating "Konstantin Days in St. Petersburg. Commemorating the centennial of death K. R." The organizing committee of the commemorative events included representatives from the Institute of Russian Literature (Pushkin House), Russian Academy of Sciences, a branch of the State Russian Museum (Marble Palace), Alexander Suvorov Museum, Synodal Naval Sector of the Russian Orthodox Church, St. John of Kronstadt Memorial Museum-Apartment.

The uniqueness of the Konstantin Days is that for three days in St. Petersburg will be held various events - conferences, exhibitions, concerts, tours, film screenings, religious services united by the identity of the Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich Romanov, which will appear to our contemporaries in different images.

October 27, the Institute of Russian Literature (Pushkin House) will host the grand opening of the Konstantin Days. It will include a unique exhibition featuring the Grand Duke, and Konstantin readings - the first scientific conference on the legacy of K. R.

The Pushkin House holds manuscripts, personal belongings, desktop of the august poet, which the institution received by his will. These rarities will be first displayed at the exhibition to open October 27th in the Literary Museum of the Pushkin House.

October 28th, the Konstantin Palace in Strelna (Palais des Congres) will host "Konstantin Readings" devoted to the activities of a branch of the Romanov dynasty – the Konstantinovichi, including Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich. This year the readings will mark their 10th anniversary.

At the end of the "Konstantin Days in St. Petersburg," on October 29th the White Hall of Marble Palace will host the Konstantin literary-musical evening in commemoration of the Grand Duke.

The "Konstantin Days in St. Petersburg" will not be limited to the three days. It will continue with a historical exhibition "Father of all the Cadets", featuring the activities of the Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich as the inspector general of military educational institutions of Russia, which will open in the Museum of Artillery November 25, 2015.

In addition, a memorial plaque in memory of the Grand Duke as one of the founders of the Pushkin House, the repository of manuscripts of the Russian classics, will be inaugurated in the Institute of Russian Literature (Pushkin House) in December this year.

© Presidential Library. 28 October, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:23 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 28 October 2015 6:50 AM EDT
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Thursday, 9 July 2015
Princess Irina Bagration, 1926-2015
Topic: Constantine Constantinovich, GD

Princess Irina S. Bagration passed away this morning July 9th at 2 am in New York. The funeral will be at 10 am on Saturday, July 11th at Holy Trinity ROC in Astoria, NY. Burial will be at the Novo Diveevo Convent in Nanuet, New York. following the service.

Born Irina Czernysheva-Besobrasova on 21 Sep 1926, at Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, the daughter of Sergei Aleksandrovich Besobrasov and Countess Elizabeta Cheremeteva. 

She became the second wife of Prince Teymuraz Constantinovich Bagration, at the age of 23 in 1949.

Prince Teymuraz was born at Pavlovsk on 21 August 1912. His father, Prince Constantine Bagration-Mukhransky (1889–1915), a member of the Mukhrani branch of the Bagrationi family, formerly a royal dynasty of Georgia, was an Imperial Russian Army officer and was killed in World War I. Teymuraz's mother, Princess Tatiana Constantinovna of Russia (1890–1979), was the third child and oldest daughter of Grand Duke Constantine Constantinovich of Russia and his wife, Elisabeth Mavrikievna, née Princess Elisabeth of Saxe-Altenburg.

After her children were grown and married, Princess Tatiana took the veil at Geneva in 1946. She died as Mother Tamara (named so after the medieval Georgian queen Tamar, a remote ancestor of Tatiana’s first husband) Abbess of the Mount of Olives Convent on 28 August 1979 in Jerusalem.

Teymuraz Bagration left Russia after the 1917 Revolution. During World War II, he served in the Royal Yugoslav Army. After the war, he emigrated to the United States and joined the Tolstoy Foundation in 1949. His marriage to Princess Irina took place on 27 November 1949 at New York. They had no issue. He became Executive Director in 1979 and led the organization from 1986 until his death at New York on 10 April 1992. 

On 5 July 2007, Princess Irina presented her husbands’ unique archive to the National Parliamentary Library of Georgia. 

I made the acquaintance of Princess Irina in the late 1990s, and enjoyed numerous telephone chats, in which she shared her memories of her cousins, Grand Duke Gabriel Constaninovich (1887-1955), author of Memories in the Marble Palace, and Princess Vera Constantinovna (1906-2001) - both children of Grand Duke Constantine and Grand Duchess Elisabeth. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 09 July, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 4:22 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 9 July 2015 4:57 PM 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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Thursday, 10 January 2013
25th Wedding Anniversary Gift to Grand Duchess Elizabeth Mavrikievna
Topic: Constantine Constantinovich, GD


In 1909, Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich (KR) and his wife, Grand Duchess Elizabeth Mavrikievna (nee Princess Elizabeth of Saxe-Altenburg) celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary.

Konstantin presented his wife with this beautiful silver frame containing his image at the top and the dates 1884-1909, marking their 25 years of marriage.

Below are the images of their 8 children: Ioann, Gavriil, Tatiana, Konstantine, Oleg, Igor, Georgi and Vera.

Also depicted are their 4 residences: the Marble Palace, Strelna, Pavlovsk, and Ostashevo.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 10 January, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:04 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 10 January 2013 9:17 AM EST
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Tuesday, 17 April 2012
Grand Duke Constantine Constantinovich
Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 1 hour, 1 minute, 41 seconds
Topic: Constantine Constantinovich, GD

The Grand Duke Constantine Constantinovich (1858-1915) is one of the most beloved and highly respected members of the Russian Imperial Family.

A grandson of the Emperor Nicholas I, he is more commonly known by his pen name "KR", taken from his transliterated name, Konstantin Romanov.

Not only was he a patron of the arts, he was an artist in his own right. He was a talented pianist and a man of letters, including poet and playwright. He was Chairman of the Russian Musical Society and founded several Russian literary societies.

Grand Duke Constantine served in the Russian Imperial Navy, and later joined the elite Izmailovsky Regiment of the Imperial Guard.

His devotion to duty and Russia endeared him to both Emperors Alexander III and Nicholas II. The former appointed him President of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and later as Chief of All Military Colleges. 

In 1884, he married Princess Elisabeth of Saxe-Altenburg. Upon her marriage, she became the Grand Duchess Elizabeth Mavrikievna. He was a devoted to his wife and their nine children, and a loving father.

He and his family made their home at Pavlovsk, and the Marble Palace in St. Petersburg. He and his wife were among the few members of the Romanov family on intimate terms with Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna.

KR died on 15 June, 1915. His death spared him the horrendous suffering visited upon his family during the Russian Revolution a few years later.

This one-hour documentary explores the life of the grand duke and includes a wonderful collection of vintage photographs and rare film footage of him in the various stages of his life.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 17 April, 212


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:27 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 17 April 2012 7:03 AM EDT
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