Saturday, February 23, 2013

Russia: Could the Romanovs Return?

Grand Duchess Maria Romanova the head of the House of Romanov, talks to Elena Novikova of Russia Beyond the Headlines about her position and what role her family could play in modern Russia.
Russia Beyond the Headlines: The House of Romanov is celebrating its 400th anniversary in 2013. What is the meaning of this date?
Maria Romanova: For me, the 400th anniversary of the House of Romanovs is only a part of a great national celebration of the 400 years that have passed since the end of the Time of Troubles and the restoration of the Russian sovereignty.

How did the Romanovs come to power?

In 1598, Fyodor, the last tsar of Russia’s founding Rurik Dynasty died without leaving an heir. The next 15 years, known as the Time of Troubles, were ones of turmoil, during which Russia was invaded by the Commonwealth of Poland-Lithuania. A coalition of Russian nobles and peasants defeated the invaders in late 1612. On Feb. 21, 1613, a gathering of Russia’s landed nobles and a few peasants elected Mikhail Romanov tsar, establishing the Romanov Dynasty, which lasted until the murder of Emperor Nicholas II and his family by the Bolsheviks on July 17, 1918.
Our dynasty was offered the crown by the Great Local Church Council and Zemsky Sobor (“assembly of the land”) in 1613. This was a decision that set the outcome of the fight for liberation in stone, a historical fact that cannot be undone. This victory was won thanks to the sacrifice and valiant efforts of the representatives of all Russian social classes.
I am convinced that the 400th anniversary of the end of the Times of Troubles will be celebrated with due splendor. However, I believe that this date we needs to be commemorated first and foremost with prayer, charity and educational campaigns.
RBTH: You were born in Madrid, went to school in Oxford and have lived most of your life in Spain. That notwithstanding, in your interviews you have frequently called Russia your true home. What is stopping you from going home?
M.R.: If I were a private person I could return to Russia at any moment. However, as head of the Russian Imperial House I am entrusted with the task of its preservation as a historical institution. In civilized countries, dynasty heads were only able to return to their homelands after the states had clearly defined their legal status.
As proven by France, Italy, Portugal, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, Afghanistan and many other countries whose royal houses had been banished and later returned, a legal status of a non-ruling dynasty is absolutely compatible with a republican political system and does not go against the local constitutions and laws.
I am not putting forward any political claims at all, nor am I trying to reclaim any of my ancestral property. I do not expect any preferential treatment either. However, I am justified in my hopes that the reintegration of the imperial dynasty in modern Russia’s contemporary life will be as successful as in other European countries.

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HIH Grand Duchess Maria Wladimirovna of Russia.


  1. She and her son are not the Romanovs, but Hohenzollerns. They are illegitimate according to the throne succession law of Pavel I.

  2. Not at all. The Pauline law envisions the actual possibility of female succession once the last male dynast has died.

    The kast male dynast was Grand Duke Vladimir Kirillovich. Maria Vladimirovna is his only child, hence she inherited from her father.

    The fact that her husband was a Hohenzollern infringes not one drop of ink on her son's succession rights in Russia.

    May I remind you that the Romanovs actually became extinct when Elisabeth Petrovna died in 1762...

    Paul I was not a Romanov...his mother was!

    This circumstance has happened in many other dynasties. For example:

    The Netherlands – Although the royal family retains the name of the Orange-Nassau Dynasty, the last Orange-Nassau was Queen Wilhelmina who died in 1962.

    Great Britain and Northern Ireland – HM The Queen will be the last Windsor (Saxe-Coburg & Gotha), her son is not a Windsor, but a (Mountbatten, i.e. Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg)...will there be a dynastic name change...most likely not.

    Denmark – Margrethe II will be the last Glucksborg, Her is a Monpezat by paternal descent...will they inaugurate a new dynasty...most likely not.

    The same will happen in Spain, Belgium, Norway and Sweden...where females are set to occupy the throne most likely in my own lifetime.

    Will these dynasties change their name? I tend to think not...