Russian Imperial House Considers Changes to Law of Succession


Alexander Zakatov and Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna

HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, has not yet received the blessing from Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia to change the law of succession of the Imperial House of Russia. “But the dialogue is underway”, said the Director of the Chancellery of the Head of the Russian Imperial House, Alexander Zakatov, during an interview with the Russian news agency Политика сегодня (Politics Today). 

The Decree was amended on 20 March 1820, by Emperor Alexander I, who issued a Manifesto stipulating that, “if any person in the Imperial Family enters into a marriage with a person of a status unequal to His, that is, not belonging to any Royal or Ruling House, in such a case the person in the Imperial Family cannot pass on to the other person the rights which belong to Members of the Imperial Family, and the children issuing from such a marriage have no right of succession to the throne.”

Zakatov said that the question of changing the law is being considered, as the head of the Imperial House has repeatedly stated publicly. 

“The Grand Duchess has repeatedly stated publicly that it is possible after some time to make adjustments to the rules of succession to the throne, as has been done by many European houses. She has always emphasized that such a change is possible only with the consent and blessing of the church. The Grand Duchess consults with the Patriarch on all matters,” said the director of the office.

 He stressed that there is no rush to change the rules of inheritance of the throne. 

It should be noted that the son and heir of Her Imperial Highness Grand Duke Georgii Mikhailovich is now 37 years old (born 13 March 1981), and still unmarried. A lack of eligible royal princesses, let alone one who would convert to Orthodoxy certainly narrows his chances of entering into an equal marriage. A change to the dynastic succession, however, will now clear the path for George to marry for love.

It is very timely also, that such a change should come after the deaths of Princes Nicholas (1922-2014) and Dimitri Romanovich (1926-2016), both  former heads of the Romanov Family Association, whose current members are sure to cry foul, setting the stage for further family squabbles.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 28 January 2019

Count Nikolai Tolstoy on Russian Monarchy and the Romanovs


Count Nikolai Tolstoy

The following was excerpted from the article “There’s Nothing Wrong with Falling from Grace”: The Global Network of Monarchists Helping Deposed Kings and Queens by Michael Joseph Gross, published in the May 2018 issue of Vanity Fair

Nikolai Tolstoy reports each day for work at the desk in his library, a three-room stone structure that once was a wagon shed. He is 82 years old, head of the senior branch of the celebrated Russian family, and a distant cousin of the novelist Leo Tolstoy. His inherited title, Count of the Russian Empire, was originally granted by Peter the Great.

Tolstoy is chancellor of the International Monarchist League, and also chairman of the Russian Monarchist League, though “how active they are I’m not in a position to say.” He perceives “very strong monarchist sentiment in Russia, though very little monarchist political activity.” Tolstoy is on good terms with Grand Duchess Maria—who lays claim to the title Curatrix of the Imperial Throne of Russia—and with her son, Grand Duke George, whom he refers to as “the heir.” (Maria calls her son “the Csarevitch.”) Maria has been a guest in Tolstoy’s house. “In our guest book, I think it’s in successive months, we had Grand Duchess Maria and her father, and then we had Svetlana Stalin, brought here by the great-nephew of the founder of the K.G.B.,” Tolstoy said. He paused here to chuckle.

“There is no question that George, naturally if the opportunity were offered, would welcome” the chance to return to the Russian throne, in Tolstoy’s view. “Nothing would be more good for Russia than a constitutional monarchy. It would provide a fair focus of loyalty for the people, one that is above or outside politics, and a sense of continuity over time.” Monarchy provides, for Tolstoy, just this sense of continuity. 

“In Russia, I’m pretty sure that well-heeled supporters of the monarchy do support the Grand Duchess Maria and her son.”


The Head of the Russian Imperial House, H.I.H. The Grand Duchess Maria of Russia,
and H.I.H. The Heir, Tsesarevich, and Grand Duke George of Russia
Photo © Russian Imperial House

Count Tolstoy expects that representatives of some of these royal houses, as well as Grand Duchess Maria and Grand Duke George, will travel to the Urals in Russia in July, to join a mass remembrance of the 1918 execution of Czar Nicholas II and his family. “My wife and I will go,” Count Tolstoy said. “Our son will go, too, and I think several of my family will be certainly attending from abroad, for the principal commemoration in the cathedral specially built in Ekaterinburg to commemorate the emperor and his family, after the stupid destruction of the house where the murders took place.” In 1977, on instructions from Boris Yeltsin, then first secretary of the local Communist Party, demolition workers took down the house, “which was becoming, even then, authorities felt, too much of a shrine to pilgrims.”

Church on Blood in Honour of All Saints Resplendent in the Russian Land is the official name of the cathedral where tens of thousands will observe “the centenary of the martyrdom.” It is referred to as martyrdom, Tolstoy explained, because the Russian Orthodox Church canonized the imperial-family members who were executed in Ekaterinburg. Also raised to sainthood were those who had faithfully served the deposed royals—the household servants who also died. These included a lady-in-waiting, a maid, a footman, a physician, a cook, and a tutor. Tolstoy did not mention the sainthood of the servants, though. Perhaps modesty forbade it.

Click HERE to read the full article

© Michael Joseph Gross. 28 April 2018