Maria Vladimirovna takes the “which ever way the wind blows” approach to the Ekaterinburg Remains

PHOTO: Princess Maria Vladimirovna

On 24th January, the Interfax news agency announced that “The Russian Imperial House will support a Russian Orthodox Church decision to recognize the authenticity of the remains of the last Russian emperor, Nicholas II, and members of his family.”

When referring to the “The Russian Imperial House”, the prominent Russian news agency is of course referring to the House of Romanov, the reigning Imperial House of Russia from 1613 to 1917. The Russian Imperial House ended with the murder of Russia’s last emperor Nicholas II on 17th July 1918.

Today’s so-called “Russian Imperial House” is “headed” by Princess Maria Vladimirovna, the Spanish-born granddaughter of Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich, a coward who lacked a moral compass and a traitor to Nicholas II and the Russian Empire.

According the Robert K. Massie, following the discovery of the remains of Emperor Nicholas II and most of his immediate family in 1991, Maria Vladimirovna wrote to President Boris Yeltsin (1931-2007) regarding the burial of the remains, saying of her Romanov cousins, whom she does not recognise as members of the “Imperial House” (including the grandchildren of Nicholas II’s sister Grand Duchess Xenia), that they “do not have the slightest right to speak their mind and wishes on this question. They can only go and pray at the grave, as can any other Russian, who so wishes”.[1]

She has also said, regarding her Romanov relations, that “My feeling about them is that now that something important is happening in Russia, they suddenly have awakened and said, ‘Ah ha! There might be something to gain out of this.”

At the behest of the Russian Orthodox Church, Maria did not recognise the authenticity of the remains and declined to attend the reburial ceremony in 1998, however according to Victor Aksyuchits, ex-advisor of Boris Nemtsov[2], the exact reason behind Maria’s absentance at the state burial for Nicholas II and his family in 1998 was motivated by the Russian government’s refusal to recognize her status as official Head of the Romanov House[3], after requesting such via a letter prior the funeral ceremony.

Despite Maria’s protests, President Boris Yeltsin and his wife attended the funeral along with more than 50 Romanov descendants[4] from all over the world, including Prince Michael of Kent. Members of the self-proclaimed “The Russian Imperial House”- which included Maria Vladimirovna, her son George Hohenzollern, and her mother Leonida Georgievna – were no where to be seen.

Instead, Patriarch Alexei II (1929-2008), Maria Vladimirovna, her son George Hohenzollern, and her mother Leonida Georgievna (1914-2010) attended a liturgy at the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, the most important Russian monastery and the spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church, situated in the town of Sergiyev Posad, about 70 km north-east of Moscow.

The Holy Synod opposed the government’s decision in February 1998 to bury the remains in the Peter and Paul Fortress, preferring a “symbolic” grave until their authenticity had been resolved. As a result, when they were interred on 17th July 1998, they were referred to by the priest conducting the service as “Christian victims of the Revolution” rather than the Emperor and members of his family. Patriarch Alexei II, who felt that the Church was sidelined in the investigation, refused to officiate at the burial and banned bishops from taking part in the funeral ceremony.

So, why has it taken so long for Maria Vladimirovna to acknowledge the authenticity of the Ekaterinburg Remains?[5] Accoring to Alexander Zakatov, who serves as Maria’s senior mouth piece and head of her “chancellery” in Moscow: “The Russian Imperial House – the house, not some private individuals variously related[6] – has always said: we neither affirm not deny the authenticity of the remains but are waiting for the Church’s Council to determine. Once it has done so, the Imperial House will perceive it with joy,” he said.

Maria Vladimirovna has continually claimed that “Neither I nor my son are involved in politics” – she wouldn’t dare! She would never dare speak out against either the Church or Putin. If she challenged or criticized the former, she would no doubt face the wrath of the Church. Likewise, if she challenged or criticized the latter, she would most likely be made persona non grata in Russia.

Maria Vladimirovna’s comments this week are of course political. As she has accused her relatives in the past, perhaps, she also believes ” ‘Ah ha! There might be something to gain out of this!”

NOTES:

[1] Massie, Robert. The Romanovs. The Final Chapter. New York: Random House, 1995

[2] Boris Yefimovich Nemtsov (1959-2015) was one of the most important figures in the introduction of reforms into the Russian post-Soviet economy. Nemtsov, who served as Deputy Prime Minister under President Boris Yeltsin, was charged with organizing the funeral of Nicholas II and his family in 1998. From 2000 until his death, he was an outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin. Nemtsov was assassinated on 27th February 2015, beside his Ukrainian partner Anna Durytska, on a bridge near the Kremlin in Moscow, with four shots fired from the back.

[3] In addition, many people continue to ask “why”, this woman who claims such an important title continues to live in Madrid, rather than move to Russia. The answer is again motivated by the Russian government’s refusal to recognize her status as official “Head” of the House of Romanov.

[4] At the time of the funeral, Prince Nicholas Romanovich (1922-2014) was recognized by all the living Romanov descandents as the Head of the Romanov Family, with the exception of Maria Vladimirovna, her son George Hohenzollern, and her mother Leonida Georgievna.

[5] It is interesting to note that while Maria has visited the Monastery of the Holy Royal Martyrs at Ganina Yama, and attended the Patriarchal Liturgy held on 17th July 2018, in Ekaterinburg, she has never visited the Romanov Memorial at Porosenkov Log, where the remains of Nicholas II, his wife and three of their five children were discovered in 1991, and the remains of Tsesarevich Alexei and his sister Grand Duchess Maria were discovered in 2007.

[6] Zakatov is referring to Maria Vladimirovna’s Romanov relations, who are scattered across the globe, and for whom she continually holds in contempt, due to morganatic marriages since 1917, thus she believes that they are beneath her “status” as the self-proclaimed “head” of the now non-existent “Russian Imperial House”. Maria Vladimirovna has many detractors, all of whom refuse to recognize her claim, given that her parents [Vladimir Kirillovich and the divorced Leonida Kirby] married morganatically, and that she is the direct descandant of Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich.

© Paul Gilbert. 26 January 2022