Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich of Russia

(1891-1942)

 Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich of Russia, 1891-1942 

Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich of Russia, 1891-1942 

HIH Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich of Russia[i] was exiled to the Persian front by Nicholas II after his participation in the murder of Grigori Rasputin in December of 1916 was made known. His exile meant he was spared the fate of his father and cousins murdered by the Bolsheviks from 1918-1919. After the Revolution, the 29-year-old Grand Duke arrived in Teheran, and came under the care of the British Ambassador to Persia, Sir Charles Marling.[ii]  Marling was responsible for securing safe passage of the Grand Duke to London[iii], but Dmitri Pavlovich soon moved to Paris, where he was quickly pulled into Russian monarchist affairs.

Grand Duke Dmitri had been proposed as a potential candidate for the throne by several monarchist groups, and by the time of his arrival in Paris, Dmitri Pavlovich was aware of the bitter rivalry between the camps of the supporters of Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich and those of Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich. He also understood that he attracted supporters of his own who supported neither Nicholas nor Kirill.

On August 8th, 1922, a makeshift “Zemsky Sobor” had been convened at Priamur, and Grand Duke Nicholas had been “elected” Emperor, in direct violation of the Pauline laws and the order of succession.  The Grand Duke had neither accepted nor refused this illegal empty gesture.  Having waited for confirmation of the death of Emperor Nicholas II, his son, and his brother, in 1924 Kirill Vladimirovich announced (also on August 8) that he would assume “guardianship” of the throne of Russia.  Shortly thereafter, on September 13, he issued his manifesto on the assumption of all imperial rights and the title of Emperor.  On the 25th of September 1924, Grand Duke Alexander issued his famous appeal to Russians to stand with Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich[iv], and it was at this time that Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich attached himself firmly and publically to the Legitimist cause.

 Grand Duke Dmitri with his son, HSH Prince Paul Romanovsky-Ilyinsky, and his wife, Princess Anna Romanovsky-Ilyinsky (née Audrey Emery)

Grand Duke Dmitri with his son, HSH Prince Paul Romanovsky-Ilyinsky, and his wife, Princess Anna Romanovsky-Ilyinsky (née Audrey Emery)

In 1926, Grand Duke Dmitri sought permission from Grand Duke Kirill to marry morganatically.   His wife, the former Audrey Emery of Cincinatti, converted to Russian Orthodoxy and took the name Anna Ioannovna in baptism.  She was subsequently granted the title of Princess Ilyinsky “ad personam” by Grand Duke Kirill. Their son, Paul Dmitrievich was born in 1928, and styled His Serene Highness Prince Ilyinsky. Grand Duke Dmitri and Princess Ilyinsky would divorce in 1937.[v][vi]

In 1928, the Dowager Empress died, and Grand Duke Kirill was received at the funeral as head of the House of Romanoff by the Royal family of Denmark – it was the last time that the entire Dynasty appeared as a single undivided family and Grand Duke Dmitri was a prominent figure in the proceedings.  In his memoirs, on the funeral of the Dowager Empress Harald Graf recounts:

 Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich of Russia, 1930's

Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich of Russia, 1930's

“ At 6 p.m., Grand Duke Dimitry Pavlovich arrived. He advised that the notorious Supreme Monarchist Council, apprised of the imminent death of Nicholas Nikolaevich, was requesting Dimitry Pavlovich to assume the overall leadership of the monarchist movement. At the time the council consisted of A. Krupensky, Prince Gorchakov, Markov the 2nd, Talberg, Prince Shirinsky-Shikhmatov, Kepken and several others.

In response to this proposal Dimitry Pavlovich had answered: "Why are you making me this offer? You should know that my leadership would compel you to submit to His Majesty Kirill Vladimirovich." Displeased with this reply, the subject was dropped.

Dimitry Pavlovich inferred that they not only were seeking his leadership but had hopes of later persuading him to dispute the rights of Kirill Vladimirovich to the succession of the throne. After the death of Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich, on their own initiative, they expressed their "subservience" to His Majesty, only to later attempt to come up with their own pretender to the throne in the person of Prince Nikita Alexandrovich.”[vii]

 

After the death of both the Dowager Empress and Grand Duke Nicholas, the way was cleared for a stronger Legitimist movement

 Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich at right, with Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich

Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich at right, with Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich

 HIH Grand Duke Dmitri stands between the Head of The Russian Imperial House, Grand Duke Wladimir Kirillovich and HH Prince Vsevolod of Russia at the wedding of HIH Grand Duchess Kira Kirillovna of Russia to HRH Prince Louis-Ferdinand of Prussia, 1938.

HIH Grand Duke Dmitri stands between the Head of The Russian Imperial House, Grand Duke Wladimir Kirillovich and HH Prince Vsevolod of Russia at the wedding of HIH Grand Duchess Kira Kirillovna of Russia to HRH Prince Louis-Ferdinand of Prussia, 1938.

The youngest of the Grand Dukes, Dmitri Pavlovich frequently represented Grand Duke Kirill at events public, private, and political.  He was prominent at the at the funerals of King Georgios II of Greece (1924), Queen Astrid of the Belgians (1935), at the wedding of Grand Duke Kirill’s daughter, the Grand Duchess Kira to Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia (1938), and also at the ceremonies surrounding the accession of Grand Duke Wladimir to the rights of the headship of the Imperial House on the death of his father in 1938.

 Grand Duke Wladimir Kirillovich on his accession to the headship of the Imperial House in the presence of the Union des Nobles, Paris, 1938. Note Grand Duke Dmitri directly behind Emperor-in-Exile Wladimir.   

Grand Duke Wladimir Kirillovich on his accession to the headship of the Imperial House in the presence of the Union des Nobles, Paris, 1938. Note Grand Duke Dmitri directly behind Emperor-in-Exile Wladimir.

 

Grand Duke Dmitri was also active politically.  Together with his cousin, Prince Dmitri Alexandrovich, he was very involved in the monarchist youth organizations which sprang up in the years between the wars.  By 1923, the largest of these was the “Union of Young Russia” (Союз Молодой России) which was renamed the “Union of Mladorossi” (Cоюз Младороссов) by 1925.  This problematic group began as a monarchist organization, but was gradually radicalized along the lines of Italian fascism by its founder, Alexander Kazembek.  Grand Duke Dmitri grew increasingly uneasy with the tenor of the group’s politics, and by the outbreak of World War II was publicly making anti-fascist statements.  Grand Duke Dmitri warned his cousin Grand Duke Wladimir Kirillovich of any association with the fascists, prompting Grand Duke Wladimir to make a filmed statement disavowing rumors of collaboration with the Nazi authorities in Germany.[viii]

Grand Duke Dmitri was poised to become one of the chief advisors and confidants of Grand Duke Wladimir, and his support would have been invaluable to the 21-year-old head of the House of Romanoff[ix], but unfortunately the tuberculosis which had plagued Dmitri Pavlovich since the early 1920’s became chronic and ultimately fatal.  The Grand Duke died at a health sanitarium near Davos, Switzerland in 1942.  He was buried first in Switzerland in 1942, and his remains were later transferred to the Bernardotte family crypt at the home of his nephew at Mainau, on Lake Constance, where he rests with his sister, the Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna the Younger.

 

 The funeral of Grand Duke Dmitri, Switzerland, 1942.

The funeral of Grand Duke Dmitri, Switzerland, 1942.

NOTES

[i] Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich was born on his family estate at Ilyinskoye near Moscow on the 18th of September 1891, the only son of HIH Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich of Russia (1860-1919) and his first wife, née HRH Princess Alexandra of Greece and Denmark (1870-1891).

[ii] Sir Charles Murray Marling, GCMG CB (3rd December 1862 – 17 February 1933), was educated at Wellington and Trinity College, Cambridge before he entered the Diplomatic Service in 1888.  He was the British Ambassador during the Constitutional Revolution in Persia from 1905-1907, and served again as Ambassador during the First World War from 1915-1918.  In March of 1919 he was appointed the British minister to Denmark, and from 1921, he was based at The Hague until his 1926 retirement.

[iii] Cf. Wikipedia entry for Grand Duke Dmitri and which cites the correspondence of Sir Charles with the Foreign Office, kept at the Public Records Office, Kew, UK. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Duke_Dmitri_Pavlovich_of_Russia retrieved 12 February 2018).

[iv] The appeal of Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich “Russia Shall Arise” (originally released on 12/25 September, 1924 in the French press, and later reprinted in the Émigré journal “Faith & Truth” (Вера и Правда) 1/14 January, 1932) was an exhortation to Russian émigrés to stand with Kirill Vladimirovich: “I call upon you, the Russian people, without respect to faith, age, or social standing, to unite into one spirit with the spirit of our lawful Tsar.”

[v] It appears that Audrey Emery was granted the style of Serene Highness and title of Princess Ilyinsky ad personam on her marriage and for her descendants, with the style of Serene Highness descending to the senior male issue.  However, on 15/28 July, 1935, Grand Duke Kirill issued his edict on titles for the morganatic spouses and issue of members of the Imperial Family, and as of that moment, both Princess Ilyinsky and her son were known as serene Highnesses, and Prince/Princess Romanovsky-Ilyinsky. (cf edict on titles http://www.imperialhouse.ru/en/dynastyhistory/dinzak3/1113.html retrieved 12 February, 2018)

[vi] “Grand Duke in Divorce” New York Times,  23 December 1937,  p.12

[vii] Graf, H.G. (Graf, V. & Dunn, W., trans.), “In the Service of the Imperial House of Russia 1917-1941.” Hagerstown: HBP, 1998, pp. 184-185.

[viii] Ibid. pp. 226-238 for an examination of the changes in structure and rise of fascism within the Mladoross.

[ix] Ibid, pp. 578-587, see also Sullivan, Michael “A Fatal Passion” New York, 1997, pp. 395 for Dmitri’s centrality as a Legitimist figure.