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Wednesday, 4 November 2015
Heart of Romanov Descendant Placed in Romanian Castle
Topic: Romanov Descendants

Copyright Notice: The following article was originally published in the November 3rd, 2015 edition of The New York Times. Kit Gillet owns the copyright of the work presented below. 

Note: Queen Marie of Romania (1875-1938) was the daughter of Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna (1853-1920), the only surviving daughter of Emperor Alexander II (1818-1881). Emperor Nicholas II (1868-1918) was her cousin. Her sister, Princess Victoria Melita of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1876-1936), married Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich in 1905. Emperor Nicholas II was forced to reinstate Kirill who was third in the line of succession to the Russian throne. Kirill and Victoria were brought back to Russia, with Victoria granted the title of Grand Duchess of Russia. She would be known in Russia as Grand Duchess Victoria Feodorovna (she had converted to the Orthodox faith in 1907). Queen Marie of Romania was very close to her Romanov relations during her reign, and also after the collapse of the monarchy in Russia. 

It has been a busy few years for royal remains. In 2012, King Richard III’s bones were found under a parking lot in Leicester, England, and reburied in March. In September, the Russian authorities exhumed the bodies of Czar Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra for new DNA tests. Last week, the Russians said the body of the czar’s father, Alexander III, would be dug up for testing, too.

A few hundred people gathered in the Romanian capital, Bucharest, on Tuesday morning for a less macabre occasion: the final journey of the heart of Marie, the British-born queen of Romania.

The heart, contained in a small silver box, was moved from the National History Museum, where it has been since 1971, to Pelisor Castle, to be placed in the room where she drew her final breath in 1938. Dignitaries stood somberly on the stone steps of the museum. Some in the crowd nearby dressed in traditional outfits, while others waved flags or wore pins with the emblem of the royal family. Some of the queen’s descendants, most of them living overseas, were in attendance.

Crown Princess Marie of Romania (seated), with her sister Grand Duchess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine (the future
Grand Duchess Victoria Feodorovna) in Moscow for the Coronation of Emperor Nicholas II in May 1896 
Queen Marie, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria of Britain, nursed wounded soldiers during World War I and was beloved for her charitable and diplomatic work.

“She is someone who succeeded in becoming a moral reference for society in her time and now,” a former prime minister, Calin Popescu Tariceanu, said in an interview. “During the Communist period, history was heavily distorted and for people my age, even now, they have a completely skewed perception about the past. But step by step, society is reconsidering in a positive way its past. We need even today to have moral references in society.”

Marie had requested that her heart be placed in a chapel in Balchik, a town on the Black Sea that at the time belonged to Romania. The region was returned to Bulgaria in 1940, and the heart was moved to a new home in Romania, only to be relocated to the museum in the Communist era. The rest of her body is interred alongside her husband, King Ferdinand I, in the Curtea de Arges monastery in central Romania.

Romania has been a republic since 1947, when Marie’s grandson, Michael, now 94, was forced to abdicate as the Communist Party tightened its grip on the country. Her family had long requested that the heart be moved to a place connected to the royal family.

Only a small percentage of the country still hopes for the return of the monarchy. “Romania is a monarchy that accidentally became a republic,” said Octavian Georgescu, a 39-year-old I.T. programmer who watched the procession. “It is our tradition,” he added.

“There is a historical respect for Queen Marie, but it doesn’t really influence people’s opinions toward the monarchy today,” said Bogdan Murgescu, a professor of history at the University of Bucharest.

As the queen’s heart, escorted by two soldiers, went by, members of the crowd waved flags. The national anthems of Romania and Britain were played, while eight officers on horseback escorted the silver box, wrapped in a Romanian flag, to a waiting car. The heart was then driven 80 miles to its new — and it seems final — resting place.

© Kit Gillet / The New York Times. 04 November, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:29 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 4 November 2015 6:59 AM EST
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Friday, 28 August 2015
Memoirs of Romanov Scion to be Translated into Russian
Topic: Romanov Descendants

The memoirs of a representative of the Romanov dynasty, Prince Roman Petrovich, second cousin and godson of Emperor Nicholas II, may soon be translated into Russian, reports TASS. One of the oldest surviving members of the dynasty, Dmitry Romanovich, hopes that the memoirs of his father Roman Petrovich may soon be available for Russian's to read in their native language. 

His memoirs, which consist of more than 500 pages, were published posthumously by his two sons, Nicholas and Dmitry. The book was first published in Danish in 1991, and a German edition in 1995. "He spent a lot of his time and attention on the memoirs. He put his heart and soul into them", recalls Dmitry Romanov, who hopes that it will soon also be published in Russia.

Prince Roman Petrovich was born 17 October ( O.S. 5 October) 1896 at Znamenka, near Saint Petersburg. He was one of four children, and the only son of Grand Duke Peter Nikolaevich of Russia (1864-1931) and his wife Grand Duchess Militza Nikolaevna of Russia (born Princess Milica of Montenegro). Prince Roman was a great-grandson of Emperor Nicholas I (1796-1855).

Prince Roman was married on 16 November 1921 at Cap d'Antibes, France to Countess Praskovia Sheremeteva (18 October 1901– 21 December 1980) and they had two sons: Nicholas Romanovich (1922-2014) and Dimitri Romanovich of Russia (b. 1926).

Prince Roman Petrovich with his wife and two sons: Dmitry and Nicholas
Following the abdication of Emperor Nicholas II, Prince Roman resided at his father's Dulber estate in the Crimea and in April 1919 he left Russia, along with other members of the Russian Imperial family, on the British battleship HMS Marlborough

In 1936, Roman Petrovich and his family moved to Rome. In 1941 he was offered and refused the Crown of the newly established Independent State of Montenegro. He refused, making it clear that none of his family would cooperate with the Nazis.

The war ended in 1945, and the political situation in Italy remained unstable. In a referendum in 1946, Italy was proclaimed a republic and all the members of the Italian royal house were forced to leave the country. The family of Roman Petrovich went to Egypt, where his sons Nicholas and Dimitri went to work, the eldest worked in the sale of tobacco, and the younger worked in an automobile factory.

After their Egyptian exile ended in 1951, Roman Petrovich and his wife returned to Rome. From 1954, he began to write his memoirs, leading an extensive correspondence with relatives scattered across the globe. Prince Roman Petrovich was planning to write two books, one about his life in Russia before the Revolution, and the second about his life in exile. 

Prince Roman Petrovich died on 23 October 1978 in Rome, and buried in the cemetery of Monte Testaccio in Rome. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 28 August, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:45 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 1 September 2015 10:49 AM EDT
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Saturday, 3 May 2014
Exhibition of Romanov Descendant's Paintings
Topic: Romanov Descendants

Prince Rostislav Romanoff
This Sunday (May 4) Baker Mamonova Gallery in St Leonards-On-Sea in the United Kingdom will be holding the first exhibition of Prince Rostislav Romanoff, a 28-year-old painter, a descendant from the Russian Imperial family.

The artist lives in East Sussex and is the first Romanov to carve his name as a full-time artist.

Rostislav Romanoff was born in 1985 in the USA. He belongs to the House of Romanoff as a male line descendant of the Grand Duke Michael Nikolaevich of Russia, the youngest son of Emperor Nicholas I.

He is also the great-grandson of Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna of Russia, the sister of the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II.

At the age of five Rostislav moved to the UK with his parents and has lived in Sussex most of his life.

A dedicated landscape painter, he studied painting in Moscow and held exhibitions there, while also working as a creative consultant.

His paintings include views of Camber Sands, Hastings beach and landscapes of South Africa.

The exhibition starts on Sunday and runs until Sunday, May 18.

Baker Mamonova Gallery is based in Norman Road, St Leonards-On-Sea in the United Kingdom. 
© Bexhill-on-Sea Observer. 03 May, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 4:35 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 3 May 2014 4:39 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 15 May 2012
Prince Michael of Kent: Britain's Royal Link to Russia
Topic: Romanov Descendants


Interview with Richard Fitzwilliams, royal commentator.

Prince Michael is the Queens’s first cousin and his grandfather King George V was the first cousin of Tsar Nicholas.

And I believe even his name has a Russian connection, is that correct?

It is, indeed. He is named after the Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich who was the younger brother of Tsar Nicholas.

And I think for most people in Britain, if they’ve ever seen these old photographs of the Russian Tsar Nicholas, Prince Michael has a beard like the Tsar did and there is a remarkable physical resemblance, isn’t there?

There is an extraordinary physical resemblance. If you were casting a film and wanted a character to play the Tsar, he seems almost a double. I think one of the reasons that he has taken such an enormous amount of trouble – firstly to learn Russian which he did in the 1960’es, he became an army interpreter in 1968, he spent 20 years in the army, retiring in 1981…

So, his Russian is actually quite good.

His Russian is extremely good. And after the fall of the Soviet Union, since 1992 he has been to Russia around 50 times. He is the patron of the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce and also he has devoted a great time it seems to becoming popular with Russia by narrating. For example at the documentary about the tragic fate of the Tsar and his family, and of course one bears in mind that there is a certain guilt in Britain on the subject because of course they did not receive asylum in Britain of the royal doubts, over the reception this would receive publically.

And whose decision was that in the end not to allow the Russian royal family to claim asylum here?

Ultimately it was the decision of George V. It was something I suspect he felt extremely guilty about. And there is no doubt, I think that has been perhaps one of the reasons that Prince Michael is doing what he is doing. It is important to remember that as the second son of the fourth son of George V he does not undertake official royal duties, his brother does, he doesn’t. But he has taken on an unpaid royal role whilst being a business consultant and he represented the Queen when abroad, he and his wife Baroness Marie Christine von Reibnitz, whom he married in 1978, she was the Roman Catholic and on that basis he was departed from the line of succession, they have represented the Queen abroad at certain occasions and in certain countries. But he does not actually undertake official royal engagements, he is a business consultant. He is also very well known as a free Mason, he is the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge and he is attached to about a hundred charitable organizations in one sort or another.

People outside England or Britain may not understand that just being the Queen’s cousin is not necessarily a route to riches, is it? I mean he doesn’t actually get paid by the state.

Only the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh receive money from the civil list which is funded by the state. Certain other members of the royal family receive what is called a parliamentary annuity and then the Parliament is refunded by the Monarch from the revenues of the Duchy of Lancaster. It is important that listeners realize that being a member of the British royal family does not mean you receive state funding. He has to make his way on his own. And that has obviously involved him in various business ventures but has posed enormous emphasis because of his background on charitable activities.

Do we actually know very much about, I mean it seems there is almost a genetic legacy that he should have a connection to Russia. Do we know exactly what he’s done in Russia or what he likes doing in Russia?

We know that he goes to Russia and has a charitable foundation there. We know also, according to British press anyway, that he is popular in Russia. We know most importantly that in 1998 when the Tsar and his family were buried with the ceremony in St. Petersburg that Prince Michael attended. I guess it was a somewhat controversial ceremony in Russia under the President Yeltsin. And there is little doubt, he sees this as an integral part of the function that he has taken on.

© The Voice of Russia. 15 May, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:44 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 15 May 2012 9:03 AM EDT
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Sunday, 13 May 2012
Prince Michael of Kent Gets Cash from Controversial Russian Oligarch
Topic: Romanov Descendants


Prince Michael of Kent (right) with former Russian president, Dmitri Medvedev 

Prince Michael of Kent, cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, has received £320,000, or about $514,000, from oligarch Boris Berezovsky, a Russian political exile living in London, The Sunday Times reported.

The paper said during the six-year period from 2002 to 2008, a fund controlled by Berezovsky funneled 56 payments of between £5,000 and £15,000 through offshore companies into a family business owned by the prince's secretary.

The transfers were revealed in documents submitted to the High Court ahead of an upcoming case.

Berezovsky himself told The Sunday Times "There is nothing underhand or improper about the financial assistance I have given Prince Michael. It is a matter between friends."

Prince Michael, who has well-publicized financial problems, has gotten financial support from other sources, including the Queen, who paid rent for his Kensington Palace home in the amount of £100,000 per year. He has also faced allegations of using his title to get free trips and supplement his income.

Unlike other members of the royal family, the prince does not earn money from public funds.

Prince Michael of Kent is the grandnephew of Tsar Nicholas II. He is fluent in Russian, regularly travels to Russia and is a patron of numerous charitable foundations that support Russian culture and education.

© The Moscow Times. 13 May, 2012


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:59 PM EDT
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