History of a Princess
Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna
An exhibition dedicated to the life of Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna opens at Arkhangelskoe State Museum Estate
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She was called "the pearl of the Romanov family.” Maria Pavlovna, the Russian grand duchess who married into the Swedish royal family is the subject of an exhibition, The History of a Princess which opened on February 8th, at Arkhangelskoe State Museum, the former Yusupov estate situated outside of Moscow.
In 1908, she married Prince Vilhelm, Duke of Södermanland, the second son of King Gustav V of Sweden and Victoria of Baden. Their marriage lasted only 5 years. She returned to Russia in 1913. The following year, the Grand Duchess divorced her Swedish prince.
During World War I she worked as a nurse in Pskov. She was awarded the St. George Cross for bravery. In September, 1917, she married Prince Sergei Mikhailovich Putiatin. She fled Russia after the war and the Russian revolution. Her first years of exile were financed by the jewels she had had smuggled to Sweden before escaping Russia.
She moved to Paris where she opened a quality sewing and textile shop called Kitmir. Grand Duchess Maria was not afraid of hard work and she became a successful entrepreneur in the Parisian fashion world. Her boutique became very popular with the fashion elite of the French capital and even caught the attention of Coco Chanel. Her boutique was to leave an imprint on the history of Paris fashion.
The exhibition reflects two periods of the life of Grand Duchess Maria. The first features photographs and personal items from the collections of the Royal Palace in Stockholm for the period from 1908 to 1913. The second features her association with the Paris fashion icon, Coco Chanel, as well as some of her dresses from "Kitmir" along with photographs provided by renowned fashion historian Alexander Vasilyev.
The exhibition runs until March 25th, 2010.
Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia