The Autobiography of the
Grand Duchess Marie Georgievna of Russia



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After being out of print for nearly 20 years, a new edition of A Romanov Diary: The Autobiography of H.I. and R.H. Grand Duchess George has been published by Gilbert’s Books, the publishing division of Royal Russia in Spring 2012.

Prince David Chavchavadze and Alexandra L. Wynkoop, daughter of the late Nancy Leeds Wynkoop, who own the copyright to this book, have authorized Gilbert’s Books to reprint a new edition of these highly sought after memoirs.

The first edition of A Romanov Diary was first published in a limited number in 1988 by Atlantic International Publications. Atlantic published numerous royalty books, but the company ceased operations after the publisher, G. Nicholas Tantzos died.


A Romanov Diary spans 50-years in the life of Royal Europe (1884-1934) during one of the most turbulent periods of history. In her memoirs, Grand Duchess George (Marie) of Russia, writes of emperors, kings, queens and royal cousins in their everyday private lives, as well as their intricate relationships which determined the course of history.

The most compelling portions of A Romanov Diary are the letters written by her husband, Grand Duke George Mikhailovich, from prison after the Bolshevik revolution of 1917. These letters were smuggled from prison, and detail events up to shortly before the Grand Duke’s murder in 1919. Grand Duchess George has set forth extensive portions of these letters, and the last days of the Romanov dynasty come alive.


Born at Athens in 1876, Grand Duchess George (Marie) of Russia, was the daughter of King George I of Greece and Queen Olga, née Grand Duchess Olga Konstantinovna of Russia; granddaughter of King Christian IX of Denmark, great-granddaughter of Tsar Nicholas I, niece of Queen Alexandra of Great Britain and Empress Marie Feodorovna of Russia, and first cousin and confidant of Tsar Nicholas II. Her Highness was thus perfectly positioned to witness some of the world’s most monumental historical events, and she writes of them with skill and candor.

On 30 April 1900, Maria was married to Grand Duke George Mikhailovich of Russia. Together, they had two daughters: Princess Nina Georgievna (1901-1974), and Princess Xenia Georgievna (1903-1965).

The Grand Duchess spent most of her life abroad: Russia, England, Italy—and on her return to Greece in 1940, she vowed never again to be driven into exile. During the Second World War, as the German army advanced on Athens and the Royal Family prepared to flee, Grand Duchess George passed away in 1940, at the age of 64.


Grand Duke George Mikhailovich, was the third son of Grand Duke Mikhail Nikolaevich, and Grand Duchess Olga Feodorovna (nee Princess Cecilie of Baden). He was also a first cousin to Emperor Alexander III. He served as a General in the Russian Army during the First World War. During the Russian Revolution, he was imprisoned by the Bolsheviks and shot by a firing squad in 1919, along with his brother, Grand Duke Nicholas Mikhailovich, and his cousins Grand Dukes Paul Alexandrovich and Dimitri Konstantinovich.


Prince David Chavchavadze, was born in London in 1924 to Prince Paul Chavchavadze, a descendant of a prominent Georgian noble family, and Princess Nina Georgievna, the eldest daughter of George and Marie. He is the author of The Grand Dukes (1989) and Crowns and Trenchcoats: A Russian Prince in the CIA (1989), both of which were published by Atlantic International Publications, and both of which are out of print.

Eugenie de Smitt became David’s third wife in 1979, they reside together in Washington DC today.


Nancy Leeds Wynkoop, was born in 1925, the daughter of William Bateman Leeds, Jr. and Princess Xenia Georgievna, the youngest daughter of George and Marie. Through her mother, she was a direct descendent of Catherine the Great and one of the last godchildren of the Dowager Empress Marie Feodorovna, mother of Tsar Nicholas II.

During World War I, her father’s mother, Nancy (Stewart) Leeds, married Prince Christopher of Greece and Denmark, the youngest son of King George I. She became Princess Anastasia of Greece, the only American woman ever endowed with the rank and style of Royal Highness “in her own right.” This put Nancy Wynkoop first in line to the throne of Greece after the children and grandchildren of King Constantine II.

Nancy Leeds Wynkoop died on June 7, 2006. Her husband, Edward Judson Wynkoop passed away in 2009. They are survived by their daughter, and only child, Alexandra L. Wynkoop.


The new edition of A Romanov Diary is now available in a soft cover edition, 262 pages, with black and white photographs from the personal collection of the family.

Gilbert's Books and Royal Russia are truly honoured to be a part of this publishing project, firmly believing that Grand Duchess George had a story to be kept alive.

Grand Duchess George

Grand Duke George Mikhailovich

Grand Duchess Marie, Princess Xenia,
Princess Nina & Grand Duke George, 1909

Grand Duchess Olga Konstantinovna,
mother of Grand Duchess Marie

Grand Duchess George & Emperor Nicholas II