Someone has gone to a lot of trouble to photoshop Emperor Nicholas II out of this portrait, and replace him with the pompous and arrogant Prince George “Gosha” Mikhailovich Hohenzollern.
When I posted this dual image on my Facebook this morning, it caused outrage by more than 300 friends and followers, and more than 100 angry comments: “an abomination!”, wrote Elena Abramushkina, from Moscow.
While it is very doubtful that “Gosha” consented to this forgery, surely even he would agree that the image insults the memory of Russia’s last Emperor and Tsar?!
The ceremonial portrait of the Emperor was painted in 1914, by the famous Russian artist Ernst Karlovich Lipgardt (1847-1932).
During his years in St. Petersburg, Lipgardt painted at least ten portraits [known to this author] of Nicholas II. Lipgart was also a gifted decorater, taking on projects such as the palaces and theatres in the capital, including the stage curtain in the Hermitage Theatre.
He also took on more unusual requests, including decorating menus for the Nicholas II’s coronation in Moscow in May of 1896. He also painted 100 figures on a piano, telling the story of Orpheus. The piano was a present from the Tsar to Empress Alexandra Feodorovna.
“Gosha” is the son of Princess Maria Vladimirovna, one of two claimants to the non-existent Russian throne. He styles himself as Его Императорскому Высочеству Государю Наследник Цесаревичу и Великому Князю / His Imperial Highness Sovereign Heir Tsesarevich and Grand Duke. In reality, he is nothing more than a Spanish-born businessman, who now lives and works in Moscow.
American Legitimists continually mislead others with claims that “Gosha” and his mother are very popular in Russia these days, however, nothing could be further from the truth!
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!
Furthermore, according to the abbot of the Archangel Michael Monastery of the Alexander Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church, Father Afanasy Selichev: “If we carefully read the latest edition of the law on succession to the throne, it becomes absolutely clear that the current Romanovs have no right to occupy the Russian throne.”
 George is the son of the Prussian Prince Franz Wilhelm of Hohenzollern [born 1943], and a great-grandson of Emperor Wilhelm II (1859-1941). He is legitimately a German prince, and has much more rights to the German throne than that of Russia. But George, albeit very conditional, is still Romanov on the female side, it is absolutely unrealistic to imagine that Russia, would ever accept him as their Tsar.
 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.
 The other claimant is the lesser known grandson of Grand Duchess Maria Kirillovna (1907-1951) Prince Nikolai Kirillovich, Prince of Leiningen (born 1952). Both he and Maria Vladimirovna are direct descendants of Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich – the traitor to Nicholas II. Neither one of them have any legal claim to the Russian crown.
 The title “tsesarevich” is most often confused with “tsarevich”, which is a distinct word with a different meaning: “Tsarevich” was the title for any son of a tsar, including sons of non-Russian rulers accorded that title, e.g. Crimea, Siberia, Georgia, whereas “Tsesarevich” was the title reserved for the heirs of the Emperors of Russia after Peter I.
“Gosha’s” use of the title “Sovereign Heir Tsesarevich” implies that he is heir to the Russian throne, which of course, he is not!
© Paul Gilbert. 7 September 2022