PHOTO: Prince George Mikhailovich and Princess Maria Vladimirovna
On 1st October, a descendant of the Romanov dynasty, Prince George Mikhailovich, will marry the daughter of an Italian diplomat Rebecca Bettarini in St. Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg. The couple’s upcoming nuptials have generated much attention by Russia’s media, one of which hailed the event as the “wedding of the century”, which of course is utter nonsense.
The announcement of the couple’s marriage in January of this year, once again reopened the century long debate about the Kirillovich branch of the Romanov family and their hotly disputed claim to the non-existent Russian throne, and restoration of the monarchy.
According to historian Alexander Chausov, “the practical implementation of the idea of the revival of the Russian monarchy seems extremely doubtful. In modern times, the return of the monarchy to any country entails a change in the entire logic of the work of the institutions of power. Even if it is a constitutional monarchy. No matter how we relate to Russia, it is today a democratic republican state,” – says Alexander Chausov.
The historian believes that religion in any monarchy is an essential component. Monarchy is the legitimization of power through the sacred, that is, through religious attributes. How in Russia, where freedom of conscience and religion is declared at the constitutional level with the legally enshrined equality of confessions and religious movements, will they choose the religious denomination that should perform the rite of anointing this particular monarch? It is clear that Russia is a country with an strong Orthodox culture, and George Romanov himself is Orthodox. But if the ceremony is performed by the Russian Orthodox Church, not only will it cause dissatisfaction with other religious confessions, but also with political factions [the Communist Party in particular] of the country. “The tsar in the state is the bishop for earthly affairs, as the Byzantine emperors were called. When introducing a monarchy, one will have to forget that in Russia the church is separated from the state,” noted Chausov.
In addition, the historian is sure that for the revival of the monarchy in Russia, it will be necessary to return the class division of society. In order to establish a monarchy in Russia, it is necessary to hold a nationwide referendum. If the absolute majority votes in favor, it will be necessary to hold a certain Zemsky Sobor – by analogy with the one at which Mikhail Romanov was elected tsar in Russia in 1613 . Now the right of the descendants of the Kirillovich branch of the Romanov family to occupy any throne seems very doubtful. But the Zemsky Sobor is not a referendum; it presupposes, at least, the division of the estate of society and the official revival of the nobility. Modern society is simply not motivated by the processes of the revival of the monarchy, the historian is sure.
The idea of restoring monarchy in post-Soviet Russia is not popular with most Russians. 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!
PHOTO: Father Afanasy Selichev
Has no right to the throne
According to the abbot of the Archangel Michael Monastery of the Alexander Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church, Father Afanasy Selichev, there were cases of morganatic marriages in the history of the Kirillovichs [among other male members of the Imperial Family during the reign of Nicholas II], and this deprived George Romanov of the right to occupy any throne.
George’s great-grandfather, the Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich (1876-1938), lost his right to succession to the throne when he entered into an incestuous marriage [forbidden by the Russian Orthodox Church] with his first cousin Princess Victoria-Melita of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1876-1936), the daughter of the Duke of Edinburgh (1844-1900) and Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna (1853-1920). According to the Russian Orthodox Church, his marriage deprived him and his descendants of any rights to the Russian throne. During the February 1917 Revolution, Kirill Vladimirovich, commanding a guards naval crew in Petrograd, recognized the Provisional Government and walked around with a red bow. “His record says something,” – said Father Afanasy.
In addition, Kirill’s son Vladimir (1917-1992) in 1948 secretly entered into a morganatic marriage with the divorced Mrs. Kirby, nee Princess Leonida Georgievna Bagration-Mukhranskaya (1914-2010). This marriage, according to the laws of the Russian Empire, denied any rights to the throne to his offspring.
“At best, they are the lordly princes. Moreover, the last Romanov is not Romanov at all: he is Hohenzollern. He was given a Russian passport by President Boris Yeltsin, added the priest.
Georg Hohenzollern or George Romanov?
George is the son of the Prussian Prince Franz Wilhelm of Hohenzollern and legitimately a German prince. But George, albeit very conditional, is still Romanov on the female side, it is absolutely unrealistic to imagine that Russia, would accept him.
George Romanov is the great-grandson of Emperor Wilhelm II, and has much more rights to the German throne than that of Russia. Thanks to the efforts of his mother Maria Vladimirovna, he is currently part of her public relations blitz to make her son more familiar and likeable to the Russian people.
According to Alexander Chausov, George has repeatedly stated that he never wanted to become a Russian tsar, they say, this is all my mother’s idea.
According to historian Mikhail Diunov, the wedding of George to Rebecca Bettarini may affect his right to take any throne. Bettarini is not of a ruling house, which is the basic condition for marriage under the 1797 succession law, she is not even a noblewoman.
“Earlier this year, Maria Vladimirovna made a cunning move,” says Mikhail Diunov – “Rebecca’s father, diplomat Roberto Bettarini, was “awarded” the Order of St. Anne of the First Degree and thanks to this formally became a nobleman of the Russian Empire. But everyone understands that this is nothing more than a farce.”
It is very important to note, that Maria Vladimirovna never had or has any authority to hand out titles or awards as she is not and never has been a ruling monarch. Despite this, Maria actively, and completely illegally distributes orders, 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”!
According to Diunov, having chosen Rebecca Bettarini as his wife, George eliminated his offspring from among those who may be eligible to the succession to the throne in the event of a theoretical revival of the monarchy in Russia.
© Paul Gilbert. 29 September 2021