romanov relatives

Guri (1919-1984) and Tikhon (1917-1993) Nikolaevich Kulikovsky were the sons of Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna of Russia, the youngest sister of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and paternal aunt of OTMAA. Sadly, the two young boys never met their first cousins and uncles, who were all murdered just the year after Tikhon was born.

Although, despite the fact they’ve never met, Tikhon’s birth has been acknowledged by the imperial family while exchanging letters with Olga, who had been living in exile in the Crimea with her relatives. Tikhon shared the same birthday as his cousin, the Tsarevich Alexei Nikolaevich of Russia (of whom had turned 13 years old on the very same day Tikhon was born). Guri was named after an officer in his mother’s military regiment who had been killed in service. Photograph taken circa mid 1920s.

Romanovs with their English relatives. 4 August 1909 at Baron Manor:
Back row: Prince Edward of Wales; Queen Alexandra; Princess Mary; Princess Victoria; Grand Duchess Olga and Grand Duchess Tatiana.
Front row: the Princess of Wales (Mary); the Tsar (Nicholas II); King Edward VII; the Tsaritsa (Alexandra); the Prince of Wales (George); Grand Duchess Maria.
On the ground: the Tsarevitch Alexei and Grand Duchess Anastasia.

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Princess Ileana of Romania, born in January 1909, was the youngest daughter of King Ferdinand I of Romania and his consort Queen Marie of Romania. The princess was once considered to be a potential wife for the last Tsarevich of Russia, Alexei Nikolaevich, and the next possible Empress consort of Russia. Shortly before the First World War in mid-June of 1914, five-year-old Ileana met the nine-year-old Alexei during the Romanov family’s official state visit to Romania. The primary plan for the visit was to try to unite Ileana’s oldest brother Carol to Alexei’s oldest sister Olga for marriage. However, both of the unions were never to be commenced. Olga never liked Carol, who eventually became King Carol II of Romania, and Alexei and his family were murdered just four years later. The princess married an Austrian archduke instead and died in exile as a nun in 1991. 

Photo 1: Princess Ileana of Romania as a young teenager in circa early 1920s. Photo 2 & 3: from left to right, Tsarevich Alexei of Russia, Princess Ileana, and her brother, Prince Nicolae of Romania in June 1914.

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The immediate families of the Russian Emperor and British King pose together for a portrait on the Isle of Wight, Cowes, England, 1909.

Prince Albert, the future King George VI and father of the current Queen Elizabeth II, was missing from the portrait because he was ill with whooping cough and no one wanted to risk passing on the illness to the hemophiliac Tsarevich.

After King Edward VII and his wife Queen Alexandra’s state visit to Russia in the previous year, the Romanov Family repaid the visit by sailing the imperial yacht Standart to the Isle of Wight. The bustling city of London was out of the question for a meeting place because Tsar Nicholas II was a popular target of the anarchists and anti-monarchists. The Standart and the accompanying Russian fleet was met by the English’s Victoria and Albert before reaching the seaport town of Cowes, England. The King and the Emperor spoke in their toasts of the Anglo-Russian friendship and of world peace. The King observed that the Emperor was no stranger to England in general, nor to Cowes in particular.

After lunch, the older two Grand Duchesses, Olga and Tatiana, went alone into the town, accompanied by several members of the suite. One had to see the joy and pleasure they expressed above all at being able to walk about without being recognized. Gay, hardy, they seemed quite at ease, entering into shops, buying postcards and all kinds of souvenirs. They took a ferry from one part of the town to another and were very happy that they could pay the price of the passage themselves. 

However, the public soon learned who these young ladies were, happy, svelte, frolicking, in grey dresses. Returning to the disembarkation quay, the Grand Duchesses looked at the time and decided that it was still too early to return to the yacht. So they hailed two carriages which took them back to town, as they wanted to visit the local church. The pastor was extremely happy to show them anything about the church which interested them. They visited the tomb of Henry of Battenberg, their grand-uncle, and the armchair used by Queen Victoria when she went to the church. The Grand Duchesses returned to the Standart for tea. This state visit was dramatized in the 2003 British film, The Lost Prince.

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110 Years Ago on this day, Princess Elisabeth of Hesse passed away at the age of 8. Margaretta Eagar, the nanny of the last Russian grand duchesses, thought the child’s eyes were the saddest she had ever seen. “Looking at her I used to wonder what those wide grey-blue eyes saw, to bring such a look of sadness to the childish face,” she wrote. Eagar wondered if Elisabeth had a premonition of her own death because she often told her cousin Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna of Russia that “I shall never see this again.”

One November morning, the eight-year-old awoke with a sore throat and pains in her chest, which the Russian Court doctor put down to too much excitement with her Romanov cousins the previous day. Her fever rose to 104 degrees. By the evening Elisabeth was in even more severe pain and had started gasping for breath. A specialist was summoned from Warsaw. The specialist gave her injections of caffeine and camphor to stimulate her slowing heart, but without success. An autopsy following her death confirmed that she had died of virulent typhoid, although it was rumored she had eaten from a poisoned dish intended for Tsar Nicholas II.

The portrait of Tikhon Nikolaevich Kulikovsky, done by his own mother the Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna of Russia. He was born in 1917, the nephew of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. He was only a year old when his two uncles, aunt, cousins, and another relatives were assassinated by the Bolsheviks. His blood and DNA was used to help identify the remains of Nicholas II. Tikhon died in 1993 in Toronto, Canada.

Victor Cordairo, born July 2001, is another descendant of the Romanov Family. His great-grandmother is Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna Romanova of Russia, the youngest sibling of the last Tsar, Nicholas II. Victor’s mother, also named Olga, is the daughter of Olga’s elder son, Tikhon, who was born on Tsarevich Alexei’s 13th birthday in 1917. Victor currently lives in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. He certainly has his great-grandmother’s eyes, doesn’t he?

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Surviving Descendants of the Romanov Family

  1. Elder first cousin of #2 and #7. Natasha Kathleen, (b. 1993). She is the daughter of Andrew Romanov, one of the descendants of Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna of Russia (1875-1960). Xenia was the sister of the last Emperor, Nicholas II.
  2. Cousins of #1 and #7. Princess Carline Nikolaevna Romanova (b. 2000) and Chelly (b. 2003). Both girls represent ‘Mikhailovichi’ line of the Romanovs that is tied with the Royal House of Denmark.
  3. Prince Rostislav Romanov. He is a descendant of GD Xenia, Nicholas II’s sister. He is the only one of the Romanov dynasty who returned to Russia.
  4. Prince Nikita Rostislavovich Romanov (b. 1987). Also a descendant of Xenia.
  5. Maria Vladimirovna of Russia, (b. 1953). She is the only child of Grand Duke Vladimir Kirillovich, who is descended from Tsar Alexander II (though his third son, Vladimir).
  6. Natalia Nikolaevna Romanova, (b. 1952) with her daughter, Nicoletta. Natalia and Nicoletta both are descended from Tsar Nicholas I of Russia. Natalia’s father, Nicholas Romanov, was one of the claimants to the headship of the House of Romanov. He died in 2014.
  7. Cousins of #1 and #2. Princess Madison Daniilovna (b. 2007) and Prince Daniel Daniilovich (b. 2009) - Children of Prince Daniel Nikolaevich Romanov (b.1972) and Su Kim. They are from Mikhailovichi line of the Romanovs that is tied to the Royal House of Denmark. 
  8. Leila and Victoria Romanova. Both girls represent 'Alexandrovichi’ line of the Romanovs that is tied with the Royal Houses of Serbia and Romania. 
  9. Francis Alexander Matthew Romanov (b. 1979). He is a great-grandson of Grand Duchess Xenia (1875-1960). He is a photographer and lives in London.
25 Photographs of The Imperial Russian Court Dress {8/25}

The greatest Russian heiress of her day, and the last of her line at the House of Yusupov, Princess Zinaida Nikolaevna Yusupova was a Russian noblewoman best known as the mother of Prince Felix Yusupov, the murderer of Rasputin, and the mother-in-law of Princess Irina Alexandrovna of Russia, the only niece of Tsar Nicholas II. As a leading figure in pre-Revolutionary Russian society, she was famed for her beauty and the lavishness of her hospitality.

Everyone present remembered the moment that this fateful match was made. ’I remember I was sitting in my room,’ recalled Princess Marie Louise of England. ’I was quietly getting ready for a luncheon party when Alix stormed into my room, threw her arms around my neck and said, ‘I’m going to marry Nicky!

Nicholas awoke the next morning to the clatter of horses’ hoofs on cobblestones and the hoarse shout of military commands. ’At ten o'clock,’ he wrote in his diary, ’my superb Alix came to me and we went together to have coffee with the Queen.’ Victoria was delighted with the young couple. An incurable romantic and an indefatigable royal matchmaker, she loved to surround herself with soft-eyed people in love. Alix was her special pet, and now that the match was made, she wanted to revel in it.

The weather was cold and gray that day, Nicholas wrote, ’but everything in my heart was bright.’ Uncle Bertie suggested that since so large a part of the family was present, there ought be a photograph. The thirty members of the family trooped down to the garden, and the result was a remarkable panorama of royalty. The old Queen, tiny and indomitable, sat in the middle of the front row, holding her cane. The Kaiser was there, the only man seated, dressed in a uniform and his fierce mustache. Nicholas, small and mild in a bowler hat, stood next to Alix, who appeared pretty but unsmiling.”

Robert K. Massie, Nicholas & Alexandra

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135 Years Ago On This Day, Diphtheria Killed Grand Duchess Alice of Hesse

In the latter months of 1878, diphtheria infected the Hessian court. In November 1878, the Grand Ducal household fell ill with diphtheria. Alice’s eldest daughter Victoria was the first to fall ill, complaining of a stiff neck in the evening of 5 November. Diphtheria was diagnosed the following morning, and soon the disease spread to Alice’s children Irene, Ernest, Alix, and Marie. Her husband Louis became infected shortly thereafter. Elizabeth was the only child to not fall ill, having been sent away by Alice.

Marie, the youngest child at four years old, became seriously ill on 15 November, and Alice was called to her bedside. However, she was too late; Marie had choked to death by the time Alice arrived. She was distraught, writing to Queen Victoria that the “pain is beyond words.” For several weeks, Alice kept the news of Marie’s death secret from her children, but she finally told Ernest in early December. His reaction was even worse than she had anticipated, and at first, he refused to believe it. As he sat up crying, Alice broke her rule about physical contact with the ill and gave him a kiss. At first, Alice did not fall ill.

However, by Saturday, 14 December, the anniversary of her father’s death, she became seriously ill with the diphtheria caught from her son. Her last words were “dear Papa”, and she fell unconscious at 2:30 am. Just after 8:30 am, she died. Alice was buried on 18 December 1878 at the Grand Ducal mausoleum at Rosenhöhe outside Darmstadt, with the Union Jack draped over her coffin. A special monument of Alice cradling her youngest daughter was erected there.

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169 year ago on this day, Princess Alexandra Caroline Marie Charlotte Louise Julia, or “Alix”, as her immediate family knew her, was born at the Yellow Palace. right next to the Amalienborg Palace complex in Copenhagen. Although she was of royal blood, her family lived a comparatively normal life. They did not possess great wealth. Alexandra shared a draughty attic bedroom with her favourite sister, Dagmar (later Empress of Russia), made her own clothes and waited at table along with her sisters.

At the age of sixteen, she was chosen as the future wife of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, the heir apparent of Queen Victoria. They married eighteen months later in 1863, the same year her father became king of Denmark as Christian IX and her brother was appointed to the vacant Greek throne as George I. She was Princess of Wales from 1863 to 1901, the longest anyone has ever held that title, and became generally popular; her style of dress and bearing were copied by fashion-conscious women. Alexandra became the queen consort after the death of Queen Victoria in January 1901.

In Russia, her nephew Tsar Nicholas II was overthrown and he, his wife and children were killed by revolutionaries. Her sister the Dowager Empress was rescued from Russia in 1919 and brought to England by ship, where she lived for some time with Alexandra. Alexandra retained a youthful appearance into her senior years, but during the war her age caught up with her. Towards the end of her life, her memory and speech became impaired. She died on 20 November 1925 at Sandringham after suffering a heart attack, and was buried in an elaborate tomb next to her husband in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.