Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna and her justified claim to the Imperial throne of Russia

H.I.H Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna with her mother Grand Duchess Vladimir in Madrid.

Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna  attended the same school that I did in Madrid: Runnymede College, where we prepared ourselves for our “O” and “A” Levels of Cambridge University. I have had the honour of knowing Her Imperial Highness since those days. I was invited to the baptism of her son and heir, Grand Duke George at their family home in Puerta de Hierro in Madrid. Their Majesties King Juan Carlos and Queen Sophia of Spain attended the celebration as the relationship between the Spanish Royal House and the Vladimirovichs has always been excellent.

On the death of her father, Grand Duke Vladimir Kyrillovich  in Miami on the 21 April 1992, she became the Head of the Imperial House of Russia though the Romanov Family Association do not recognize her as such, for reasons that in my opinion are mistaken and that will be discussed further on in my article. It is important to note, as gestures are sometimes more important than words, that the Grand Duke’s body was returned to Russia and was buried with full pomp and splendour in the Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg , the first Romanov to be honoured in this way since before the revolution.

To be able to understand the complicated laws of succession to the Imperial throne we must turn to the Pauline Laws. The Pauline Laws are the house laws of the House of Romanov and the name comes from the fact that they were initially established by Emperor Paul I in 1797.

Tsar Paul I abolished Peter the Great’s  law which allowed each reigning emperor or empress to designate his or her successor, substituting a strict order of succession by proclaiming that the eldest son of the monarch shall inherit the throne, and other dynasts according to primogeniture in the male-line. In so doing, Tsar Paul implemented a semi-Salic line of succession to the Russian throne: The throne could henceforth pass to a female and through the female (cognatic)  line of the dynasty, upon the extinction of all legitimately-born, male dynasts.

The Pauline laws established a very strict marriage policy. The ruling Tsar had to approve all marriages and only those to members of a Royal or Ruling family, were considered dynastic and acceptable. I suggest you read further details on this matter by clicking on the following link:

http://https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Pauline_Laws

After the forced abdication of Nicholas II on the 15th March 1917 in his name and that of his son, his brother Grand Duke Michael was proclaimed “Emperor Michael II,” to Russian troops and in cities throughout Russia but the new Emperor deferred to the will of the people and acknowledged the Provisional Government as the de facto executive, but neither abdicated nor refused to accept the throne. In his statement he said:

“Inspired, in common with the whole people, by the belief that the welfare of our country must be set above everything else, I have taken the firm decision to assume the supreme power only if and when our great people, having elected by universal suffrage a Constituent Assembly to determine the form of government and lay down the fundamental law of the new Russian State, invest me with such power.
Calling upon them the blessing of God, I therefore request all the citizens of the Russian Empire to submit to the Provisional Government, established and invested with full authority by the Duma, until such time as the Constituent Assembly, elected within the shortest possible time by universal, direct, equal and secret suffrage, shall manifest the will of the people by deciding upon the new form of government.”

His Majesty Tsar Nicholas II when he was Tsarevich

Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich, brother of Tsar Nicholas II and proclaimed Tsar Michael II

Tsar Kyril I

After the fall of the monarchy and the disappearance of  Tsar Nicholas II and his family in Ekateringburg, (I am yet to be convinced of the generally accepted official  version of the assassination and its important to not forget that the Russian Orthodox Church to this day  has not recognised the authenticity of the remains and declined to attend the reburial ceremony in 1998) Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaievich  was proclaimed as the emperor of all Russia by the Zemsky Sobor of the Priamursk Region (Provisional Priamurye Government) which controlled portions of the Russian Far East, convened in Vladivostok by General Mikhail Diterikhs, who appreciated his career as general and former commander-in-chief, and his position as the oldest member of the imperial dynasty. At the time, Grand Duke Nicholas was already living abroad and consequently was not present at the Sobor. Two months later the Priamursk region fell to the Bolsheviks thus his rule was nominal as he was living  in exile during the entirety of his reign that ended when he died in 1929 without issue. In any case, Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna who was living in exile  in Denmark, did not take seriously this proclamation as she believed until her death on the 13th October 1928 that Her son and grandchildren had not been murdered.

Her Imperial Majesty Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna in Denmark after the fall of the monarchy.

Despite, the Dowager Empress’ believes, camps started to be formed in the monarchist movement, where Paris was a focal location. Several monarchists grouped around Grand Duke Cyril Vladimirovich, who was first in the line of succession by male primogeniture after the alleged murder of Tsar Nicholas II, Tsareich Alexei and Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich. Many of Kyril’s opponents grouped around a young Grand Duke Dimitri Pavlovich, who was next in the line of succession if Cyril and his brothers, the Vladimirovichi, were ineligible (Paul Alexandrovich, who had been ahead of Dmitri, had been killed in 1919), but Dimitri himself refused these advances, supporting instead Grand Duke Kyril as emperor. In any case, neither Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaievich or Grand Duke Dimitri Pavlovich proclaimed there rights to the throne out of respect to the feelings of the Dowager Empress but Kyril

Grand Duke Kyril Vladimirovich who proclaimed himself Tsar Kyril I on the 31st August 1924.

Vladimirovich assumed on 8 August 1922 the position of curator of the throne and on 31 August 1924 he proclaimed himself Kyril I, Emperor of all the Russias. With the assumption of the Imperial title, his children were elevated to the title and styles of Grand Duke and Grand Duchesses of Russia according to the Statutes of the Imperial Family and the Laws of the Russian Empire. Grand Duke Kyril’s role as head of the House was recognised, and the oath of loyalty signed by every male dynast of the House of Romanov, except Grand Duke Nicholas, his brother Grand Duke Peter, and the latter’s son, Prince Roman Petrovich.  Tsar Kyril held his court-in-exile in France, erecting a secretariat for the monarchist movement until his death in 1938 when his only son, Grand Duke Vladimir Kyrillovich, succeeded him as “de jure”  Emperor though he chose to assume the title of “Grand Duke” rather than that of Emperor. Sadly for the family this succession would be surrounded by controversy and to understand the reason for the controversy we must go back to the Pauline Laws.

His Imperial Highness Vladimir Kyrillovich Romanov, Grand Duke of Russia

Controversy with the interpretation of the Pauline Laws

As mentioned previously, the Pauline Laws were very strict in regard to dynastic marriages and the laws provide for succession by both male and female dynasts and establishing male-preference primogeniture. This means that succession to the throne (or headship of the dynasty) passes by primogeniture to the senior male dynast. At the death of the last male dynast, the succession passes to the female dynast most closely related to the last emperor.

Grand Duke Vladimir married Princess Leonida Georgievna Bagration-Moukhransky on the 13th August 1948 in Lausanne. The Pauline Laws dictated that only those born of a dynastic marriage between a Romanov dynast and a member of a “royal or sovereign house”, were included in the Imperial line of succession; children of morganatic or unequal marriages were ineligible to inherit the throne or dynastic status. For the supporters of Grand Duke Vladimir he was the sole male dynast of the Imperial House to enter into an equal marriage after the 1917 revolution but his opponents refuted the equality of this marriage and they do so to this day.

Her Royal Highness Princess Leonida Bagration-Moukhransky who became Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Vladimir after her marriage.

The family to which Princess Leonida belonged, the Bagrationi dynasty, had been kings in Georgia from the medieval era until the early 19th century, but no male line ancestor of hers had reigned as a king in Georgia since 1505 and her branch of the Bagrations, the House of Moukhransky, had been naturalised among the non-ruling  nobility of Russia after Georgia was annexed to the Empire in 1801. Yet the royal status of the House of Bagration had been recognized by Russia in the 1783 Treaty of Georgievsk and was confirmed by Vladimir Kyrillovich on 5 December 1946 as head of the Russian imperial house.  Therefore this controversy fueled by some members of the family, has no legal standing specially in view that the Republic of Georgia later recognized the Bagrations as their royal family and invited the head of the family back to Georgia. This means that it is a fact that Grand Duke Vladimir Kyrillovich was the sole male dynast of the Imperial House to enter into an equal marriage after the revolution.

In any case, in 1946, in his capacity as Head of the Russian Imperial Family, Grand Duke Vladimir recognised the Moukhransky branch of the House of Bagration as a former Royal dynasty and he declared his marriage to Princess Leonida to be dynastic, notwithstanding her family’s status as Russian subjects at the end of the monarchy. From the time of their marriage in 1948 she assumed her husband’s rank, bearing the title Grand Duchess of Russia and the style Her Imperial Highness.

For further information on this please click on the following link:

Georgia considering restoring the monarchy

In 1969 Grand Duke Vladimir, expressing his opinion that the House of Romanov faced almost inevitable extinction in the dynastic male line,  proclaimed his daughter Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna the future curatrix of the throne, implying that she would ultimately succeed.

In 1989, when Prince Vasili Alexandrovich of Russia (who was also the President of the Romanov Family Association) died, Grand Duke Vladimir proclaimed his daughter as the dynasty’s heiress, as Prince Vasili was the last male Romanov other than himself whom, having been born of an equal marriage, was recognized as a dynast.

For nearly two centuries, from the accession of Emperor Paul I in 1796 to the death of Grand Duke Vladimir in 1992, male dynasts held the throne or headship of the dynasty, based on primogeniture. Due to the numerous non-dynastic marriages that occurred after the Revolution of 1917, the male dynasts of the Imperial House grew smaller in number as the years passed and finally died out in 1992 when Grand Duke Vladimir Kyrillovich died in 1992. With no existing male dynasts, Maria Vladimirovna assumed the position of Head of the House  as “de jure” Empress and proclaimed her son George Mikhailovich as  heir-apparent. Since that day she has worked tirelessly to promote the sentiment of monarchy in Russia with great success.

Her Imperial Highness Maria Vladimirovna Romanov, Grand Duchess of Russia

Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Maria Vladirmirovna on her dynastic coming of age on her 16th birthday.

The Grand Duchess was born in Madrid, where her parents resided since the end of the II World War. Her godfather was H.R.H Prince Nicholas of Romania and her  godmother,Queen Ioanna of Bulgaria. She was educated in Madrid and Paris, before studying Russian history and literature at Oxford University and is  fluent in Russian, English, French and Spanish, and also speaks some German, Italian and Arabic.

On 23 December 1969, upon reaching her dynastic majority, Grand Duchess Maria swore an oath of loyalty to her father, to Russia, and to uphold the Fundamental Laws of Russia which governed succession to the Imperial throne. At the same time, her father issued a controversial decree recognizing her as heiress and declaring that, in the event he predeceased other dynastic Romanov males, then the Grand Duchess would become the “Curatrix” “of the Imperial Throne until the death of the last male dynast. The heads of the other branches of the imperial family, declared that Grand Duke Vladimir’s actions were not legal but as it happened he outlived all the other male Romanov dynasts, and thus Grand Duchess Maria had no occasion to assume curatorship but directly became “de jure” Empress of Russia.

The Russian Legitimist Organization agrees with this. They have stated that as there are no male dynasts, the succession to the headship of the dynasty has passed legally to Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna because she is the surviving female dynast most closely related to the last emperor, Tsar Nicholas II (or Michael II) but the Romanov Family Association is not in agreement with this point of view or this interpretation of the Pauline Laws. In my opinion they are wrong.

On 22 September 1976, the Grand Duchess married His Royal and Imperial Highness Prince Franz Wilhelm of Prussia, her third cousin, once-removed. He is a great-grandson of Germany’s last emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm II and a great-great-great grandchild of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. Franz Wilhelm converted to the Orthodox faith prior to the wedding, taking the name Michael Pavlovich and receiving the title of a Grand Duke of Russia from Grand Duke Vladimir.

They separated in 1982, a year after the birth of their only child, George Mikhailovich, who had been granted the title Grand Duke of Russia at birth by his grandfather.

Grand Duchess Vladimir with her husband Grand Duke Vladimir and Grand Duke George Mikhailovich and his mother Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirevna.

The “de jure” Empress hopes for the restoration of the monarchy someday and is “ready to respond to a call from the people”. When questioned about the ongoing rift among Romanov descendants, the Empress said:

“Attempts to disparage my rights have originated with people who, firstly, do not belong to the Imperial Family, and, secondly, either do not themselves know the relevant laws or think that others do not know these laws. In either case, there is unscrupulousness at work. The only thing that causes me regret is that some of our relatives waste their time and energy on little intrigues instead of striving to be of some use to their country. I have never quarreled with anyone about these matters and I remain open to discussions and cooperation with all, including, of course, my relatives. But there can be no foundation for cooperation without respect for our dynastic laws, fulfilling these laws, and following our family traditions”

 

Despite the dispute between Grand Duchess Maria and the Romanov Family Association the reality is that she is acknowledged as Head of the Russian Imperial House by all the European Royal Houses.

Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna with Her Majesty Queen Elisabeth II at the Ivy in London

The “de jure” Empress of Russia, with her son Tsarevich George and His Majesty Tsar Simeon of Bulgaria and His Majesty King Michael of Romania.

On the 23rd of May 2010, Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Vladimir died in Madrid at the age of 96. She was the last member of the Russian Imperial Family to have been born before the revolution. Her body was flown to St. Petersburg to be buried alongside the body of her late husband, Grand Duke Vladimir Kyrillovich in the Peter and Paul Fortress.

The Romanov Family Association

In 1979, seven undisputed male and female dynasts founded the Romanov Family Association (RFA), which by the end of the same year had admitted more than half of the surviving undisputed dynasts into its membership, as well as a fair number of those male-line descendants that Grand Duke Vladimir did not recognize as dynasts because of morganatic birth. Grand Duke Vladimir Kyrillovich never joined the association and neither has Grand Duchess Maria.

The RFA, which included the last two surviving females recognised as dynasts among its membership, chose Prince Nicholas Romanov, as its president in 1989, following the death of Prince Vasili Alexandrovich of Russia, the only undisputed male dynast still living at that time other than  Grand Duke Vladimir Kyrilovich. The RFA’s official position, expressed in its founding charter, is that the Russian nation should determine which sort of government its people desire and, if the choice is monarchy, who should be monarch. Nonetheless, once  Grand Duke Vladimir was no longer alive, they recognised Prince Nicholas Romanov as the head of the Imperial House of Romanov while serving as third president of the RFA. Nicholas took ” His Highness Prince of Russia” as his his title  following the death of  Grand Duke Vladimir Kyrillovich.

After Nicholas’ death in 2014, his brother Prince Dimitri Romanov took up the claim. In July 2009 Dimitri had affirmed that his brother Nicholas, and not Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, was the Head of the Imperial Family, simultaneously declaring, however, that pursuant to a 1992 family meeting he attended in Paris, all of the then living senior male descendants of the House of Romanov agreed not to put forward any claim. Prince Dimitri died childless in 2016, extinguishing the asserted claims of the Romanovs of the Nikolaievich branch with the death of the last male of that line.

The RFA to this day continues its dispute with Grand Duchess Maria and her son. They refuse to acknowledge her as the “de jure” Empress. They do not even recognize her title of Grand Duchess and insist that when she married  Prince Franz Wilhelm, she became a Princess of Prussia! This idea is ludicrous as by the thinking of the RFA’s members then for example, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark would be only the Countess of Monpezat, the former Queen Beatriz of the Dutch would have been Mrs von Amsberg or Queen Elizabeth II, princess of Greece and Denmark!  Absurd to say the least!

The current members of the RFA who most of them are the morganatic descendants of the dynasty and who do not have any rights to the Imperial throne, have chosen to forget that Grand Duke Kyril Vladimirovich’s role as head of the Imperial House was recognized, and the oath of loyalty signed by EVERY male dynast of the House of Romanov, except Grand Duke Nicholas, his brother Grand Duke Peter, and the latter’s son, Prince Roman Petrovich. This means that as Head of the Imperial House, his and his successor’s decisions related to the Imperial House became law for all Romanov family members.  I believe that is would be more patriotic and useful for the cause of the monarchy that all the members of the Romanov family rally around Grand Duchess Maria and support her claim to the Imperial throne. Leaving aside her solid dynastic claim she is after all the most widely accepted candidate inside and outside of Russia.

The Line of Succession

The heir presumptive is His Imperial Highness George Mikhailovich, Grand Duke of Russia and born in 1981. The Grand Duke is currently unmarried. In the unlikely case that he does not have an heir, the succession would then follow semi- Salic law and the right to the Imperial Crown will presumably pass to Andreas, Prince of Leiningen, as the nearest male relation to the “de jure” Empress and her son that is not descended from Grand Duke Cyril Vladimirovich through morganatic marriage.

The heir apparent: George, Grand Duke of Russia

Absurdly, the eldest brother of Prince Andreas of Leiningen, Prince Karl Emich of Leiningen who now is known is currently calling himself Nikolai Kyrillovich, has converted from the Lutheran religion to the  Russian Orthodox faith and with the support of the Russian Monarchical Party of the Russian Federation ( the only monarchical political party in Russia) in 2013, he was proclaimed Tsar Nicholas III. The reality is that Prince Karl Emich, though the eldest brother of Prince Andreas, did not inherit the headship of the House of Leiningen because of his second morganatic marriage to Gabriele Thyssen. His third wife is Countess Isabelle von und zu Egloffstein and the marriage is also considered morganatic for both the Leiningen and Romanov houses, thus his claim to the Russian Imperial throne is not in accordance to the Pauline Laws!

https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Prince_Karl_Emich_of_Leiningen

Conclusions

  1. Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, has been prepared since her birth to become the Head of the Imperial family.
  2. She has worked tirelessly  to promote the restoration of the monarchy in Russia.
  3. She is recognised as Head of the Imperial Family by the Russian government.
  4. She has the support of most monarchist groups and followers, most societies of Russian nobles — including the Assembly of the Russian Nobility.
  5. In March 2013, her claim was recognised by the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Kyril I, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia and this has drawn further supporters among Russians to her cause and the possibility of the restoration of the monarchy. In an interview, the patriarch firmly rejected the claims of the other Romanov descendants and stated, “Today, none of those persons who are descendants of the Romanovs are pretenders to the Russian throne. But in the person of Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna and her son, George, the succession of the Romanovs is preserved — no longer to the Russian Imperial throne, but to history itself.”

The “de jure” Empress of Russia

The Russian Imperial Family

Though the restoration of the monarchy in Russia is discussed by the press with regularity and even politicians (including of the ruling party), have openly called for a restoration, it does not seem as it could happen in the short term. But the support of the restoration is growing. In  early 2017, a survey conducted by Izvestia found that of young Russians 37% supported the restoration of the monarchy. This is evidently a result of the Grand Duchess’ good work and her  rising appeal with the Russian people.

I admire Grand Duchess Maria’s dedication to promoting the sentiment of monarchy in Russia. There is no doubt that she is succeeding in her efforts and personally as a firm believer in monarchy and a staunch royalist, I wish her success. I have no doubt she will be an excellent constitutional leader.

 

http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/586470/Russia-royal-family-Vladimir-Putin-reinstate-Tsar-Nicholas-Second-Romanov

http://www.newsweek.com/putins-crimea-chief-calls-restoring-russian-monarchy-568361

http://http://www.russianlegitimist.org/news-blog/2017/1/28/2017-01-09-an-interview-with-the-head-of-the-russian-imperial-house-in-rossiia-nasledie

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/06/russia-revolution-tsarist-school-moscow-nicholas-ii

 

Links:

http://www.russianlegitimist.org/

http://www.imperialhouse.ru/en/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The truth about the Royal House of Anjou-Naples

Coat of Arms of the House of Anjou-Naples

The royal House of Anjou is a cadet branch of the Capetian Royal House of France. It is one of three separate royal houses referred to as Angevin, meaning “from Anjou” in France. Founded by Charles I of Naples, a son of Louis VIII of France,  the Capetian king first ruled the Kingdom of Sicily during the 13th century. Later the War of the Sicilian Vespers forced him out of the island of Sicily, leaving him with just the southern half of the Italian peninsula: the Kingdom of Naples. The house and its various branches would go on to influence much of the history of Southern and Central Europe during the Middle Ages.

History

Charles of Anjou was the posthumous  son of  king Louis VIII of France.  His brother Louis IX who succeeded to the French throne in 1226 gave him the titles of Count of Anjou and Maine. The feudal County of Anjou was a western vassal state of France which the Capetians had wrested from the English only a few decades earlier. He married the heiress of the County of Provence, Beatrice of Provence who was a  member of the House of Barcelona. After fighting in the Seventh Crusade, His Holiness Pope Clement IV, offered him the Kingdom of Sicily, which included not only the island of Sicily but also the southern half of the Italian peninsula.  The reason behind this offer was a conflict between the Papacy and the Holy Roman Empire which was ruled by the House of Hohenstaufen.

King Charles I of Sicily

It was at the Battle of Benevento that Charles gained the Kingdom of Sicily after he beat the Hohenstaufens and this  was cemented after victory at Tagliacozzo.  He signed the Treaty of Viterbo in 1267, an alliance with the exiled Baldwin II of Constantinople and William II of Achaea.

Taking advantage of the precarious situation of the remains of the Empire in the face of rising Greek power, he obtained confirmation of his possession of Corfu, the suzerain rights over Achaea, and sovereignty over most of the Aegean islands. Furthermore, the heirs of both the Latin princes were to marry children of Charles, and Charles was to have the reversion of the Empire and principality should the couples have no heirs. With few options to check the Byzantine tide, he was well placed to dictate terms.

The treaty  also gave him the possession of cities in the Balkans, the main one being Durazzo, Charles had fully solidified his rule over Durazzo by 1272, creating a small Kingdom of Albania for himself.

Charles’ wife Beatrice died on 23 September 1267, and he immediately sought a new marriage to Margaret, Countess of Tonnere, the daughter of Eudes of Burgundy.

Albania

Charles new kingdom extended from the region of Durrës (Durazzo, then known as Dyrrhachium) south along the coast to Butrint.  A major attempt to advance further in direction of Constantinople, failed at the Siege of Berat ( 1280-1281). A Byzantine counteroffensive soon ensued, which drove Charles out of the interior by 1281. The Sicilian Vespers further weakened his position, and the Kingdom was soon reduced by the Epirotes  to a small area around Durrës. The Angevins held out here, however, until 1368 when Stephen of Durazzo lost the city to Karl Thopia. In 1392, Karl Thopia’s son returned Durazzo and his domains to the Republic of Venice thus ending the rule of the House of Anjou in Albania.

Sicily  1266–1282

Charles administration of Sicily  was generally fair and honest but it was also stringent despite this unrest simmered in Sicily because its nobles had no share in the government of their own island and were not compensated by lucrative posts abroad, as were Charles’s French, Provençal and Neapolitan subjects; also Charles spent the heavy taxes he imposed on wars outside Sicily, making Sicily somewhat of a donor economy to Charles’ nascent empire.

The unrest was also fomented by Byzantine agents to thwart Charles’s projected invasion of Constantinople, and by King Peter III, who saw his wife Constance  as rightful heir to the Sicilian throne.  On the 3oth March, 1282 during the sunset prayer marking the beginning of the night vigil on Easter Monday at the Church of the Holy Spirit just outside Palermo, the uprising took place and was to be known as the Sicilian Vespers. Beginning on that night, thousands of Sicily’s French inhabitants were massacred within six weeks.  Peter III of Aragon supported the rebels and joined the war that was to last until 4th September 1282, when Peter was crowned as King Peter I of Sicily though he ruled only over the island as Charles kept the southern part of the Italian peninsula that was to be known as the Kingdom of Naples.

Charles planned an invasion of Sicily but his health was failing him and the plan thwarted. He died in Foggia on the 7th January 1285.

Kingdom of Naples

After the death of Charles I, his son Charles II succeeded him on the Neapolitan throne and he in turn was succeeded by his son Robert on the 5th May 1309. Robert, the Wise, as he was known died on the 20th January 1343 and was succeeded by his grand daughter Joanna I, until her murder in May 1382. She was succeeded on the throne by her second cousin and son of Louis of Durazzo, Charles III  who reigned until his death in 1836. The throne passed to his son, Ladislau, who reigned until his death on 6th August 1414.

Queen Joanna II of Naples

Queen Joanna II was born on 25 June 1373, as the daughter of Charles III of Naples and Margaret of Durazzo. In 1414, she succeeded her brother Ladislaus and at that date she was 41 years old and was already the widow of William, Duke of Austria.  She married twice, but had no children and had adopted Louis III of Anjou in 1431 but he died in 1434 and she offered his younger brother René to inherit her kingdom in his place.  In  1438  he set sail for Naples, which had been held for him by his wife, the Duchess Isabel.

By then, the poverty of the Angevin resources enabled Alfonso V of Aragon, who had been first adopted and then repudiated by Joanna II, to make some headway in the kingdom of Naples, especially as he was already in possession of the island of Sicily to lay siege to Naples in 1441, which he sacked after a six-month siege. René returned to France in the same year, and though he retained the title of king of Naples his effective rule was never recovered. Later efforts to recover his rights in Italy failed. Thus effectively in 1441 the House of Anjou-Naples  ceased to exist though Rene’s son,  John II, Duke of Lorraine and Calabria considered himself titular King of Naples as did his son Nicholas of Anjou (1448–1473) who died without heirs.

The revival of the defunct Royal House of Anjou-Naples by King Alfonso XIII of Spain

Basil d’Anjou-Durassow-Schiskow, who King Alfonso XIII of Spain proclaimed head of the defunct Neapolitan House of Anjou-Naples and recognized as Duke of Durazzo in 1911.

The story of the revival of the Royal House of Anjou-Naples is fascinating to say the least and it was the result of an act of revenge of the Spanish king against members of his family whose pretensions to the thrones of France and the Two-Sicilies, he considered were out of line.

To understand the full story we must go to the beginning of the family saga. The story starts with H.R.H Infante Don Enrique de Borbon, 1st Duke of Seville who was grandson and great-grandson of kings of Spain and brother in law to Queen Isabella II of Spain. His uncle, King Fernando VII of Spain had bestowed on him the title of Duke of Seville.

In 1833, his uncle the king died and the Court was divided between the supporters of the the new queen, Isabel II of their uncle, Infante Carlos Maria Isidro de Borbon , who founded what was to be known as the Carlist line. This dynastic affair paved the way to the Carlist wars in Spain. The maternal aunt of Don Enrique, queen Maria Cristina (she was sister of Don Enrique’s mother Infanta Luisa Carlota), widow of Fernando VII, was appointed regent for her young daughter.

The second marriage of the queen regent with Agustín Fernando Muñoz and Sánchez in 1833 caused disagreements between her and her sister, the infanta Luisa Carlota, a fact that ended up by banishing Luisa Carlota and her family to Paris, where the aunt of both, Queen Maria Amalia, wife of Luis Felipe I of France.

Enrique and his brothers were educated in the French capital, and at the Lyceum Henri IV, he met his cousin, Antonio de Orleans. Already at that time there arose an intense rivalry between the two that would end, as will be seen, tragically years later. Don Enrique spent a season in Belgium, where his aunt, the wife of Leopoldo I of the Belgians, reigned. There they learned in 1840 that Queen Isabel II’s government had sent her mother the Queen Regent and her husband to exile.

Finally Don Enrique could return to Spain, and soon began his military career in Ferrol, where he was praised for his excellent conduct. In 1843 he was promoted to lieutenant of a frigate and was commander of the brig Manzanares. In 1845 he was already frigate captain, but that year would mark him for reasons beyond the naval militia.

At that time the possibility was discussed of marrying Don Enrique to the queen. Nevertheless, she ended up marrying his homosexual and effeminate brother, Infante Francisco de Asis, Duke of Cadiz. The queen’s younger sister, Luisa Fernanda married Antonio of Orleans, Duke of Montpensier.

Offended by what he considered a grievance, and accused of having participated in a revolt against the monarchy in Galicia, the Infante was expelled from Spain in March 1846, shortly before the wedding of his brother and the queen, nuptials to which he did not attend. Don Enrique took refuge in Belgium, where his sister Isabel Fernandina was. At that time his name was shuffled as a possible candidate for the throne of Mexico, a matter in which don Enrique did not seem to be too interested.

 

Don Enrique de Borbon, Infante of Spain and 1st Duke of Seville

Shortly afterwards, in order to negotiate the Mexican affair, the Infante was able to return to Spain, where he met Elena María de Castellví and Shelly (Valencia, October 16, 1821 – Madrid, December 29, 1863), daughter of Antonio de Padua de Castellví and Fernandez de Cordoba, XII Count of Villanueva, X Count of Castellá and VIII Count of Carlet, and Margarita Shelly of MacCarthy, sister of Edmundo Shelly and MacCarthy, Colonel of Infantry and Secretary of King Ferdinand VII . Soon an idyll arose between them, but the queen’s opposition was assured. The marriage, celebrated secretly in Rome, Pontifical States, 6 of May of 1847, did not enjoy in principle of the approval of Queen Isabel II. Once they returned to Spain the couple was expelled to Bayonne, and later settled in Toulouse.

From France, Don Enrique proclaimed himself several times revolutionary, and even asked to join the First International. Immediately he was stripped of his titles, and ceased to be considered an Infante of Spain. Meanwhile, his children were born without rank or title, and in 1849 he asked for the Queen’s pardon so that he could return to Spain. The family settled down in Valladolid in 1851, but soon they were forced to return to France. Later, in 1854 they were able to return to Spain, and they moved to Valencia, where their fourth child was born and where the second died, Luis. Don Enrique recovered his ducal title, but not that of Infante of Spain.

The Duke of Seville returned to manifest his leftist ideas, and was again expelled to France. He was able to return in 1860, and ascended to the rank of general captain of the navy, and three years later was promoted to lieutenant-general. That year of 1863 his wife died giving birth to his fifth daughter, and was buried in the madrileño convent of Descalzas Reales, and not in San Lorenzo de El Escorial as she was not an  Infanta of Spain.

Between November of 1864 and January of 1865, he was exiled to Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands, where contravening the orders of the authorities of Madrid was received with honours by the local authorities in their different visits to localities of the island as a member of the royal household. The 29th of January of 1865 he returned to the peninsula.

Don Enrique tried, in vain, to remarry a European princess, and soon began to attack the government of his sister-in-law and cousin, Queen Isabel II. His actions led to the deprivation of his titles and honours, and was again exiled in 1867.

Forgetting their close kinship with Isabel II, Don Antonio de Orleans supported
with his great fortune the overthrow of the queen by the ultra liberal elements
of the army.  After the success of the revolution of 1868, the Queen and Don Enrique met in Paris where they were in exile. The dispossessed Duke of Seville tried to persuade his cousin to  abdicate in favour of her son, Prince Alfonso as a compromise solution to preserve the throne for the Bourbon dynasty. At that time the Queen refused and after several letters of supplication to the revolutionary government, he was able to return to Spain. Back in Madrid, he soon tried to be considered for the vacant throne, for which his greatest rival was his childhood enemy, Don Antonio de Orleans, Duke of Montpensier, married to the exiled queen’s sister, Infanta Luisa Fernanda.

However, the revolutionaries had already pronounced that the Bourbons would never again reign in Spain as they were accused of all the national ills. The revolutionary government had decided to invite to the Spanish throne a foreign dynasty. The Duke of Seville’s dream to lead a progressive monarchy had collapsed so Don Enrique’s main worry was the education of the future king, Prince Alfonso and his immediate situation. He tried in vain to persuade the Queen to educate the Prince of Asturias in England in liberal and parliamentary principles, far away from the European conservative courts.

In 1869, he published a violently anti Montpensier pamphlet, in which he describes his opponent in his true colours. In a letter of March of 1870, Don Enrique openly insulted the one who had been his enemy since childhood.
As was custom in those days, Montpensier reacted by challenging the Duke of Seville to a gun duel that took place on the 12th of  March in the Dehesa de los Carabancheles. Don Enrique returned to Spain ready to confront the odious prince of Orléans, who had contributed so much to the overthrow of the Bourbon monarchy and with whom he had old personal accounts that dragged from as far as the times of the lycee in Paris! The Duke of Seville was killed that day.

Montpensier was sentenced to one month in exile and the payment to the family of Don Enrique of 30,000 pesetas, which the Duke’s sons refused to accept. He was buried in the cemetery of San Isidro de Madrid, since El Escorial, which would have corresponded for an Infante of Spain, was forbidden, after a massive masonic funeral.  His children were left , in the exile of Paris, orphans  and without resources, in the care of their uncle, the effeminate king consort, Don Francisco de Asis.

A distant uncle of the Bourbon-Seville, the last Duke of Parma, Robert of Bourbon, therefore, brother of Dona Margarita de Borbón-Parma (the queen of the Carlists), who took pity on the unfortunate fate of Don Enrique’s children, invited them to live with him in Nice. Through the beneficent influence of this prince,  Don Carlos VII  (king of Spain for the Carlists)  showed interest in their fate and he invited them to join his army as cousins and princes of the House of Bourbon.

On the 16th of July of 1873, Don Carlos (VII)  entered Spain  followed by his army and accompanied by  the young Don Enrique de Borbon y Castellvi  and his brothers  Don Alberto and Don Francisco de Paula. The fact is that they fought in the fronts of Catalonia, Valencia and Aragon. All three brothers served in the Carlist army against the foreign king Amadeo of Savoy that had been invited by General Prim to be king of the revolution and after his overthrow, the First Republic. They received decorations for their bravery.

After the restoration of the monarchy with Alfonso de Borbon on the throne as King Alfonso XII, they asked Don Carlos (VII) to release them from their oath of allegiance to his person  as they did not want to fight against their cousin, the new king and they returned to France. From there, they enrolled to serve King Alfonso XII on the island of Cuba, in the war against the independence insurgents.

Don Enrique,  by then the II Duke of Seville, accepted the presidency of the Heraldic Council of France and walked his noble figure at the European Courts where he was always received as  the prince of Bourbon he was. In 1870, he married Josefina de Paradé and Sibie, who gave him three daughters. After the premature death of  King Alfonso XII,  he was the victim of a cruel political persecution by the Queen Regent, Maria Cristina of Habsburg, who did not forgive him for criticizing her. He died in 1894 on the high seas, when he returned from the Philippine Islands, where he had held the position of Governor of Tabayas.

In 1889,  Don Enrique signed a document by which he reserved his rights to the succession of the crowns of Spain and Two-Sicilies, which constitute in itself a whole manifest against the injustice of their situation. It read:

“I, Enrique Pio de Borbón, II Duke of Seville, head of the branch founded by the Infante de España, Don Enrique Maria Fernando de Borbón, Duke of Seville, my father; I solemnly declare before God and of men, to reserve in the most formal and absolute way all eventual rights to the crowns of Spain and of the Two-Sicilies. That I, my descendants, my brothers, their descendants and my sister, we have both from the point of view of the pragmatics of male succession as from the female. I declare to keep them forever, full and complete, for whatever may happen. In faith I sign it: Enrique Pío de Borbón, II Duke of Seville.
Maisons-Laffite, France, on April 24, 1889.

This very significant document shows, again, despite all the disagreements with the Royal Family, that the children of the  Infante  Don Enrique were aware of their rights and duties as Members of the House of Bourbon. So much, so that at the death of the II Duke, in 1894, his brother Don Francisco remained as head of his family and as such he proclaimed  himself Duke of Anjou, that is: Head of the entire Capetian House.

The gesture, so typical of an impulsive man provoked severe reproaches of very different sectors. Many historians  consider it childish or anecdotal. It is not in any way. Don Francisco de Borbon y Castelvi, knew well  the laws of
primogeniture that govern the succession of the throne of France, and he was aware that his rights  came solely  from  the indolent attitude of Carlos (VII) of Bourbon, the head of the Carlist branch whom he had served, in regard to the Headship of the Capetian House.


Don Francisco of Borbon and Castellvi

Nor was he unaware that after the hypothetical waiver of Don Carlos (VII) to his French rights, the Headship of the Capetian House would pass to King Alfonso’s branch but he also knew that such proclamation would be unthinkable for supporters of the monarchy in France who would have never accepted  the possibility that one day the the crown of France would be worn by the Spanish king.  Many French legitimists, fed up that Don Carlos’s attention was focused always in Spanish affairs and that he postponed his decisions regarding his rights to the French throne, contacted Don Francisco as the only way forward for their cause, before what they considered the spurious pretensions of the Orleans that proclaimed they were  the true successors of the Count of Chambord  (Henri V).  Don Francisco hesitated between what he judged his duty to his family and the chivalrous loyalty to who was his first military Chief.
In the end,  what prevailed was his duty to the dynasty as did the memory of his unfortunate father and he made the firm decision to stop the Count of Paris’ pretensions to the French throne by suing him in  the Civil courts for the misuse of the full arms of France. The republican judges estimated the lawsuit  as irrelevant since the monarchy had been abolished and sentenced him to pay the costs. In Spain, as a result of these facts, he was condemned to two months of arrest in the castle of Santoña and his initiative greatly displeased Don Alfonso
XIII, which did not prevent Don Francisco, in a characteristic feature of his bountiful character, to return to manifest his pretensions to both the French and Two-Sicilies thrones again in 1904.
His Majesty King Alfonso XIII of Spain.
The matter collided to such an extent that King Alfonso XIII ,unwilling to admit the postulates of his cousin took an unprecedented decision.  In 1911 by a Royal Decree, he recognized Basilio of Anjou-Durassow-Schiskow, an untitled Russian aristocrat , academic of the Russian Archeological Society, polo player and friend, as Head of the defunct Royal House of Anjou of Naples and Duke of Durazzo. By this Royal Decree, the Spanish king, made good a genealogy that made Basil d’Anjou-Durassow descend directly from Robert de Valois, Prince of Morea and the Angevin kings of Naples.  This was followed by the recognition by Tsar Nicholas II of Russia in 1916, who accepted Prince Basil as Head of the revived Royal House.
Prince Basil d’Anjou was born in 1887. He married in Rome on the 15th of April 1947, Princess Olga Beatrice Dolgorouky. The Princess who was fourty years younger than her husband,  was a beautiful, seductive and free spirited young woman, that had eloped and married in 1945 Victor Brimayer when still a minor and without the consent of her parents. From this marriage she had a son, Alexis who was born  on the 4th May 1946 in Costermansville (now present day Bukavu, Republic of Congo). Less than a year later and after Alexis’ birth, the illegal union was annulled. The  royal marriage of convenience did not last very long  but it served its purpose as Prince Basil who was allegedly an homosexual and had no heirs, acknowledged Alexis as his flesh and blood and Alexis d’Anjou-Durassow was brought up as heir to the Royal House of Anjou-Naples.
H.R.H Princess Olga Beatrice Dolgorouky in 1947.
On the 4th of May 1966, his twentieth birthday, Prince Basil of d’Anjou-Durassow abdicated his rights as Head of the House of Anjou-Naples and Prince Alexis became Duke of Durazzo and Head of the Royal House. Prince Basil d’Anjou-Durassow, who had been in contact with Alexis throughout his life  died in 1971.
Prince Alexis life was surrounded by controversy. I suggest my readers to read  my article, “The Truth about Prince Alexis d’Anjou-Durassow”. He died in 1995 in mysterious circumstances and many think, he had been poisoned in hospital as had his grandfather, Nicholas Dolgorouky, the ephemeral Volodar (King) of the Ukraine.
In his will, he appointed Emilio Lobera, Baron de Lobera as regent of the Royal House of Anjou-Naples. The Baron plans to offer the Headship of the Royal House to Prince Carlo of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, Duke of Castro and head of the House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies.
Prince Alexis d’Anjou-Durassow, Duke of Durazzo in Madrid 1985
H.R.H Prince Alexis d’Anjou-Durassow, Duke of Durazzo with his mother H.R.H Princess Olga Beatrice Dolgorouky in Madrid (Spain)



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La verdad sobre el Príncipe Alexis d’Anjou-Durassow

 

 

S.A.R El Principe Alexis d’Anjou-Durassow, Duque de Durazzo

En este mes de marzo que conmemoramos el Centenario de la Abdicación del Zar  Nicolás II al Trono de Rusia,  no puedo dejar de pensar en una persona que, según creo, habría tenido un papel importante en todas las controversias que se siguen produciendo respecto al verdadero destino de la última Familia Imperial de Rusia.

Ahora, permítanme explicar quién fue este personaje singular, que frecuentaba los círculos aristocráticos de Madrid durante los años ochenta y principios de los noventa, y cuya fascinante afirmación fue tomada muy en serio por muchos de; especialmente por aquellos con contactos a algunas de las casas reales europeas que vivían o venían con frecuencia a España.

Era carismático, educado y encantador, y solía presentarse como príncipe Alexis D’Anjou-Durassow, duque de Durazzo. Según sus narraciones, era descendiente directo del zar Nicolás II, ya que su abuela fue la Gran Duquesa María Nicolaievna Romanov, tercera hija del último zar, y por ende él era el Jefe de la Familia Imperial. Esta afirmación le trajo muchos problemas con sus familiares.

Conocí a Alexis en 1979 después de que mi querido amigo el príncipe Sergei Nazarewicz, cuya familia era originaria de Ucrania, recibió un manifiesto en el que él, Alexis, se proclamó Volodar (Rey) de Ucrania.

Fascinado por la historia, y especialmente por la revolución rusa y sus secuelas, me dispuse a conocer al príncipe Alexis. Me preguntaba si efectivamente estaba relacionado con la familia imperial rusa, y especialmente cómo su abuela María Nicolaievna había podido escapar de Rusia. Para entonces ya había leído el libro “The File on the Tsar”, no sólo en su versión inglesa, sino también en la versión en español “El expediente sobre el Zar”, publicada en 1978. Los periodistas británicos Anthony Summers y Tom Mangold sugirieron -después de una larga y profesional investigación que duró seis años-, que era posible que la Zarina Alexandra y sus hijos pudieran haber escapado, y por lo tanto, no murieron en julio de 1918.

Yo siempre había creído y todavía lo hago hasta el día de hoy, que Anna Anderson / Anastasia Manahan era la verdadera Gran Duquesa Anastasia de Rusia. Cualesquiera que sean las conclusiones de las pruebas de ADN ya que estas pruebas pueden ser fabricadas. De hecho, los resultados del ADN de 1994 han sido desafiados desde entonces por muchos científicos de todo el mundo. Según uno de sus biógrafos, Peter Kurth, autor de “Anastasia, el Enigma de Anna Anderson”, “Las pruebas de ADN que se hicieron en 1994 ya no son aceptadas como fiables. Pero aparte de eso, yo la conocía demasiado bien como para aceptar en la fe pruebas arbitrarias (y en realidad dudosas) que contradicen cualquier otro pedazo de evidencia que tengamos. Cualquiera que la conoció (que realmente la conoció, quiero decir) sabe que ella no estaba “fingiendo” nada. Además, aunque se volvió cada vez más “excéntrica” ​​y al final sufría de demencia (era la enfermedad de Alzheimer? Nunca se diagnosticó oficialmente), nunca hubo una sola grieta en su personalidad”.

Http://www.forensicmag.com/news/2015/02/dna-evidence-can-be-faked

Nuestra primera reunión fue en su casa. Alexis vivía en un pequeño pero elegante apartamento en el madrileño barrio de Salamanca, lleno de retratos familiares y recuerdos rusos. Siguieron muchas otras reuniones. Algunas fueron cenas en casas de amigos, otras tuvieron lugar en mi casa. Recuerdo especialmente invitarlo a él ya su madre, la princesa Olga Beatriz Dolgorouky a varias de las fiestas y eventos ecuestres que organicé en esos días. Cuando nos presentaron, él era conocido como Su Alteza Real el Príncipe Alexis d’Anjou-Durassow y Dolgouruky.  Se había proclamado Volodar (Rey) de Ucrania con el apoyo de miembros de la Iglesia Ortodoxa de Ucrania antes del colapso de la Unión Soviética. Tanto él como su sofisticada madre, la princesa Olga Beatriz eran personas fascinantes y se mezclaban perfectamente en la vida de la alta sociedad de aquellos años interesantes en Europa. Ambos dominaban varios idiomas, incluido el ruso, pero el francés era su forma preferida de comunicación.

El príncipe Alexis tenía una gran presencia y era anormalmente formal salvo cuando se sentía lo suficientemente cómodo para hablar libremente. Él era particularmente conocedor de los entresijos de todas las familias reales de Europa. Se refería a los miembros de estas familias por sus apodos y hablaba de ellos con gran familiaridad. En los días posteriores a su autoproclamación como Volodar de Ucrania en el exilio,  logró dividir a la sociedad madrileña en dos, con una mitad apoyando sus afirmaciones y la otra proclamándolo un fraude.

Yo nunca creí que fuera un impostor, ni siquiera después de la publicación de la edición española de su libro en España en 1982, “Yo, Alexis bisnieto del Zar”, en la que afirmaba ser un Romanov. En el libro que se convirtió en un éxito editorial, Alexis afirmó que su abuela María le había revelado que ella  en realidad no era la condesa Cecilia di Fonso, sino Su Alteza Imperial la Gran Duquesa María Nicolaievna Romanov, hija del zar Nicolás II.

PRIMEROS AÑOS

Alexis nació el 4 de mayo de 1946 en Costermansville (hoy día  Bukavu, República del Congo). Siempre ha habido mucha desinformación acerca de su verdadera fecha de nacimiento. Él mismo afirmó en su libro que nació el 6 de mayo de 1948, aunque la verdad es que nació el mismo día, pero en 1946. Toda su vida, Alexis trató de ocultar el hecho de que Víctor Brimeyer era su verdadero padre. Esta negación salió de la vergüenza porque su madre era apenas una adolescente cuando se escapó con Brimeyer, un ingeniero de Luxemburgo; un plebeyo sin sangre real ni antecedentes aristocráticos. Incluso persuadió a su madre de firmar una declaración jurada y notariada en Bélgica el 7 de febrero de 1986, afirmando que aunque ella estaba casada con Víctor Brimeyer en el momento de su nacimiento, el verdadero padre era el príncipe Basilio d’Anjou. Esto era descaradamente falso. Aunque nunca tuvieron contacto, Víctor Brimeyer acosó la vida del príncipe Alexis.

S.A.R El Principe Basilio d’Anjou-Durassow, Duque de Durazzo y Jefe de la Casa Real de Anjou-Napoles. Fue el segundo marido de la Princesa Olga Beatrice Dogorouky y reconocio legalmente a Alexis como su hijo.

La Princesa Olga Beatrice Dolgorouky en la epoca de su matrimonio con el Principe Basilio d’Anjou-Durassow en 1947

La realidad detrás del nacimiento de Alexis es la que la Princesa Olga Beatriz, que era una joven hermosa, seductora y libre de espíritu, se había fugado y se había casado con Victor Brimeyer cuando aún era menor de edad y sin el consentimiento de sus padres en 1945. Menos de un año después y después del nacimiento de Alexis, la unión fue legalmente anulada. Después de este escandaloso romance, la princesa se casó con el príncipe Basilio d’Anjou, nacido en 1887 y cuarenta años mayor. Se casaron en Roma el 15 de abril de 1947 por el arzobispo de Minsk, Rizi-Rizki, que entonces vivía en el exilio en Italia. Este matrimonio de conveniencia no duró mucho tiempo tampoco, pero sirvió a su propósito ya que Basilio d’Anjou reconoció a Alexis como su carne y sangre.

Alexis fue criado como heredero de la Casa Real de Anjou-Napoles, una casa real desaparecida restablecida por un real decreto del rey Alfonso XIII de España en 1911 y ratificada en 1916 por el zar Nicolás II y el rey Víctor Emmanuel III de Italia . Este decreto reconoció a Basilio d’Anjou-Durassow como el Jefe de la casa real reavivada.

La Condesa di Fonso ( Su Alteza Imperial la Gran Duquesa Maria Nicolaevna Romanov) con su nieto Alexis en Cannes 1960

Por el lado de su madre, era un Dolgorouky. Su bisabuelo fue el general Alexander Dolgorouky, comandante en jefe del ejército ucraniano con el apoyo de las tropas imperiales alemanas en 1918. De hecho, fue él quien hizo los arreglos para que la Gran Duquesa María Nicolaievna fuera evacuada de Moscú en octubre de 1918.  Fue escoltada por oficiales ucranianos durante un viaje en tren a Kiev, usando documentos falsos bajo el nombre de una condesa Ceclava Czapska. María Nicolaievna llegó sana y salva a Ucrania y fue recibida en la casa del general Alexander Dolgorouky, donde fue presentada a su hijo Nicolás Alexandrovich y a su hija María Alexandrovna. Pocos días después se fueron a Bucarest, acompañados también por el marido de María Alexandrovna Dolgoroukya, un príncipe rumano llamado Wladimir Cantacuzene,  pocos días antes de que Ataman Simon Petlioura invadiera Kiev el 2 de enero de 1919 y obligara al general Alexander Dolgorouky al exilio en Odessa, donde fue asesinado más tarde.

El romance floreció entre el príncipe Nicolás Alexandrovich y la Gran Duquesa María Nicolaievna. Mientras vivían Bucarest, bajo la protección de la Reina María de Rumania, la pareja decidió casarse y continuar su viaje juntos. Los parientes estuvieron de acuerdo  y se casaron en la capilla del Palacio Real de Cotroceni, cerca de Bucarest, el 20 de enero de 1919 en presencia del rey Fernando y de la reina María de Rumania. Días después viajaron a Serbia, bajo la protección del rey. En 1920 recibieron pasaportes italianos, enviados desde Roma a través de una valija diplomática. Esos pasaportes proporcionaron las identidades falsas que usarían hasta el final de sus vidas. Los documentos los presentaban como Conde Nicolás y Condesa Cecilia Di Fonso, y con esas identidades viajaron por todo el mundo, tuvieron dos hijas: Olga Beatriz y Julia Yolanda,  y pudieron comprar propiedades y llevar una vida “normal”.

Los Principes Nicholas Dolgorouky, abuelos del Principe Alexis

Conocidos como los Condes di Fonso, el Volodar de Ucrania en el exilio, Nicholas Dolgorouky junto a su esposa, la Princesa Maria y sus hijas Olga Beatrice y Julia Yolande

El 14 de marzo de 1939, con el apoyo de la Alemania nazi, el Príncipe Nicolás Dolgorouky, fue proclamado Rey (Volodar) de Ucrania-Ruthenia; pero la aventura duró menos de una semana. Siendo un anti-soviético rabioso, él había abrazado a la Alemania nazi, -como muchos rusos en aquellos días-, como la última esperanza para erradicar a los rojos de su querida patria. Después de este intento fallido, la familia escapó a Rumania y finalmente se estableció en el Congo Belga. Fue en este contexto que Alexis nació en 1946.

El príncipe Nicolás se dio cuenta de que su hija mayor, Olga Beatriz, carecía de instintos maternales y sabiamente decidió hacerse cargo de la crianza del joven príncipe que fue mimado desde el nacimiento por sus amorosos abuelos. Él fue bautizado con el mismo nombre del  último Zarévich  de Rusia, y su padrino era el rey Carol II de Rumania. Según sus memorias, la infancia y la adolescencia de Alexis fueron felices y pasadas en la casa de familia, Villa Ucrania en el actual Bukavu.  Puesto que fue criado prácticamente por sus abuelos, era ampliamente conocido como el príncipe Alexis Dolgorouky. Creció muy cerca de sus abuelos que lo criaron con estricto protocolo y le proporcionaron la mejor educación. Alexis hablaba con fluidez francés, italiano, ruso, ucraniano, inglés y español.

Poco después de la anulación del matrimonio de su madre con el príncipe Basilio d’Anjou,  ella se casó con su primo, el príncipe Igor Dolgorouky el 6 de septiembre de 1948 en la Iglesia Ortodoxa Griega en Albertville, Congo Belga. Este matrimonio fue también de corta duración, así como el que siguió con Ferdinand Fabry en Londres el 7 de septiembre de 1950. Antes de su cumpleaños número veinticuatro, la princesa Olga Beatriz había estado casada cuatro veces.

EL Principe Nicholas Dolgorouky junto a su esposa, la Grand Duquesa Maria y su cuñanda la Gran Duquesa Olga (Marga Boodts) en el Hotel Eden Roc 1958

Durante esos años, la familia viajó extensivamente a Italia, Portugal y la Riviera francesa. También hizo viajes frecuentes al Egipto del rey Farouk. La familia real egipcia estaba muy familiarizada con la situación de los Romanov y siempre mantuvo contacto y prestó apoyo a sus miembros en el exilio. En público y entre las familias reales eran conocidos como “la familia Di Fonso”. Después de 1960, una vez que la familia regresó a Europa, el príncipe Alexis fue enviado a un internado en Francia para continuar su educación. Pasó los siguientes diez años rodeado de confort y lujo; vacacionando en los mejores centros turísticos de Europa; pero lamentablemente durante ese período de su vida no tuvo una estrecha relación con su madre.

La Princesa Maria Dolgorouky ( Grand Duquesa Maria Nicolaevna Romanov)

El 4 de mayo de 1966, durante  su vigésimo cumpleaños, el príncipe Basilio de d’Anjou abdicó de sus derechos como jefe de la Casa de Anjou-Napoles y el príncipe Alexis se convirtió en Duque de Durassow y Jefe de la Casa Real. Ese mismo día conoció al príncipe Federico de Sajonia-Altemburgo, que era un fiel partidario de la Gran Duquesa Anastasia Nicolaievna (Anna Anderson);  pero también de la Gran Duquesa Olga Nicolaievna que vivía en Mennagio (Italia) bajo el nombre de Marga Boodts. El día de ese primer encuentro fue cuando María Nicolaievna la reveló su verdadera identidad, y luego de esa reunión empezaron a introducirlo a otros miembros de la familia. El conoció al príncipe Felix Yussupov, a su esposa Irina, así como al príncipe Vladimir (Vova) Vladimirovich, el hijo del Gran Duque Andrés Vladimirovich  Romanov y su esposa la bailarina Mathilde Kschessinskaa.

Ulima foto del Volodar Nicholas junto a su esposa, la Gran Duquesa Maria Nicolaevna Romanov antes de su fallecimiento repentino el 19 de enero de 1970

Repentinamente, a principios de 1970, ese mundo de confort sufrió un duro revés. Durante los últimos meses de 1969, el príncipe Nicolás Dolgorouky había estado asistiendo a unas reuniones “muy secretas” para discutir el “affaire Anastasia”. Tanto María Nicolaievna como  su marido fueron muy cautelosos al respecto,  al punto de que no discutir ninguna cosa, ni siquiera con sus hijas. El 19 de enero de 1970, Nicolás Dolgorouky, el efímero último Volodar de Ucrania murió en Bruselas. Fue después de una de esas “reuniones secretas” y mientras conducía hacia su casa, que empezó a sentirse mal. Se detuvo en la casa de su hija Olga Beatriz, quien lo llevó al hospital. Después de varios días de hospitalización y en estado semi-inconsciente murió, sin poder revelar dónde había tenido lugar la reunión o quiénes habían asistido a esa última sesión fatal. Todos los síntomas demostraron que había sido envenenado. La familia lloró y sintió un tremendo miedo. A partir de ese día, se sentían en peligro en todas partes. En vista de las circunstancias, al mes siguiente María decidió hacer un testamento civil y otro dinástico. Poco después le diagnosticaron cáncer. Estaba devastada y decidió trasladarse a Roma para estar cerca de su hermana, la Gran Duquesa Olga Nicolaievna, y esperar el día en que sería llamada por el Señor. En su testamento dinástico en manuscrito y notariado, Alexis fue declarado su heredero universal con los apellidos Romanov-Dolgorouky, pero ella pidió que ese testamento dinástico fuera revelado  únicamente  hasta diez años después de su muerte.

La Gran Duquesa María murió en Roma el 1 de diciembre de 1970 y fue enterrada en el cementerio de Flaminio en esa ciudad. El príncipe Basilio d’Anjou-Durassow, que había estado en contacto con Alexis durante toda su vida, también murió en 1971. Desde ese día, Alexis estaba ahora solo y pronto cometió el primero de muchos errores tácticos.

Tumba de la Grand Duquesa Maria Nicolaievna ( Princesa Dolgorouky) en Roma

Carta de SM el rey Miguel I de Rumania al Principe Nicholas Dolgorouky. Esta carta fue escrita dos dias despues del fallecimiento del Principe Nicholas. (Coleccion Marie Stravlo-copyright)

LA DESVENTURA GRIEGA

Después de la muerte de su abuela María Nicolaievna, Alexis se sintió prácticamente perdido. El príncipe Federico de Sajonia-Altemburgo trató de presentarlo a algunos de sus amigos para que recibiera apoyo económico y de empresa. Uno de los mayores problemas fue su situación económica que fue realmente precaria. Varios miembros de las casas reales de Europa proporcionaron para cubrir sus gastos. Él sabía que él tenía que respetar el “período de diez años” antes de ir al público como un descendiente de la dinastía Romanov. Hizo entonces una serie de errores que demostraron tener repercusiones muy negativas para la imagen de Alexis.

El primero fue cuando aceptó la invitación del fascista General Stylianos Pattakos para viajar a Atenas el 28 de enero de 1971. El trasfondo histórico en este caso es muy importante para entender la situación en la que Alexis se vio enredado. El 21 de abril de 1967, el coronel Giorgios Papandreu encabezó el golpe de Estado militar que aprovechó la volátil situación política que había surgido de un conflicto entre el rey Constantino II y el envejecido primer ministro Georgios Papandreu. Desde el principio, la relación entre el rey Constantino y el régimen del coronel era incómoda. El rey de los helenos decidió finalmente lanzar su contragolpe el 13 de diciembre de 1967 pero fracasó y al día siguiente salió de Grecia con la reina y sus hijos para no volver jamás como rey.

A principios de diciembre de 1970, había dos facciones dentro de los gobernantes militares de la Junta griega que gobernó Grecia con un puño de hierro. Uno quería la proclamación inmediata de una república, mientras que el otro, del cual el general Pattakos era su líder, buscaba la restauración de la monarquía con una nueva dinastía. El 21 de febrero de 1971, el general Pattakos hizo arreglos para que el príncipe Alexis se inscribiera en el ayuntamiento de Atenas como un paso para ser de iure un nacional griego. Su presencia en Atenas, aunque secreta, obviamente llegó a oídos del rey Constantino II y, por tanto, al resto de las casas reales de Europa, que estaban todos a favor del regreso del rey Constantino II y de la democracia a Grecia. La presencia del príncipe Alexis en Grecia lo alienó con la gente que más necesitaría para su futuro. El pobre príncipe se había convertido inadvertidamente en un peón en la lucha de poder entre las dos facciones de la junta y pronto sufriría las consecuencias. Este acontecimiento causó por supuesto una fractura entre el Príncipe Alexis y las casas reales de Grecia y España, ya que la Reina Sofía era hermana del monarca griego.

El 21 de marzo de 1972, el coronel Papadopoulos, el hombre fuerte de la Junta, se proclamó regente de Grecia con la intención de eventualmente proclamar la república con él como presidente. El coronel Ioannis Ladas con la facción pro-monarquista en la Junta planeó otro golpe para expulsar Papadopoulos, asesinarlo y proclamar a Alexis como rey. Los Servicios Secretos descubrieron el complot y una purga del ejército lo siguió. El príncipe Alexis fue “invitado” a abandonar el país, cosa que  hizo el 20 de julio de 1972. La aventura griega terminó en fracaso. Fue el primer gran error de la vida de Alexis, pero no sería el último. Esta desgracia fue la primera excusa que Alexis dio a sus enemigos para iniciar la campaña para desacreditarlo. Por desgracia, volvería a cometer el mismo error.

AUTOPROCLAMACION COMO  VOLODAR (rey) DE UCRANIA Y LA PUBLICACIÓN DE YO, ALEXIS, BISNIETO DEL ZAR.
Desde Grecia, Alexis voló a Portugal como huésped de la viuda de su padrino, la Princesa Elena de Rumania (Magda Elena Lupescu, tercera esposa del rey Carol II de Rumania). Vivió con ella en Estoril durante algunos meses y decidió trasladarse a Madrid a principios de 1973. El príncipe Alfonso de Borbón-Dampierre, primo del rey Juan Carlos de España, casado con la nieta del General Franco, Carmen Martínez-Bordiu, le ayudó a conseguir un permiso de residencia en España.
En noviembre de 1976 un movimiento organizado llamado el grupo público ucraniano para promover la aplicación de los acuerdos de Helsinki se estableció en Kiev y fue formado por el poeta Mykola Rudenko y otras nueve personas,  preocupadas por las violaciones de derechos en Ucrania. Al final de la década, de los 33 miembros del grupo, sólo seis estaban en libertad, los otros habían sido arrestados, recibido visas para occidente o habían renunciado. En 1979, preocupado por la terrible represión soviética y con el apoyo del Metropolitano de la Iglesia Ortodoxa Carpatho-Ucraniana en América, el Arzobispo Ambrosij, el príncipe Alexis hizo el segundo error de su vida autoproclamándose Volodar de Ucrania, siguiendo los pasos de su abuelo. Sus intenciones eran nobles porque sentía que el pueblo ucraniano no debía estar solo en su lucha. Él  quería llevarlos a un mundo libre y ayudarles a buscar nuevas maneras de poner de relieve su difícil situación. También  apoyarles en sus aspiraciones de recuperar la libertad y la independencia.  Aunque hizo todo con las mejores intenciones y con el bienestar del pueblo ucraniano en mente, no logró nada más que publicidad negativa. En mi opinión, debería haber regresado a Ucrania inmediatamente después de su independencia el 24 de agosto de 1991 y haber presionado para la restauración de la monarquía como una fuerza unificadora y un símbolo nacional de estado,  como hicieron los Bagration en Georgia al mismo tiempo. Allí, la restauración de una monarquía constitucional sigue siendo una posibilidad.

En 1976, los periodistas de la BBC Anthony Summer y Tom Mangold publicaron su bestseller “The File on the Tsar”, (El expediente sobre el Zar)  después de cinco años de investigaciones. Viajaron extensamente y entrevistaron a mucha gente con conocimiento profundo del paradero de la familia imperial de Rusia, incluyendo miembros de casas reales como Lord Mountbatten, Vladimir Kirilovich Romanov, el príncipe Federico de Sajonia-Altemburgo, y el príncipe Sigismund de Prusia. Ellos rastrearon testigos y documentos perdidos hacía mucho tiempo. La búsqueda  los llevó a Moscú, Tokio y Washington y su persistencia finalmente dio resultado cuando encontraron en la Biblioteca Houghton de Universidad de Harvard, un voluminoso paquete de documentos que no fueron incluidos en el expediente oficial sobre el asesinato de la Familia Imperial,  escrito por el investigador Sokolov en 1924. – “The File on the Tsar” concluyó que el público se alimentó de una mentira y, al menos, las mujeres Romanov fueron evacuadas “vivas” de la Casa Ipatiev. No murieron en Ekaterinburg, pero se convirtieron en peones en un juego de poderes internacional, involucrando a Lenin, al Káiser Guillermo II,  a la Familia Real Británica y al servicio de Inteligencia Británica. El libro de Summers y Mangold, publicado en 1976, confirmó a Alexis lo que ya él sabía, pero aún tenía que esperar cuatro años más hasta 1980 para divulgar al mundo que su abuela había sido  la Gran Duquesa María Nicolaievna Romanov. Fue entonces cuando comenzó a considerar publicar sus memorias. Discutió la posibilidad de la publicación de su libro con miembros de su familia  y con el príncipe Federico de Sajonia Altemburgo, quien había sido un aliado firme de las Grandes Duquesas supervivientes. Cada uno de ellos, incluyendo a su madre, la princesa Olga Beatriz, y a su tía la princesa Julia Yolanda, trataron de persuadir a Alexis para que esperara. Sus primos rusos Romanov  eran completamente conscientes de su existencia, así como de su deseo de hacer tal publicación. Algunos de ellos le aconsejaron no publicar, otros sugirieron incluir algunos cambios, comenzando con el título del libro. Realmente no querían revelar estos secretos familiares porque algunas personas que habían estado involucradas en el rescate todavía estaban vivas. Pero obstinado como era, siguió adelante con su plan para publicar.

El 16 de enero de 1980 el príncipe Alexis concedió una entrevista al periódico monárquico español ABC que simpatizaba con su causa y con la teoría de la supervivencia de las mujeres imperiales, según las investigaciones de Summers & Mangold.  Desafortunadamente para su causa y bajo presión de sus enemigos, ABC se convirtió en su voz y se volvió contra Alexis de una manera salvaje y cruel.

El libro fue publicado por primera vez en Francia en 1981 y, como era de esperar, causó especulación y  sensación enormes y abrió la puerta a más controversia y más ataques contra el príncipe, que utilizó el libro no sólo para revelar la verdadera identidad de su bisabuela, sino también su testamento dinástico en donde lo nombraba Zarévich o Zar, al mismo tiempo que Jefe de la Casa Imperial de Rusia. Al año siguiente  el libro fue también publicado en España, acarreando más controversia, puesto que era el país en donde residía el príncipe Alexis.

Para mí, el libro a pesar de sus lagunas, fue una confirmación de lo que la Gran Duquesa Anastasia (Anna Anderson) había dicho a Anthony Summers y Tom Mangold, durante su extraña entrevista. Los autores del famoso bestseller  “The File on the Tsar” cuentan que ella se negó a hablar, pero cuando se iban marchando ella exclamó: “No hubo masacre allí… pero no puedo decir el resto.” Así que si no hubo masacre, entonces al menos la zarina y las cuatro Grandes Duquesas sobrevivieron como sugiere la investigación de Summers y Mangold. Esto también lo sostienen historiadores como Marc Ferro, Michel Wartelle y Marie Stravlo, que hasta el día de hoy están dedicados a descubrir nuevas pruebas que demuestren esta teoría plausible.

El Principe Alexis junto al Principe Michel de Orleans, Conde de Evraux y un acompañante en la ceremonia de la Orden de San Lazaro de Jerusalem en la Catedral de Bois (Francia) en 1987

Todos sabemos que, en 1992, el Servicio de Ciencia Forense del Reino Unido trabajó con las autoridades rusas para intentar identificar los alegados restos de los Romanov utilizando técnicas forenses. Pruebas de sexo basadas en el ADN y una técnica de perfil de ADN llamada “análisis de repetición en tándem corto”, que examina patrones repetidos de secuencias de ADN, demostró que los cuerpos provienen de un grupo familiar. Los científicos forenses utilizaron el análisis del ADN mitocondrial, que utilizan cuando sólo están disponibles cantidades mínimas de ADN, o cuando las muestras de ADN se han degradado con el tiempo, para analizar muestras de ADN de los huesos. Estos fueron comparados con parientes de los Romanov, incluido el príncipe Felipe de Edimburgo, y los científicos concluyeron que había un 99% de probabilidad de que los esqueletos fueran los de la familia Romanov.

En 1993, personalmente escribí una carta al príncipe Alexis animándolo a que también hiciera pruebas de ADN, usando su sangre y algunas muestras de pelo que tenía de su madre y su abuela. En 1994 inició los procedimientos. Su representante en Londres, Sir Frank Peters contactó al Dr. Pavel Ivanov y al Dr. Gil. Alexis eligió un laboratorio en Madrid y proporcionó las muestras; pero lamentablemente se enfermó después de presentar las muestras y murió poco después. Realmente no sé qué pasó con esas muestras o si fueron analizadas en Inglaterra. Lo que sí sé es que en 2004 los científicos de los Estados Unidos se opusieron a los resultados del Servicio de Ciencias Forenses, basado en un análisis del ADN del dedo conservado de la hermana de la zarina Alejandra, la Gran Duquesa Elisabeth Feodorovna. Sugirieron que las personas que manipularon los supuestos huesos de los Romanov en Rusia probablemente contaminaron las muestras desde la tumba, tal vez intencionalmente. En cualquier caso, he hecho algunas investigaciones sobre el ADN y se sabe actualmente que es posible fabricar ADN en un laboratorio. Eso deja absolutamente la puerta abierta a una investigación más profunda a pesar de los esfuerzos del Kremlin y de las Casas Reales de Europa para que de una vez por todas se dejara de hablar sobre este enigma histórico..

Alexis mejor que nadie, conocía las leyes de sucesión al trono imperial ruso, conocido como las Leyes Paulinas. Lo discutimos muchas veces y recuerdo haberle dicho que incluso si su abuela era la Gran Duquesa María Nicolaievna, él no tenía ninguna posibilidad de acceder al trono imperial. Mis opiniones le contrariaban e intentaba convencerme de que si tenía los derechos pues el zar Nicolás II había enmendado las Leyes Paulinas en 1906 en vista de la mala salud de su heredero, Tsarevich Alexis. Según Alexis, esta enmienda significaba que en el caso de que el zar muriera sin herederos varones, el trono iría a la línea femenina sobreviviente más cercana al último emperador, es decir sus hijas. La interpretación de Alexis era incorrecta, pues hasta esta fecha no he encontrado ningún documento que sustente esta enmienda. En cualquier caso, en aquellos días era imposible saber si tenía razón o no,  pero la razón de mi argumento era que las Leyes Paulinas dejaban muy claro que una mujer descendiente podía reclamar sus derechos al Trono de Rusia sólo en ausencia absoluta de los miembros masculinos de la Familia Imperial de Rusia. Estas leyes fueron implementadas por el emperador Pablo I en 1797. Esto significa que si la supervivencia de las Grandes Duquesas de Rusia fuera  aceptada algún día como un hecho histórico, Alexis nunca podría haber sido el Jefe de la Familia Imperial rusa, porque había príncipes Romanov descendientes de ramas laterales masculinas que siempre tendrían más derechos que él. También sabía  sobre el Acta de Abdicación del difunto Emperador Nicolás II en favor de su hermano el Gran Duque Miguel Alexandrovich y la posterior renuncia de éste transmitiendo los derechos de la Familia a la decisión de una Asamblea Constituyente (Sobranich).

La publicación del libro le provocó dos nuevos y poderosos enemigos: la Asociación de la Familia Romanov y el Gran Duque Vladimir Cyrillovich Romanov, que también vivía en España y se había proclamado ser el jefe de la Familia, reclamación que no era aceptada ni por Alexis ni por la Asociación de la Familia Romanov, la cual nunca reconoció el título de Gran Duque que fue utilizado por Vladimir hasta su muerte.

El libro era la excusa que sus enemigos tuvieron para entonces trabajar juntos en un esfuerzo  impresionante para desacreditarlo a través de la prensa,  en una campaña de difamación que incluía desinformación, calumnia y mentiras. Una campaña que me recordó las maniobras sucias utilizadas contra la Gran Duquesa Anastasia (Anna Anderson) por sus enemigos,  durante el caso judicial más largo en la historia de Alemania hasta la fecha. El príncipe Alexis fue llamado impostor y cualquier cosa que pudiera hacerle daño fue publicada: Víctor Brimeyer, los muchos matrimonios de su madre, el episodio griego y hasta fue acusado de apropiación de nombre en los tribunales franceses por el Gran Duque Vladimir cuando el libro de Alexis fue publicado en Francia. Este caso fue ganado por Alexis y fue una victoria muy dulce, cuando Vladimir fue condenado a pagar a Alexis por los daños.

Durante los años siguientes, el príncipe Alexis mantuvo su dignidad y siguió luchando para probar la verdad. Su abuela María Nicolaievna le había dicho que El Vaticano les había ayudado durante las negociaciones para obtener su liberación. También fue El Vaticano quien proporcionó alguna protección durante sus vidas en el exilio. Era necesario para su causa encontrara algunos documentos que evidenciaran tal intervención divina. La persona con más experiencia y contactos era sin duda el príncipe Federico de Sajonia-Altemburgo y le pidió que lo hiciera. Durante 1982 el viejo príncipe alemán inició su investigación aún más interés y deseos de descubrir toda la verdad. Como mencioné antes, él había estado en contacto con las tres hermanas, las Grandes Duquesas Olga, María y Anastasia durante muchos años. Enfocó toda su atención en un lugar lleno de secretos: El Vaticano.

En conversaciones con miembros de alto rango de la Santa Sede, el príncipe Federico logró obtener fragmentos de una historia fascinante. El príncipe Alexis me dijo que solía informarle regularmente sobre los progresos. Federico de Sajonia-Altemburgo  se puso en contacto con alguien que proporcionaría excelente información; alguien del círculo íntimo del Papa Pío XII: la Madre Pascalina Lehnert, la monja que fue la gobernanta del Papa durante más de cuarenta años. Ella había sido su sombra; conocía a todo el mundo y todo lo que estaba sucediendo en El Vaticano. La información que ella proporcionó era fascinante.

Fue en ese mismo tiempo que Alexis pidió ayuda a otro amigo, fray Fernando Lamas, un fraile que vivía en Roma en el monasterio de San Giovanni Decollato. El padre Lamas también visitó a la madre Pascalina y recolectó información nueva de ella. Después de la primera entrevista con la monja, escribió un largo documento  al príncipe Alexis con cada detalle de la reunión. Ahora sabía quién ayudó a su abuela y sobre las reuniones de María y Olga Nicolaievna con el Papa Pío XII. Supo también de la existencia de documentos en los archivos del Vaticano, algunos de los cuales fue capaz de adquirir e incluir en la nueva edición de su libro que se publicaría en Italia.

El 13 de noviembre de 1983, durante un viaje a Viena, Austria, la Madre Pascalina murió. La noticia se dio a conocer en todo el mundo y el 15 de noviembre los periódicos más importantes de Roma publicaron con titulares las declaraciones de Pascalina sobre la supervivencia de las mujeres Romanov y la noticia fue replicada por la prensa mundial. Alexis estaba encantado, pero la mayoría de las casas reales de Europa estaban disgustadas por la filtración de lo que consideraban un secreto familiar y se lanzó una discreta campaña para controlar los daños.

Fue durante esos días de  tumulto en la prensa que recibí una llamada telefónica que educadamente sugirió que mi situación social podría sufrir si continuaba mi relación con el príncipe Alexis. Por desgracia, siendo joven e inseguro, cesé mi contacto con el príncipe, algo que hasta el día de hoy me arrepiento de todo corazón, pues de haber continuado mi relación con él, sin duda habría tenido la oportunidad de investigar más y habría tenido acceso a un cofre con un tesoro de importantes documentos y testimonios que respaldaban las afirmaciones del príncipe Alexis.

Ahora sé, gracias a las excelentes investigaciones de Marie Stravlo, que la mayoría de esos documentos, contenidos en siete voluminosas carpetas, fueron entregados por el príncipe Alexis en noviembre de 1993 al embajador ruso en Madrid, para ser considerados por la comisión especial conformada en Rusia. La misma comisión especial que estaba investigando el asesinato de la Familia Imperial y había solicitado las pruebas de ADN de los supuestos huesos de los Romanov descubiertos en 1991. Como mencioné antes, animé al príncipe Alexis a realizarse pruebas de ADN de sí mismo,  de su madre, (que en ese momento estaba con vida) y su abuela. Tenía un representante en Londres, que se puso en contacto con el Dr. Gill y el Dr. Ivanov que estaban en el Instituto Aldermaston. Existen documentos y testimonios sobre tales acciones.

El FIASCO DE SERBIA

El 9 de febrero de 1992, en una contorsión de la escena política yugoslava, el periódico conservador español ABC Informó que una delegación serbia encabezada por Milan Babic, presidente de la República Autónoma Serbia de Krajina, un territorio en Croacia con una fuerte mayoría serbia y por Vojislav Seselj, presidente del Partido Radical Serbio y comandante en jefe de las fuerzas guerrilleras chetnik ,  visitaría  España momentáneamente para reunirse con Alexis d’Anjou-Durassow, para ofrecerle el trono de Serbia.  Los visitantes eran miembros de una facción extremista serbia.

Con excepción de Babic y Seselj, la delegación estaba formada por figuras conocidas por su nacionalismo extremo y sus aspiraciones por una “Gran Serbia”, o la incorporación a Serbia de todos los territorios de la ex República Yugoslava con mayoría serbia. Así, una Serbia que incluiría buena parte de Croacia y Bosnia-Herzegovina, y naturalmente Montenegro, Macedonia y Kosovo. Además, Milan Babic y Vojslav Seselj se opusieron al plan de paz de la ONU para Yugoslavia y a la presencia de los “Boinas Azules” en territorios con una mayoría serbia en Croacia.

Rade Atic, editor de la revista de oposición yugoslava “ON” y miembro de la delegación, dijo que el propósito de la visita a España “era ofrecer la corona serbia al príncipe Alexis d’Anjou”. Según dice artículo de la revista del 10 de enero de 1992, afirmó que “en las últimas semanas ha habido mucha excitación bien fundada en los círculos serbios sobre el tema del Príncipe Alexis II Nemanitch Romanov Dolgorouki, Gran Maestre de la Orden de San Juan de Jerusalén”.  Bien recibido porque “el príncipe Alexis es indudablemente el descendiente del glorioso zar de Serbia, así como de la famosa familia real Nemanitch”.  Porque los señores Rade Atic y Borivoje Borovic, después de dos meses de investigación que incluía el examen de muchos documentos, tablas genealógicas y correspondencia, habían llegado a la conclusión irrevocable de que el príncipe Alexis II es descendiente del glorioso Hrebeljanovic Nemanitch y bisnieto del Nikolaj II Zar de Rusia. En otra parte del artículo, la revista afirmó que “la conexión serbia viene a través de dos matrimonios. El primero, fue el de Jelisaveta, hija de Dragutin Nemanitch, con Etien Kotormanic. Su nieta, también llamada Jelisaveta, se casó con Louis I d’Anjou, rey de Hungría. El padre del príncipe Alexis II es un descendiente directo de ese matrimonio. La otra conexión es a través de la bisabuela del príncipe Alexis II, la princesa Cleopatra Dabic Kotromanic, que era descendiente del príncipe Juan, casado con María, hija del zar Lazar”. Más adelante en el artículo aprendemos que “muchos serbios quieren que el príncipe Alexis II a acepte la corona y que Serbia pronto se convierta en una monarquía. El príncipe Alexis II, sin embargo, “aceptará sólo bajo la condición de que refleje la voluntad de todos los serbios, incluidos los serbios que ahora están en Bosnia, Croacia, Eslovenia, etc.”

Alexis confirmó que había estado en contacto durante los últimos seis meses con el presidente serbio Slobodan Milosevic, quien estaba a favor de la restauración de la monarquía. Reconoció que había una amplia diferencia de opinión entre Milosevic, que aceptaba un papel de la ONU, y Babic, quien no lo hizo. Al parecer, Milosevic dijo a Alexis que le gustaría hacer uso de él de alguna manera en un esfuerzo por encontrar una “salida” honorable a la situación en Yugoslavia. Una vez más, y sin ser consciente, fue usado como peón en un conflicto de poder y la única explicación razonable de porque cometió este terrible error de juicio es de ya estaba desencantado con su vida de príncipe sin país, decidió seguir adelante sin pensar en las consecuencias. Este error destruiría irreparablemente, la poca credibilidad que le quedaba y su reputación con el resto de las Casas Reales europeas.

Dos días más tarde, el 11 de febrero de 1992 en una ceremonia privada que tuvo lugar en el Parador Nacional de Monte Perdido en Bielsa (Aragón), Alexis aceptó solemnemente la corona de Serbia. Según ABC, en su discurso de aceptación hizo una alusión a Dios y se refirió a una “Gran Serbia” que incluiría todos los territorios de la antigua República de Yugoslavia. También declaró que su corazón sangraba por el sufrimiento del pueblo serbio,  y se refirió a varios de sus antepasados, entre los que se encontraban los serbios Nemanitchs, su tatarabuelo el  zar serbio Lazar, y  su bisabuelo el zar Nicolás II de Rusia. Prometía comprometerse a asumir sus obligaciones como “Prestolonaslednik y Gran Voivod de la Gran Serbia y de todas las tierras serbias”. El periódico español concluyó que Alexis estaba aceptando la corona de una enorme Serbia no existente, cuyas fronteras afirmaba eran aquellas durante 1918.

Evidentemente Alexis nunca viajó a Belgrado para sentarse en el trono serbio. Después de este fracaso, no tuvo ninguna posibilidad de ser aceptado en el “Club Real”, ya que todos sus miembros se reunieron en apoyo de Su Alteza Real el Príncipe Alexander Karageorgevic y parecían horrorizados ante la pantomima. Habían hecho lo mismo durante su aventura griega malograda.

LA OBSESIÓN DEL PRÍNCIPE ALEXIS POR SER ADOPTADO

Tratar y analizar la psique de otro ser humano es una misión mejor dejada a los profesionales. En mi comprensión limitada, debo suponer que la obsesión de Alexis de ser adoptad por diferentes figuras paternales vino por la falta de tener esa figura durante su infancia,  que en otras formas fue feliz. A su padre oficial, el príncipe Basilio d’Anjou-Durassow, casi nunca lo vio,  y de todos modos era de una edad similar a la de su abuelo, quien fue la influencia masculina más positiva que tuvo durante sus años de crecimiento.

Adopción por el príncipe Nicolás Louise d’Anjou-Durassow

El 1 de noviembre de 1979, Alexis fue adoptado por su primo el príncipe Nicolás Louis d’Anjou-Durassow. El documento declara que “el suscrito Nicolás Louis Durassow, príncipe de Anjou Durassow, por estos presentes  adopta a su bienamado primo S.A.R. Don Alexis Dolgorouki d’Anjou Durazzow, príncipe d’Anjou Durassow, duque de Durazzo, apátrida y bajo la protección del Estado español con el documento de identidad N.93.315, nacido en Bukavu, el 4 de mayo de 1948, hijo único de mi difunto primo y cabeza de nuestra familia el Príncipe Basilio d’Anjou Durassow,  Duque de Durazzo (1887-1971)”. El documento concluye que Nicolás Luis autoriza a su hijo adoptivo y heredero a partir de la fecha, a presentarse en España utilizando la forma tradicional y completa del nombre reconocido por el rey Alfonso XIII: “Durassow d’Anjou-Durazzo”.

LA pregunta sería, ¿por qué Alexis necesitaba que su primo lo adoptara? ¿Por qué ansiaba ese reconocimiento que no necesitaba? Sólo puedo especular que la respuesta se basa en la inseguridad que sentía debido al hecho de que sabía que su padre biológico era Víctor Brimeyer y esto era algo totalmente traumático e inaceptable para él.

Solicitud de adopción al príncipe Federico de Sajonia-Altemburgo.

En 1982, el príncipe Alexis pidió al príncipe Federico de Sajonia-Altemburgo que lo adoptara, con la excusa de obtener la nacionalidad alemana. El príncipe alemán no sólo rechazó la petición, sino que también le dio serio asesoramiento sobre sus responsabilidades y su comportamiento. El príncipe Federico provenía de una familia real alemana con fuertes conexiones con todas las casas reales de Europa. Era amado, respetado y considerado un erudito en la genealogía real y la historia europea. Sus tratos con Alexis estaban causando preocupación a algunos de sus amigos y parientes. Al príncipe Alexis no le gustó ni comprendió su negativa y su relación se vio afectada, pero después de una brecha corta volvieron a su vieja y cálida relación.

El Principe Alexis junto al Principe Federico de Sajonia-Altenburgo en Madrid

Adopción por el príncipe Bruce Alfonso de Bourbon-Condé

El 3 de febrero de 1984, el príncipe Bruce Alfonso de Borbón-Condé, que tres meses después se casó con la princesa Olga Beatriz, adoptó oficialmente a Alexis y le autorizó a usar el nombre de Borbón-Condé. Éste es probablemente uno de los episodios más extraños en la trágica vida de Alexis,  e inaudito en círculos reales donde los miembros de cualquier familia real utilizan solamente el apellido del padre. A partir de ese día se convertiría en el príncipe Alexis d’Anjou Borbón-Condé y Romanov-Dolgorouky, duque de Durazzo.

EPÍLOGO

La Princesa Olga Beatriz murió el 18 de mayo de 1994 y fue enterrada en San Sebastián (España). Su fallecimiento fue otro gran golpe para el príncipe Alexis. A pesar de su fría relación durante muchos años, cuando se convirtió en viuda del príncipe Bruce Alfonso de Borbón-Condé, se trasladó a Madrid para estar cerca de su hijo. Vivían en el mismo edificio y mantenían un contacto cercano. Madre e hijo estaban empezando a desarrollar un vínculo cuando le diagnosticaron cáncer. Después de su muerte, el príncipe Alexis se enfermó y estuvo muy deprimido. Sus pocos leales  amigos trataron de distraerlo. No podía trabajar ni realizar ninguna actividad política. Su único objetivo era demostrar quién era él realmente utilizando  usando pruebas científicas. Nunca supo lo que pasó con todos los documentos que envió a Rusia en noviembre de 1993, para ser estudiados por la comisión. Tenía Grandes esperanzas en la prueba de ADN, pero su condición empeoró; a finales de 1994 estaba demasiado débil.  Olvidado por sus partidarios ucranianos y condenado al ostracismo por las familias reales europeas y por la sociedad madrileña, murió en gran soledad el 27 de enero de 1995 en el Hospital de la Princesa de Madrid,  supuestamente debido a un doble tumor cerebral. Algunos amigos y conocidos atribuyeron su deceso a una neumonía, otros dijeron que era un ataque al corazón y muchos creyeron que él había sido víctima de un envenenamiento sistemático. Antes de morir pudo hacer un testamento en el cual nombró como Regente de la Casa Real napolitana  d’Anjou-Durazzo y como Lugarteniente  Gran Maestro de la Soberana Orden de los Caballeros Ecuménicos de Malta OSJ,  a su amigo y asistente Emilio Lobera, Barón de Lobera. Hasta el día de hoy Don Emilio Lobera sigue activo en su misión de preservar el legado de este trágico príncipe del siglo XX, quien durante su vida nunca encontró realmente una identidad con la que se identificara y se sintiera a gusto.

En mi opinión, Alexis sólo debió haber utilizado el nombre de príncipe Alexis d’Anjou-Durassow, duque de Durazzo. Sé por cierto que ese fue el consejo que recibió de algunos de sus influyentes amigos en España, que no siguió. No era muy bueno para escuchar consejos.

Si el pueblo ucraniano hubiera decido restaurar la monarquía, -como era su pretensión-, en ese momento podría haber cambiado su nombre a Dolgorouky (el nombre de su madre). Cuando su abuelo, el Príncipe Nicolás Dolgorouky murió en 1970, pasó los derechos del trono de Ucrania a Alexis. Después de ese día, comenzó a ser conocido como Alexis d’Anjou-Dolgorouky que podría ser aceptable, especialmente en España, donde todos, por ley, utilizan ambos apellidos de los padres.

La posterior adición de Romanov a su nombre, fue en mi opinión un error de juicio, aunque había sido la voluntad de su abuela que lo hiciera. Ningún miembro de ninguna familia real usa más que un apellido que siempre es el dinástico salvo el caso de España donde por ley se usan los apellidos del padre y de la madre.

La guinda del pastel que lo desacreditaría aún más y que daría a sus enemigos el argumento de que era un impostor, que sufría de “folie de grandeur”, fue cuando añadió a la larga lista de nombres dinásticos, Borbón-Condé.

Uno puede entender que ser un hijo legítimo es esencial para un miembro de cualquier familia real,  pero Alexis, aunque biológicamente era el hijo de Víctor Brimeyer, no era ilegítimo ya que había sido reconocido por Basilio d’Anjou-Durassow como su hijo y heredero. Por su lado materno era miembro de la Casa de Dolgorukov, una antigua familia principesca rusa que era una rama de cadetes de los Obolenskys. Tristemente para Alexis, la sombra de Brimeyer lo perseguiría toda su vida y fue muy probablemente la causa detrás de esta absurda obsesión de añadir nombres dinásticos como parte de su búsqueda del reconocimiento que tanto anhelaba.

La campaña de difamación y descredito contra Alexis continuó aun después de su muerte y, lamentablemente, con el advenimiento de internet sus enemigos se aseguraron de arrastrar su nombre por el fango y que ahí quede para las generaciones venideras, publicando diferentes artículos negativos y amparados en el conocimiento de que ya Alexis no se podía defender. Creo que por el bien de la historia, sería bueno corregir el expediente directamente a través de más investigación científica y dejando de lado sentimientos personales ya que él ya no es una amenaza para los intereses de nadie.

A pesar de la controversia que siguió a la mayoría de sus decisiones, Alexis tenía una naturaleza amable y era un hombre refinado de maneras aristocráticas. Muy culto y con un gran sentido del humor, también era muy testarudo como buen Tauro y, a su manera, muy rebelde. Un verdadero caballero en el concepto más amplio de la palabra. Con la perspectiva del tiempo, me siento honrado de haber compartido algún tiempo con él y lamento mi decisión errónea de no haber continuado mi relación, ya que bien pudo haber terminado en una amistad sincera. Que su alma descanse en paz.

Principe Alexis d’Anjou-Durassow, Duque de Durazzo

CONCLUSIONES

Después de muchos años de estudio y conversaciones con especialistas en este fascinante misterio, he llegado a la conclusión de que la suerte de los Romanov podría muy bien ser incluido en un libro titulado,  “Cien años de engaño”. Todavía me pregunto ¿por qué no se permite que la verdad salga a la luz si todos los personajes de este drama están muertos?

Estoy  convencido de que las Grandes Duquesas y la Zarina  sobrevivieron a Ekaterimburgo. Ahora también estoy seguro de que el príncipe Alexis no era un impostor sino una víctima como lo fue Anna Anderson/Anastasia Manahan (Gran Duquesa Anastasia Nicolaievna).

He descubierto recientemente que Alexis padecía de la misma enfermedad hereditaria que el Zarévich Alexei Nicolaievich: hemofilia. Por alguna razón él escondió esto de todos, con excepción de sus amigos más cercanos. Esto es una prueba más de su conexión con los Romanov.

Espero que pronto algunos de los historiadores que están dedicando sus vidas a investigar la teoría de la supervivencia de la familia imperial y muy especialmente, mi amiga Marie Stravlo, publiquen pronto un detallado relato del destino de las cuatro hermosas Grandes Duquesas. Yo sé que ella ha entrevistado a gente en todo el mundo con fascinantes historias y conexiones a la verdad, y tiene miles de documentos para apoyar la verdadera versión sobre lo que ocurrió en Ekaterimburgo.

Y para concluir volvamos a las Leyes Paulinas y a quién es el Jefe de la Familia Imperial rusa en 2017. Después de la abdicación del zar Nicolás II a favor de su hermano el Gran Duque Miguel que fue proclamado “Emperador Miguel II”, a las tropas rusas y en las ciudades de toda Rusia, el nuevo emperador traspasó su elección a la voluntad del pueblo y reconoció al Gobierno Provisional como el ejecutivo de facto, pero ni abdicó ni se negó a aceptar el trono. En su declaración dijo:

“Inspirado, en acuerdo con todo el pueblo, en la creencia de que el bienestar de nuestro país debe ser colocado por encima de todo lo demás, he tomado la decisión firme de asumir el poder supremo sólo si y cuando nuestro gran pueblo, habiendo elegido por sufragio universal una Asamblea Constituyente para determinar la forma de gobierno, y establecer la ley fundamental del nuevo Estado ruso, me proclame con tal poder.

Pidiendo sobre ellos la bendición de Dios, pido a todos los ciudadanos del Imperio Ruso que se sometan al Gobierno Provisional, establecido e investido con plena autoridad por la Duma, hasta que la Asamblea Constituyente, elegida en el menor tiempo posible mediante voto universal, directo, igual y secreto, manifieste la voluntad del pueblo al decidir sobre la nueva forma de gobierno “.

Como ya he mencionado, las leyes paulinas prevén la sucesión de las dinastías masculinas y femeninas y establecen la primogenitura de preferencia masculina. Esto significa que la sucesión al trono (o la jefatura de la dinastía) pasa por la primogenitura al miembro masculino mayor. A la muerte del último dinasta varón, la sucesión pasa a la gran duquesa más cercana por lazos de sangre al l último emperador.

Durante casi dos siglos, desde la adhesión del emperador Pablo I en 1796 hasta la muerte del Gran Duque Vladimir en 1992, los miembros masculinos de la dinastía ocuparon el trono o la jefatura de la dinastía, basada en la primogenitura. Debido a los numerosos matrimonios no dinásticos que se produjeron después de la Revolución de 1917, el número de miembros masculinos de la dinastía fueron decreciendo,  y finalmente se extinguió en 1992. Los últimos miembros masculinos de la dinastía fueron el príncipe Vassily de Rusia que murió en 1989 y el Gran Duque Vladimir Cyrillovich que murió en 1992.

Según la Organización Legitimista Rusa, ya que no hay descendientes masculinos, la sucesión a la jefatura de la dinastía ha pasado a la Gran Duquesa María Vladimirovna. Es la princesa con relación más directa con el último emperador, el zar Nicolás II (o Miguel II), pero la Asociación de la Familia Romanov no está de acuerdo con este punto de vista o esta interpretación de las Leyes Paulinas.

Http://www.russianlegitimist.org/

Http://www.romanovfamily.org/

Yo asistí al mismo colegio en Madrid que la Gran Duquesa María Vladimirovna, y tuve el honor de conocerla en esos días. Fui invitado al bautizo de su hijo y heredero, el Gran Duque Jorge. Yo solo tengo elogios para ella y su trabajo en beneficio de la monarquía de Rusia. En marzo de 2013, su reclamación fue reconocida por el Jefe dela Iglesia Ortodoxa Rusa, Kyril  II, Patriarca de Moscú y toda Rusia y esto ha traído más apoyo entre los rusos a su causa, y a la posibilidad de restaurar la monarquía. Durante una entrevista, el Patriarca rechazó las pretensiones de otros descendientes de los Romanov y declaró, “Hoy ninguna de esas personas que son descendientes de los Romanov son pretendientes al trono de Rusia. Pero en la persona de la Gran Duquesa María Vladimirovna y en su hijo Jorge, la sucesión de los Romanov esta preservada, no solo para el Trono Imperial Ruso, sino para la misma historia”.

http://www.imperialhouse.ru/en/

Wikipedia’s disgraceful censorship

 

I have intensively been working for the past few days on several articles for Wikipedia on Alexis d’Anjou-Durassow and the Royal House of Anjou-Durassow. The articles were thoroughly researched and had many references and footnotes and were a team work of  a group of very serious and committed historians and journalists working together to try and prove  what is known as the Survival Theory of the Russian Imperial Family. Our only interest is to uncover the truth, whatever this truth is.

Thus my articles were not biased and my only intention as an author and an amateur historian, in this particular case, was to shed light on this very fascinating and controversial character who has been slandered,  after his death, without shame and mercy by people that have written articles in Wikipedia.

An encyclopedia such as Wikipedia that is based on additions of contributors  is very interesting if it allows freedom of speech and other contributors are not allowed to practice censorship and vandalize articles.  A few contributors with an obvious hidden agenda ganged against me by calling me a SERIAL HOAXER, deleted my articles and It is an absolute disgrace that a contributor  is allowed to do so without contacting the other first and discussing whatever points might be contentious in order to clarify any possible misunderstanding or  possible erroneous information.

To add insult to injury all editions that I have done to articles with no connection to the above mentioned articles have also been deleted without any consideration to the data or the facts and without giving me the opportunity to explain myself and my research.

This is cultural bullying  and it goes against free speech. I am lost for words at such antics worthy of a regime such as North Korea!

The truth about Prince Alexis d’Anjou-Durassow, Duke of Durazzo

Alexis de Anjou 001His Royal Highness Prince Alexis d’Anjou-Durassow, Duke of Durazzo

In this month of March that we commemorate the One Hundred Anniversary of the Abdication of Nicholas II to the Russian Throne, I cannot stop thinking about a person that, I believe, would have had a significant role in all the controversies still going on, with respect to the true fate of the last Imperial Family of Russia.

Now, let me explain who was  this singular person, who circulated among the aristocratic circles of Madrid during the eighties and early nineties, and  whose fascinating claim was taken very seriously by many; especially by those with links to some of the European Royal houses that lived or came frequently to Spain.

He was charismatic, educated and charming and used to introduce himself as Prince Alexis D’Anjou-Durassow, Duke of Durazzo. According to his narratives, he was direct descendant of Tsar Nicholas II, since her Grandmother was Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna Romanov, third daughter of the last Tsar and therefore he was the Head of the Russian Imperial Family. This statement bought him many problems within his family.

I met Alexis in 1979 after my dear friend Prince Sergei Nazarewicz, whose family originated from the Ukraine, received a Manifesto in which he, Alexis, proclaimed himself Volodar (King) of the Ukraine.

Fascinated by history as I am, and especially about the Russian revolution and its aftermath, I arranged to meet Prince Alexis. I wondered if indeed he was related to the Russian Imperial Family, and especially how his grandmother Maria Nikolaevna had been able to escape from Russia. By that time I had already read the book “The File on the Tsar”, not only in its English version, but also in the Spanish version published in 1978. British journalists Anthony Summers and Tom Mangold suggested -after a long and professional investigation that lasted six years-,that it was possible that the Tsarina Alexandra and her children were able to escape and therefore, did not die in July of 1918.

I had always believed and still do to this day, that Anna Anderson/Anastasia Manahan was the real Grand Duchess Anastasia of Russia; whatever the conclusions of the DNA tests as this tests can be fabricated. In fact the 1994 DNA results have since been challenged by many scientists around the world. According to one of her biographers, Peter Kurth, author of Anastasia, the Riddle of Anna Anderson, “The DNA tests that were done in 1994 are no longer accepted as reliable. But aside from that — I knew her too well to accept on faith arbitrary (and actually dubious) tests that contradict every other scrap of evidence that we have. Anyone who knew her (really knew her, I mean) knows that she was not “pretending” anything. Also, though she became increasingly “eccentric” and at the very end suffered from dementia (was it’s Alzheimer’s? — it was never officially diagnosed), there was never a single crack in her personality.”

http://www.forensicmag.com/news/2015/02/dna-evidence-can-be-faked

Our first meeting was at his  home. Alexis lived in a small but elegant apartment in Madrid’s posh barrio de Salamanca, filled with family portraits and Russian memorabilia. Many more meetings followed. Some were dinners at friend’s houses, others were at my own house. I especially recall inviting him and his mother, Princess Olga Beatrice Dolgoruky to several of the dinner parties and equestrian events I organized in those days. When we met, he was known as His Royal Highness Prince Alexis D’Anjou Dolgoruky. He had proclaimed himself Volodar (King) of the Ukraine with the support of members of the Orthodox Church of the Ukraine before the collapse of the Soviet Union.  Both he and his elegant mother, Princess Olga Beatrice were fascinating people and blended perfectly in the high society life of those interesting years in Europe. Both were fluent in several languages, including Russian, but French was their preferred form of communication.

Prince Alexis has a great presence and he was unnaturally formal unless he felt comfortable enough to speak freely and then he was relaxed and candid in his manner.  He was particularly knowledgeable of the ins and outs of all the Royal Families of Europe. He referred to the members of these families by their nicknames and spoke of them with great familiarity.  In those days after his auto-proclamation as Volodar of Ukraine in exile,  he had already divided Madrid society in two, with one half supporting his claims and the other proclaiming him a fraud.

He was always extremely poised and until he felt comfortable enough to speak freely, he was unnaturally formal.  Very knowledgeable of  the ins and outs of all the Royal Families of Europe, he always referred to the members of these families by their nicknames and spoke of them with great familiarity.  In those days after his auto-proclamation as Volodar in exile of the Ukraine, he had already divided Madrid society with a part supporting his claims and others proclaiming him a fraud. The fact is that controversy was a constant companion in his life.

I never believed he was an impostor, not even after the publication of the Spanish edition of his book in Spain in 1982,  “Yo, Alexis bisnieto del Zar.” in which he claimed to be a Romanov. In the book that became an editorial success , Alexis claimed that his grandmother Maria had revealed that she was in reality not Countess Cecilia di Fonso but Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Maria Nicolaievna Romanov, daughter of Tsar Nicholas II.

EARLY YEARS

Alexis was born on 4 May 1946 in Costermansville (now present day Bukavu, Republic of Congo). There has always been a lot of disinformation about his true date of birth. He himself  claimed in his book that he was born on May 6, 1948, although the truth is that he was born on the same day but in 1946.  All his life,  prince Alexis tried to hide the fact that Victor Brimeyer was his real father. This denial came out of shame because his mother was a teenager when she eloped with Brimeyer, an engineer from Luxembourg; a commoner with no royal blood or aristocratic background.  He even persuaded his mother to sign a sworn notarized affidavit in Belgium on the 7th February 1986, stating that though she was married to Victor Brimeyer at the time of his birth, the real father was Prince Basil d’Anjou-Durassow. This was blatantly untrue! Although they never had any contact, Victor Brimeyer haunted prince Alexis’ life.

The reality behind Alexis birth is the that Princess Olga Beatrice who was a beautiful, seductive and  free spirited young woman, had eloped and married Victor Brimeyer when still a  minor and without the consent of her parents in 1945.  Less than a year later and after Alexis’ birth, the  illegal union was legally annulled. After this scandalous affair, the Princess married Prince Basil d’Anjou-Durassow, born in 1887 and fourty years her senior. They were married in Rome on the 15th of April 1947 by the Archbishop of Minsk, Rizi-Rizki who was then living in exile in Italy. This marriage of convenience did not last very long either but it served its purpose as Basil d’Anjou-Durassow acknowledged Alexis as his flesh and blood.

IMG_2647H.R.H. Prince Basil d’Anjou-Durassow, Duke of Durazzo, Head of the Royal House of Anjou-Naples

IMG_2641H.R.H. Princess Olga Beatrice Dolgorouky at the time of her marriage to Prince Basil d’Anjou-Durassow in 1947

Thus, Alexis was brought up as heir to the Royal House of Anjou-Naples, a defunct royal house revived by a royal decree of King Alfonso XIII of Spain in 1911 and ratified in 1916 by Tsar Nicholas II and King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy. This decree  recognized Basil d’ Anjou-Durassow as the Head of the revived royal house .

On his mother’s side he was a Dolgorouky. His great grandfather was General Alexander Dolgorouky, Commander in Chief of the Ukrainian Army with the support of the German Imperial troops in 1918. In fact, it was he who made the arrangements for Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna to be evacuated from Moscow in October of 1918. She was escorted by Ukranian officers during a train ride to Kiev, using fake documents under the name of a Countess Ceclava Czapska. Maria Nikolaevna arrived safe and sound to Ukraine and was a guest in the house of General Alexander Dolgorouky, where she was introduced to his son Nicholas Alexandrovitch and daughter Maria Alexandrovna Dolgourikaya. A few days later they departed to Bucharest, also accompanied by the husband of Maria Alexandrovna Dolgorukya, a Romanian prince named Vladimir Cantacuzene just days before Ataman Simon Petlioura invaded Kiev on January 2nd, 1919, and forced General  Alexander Dolgorouky into exile to Odessa where he was later murdered

Romance flourished between the Prince Nicholas Alexandrovich and Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna. While in Bucharest, living under the protection of Queen Maria of Romania, the couple decided to marry and continue their journey together. Relatives agreed and they were married in the chapel of the Royal Palace of Cotroceni, close to Bucharest on the 20th January 1919 in the presence of King Ferdinand II and Queen Marie of Romania. Days later they traveled to Serbia, under the protection of the King.  In 1920 they received Italian passports, sent from Rome through diplomatic pouch. Those passports provided the fake identities that they would use until the end of their lives.  The documents presented them as Count and Countess Di Fonso, and with those identities they traveled all over the world, had two daughters: Olga Beatrice and Julia Yolanda and were able to buy properties and lead a “normal” life.

300px-Ceclava_CzapskaH.M. Volodar Nicholas Dolgorouki of the Ukraine-Ruthenia and his wife who later claimed to be Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna Romanov, daughter of Tsar Nicholas II.

On the 14th of March 1939, with the compliance of Nazi Germany, Prince Nicholas Dolgorouky, was proclaimed in Hust (Ruthenia),  king (Volodar) of the newly declared independent Ukraine-Ruthenia but the adventure lasted less than a week, when Hungary invaded the territory and annexed it. Prince Nicholas, a rabid anti-soviet had embraced Nazi Germany, (as many Russians and German Royals did in those days), as the last recourse to eradicate the Reds from their beloved homeland. After this failed attempt, the family escaped to Romania and finally settled in the Belgian Congo. It was into this background that Alexis was born in 1946.

Prince Nicolas DolgorukiThe exiled Volodar Nicholas with his wife Maria and their daughters Princesses Olga Beatrice and Julia Yolanda Dolgorouky

Prince Nicholas realized that his eldest daughter Olga Beatrice lacked maternal instincts and he wisely decided to take over the upbringing of the young prince, who was pampered from birth by his loving grandparents. He was named after the Tsarevich and his Godfather was King Carol II of Romania. According to his memoirs, Alexis’ childhood and adolescence were happy and spent in the family home, Villa Ukraine in present day Bukavu. Since he was practically raised by his grandparents he was widely known as Prince Alexis Dolgorouky. He grew up very close to them, who raised him with strict protocol and provided for him the best education. Alexis spoke fluent French, Italian, Russian, Ukrainian, English and Spanish.

Shortly after the annulment of his mother’s marriage to Prince Basil, she married her cousin, Prince Igor Dolgorouky on 6 September 1948 in the Greek Orthodox Church in Albertville, Belgian Congo. This marriage was also short lived as well as the one that followed to Ferdinand Fabry in London on the 7th of September 1950.  Before her 24th birthday, Princess Olga Beatrice had been married four times!

During those years, the family traveled extensively to Italy, Portugal and the French Riviera. Also made frequent trips to the Egypt of King Farouk. The Egyptian royal family was very familiar with the situation of the Romanovs and always kept contact and provided support to its members in exile.  In public and among the royal families they were known as “the Di Fonso family”. After 1960, once the family returned to Europe, prince Alexis was sent to boarding school in France to further his education. He spent the next ten years surrounded by comfort and luxury; vacationing in the best resorts in Europe, but in that period of his life he did not have a close relation with his mother.

IMG_2651H.I.H Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna Romanov and her grandson prince Alexis in Cannes 1960

On the 4th of May 1966, his twentieth birthday, Prince Basil of d’Anjou-Durassow abdicated his rights as Head of the House of Anjou-Naples and Prince Alexis became Duke of Durazzo and Head of the Royal House. That same day, he met Prince Frederick of Saxe-Altenburg who was a loyal supporter of not only Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna (Anna Anderson) but also of Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna who lived in Menaggio (Italy) under the name of Marga Boodts. The day they met, according to Alexis’ memoirs was when Maria Nikolaevna revealed to him her true identity in  his presence and after that meeting he began to be introduced to other members of the family. He met Prince Felix Yussupov, and his wife Irina, as well as Prince Vladimir (Vova) Vladimirovich, the son of Grand Duke Andrei Vladimirovitch Romanov and his wife the ballerina Mathilde Kschessinskaa.

IMG_2652Prince Nicholas Dolgorouky with his wife Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna Romanov and sister in law, H.I.H. Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna Romanov at the Eden Roc Hotel in 1958

IMG_2644H.I.H Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna Romanov, Princess Dolgorouky in 1955

Suddenly, at the beginning of 1970, that world of comfort suffered a hard setback. During the last months of 1969, Prince Nicholas Dolgorouky had been attending some private “top-secret” meetings to discuss the “Affaire Anastasia.”  Both Maria Nikolaevna and her husband were very cautious to the point that they did not discuss anything even with their daughters.  On the 19th January 1970, Nicholas Dolgorouky, the ephemeral last Volodar of the Ukraine died in Brussels.  After one of those “secret meetings” and while driving back towards his home, he started feeling ill. He stopped at the house of his daughter Olga Beatrice, who took him to the hospital. After several days hospitalized and in an almost unconscious state, he died. Unfortunately, he was not able to reveal where the meeting had taken place or who had attended that last fatal session. All symptoms showed that he had been poisoned.  The family mourned and felt a tremendous fear.  From that day on, they felt at risk everywhere. In view of the circumstances the next  month Maria decided to make a civil and a dynastic testament. Shortly after she was diagnosed with cancer. She was devastated and she decided to move to Rome to be close to her sister Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna, and await for the day she would be called by the Lord.  In her handwritten notarized dynastic will, prince Alexis was made universal heir with the name Romanov-Dolgorouky, but she asked that her dynastic will would only be revealed until ten years after her death.

IMG_2653The last picture of Volodar Nicholas of the Ukraine and his wife, Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna Romanov, taken in Brussels shortly before his death on the 19th January  of 1970

New Years greeting letter from Their Majesties King Michael and Queen Anne of Romania to Prince Nicholas Dolgorouky and his family. Prince Nicholas had died two days before this letter was written. (Marie Stravlo collection- copyrighted)

Grand Duchess Maria died in Rome on the 1st of December 1970 and she was buried at Flaminio Cemetery in Rome. Prince Basil d’Anjou-Durassow, who had been in contact with Alexis throughout his life died in 1971. From that day on, Alexis was alone and he soon made the first of many tactical mistakes.

Tumba Gran Duquesa Maria, RomaThe grave of Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna Romanov in Flaminio Cemetery (Rome)

THE GREEK MISADVENTURE

After the death of his grandmother Maria Nikolaevna, Alexis felt practically lost. Prince Frederick of Saxe-Altenburg tried to introduce him to some of his friends so that he would receive company and economic support. One of the biggest problems was his economic situation that was really precarious. Several members of royal houses of Europe provided to cover his expenses. He knew that he had to respect the “ten year period” before going public as a descendant of the Romanov Dynasty. He made then a series of mistakes that proved to have  very negative repercussions for Alexis’ image.

The first was when he accepted the invitation from the fascist General Stylianos Pattakos to travel to Athens on the 28th of January 1971. The historical background of this case is very important to understand the situation in which Alexis was entangled.  On the 21st of April 1967, Colonel Giorgios Papandreu headed the military coup d’etat that took advantage of the volatile political situation that had arisen from a conflict between King Constantine II and the aging former prime minister, Georgios Papandreu. From the onset, the relationship between King Constantine II and the regime of the colonels was an uneasy one. The king of the Hellenes finally decided to launch his counter-coup on 13 December 1967 but it failed and on the following day he left Greece with the Queen and their children never to return as king.

In early December 1970, there were two factions within the military rulers of the Greek Junta that ruled Greece with an iron fist. One wanted the immediate proclamation of a republic while the other, of which General Pattakos was its leader, was seeking for the restoration of the monarchy with a new dynasty.  On the 21st February of 1971, General Pattakos arranged for Prince Alexis to be registered in the Athens Town Hall as a step to be de iure a Greek national. His presence in Athens, though secret, obviously reached King Constantine II and thus the rest of the royal houses of Europe who were all in favor of the return of King Constantine and democracy to Greece. Prince Alexis’ presence in Greece alienated him with the people he would most need for his future. The poor prince, inadvertently had become a pawn in the power struggle between the two factions of the  Military Junta and he would soon suffer the consequences. This situation caused a fracture between prince Alexis and the royal houses of Greece and Spain, since Queen Sophia was sister of the Greek monarch.

On the 21st March of 1972, Colonel Papadopoulos, the strongman of the Junta, proclaimed himself Regent of Greece with the intent of eventually proclaiming the republic with him as President. Colonel Ioannis Ladas with the pro-monarchist faction in the Junta planned another coup to oust Papadopoulos, assassinate him  and proclaim Alexis as king. The Secret Services discovered the plot and a purge of the army followed. Prince Alexis was “invited” to leave the country which he did on the 20th of July 1972. The Greek adventure ended in failure. It was the first great mistake of Alexis’ life but it would not be his last.  This misadventure was the first excuse that Alexis gave his enemies to start the campaign to discredit him. Unfortunately he would repeat the same mistake again.

SELF PROCLAIMED VOLODAR OF THE UKRAINE AND THE PUBLICATION OF I, ALEXIS GREAT-GRANDSON OF THE TSAR

From Greece, Alexis flew to Portugal as a guest of his godfather’s widow, Princess Elena of Romania (Magda Elena Lupescu, third wife of King Carol II of Romania).  He lived with her in Estoril for some months, and then decided to move to Madrid in early 1973. Prince Alphonse of Bourbon-Dampierre, cousin of King Juan Carlos of Spain, who was married to General Franco’s granddaughter, Carmen Martinez-Bordiu, had arranged a residence permit for him in Spain.

In November of 1976 an organized movement called the Ukrainian Public Group to Promote Implementation of the Helsinki Accords was established in Kiev and was  formed by poet Mykola Rudenko and nine other persons concerned with the violations of rights in Ukraine. By the end of the decade, of the 33 members of the group, only six were in freedom, the others had either been arrested, granted visas to the West or resigned. Sometime in 1979 concerned by the terrible Soviet repression and with the support of  the Metropolitan of the Carpatho-Ukrainian Orthodox Greek Church in America, Archbishop Ambrosij,  prince Alexis made the second error of his life by auto-proclaiming himself Volodar of the Ukraine following the footsteps of his grand father. His intentions were noble, for he felt that the Ukrainian people should not be alone in their struggle. He wanted to lead them to a free world and help them seek new ways of spotlighting their plight. Also, to support them in their aspirations to regain freedom and independence. Though made with the best of intentions and the welfare of the Ukrainian people in mind, it did not achieve anything but negative publicity. In my opinion he should have returned to the Ukraine immediately after its independence in August 24 of 1991. Then he could have lobbied for the restoration of the monarchy as a unifying force and a national symbol of statehood as the Bagrations did in Georgia at the same time. There, the restoration of a constitutional monarchy is still a possibility.

In 1976, BBC journalists Anthony Summer and Tom Mangold published their bestseller “The File on the Tsar”, after five years of investigations. They traveled extensively and interviewed many people with deep knowledge of the whereabouts of the Imperial Family of Russia, including members of royal houses like Lord Mountbatten, Vladimir Kyrillovich, prince Frederick  of Saxe-Altenburg, and Prince Sigismund of Prussia. They tracked down witnesses and long-lost documents. The search led to Moscow, Tokyo and Washington and their persistence finally paid off when they found at Harvard Houghton Library, a suppressed bulk of documents not included in the  official dossier on the murder of the Imperial Family written by investigator Sokolov in 1924. – Their book “The File on the Tsar” concluded that the public was fed a lie and, that at least, the Romanov women were evacuated “alive” from the Ipatiev House. They did not die at Ekaterinburg, but became pawns in an international power game, involving Lenin, the Kaiser, the British Royal Family and British Intelligence.  Summers and Mangold’s book, published in 1976 confirmed to Alexis what he already knew, but he still had to wait four more years until 1980 to divulge to the world that his grandmother was Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna Romanov. It was then when he started considering publishing his memoirs. He discussed the possibility of the publication of his book with members of the Romanov family and with prince Frederick of Saxe-Altenburg who had been a staunch supporter of the surviving Grand Duchesses. Every one of them, including his mother princess Olga Beatrice and his aunt princess Julia Yolanda tried to persuade Alexis to wait. His Russian Romanov cousins were completely aware of his  existence as well as of his desire to make such a publication. Some of them advised not to publish, others suggested to include some changes, beginning with the title of the book. They did not really want these family secrets revealed because some people that had been involved were still alive. But stubborn as he was, he went ahead with his plan to publish.

On the 16th of January of 1980, prince Alexis granted an interview to Spanish royalist newspaper ABC who was sympathetic to his cause and to the theory of the survival of the Imperial women as per the investigations of Summers & Mangold.  Unfortunately for his cause and under pressure from his enemies, ABC became their voice and turned against him in a savage and cruel way.

H.R.H Prince Michel of Orleans, Count of Evraux and H.R.H Prince Alexis d’Anjou-Durassow who presided the ceremony of the Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem at Blois Cathedral in France in 1987

The book was first published in France. As expected, it caused enormous speculation and sensation and opened the door to more controversy and more attacks against the prince. Alexis used the book not only to reveal his grandmothers true identity, but also her dynastic will by which he was appointed by her as Tsarevich or Tsar in waiting and the Head of the Imperial House of Russia. The following year the book was published in Spain, stirring even more controversy, as it was the country where Alexis lived.

H.R.H Prince Alexis d’Anjou-Durassow and H.H Prince Frederick of Saxe-Altenburg in Madrid in 1980

To me, the book despite its gaps, was a re-confirmation of what Grand Duchess Anastasia (Anna Anderson) had told Anthony Summers and Tom Mangold, during her bizarre interview. The authors of the bestselling book: The File on the Tsar say  that she refused to talk, but when they were leaving she exclaimed, “There was no massacre there….but I cannot tell the rest.” So if there was no massacre, then at least the Tsarina and the four grand duchesses survived as the research of Summers and Mangold suggests. This is also maintained by historians such as Marc Ferro, Michel Wartelle and Marie Stravlo who are to this day dedicated to uncovering new evidence that will prove this plausible theory.

We all know the fact that in 1992, the UK-based Forensic Science Service worked with the Russian authorities to try to identify the alleged remains of the Romanovs using forensic techniques. DNA-based sex testing and a DNA profiling technique called ‘short tandem repeat analysis’, which looks at repeated patterns of DNA sequences, proved that the bodies came from a family group. Forensic scientists used mitochondrial DNA analysis, which they use when only minute amounts of DNA are available, or when the DNA samples have been degraded by time, to analyse DNA samples from the bones. These were compared with relatives of the Romanovs, including Prince Phillip (Duke of Edinburgh and husband of Queen Elizabeth II), and the scientists concluded that there was a 99% probability that the skeletons were those of the Romanov family.

In 1993, I personally wrote a letter to prince Alexis encouraging him to also run DNA tests, using his blood and some hair samples that he had from his mother and grandmother. In 1994 he started the procedures. His representative in London, Sir Frank Peters contacted Dr. Pavel Ivanov and Dr. Gill. Alexis choose a laboratory in Madrid and provided the samples; but sadly he became very ill after he submitted the samples and died soon after. I really don’t know what happened to those samples or if they were tested in England. What I know is that in 2004, scientists from the USA argued against the results from the UK Forensic Science Service, based on an analysis of the DNA from the preserved finger of Tsarina Alexandra’s sister, the Grand Duchess Elisabeth Feodorovna. They suggested that the people who handled the alleged bones of the Romanovs in Russia probably contaminated the samples from the grave-site, perhaps intentionally. In any case, I have done some research on DNA and it is known currently that it is possible to fabricate DNA in a lab. That absolutely leaves the door wide open to further investigation in spite of the efforts of the Kremlin and Europe’s Royal Houses to put this historical enigma to bed, once and for all.

Maria-Nicolaevna-RomanovPrince Alexis better than anyone, knew the laws of succession to the Russian Imperial throne, known as the Pauline Laws.  We discussed them many times and I remember telling him that even if his grandmother was Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna, he had no claims to the Imperial throne. He was not happy with my views and he claimed that he did have the rights as Tsar Nicholas II had amended the Pauline Laws in 1906 in view of the ill health of his heir, Tsarevitch Alexei. According to prince Alexis this amendment meant that in the case that the Tsar died without male heirs the throne would go to the eldest surviving female line closest to the last Tsar. Alexis’ interpretation was incorrect since even today, I have never found any documents substantiating this amendment. In any case, in those days it was impossible to know if he was right or not but the reason for my argument was that the Pauline Laws made very clear that a woman descendant could claim her rights to the Throne of Russia only in the absolute absence of male members of the Imperial Family of Russia to succeed. These  laws were implemented by Tsar Paul I in 1797.  This meant that even if the survival of the Grand Duchesses was one day accepted as a historical fact, Alexis could never be the Head of the Russian Imperial Family because there were Romanov princes descended from lateral male lines that would always have more rights than him. He also knew the Act of Abdication of the late Tsar Nicholas II in favor of his brother the Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich and the later resignation of the latter transmitting the rights of the Family to the decision of the Constituent Assembly (Sobranich).

The publication of the book  made him two new powerful enemies: The Romanoff Family Association and Grand Duke Vladimir Kryllovich Romanov who also lived in Spain and claimed to be the Head of the Family, a claim that was not accepted by either Alexis or the Romanoff Family Association who never recognized the title of Grand Duke that was used by Vladimir until his death.

The book was the excuse his enemies had to go to work together in an effort to totally discredit him through the press in a smear campaign that included disinformation, slander and lies. A campaign that reminded me of the dirty antics used against Grand Duchess Anastasia by her enemies during the longest running court case in German history to date. He was called an impostor and anything that could hurt him was published: Victor Brimeyer, about his mother’s many marriages and the Greek episode, all had negative impact.  He was even accused of name appropriation in the French courts by Grand Duke Vladimir when Alexis’ book was published in France. This case was won by Alexis and it was a sweat victory, when Vladimir was condemned to pay Alexis for the damages.

During the following years prince Alexis maintained his dignity and kept fighting to prove  the truth. He had been told by his grandmother Maria Nikolaevna, that the Vatican had helped them during the negotiations to obtain their liberation. It was also the Vatican who provided some protection during their lives in exile. It was necessary for his cause to find some documents that would proof such divine intervention. The person with more experience and contacts was undoubtedly prince Frederick of Saxe-Altenburg, and he asked him to do so. During 1982 the old German prince started his investigation with even more interest and desire to discover the whole truth. As I mentioned before, he had been in contact with all three sisters, Grand Duchesses Olga, Maria and Anastasia during many years. He focused then all his attention in a place full of secrets: The Vatican.

In conversations with high ranking members of the Holy See, Prince Frederick managed to get bits and pieces of a fascinating story. Prince Alexis told me that he used to inform him on the progress. He contacted somebody that would provide excellent information; somebody from the very inner circle of Pope Pius XII: Mother Pascalina Lehnert, the nun that was the governess to the Pope for over forty years. She had been his shadow; knew everybody and everything that was going on at the Vatican. The information that she provided was mesmerizing.

It was at that same time that Alexis asked for help from another friend, Fray Fernando Lamas, a friar living in Rome at the Monastery of Saint Giovanni Decollato. Fray Lamas also visited Mother Pascalina and gathered new information from her. After that first interview with the nun, he wrote a long dossier to Prince Alexis with every detail of the meeting. Now he knew who helped his grandmother, and about the meetings of Maria and Olga Nikolaevna with Pope Pius XII. He also knew about the existence of documents in the Vatican archives, some of which he was able to acquire and include in the new edition of his book that would be published in Italy.

On November 13, 1983 during a trip to Vienna, Austria, Mother Pascalina died. The next day the news was reported around the world and on the 15 of November, the most important newspapers in Rome published with headlines the statements made by Pascalina about the survival of the Romanov women and the news was picked up by the world press. Alexis was delighted but most of Europe’s royal houses were upset by the leak of what they considered a family secret and a discreet campaign of damage control was launched.

It was during this turmoil in the press that I received a phone call that politely suggested that my social standing could suffer if I would continue my acquaintance with prince Alexis. Unfortunately, being young and insecure, I ceased my contact with the prince, something that to this day I regret wholeheartedly as had I continued my acquaintance with him, I have no doubt that I would have had the opportunity to investigate further and would have had access to a treasure cove of important documents and testimonies that supported prince Alexis’ claims.

I now know, thanks to the excellent investigations of journalist and author, Marie Stravlo, that most of those documents, contained in seven bulky folders, were handled by Prince Alexis in November of 1993 to the Russian Ambassador in Madrid, to be considered by the special commission conformed in Russia. The same special commission that was investigating the murder of the Imperial Family and had requested the DNA tests of the alleged bones of the Romanovs discovered in 1991. As I mentioned before, I encouraged Prince Alexis to perform DNA tests of himself and his mother (who at that time was still alive) and his grandmother.  He had a representative in London, who contacted Dr. Gill and Dr. Ivanov who were at the Aldermaston Institute. There exist documents and testimonies about such actions.

THE SERBIAN FIASCO

On the 9th February of 1992 in a contortion of the Yugoslav political scene, the Spanish conservative daily ABC reported that a Serbian delegation headed by Milan Babic, president of the Autonomous Serbian Republic of Krajina, a territory in Croatia with a strong Serbian majority and by Vojislav Seselj, president of the Serbian Radical Party and commander-in-chief of the Chetnik guerilla forces, was due to visit Spain momentarily to meet with Alexis d’Anjou-Durassow, to offer him the throne of Serbia! The visitors were members of a Serbian extremist faction.

With the exception of Babic and Seselj the delegation was made up by people known for their extreme nationalism and aspirations for “Great Serbia”, or the incorporation to Serbia of all the territories of the former Yugoslav republic with a Serbian majority. Thus a Serbia which would include a good part of Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia and Kosovo. Further, Milan Babic and Vojslav Seselj opposed the UN peace plan for Yugoslavia and the presence of the “Blue Berets” in territories with a Serb majority in Croatia.

Rade Atic, publisher of the Yugoslav opposition magazine “ON” and a member of the delegation, said that the purpose of the visit to Spain “was to offer the Serbian crown to  Prince Alexis d’Anjou.” According to the magazine’s article of the 10th January of 1992, “there has been much well-founded excitement generated in Serbian circles in the last few weeks on the subject of Prince Alexis II Nemanitch Romanov Dolgorouky, Grand Master of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem.”  Well-founded because “Prince Alexis is undoubtedly the descendant of the glorious Serbian Tsar as well as of the famous royal family Nemanitch”. For Mr Rade Atic and Mr Borivoje Borovic, after two months of research which included the examination of many documents, genealogical tables and correspondence, had come to the irrevocable conclusion that Prince Alexis II is the descendant of glorious Hrebeljanovic Nemanitch and great grandson of Nikolaj II Tsar of Russia. In another part of the article the magazine stated that, “the Serbian connection comes through two marriages. The first, was that of Jelisaveta, daughter of Dragutin Nemanitch, with Etien Kotormanic. Their granddaughter, also named Jelisaveta, married Louis I d’Anjou, King of Hungary. The father of Prince Alexis II is a direct descendant of that marriage. The other connection comes through the great grandmother of Prince Alexis II, Princess Cleopatra Dabic Kotromanic, who was the descendant of Prince John, married to Maria, daughter of Tsar Lazar.” Further along the article, we learn that “many Serbs want” Prince Alexis II to accept the crown and that Serbia will soon become a monarchy. Prince Alexis II, however “will accept only under the condition that it reflects the will of all Serbian people including the Serbs who are now in Bosnia, Croatia,Slovenia etc.”

Alexis confirmed that he had been in touch for the last six months with Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic who favored a restoration of the monarchy. He recognized that there was a wide difference of opinion between Milosevic, who accepted a UN role, and Babic, who did not. Milosevic allegedly told Alexis that he would like to make use of him in some way in an effort to find an honorable “way out” but that he was, in the final analysis, responsible for the war. Once again he was used as a pawn in a power struggle but he did not realize it and the only reason I can think for this terrible judgement mistake is that he was by then so disenchanted with his life of a prince without a country that he decided to play along. This mistake would destroy the little credibility that he had and his reputation with the other European royal houses left beyond repair.

Two days later, on the 11th of February 1992 in a private ceremony that took place in the Parador Nacional de Monte Perdido in Bielsa (Aragon), Alexis solemnly accepted the crown of Serbia. According to ABC,  in his acceptance speech he made an allusion to God and referred to a “Great Serbia” which would include all the territories of the former Republic of Yugoslavia.  He also stated that his heart bleeds for the suffering of the Serbian people and made reference to several of his ancestors among which were the Serbian Nemanitchs, Serbian Tsar Lazar his great grandfather twice removed and Tsar Nicholas II of Russia his great grandfather. He promised to undertake to assume his obligations as “Prestolonaslednik and Great Voivod of Greater Serbia and of all Serbian lands.” The Spanish paper concluded that Alexis in reality was accepting the crown of a huge nonexistent Serbia whose borders he claims were those of 1918.

Evidently Alexis never traveled to Belgrade to sit on the Serbian throne! After this fiasco, he had no chance whatsoever to be accepted into the “Royal Club,” as all its members  rallied in support of His Royal Highness Prince Alexander Karageorgevic  and looked aghast at the pantomime. They had done the same during his Greek ill-fated adventure.

PRINCE ALEXIS’ OBSESSION WITH BEING ADOPTED

To try and analyze the psyche of another human being is a mission better left to professionals. In my limited understanding, I must suppose that Alexis’ obsession with being adopted by different father figures came from the lack of having that figure in his otherwise happy childhood. He hardly ever saw his “official” father, prince Basil d’Anjou-Durassow, who was of a similar age as his grandfather Nicholas Dolgorouky. Indeed,  prince Dolgorouky was the most positive male influence during his growing up years.

Adoption by Prince Nicholas Louise d’Anjou-Durassow

On the 1st November of 1979, Alexis was adopted by his cousin Prince Nicholas Louis d’Anjou-Durassow. The document states that “the undersigned Nicholas Louis Durassow, Prince d’Anjou Durassow, by these presents adopts his well-beloved cousin H.R.H. Don Alexis Dolgorouki d’Anjou-Durassow, prince d’Anjou-Durassow, Duke of Durazzo, stateless and under the protection of the Spanish state with identity document N.93.315, born in Bukavu, 4 May 1948, only son of my deceased Cousin and head of our family Prince Basil d’Anjou- Durassow, Duke of Durazzo (1887-1971).” The document concludes that Nicholas Louise authorizes his adopted son and heir as of the date, to style himself in Spain using the traditional and complete form of the name as recognized by King Alfonso XIII: “Durassow d’Anjou-Durazzo”.

One would ask why would prince Alexis need his cousin to adopt him? Why was he craving for such a recognition that he did not need? I can only speculate that the reply lays in the insecurity that he felt due to the fact he knew that his biological father was Victor Brimeyer and this was something totally traumatic and unacceptable to him.

Request of adoption to Prince Frederick of Saxe-Altenburg

In 1982 prince Alexis asked Prince Frederick of Saxe-Altenburg to adopt him with the excuse of obtaining German nationality. The German prince not only declined the request, but also gave serious advise to him concerning his responsibilities and his behavior. Prince Frederick came from a German royal family with strong connections with all the royal houses of Europe. He was loved, respected and considered a scholar in royal genealogy and European History. His dealings with Alexis were causing concern to some of his friends and relatives. Prince Alexis did not like nor understood his refusal and their relationship was hurt but after a short rift, they went back to their old warm relationship.

Adoption by Prince Bruce Alphonse of Bourbon-Condé

On the 3rd of February of 1984, Prince Bruce Alphonse of Bourbon-Condé, who three months later married Princess Olga Beatrice, officially adopted Alexis and authorized him to use the name of Bourbon-Condé. This is probably one of the most bizarre episodes in Alexis’ tragic life and unheard of in royal circles where the members of the different royal families only uses the surname of the father. From that day onward he would style himself as Prince Alexis d’Anjou Bourbon-Condé and Romanov-Dolgoruky, Duke of Durazzo.

Her Royal Highness Princess Olga Beatrice Dolgorouky with her son Prince Alexis d’Anjou-Durassow, Duke of Durazzo at the time of her marriage to Prince Bruce Alphonse of Bourbon-Condé.

EPILOGUE

Princess Olga Beatrice died on the 18th of May 1994 and was buried in San Sebastian (Spain). Her demise was another big blow for Prince Alexis. Despite their cold relationship during many years, when she became the widow of prince Bruce Bourbon-Condé, she moved to Madrid to be close to her son. They lived in the same building and kept a close contact. Mother and son were starting to grow a bond when she was diagnosed with cancer. After her death, Prince Alexis became ill and very depressed. His few loyal friends tried to distract him.  He was unable to work or carry out any political activities. His only goal was to demonstrate who he really was using scientific evidence. He never knew what happened with all the documents that he sent to Russia in November of 1993, to be studied by the commission. He had big hopes on the DNA testing, but his condition worsened; by the end of 1994 he was very weak. Forgotten by his Ukrainian supporters and ostracized by the European Royal Families and Madrid society, he died in great solitude on the 27th of January 1995 at the Hospital de la Princesa in Madrid supposedly from a double brain tumor. Some friends and acquaintances attributed his passing to pneumonia, others said it was a heart attack and many believed he was the victim of systematic poisoning.  Before he died he was able to make a testament by which he appointed Regent of the Neapolitan Royal House of d’Anjou-Durazzo and Lieutenant Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of the Ecumenical Knights of Malta O.S.J, his aide Emilio Lobera, Baron of Lobera. To this day Emilio Lobera is active in his mission to preserve the legacy of this tragic twentieth century prince, who during the course of his life never really found an identity with which he identified and felt at ease.

In my opinion, Alexis should have only been known as prince Alexis d’Anjou-Durassow, Duke of Durazzo. I know for a fact that this was the advice he received from some of his influential friends in Spain which he did not follow.  Sadly for him, he was not very good at heeding advice.

Had the Ukrainian people  decided the return of the monarchy, as was his pretension, at that time he could have changed his name to Dolgorouky (his mother’s name).  When his grandfather, Prince Nicholas Dolgorouky  died in 1970 he passed the rights to the throne of Ukraine to Alexis. After that day, he started to be known as Alexis d’Anjou-Dolgorouky which could be acceptable, especially in Spain where everyone, by law, uses both parents surnames.

The later addition of Romanov to his name, was in my view another judgement mistake, though it had been his grandmother’s will that he do so. It is unheard of in royal families to do such a thing because as I previously mentioned, all members of royal families only use their dynastic family name!

The cherry on the pie which discredited him further and gave his enemies the argument that he was an impostor suffering from folie de grandeurwas when he added to the long list of dynastic names,  Bourbon-Condé.

One can understand that being legitimate is essential for a member of any royal family but prince Alexis, though genetically the son of Victor Brimeyer, was not illegitimate. It is vital to understand this. He had been recognized by his official father, prince Basil d’Anjou-Durassow as his son and heir. On his mother side he was a member of the House of Dolgoroukov, an old Russian princely family that was a cadet branch of the Obolenskys. Sadly for prince Alexis, the shadow of Brimeyer would haunt him all his life and in my opinion it is the cause behind this absurd obsession of adding dynastic names to d’Anjou-Durassow as part of his quest for the recognition he so much craved.

The smear campaign against  prince Alexis continued well after his death and sadly with the advent of the World Wide Web his enemies made sure that his name would remain in the mud for generations to come by publishing different negative articles with the knowledge that he could no longer defend himself. I think that for history’s sake, it would be good to set the record straight through further scientific investigation and leaving aside personal feelings as he is no longer a threat to anyone’s interests.

In spite of the controversy that followed most of his decisions, Alexis had a kind nature and was a refined man of aristocratic manners. Highly cultured and with a great sense of humour, he was also very stubborn as Taurus are and in his own way quite a rebel. A true gentleman in the most ample concept of the word. With the perspective of time, I feel honoured to have been able to share some time with him and regret my erred decision not to have continued my acquaintance with him which could have very well ended in sincere friendship. May his soul rest in peace.

H.R.H Prince Alexis d’Anjou-Durassow ( Madrid 1985)

CONCLUSIONS

After many years of study and talks with specialists on the this fascinating mystery, I have come to the conclusion that the fate of the Romanovs could very well be included in a book titled One hundred years of deceit. I still ask myself why isn’t the truth allowed to resurface as all the main characters in this drama are deceased? Why is it still necessary to maintain the charade of the Ekaterinburg  murders?

I am convinced that the grand duchesses and the tsarina survived Ekaterinburg. I am now also certain that prince Alexis was not an impostor but a victim as was Anna Anderson/Anastasia Manahan (Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikoliaevna).

I have just found out that prince Alexis suffered the same hereditary malady as the tsarevitch, Alexei Nikolaevich: hemophilia. For some reason he hid this from everyone  with the exception of just very close friends. This is further proof of his Romanov connection.

I hope that some of the historians that are dedicating their lives to investigating the theory of the survival of the Imperial family and very specially, my friend Marie Stravlo, will soon publish a detailed account of the fate of the four beautiful grand duchesses. I know for a fact that she has interviewed people all over the world with amazing stories and connections to the truth, and has thousands of documents to support the real version of what really happened in Ekaterinburg in 1918.

And to conclude this article, let us go back to the Pauline Laws and to who is the Head of the Russian Imperial Family in 2017. After the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II in favour of his brother Grand Duke Michael who was proclaimed “Emperor Michael II,” to Russian troops and in cities throughout Russia, the new Emperor deferred to the will of the people and acknowledged the Provisional Government as the de facto executive, but neither abdicated nor refused to accept the throne. In his statement he said:

“Inspired, in common with the whole people, by the belief that the welfare of our country must be set above everything else, I have taken the firm decision to assume the supreme power only if and when our great people, having elected by universal suffrage a Constituent Assembly to determine the form of government and lay down the fundamental law of the new Russian State, invest me with such power.
Calling upon them the blessing of God, I therefore request all the citizens of the Russian Empire to submit to the Provisional Government, established and invested with full authority by the Duma, until such time as the Constituent Assembly, elected within the shortest possible time by universal, direct, equal and secret suffrage, shall manifest the will of the people by deciding upon the new form of government.”

As I have mentioned, the Pauline Laws  provide for succession by both male and female dynasts and they establish male-preference primogeniture.  This means that succession to the throne (or headship of the dynasty) passes by primogeniture to the senior male dynast.  At the death of the last male dynast, the succession passes to the female dynast most closely related to the last emperor.

For nearly two centuries, from the accession of Emperor Paul I in 1796 to the death of Grand Duke Vladimir in 1992, male dynasts held the throne or headship of the dynasty, based on primogeniture.  Due to the numerous non-dynastic marriages that occurred after the Revolution of 1917, the male dynasts of the Imperial House grew smaller in number as the years passed and finally died out in 1992.  The last living male dynasts were Prince Vassily of Russia who died in 1989 and Grand Duke Vladimir Kyrillovitch who died in 1992.

According to the Russian Legitimist Organization, as there are no male dynasts, the succession to the headship of the dynasty has passed to Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna.  She is the surviving female dynast most closely related to the last emperor, Tsar Nicholas II (or Michael II), but The Romanoff Family Association is not in agreement with this point of view or this interpretation of the Pauline Laws.

http://www.russianlegitimist.org/

http://www.romanovfamily.org/

I attended the same school in Madrid that Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna went to, and have had the honour of knowing her since those days. I was invited to the baptism of her son and heir, Grand Duke George. I only have praise for her and her work on behalf of the monarchy in Russia. In March 2013, her claim was recognized by the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Kirill I, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia and this has drawn further supporters among Russians to her cause and the possibility of the restoration of the monrchy. In an interview, the patriarch firmly rejected the claims of the other Romanov descendants and stated, “Today, none of those persons who are descendants of the Romanovs are pretenders to the Russian throne. But in the person of Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna and her son, George, the succession of the Romanovs is preserved — no longer to the Russian Imperial throne, but to history itself.”

http://www.imperialhouse.ru/en/

 

 

 

 

Pope Francis’ war against the Vatican traditionalists and the Catholic branch of the Order of Malta

What started out as a fight over staffing of the Catholic branch of the Order of Malta, has escalated into a public battle between His Holiness Pope Francis and the ultra conservative Vatican forces who oppose his progressive policies.

The  dispute began when British born Grand Master Mathew Festing sacked Grand Chancellor Albrecht von Boeselager who was accused of allowing the distribution of condoms to the poor in Burma. Von Boeselager protested that his dismissal was deeply unfair, a complaint that resulted in Pope Francis launching an investigation that was considered unacceptable to the Grand Chancellor who considered it meddling by the Pope in the Order’s internal affairs and refused any cooperation with the Pope’s commission of enquiry which in his opinion had no jurisdiction over the Order.

PA-20196555-800x500His Holiness Pope Francis and the former Grand Master of the Catholic branch of the Order of Malta, Mathew Festing

The Vatican reacted to the challenge with barely concealed anger, saying that the Pope had every right to intervene in the affairs of the Order because as leader of the Catholic Church, he was its spiritual head. The row between the Vatican and the Grand Master has ended with his forced humiliating resignation and the appointment of a papal delegate that will govern the Order until a new Grand Master, supposedly with progressive views more in tune with those of His Holiness is appointed.

Immediately after the resignation of the Grand Master, the Pope announced that all “disciplinary procedures” against Mr von Boeselager were immediately scrapped and his suspension from the Order, which had been decreed by Mr Festing, was annulled and he was reinstated as Grand Chancellor by the Sovereign Council, the governing body of the Order.

cvlmlt39_gran-ospedaliere-albrecht-freiherr-von-boeselagerThe Grand Chancellor, Albrecht von Boeselager

The New York Times has published that, “Conservatives have denounced what they call an illegal annexation of the Order and a purging by the a power- obsessed Pontiff, while liberal observers saw the whole episode as resulting from an act of subterfuge by the Pope’s most public critic within the Vatican hierarchy, the American cardinal Raymond Burke.”

The confrontation was viewed as a microcosm of the battle within the Vatican between conservatives and liberals, as Pope Francis upsets hardliners with his more compassionate stance on many important matters such as divorce, homosexuality, inter-religious dialogue, multi-culturism  etc.

The new political climate with the election of Trump as President of the United States and the rise of far-right populists in Europe have emboldened ultra conservatives in the Vatican who sense that the Pope could be vulnerable.

It is known that Pope Francis is critical of the paraphernalia surrounding the Knights of the Order and has, when he was cardinal in Argentina, a series of run-ins with the Argentinian Knights because of their display of wealth and their lack of charitable activities that in those days were limited to a charitable ball.

The resignation of the Grand Master has delighted the Pope’s followers around the world who support his compassionate approach as it has showed that conniving conservatives cannot push His Holiness around.

The Lieutenant Grand Master of The Sovereign Order of the Ecumenical Knights of Malta, Baron of Lobera has made a statement after the resignation of Mathew Festing:  “We are glad that the unfortunate and regrettable dispute that the Catholic branch of the Order of Malta has had with His Holiness Pope Francis has been solved with the resignation of the Grand Master.  Our branch has nothing to do with this dispute and we are totally supportive of  His Holiness’ view point in this dispute.
We are purely  a humanitarian organization  with members of both genders, all religions and many different cultures serving the common good. We support fully the Declaration of the Vatican Council II, entitled Nostra Eatate, on the relations of the Church with non-Christian religions, one of the milestones in the propitiation of inter-religious dialogue, which spread through the Secretariat for non-Christians, instituted by H.H. Pope Paul VI in 1964, and continued with the Pontifical Council for the interreligious dialogue created by H.H. Pope Juan Pablo II in 1988 with the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus. This policy is now followed by H.H Pope Francis”.

The Ecumenical branch of the Order of Malta moved to Russia and placed itself under the protection of the Tsars when the Order was exiled from Malta after Napoleon’s invasion of the island.

183760_4559811113049_850026826_nThe Lieutenant Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of the Ecumenical Knights of Malta O.S.J, Baron of Lobera

 

Does Vladimir Putin know the true fate of the Russian Imperial Family?

History  is re-discovered and re-written from time to time as it should be when historians and investigators make discoveries that question accepted facts. Could the true fate of the last Romanov Tsar and his family be one of them?
A few days ago an article was published mentioning  the profound interest that President Putin has shown in the re-investigation of  the disappearance of Tsar Nicholas II ‘s  and his family. His government created a new commission of experts and former President Dimitri Medvedev hand picked  the historians and scientist that would work together with members of the Orthodox Church in the supposedly final investigation. They have worked for over a year with no results yet, at least not announced. But why would this new investigation be necessary? Why all the doubts after they announced in 1994 that the remains had been properly identified using DNA from royal relatives? Those remains were buried at the Cathedral of Peter and Paul and many members of the Romanov Family attended the ceremony. Then, what is wrong in this case?
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According to a Facebook page with thousands of followers from around the world, the true fate of the last Imperial  Family of Russia was very different to what has been accepted for almost a century.
The page of The Russian Imperial Family Historical Society (RIFHS) http://www.facebook.com/RUSSIAN-IMPERIAL-FAMILY-HISTORICAL-SOCIETY-281626701958649/ is visited every day by hundreds of Romanov fans; some attracted by the romantic stories of the family, others with real historical interest because they  believe that there are many facts that have not been revealed yet.
After the disappearance of the Romanovs in July of 1918, several articles in prominent newspapers outside of Russia reported them as “alive and in hiding”. Even the mother of the Tsar, Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, repeatedly affirmed till the last day of her life in 1928 the her son and his family were alive, living in hiding and surrounded by loyalists. She never  went into mourning and remained in high spirits during the months following the alleged murder. The “official version” of the murders was published by investigator  Sokolov in 1924, and from that moment on it was accepted as the truth, although serious historians, forensic experts and Romanov scholars have contested his findings and disputed his shallow arguments.
minnieDowager Empress Marie Feodorovna on board HMS Marlborough on her way to exile.
In 1992, after the discovery of some putative bones of the Romanovs was announced, the Orthodox Church inside Russia raised their concerns, and so did a group of scholars and amateur historians from twelve different countries that have continued investigating this case in depth, visiting public and private archives, and gathering documents, letters, photos and testimonies in different languages and from truth worthy people.
In 1998, the Russian government announced the burial of the bones that had been identified as those of Nicholas II and four members of his family. Two skeletons were missing.  When the state funeral of the so called “Romanov remains” took place,  the Orthodox Church refused to participate. Alexei II, then Patriarch of Russia did not attend the ceremony and a few days before appeared on national television explaining the reasons why him and his group of investigators did not believe those bones belonged to the Imperial Family. During seventeen years they continued asking for a new investigation, especially after the surface of forty four bone fragments that were discovered and also identified as those of the missing skeletons.
final_burial_01Burial at the Crypt of St Petersburg’s st Peter and Paul Cathedral on July 17th 1998
Finally, in 2015 the Russian government ordered the  re-opening of the investigation. The director of the State Archive A. Mironenko agrees  that is necessary to take into account all the historical documents. This is the same claim that a group of dedicated  historians in Ekaterinburg, led by Professor Veniamin Alekseev, have made since many years.
But there has also been keen interest in the west. In 2010 I became aware of the existence of several historians in Europe and in the USA that firmly believe that the truth about the fate of the Romanovs has not been told, yet. They are very excited about this new chance to scrutinize what has been told and written and reveal to the world the other story that has been banned to the public.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to discover the truth and set the record straight. Scientific proof is highly important. I believe DNA tests are crucial and must be taken into account; but also historical documents and lots of circumstantial evidence should be examined”. Said Marie Stravlo, an investigative journalist, author and translator that is now leading the RIFHS. I  met her in Spain several years ago during one of her many  research trips .
She started her own investigation in 1998 after receiving privileged information about the true fate of the Romanovs by a member of the Imperial Family of Germany, whose parents had strong blood ties with the Romanovs. Since January of 2009 Stravlo has been completely devoted to a full time investigation with amazing but controversial results. That same year she met other investigators that shared information and documents, and joined the Russian Imperial Family Historical Society. After traveling to nine countries on several occasions, and interviewing members of royal houses, other Romanov scholars, historians, authors and  people with amazing knowledge of the story, she is absolutely convinced that there is ” another story, the real story”, that has never been told with regard to this case.  During seven years she gathered not only stories about the members of Nicholas and Alexandra’s family that were never told before, but also photos, documents, testimonies and letters, hundreds of letters that could expose a different fate of the Imperial Family.
marieMarie Stravlo
I have always had a core believe, from when I was a teenager, that Anastasia Manahan was Grand Duchess Anastasia and  the story has always fascinated me. When I met Marie Stravlo and she kindly shared some of her findings, I was so impressed that I wanted to write a historical novel. She agreed to cooperate and allowed me to use the story about a lost Romanov Icon that belonged to Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna, daughter of Tsar Paul I.   The book, published in 2012 under the titled THE LOST ROMANOV ICON AND THE ENIGMA OF ANASTASIA,
http://www.thelostromanovicon.com/  refers to the religious relic, but also to the case of Anna Anderson, providing information and documents which prove that she was Grand Duchess Anastasia. It is also an eye opener to all this case.
Marie Stravlo has published three books related to the topic. Another is ready to be published  in 2017 and is working around the clock on a new biography of the Romanov women that will surprise the world.
I am very  pleased  because she agreed to work with me on the sequel to The Lost Romanov Icon.
It is very possible that President Vladimir Putin knows the truth. As a former KGB agent he might have had access to classified information from the Cheka, the acting secret police when the Romanovs disappeared. Cheka files are still classified, despite the many years that have passed and the requests by historians to read their content. President Putin  is waiting  for the final conclusion of  the team of investigators appointed by the government, to prove one version or the other, and close the case forever.
“I believe that the people of Russia deserve to know the truth. It’s Russia’s past. It’s Russia’s history. But also the rest of the world needs and wants to know what happened in Ekaterinburg, at the Ipatiev House, during the night of July 16-17, 1918, once and for all”. Said Marie Stravlo when I met her, and I fully agree with her.
If the Romanovs were rescued and survived, what happened to them?  I have had lengthy talks with Marie Stravlo and I think she will soon have most of the answers which I trust she will reveal  in her future publications; or perhaps we all will have to wait until the Russian government and the Orthodox Church announce their findings and close this fascinating case forever.
I personally have concluded that the Imperial Family did survive and I trust that this fact will be finally revealed and history re.written.
Interesting Facebook page on Grand Duchess Anastasia Nicolaievna   https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=anastasia%20romanov%20manahan%20historical%20society

La Infanta Cristina victima de la conspiracion criminal de Manos Limpias/Ausbanc

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Ayer, por casualidad,vi un programa de investigación en LA SEXTA TV sobre Manos Limpias/Ausbanc y me quede realmente alucinado de lo que vi y escuche.

Manos Limpias había nacido  como una organización de representación de empleados de la función publica para luchar contra la corrupción y se había aliado con una asociación  de usuarios de servicios bancarios llamada Ausbanc.

La relevancia de Manos Limpias no se debe tanto a sus acciones sindicales como a las abundantes denuncias presentadas como acusación popular sobre temas variados que afectan a la política municipal y nacional y siempre buscando los mas mediáticos como fueron el caso Pujol, de las Ere, la pitada al himno nacional en el Camp Nou y últimamente, el caso Noos.

Por su parte, Ausbanc nació con el objetivo  de defender los derechos e intereses legales de los usuarios de los servicios bancarios prestados por las entidades de crédito y los establecimientos financieros de crédito y a todos los consumidores y usuarios en cualquier ámbito.

Las dos entidades han resultado ser  dos caras de una misma maquinaria de extorsión, engrasada durante décadas. Ambas organizaciones, que se presentaban como luchadores altruistas contra la corrupción y en favor de los consumidores, se han revelado como unas estructuras levantadas para el enriquecimiento ilícito de sus dirigentes,

Una de las victimas de estos dos siniestros personajes ha sido S.A.R LA Infanta Doña Cristina. Manos Limpias como acusación popular no paro hasta conseguir verla sentada en el banquillo a pesar de todos los informes en contra de la fiscalía del estado. Todo ello con el unico objetivo de extorsionar al circulo de la Infanta, la cantidad de tres millones de euros.

Es en mi opinión grave e injusto  hacer pasar a una Infanta de España por el amargo trago de tener que declarar como imputada, pero es gravísimo y roza los limites de otro delito, el imputar a Doña Cristina sabiendo que la imputación afectaría de manera muy negativa a la imagen de la institución monárquica. Todo ha sido premeditado para causar el mayor daño al Rey Felipe VI pues es  de sobra conocido que ambos sinvergüenzas tienen simpatías ultra derechistas y que el presidente de Ausbanc había sido militante de Fuerza Nueva, partido que fue enemigo acérrimo de la monarquía parlamentaria a la que consideraban traidora a los principios del Movimiento Nacional.

A mi siempre me sorprendió la inquina y el odio que la abogada que representaba a Manos Limpias, Virginia Lopez Negrete mostraba hacia la figura de la hermana del Rey.  En mi opinión la acusación de Manos Limpias no solamente era totalmente temeraria pero era una acusación con mala fe. Intente convencerme de que al menos sus intenciones serían honorables. Finalmente, todos hemos podido ver  que las intenciones de Manos “Sucias” estaban en las antípodas de la honorabilidad.

El presidente de Ausbanc, Luis Pineda, prometió en una conversación telefónica “plegar velas” en la acusación contra la Infanta Cristina en el caso Nóos e incrementó de dos a tres millones de euros el pago requerido para hacerlo, argumentando que la causa generaba “muchos gastos procesales”.

En el auto en el que envía a prisión a Pineda y al secretario general de Manos Limpias, Miguel Bernad, el juez Santiago Pedraz detalla la estrategia de ambos para intentar negociar la retirada de la acusación “a cambio de un acuerdo que les beneficiaría económicamente”.

El primer contacto impulsado por Pineda se produjo el 29 de febrero a través de una llamada al director general de la Fundación La Caixa en el que le propone un pacto. La intención era pactar una declaración convenida que pudieran después utilizar para justificar su decisión de apartarse del juicio.

Pocos días después, el responsable de la asociación de usuarios de cajas transmitía al también arrestado Francisco Javier Castro Villacañas sus impresiones sobre el papel de la abogada de Manos Limpias Virginia López Negrete.

En su opinión, la abogada Virginia López Negrete se había “pasado” en su intervención en ocasión de la declaración de la hermana del rey Felipe VI, que tuvo lugar el 3 de marzo. “Tendrá que plegar velas y punto”, dijo y agregó que la letrada ya había tenido su “momento de gloria” y tendría que asumir la decisión le gustara o no.

La estrategia estaba dirigida por Pineda que mantuvo numerosas conversaciones con el secretario general de Manos Limpias, Miguel Bernad. “Era Pineda el que marcaba las pautas”, precisa el auto.

Unos días después de la declaración de la Infanta en el juicio, el 14 de marzo, Pineda llamó a otro banco, en este caso el Sabadell. En concreto, se puso en contacto con el subdirector general de la Asesoría Jurídica y le pidió que hablara con el abogado defensor de la Infanta, Miquel Roca.

El auto desvela que seis meses antes, en septiembre, Bernad ya había realizado un primer tanteo. Entonces el secretario general de Manos Limpias, propuso a este directivo del Sabadell que “ayudara” al responsable de una empresa de seguridad que se encontraba en una grave situación económica. La cantidad solicitada era entonces de dos millones de euros.

El subdirector del banco catalán denunció los hechos a la Policía, a la que dijo que nunca tuvo intención de ceder a las propuestas de Pineda y quería “informarse” y ganar tiempo para conocer sus intenciones reales.

Miguel Roca, abogado de la Infanta,  también acudió a las autoridades a las que dijo que no quiso reunirse con ninguno de ellos por motivos deontológicos pero que tenía “cierta curiosidad por saber lo que podían proponer”.

Afortunadamente la Policía de Delitos Económicos llevaba tiempo investigando a los dos criminales que han sido detenidos y enviados a prisiòn sin fianza desde el pasado 18 de Abril por extorsión, amenazas y organización criminal.

Segun el diario El Pais,  La “organización criminal” destapada en torno a Manos Limpias y Ausbanc, que acudían de la mano a procesos judiciales y chantajeaban a los querellados para retirar las querellas presentadas previamente contra ellos, tenía en su cúspide a Pineda. Este antiguo dirigente ultraderechista, encarcelado en 1981 tras promover altercados a favor del golpe de Estado del 23-F, fundó Ausbanc en 1986. Tras formarse un nombre en la defensa de los clientes de la banca, la asociación comenzó a desarrollar la actividad que ha permitido a Pineda hacerse millonario: extorsionar a las entidades bancarias a quienes garantizaba buena imagen pública en sus ránkings a cambio de dinero.

La fórmula más habitual de cobro era la inserción de anuncios publicitarios en las diferentes revistas del grupo Ausbanc, cuyas tiradas eran tan exiguas como potente era su repercusión en el sector financiero. Durante más de dos décadas gran parte de los bancos y cajas españoles pasaron por el chantaje de Pineda. En los últimos cinco años, la asociación amasó 7,1 millones de euros por este método. Las entidades que optaron por negarse se convirtieron inmediatamente en el blanco de sus ataques. En 2014, cuando sus métodos de chantaje eran de sobra conocidos en el sector bancario, Ausbanc fue expulsada del Registro Estatal de Asociaciones de Consumidores, lo que le inhabilitaba para recibir subvenciones públicas (en 2004 percibió 309.000 euros, y el resto de años se están analizando).

De Iñaki Undangarin no opino, ya lo hará la justicia,  Yo por mi parte no le puedo perdonar el daño que ha hecho a la Corona. Antes del escándalo del caso Noos, los ex Duques de Palma de Mallorca eran admirados y queridos por amplios círculos y contaban con el afecto y el cariño de la gran mayoría del pueblo español. Desgraciadamente ese sincero afecto lo han perdido.

Me entristece el calvario que ha sufrido la Infanta Doña Cristina. Me produce congoja pensar en el devastador efecto que esta terrible odisea haya podido tener sobre sus hijos, también victimas inocentes como ella de esta conspiración.  La indignidad de ser imputada es ya un precio altísimo que ha tenido que pagar por la amoralidad de dos personajes siniestros cuyo único afán era el lucro despiadado y la venganza cuando vendían altruismo.

La Infanta Cristina ha sido victima de una conspiración criminal  con la intención de extorsionar 3 millones de euros y al mismo tiempo dañar al máximo la buena imagen de la figura de Su Majestad el rey Felipe VI y la institución monárquica. Hay algo mas deleznable y repugnante?

The human cost of terrorism

So far this summer, the pace and scope of the killings are dizzying. Bombs have exploded in Bhagdad, Nice, Istanbul, Orlando, Dhaka, Djakana, Lafoole, Tal Abyad, Kot, Mogadishu, Qaa, Al Mukalla, Medina, Lahore, Al Hasakah, Um al Housh, Aleppo, Mosul, Aden, Kabul, Qamishli, Ankara, Iskandariya, Brussels etc. Each explosion or bullet has teared holes in homes and communities causing unbearable pain to the families and friends of the survivors.

Palestinian-terrorist-attack-620x310

In just a couple of months hundreds of lives cut short by heinous acts of terrorism and its important to reveal the humanity lost and that a life is a life, wherever and whenever it is curt short. All these acts of terror have a ripple effect to the immediate surviving relatives: people who have lost parents, spouses, siblings or friends.

Most of the victims, young and old, have left behind parents, whose language of mourning trascends borders and cultures. It is a pain that surely is indescribable. Victims ages range from mid eighties to even unborn babies with must in the prime of their lives.

Among the victims, there were Jews, Christians, Atheists and even Hindus but a large number of them were Muslims. The cowardly attack at the Lahore Park that targeted Christians families killed more Muslims!

American, French, Chinese, Congolese, Lebanese, Syrian, Saudi Arabian, Turkish, Afghans, Egyptians, Israelis, Macedonians, British, Peruvians, Germans, Nigerian, Somalian and other nationalities were among the victims who were also musicians, teachers, students, waitresses, police officers, farmers. home makers, business men and from many other professions.

The result of this madness is hundreds of families torn apart with surviving relatives and friends trying to hold close to the last moments with loved ones, parsing them for deeper meanings.

What emerges is a tapestry of hundreds of anonymous lives interrupted and of which we barely know much about, if it was not for anecdotal shards or bits of memory shared in the press by those left behind, in the details of their dreams and the things left undone.

If ony the perpetrators just stopped to reflect on this and how they would feel if their loved ones were to suffer a similar fate, they might re-consider being the cause of so much suffering. They too have parents, spouses and siblings and should feel some empathy.

Pope Francis has just said: ” The world is at war. Not a war of religion. There is a war of interests. There is a war for money. There is a war for natural resources. There is a war for domination of peoples. This is the war. All religions want peace. Others want war. Do you understand?”

The Dalai Lama often repeats that, “Violence only generates more violence!” and this is definitely true but what is the solution to these terrible attacks that are fast becoming part of our daily lives? I wish I would have the answer but I do not. The only thing I am certain of is that we can’t play into the hand of the terrorists by changing the way we live, by feeling apprehension to those different to us, by posting hate messages on our social media or by alienating ourselves from our fellow human beings with whom we at last have one thing in common and that is our yearning to find happiness.

Brussels-Attack

In defense of Secularism in Turkey

Mustafa Kemal, known as Atatürk,  led Turkey into the modern world after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. Under his leadership, thousands of new schools were built, primary education was made free and compulsory, and women were given equal civil and political rights, while the burden of taxation on peasants was reduced. He was and still is considered by most Turks as the Father of  a Secular modern nation and  the principles of  his reforms are enshrined in the Constitution.

indexAtatürk

The Turkish President since 2014, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan served previously as Prime Minister  from 2003 to 2014. When he was first  elected PM,  the West  hoped that he would serve as a democratic model for the rest of the Islamic world. That was a long time ago.

But Erdoğan is fast becoming a dictator. Not long after his initial election, his  agents embarked on a large and sinister campaign to destroy his political opponents, jailing hundreds—journalists, university rectors, military officers, aid workers—on trumped-up charges and fabricated evidence. Unfortunately, despite his excesses, he has remained fairly popular as the Turkish economy rapidly grew. In 2014, having completed three terms as Prime Minister, he ran for President and won.  The legacy of Atatürk is probably the reason why Turkish voters have refused to give him the blank check he desired, and last year turned down his effort to modify the Constitution to give himself vast new powers.

Since becoming President, Erdoğan has made a further turn toward dictatorship, crushing the remnants of a free press.  Dexter Filkins in his article for New Yorker:  Erdogan’s March to Dictatorship wrote, ” In December, 2014, Turkish police arrested the editor of Zaman, the country’s largest newspaper, which had not only been a critic of Erdoğan but also written extensively about the corruption that pervades his government and family. The editor, Ekrem Dumanlı, was accused of trying to mount a coup d’état. Earlier this month, the government seized Zaman and began printing pro-government articles.

The problem for Erdoğan was that the Cumhuriyet story came out just as he was succumbing to pressure from the Obama Administration to switch his policy and join the fight against ISIS. You can imagine what a hypocrite Erdoğan felt like when the Cumhuriyet story hit the stands. In November, government agents arrested its two top editors, Can Dündar and Erdem Gül, both veteran journalists, on charges of espionage. Prosecutors are demanding life sentences for the pair. Erdoğan himself is a plaintiff in the case. Last week, a judge ordered the trial closed to the public.

Erdoğan’s campaign against Cumhuriyet has coincided with an equally brazen assault on Kurdish journalists, at least a dozen of whom have been arrested and detained on charges that they support terrorism. There are at least twenty reporters now imprisoned in Turkey, according to Nina Ognianova, of the Committee to Protect Journalists, in New York. “It’s so hard to get information that we aren’t sure how many journalists have been detained,” Ognianova said. “The campaign is unrelenting.”

According to the same article in the New Yorker, President Obama has changed his view on Erdogan: “In discussions with Jeffrey Goldberg, of the Atlantic, Obama said that while he once imagined Erdoğan as a moderate, he now sees him as an authoritarian and a failure.”

The failed alleged coup against Erdogan has been costly in lives. Reuters say that over 200 dead and close to 1000 injured and this is inadmissible. By asking his supporters to go out to the streets against the coup, the government  is also responsible for this toll result of the violence.  The government accuses the moderate cleric Fethullah Gülen who lives in exile in the US as the man behind the coup but he has publicly condemned the coup and suggests that Erdogan might have organized an auto-coup. More of this later. 

http://www.gulenmovement.us/

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Since Atartürk founded the modern secular republic of Turkey in 1923, the Turkish military has perceived itself as guardian of Kemalism, the official state ideology, even though Atatürk himself insisted separating the military from politics. Since then the military has both been an important force in Turkey’s continuous Westernization and  enjoys a high degree of popular legitimacy, with continuous opinion polls suggesting that the military is the state institution that the Turkish people trust the most.

Military rule is no solution to a country’s problems and in Turkey until the restoration of democracy there was much repression and many people were incarcerated and killed under military rule. Yesterday’s coup was  in the name of Kemalism and according to the military leaders behind it,  in the name of democracy and secularism. Democracy is paramount and must be preserved in Turkey at all costs.

The Turks should be able to get rid of Erdogan, if that is their wish, through the ballot box  but that will be difficult  as he has total control of the press  and his repressive tactics will help him remain in power indefinitely.

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The coup has failed and  since then, the government has detained close to 60.000 people including magistrates, judges, officers, soldiers, teachers and students and has closed over 600 private schools.

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Erdogan has announced that there will be no mercy and the government is considering re-instating the death penalty. and has declared martial law.  His big strides towards becoming a full fledged dictator, I believe are a big error.  Negotiation, mercy and compassion should have been his tools to appease the Army and close the gap between secularists and his Islamist followers.  He should realize that as a democratically elected President he has to abide by the constitution of his country but his agenda is clear. Turkey, a magnificent country and an important ally of the West needs our help.

The United Nations, the United States and the European Union have  urged Erdogan to show restraint in his crackdown but their voices have not been heard. Turkey is a valued ally and stability is paramount.

Kemalism must be kept alive and it is now up to the Western leaders to leave  diplomatic language  aside and go straight to the point: that any leader who jails journalists, bombs the Kurds and jails his opponents in such a scandalous manner—is no friend of the the West. This is how we can help maintain democracy in Turkey.