Grand Duchess Maria and Grand Duke George
H.I.H. Grand Duchess Maria of Russia
Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Maria of Russia (Maria Vladimirovna Romanova) born December 23 1953 in Madrid Spain.
The Grand Duchess Maria is a member of the Imperial House of Romanova, and is the great-great-grand daughter of Tsar Alexander II of Russia.
The Grand Duchess was born in Madrid as the only child of Vladimir Kirillovich Romanov, Grand Duke of Russia and Princess Leonida Bagration-Mukhrani of Russia. Her paternal grandparents were Cyril Vladimirovich Romanov, Grand Duke of Russia, and Victoria Feodorovna Romanova, Grand Duchess of Russia and member of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.
The Grand Duchess Maria was educated in both Madrid and Paris, before spending a few terms at Oxford University, where she studied Russian history and literature.
In Madrid on September 22 1976, the Grand Duchess Maria married Prince Franz Wilhelm of Prussia, a member of the House of Hohenzollern, and great-grandson of Germany’s last emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm II and, like his bride, a great-great grandchild of Queen Victoria. Franz Wilhelm converted to the Russian Orthodox faith prior to the wedding, taking the name Michael Pavlovich and receiving the title of a Grand Duke of Russia from Maria’s father.
The couple separated in 1982, a year after the birth of their only child George Mikhailovich, who had been granted the title Grand Duke of Russia at birth by his grandfather Vladimir. Following the divorce on 19 June 1985, Franz Wilhelm reverted to his Prussian name and style.
The Grand Duchess Maria never again married, and presently has homes in Russia, France, and Spain. Her Imperial Highness speaks fluent Russian, English, French and Spanish, and also speaks some German, Italian and Arabic.
Role in the restored Russian Monarchy
The Grand Duchess Maria is Patron and supporter of numerous organisations reflecting her wide-ranging interests.
In support of the future Tsarina, Her Imperial Highness will oversee the establishment of several new hospitals that will soon be built across Russia. The Grand Duchess’s military affiliations will include being the Colonel-in-Chief of The Grenadier Household Guards of Saint Petersburg.
Present title and status
- Grand Duchess of Russia
Awards and honours
- Order of St. Andrew the First-Called
- Dame Grand Cross Order of Saint Catherine
- Order of Saint Alexander Nevsky
- Order of the White Eagle
- Order of St. Anna 1st Class
- Order of Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker 1st Class
- Order of St. Anastasia Order of Saint Stanislaus 1st Class
- Order of St. Michael the Archangel, 1st Class #
- Dame Grand Cross Sovereign Military Order of Malta
- Order of St. Olga 1 Class (Patriarch Alexius II, Russian Orthodox Church)
- Order of St. Paraskeva 1 Class (Moldovan Orthodox Church)
- Order of St. Barbara 1 Class (Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate)
- Dame Grand Cross Order of Saint Michael of the Wing (Duarte Pio, Duke of Braganza)
- Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the Queen of Sheba (Crown Council of Ethiopia)
- Order of the Republic (Pridnestrovian Moldova)
- Lady of the Grand Collar of The Order of the Eagle of Georgia and the Seamless Tunic of Our Lord Jesus Christ (Irakli Bagration of Mukhrani)
- Cross of Russian Nobility Association 1st Class
Future titles and honours
- Colonel-in-Chief of the Household Coldstream Guards
- Dame Commander of the Order of the Knights Templar of Russia
H.I.H. Grand Duke George of Russia
Grand Duke George Mikhailovich Romanov of Russia (born 13 March 1981) is the son and only child of the Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna Romanova; as also the son of a Prince of Prussia he also has the title Prince of Prussia with the style of Royal Highness.
The Grand Duke George was born in Madrid in 1981, the son of Prince Franz Wilhelm of Prussia (at the time styled HIH Grand Duke Michael Pavlovich of Russia) and Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna of Russia,only grandchild of Vladimir Cyrillovich, Grand Duke of Russia. Grandparents on his father’s side were Prince Karl Francis of Prussia and Princess Henriette Hermine von Schönaich-Carolath. The Grand Duke George was baptised on 6 May 1981, in Madrid; his godfather is King Constantine II of Greece. Also present at the baptism were King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía of Spain and Tsar Simeon II and Queen Margarita of Bulgaria.
George was given the title Grand Duke of Russia by his maternal grandfather. Prince Vasili Alexandrovich, then president of the Romanov Family Association, responded in writing that “The Romanov Family Association hereby declares that the joyful event in the Prussian Royal House does not concern the Romanov Family Association since the newborn prince is not a member of either the Russian Imperial Household or of the Romanov family”.
In anticipation of his eventual succession as pretender and with his maternal grandfather’s approval, his mother applied for a change of name with the French authorities as “Grand Duke George of Russia” instead of “Prinz von Preußen”.This was refused by the French Minister of Justice. His parents separated in 1982 and divorced in 1985. His father, who stopped using his Russian title after his separation, has said of his son, “I have his German passport right here; I always carry it with me. It says he is Prince George of Prussia”.
George spent the first years of his life in France before moving to Spain. There he and his mother lived, along with Princess Leonida Bagration of Mukhrani, his maternal grandmother, in the home of his maternal half-aunt, Helen Kirby, who inherited a significant fortune from her father, Sumner Moore Kirby.
- 13 March 1981 – present: His Imperial and Royal Highness Grand Duke George Mikhailovich of Russia, Prince of Prussia
- Knight Grand Cross Saint Andrews Order.
- Knight Order of Saint Alexander Nevski.
- Knight Order of the White Eagle.
- Knight Grand Cross Order of St. Anne
- Knight Grand Cross Order of Saint Stanislaus.
- Knight of the Order of the Eagle of Georgia and the Seamless Tunic of Our Lord Jesus Christ, House of Bagration (Georgia)
- Knight Grand Cross Order of the Holy Trinity, Salomonic (Ethiopia)
- Knight Grand Cross Order of Saint Miguel del Ala, House of Braganza (Portugal)
- Gran Bailly of the Order of Malta (Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta)
Education and career
The Grand Duke George was educated at Runnymede College in Madrid, Doverbroecks College, Oxford and at St Benet’s Hall, Oxford.
In Brussels, The Grand Duke George worked at the European Parliament where he was an assistant to Loyola de Palacio, former European Commissioner for Transport and Energy. Later he moved to Luxembourg where he was employed at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Atomic Energy and Security.
On 12 December 2008, The Grand Duke George was appointed an aide to the Director General of MMC Norilsk Nickel, a major Russian nickel-mining company.
In 2012 the Grand Duke George was nominated chief executive of Metal Trade Overseas, the main sales hub for Norilsk Nickel in Switzerland.
In 2014 the Grand Duke George founded his own company, Romanoff & Partners, in Brussels.
Future titles and honours
- Colonel-in-Chief of the Household Pavlovsky Guards
- Knight Commander of the Order of the Knights Templar of Russia