PHOTO: Grand Dukes Kirill Vladimirovich and Nicholas Mikhailovich
Grand Duke Nicholas Mikhailovich (1859-1918), who was known affectionately within the Imperial Family as “Uncle Bimbo” was the eldest son of Grand Duke Michael Nikolaevich and Grand Duchess Olga Fedorovna, a first cousin of Emperor Alexander III, and a great uncle of Emperor Nicholas II.
“Bimbo” was considered a troublemaker and a radical free-thinker. He was the most vocal and radical opponent of Nicholas II from among the grand dukes. In 1916-17, he openly opposed the course pursued by the tsar and his government. He was also involved in the plot to murder Grigory Rasputin.
Worried about the various actions carried out by the Russian government, Nicholas Mikhailovich addressed a letter to the Tsar in which he advised him to deprive his wife of all power. Horrified by the actions of the government of the time, “Bimbo” publicly denounced them. After so much criticism, Nicholas II ended up losing patience and exiled the Grand Duke to his estate Grushevka, which he fulfilled on 1st January 1917.
He returned to Petrograd two months later on 1st March 1917, following the outbreak of the February Revolution. He gladly accepted the revolutionary events and recognized the authority of the new Provisional Government.
Following the February 1917 Revolution, the Grand Duke approached the then Minister of Justice of the Provisional Government Alexander Kerensky, with an idea to persuade the grand dukes to voluntarily surrender their annual allowances, their lands and their rights to the throne.
On 9th March 1917, he wrote the following letter to Kerensky:
“As of today I have received consent to renounce the throne and to surrender specific lands from the Grand Dukes Kirill Vladimirovich (easily), from Dmitry Konstantinovich (with difficulty) and from the Princes Gabriel and Igor Konstantinovich. I also sent a telegram to my brother Alexander to convince Paul Alexandrovich, my brother George, who lives with Mikhail Alexandrovich in Gatchina, and my brother Sergei, who is in Mogilev.
The whereabouts of Nicholas and Peter Nikolaevich, Boris Vladimirovich and Prince Konstantin Konstantinovich are unknown.”
This important letter confirms that Grand Duke Kirill “willingly” renounced his rights to the throne, without a struggle!!
In June 1917, Grand Duke Kirill fled Russia with his pregnant wife and their two daughters to Finland. His departure was “illegal”, as Kirill was still in active duty, serving as a rear admiral in active military service in a country at war, thus abandoning his honour and dignity.
It is interesting to add, that the Kirillovich were the only branch of the Imperial Family who managed to escape the Bolsheviks, without losing any family members.
PHOTO: Grand Duke Kirill’s renouncement of his rights to the throne, signed in 1917
In addition, and also never mentioned by the “Legitimists” is Grand Duke Kirill’s post-February written statement, in which he renounces his rights to the throne:
“Regarding our rights, and in particular mine, to the succession to the throne, I, passionately loving my Motherland, fully subscribe to the thoughts expressed in the act of refusal of the Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich.”
Following Kirill’s death in 1938, his son and “heir” Vladimir Kirillovich denied the existence of this document, and yet here it is, preserved in the Russian States Archives of the Russian Federation (GARF) in Moscow.
This evidence further proves that Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich’s descendants: his son Prince Vladimir Kirillovich; his granddaughter Maria Vladimirovna and her son George Mikhailovich, have NO claim to the non-existent Russian throne.
 GARF, f. 601, op. 1, unit xp. 1263, l. 3.
 Kirill was referring to Grand Duke Michael’s declaration: “. . . I have taken the firm decision to assume the supreme power only if and when our great people, having elected by universal suffrage a Constituent Assembly to determine the form of government and lay down the fundamental law of the new Russian State, invest me with such power. . . .”
© Paul Gilbert. 14 June 2021