Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ
22nd May, 2016
German Princess Maria of Hohenzollern is on the Peninsula with her son George
Maria Hohenzollern, who calls herself depending on the circumstances “Her Majesty the Empress of the Russian Empire, de jure Maria I and head of the Russian Imperial house”, often “Her Highness the Grand Duchess”, at least just a Princess, and her son called their mother “the heir to the throne”, and Georgy Mikhailovich arrived in Crimea for an “official visit”. Although actually, in the strong opinion of all the other representatives of the Romanov dynasty, as well as by the testimony of most historians, the most Maria Vladimirovna can be called is the title of Princess.
But political circumstances contributed to the fact that already a quarter of a century before as an exclusively Russian audience plays the game “the Empress”. And the union members of the Romanov family, other reigning and those currently not-reigning now do not accept the former Princess of Hohenzollernis as “their own.” You will not see “Mary I” at a reception in Buckingham Palace, but the former king of Greece Constantine I who really ruled — yes. The paradox lies in the fact that all of these titles of Maria Vladimirovna are de facto recognized only by the Russian leadership. And the news is that this carnival has come, apparently, to an end.
As was claimed by the Crimean observers, this visit of Maria Vladimirovna was widely publicized. On the website of the state Council of the Republic of Crimea it can be read that “during her stay in Crimea, the Imperial family will attend the unveiling of a monument to Nikolay II in Yalta, will visit Sevastopol, Balaklava, and Bakhchisaray, where they will hold a series of meetings with representatives of the clergy and will visit historical and cultural sites. In addition, the Grand Duchess and her son, crown Prince George will visit the “Red” “concentration camp memorial complex and Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Simferopol, will meet with leaders of the Republic, and at a final press-conference on May 19th will share with journalists her impressions from the trip”. Interestingly, “Rossiyskaya Gazeta” has published a much more extensive program with a much longer list of officials.
While meeting the “high guest”, member of Council of Federation from Republic of Crimea Sergey Tsekov said: “Much has changed since your last visit to Crimea. Now, being a part of the Russian Federation, the Republic is rapidly transforming.” It should be noted that Senator Sergei Tsekov was the most senior politician who met Maria Romanova. She is said to have immediately noticed that previously, no such ceremony was complete without a head of state or province. But Sergei Aksenov was pointedly absent. In addition to Sergey Tsekov at the meeting was the Vice-speaker of the Crimean Parliament Andrey Kozenko and the head of Committee of the State Council of the Republic of Crimea on issues of state building and local self-government Efim Fiks. The Crimean Metropolitan Lazar was represented by Archpriest Ioann Shimon, Hegumen of one of temples of Simferopol, which is the fact out of the ordinary. Usually “Empress” are met by the Bishop.
The meeting is in stark contrast to last year’s visit of the Prince of Imperial blood Dimitri Romanovich Romanov, the head of Association of members of Romanov and his wife Princess Theodora Alekseevny. The oldest Romanov was then welcomed by Vice-Premier of the Crimean government Dmitry Polonsky, who gave the Prince greetings from the head of the Crimea Sergey Aksenov. All Central and non-Central TV channels covered every step of the princely couple, who, by the way, have no claims to anything besides the possibility to occasionally spend some time in Crimea. Dmitri Romanovich, by the way, does not advocate the restoration of the monarchy: “Neither I, nor the rest of the Romanovs claim anything — just the right to be useful to Russia”.
The first serious nuisance to Maria Vladimirovna was the absence of officials from the Republic of Crimea at the opening ceremony and consecration of the bust of Nicholas II. The only celebrity present was Sergei Stepashin, now Chairman of the Imperial Orthodox Palestinian Society, whose efforts largely contributed to building the monument. Everyone expected to see the Prosecutor of Crimea at the opening of the bust, the native of Yalta, Natalia Poklonskaya, a great admirer of the martyr Emperor. But not even she came. And, so far at least, there was no meeting with Sergei Aksyonov. And this, for Maria Vladimirovna, is the most important thing.
“The problem is that there cannot be an official status for such a trip . The only state that recognized the right to the throne of “Kirillovich” is the Transnistrian Moldavian Republic,” said the head of the expert group “Crimean project” Igor Ryabov. “All the other Romanov descendants also do not recognize Maria Vladimirovna’s right to the throne. And a number of members of the Romanov family are openly contemptuous to this branch of “Kirillovich” for collaboration with the Nazis”. And also we will add: the pseudo-empress has revolutionary enthusiasm for Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich, who became the first member of the Imperial family and violated the oath to the king and with a red bow defected to the State Duma”.
According to eyewitnesses, in preparation for the arrival in Crimea, heads of the Imperial House of Romanov “insisted on the recognition of their official position. Maria Vladimirovna was ready to be called at all events “your Imperial Majesty”. There were persistent rumors that one of the purposes of the Empress’ visit” was the choice of official residence in Crimea. The appetite of the pseudo-empress was not played out for fun: it is reported that she wants to have a historic monument of Russia at Livadia Palace. Talk about giving the family of Maria Vladimirovna, consisting of herself and her 35-year-old son, who is still somehow not married, “special national status” has been going on for more than 20 years. When the President of Russia was Boris Yeltsin, the mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov, in all seriousness, offered her residence at the Kuzminki estate, which in the mid-90’s was being repaired. The deafening irritation of the public won, and in 1997, a museum was organized in the manor and the park.
Now the question is: why have none of the royal Romanov family and the royals of Europe recognized the rights of Maria Vladimirovna, while republicans and democratic politicians of new Russia, on the contrary, are in a hurry to call her at least “Your Highness” — the title, the rights to which she also has. There is plenty of literature about this, so let’s state the main points.
Firstly, during the unauthorized marriage to the divorced Princess Edinburgh Victoria Melita, who didn’t convert to Orthodoxy, the Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich was deprived of all rights of succession. Later, when his wife converted to Orthodoxy, the issue of the right of inheritance was not finally resolved. If there is no empire, throne, crown — there is no Emperor. Only an already crowned, but overthrown monarch may retain the title, but has no right to distribute even noble ranks. So Kirill Vladimirovich could not, while in exile, declare himself Emperor, and the descendants of his son Vladimir Kirillovich, and his granddaughter Maria Vladimirovna, be heirs to something that longer is.
Secondly. Marriages between members of the Imperial family should be of the same nobility. Vladimir Kirillovich took “the wrong wife” — a certain Leonida Georgievna Bagration of Mukhrani. A story was invented that she allegedly is a descendant of the Georgian kings. But everyone was well aware that the family of Bagration-Mukhransky belongs to the lateral branches of the Georgian Royal family and is not considered to be noble enough by the Russian Imperial family. So, in 1911, the marriage between Princess of the Imperial blood of Tatiana Konstantinovna, with Prince Konstantin Alexandrovich Bagration-Mukhransky (relative of Leonida Georgievna) was regarded as morganatic, and Tatiana Konstantinovna had to renounce the right to the throne that was mandatory for entering into such an unequal marriage.
In addition, the presence of royal blood should be observed in the mother of the bride. And she was a certain Elena Sigizmundovna Zlotnitskoy – a Polish noblewoman. And the movie “Maria I” in the spirit of Ilf and Petrov tried to captivate the Russian public for so long. The short-lived marriage to the German Prince Franz-Wilhelm of Hohenzollern (in Orthodoxy — Mikhail Pavlovich) brought the “heir” to the current “crown Prince” George Mikhailovich. On this occasion the association of the Romanov family said: “the Romanov family union hereby declares that the happy resolution of the burden in the Prussian Royal house is not related to the Romanov family union, for the newborn Prince is not a member of the Russian Imperial House, nor a member of the Romanov family”. It also read: “All questions of dynastic nature can be decided only by the great Russian people on Russian soil”.
Why, then, after a quarter of a century, do many of our politicians put up with this suspicious family? Why is so much private money spent on this “family”? No, this is not the complex emotion of the common people of the United Russia party members towards the splendor of Imperial greatness. This is not a new variant of an adventure novel of the 21st century such as the “Golden calf”. It’s just politics. It seems that a considerable part of the political elite of the country has, if not a plan “B”, a plan “C”, that fits this story. Given the nostalgia for a lost Russian natural paternal monarchy, using the love of the Orthodox people towards the last emperors, in the event of unforeseen events that may occur due to the nature of the democratic regime, it would be possible to stage a “recovery” of the Russian monarchy with the necessary and all-powerful Prime Minister. We assume that at the moment there is no need for this option anymore. The president is not without reason in being so interested in a strong, absolutely legitimately elected State Duma without any violations. Yet if Russians really do need a Tsar, then it is a matter of Orthodoxy in spirit, not literal. Meanwhile, we have quite a wait with an Orthodox president.