During the final years of his reign, Emperor Nicholas II was more than aware that the various branches of his family were creating a politically dangerous situation by their open hostility towards him. Among them were his cousin Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich (1856-1929) and uncle Grand Duke Nicholas Mikhailovich (1859-1919), however, it was the hostility which simmered from the Vladimirovich branch of the family which posed the greatest threat to him.
The Vladimirovichi are inextricably linked to the many myths and lies which have been allowed to germinate for more than a century, and continue to overshadow the life and reign of the Holy Tsar Nicholas II to this day. Some members of the Vladimirovichi were, devoid of principle. They embodied the “treason, cowardice and deceit” that Nicholas II recorded in his diary.
Over the past year, I have been researching material for my forthcoming article ‘Family Disloyalty: Nicholas II and the Vladimirovichi’, Iwhich will be published in two parts this spring. Below, is a short summary of some of the issues which will be discussed:
In part one, Uncle Vladimir and Aunt Miechen (April 2021), I discuss the often hostile relationship between Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich and his wife Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna towards Emperor Nicholas II. During the last years of Vladimir’s life, the rift between his family and that of Nicholas II widened.
Vladimir’s German born wife, Maria Pavlovna (née Duchess Marie Alexandrine Elisabeth Eleonore of Mecklenburg-Schwerin), a vile opportunist with an over inflated ego, carried the family’s anti-Nicholas agenda to the end of her days. Known as “Miechen” or “Maria Pavlovna the Elder,” she was well known for her acid tongue and spiteful demeanour. The power hungry Maria Pavlovna had an open rivalry with her sister-in-law the Empress Maria Feodorovna (wife of Emperor Alexander III) and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna (wife of Emperor Nicholas II), the latter of which Maria Pavlovna was notorious for plotting against and spreading malicious gossip. She was also very crafty. Maria remained Lutheran throughout most of her marriage, but converted to Orthodoxy in April 1908, believing it would give her son Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich a better chance at the throne.
The treachery and deceit which emanated from the Vladimir Palace was not restricted to the senior grand ducal couple, but also to their eldest son and his wife Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich and Grand Duchess Victoria Feodorovna. In part two, Kirill and Ducky (June 2021), I discuss Kirill marrying his paternal first cousin, Princess Victoria Melita of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1905, both defying Nicholas II by not obtaining his consent prior. But it was Kirill’s traitorous act during the February Revolution of 1917, in which he is most famous for. It was in Petrograd, that Kirill marched to the Tauride Palace at the head of the Garde Equipage (Marine Guard) to swear allegiance to the Russian Provisional Government, wearing a red band on his uniform. He then authorized the flying of a red flag over his palace on Glinka Street in Petrograd. In 1926, Kirill pompously proclaimed himself “emperor-in-exile”, I also discuss Kirill and Ducky’s alleged Nazi affiliations during their years in exile, Kirill’s infidelity.
It is ironic that following the 1917 Revolution, ALL the members of the Vladimirovich branch of the family managed to get out of Russia, with the exception of Grand Duke Vladimir who had died in 1909
My two-part study will feature excerpts from letters by Nicholas II, his mother Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, and information from new documents sourced from Russian media and archive sources.
Why is this story relevant?
During the Nicholas II Conference, held in Colchester, England on 27th October 2018, I announced that I would be committing myself to researching and writing about the life and reign of Nicholas II. In addition, my personal mission to clear the name of Russia’s much slandered emperor and tsar. As part of the latter, I believe that a comprehensive study of the relationship between the Vladimirovich branch of the Imperial Family and Nicholas II, was an issue which had to be addressed.
As a result, I severed all ties with Maria Vladimirovna and her son George Mikhailovich, as well as the Russian Legitimist cause. My main reason being that this branch of the Imperial Family must be held accountable for their hostility and treachery towards the Holy Tsar Nicholas II.
Many monarchists (myself included) and those faithful to the memory of Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II, believe that Maria Pavlovna’s malicious gossip and intrigues against Nicholas II, and her son Kirill’s act of treason in 1917, should eliminate the Vladimir branch of the Russian Imperial Family from any further consideration.
In 2011, I interviewed Maria asking her the following two questions on Nicholas II:
“For nearly a century, the last Emperor of Russia, Nicholas II, has been maligned and slandered by Western historians and biographers. In your opinion, how have these historians and authors been mistaken about Nicholas II?”
and . . .
“In your view, why is the rehabilitation of the Tsar-Martyr Emperor Nicholas II by the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation so important for a proper understanding of Russian history?”
Her responses were indeed admirable, however, her refusal to acknowledge the open hostility and treachery of her ancestors towards Nicholas II, in which she remains defensive.
On 2nd September 2020, Maria Vladimirovna, stated the following on her web site:
“She [Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna] was critical of some aspects of the official political course, but she always retained her loyalty and love for Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. She was subjected to slanderous persecution by the court intriguers, who sought to sow discord within the Imperial Family.”
Maria Vladimirovna’s attempt to whitewash the truth about her power hungry great-grandmother and her traitorous grandfather, eluding that she was the victim of “slanderous persecution” is utter nonsense! One cannot sweep history under the rug. Maria and her supporters do not want her ancestors exposed for what they are: traitors! Maria might just gain some respect if she simply spoke honestly, and admitted that her grandfather and great-grandmother were a rotten pair.
In addition, I like many others, believe that the Russian Imperial House ended with the death of Nicholas II, on 17th July 1918. The “Russian Imperial House” – as it exists today – consists of no more than two people: one, a woman who is Russian only because Yeltsin gave her family Russian passports, she failed Russian at Oxford University, and currently lives in Spain; her son, is a Hohenzollern prince and nothing more. Their claim to the now defunct Russian throne is disputed by many Russians.
© Paul Gilbert. 1 March 2021