Alexander Georgievich, 7th Duke of Leuchtenberg

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Alexander Georgievich
Duke of Leuchtenberg
1881 Alexander Leuchtenburg.jpg
A photograph of Alexander Georgievich, 7th Duke of Leuchtenberg in his youth.
Born(1881-11-13)13 November 1881
St. Petersburg, Russian Empire
Died26 September 1942(1942-09-26) (aged 60)
Salies-de-Béarn, France
Burial
Salies-de-Béarn, France
SpouseNadezhda Caralli
House Beauharnais
Father George Maximilianovich, 6th Duke of Leuchtenberg
Mother Duchess Therese Petrovna of Oldenburg

Alexander Georgievich, 7th Duke of Leuchtenberg, also known as Prince Alexander Georgievich Romanovsky or less commonly Alexander de Beauharnais (13 November 1881 – 26 September 1942) was the only son of George Maximilianovich, 6th Duke of Leuchtenberg by his first wife Duchess Therese of Oldenburg. [1] [2] He was a descendant of Paul I of Russia from both of his parents.

George Maximilianovich, 6th Duke of Leuchtenberg Duke of Leuchtenberg

Prince George Maximilianovich Romanowsky, 6th Duke of Leuchtenberg, also known as Prince Georgii Romanovsky or Georges de Beauharnais, was the youngest son of Maximilian de Beauharnais, 3rd Duke of Leuchtenberg and his wife, Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna of Russia.

Paul I of Russia Emperor of Russia

Paul I reigned as Emperor of Russia between 1796 and 1801. Officially, he was the only son of Peter III and Catherine the Great, though Catherine hinted that he was fathered by her lover Sergei Saltykov, who also had Romanov blood, being a descendant of the first Romanov tsar's sister, Tatiana Feodorovna Romanova.

Contents

Family and early life

Alexander Georgievich ("Sandro") was born on 13 November 1881, as the only surviving child of George Maximilianovich, 6th Duke of Leuchtenberg by his first wife Duchess Therese Petrovna of Oldenburg. [1] [2] Like his father [nb 1] , Alexander was styled His Imperial Highness from birth. [2] His mother died on 19 April 1883, leaving a widower and young son. His father would not remarry for six years, until he caught Princess Anastasia of Montenegro's eye at her sister Milica's wedding. They soon married and produced two children, Sergei and Elena.

Duchess Therese Petrovna of Oldenburg Duchess of Oldenburg

Duchess Therese Wilhelmine Olga Friederike of Oldenburg was the youngest daughter of Duke Peter Georgievich of Oldenburg and his wife Princess Therese of Nassau-Weilburg.

Princess Anastasia of Montenegro Princess of Montenegro

Princess Anastasia Petrović-Njegoš of Montenegro was the daughter of King Nikola I Petrović-Njegoš of Montenegro (1841–1921) and his wife, Milena Vukotić (1847–1923). Through her second marriage, she became Grand Duchess Anastasia Nicholaievna Romanova of Russia. She and her sister "Militza", having married Russian royal brothers, were known colloquially as the "Montenegrin princesses" during the last days of Imperial Russia, and may have contributed to its downfall by the introduction of Grigori Rasputin to the Empress Alexandra.

Princess Milica of Montenegro Grand-dushess of Russia

Princess Milica Petrović-Njegoš of Montenegro, also known as Grand Duchess Militza Nikolaevna of Russia, was a Montenegrin princess. She was the daughter of King Nikola I Petrović-Njegoš of Montenegro and his wife, Milena Vukotić. Milica was the wife of Grand Duke Peter Nikolaevich of Russia, the younger brother of Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich of Russia, whose wife was Milica's sister, Anastasia.

Military career

Alexander served as a sub-Lieutenant of the Hussars of the guard, and as an aide-de-camp to the Russian emperor. [3] Later he became attached to the Fourth Battalion of the Chasseurs of the Guard of the Imperial Family. [3]

<i>Aide-de-camp</i> personal assistant or secretary to a person of high rank

An aide-de-camp is a personal assistant or secretary to a person of high rank, usually a senior military, police or government officer, or to a member of a royal family or a head of state.

Marriage

In 1909, Alexander featured in many newspapers after rumors spread that he would enter into a morganatic marriage with American Marjorie Gould, a daughter of wealthy railroad executive George Jay Gould I. [3] [4] [5] They reported Alexander met Marjorie the previous summer in Paris, and that his father later approached George Gould and asked for his daughter's hand for his son. [3] One stated Alexander's father "would not sanction a marriage merely for love, and would insist that the Prince's bride must bring with her a fortune suitable to the rank of an Imperial Princess". [5] George Gould and others put down these rumors vehemently, stating there the two were mere friends and there was no engagement. [3]

Morganatic marriage, sometimes called a left-handed marriage, is a marriage between people of unequal social rank, which in the context of royalty prevents the passage of the husband's titles and privileges to the wife and any children born of the marriage.

George Jay Gould I American businessman

George Jay Gould I was a financier and the son of Jay Gould. He was himself a railroad executive, leading both the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad (DRGW) and the Western Pacific Railroad (WP).

In 1912, Alexander was reported to have gained the reluctant consent of Emperor Nicholas to marry the wealthy Marianne Friedländer-Fuld, but only on the condition that the union would be considered unequal, with none of his titles being passed onto his wife or possible children. [6] Despite being the senior descendant of Eugène de Beauharnais (son of Empress Joséphine), Alexander was far from rich, and served as a captain of the Russian Hussars of the guard and as an aide-de-camp to the Emperor. [6] He was however the principal heir to his grandfather. [6]

Nicholas II of Russia Emperor of All the Russias, Grand Duke of Finland and King of Poland By the Grace of God

Nicholas II or Nikolai II, known as Saint Nicholas the Passion-Bearer in the Russian Orthodox Church, was the last Emperor of Russia, ruling from 1 November 1894 until his forced abdication on 15 March 1917. His reign saw the fall of the Russian Empire from one of the foremost great powers of the world to economic and military collapse. He was given the nickname Nicholas the Bloody or Vile Nicholas by his political adversaries due to the Khodynka Tragedy, anti-Semitic pogroms, Bloody Sunday, the violent suppression of the 1905 Russian Revolution, the execution of political opponents, and his perceived responsibility for the Russo-Japanese War (1904–1905). Soviet historians portrayed Nicholas as a weak and incompetent leader whose decisions led to military defeats and the deaths of millions of his subjects.

Eugène de Beauharnais French general and adoptive son of Napoleon I

Eugène Rose de Beauharnais, Duke of Leuchtenberg was the first child and only son of Alexandre de Beauharnais and Joséphine Tascher de la Pagerie, first wife of Napoleon I.

Empress Joséphine Empress of the French

Joséphine was the first wife of Napoleon, and the first Empress of the French after he proclaimed himself Emperor.

Alexander later morganatically married to Nadezhda (or Nadejda) Nicolaevna Caralli on 22 January 1917 in Petrograd. [2]

Russian revolution

As he was closely related to the Russian royal family, Alexander made several attempts to save Tsar Nicholas II and his family. Several days after Nicholas' abdication on 15 March 1917, Alexander visited Muriel Buchanan [nb 2] , the daughter of Sir George Buchanan, British ambassador to the Russian court, with the hopes of gaining her father's help. [7] She noticed that the duke seem distracted and somehow different, "then I realized suddenly that he had discarded all his decorations, and no longer wore the golden aiguilettes. Russia had no Emperor now, I remembered". [8] Alexander said he had come to urge her father, Sir George, to take swift action and get the tsar and his family out of Russia. [7] He continued that the family was in "the gravest danger", and that if they did not leave soon, it would be too late to get them away and save them from possible disaster. [7] Muriel subsequently called her father over, where he and Alexander discussed the situation; Sir George agreed to do all he could, but stated he had already sent several messages to London warning of the dangers. [7]

In 1918, the year the family was murdered, Alexander traveled to Berlin and tried to get the help of Wilhelm II, German Emperor, who was a cousin of Nicholas'; in this attempt, the duke tried to persuade Nicholas to agree to a plan based on German help. [9] Alexander was in favor of spiriting the family away to Berlin, but Nicholas refused, causing rumors that Wilhelm's government was considering "kidnapping the Tsar and his family and bringing them to Germany". [10] [11] Empress Alexandra insisted she "would rather die in Russia than be rescued by the Germans". [11] In the end, nothing came of these plans, as monarchist groups could not decide whether to restore Nicholas or his son Tsarevich Alexei Nikolaevich. [9]

Near the end of 1917, while lodging with Prince Felix Yusupov [nb 3] , Alexander was arrested by Bolshevik authorities, along with four or five prominent members of the monarchical party. [12] In 1919, a Bolshevik wireless message sent to The Washington Post asserted that after a meeting of Russian monarchists in Siberia, Alexander was offered and accepted the Russian throne, [13] though no further reports confirmed this.

Death

Alexander died in exile on 26 September 1942 in Salies-de-Béarn, France. [1] He was succeeded as Duke of Leuchtenberg by his younger half-brother Prince Sergei.

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Coat of Arms of the Dukes of Leuchtenberg CoA of the dukes of Leuchtenberg, princes Romanovsky (1852-1974).svg
Coat of Arms of the Dukes of Leuchtenberg

Titles and styles

Honours

Ancestry

Notes

  1. George's father Maximilian de Beauharnais, 3rd Duke of Leuchtenberg had married into the Russian imperial family (with marriage to Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna of Russia) and adopted Russian titles and coats of arms. [3]
  2. Alexander had known Muriel previously, as they had nearly embarked on a romantic relationship (Clark, p. 4).
  3. Yusopov was the killer of Grigori Rasputin.

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References

  1. 1 2 3 Lundy, Darryl. "The Peerage: Alexander Herzog von Leuchtenburg" . Retrieved 23 October 2010.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "Prince Alexander Georgievich Romanovsky". Website of Nicholas Romanov, Prince of Russia. Archived from the original on 14 July 2011. Retrieved 24 October 2010.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Prince Seeks Hand of Marjorie Gould", The New York Times , Paris, 26 October 1909
  4. "Prince Alexander and Miss Gould", The Washington Post , 13 October 1909
  5. 1 2 "Goulds and Prince to meet again soon", The New York Times , Paris, 27 October 1909
  6. 1 2 3 4 "Kinsman Of Czar To Wed Heiress", The Washington Post , 6 October 1912
  7. 1 2 3 4 Clark, p. 26.
  8. Quoted in Clark, p. 26.
  9. 1 2 Clark, William (1994). The Lost Fortune of the Tsars. New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 92.
  10. Quoted in Clark, p. 92.
  11. 1 2 Rappaport, Helen (2008). The Last Days of the Romanovs: Tragedy at Ekaterinburg. New York: St. Martin's Press.
  12. "Russian Dukes Arrested", The Washington Post , 26 December 1917
  13. Associated Press (14 August 1919), "Duke of Romanowsky Accepts Monarchists' Proffer of Throne", The Washington Post
Alexander Georgievich, 7th Duke of Leuchtenberg
Born: 13 November 1881 Died: 26 September 1942
German nobility
Preceded by
George Maximilianovich
Duke of Leuchtenberg
16 May 1912 – 26 September 1942
Succeeded by
Sergei Georgievich