Meet Prince Karl Emich of Leiningen – Emperor Nicholas III?


Prince Karl Emich of Leiningen

The Russian monarchy was abolished in 1917, after Emperor Nicholas II was forced to abdicate. However if that didn’t happen, who would wear the crown today? After more than a century, the debate on both a restoration of monarchy in Russia and its legitimate successor continues unabated into the 21st century. While most monarchists (myself included) support the legitimate successor to the Russian throne as the current Head of the Russian Imperial House HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, let us take a look at one of the other little known pretenders.

Prince Karl Emich of Leiningen, also known by his Orthodox name Nikolai Kirillovich, was born on 12 June 1952, the eldest son of Emich, 7th Prince of Leiningen (1926-1991) and his wife, Duchess Eilika of Oldenburg (1928-2016).

Karl Emich is a claimant to the defunct throne of the Russian Empire, held until 1917 by the Imperial House of Romanov, as a grandson of Grand Duchess Maria Kirillovna (1907–1951), eldest child of Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich (1876-1938), who claimed the Russian crown from exile in 1924. He is a great-great-grandson of Emperor Alexander II of Russia (1818-1881) and grand nephew of Grand Duke Vladimir Kirillovich of Russia (1917-1992).


In June 2013, the Monarchist Party of Russia (Монархическая партия России) announced its candidate for the throne: it proclaimed the German Prince Karl Emich of Leiningen who also descends from the House of Romanov and, having converted to Orthodox Christianity, together with his wife, and thus assume imperial dignity as Successor, accepting the Orthodox name Nikolai Kirillovich or Emperor Nicholas III and his wife becoming Ekaterina Fedorovna. The succession configuration is set up by pre-Revolution Fundamental Laws of the Russian Empire, and the party announced Nikolai Kirillovich as the legal claimant, in accordance with them. Among Russian monarchists, this attitude is called “Legitimist” and “Cyrillist”—after Cyril (Kirill) Vladimirovich, Grand Duke of Russia, Karl Emich’s great-grandfather, and cousin of Nicholas II, who created the Imperial House in emigration, and in 1924 proclaimed himself “Emperor in Exile”, and died in 1938 (Anton Bakov believes he was killed).

The Monarchist Party of the Russian Federation is the only legal monarchist political party in Russia since the 1917 Russian Revolution. It was created in 2012 by prominent politician and businessman Anton Alekseevich Bakov, a former member of Russia’s State Duma. It declares its aim as the restoration of the monarchy in the country, while transforming it into a modern constitutional one “with full accordance to democratic procedures and current laws”, as well as promoting the monarchist conception among Russians and other people of the world. By February 2013, members had organized 47 regional offices, exceeding the necessary limit to participate in regional elections.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 7 April 2018