Prince George Mikhailovich: Gravedigger of Legitimism

PHOTO: George Mikhailovich with his fiancé Rebecca Bettarini

I am publishing the following English translation of an article by Anatoly Dmitrievich Stepanov, editor-in-chief of Русская Народная Линия [Russian People’s Line], chairman of the Russian Assembly, and supplemented it with my own additional comments.

For the record, I do not support the claim of Maria Vladimirovna as “Head of the Russian Imperial House”, nor do I support the claim of her son George Mikhailovich as “Tsesarevich”.

As I have clearly stated in previous articles, that upon the death of Emperor Nicholas II on 17th July 1918, the Russian Imperial House ceased to exist. Due to the treacherous act of Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich in February 1917, this branch of the dynasty should not even be considered for the throne – one, which no longer exists!

For those of us, who honour the memory of Emperor Nicholas II, under no pretext can we admit to the throne those whose ancestors belonged to parties involved in the 1917 revolution in one way or another. Nor can we admit those whose ancestors betrayed Nicholas II. Nor can we ignore those whose ancestors openly supported the Nazis. Thus, without any reservations, the right to the succession to the throne of the Kirillovich branch should be excluded.

In addition, if the monarchy is ever to be restored in 21st century Russia, it is up to the citizens of Russia to make that decision, no one else.[1]

I do not support the Legitimists and their support of these usurpers. I truly regret the day I ever supported any of them and their agenda – PG


On 6th August, Hieromonk Nikon (Belavenets) announced on his Facebook page: “Yesterday afternoon I had the great honour of accompanying Grand Duke George Mikhailovich[2] and his bride Victoria Romanovna to the registry office to apply for a marriage licence.”

A wedding is scheduled for 1st October in St. Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg. The lavish, no expenses spared wedding will no doubt be a media frenzy for the very unpopular descendants of Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich, and nothing short of a three ring circus!

It recently came to my attention that following the couples announcement of their nuptials back in January of this year, Maria Vladimirovna[3] and her son George Mikhailovich hired the services of a public relations firm in Moscow to not only help promote the event but also to make them more “appealing” to the Russian public”. As a result, George and his fiancé are in the Russian media almost daily, from televised interviews to glossy magazine photo shoots.

The upcoming wedding was presented to the whole world, as the “event of the century”, of which “Russia has not seen the likes of for more than a hundred years”. The wedding was even cynically compared with the marriage of Emperor Nicholas Alexandrovich and Princess Alix of Hesse [Empress Alexandra Feodorovna], which took place on 27th (O.S. 14th) November 1894.

The bride to be Rebecca Bettarini, who, after joining the Orthodox Church, received the name Victoria Romanovna. Rebecca is the daughter of an Italian diplomat, whom the mother of George Mikhailovich, Princess Maria Vladimirovna, awarded an order giving his daughter the right to call herself a noblewoman.

The false “nobility” of Bettarini was created by Maria Vladimirovna herself, who has no right to do so. Maria actively, and completely illegally distributes orders[4], medals and even titles of the Russian Empire. While many orders and awards of the Russian Empire have been officially restored in the modern Russian Federation, an ordinary civilian, and not a representative of the state, distributes the same order in appearance and name to her supporters on behalf of the “Imperial House”!

PHOTO: Princess Maria Vladimirovna

According to Anatoly Dmitrievich Stepanov[5], the marriage of Prince George Mikhailovich, who turned 40 this year (his bride is 39), is a significant event, which is not restricted to high society gossip. For the Russian monarchist movement, it has, one might say, epochal significance, an event which means the end of Legitimism.

Even if Rebecca Bettarini became a Russian noblewoman through Maria Vladimirovna’s simple manipulations, this wedding means only one thing – Prince George Mikhailovich Romanov is entering into a morganatic marriage![6]

In any other case, it would not really matter. The act of Emperor Paul I, according to which the order of succession to the throne was carried out in Russia, and one of the points of which was the requirement for a potential heir to the throne to marry an equal wife, was adopted at the end of the 18th century (in 1797) and was clearly outdated already in the 20th century, when monarchies in Europe began to crumble, and Europe itself turned its back on Christianity.

However, for the descendants of Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich, who declared himself emperor in exile in 1924, adherence to this principle was one of the main conditions justifying their right to inherit the Russian throne. Kirill Vladimirovich’s supporters called themselves Legitimists, i.e. fulfilling the norm of Paul Petrovich’s act of succession to the throne.

Prince Vladimir Kirillovich[7] married Leonida Georgievna,[7] although she was divorced (her first husband was the American banker Sumner Kirby, for whom this was his third marriage), but also representative of the Royal House of Bagration-Mukhransky. Princess Maria Vladimirovna married Prince Franz Wilhelm of Prussia[8], who converted to Orthodoxy and became Mikhail Pavlovich. Although there is a lot of gossip around this short-term marriage, it was considered by Legitimists as equal. But now, George Mikhailovich is about to enter into a morganatic marriage.

It is interesting to note, that for decades, members of the Romanov family who entered into morganatic marriages in exile, were shunned by Grand Duke Kirill, his son Vladimir and to this day Maria Vladimirovna. This family statute, however, was amended by Maria herself, so that her own son could enter into a morganatic marriage.

“This is a blow to the very foundations of Legitimism”, says Stepanov. “I remember hearing from one of the respected clergymen that the Kirillovichs should be respected for the fact that they voluntarily assumed a kind of penance not to enter into morganatic marriages, and this is a serious restriction in modern times. This is true. The restriction is serious not only in modern times. Already at the beginning of the twentieth century, morganatic marriages of the sovereign’s brother, Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich, and his uncle, Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich, became a problem for the autocracy, which dealt a serious blow to the prestige of the monarchy.

Thus, Prince George Mikhailovich’s morganatic marriage thus buries Legitimism. And along with it and the special status and special rights of the so-called “Russian Imperial House”, which can now be headed, in theory, by any of the living descendants of the Romanovs, and not just representatives of the Kirillovich branch.

In discussions between Legitimist-Monarchists and Conciliarist-Monarchists, the first ones appealed precisely to the Act of Emperor Paul Petrovich, as an authoritative document on the issue of succession to the throne, and refused to listen to arguments that this act ceased to operate together with the disappearance of the Russian Empire. Now their leader, Prince George Mikhailovich, deprives them of this argument.

Legitimism is dying. Will this lead to changes in the monarchist movement in Russia? Regardless, the Legitimist movement will no doubt do what they have always done since 1917, and that is to rewrite the laws of succession in a way that will both solidify and justify Maria and George’s agenda.


[1] In the summer of 2019, a poll conducted by REGNUM of some 35,000 Russian citizens showed that only 28% supported the idea of restoring the monarchy, more than half (52%) of which would NOT support placing a Romanov on the throne!

[2] George Mikhailovich is a Prince, not a Grand Duke. Many self-proclaimed monarchists recognize George as a Hohenzollern, NOT a Romanov! The last grand duke of Russia was Andrei Vladimirovich, who died in 1956. Nor is George Mikhailovich Tsesarevich. The last Tsesarevich of Russia was Nicholas II’s son Alexei Nikolaevich, who was murdered on 17th July 1917, in Ekaterinburg.

[3] Maria Vladimirovna is a Princess, not a Grand Duchess. The last grand duchess of Russia was Nicholas II’s younger sister Olga Alexandrovna, who died on 24th November 1960, in Toronto, Canada

[4] When a person is nominated for an Order, he or she is presented with a Gramota – the actual document signed by Maria Vladimirovna investing you into the respective Order. The actual Orders, however, are not handed out freely, one must pay for them, the more prestigious the Order, the more one pays. In addition, recipients are also offered lapel pins, even coat-of-arms – all at an additional cost!

[5] Anatoly Dmitrievich Stepanov, editor-in-chief of Russian Narodnaya Liniya, chairman of the Russian Assembly

[6] Morganatic marriage, legally valid marriage between a male member of a sovereign, princely, or noble house and a woman of lesser birth or rank

[7] Princess Maria Vladimirovna’s parents

[8] Prince George Mikhailovich’s father

© Paul Gilbert. 10 August 2021