Royal Wedding - Russia to host first royal wedding in more than a century
January 24 2022
6:05 AM
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Royal Wedding

Russia to host first royal wedding in more than a century

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Published on October 1, 2021 6:42 AM
His great-grandfather, Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich, managed to escape Bolshevik violence during the 1917 revolution to Finland. He and his family later relocated to Western Europe. George Mikhailovich visited Russia for the first time in 1992, and now lives in Moscow where he works on a number of charity projects
MOSCOW - Russia's former imperial capital is set to play host to the wedding of a descendant of the Russian royal family in the first such event in more than a century.

Grand Duke George Mikhailovich Romanov will tie the knot with Italian fiancée Victoria Romanovna Bettarini at St Isaac's Cathedral in St Petersburg on Friday (Oct 1) in an elaborate religious ceremony with hundreds of foreign guests in attendance.

Russia's last tsar Nicholas II, his wife and five children were killed by a revolutionary firing squad in July 1918 in the cellar of a merchant's house in Yekaterinburg, a city 1,450 km east of Moscow.

"This was the first place in Russia to which we returned," George Mikhailovich, 40, told news website about the choice of St. Petersburg for his wedding.

"This is very, very close to the family."

George Mikhailovich was born in Spain to Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna of Russia — the self-proclaimed heir to Russia's imperial throne — and her husband Grand Duke Mikhail Pavlovich of Russia. He lived in France and Spain for most of his life...

George Mikhailovich Romanov

Grand Duke George Mikhailovich of Russia is the heir apparent to Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna of Russia, a claimant to the disputed Headship of the Imperial Family of Russia. He is the only child of Grand Duchess Maria and her former husband, Prince Franz Wilhelm of Prussia. George's mother attributes to him the title of Tsesarevich and he bears, as a title of pretence, the prefix of 'Grand Duke' with the style of Imperial Highness. As the son of a cadet member of the branch of the House of Hohenzollern which formerly ruled the German Empire and Kingdom of Prussia, he is also sometimes entitled 'Prince of Prussia' with the style of Royal Highness.

Early life
George was born in Madrid in 1981, the son of Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna of Russia and her husband Prince Franz Wilhelm of Prussia , .

George was baptised on 6 May 1981, in Madrid; his godfather is Constantine II of Greece. Also present at the baptism were King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía of Spain and Simeon II and Queen Margarita of Bulgaria. George was given the title Grand Duke of Russia by his maternal grandfather, prompting Prince Vasili Alexandrovich, then president of the Romanov Family Association, to respond in writing that 'The Romanov Family Association hereby declares that the joyful event in the Prussian Royal House does not concern the Romanov Family Association since the newborn prince is not a member of either the Russian Imperial House or of the Romanov famil'y. This response was ignored by Grand Duke Vladimir because the marriage between his daughter and Prince Franz Wilhelm of Prussia was matrilineal , therefore George was a Romanov Dynast.

His father, who stopped using his Russian title after his separation, has said of his son, 'I have his German passport right here; I always carry it with me. It says he is Prince George of Prussia'.

George spent the first years of his life in France before moving to Spain. There he and his mother lived, along with his maternal grandmother, in the home of his maternal aunt, Helen Kirby, who inherited a significant fortune from her father, Sumner Moore Kirby.

Education and career
George was educated at Runnymede College in Madrid, D'Overbroeck's College, Oxford and at St Benet's Hall, Oxford.
In Brussels, he worked at the European Parliament where he was an assistant to Loyola de Palacio, former European Commissioner for Transport and Energy. Later he moved to Luxembourg where he was employed at the European Commission's Directorate-General for Atomic Energy and Security.

On 12 December 2008, he was appointed an aide to the Director General of MMC Norilsk Nickel, a major Russian nickel-mining company.
In 2012 he was nominated chief executive of Metal Trade Overseas, the main sales hub for Norilsk Nickel in Switzerland.
In 2014 he started his own company, Romanoff & Partners, in Brussels.
Heir to his mother
On 21 April 1992, upon the death of his maternal grandfather Grand Duke Vladimir Cyrillovich, George's mother claimed to have succeeded as the sovereign and Curatrix of the Throne of Russia, making him, to supporters of his mother, heir-apparent and tsesarevich. He visited Russia for the first time shortly thereafter to attend the funeral of his grandfather. His claim to the throne is contested.

In 1996, when he, his mother, and his grandmother Leonida returned to Russia after living in Madrid, one of President Boris Yeltsin's former bodyguards was assigned as tutor to the 15-year-old prince. He was also set to study at a Russian Naval college but these plans were dropped.

On 17 July 2018 he participated, along with his mother, in the liturgical commemoration of the centenary of the assassinations of Saints Nicholas II, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna and their children conducted in Yekaterinburg by Patriarch Kirill I of Moscow.

In January 2021, the family announced that the Grand Duke was engaged to marry Victoria Romanovna Bettarini , having received the permission of his mother. Victoria Bettarini is the Director of the Russian Imperial Foundation. She is the daughter of Ambassador Roberto Bettarini, an Italian diplomat, and his wife Carla Virginia Cacciatore.

They married on 24 September 2021 in a civil ceremony in Moscow. A religious wedding is scheduled on 1 October in Saint Petersburg.