Xenia had a close relationship with her brother Nicholas II and his wife before they married. When Nicholas and Alexandra moved into the Alexander Palace after their own marriage, Xenia and Alexander (known in the family as "Sandro") spent the evenings together in the new billiard room. A source of gradual resentment grew between Xenia and Alexandra due to the fact that Xenia had given birth to six healthy sons, whilst Alexandra had four daughters and her only son, Alexei Nikolaevich, was diagnosed with haemophilia. The robust health of Xenia's sons was a constant source of antagonism in the mind of Alexandra. It was only in 1912 that Xenia learnt from her sister Olga that Alix had admitted that Alexei had haemophilia.
The birth of Alexei led to Alexandra obtaining total control over her husband; Trying to find a cure for her son's illness, Alexandra fell under the influence of Rasputin. Like all her family, Xenia was highly sceptical of Rasputin. Family relations were strained. Xenia did remain close to her brother, who often visited when he was in the Crimea, walking with her nieces, Olga and Tatiana; her sister-in-law visited rarely. #royal#royalfamily#romanovs#romanovdinasty#dynasty#grandduchess#grandduchessxenia#grandduchessxeniaalexandrovna#xeniaalexandrovna#xeniaromanov
In 1913, Xenia and Sandro's daughter Irina expressed her intention of marrying Prince Felix Yussupov. He was heir to the largest private fortune in Russia. Felix had decided that Irina would make the perfect wife. Xenia was not happy at the prospect of giving approval to such a marriage as Felix had a notorious reputation. It was rumoured he had had an affair with Grand Duke Dmitry Pavlovich of Russia. The Dowager Empress had heard the rumour and summoned Felix to meet with her, but Felix's charms won her over. She stated, "Do not worry, I will do all that I can for your happiness." Xenia's only daughter was married on 9 February 1914 in the presence of the Tsar who gave her away. The wedding was held at one of the smaller palaces due to a falling out between Xenia and Tsarina Alexandra. Xenia walked behind with Sandro and her mother. During Xenia's last pregnancy in 1907, Alexander had an affair with a woman identified only as "Maria Ivanovna" in Biarritz. One year later, Xenia also began to have an affair, with an Englishman named "Fane." Xenia referred to him simply as "F." in her diaries. They corresponded with one another as late as the First World War. After Xenia and Alexander admitted the affairs to each other, their marriage began to fall apart. Though still in love with each other, they began sleeping in separate rooms and living separate lives. Prior to the Revolution, Alexander had become disenchanted with the course of events in Russia and court life. Both he and Xenia spent considerable periods of time outside Russia; but both returned before the start of the First World War. Following the Revolution, they separated and managed to escape Russia. #royal#royalfamily#romanovs#romanovdinasty#dynasty#grandduchess#grandduchessxenia#grandduchessxeniaalexandrovna#xeniaalexandrovna#xeniaromanov
Xenia and Alexander had seven children together, one daughter followed by six sons:
Princess Irina Alexandrovna of Russia (15 July 1895 – 26 February 1970) m. Prince Felix Yussupov
Prince Andrei Alexandrovich of Russia (24 January 1897 – 8 May 1981) m. 1. Donna Elisabeth Ruffo-Sasso, m. 2. Nadine McDougall
Prince Feodor Alexandrovich of Russia (23 December 1898 – 30 November 1968) m. Princess Irina Pavlovna Paley
Prince Nikita Alexandrovich of Russia (16 January 1900 – 12 September 1974) m. Countess Maria Vorontsova-Dashkova
Prince Dmitri Alexandrovich of Russia (15 August 1901 – 7 July 1980) m. 1. Countess Marina Sergeyevna Golenischeva-Kutuzova, m. 2. Margaret Sheila MacKellar
Prince Rostislav Alexandrovich of Russia (2 November 1902 – 31 July 1978) m. 1. Princess Alexandra Pavlovna Galitzine m. 2. Hedwig von Chappuis
Prince Vasili Alexandrovich of Russia (6 July 1907 – 23 June 1989) m. Princess Natalia Golitsyna
The children were grandchildren of a tsar (Alexander III) through their mother (female line), but only great-grandchildren of a tsar (Nicholas I) through their father (male line). Due to Imperial Family Statutes brought in by Alexander III to limit the rank of Grand Duke and Duchess, they held the title Princes and Princesses of Russia with the style of “Highness”.
One of Xenia's descendants could have become the Head of the Imperial House of Russia, but all of her children, like all the other Romanovs, married morganatically making them ineligible, in accordance with the old succession laws of Russia. As a result, none of the current descendants of the Romanov Family, including Maria, the daughter of Grand Duke Vladimir Kirillovich Romanov, whose mother was from a family recognised as non-dynastic by the last ruling Emperor of Russia, Nicholas II, are born of a Dynastic Marriage, under the old succession laws of Russia. However, her descendants are the only Romanov descendants of Emperor Alexander III of Russia and the closest Romanov blood relations of Emperor Nicholas II of Russia. #royal#royalfamily#romanovs#romanovdinasty#dynasty#grandduchess#grandduchessxenia#grandduchessxeniaalexandrovna#xeniaalexandrovna#xeniaromanov
Xenia visited her mother, the Dowager Empress, in Denmark as often as she could. Her mother was living in a villa, Hvidøre, that she and her sister Alexandra had bought on the Danish coast north of Copenhagen. In 1928, Xenia's mother fell seriously ill and died on 13 October. After the death of her mother, the sale of the Hvidøre estate and the jewels of the Dowager Empress brought in some income. No sooner had the Dowager Empress died than Xenia received a letter from Gleb Botkin, son of her late brother's doctor, claiming that Xenia was trying to steal from her niece, Anastasia. Her husband declared in a letter to her his disdain for the "vileness" of Botkin.
On 26 February 1933, Xenia's husband Sandro died. Xenia and her sons were present at his funeral on 1 March, in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin in the south of France. By March 1937, Xenia had moved from Frogmore Cottage in Windsor Great Park to Wilderness House in the grounds of Hampton Court Palace, where she continued to live until she died on 20 April 1960. Despite reduced circumstances during her lifetime, Xenia left a small estate to her remaining relatives. #royal#royalfamily#romanovs#romanovdinasty#dynasty#grandduchess#grandduchessxenia#grandduchessxeniaalexandrovna#xeniaalexandrovna#xeniaromanov
On 17 May 1920, Xenia had been granted Letters of Administration as eldest sister and heir to her brother Nicholas's estate in England worth five hundred British pounds sterling. Her husband Sandro was living at this time in Paris. By 1925, Xenia's financial situation had become desperate. King George V, who was her first cousin, allowed her to settle in Frogmore Cottage, a grace and favour house, in Windsor Great Park for which she was grateful. Later she had to deal with the fraudulent claims of Anna Anderson to be her niece, the murdered Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia. Her sister Olga had pointed out if there had been any Romanov monies left, the Dowager Empress would not be receiving a pension from the British King. In July 1928, ten years after the death of Nicholas and Alexandra, his family were legally presumed dead. Xenia and her family had hoped to take possession of the Langinkoski estate in Kotka, Finland, but this came to nothing. #royal#royalfamily#romanovs#romanovdinasty#dynasty#grandduchess#grandduchessxenia#grandduchessxeniaalexandrovna#xeniaalexandrovna#xeniaromanov
Xenia arrived at Ai-Todor where she joined her mother, husband and sister on 28 March 1917. At the end of November, Xenia wrote to her brother Nicholas in Tobolsk in Siberia, "The heart bleeds at the thought of what you have gone through, what you have lived and what you are still living! At every step undeserved horrors and humiliations. But fear not, the Lord sees all. As long as you are healthy and well. Sometimes it seems like a terrible nightmare, and that I will wake up and it will all be gone! Poor Russia! What will happen to her?" In 1918, while in Crimea, Xenia learnt that her brother Nicholas II, his wife and his children had been murdered by the Bolsheviks. Her last surviving brother, Michael, was also murdered (by shooting) in 1918 outside Perm.
While the Red Army was coming closer to the Crimea, Xenia and her mother, the Dowager Empress Maria, escaped from Russia on 11 April 1919 with the help of Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom (née Princess Alexandra of Denmark), Dowager Empress Maria’s sister. King George V of the United Kingdom sent the British warship HMS Marlborough which brought them and other Romanovs from the Crimea through the Black Sea to Malta and then to England. Xenia and her mother were later joined by Xenia's sister, Olga. Xenia remained in Great Britain, while Dowager Empress Maria, after a stay in England, went with Olga to Denmark.#royal#royalfamily#romanovs#romanovdinasty#dynasty#grandduchess#grandduchessxenia#grandduchessxeniaalexandrovna#xeniaalexandrovna#xeniaromanov
Olga finally had her shell of a first marriage dissolved by the Tsar and was married in November 1916 to Nikolai Kulikovsky in the presence of the Dowager Empress in Kiev. Xenia was absent. On 28 October 1916, increasingly depressed by Russia's predicament, Xenia wrote to her mother, speculating what her father would have done. Xenia, her mother, and her sister Olga urged Grand Duke Nicholas Mikhailovich to write to the Tsar warning him about the influence of the Tsarina in government affairs. Nicholas did not even open the envelope. The Tsarina read it and accused the Grand Duke of "crawling behind [his] mother and sisters." Realising the danger, Xenia and her family moved to Ai-Todor in the Crimea. From there, Xenia heard of Rasputin's murder and was embarrassed by the episode. She wrote to her mother in Kiev, "Sleep little. There is rumour that Rasputin is murdered!" Xenia's son-in-law had been one of the murderers. At the beginning of 1917, Xenia hoped her mother could make her brother see sense about the collapsing situation in Russia. She wrote in despair, hoping she would persuade him. Her mother felt she could not do anything and that she had no intention of returning to St. Petersburg from Kiev.On 19 February 1917, Xenia was back in St. Petersburg at her Palace. On 25 February, she wrote in her diary, "There are disturbances in the city, there was even shooting into the crowd, [they] say, but everything is quiet on the Nevsky. They are asking for bread and the factories are on strike." On 1 March 1917 she wrote of rumours circulating that Nicholas's train had been stopped, and that he had been forced to abdicate. The Dowager Empress wrote to her about her meeting with Nicholas in Mogilev, "I still can't believe that this dreadful nightmare is real!" Xenia tried to see her brother but was refused permission by the Russian Provisional Government. Seeing no future where she was in St. Petersburg, Xenia left for Ai-Todor on 6 April, her 42nd birthday. #royal#royalfamily#romanovs#romanovdinasty#dynasty#grandduchess#grandduchessxenia#grandduchessxeniaalexandrovna#xeniaalexandrovna#xeniaromanov
Xenia was exasperated on hearing of the military defeat in Korea. She had been angry about the start of the war and recorded her thoughts on the end, "and ended even more stupidly!" Xenia was in the Crimea at their home at Ai-Todor with her husband and children, when news of the mutiny of the Black Sea fleet reached them. In October, her brother was forced to agree to the establishment of a Duma as a concession to the people. Some of Xenia's family saw it as "the end of Russian autocracy". Her husband Sandro had resigned his position at the Ministry of Merchant Marine. Xenia and her family spent Christmas at Ai-Todor as it was not safe to travel north, or from their estate. Christmas service was even held in the house with the priest being driven there and back "in a closed landau under an escort of cavalry". The outbreak of war caught Xenia and her mother unaware: Xenia was in France while the Dowager Empress was in London. They arranged to meet in Calais where the private train of the Dowager Empress was waiting to take them to Russia, being confident that Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany would let them through. Arriving in Berlin, they found the line to Russia had been closed. Hearing that the Yusupovs were also in Berlin, the Dowager Empress ordered that they join the train. An ugly situation ensued in Berlin until finally the train was allowed to travel to Denmark, and then on to Finland. Arriving back in Russia, Xenia threw herself into war work, providing her own hospital train and opening a large hospital for the wounded. She also chaired the Xenia Institute which provided artificial limbs for the maimed. In 1915, learning that Nicholas intended to take command of the armed forces, she accompanied her mother to Tsarskoe Selo in an attempt to dissuade him. The Dowager Empress had recorded her lack of confidence in her diary, and this was borne out. Xenia returned disheartened to the Yelagin Palace. In February 1916, Xenia travelled to Kiev after an illness to see her mother and sister. #royal#royalfamily#romanovs#romanovdinasty#dynasty#grandduchess#grandduchessxenia#grandduchessxeniaalexandrovna#xeniaalexandrovna#xeniaromanov
Xenia was heavily involved in charitable works. She was a member of the Women's Patriotic Association. From 1903, Xenia was patron of the Creche Society which looked after poor working class children while their families were at work in St.Petersburg. She took a particular interest in hospitals for patients suffering from tuberculosis in the Crimea, perhaps influenced by the death of her brother George from the disease in 1899. She was also patron of the Maritime Naval Welfare Association which took care of widows and children of naval personnel. Xenia also founded the Xenia Association for the Welfare of Children of Workers and Airmen. In addition, she was patron of the Xenia Institute, a St. Petersburg boarding school for 350 students. Like other members of her family, Xenia had been grateful to her father for keeping Russia out of wars. On 25 January 1904, Xenia recorded in her diary that war had been declared between Russia and Japan. The previous December, Xenia had told the War Minister, Kuropatkin, that there would be no war and that her brother did not want war. The War Minister said the whole matter might be outside the control of Russia. As war broke out, there was unrest in Russia. On a cold Sunday in January 1905, over 150,000 peaceful people approached the Winter Palace under the leadership of Gapon. The people wanted to present the Tsar with a petition. The St. Petersburg Police had asked for help from the army, which fired into the crowd, resulting in 2,000 casualties. The day would be known as "Bloody Sunday" and mark a turning point in the relationship between Tsar and people. In February, Xenia's uncle Sergei, was killed by a bomb in Moscow. She wished to be with her aunt Ella, but was told the situation was too dangerous. #royal#royalfamily#romanovs#romanovdinasty#dynasty#grandduchess#grandduchessxenia#grandduchessxeniaalexandrovna#xeniaalexandrovna#xeniaromanov
Xenia and her paternal first cousin once removed Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich of Russia, her eventual husband, played together as friends in the 1880s. Alexander, usually called Sandro, was also a friend of her brother, Nicholas. In 1886, 20-year-old Alexander was serving in the navy. Eleven-year-old Xenia sent him a card when his ship was in Brazil, "Best wishes and speedy return! Your sailor Xenia". In 1889, Alexander wrote of Xenia, "She is fourteen. I think she likes me."
At age 15, though Xenia and Alexander wanted to marry, her parents were reluctant to trust because Xenia was too young and they were unsure of Alexander's character. The Tsarina Maria Feodorovna had complained of Alexander's arrogance and rudeness. It was not until 12 January 1894 that Xenia's parents accepted the engagement after Alexander's father, Grand Duke Michael Nikolaievich of Russia, intervened. The couple finally wed on 6 August 1894 in the SS Peter & Paul Chapel of the Peterhof Palace. Xenia's younger sister, Olga, wrote about the joy of her wedding, "The Emperor was so happy. It was the last time I ever saw him like that." They spent their wedding night at Ropsha Palace, and their honeymoon at Ai-Todor (Alexander’s estate in Crimea). During the honeymoon, Xenia's father, Alexander III, became ill and died on 1 November 1894. Her eldest brother on the death of her father had inherited the crown and became the new Tsar Nicholas II. #royal#royalfamily#romanovs#romanovdinasty#dynasty#grandduchess#grandduchessxenia#grandduchessxeniaalexandrovna#xeniaalexandrovna#xeniaromanov
Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna was born on 6 April 1875 at Anichkov Palace in St. Petersburg. She was the elder daughter among the six children of Alexander III of Russia and his wife, Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia (née Princess Dagmar of Denmark).
After the assassination of her paternal grandfather Tsar Alexander II of Russia, when Xenia was six years old, her father Alexander III ascended to the Russian throne in 1881. It was a difficult political time, plagued with terrorist threats and for security reasons Alexander III moved with his family from the Winter Palace to Gatchina Palace. Xenia and her siblings were raised mostly there in relative simplicity As a child, Xenia was a tomboy and was very shy. Xenia, like her brothers, received her education from private tutors. A special emphasis was laid on the study of foreign languages. Apart from her native Russian, Xenia studied English, French and German. Xenia learnt cookery, joinery and making puppets and their clothes for their theatre. She also enjoyed riding and fishing in the nearby river on the Gatchina estate, drawing, gymnastics, dancing and playing the piano.
Her entire family enjoyed family holidays at the home of her Danish maternal grandparents, Fredensborg Castle. It was on such a visit that she met her cousin and lifelong friend, Princess Marie of Greece, daughter of King George I of Greece and his Russian born wife, Queen Olga. The Danish composer, Valdemar Vater, paid Xenia a tribute by writing the 'Polka Mazurka'. #royal#royalfamily#romanovs#romanovdinasty#dynasty#grandduchess#grandduchessxenia#grandduchessxeniaalexandrovna#xeniaalexandrovna#xeniaromanov
On 8 June 2009, four days short of the 91st anniversary of their murders, both Michael and Johnson were officially rehabilitated. Russian State Prosecutors stated, "The analysis of the archive material shows that these individuals were subject to repression through arrest, exile and scrutiny ... without being charged of committing concrete class and social-related crimes."
Michael's son George, Count Brasov, died in a car crash shortly before his 21st birthday in 1931. Natalia died penniless in a Parisian charity hospital in 1952. His stepdaughter Natalia Mamontova married three times and wrote a book about her life entitled Stepdaughter to Imperial Russia, published in 1940. #royal#dynasty#romanovs#romanovdynasty#grandduke#granddukemichael#michaelromanov#russia#history#russianhistory#monarchy#royalfamily
Johnson insisted on accompanying him and the four men plus their two prisoners climbed into two horse-drawn three-seater traps. They drove out of the town into the forest near Motovilikha. When Michael queried their destination, he was told they were going to a remote railway crossing to catch a train. By now it was the early hours of 13 June. They all alighted from the carriages in the middle of the wood, and both Michael and Johnson were fired upon, once each, but as the assassins were using home-made bullets, their guns jammed. Michael, whether wounded or not is unknown, moved towards the wounded Johnson with arms outstretched, when he was shot at point-blank range in the head. Both Zhuzhgov and Markov claimed to have fired the fatal shot. Johnson was shot dead by Ivanchenko. The bodies were stripped and buried. Anything of value was stolen and the clothes were taken back to Perm. After they were shown to Myasnikov as proof of the murders, the clothes were burned. The Ural Regional Soviet, headed by Alexander Beloborodov, approved the execution, either retrospectively or beforehand, as did Lenin. Michael was the first of the Romanovs to be executed by the Bolsheviks but he was not the last. Neither Michael's nor Johnson's remains have been found. The Perm authorities distributed a concocted cover story that Michael was abducted by unidentified men and had disappeared. Chelyshev and Borunov were arrested. Shortly before his own arrest, Colonel Peter Znamerovsky, a former Imperial army officer also exiled to Perm, managed to send Natalia a brief telegram saying that Michael had disappeared. Znamerovsky, Chelyshev and Borunov were all killed by the Perm Bolsheviks. Soviet disinformation about Michael's disappearance led to unfounded rumours that he had escaped and was leading a successful counter-revolution. In the ultimately forlorn hope that Michael would ally with Germany, the Germans arranged for Natalia and her daughter to escape to Kiev in German-controlled Ukraine. On the collapse of the Germans in November 1918, Natalia fled to the coast, and she and her daughter were evacuated by the British Royal Navy. #royal#dynasty#romanovs#romanovdynasty#grandduke
Natalia feared for George's safety, and in March 1918, she arranged for him to be smuggled out of Russia by his nanny with the help of Danish diplomats and the Putyatins.
In May, Natalia was granted a travel permit to join Michael. Accompanied by family friends Prince Putyatin and Margaret Abakanovich, she arrived at Perm before the Orthodox Easter and they spent about a week together. Meanwhile, as part of the truce between the Bolsheviks and the Central Powers, prisoners-of-war from Austria–Hungary were being shipped out of Russia. Czech troops were strung out along the Trans-Siberian Railway on their way to Vladivostok, where they were due to take ship. The Czechs, though, were not going home to fight for the Austrian empire but to fight for a separate homeland independent of Austria. The Germans demanded that the Bolsheviks disarm the Czechs, who fought back, seized the railway, joined forces with Russians fighting against the Bolsheviks and advanced westwards toward Perm. With the approach of the Czechs, Michael and Natalia feared that she would become trapped there, possibly in a dangerous situation and so, on 18 May, she left unhappily. By early June, Michael was again ill with stomach trouble. On 12 June 1918, the leader of the local secret police, Gavril Myasnikov, with the connivance of other local Bolsheviks, hatched a plan to murder Michael. Myasnikov assembled a team of four men who, like him, were all former prisoners of the Tsarist regime: Vasily Ivanchenko, Ivan Kolpashchikov, Andrei Markov and Nikolai Zhuzhgov. Using a forged order, the four men gained entry to Michael's hotel at 11.45 p.m. At first, Michael refused to accompany the men until he spoke with the local chairman of the secret police, Pavel Malkov, and then because he was ill. His protestations were futile and he got dressed. #royal#dynasty#romanovs#romanovdynasty#grandduke#granddukemichael#michaelromanov#russia#history#russianhistory#monarchy#royalfamily
On 1 September 1917, Kerensky declared Russia a republic. Michael wrote in his diary: "We woke up this morning to hear Russia declared a Republic. What does it matter which form the government will be as long as there is order and justice?" Two weeks later, Michael's house arrest was lifted. Kerensky had armed the Bolsheviks after a power struggle with the commander-in-chief and in October there was a second revolution as the Bolsheviks seized power from Kerensky. With a permit to travel issued by Peter Polotsov, a former colleague of Michael from the Savage Division who was now a commander in Petrograd, Michael planned to move his family to the greater safety of Finland. They packed valuables and prepared to move, but their preparations were seen by Bolshevik sympathisers and they were placed once more under house arrest. The last of Michael's cars were seized by the Bolsheviks.
The house arrest was lifted again in November, and the Constituent Assembly was elected and met in January 1918. Despite being the minority party, the Bolsheviks dissolved it. On 3 March 1918 (N.S.), the Bolshevik government signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, which effectively ceded vast areas of the former Russian Empire to the Central Powers of Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire. On 7 March 1918, Michael and his secretary Johnson were re-arrested on the orders of Moisei Uritsky, the Head of the Petrograd secret police, and imprisoned at the Bolshevik headquarters in the Smolny Institute. On 11 March 1918, Uritsky sent Michael and Johnson to Perm, a thousand miles to the east, on the order of the Council of the People's Commissars, which included both Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin. The journey, by freight train in a coach without windows or heat, took eight days at an average speed of 5 miles per hour. At first, Michael was billeted in a hotel but two days after his arrival he was jailed by the local Soviet. #royal#dynasty#romanovs#romanovdynasty#grandduke#granddukemichael#michaelromanov#russia#history#russianhistory#monarchy#royalfamily
Michael returned to Gatchina and was not permitted to return to his unit or to travel beyond the Petrograd area. On 5 April 1917, he was discharged from military service. By July, Prince Lvov had resigned as Prime Minister to be replaced by Alexander Kerensky, who ordered ex-Emperor Nicholas removed from Petrograd to Tobolsk in the Urals because it was "some remote place, some quiet corner, where they would attract less attention". On the eve of Nicholas's departure, Kerensky gave permission for Michael to visit him. Kerensky remained present during the meeting and the brothers exchanged awkward pleasantries "fidgeting all the while, and sometimes one would take hold of the other's hand or the buttons of his uniform". It was the last time they saw each other.
On 21 August 1917, guards surrounded the villa on Nikolaevskaya street where Michael was living with Natalia. On the orders of Kerensky, they were both under house arrest, along with Nicholas Johnson, who had been Michael's secretary since December 1912. A week later, they were moved to an apartment in Petrograd. Michael's stomach problems worsened and, with the intervention of British ambassador Buchanan and foreign minister Mikhail Tereshchenko, they were moved back to Gatchina in the first week of September. Tereshchenko told Buchanan that the Dowager Empress would be allowed to leave the country, for England if she wished, and that Michael would follow in due course. The British, however, were not prepared to accept any Russian Grand Duke for fear it would provoke a negative public reaction in Britain, where there was little sympathy for the Romanovs. #royal#dynasty#romanovs#romanovdynasty#grandduke#granddukemichael#michaelromanov#russia#history#russianhistory#monarchy#royalfamily
After further discussion, and several drafts, the meeting settled on a declaration of conditional acceptance as an appropriate form of words. In it, Michael deferred to the will of the people and acknowledged the Provisional Government as the de facto executive, but neither abdicated nor refused to accept the throne. He wrote:Inspired, in common with the whole people, by the belief that the welfare of our country must be set above everything else, I have taken the firm decision to assume the supreme power only if and when our great people, having elected by universal suffrage a Constituent Assembly to determine the form of government and lay down the fundamental law of the new Russian State, invest me with such power.
Calling upon them the blessing of God, I therefore request all the citizens of the Russian Empire to submit to the Provisional Government, established and invested with full authority by the Duma, until such time as the Constituent Assembly, elected within the shortest possible time by universal, direct, equal and secret suffrage, shall manifest the will of the people by deciding upon the new form of government. Commentators, ranging from Kerensky to French ambassador Maurice Paléologue, regarded Michael's action as noble and patriotic, but Nicholas was appalled that Michael had "kowtowed to the Constituent Assembly" and called the manifesto "rubbish". The hopes of the monarchists that Michael might be able to assume the throne following the election of the Constituent Assembly were overtaken by events. His renunciation of the throne, though conditional, marked the end of the Tsarist regime in Russia. The Provisional Government had little effective power; real power was held by the Petrograd Soviet. #royal#dynasty#romanovs#romanovdynasty#grandduke#granddukemichael#michaelromanov#russia#history#russianhistory#monarchy#royalfamily
On the afternoon of 15 March [O.S. 2 March] 1917, Emperor Nicholas II, under pressure from generals and Duma representatives, abdicated in favour of his son, Alexei, with Michael as Regent. Later that evening, though, he reconsidered his decision. Alexei was gravely ill with haemophilia and Nicholas feared that if Alexei was Emperor, he would be separated from his parents. In a second abdication document, signed at 11.40 p.m. but marked as having been issued at 3.00 p.m., the time of the earlier one, Nicholas II declared: We have judged it right to abdicate the Throne of the Russian State and to lay down the Supreme Power. Not wishing to be parted from Our Beloved Son, We hand over Our Succession to Our Brother the Grand Duke Michael Aleksandrovich and Bless Him on his accession to the Throne. By early morning, Michael was proclaimed as "Emperor Michael II" to Russian troops and in cities throughout Russia, but his accession was not universally welcomed. While some units cheered and swore allegiance to the new Emperor, others remained indifferent. The newly formed Provisional Government had not agreed to Michael's succession. When Michael awoke that morning, he discovered not only that his brother had abdicated in his favour, as Nicholas had not informed him previously, but also that a delegation from the Duma would visit him at Putyatina's apartment in a few hours' time. The meeting with Duma President Rodzianko, the new Prime Minister Prince Lvov and other ministers, including Pavel Milyukov and Alexander Kerensky, lasted all morning. Putyatina laid on a lunch, and in the afternoon two lawyers (Baron Nolde and Vladimir Nabokov) were called to the apartment to draft a manifesto for Michael to sign. The legal position was complicated as the legitimacy of the government, whether Nicholas had the right to remove his son from the succession and whether Michael actually was Emperor were all open to question. #royal#dynasty#romanovs#romanovdynasty#grandduke#granddukemichael#michaelromanov#russia#history#russianhistory#monarchy#royalfamily