David Chavchavadze (1924-2014) Topic: Chavchavadze
Prince David Chavchavadze 1924-2014
It is with great sadness to report that Prince David Chavchavadze passed away on 5 October 2014 in Washington, DC. Chavchavadze, a descendant of two branches of the Romanov dynasty was an American author and a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer of Georgian-Russian origin.
Chavchavadze was born in London on 20 May 1924 to Prince Paul Chavchavadze (1899–1971) and Princess Nina Georgievna of Russia (1901–1974), a descendant of a prominent Georgian noble family and the Imperial Russian dynasty. His father, Prince Paul, was a fiction writer and translator of writings from Georgian into English, and an émigré in the United Kingdom, and then the United States.
Chavchavadze entered the United States Army in 1943 and served during World War II as liaison for the U.S. Army Air Force Lend-Lease supply operations to the Soviet Union. After the war, he entered Yale University where he was a member of The Society of Orpheus and Bacchus, the second longest running a cappella group in the United States. He spent more than two decades of his career as a CIA officer in the Soviet Union Division.
After his retirement, Chavchavadze specialized in tracing the nobility of Imperial Russia and authored The Grand Dukes (1989). He also published Crowns and Trenchcoats: A Russian Prince in the CIA (1989) based on his CIA experiences, and translated Stronger Than Power: A Collection of Stories by the Russian author Sandji B. Balykov. As a grandchild of a Russian Grand Duke, he was an Associate Member of the Romanov Family Association.
Through his mother, David Chavchavadze is great-great-grandson (through Grand Duke Mikhail Nicholaevich) and simultaneously great-great-great-grandson (through Queen of Greece, Olga Constantinovna) of Emperor Nicholas I. His maternal grandparents were Grand Duke George Mikhailovich (1863-1919) and Grand Duchess Marie Georgievna (1876-1940)
David Chavchavadze died in his sleep on 5 October 2014, after a long illness. He is survived by his wife, Eugenie Chavchavadze, his children Michael, Maria, and Alexandra Chavchavadze, and Catherine Redpath; and step-son Paul Olkovsky. Funeral services were held on Wednesday, October 8, 2014 at St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral, 3500 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007. Interment will be held at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.
On a more personal side, my memories of David Chavchavadze go back many years to the mid 1990s. I had the opportunity to speak with David on numerous occasions during the early years of Royal Russia, in which we discussed various subjects including the history and genealogy of his family - both his Russian Imperial and Greek Royal family roots. We also discussed our mutual interest in the history of Georgia and its royal family. I recall how impressed he was with my collection of books on the history of the Kingdom of Georgia.
It was in February 2007, that I began discussing with David the idea of publishing a new edition of his grandmother, Grand Duchess Marie Georgievna’s memoirs which had been out-of-print for many years. David was very keen on the idea of seeing his grandmother’s memoirs in print again, and I was honoured to take on the project. In 2012, A Romanov Diary: The Autobiography of the Grand Duchess Marie Georgievna of Russia was issued in a new soft cover edition. David and his wife Eugenie were delighted with the new edition. Sadly, David’s health was already on the decline when the book was published. I never had the opportunity to speak with him directly after that, instead communicating with him through his charming wife. David Chavchavadze was highly respected by many, his passing is a great loss to all who knew him.
On behalf of thousands of Royal Russia friends, supporters and followers around the world, I would like to take this opportunity to express our deepest condolences and prayers to David Chavchavadze’s wife, children, and other family members for their loss.
For more information on David Chavchavadze, please refer to the following article and video:
The War Years of Prince David Chavchavadze Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 5 minutes, 15 seconds Topic: Chavchavadze
Prince David Chavchavadze is the subject of a short documentary and interview broadcast on Russian television recently in which he discusses his service during the Second World War. Chavchavadze entered the United States Army in 1943. After the war he entered Yale University, he then spent two decades as a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer in the Soviet Union Division.
Born at London, England in 1924, David Chavchavadze is descended from the royal houses of Georgia, Russia, Denmark and Greece. His father, Prince Paul Chavchavadze (1899-1971) was a direct descendant of the last King of Georgia, George XII. His mother, Princess Nina Georgievna (1901-1974), was the daughter of Grand Duchess Marie Georgievna (1876-1940) and Grand Duke George Mikhailovich (1863-1919).
Prince David Chavchadze is the author of 2 books: The Grand Dukes (1990), Crowns and Trenchcoats: A Russian Prince in the CIA (1990). In 2012, he authorized a reprint of his grandmother's memoirs, A Romanov Diary: The Autobiography of the Grand Duchess Marie Georgievna of Russia, publishedby Gilbert's Books (the publishing division of Royal Russia).