Biographies Russian Rulers Romanov Grand Duke Vladimirovichi Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich

Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich

Born: 1876, Tsarskoe Selo
Died: 1938, Neuilly (France)

Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich was the second child and second son of Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich and Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna. He was born in Tsarskoe Selo on 12 October 1876 and commanded the Garde Équipage during the First World War.

Kirill married his cousin Princess Victoria Melita of Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha. This match was considered a mésalliance. In order to marry Kirill, Victoria Melita divorced Grand Duke Ernest Louis of Hesse-Darmstadt, the only brother of Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna. Kirill and Victoria married without the consent of Tsar Nicholas II in Germany in 1905.

For two years, the couple were not allowed to enter Russia. They were eventually forgiven in 1907, when they settled in St Petersburg. Victoria Melita converted to Orthodoxy as Grand Duchess Victoria Fyodorovna.

Kirill fled Russia during the revolution and took up residence in France. In 1924, to the horror of the other members of the Romanov dynasty, he declared himself the emperor of Russia. Dowager Empress Maria Fyodorovna sent Kirill a telegram, making it quite clear that she did not recognise his right to the title: “I am convinced that my two beloved sons are alive and so cannot consider your act a fait accompli.”

Kirill died in Neuilly in France on 12 October 1938 and was buried in the royal burial vault in Coburg. In 1995, he was reburied alongside his wife and son in the St Peter and St Paul Cathedral in St Petersburg.

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