March 11, 1922 death of Grand Duchess Anastasia Mikhailovna of Russia, wife of Friedrich Franz III of Mecklenburg-Schwerin.
She was born July 28, 1860 in Peterhof palace in St Petersberg Russia. She was the granddaughter of Tsar Nicholas I. Her father Grand Duke Michael Nikolaevich of Russia was the 4th son and youngest of 7 children of the Tsar. Her mother Grand Duchess Olga was born Princess Cecilie of Baden. Her maternal grandparents were Grand Duke Leopold of Baden and Sophie of Sweden (daughter of Gustaf IV Adolph). She was the niece of Alexander II on her father's side. She was the second of seven children of her parents and their only daughter. 3 brothers were killed during the Russian Revolution.
She was two years old when her family moved to Georgia, as her father was appointed viceroy of the Caucases. As the only daughter she was her father's favorite and she was doted on by her brothers. She was educated and developed a love for languages. She was fluent in French, German and English as well as Russian from an early age. She was considered to be very strong willed and intelligent.
On May 4, 1878 her engagement was announced. The husband chosen was Frederick Francis of Mecklenberg-Schwerin. He was the eldest son of Frederick Francis II, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. One of Frederick's sisters would marry Grand Duke Vladimir, Anastasia's cousin. His mother was his father's first wife Princess Augusta Reuss of Köstritz. They were married January 1879 at the Winter palace. The wedding was performed both in the Russian and protestant services. Her groom was 27 and she was 18.
The couple would live in Neustädtisches Palais in Schwerin. Her husband succeeded his father as Grand Duke in 1883.
Her husband suffered from ill health. The couple spent much of their time traveling to warmer climates.
When his father died they had been in Italy. Though they agreed it was needed that the new Grand Duke be in his duchy at times, for his health reasons it could not be permanent. They agreed to spend at least five months a year in the duchy. They lived at Gelbensande Hunting lodge when there. Their main home was Villa Wenden in Cannes where they spent six months a year. An avid tennis player she had courts built at the villa. She was often in Monte Carlo where she would gamble at the casino.
Her husband died April 10, 1897 in Cannes. He was 46. His death was a bit shrouded. There was some suggestion he committed suicide. But he seemed to have suffered breathing problems and stumbling, fell over a low wall. He was succeeded by their son as Grand Duke.
Though her son succeeded, Anastasia inherited most of her husband's private possessions. That included both the villa, and their hunting lodge in Baden. She spent most of her time at her two homes, or traveling home to Russia or in London. She spent little time in Schwerin after the death of her husband.
She caused scandal when the widowed Grand Duchess became pregnant in 1902. The father was her secretary Vladimir Alexandrovich Paltov. She was ostracized by many courts including the Prussians. When her daughter married into the Prussian royal family she was permitted only to attend the wedding and to come for the birth of her first Prussian grandchild. Christian IX of Denmark granted her son a title and name though (his grandson was Anastasia's son in law).
During WWI her loyalties were split. Her son was a German Grand duke, and her daughter married to the Prussian crown prince. Anastasia though sided with her Russian relatives who were on the other side. She was unable to remain in France but not welcome in Germany due to her Russian allegiances. She settled in Lusanne. Sadly she saw the death of three brothers and her son lose his Grand Duchy during the war. After the war she had to sneak back into France using her Russian passport as she was not welcome as a German. She would settle in Villa Fantasia, in Eze France.
She died in Eze from a stroke at the age of 61 almost 25 years after her husband. She was buried back in Schwerin at the Helenen-Paulownen-Mausoleum. Her funeral was the first time her three children with her husband were all together since WWI.
She and her husband had three children:
-Alexandra: married Christian X of Denmark. They were the parenrts of Frederick IX and Knud. She is the grandmother of Queen Margrethe II, Queen Anne-Marie of Greece and Princess Benedikte (as well as Knud's three).
-Frederick: succeeded his father as Frederick Francis IV. He lost his duchy in 1918. Following the war he spent a year living in Denmark before he was permitted to return home. He did regain some of his properties. He married Princess Alexandra of Hanover and Cumberland. They had five children.
-Cecilie: she was married to Wilhelm, German Crown Prince. The couple had six children.
Her son with her secretary:
-Alexis: was named Count Alexis Louis de Wenden, the last name and count title given to him by Alexandr'a grandfather in law. He married Paulette Seux with whom he had two daughters.