Maria Vladimirovna, Grand Duchess of Russia: Wikis


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Maria Vladimirovna
Grand Duchess of Russia
Head of the House of Romanov (disputed)
Time 21 April 1992 - present
Predecessor Grand Duke Vladimir Cyrillovich
Heir Grand Duke George Mikhailovich
Spouse Prince Franz Wilhelm of Prussia (divorced)
Grand Duke George Mikhailovich
Full name
Maria Vladimirovna Romanova
House House of Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov
Father Vladimir Cyrillovich, Grand Duke of Russia
Mother Princess Leonida Bagration of Mukhrani
Born 23 December 1953 (1953-12-23) (age 56)
Madrid, Spain
Russian Imperial Family
CoA Russian Empire.png

HIH The Dowager Grand Duchess

Coat of arms of Imperial Russia
Pretenders to the
Russian throne since 1917
Grand Duchess Maria
since 1992
since 1992
See also House of Romanov

Maria Vladimirovna, Grand Duchess of Russia (Mariya Vladimirovna Romanova, Cyrillic: Мари́я Влади́мировна Рома́нова; born 23 December 1953 in Madrid), has been a claimant to the Headship of the Imperial Family of Russia and title Titular Empress and Autocrat of All the Russias, since 1992. She has used the title Grand Duchess of Russia, with the style Imperial Highness throughout her life, though her right to this title is disputed.[1][2]



Maria Vladimirovna was born in Madrid, the only child of Grand Duke Vladimir Cyrillovich of Russia, Head of the Imperial Family of Russia and Titular Emperor of Russia,[3] and Leonida Georgievna Princess Bagration-Moukhransky, (the divorced wife of the American-born Sumner Moore Kirby). Her paternal grandparents were Grand Duke Cyril Vladimirovich of Russia and Grand Duchess Victoria Feodorovna (née Princess Victoria Melita of Edinburgh and Saxe-Coburg-Gotha). Maria was educated in Madrid and Paris, before spending a few terms at Oxford University, where she studied Russian history and literature.[4][5]

On 23 December 1969, upon reaching her dynastic majority, Maria swore an oath of allegiance of loyalty to her father and Russia. At the same time, her father issued a controversial decree, whereby in the event of him predeceasing the living male Romanovs he recognised as dynasts, then Maria would become the "Curatrix of the Imperial Throne".[6] This has been viewed as an attempt by her father to ensure the succession remained in his branch of the imperial family,[4] while the heads of the other branches of the imperial family, the Princes Vsevolod Ioannovich (Konstantinovichi), Roman Petrovich (Nikolaevichi) and Andrei Alexandrovich (Mihailovichi) declared that her father's actions were illegal.[1]

In Madrid on 22 September 1976, Maria married Prince Franz Wilhelm of Prussia.[7] Franz Wilhelm converted to the Orthodox faith, upon his marriage, taking the name Michael Pavlovich and was also created a Grand Duke of Russia by Maria's father.[8] The couple separated in 1982, a year after the birth of their only child George Mikhailovich, who was granted the title Grand Duke of Russia by his grandfather Vladimir. When they divorced on 19 June 1985, Franz Wilhelm reverted to his Prussian title and style.[9]

Maria Vladimirovna lives in France and Spain. She is fluent in Russian, English, French, and Spanish, she is also able to speak and read German, Italian and Arabic.[6] Maria is also in the line of succession to the British throne.

Succession claims and activities

Maria's grandfather's claim as Tsar in Exile was strongly disputed by other members of his family. One said: "To say the family is divided is a euphemism. The family is raving mad."[10] Her father, Vladimir Cyrillovich, was considered by some to be the last male dynast of the Romanov Family.[5] When he died on 21 April 1992, Maria claimed to have succeeded him as head of the Russian Imperial Family, though this was disputed by Prince Nicholas Romanovich of Russia, who also claimed to have succeeded Vladimir.

Following the discovery of the remains of Emperor Nicholas II and most of his family in 1991, Maria Vladimirovna wrote to President Boris Yeltsin, regarding the burial of the remains, saying of her Romanov cousins, whom she does not recognise as members of the Imperial family (including ones closely related to Nicholas II, the grandchildren of his sister Grand Duchess Xenia), that they "do not have the slightest right to speak their mind and wishes on this question. They can only go and pray at the grave, as can any other Russian, who so wishes".[11] In the end, Maria did not recognize the authenticity of the remains and refused to attend the reburial ceremony in 1998.[12] She has also said regarding her Romanov cousins, that "My feeling about them is that now that something important is happening in Russia, they suddenly have awakened and said, 'Ah ha! There might be something to gain out of this.'"[13]

Maria hopes for the restoration of the monarchy someday and is "ready to respond to a call from the people".[6] When questioned about the ongoing rift in the Romanov family, Maria said;

Attempts to disparage my rights have originated with people who, firstly, do not belong to the Imperial Family, and, secondly, either do not themselves know the relevant laws or think that others do not know these laws. In either case, there is unscrupulousness at work. The only thing that causes me regret is that some of our relatives waste their time and energy on little intrigues instead of striving to be of some use to their country. I have never quarreled with anyone about these matters and I remain open to a discussion and cooperation with all, including, of course, my relatives. But there can be no foundation for cooperation without respect for our dynastic laws, fulfilling these laws, and following our family traditions.[12]

In 2002, Maria became frustrated with the internal strife within the Russian monarchist movement. When representatives of the Union of Descendants of Noble Families, one of two rival nobility associations (the other, older one being the Russian Nobility Association) were discovered as distributing chivalric titles and awards of the Order of St Nicholas the Wonderworker, without having them expressly approved and undersigned by herself, she published a relatively strongly-worded disclaimer.[14]



See also


  1. ^ a b Massie, p 269
  2. ^ Flintoff, John-Paul (19 September 2003). "Lunch with the FT: Nicholas Romanov". Financial Times. Retrieved 11 August 2008. 
  3. ^ "Empress Maria in Vladivostok". Vladivostok Times. 11 July 2007. Retrieved 11 August 2008. 
  4. ^ a b Massie, p 263
  5. ^ a b "The Romanov Imperial dynasty in emigration XX century". Retrieved 11 August 2008. 
  6. ^ a b c "Maria I Wladimirovna". Retrieved 11 August 2008. 
  7. ^ edited by John Kennedy. (2003). Almanach de Gotha (186th ed.). Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer. p. 317. ISBN 0953214249. OCLC 166702094. 
  8. ^ Massie, p 263-264
  9. ^ Eilers, Marlene. Queen Victoria's Descendants. 2nd ed. Rosvall Royal Books: Falkoping, Sweden, 1997.
  10. ^ Kurth, Peter (January). "The mystery of the Romanov bones". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 11 August 2008. 
  11. ^ Massie, p270
  12. ^ a b "Interview with Maria Vladimirovna". 12 December 2005. Retrieved 11 August 2008. 
  13. ^ Massie, p 274
  14. ^ "Declaration by Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna". 11 December 2002. Retrieved 11 August 2008. 
  15. ^ Head of the Imperial House Of Russia and Grand Master of the Imperial and Royal Orders of Russia
  16. ^ Genealogy Of The Imperial House Of Russia
  17. ^ (rus)Награждение Государыни Марии Владимировны Орденом Святой Ольги
  18. ^ (rus) Высочайший визит в Португалию Главы Российского Императорского Дома

External links

Maria Vladimirovna, Grand Duchess of Russia
Cadet branch of the House of Oldenburg
Born: 23 September 1953
Titles in pretence
Preceded by
Grand Duke Vladimir Cyrillovich
Empress of Russia
21 April 1992 – present
Reason for succession failure:
Empire abolished in 1917
Grand Duke George Mikhailovich
British royalty
Preceded by
Constanza Snyder
Line of succession to the British Throne
110th position
Succeeded by
Grand Duke George Mikhailovich of Russia


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