nina elder


30 Day Romanov Challenge || Favourite Grand Duchess or Princess [½]

Her Highness Princess Xenia Georgievna of Russia was born 22 August 1903 to Grand Duke George Mikhailovich of Russia, grandson of Emperor Nicholas I of Russia, and Princess Maria Georgievna of Greece, daughter of King George I of Greece. Her elder sister was Princess Nina Georgievna. Though Xenia was “only” a princess of the imperial blood, she was closely tied by blood to the Imperial Family—her mother was a niece of Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia, making Xenia a first cousin of Princess Irina Alexandrovna—the last tsar’s only niece and wife of prince Felix Yusupov—and Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna the Younger, an intimate of Nicholas II and his family.

Xenia was born at the New Michael Palace in Saint Petersburg, but moved in 1905 to Harax, an English-style Palace in the Crimea that was a gift from George Mikhailovich to Maria Georgievna. She had brown hair, brown eyes and would eventually stand 5 feet, 5-½ inches tall, and was known for her temper tantrums. George and Maria spoke French to each other, and as it was the preferred language of society, so we can presume Xenia and Nina were raised with French as their primary language. In 1908, Geoge Mihkailovich gave his daughter Xenia a mohair bear for Christmas who she named Alfonzo. Her nanny made Xenia’s bear a Cossack outfit. Xenia and Alfonso were inseparable and inspired a story called ”The Alfonzo Story: The World’s Most Romanov Teddy Bear” by Ian Pout. Xenia and Nina threw dance parties when the Imperial Family was in residence at Livadia, and thus were the occassional playmates of Grand Duchesses Maria and Anastasia Nikolayevna. According to Xenia, Anastasia was “wild and rough” and  “cheated at games, kicked, scratched, pulled hair, and generally knew how to make herself obnoxious”. One of the last times Xenia and Anastasia played together was in the spring of 1914, when they played on  the Black Sea.

Maria and George were unhappy. In summer 1914, Xenia and Nina saw their father—and the imperial—for the last time. Maria Georgievna took Xenia and Nina to England on the pretext of their health; the truth was she wanted to escpae her marriage. Maria and her daughters spent the summer at Buckingham Palace. Because of the resulting WWI, Xenia and Nina were was unable to reunite with their father. They first stayed at Marlborough House in the wake of WWI but eventually lived in their own homes, in Chester Square London and Harrogate in Yorkshire. (cont reading below)

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Opening tomorrow from 5 pm - 7:30 pm, beginning with an artist talk by Judy Tuwaletstiwa from 5 - 6. Lithographs and other work by all three NM artists: Judy Tuwaletstiwa, Tom Miller, and Nina Elder.