11/24 OCTOBER 1938 DECLARATION OF THE SENIOR RUSSIAN DYNASTS
ISSUED AT THE TIME OF THE SUCCESSION OF GRAND DUKE WLADIMIR AS HEAD OF THE RUSSIAN IMPERIAL HOUSE
After the death of Grand Duke Kirill in 1938 and the succession of his son, Grand Duke Wladimir, as Head of the Russian Imperial House, an important declaration was released. It was published with the permission of Grand Duke Wladimir and was issued by the 5 dynasts most senior in the line of succession after Grand Duke Wladimir. Thus, it represented the position of the 6 most senior dynasts.
The 5 signatories were Grand Duke Boris (1st in the line of succession after Grand Duke Wladimir), Grand Duke Andrew (2nd in line), Grand Duke Dmitry Pavlovich (3rd in line), Prince Vsevelod of Russia (4th in line), and Prince (later Grand Duke) Gavriel (5th in line).
The declaration lists, in their order of succession, all the living male dynasts of the Imperial House. By publishing this list, the 6 most senior dynasts of the Imperial House made clear that the growing number of children of non-dynastic marriages (morganatic or unequal marriages) were not dynasts and were not in the line of succession. Several such non-dynastic children, omitted from the list, were alive in 1938, including Nicholas R. Romanoff (1922-2014) (son of Prince Roman of Russia, a dynast), later president of the Romanov Family Association; Dmitry R. Romanoff (1926-2016); son of Prince Roman of Russia and later acting head of the Romanov Family Association); Vladimir Andreivich Romanoff (son of Grand Duke Andrew, a signatory of the 1938 declaration); Paul Ilyinsky (son of Grand Duke Dmitry, a signatory of the 1938 declaration); Nikita and Alexander Romanoff (sons of Prince Nikita of Russia); Andrew Romanoff (son of Prince Andrew of Russia); and others.
The text of the declaration follows:
"We, members of the Imperial House of Russia, having assembled after the death of the Head of our House, the Grand Duke Kirill Wladimirovich, consider it our most sacred duty solemnly to declare that the rights of each of the members of the Imperial House of Russia are exactly determined by the Fundamental Laws of the Russian Empire and the Statute of the Imperial Family, that they are known perfectly to all, and that we must observe them religiously, by virtue of a special oath, which is why the question of the order of succession to the throne has never caused the slightest doubt among us and still less a disagreement of any kind. We reject any departure from the order provided by the law, because that would be an offense against the intangibility of our laws and of our family traditions.
"By virtue of the laws indicated above, we recognize that the succession to the throne belongs by right, in order of primogeniture, to the senior member of the Imperial House of Russia, the Grand Duke Wladimir Kirillovich, which he assumed by inheritance after the death of his father on 29 September/12 October 1938, with a profound awareness of the sacred duty which devolves upon him according to law as Head of the Imperial House of Russia, bestowing upon him all the rights and duties belonging to him by virtue of the Fundamental Laws of the Russian Empire and the Statute of the Imperial Family.
"The members of the Imperial House of Russia appear as follows by primogeniture in the order of succession: Grand Duke Boris Wladimirovich, Grand Duke Andrew Wladimirovich, Grand Duke Dmitry Pavlovich, Prince Vsevolod Ioannovich, Prince Gavriel Constantinovich, Prince George Constantinovich, Prince Roman Petrovich, Prince Andrew Alexandrovich, Prince Feodor Alexandrovich, Prince Nikita Alexandrovich, Prince Dmitry Alexandrovich, Prince Rostislav Alexandrovich, and Prince Vassily Alexandrovich.