Grand Duke Vladimir (1917-1992) and Grand Duchess Leonida (1914-2010)

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Heir Apparent
Mar 31, 2010
Heard and McDonald Islands
The imperial couple in exile represents without doubts a symbol of the real Russia, the Russia in exile which refused the communism.Grand Duke Vladimir was the only son of Grand Duke Kirill and succeeded his father as Head of the Imperial House in 1938.Because there were (and still are) persons who do not know the history of the different branches of the Royal House of Georgia and thus have the temptation not to consider the marriage of Grand Duke Vladimir as equal is interesting to study these notes:

"In the first decades of the 1700s, there were three Orthodox kingdoms ruled by different branches of the Bagration dynasty: the kingdom of Kartli, the kingdom of Kakhety, and the kingdom of Imeretia. Kartli: The senior line of the entire Bagration dynasty were the kings of Kartli, and the Bagrations of Moukhrani were junior dynasts of the Kartli line. The Bagrations of Moukhrani were thus genealogically senior to the Kakhety and Imeretia branches within the Bagration dynasty. The Kartli branch was dethroned by Muslim invaders, and King Wakhtang VI of Kartli, with his sons, went into exile in Russia in 1724, without, however, renouncing their rights to the Kartli throne. His male line descendants died out circa 1903, at which point the Bagrations of Moukhrani became the senior representatives of the former royal house of Kartli and heads of the entire Bagration dynasty. Kakhety: The junior royal line of Kakhety remained on its throne and in the 1740s pushed the Turks out of the territory that had once comprised the neighboring kingdom of Kartli. King Theimouraz of Kakhety had married Thamar Bagration, daughter of Wakhtang VI, last reigning King of Kartli; in 1744, with her husband, she had herself proclaimed Thamar II, Queen of Kartli in her own right. Their son, Irakly II, became King of Kakhety and Kartli, uniting them into the kingdom of Georgia in 1762. The Bagrations of Moukhrani, having stayed in Kartli rather than following Wakhtang VI to Russia, remained active dynasts of the newly united monarchy and continued to exercise within the united kingdom of Georgia the hereditary positions (of military commandant of Upper Kartli and of Constable of the Left of Georgia) that they had held under the old Kartli monarchy. Irakly II, as monarch of both Kartli and Kakhety and through his parents a member of both the Kartli and Kakhety lines of the dynasty, showed marked favor to his genealogically senior cousin, Constantine, Prince of Moukhrani. Irakly II’s eldest son and heir, Tsarevich Wakhtang, married Constantine of Moukhrani’s daughter, Princess Kethevan. (Irakly II outlived his eldest son.) In addition, Ivan, eldest son and heir of Constantine of Moukhrani, married Irakly II’s daughter Princess Kethevan Thamar. It was his son-in-law Ivan, future Prince of Moukhrani, whom Irakly II appointed as his plenipotentiary to negotiate the 1783 treaty of friendship with Catherine the Great of Russia. The dynasty of the united Georgian kingdom was, as stated in the text, dethroned in 1801. Imeretia: The Bagrations, Kings of Imeretia, a line junior to the Kartli and Kakhety branches, retained their throne until nearly a decade after the Georgian throne was toppled. Russia had signed a treaty with King Solomon II of Imeretia with provisions similar to the Treaty of Georgievsk but nonetheless dethroned him in 1810. He did not go to Russia afterwards but instead lived his remaining years in exile in the Ottoman Empire. Today: Prince George Bagration of Moukhrani, who traveled from Spain to Tblisi in 1995 with the remains of his grandfather, was the senior male of the royal Kartli line of the Bagrations and thus head of the entire Bagration dynasty. He was recognized in the 1990s as head of the former royal house by the Georgian government and by the patriarch of the Georgian Orthodox Church. He died in 2008 and was succeeded by his son, Prince David Bagration (born 1976). After the collapse of the Soviet Union, historians learned that several members of the Kakhety royal line were still alive and well in Georgia, having survived Stalin. The head of this line is Prince Nugzar Bagration-Gruzinsky (born 1950). In 2007, Patriarch Ilia II, head of the Georgian Orthodox Church, made a public statement advocating a Bagration constitutional monarchy as a means of advancing the development of the nation. This prompted Georgian historians and journalists to analyze the question of who the heir to the throne should be. Less than 18 months later, on 8 February 2009 at Tblisi’s cathedral, Prince David Georgievich Bagration of Moukhrani, head of the Bagration dynasty, married Princess Anna Nugzarovna Bagration (like her husband, also born in 1976), daughter of Prince Nugzar, head of the Kakhety line, thus uniting the two lines of Kartli and Kakhety in a manner similar to the way that the marriage of King Irakly II’s parents united them in the 18th century." (THE RUSSIAN IMPERIAL SUCCESSION)
"Although Mr. Sargis mentions that King David VIII granted his brother Bagrat the province of Moukhrani and installed him as its first sovereign prince, he has not explained the extent to which this branch, despite its sovereign status in Moukhrani, maintained its position as "first Princes of the Blood" within the Kingdom of Georgia. Three consecutive sovereign Princes of Moukhrani acted as Regents of Georgia. And on the death without heirs of King Rostom of Georgia, Wakhtang Bagration, sovereign Prince of Moukhrani, ascended the Georgian throne as King Wakhtang V in 1659 and ceded the throne of Moukhrani to his younger brother, Prince Constantine Bagration, ancestor of all the subsequent Princes of Moukhrani and also of the Grand Duchess Leonida."(THE RUSSIAN IMPERIAL SUCCESSION)

"The son and heir of Georgia’s last King, George XII, was Prince David Bagration. His father had chosen him as his eventual successor, and in 1799 Emperor Paul I of Russia, pursuant to the provisions of the Treaty of Georgievsk, had formally recognized David as heir to the Georgian throne. After Russia annexed Georgia, however, Russian troops brought David Bagration to St. Petersburg, where he was granted a residence and a pension. For several decades, Russia gave him the status of a royal prince and recognized him by the royal title of tsarevich, or crown prince. But, as the policy of Russification advanced, Russia revoked its recognition of David’s royal status and in 1833 placed him and the other Bagrations on the list of Russian nobles, in effect decreeing their demotion from royal rank. Meantime, King George XII’s half-brother, Prince Peter Bagration, having frustrated Russian efforts to capture him in 1801, led an invasion from Persia and seized Kakhety in 1812. He was proclaimed King of Georgia by his followers, but Russian troops regained control of Kakhety in 1813. The monarchist plot to restore the Bagrations, planned in Georgia in the early 1830s and quickly foiled by Russia, sought to place Peter on the throne."(THE RUSSIAN IMPERIAL SUCCESSION)

"The "power politics" aspect of this issue best explains the treatment of the Bagrations prior to 1911 and 1946. Apologists have tried to advance various arguments justifying this treatment of the Bagrations, but these arguments are unpersuasive. One argument runs as follows: although the Romanoffs and Bagrations after 1917 were both formerly sovereign houses and thus on equal footing, a distinction can be made for the period prior to 1917, when the Romanoffs were still sovereign and the Bagrations were only formerly sovereign and thus arguably not of equal birth for marriage purposes. The flaw in this argument is that in Russia and in Europe as a whole prior to 1917, a dynasty's being dethroned did not deprive it of Ebenbürtigkeit. Maximilien de Beauharnais, Duke of Leuchtenberg, was, at the time of his marriage to a Russian grand duchess in 1839, a member of a formerly sovereign dynasty: the French Imperial House of Bonaparte, which had been dethroned in 1815. Nonetheless, Russia considered it an equal marriage, and their children were in the Russian line of succession. (After this article was first published, a French history scholar argued that under French imperial law Maximilien de Beauharnais technically was not a French dynast of the House of Bonaparte, although he was a French imperial prince; it appears, however, that Russia chose to consider him a French dynast, in order to support the finding that his marriage was an equal marriage under Russian law.) In addition, the diaries of Nicholas II prior to his accession in 1894 indicate that his imperial parents strongly encouraged him to wed Princess Hélène of France in preference to Princess Alix of Hesse and the Rhine. Princess Hélène, a daughter of the French pretender, the Comte de Paris, was a member of the Orléans dynasty, which had been dethroned in France in 1848. There are numerous examples in other countries of equal marriages contracted by dynasts of reigning monarchies with members of dethroned dynasties, such as the 1901 marriage of Infanta Maria of Spain (Princess of the Asturias) to Prince Charles of the Two Sicilies (a dynasty dethroned in 1860) or the 1911 marriage of Archduke (later Emperor) Charles of Austria to Prince Zita of Bourbon-Parma (a dynasty dethroned in 1859). Yet another argument was that, prior to the fall of the Russian monarchy in 1917 and the regained independence of Georgia in 1918, the Bagrations (albeit involuntarily) had become Russian subjects and thus arguably could not be of equal birth for purposes of marriage to Russian dynasts. The flaw in this argument is that the Pauline law contained no specific prohibition of marriages to Russian subjects. The relevant portion of the Pauline law only required marriages with spouses from royal or sovereign houses (which would of course have the effect of excluding most Russian subjects), and the Bagrations were and are a royal house. One can also cite again the equal marriage of the French dynast, Maximilien de Beauharnais, Duke of Leuchtenberg, to a Russian grand duchess: their Leuchtenberg descendants, although patrilineally from a foreign dynasty, were Russian subjects who remained ebenbuertig and actually received special status within the Russian imperial house. Another example was Duke Charles of Mecklenburg (1863-1934), who was a dynast of the sovereign house of Mecklenburg and whose mother was Grand Duchess Catherine Mikhailovna of Russia. Duke Charles's branch of the Mecklenburg dynasty had lived for decades in Russia, and he had advanced to the rank of lieutenant general in the Russian army and had become a naturalized Russian subject. Despite becoming a Russian subject, however, he remained a Mecklenburg dynast and clearly would have been considered of equal birth had he married a Russian dynast."(THE RUSSIAN IMPERIAL SUCCESSION)

"The Bagrations viewed their listing in the nobility books in this manner as another in a series of examples of power politics, or force majeure, keeping in mind that the original transfer to Russia of Georgian dynasts after 1801 was involuntary and followed upon the violation by Russia of a solemn treaty which their dynasty had entered into with the Russian dynasty. It was for this reason that they declined to be listed in the old Almanach de Gotha in a manner that did not recognize their status as a formerly sovereign house. "The Bagrations, who were justifiably proud of this ancient lineage, preferred not to appear in the Almanach de Gotha rather than see themselves assigned a place which did not take into account their ancient sovereign status. The royal house of Georgia… has never abdicated its rights over a country which regained an ephemeral existence when Tsarist Russia collapsed…" Ghislain de Diesbach, Secrets of the Gotha (New York, 1968), p. 331. The old Almanach de Gotha, although an unofficial reference work that was privately owned and privately published in Gotha, Germany, enjoyed enormous prestige and respect until it ceased publication in the 1940s. The late Professor Cyril Toumanoff, in his fascinating Essays In Social History (Rome, 1988), especially the chapter entitled "Genealogical Imperialism", accused the German editors of the Almanach de Gotha of cultural imperialism. His criticism was directed to Part II of the Almanach, the section reserved for mediatised houses that had formerly been co-states of the Holy Roman Empire and thus enjoyed equality of birth for marriage purposes with royal and sovereign houses. Prince Toumanoff's complaint was that the Almanach, while ignoring the indisputable dynastic status of the Georgian and Imeretian houses, had included in Part II several German families that are of disputable Ebenbürtigkeit, because they technically did not qualify as sovereigns of co-states of the Holy Roman Empire. (These references pertain to the original Almanach de Gotha that ceased publication in 1944, not to the so-called “revived” Almanach de Gotha which bears the same title and began publication in England in 1998.)"(THE RUSSIAN IMPERIAL SUCCESSION)

Wonderful photos of Grand Duke Vladimir, "de iure Emperor":!Vladimir_Cyrillovich,_Grand_Duke_of_Russia.JPG

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Cory, thank you for your thorough explanation and for starting a thread about this interesting royal couple.:flowers:
I suppose it would be really unfair to speak about the different descendants of the Romanovs but to not to speak about Grand Duke Vladimir who was Head of the imperial Family for more than 50 years.
Grand Duke Vladimir's parents baptized him in the baptismal font of the Imperial House. The font was brought from Petrograd by Archpriest Alexander Dernov.
Grand Duke Vladimir repudiated Czar of Russia appointment
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