The HOUSE OF ROMANOV (/ˈroʊməˌnɔːf, -ˌnɒf, roʊˈmɑːnəf/ ;
also ROMANOFF; Russian : Рома́новы, _Románovy_, IPA: )
was the second dynasty to rule Russia, after the House of Rurik ,
reigning from 1613 until the abdication of
The Romanovs achieved prominence as boyars of the Grand Duchy of
Moscow , later the
Tsardom of Russia . In 1613, following years of
Time of Troubles
The direct male line of the Romanovs came to an end when Elizabeth of Russia died in 1762. After an era of dynastic crisis, the House of Holstein-Gottorp , a cadet branch of the House of Oldenburg that reigned in Denmark, ascended the throne in 1762 with Peter III , a grandson of Peter I. All rulers from the middle of the 18th century to the revolution of 1917 were descended from that branch. Though officially known as the _House of Romanov_, these descendants of the Romanov and Oldenburg dynasties are sometimes referred to as HOLSTEIN-GOTTORP-ROMANOV.
In early 1917 the Romanov dynasty had 65 members, 18 of whom were killed by the Bolsheviks . The remaining 47 members went into exile abroad. In 1924, Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich , the senior, surviving male-line descendant of Alexander II of Russia by primogeniture , claimed the headship of the defunct Imperial House of Russia. Since 1991, the succession to the former Russian throne has been in dispute, largely due to disagreements over the validity of dynasts ' marriages.
Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna of Russia claims to hold the title of empress in pretense with her only child, George Mikhailovich , as heir apparent . Others have argued in support of the rights of the late Prince Nicholas Romanovich Romanov , whose brother Prince Dimitri Romanov was the next heir male of his branch after whom it is now passed to Prince Andrew Romanov . There is also a rival non-Romanov claim put forth by Prince Karl Emich of the House of Leiningen supported by the Monarchist Party .
* 1 Surname usage
* 2 House of Romanov
* 2.1 Rise to power * 2.2 Dynastic crisis
* 3 House of Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov
* 3.1 Age of Autocracy * 3.2 Gallery * 3.3 Downfall * 3.4 Contemporary Romanovs
* 4 Execution of
* 4.1 Remains of the
* 4.2 Alexei
* 4.2.1 DNA proof
* 5 Killing of other Romanovs
* 6 Exiles
* 6.1 Dowager Empress Maria Fyodorovna * 6.2 Other exiles
* 7 Romanov family jewellery * 8 Heraldry * 9 Family tree * 10 See also * 11 References * 12 External links
Legally, it remains unclear whether any _ukase _ ever abolished the
surname of Michael Romanov (or of his subsequent male-line
descendants) after his accession to the Russian throne in 1613,
although by tradition members of reigning dynasties seldom use
surnames, being known instead by dynastic titles ("Tsarevich Ivan
Alexeevich", "Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich", etc.). From January
1762 , the monarchs of the
After the February Revolution of March 1917, a special decree of the Provisional Government of Russia granted all members of the imperial family the surname "Romanov". The only exceptions, the morganatic descendants of the Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich (1891-1942), took (in exile) the surname Il\'insky.
HOUSE OF ROMANOV
A 16th-century residence of the Yuryev-Zakharyin boyars in Zaryadye , near the Kremlin
The Romanovs share their origin with two dozen other Russian noble
families. Their earliest common ancestor is one
Andrei Kobyla ,
attested around 1347 as a boyar in the service of Semyon I of Moscow .
Later generations assigned to Kobyla an illustrious pedigree . An
18th-century genealogy claimed that he was the son of the Prussian
prince Glanda Kambila, who came to Russia in the second half of the
13th century, fleeing the invading
His actual origin may have been less spectacular. Not only is
_Kobyla_ Russian for "mare ", some of his relatives also had as
nicknames the terms for horses and other domestic animals, thus
suggesting descent from one of the royal equerries . One of Kobyla's
sons, Feodor , a member of the boyar
RISE TO POWER
The family fortunes soared when Roman's daughter, Anastasia
Zakharyina , married Ivan IV , the Rurikid Grand Prince of Moscow, on
3 (13) February 1547. Since her husband had assumed the title of tsar
, which literally means "
Throughout Feodor's reign (1584–1598), the Tsar's brother-in-law, Boris Godunov , and his Romanov cousins contested the _de facto_ rule of Russia. Upon the death of childless Feodor, the 700-year-old line of Moscow Rurikids came to an end. After a long struggle, the party of Boris Godunov prevailed over the Romanovs, and the _ Zemsky sobor _ elected Godunov as tsar in 1599. Godunov's revenge on the Romanovs was terrible: all the family and its relations were deported to remote corners of the Russian North and Urals , where most of them died of hunger or in chains. The family's leader, Feodor Nikitich Romanov , was exiled to the Antoniev Siysky Monastery and forced to take monastic vows with the name Filaret .
The Romanovs' fortunes again changed dramatically with the fall of
the Godunov dynasty in June 1605. As a former leader of the
anti-Godunov party and cousin of the last legitimate tsar, Filaret
Romanov's recognition was sought by several impostors who attempted to
claim the Rurikid legacy and throne during the
Time of Troubles
On being offered the Russian crown, Filaret's 16-year-old son Mikhail Romanov , then living at the Ipatiev Monastery of Kostroma , burst into tears of fear and despair. He was finally persuaded to accept the throne by his mother Kseniya Ivanovna Shestova , who blessed him with the holy image of Our Lady of St. Theodore . Feeling how insecure his throne was, Mikhail attempted to emphasize his ties with the last Rurikid tsars and sought advice from the _Zemsky Sobor_ on every important issue. This strategy proved successful. The early Romanovs were generally accepted by the population as in-laws of Ivan the Terrible and viewed as innocent martyrs of Godunov's wrath.
Peter the Great (1672–1725)
Mikhail was succeeded by his only son Alexei , who steered the country quietly through numerous troubles. Upon his death, there was a period of dynastic struggle between his children by his first wife Maria Ilyinichna Miloslavskaya (Fyodor III , Sofia Alexeyevna , Ivan V ) and his son by his second wife Nataliya Kyrillovna Naryshkina , the future Peter the Great . Peter ruled from 1682 until his death in 1725. In numerous successful wars he expanded the Tsardom into a huge empire that became a major European power. He led a cultural revolution that replaced some of the traditionalist and medieval social and political system with a modern, scientific , Europe-oriented , and rationalist system.
New dynastic struggles followed the death of Peter. His only son to survive into adulthood, Tsarevich Alexei , did not support Peter's modernization of Russia. He had previously been arrested and died in prison shortly thereafter. Near the end of his life, Peter managed to alter the succession tradition of male heirs, allowing him to choose his heir. Power then passed into the hands of his second wife, Empress Catherine . Within five years, the Romanov male line ended with the death of Peter II in 1730. He was succeeded by Anna I , daughter of Peter the Great's half-brother and co-ruler, Ivan V . Before she died in 1740 the empress declared her grandnephew, Ivan VI , should succeed her. This was an attempt to secure the line of her father, while excluding descendants of Peter the Great from inheriting the throne. Ivan VI was only a one-year-old infant at the time of his succession to the throne and his parents, Grand Duchess Anna Leopoldovna and Duke Anthony Ulrich of Brunswick , the ruling regent, were detested for their German counselors and relations. As a consequence, shortly after Empress Anna Ivanovna's death, Elizabeth Petrovna , a legitimized daughter of Peter I, managed to gain the favor of the populace and dethroned Ivan VI in a _coup d'état_, supported by the Preobrazhensky Regiment and the ambassadors of France and Sweden. Ivan VI and his parents died in prison many years later.
HOUSE OF HOLSTEIN-GOTTORP-ROMANOV
The Holstein-Gottorps of Russia retained the Romanov surname,
emphasizing their matrilineal descent from Peter the Great, through
Anna Petrovna (Peter I's elder daughter by his second wife). In 1742,
Elizabeth of Russia brought Anna's son, her nephew Peter of
Holstein-Gottorp , to
AGE OF AUTOCRACY
Paul I was murdered in his palace in Saint Petersburg in 1801. Alexander I succeeded him on the throne and later died without leaving a son. His brother, crowned Nicholas I , succeeded him on the throne. The succession was far from smooth, however, as hundreds of troops took the oath of allegiance to Nicholas's elder brother, Constantine Pavlovich who, unbeknownst to them, had renounced his claim to the throne in 1822, following his marriage. The confusion, combined with opposition to Nicholas' accession, led to the Decembrist revolt . Nicholas I fathered four sons, educating them for the prospect of ruling Russia and for military careers, from whom the last branches of the dynasty descended.
Alexander II , son of Nicholas I, became the next Russian emperor in 1855, in the midst of the Crimean War . While Alexander considered it his charge to maintain peace in Europe and Russia, he believed only a strong Russian military could keep the peace. By developing the army, giving some freedom to Finland, and freeing the serfs in 1861 he gained much popular support.
Despite his popularity, however, his family life began to unravel by the mid 1860s. In 1864, his eldest son, and heir, Tsarevich Nicholas , died suddenly. His wife, Empress Maria Alexandrovna , who suffered from tuberculosis, spent much of her time abroad. Alexander eventually turned to a mistress, Princess Catherine Dolgoruki . Immediately following the death of his wife in 1880 he contracted a morganatic marriage with Dolgoruki. His legitimization of their children, and rumors that he was contemplating crowning his new wife as empress, caused tension within the dynasty. In particular, the grand duchesses were scandalized at the prospect of deferring to a woman who had borne Alexander several children during his wife's lifetime. Before Princess Catherine could be elevated in rank, however, on 13 March 1881 Alexander was assassinated by a hand-made bomb hurled by Ignacy Hryniewiecki . Slavic patriotism, cultural revival, and Panslavist ideas grew in importance in the latter half of this century, evoking expectations of a more Russian than cosmopolitan dynasty. Several marriages were contracted with members of other reigning Slavic or Orthodox dynasties (Greece, Montenegro, Serbia). In the early 20th century two Romanov princesses were allowed to marry Russian high noblemen – whereas until the 1850s, practically all marriages had been with German princelings. A gathering of members of the Romanov family in 1892, at the summer military manoeuvres in Krasnoe Selo .
Alexander II was succeeded by his son Alexander III . This tsar, the second-to-last Romanov emperor, was responsible for conservative reforms in Russia. Not expected to inherit the throne, he was educated in matters of state only after the death of his older brother, Nicholas. Lack of diplomatic training may have influenced his politics as well as those of his son, Nicholas II. Alexander III was physically impressive, being not only tall (1.93 m or 6'4", according to some sources), but of large physique and considerable strength. His beard hearkened back to the likeness of tsars of old, contributing to an aura of brusque authority, awe-inspiring to some, alienating to others. Alexander, fearful of the fate which had befallen his father, strengthened autocratic rule in Russia. Some of the reforms the more liberal Alexander II had pushed through were reversed.
Alexander had not only inherited his dead brother's position as
Tsesarevich _, but also his brother's Danish fiancée, Princess
Dagmar. Taking the name Maria Fyodorovna upon her conversion to
Orthodoxy, she was the daughter of King Christian IX and the sister of
the future kings
Frederik VIII of Denmark and
George I of Greece
His eldest son, Nicholas, became emperor upon Alexander III's death due to kidney disease at age 49 in November 1894. Nicholas reputedly said, "I am not ready to be tsar...." Just a week after the funeral, Nicholas married his fiancée, Alix of Hesse-Darmstadt , a favorite grandchild of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom . Though a kind-hearted man, he tended to leave intact his father's harsh policies. For her part the shy Alix, who took the name Alexandra Fyodorovna, became a devout convert to Orthodoxy as well as a devoted wife to Nicholas and mother to their five children, yet avoided many of the social duties traditional for Russia's tsarinas. Seen as distant and severe, unfavorable comparisons were drawn between her and her popular mother-in-law, Maria Fyodorovna. When, in 1916, Nicholas took command of the army at the front lines during World War I, Alexandra sought to influence him toward an authoritarian approach in government affairs even more than she had done during peace time. His well-known devotion to her injured both his and the dynasty's reputation during World War I, due both to her German origin and her unique relationship with Rasputin , whose role in the life of her only son was not widely known. Alexandra was a carrier of the gene for haemophilia , inherited from her maternal grandmother , Queen Victoria. Her son, Alexei , the long-awaited heir to the throne, inherited the disease and suffered agonizing bouts of protracted bleeding, the pain of which was sometimes partially alleviated by Rasputin's ministrations. Nicholas and Alexandra also had four daughters, the Grand Duchesses Olga , Tatiana , Maria and Anastasia .
The six crowned representatives of the
were: Paul (1796–1801), Alexander I (1801–1825), Nicholas I
(1825–55), Alexander II (1855–81), Alexander III (1881–94), and
Constantine Pavlovich and Michael Alexandrovich , both morganatically married, are occasionally counted among Russia's emperors by historians who observe that the Russian monarchy did not legally permit interregnums . But neither was crowned and both declined the throne.
Grand Kremlin Palace
Throne of the Tsar, the Empress and the Tsarevich in the Grand Kremlin Palace *
Winter Palace , Saint Petersburg *
The Romanovs visiting a regiment during World War I. From left
to right, Grand Duchess Anastasia, Grand Duchess Olga,
February Revolution of 1917 resulted in the abdication of
February Revolution ,
Further information: Line of succession to the former Russian throne Grand Duke Cyril (Kirill) with his wife Grand Duchess Victoria and children Kira and Vladimir Kirillovich
There have been numerous post-Revolution reports of Romanov survivors
and unsubstantiated claims by individuals to be members of the deposed
Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich , a male-line grandson of Tsar
Alexander II , claimed the headship of the deposed Imperial House of
Russia, and assumed, as pretender , the title "Emperor and Autocrat of
EXECUTION OF TSAR AND FAMILY
Execution of the Romanov family
On the night of July 17, 1918,
The family was roused from sleep around 2:00 a.m. and told that they
were being moved to a newer, safer location. They dressed quickly but
informally. They were then led from the house where they had been
staying and taken across a courtyard and down some stairs, then
through a number of corridors and small dark rooms, few of which were
lit. They reached a room at the end of one particular corridor that
had a single electric light burning dimly. They asked for and were
brought two chairs for the youngest children to sit on. The family
members were then left alone for several minutes. Suddenly, a group of
armed men led by Yurovsky entered the room. Yurovsky read an
announcement from the local
At first, all of the gunmen, who loathed the
The Ipatiev House has the same name as the Ipatiev Monastery in Kostroma , where Mikhail Romanov had been offered the Russian Crown in 1613. The large memorial church "on the blood " has been built on the spot where the Ipatiev House once stood.
REMAINS OF THE TSAR
In July 1991, the crushed bodies of
After the bodies were exhumed in June 1991, they sat in laboratories
until 1998, while there was a debate as to whether they should be
Yekaterinburg or St. Petersburg. A commission eventually
chose St. Petersburg. The remains were transferred with full military
honor guard and accompanied by members of the Romanov family from
Yekaterinburg to St. Petersburg. In
Late summer of 2007, a Russian archaeologist announced a discovery by one of his workers. The excavation uncovered the following items in the two pits which formed a "T":
* remains of 46 human bone fragments; * bullet jackets from short barrel guns/pistols; * wooden boxes which had deteriorated into fragments: * pieces of ceramic which appear to be amphoras which were used as containers for acid; * iron nails; * iron angles; * seven fragments of teeth; * fragment of fabric of a garment.
The area where the remains were found was near the old Koptyaki Road, under what appeared to be double bonfire sites about 70 m from the mass grave in Pigs Meadow near Yekaterinburg. The general directions were described in Yurovsky's memoirs, owned by his son, although no one is sure who wrote the notes on the page. The archaeologists said the bones are from a boy who was roughly between the ages of ten and thirteen years at the time of his death and of a young woman who was roughly between the ages of eighteen and twenty-three years old. Anastasia was seventeen years and one month old at the time of the murder, while Maria was nineteen years and one month old. Alexei would have been fourteen in two weeks' time. Alexei's elder sisters Olga and Tatiana were twenty-two and twenty-one years old at the time of the murder respectively. The bones were found using metal detectors and metal rods as probes. Also, striped material was found that appeared to have been from a blue-and-white striped cloth; Alexei commonly wore a blue-and-white striped undershirt.
On April 30, 2008, Russian forensic scientists announced that DNA testing proves that the remains belong to the Tsarevich Alexei and his sister Anastasia. DNA information, made public in July 2008, that has been obtained from Yekaterinburg and repeatedly subject to independent testing by laboratories such as the University of Massachusetts Medical School, USA, and reveals that the final two missing Romanov remains are indeed authentic and that the entire Romanov family housed in the Ipatiev House, Yekaterinburg were executed in the early hours of 17 July 1918. In March 2009, results of the DNA testing were published, confirming that the two bodies discovered in 2007 were those of Tsarevich Alexei and Anastasia.
Research on mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) was conducted in the American AFDIL and in European GMI laboratories. In comparison with the previous analyses mtDNA in the area of Alexandra Fyodorovna, positions 16519C, 524.1A and 524.2C were added. The mtDNA of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh , a great-nephew of the last Tsarina, was used by forensic scientists to identify her body and those of her children. Some experts suggest analysis of other relatives in the female line, in particular of the Spanish Queen Sofía or her brother, the deposed King Constantine II of Greece .
KILLING OF OTHER ROMANOVS
On July 18, 1918, the day after the killing at Yekaterinburg of the tsar and his family, members of the extended Russian imperial family met a brutal death by being killed near Alapayevsk by Bolsheviks. They included: Grand Duke Sergei Mikhailovich of Russia , Prince Ioann Konstantinovich of Russia , Prince Konstantin Konstantinovich of Russia , Prince Igor Konstantinovich of Russia and Prince Vladimir Pavlovich Paley , Grand Duke Sergei's secretary Varvara Yakovleva, and Grand Duchess Elisabeth Fyodorovna , a granddaughter of Queen Victoria and elder sister of Tsarina Alexandra . Following the 1905 assassination of her husband, Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich , Elisabeth Fyodorovna had ceased living as a member of the Imperial family and took up life as a serving nun , but would nonetheless be arrested and slated for death with other Romanovs. They were thrown down a mine shaft into which explosives were then dropped, all being left to die there slowly.
The bodies were recovered from the mine by the
In January 1919 revolutionary authorities killed Grand Dukes Dmitry Konstantinovich , Nikolai Mikhailovich , Paul Alexandrovich and George Mikhailovich , who had been held in the prison of the Saint Peter and Paul Fortress in Petrograd.
DOWAGER EMPRESS MARIA FYODOROVNA
In 1919, Maria Fyodorovna, widow of Alexander III, and mother of Nicholas II, managed to escape Russia aboard HMS _Marlborough_ , which her nephew, King George V of the United Kingdom, had sent, at the urging of his own mother, Queen Alexandra, Maria's elder sister, to rescue her. After a stay in England with Queen Alexandra , she returned to her native Denmark, first living at Amalienborg Palace , with her nephew, King Christian X , and later, at Villa Hvidøre . Upon her death in 1928 her coffin was placed in the crypt of Roskilde Cathedral , the burial site of members of the Danish Royal Family.
In 2006, the coffin with her remains was moved to the Sts. Peter and
Paul Fortress, to be buried beside that of her husband. The transfer
of her remains was accompanied by an elaborate ceremony at Saint
Isaac\'s Cathedral officiated by the
Among the other exiles who managed to leave Russia, were Maria
Fyodorovna's two daughters, the Grand Duchesses Xenia Alexandrovna and
Olga Alexandrovna , with their husbands, Grand Duke Alexander
Nikolai Kulikovsky , respectively, and their
children. Xenia remained in England, following her mother's return to
Denmark, although after their mother's death Olga moved to Canada with
her husband, both sisters dying in 1960. Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna
, widow of Nicholas II's uncle, Grand Duke Vladimir , and her children
the Grand Dukes Kiril , Boris and Andrei , and their sister Elena ,
also managed to flee Russia. Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich , a cousin of
Nicholas II, had been exiled to the
ROMANOV FAMILY JEWELLERY
Main article: Regalia of the Russian tsars
The collection of jewels and jewellery collected by the Romanov
family during their reign are commonly referred to as the "Russian
Crown Jewels" and they include official state regalia as well as
personal pieces of jewellery worn by Romanov rulers and their family.
On August 28, 2009, a Swedish public news outlet reported that a
collection of over 60 jewel-covered cigarette cases and cufflinks
owned by the Romanov family, had been found in the archives of the
Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs , and was returned. The jewellery
was allegedly turned over to the Swedish embassy in
Main article: Arms of the
The Imperial Arms of the House of Romanov, with and without background shield, which were restricted in use to the Emperor and certain members of the Imperial Family.
Main article: Rulers of Russia family tree Family tree of the Romanov dynasty