Mystery Files:
The Romanovs

Tsar Nicholas II and his cousin, King George V
Artist: Archives

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In more Kent family news, Prince Michael of Kent is to appear in an upcoming TV series about one of history’s – and the monarchy’s – most tragic stories: the murder of the Romanovs.

Prince Michael, a cousin to the Queen, speaks fluent Russian and does a fair amount of business in Russia. His looks are reminiscent of the bearded Tsar Nicholas II, which comes as no surprise – his mother Princess Marina was a descendant of the Romanov clan.

The Russian dynasty was closely entwined with the British royals even before the Prince’s mother, Marina of Greece, married the youngest son of King George V. Tsar Nicholas was a first cousin to King George V himself. Their mothers were sisters, Danish princesses who married into the Russian and British royal families. Princess Dagmar became Tsarina Maria Feodorovna, and Princess Alexandra became Queen Alexandra of Great Britain.

The families were very close, and as World War I toppled monarchies and forced Royal Families to choose sides, King George V was expected to help his cousin. However, the paranoid and bombastic German Kaiser Wilhelm II, cousin to both George and Nicholas, inspired fear and xenophobia of Germans across the globe. Nicholas’ wife, Alexandra, was German, and on top of that she had turned many in the Russian court against her because of her belief in the supernatural and her reliance on the sketchy Rasputin.

Would George give the Tsar asylum and risk his own throne, or leave him to his own devices in Russia? As it turned out, the king’s decision cost his cousin and his family their lives. It’s a decision that Prince Michael now discusses in the television interview.

The program Mystery Files: The Romanovs, airs at 7pm on Thursday, February 11th on National Geographic in the UK.

Anglotopia
10 February, 2010