|Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna|
|Princess Nicholas of Greece and Denmark|
|Born||29 January 1882|
Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire
|Died||13 March 1957 75) (aged|
Athens, Kingdom of Greece
(m. 1902;died 1938)
|Father||Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich of Russia|
|Mother||Duchess Marie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin|
Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna of Russia (29 January 1882 – 13 March 1957), sometimes known as Helen, Helena,Helene,Ellen,Yelena,Hélène, or Eleni, was the only daughter and youngest child of Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich of Russia and Duchess Marie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. Her husband was Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark and they were both first cousins of Emperor Nicholas II of Russia. She was also first cousin of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands and Alexandrine of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Queen consort of Denmark.
Elena and her three surviving older brothers, Kirill, Boris, and Andrei, had an English nanny and spoke English as their first language.The young Elena had a temper and was sometimes out of control. At four years old, she posed for the artist Henry Jones Thaddeus. She grabbed a paper knife and threatened her nurse, who hid behind Thaddeus. "The little lady then transferred her attentions to me, her black eyes ablaze with fury," recalled Thaddeus. Elena, raised by a mother who was highly conscious of her social status, was also considered snobbish by some. "Poor little thing, I feel sorry for her," wrote her mother's social rival, Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, "for she is really quite sweet, but vain and pretty grandiose."
She was initially engaged to Prince Max of Baden, but Max backed out of the engagement. Elena's mother was furious and society gossiped about Elena's difficulty in finding a husband. At one point in 1899, the seventeen-year-old Elena was reputedly engaged to Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, however this came to nothing as he fell in love with Countess Sophie Chotek.
Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark, the third son of George I of Greece, first proposed in 1900, but Elena's mother was reluctant to allow her daughter to marry a younger son with no real fortune or prospects of inheriting a throne. She finally agreed to let Elena marry Nicholas, who was Elena's second cousin through his mother Olga Constantinovna of Russia and her father Vladimir Alexandrovich of Russia, in 1902 after it became clear that no other offers were on the horizon.
The couple married on 29 August 1902 in Tsarskoye Selo, Russia. Like many imperial weddings, it was a grand affair, and was attended by the Emperor and Empress of Russia, the King and Queen of the Hellenes, among other royals and nobility of Russia.
Elena's "grand manner" irritated some people at court.According to the British diplomat Francis Elliot, there was an incident between Elena and her sister-in-law Princess Marie Bonaparte: Allegedly, Elena refused to greet Marie and "drew back her skirts as if not to be touched by her." Elena thought that Marie was beneath her, because her grandfather operated the Monte Carlo Casino. Elena looked down on another sister-in-law Princess Alice of Battenberg because of the latter's morganatic blood. The Dowager Empress wrote that Elena "has a very brusque and arrogant tone that can shock people."
Prince and Princess Nicholas had three daughters:
Grand Duchess Elena suffered from ill health after the birth of Princess Marina, which caused her husband anguish.
The family was later affected by the turmoil of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the subsequent turmoil in Greece, which became a republic and resulted in the family living in France for a time.
While living in France Grand Duchess Elena became deeply involved in charity work for Russian exiles, particularly children. Short of money due to their exile from Greece and the loss of their Russian income, Prince Nicholas and his family lived in reduced, but elegant, circumstances. Grand Duchess Elena's fabulous jewel collection, as well as Prince Nicholas' own artwork, were their sources of income.
Princess Olga of Greece married Prince Paul of Yugoslavia; Princess Elizabeth of Greece married Count Karl Theodor zu Toerring-Jettenbach, son of Duchess Sophie in Bavaria and scion of an old and rich Bavarian mediatized family; and Princess Marina of Greece married the Prince George, Duke of Kent in November 1934.
Grand Duchess Elena became a widow early in 1938, as Prince Nicholas suffered a heart attack and died suddenly. She remained in Greece throughout the Second World War, dying there in 1957. She bequeathed her personal library to the Anavryta School.
|Ancestors of Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna of Russia|
Maria Feodorovna, known before her marriage as Princess Dagmar of Denmark, a Danish princess, became Empress of Russia as spouse of Emperor Alexander III. She was the second daughter and fourth child of King Christian IX of Denmark and of Louise of Hesse-Kassel; her siblings included Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom, King Frederick VIII of Denmark and King George I of Greece. Her eldest son became the last Russian monarch, Emperor Nicholas II of Russia - she lived for ten years after Bolshevik functionaries killed him and his immediate family in 1918.
Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent, was a princess of the Greek and Danish royal houses, who married Prince George, Duke of Kent, fourth son of King George V and Queen Mary in 1934. They had three children: Prince Edward, Princess Alexandra, and Prince Michael.
Princess Olga of Greece and Denmark was a granddaughter of King George I of Greece and wife of Prince Paul, Regent of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.
Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia was the fifth child and only surviving daughter of Emperor Alexander II of Russia and his first wife, Princess Marie of Hesse and by Rhine. She was the younger sister of Alexander III of Russia and the paternal aunt of Russia's last emperor, Nicholas II.
Princess Alexandra of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, was the fourth child and third daughter of Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia. As the wife of Ernst II, she was Princess consort of Hohenlohe-Langenburg. She was a granddaughter of both Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and Tsar Alexander II of Russia.
Grand Duchess Alexandra Iosifovna of Russia was the fifth daughter of Joseph, Duke of Saxe-Altenburg and Duchess Amelia of Württemberg. She is an ancestor of the British, Greek, Romanian, Yugoslavian, and Spanish Royal Families through her elder daughter Olga.
Maria Alexandrovna, born Princess Marie of Hesse and by Rhine was Empress of Russia as the first wife and political adviser of Tsar Alexander II. She was one of the founders of the Russian Red Cross.
Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark, of the Glücksburg branch of the House of Oldenburg, was the fourth child and third son of King George I of Greece, and of Queen Olga. He was known as "Greek Nicky" in the family to distinguish him from his paternal first cousin Emperor Nicholas II of Russia. Prince Nicholas was a talented painter, often signing his works as "Nicolas Leprince."
Princess Alexandra of Greece and Denmark ; 30 August [O.S. 18 August] 1870 – 24 September 1891), later known as Grand Duchess Alexandra Georgievna of Russia, was a member of the Greek royal family and of the Russian imperial family. She was the daughter of George I of Greece and Olga Constantinovna of Russia. She died of childbirth complications.
Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich of Russia was the sixth son and youngest child of Emperor Alexander II of Russia by his first wife, Empress Maria Alexandrovna. He was a brother of Emperor Alexander III and uncle of Nicholas II, Russia's last monarch.
Princess Maria of Greece and Denmark was a daughter of King George I of Greece and his wife Grand Duchess Olga Constantinovna of Russia. She was a sister of King Constantine I of Greece and a first cousin of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia.
Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich of Russia was a son of Emperor Alexander II of Russia, a brother of Emperor Alexander III of Russia and the senior Grand Duke of the House of Romanov during the reign of his nephew, Emperor Nicholas II.
Princess Elisabeth of Greece and Denmark was the middle daughter of Prince Nicholas of Greece and Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna of Russia.
Prince Nikola of Yugoslavia, also known in Britain as Prince Nicholas and in Serbia as Nikola Karađorđević, was the younger son of Prince Paul of Yugoslavia by his wife Princess Olga of Greece and Denmark.
Princess Helen of Serbia was a Serbian princess, the daughter of King Peter I of Yugoslavia and his wife Princess Zorka of Montenegro. She was the elder sister of George, Crown Prince of Serbia and King Alexander I of Yugoslavia. Helen was also a niece of Princess Anastasia of Montenegro, wife of Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich of Russia, and of Princess Milica of Montenegro, wife of Grand Duke Peter Nikolaevich of Russia, the women who introduced Grigori Rasputin to Tsarina Alexandra.
Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna "Miechen" of Russia, better known as Maria Pavlovna the Elder, was the eldest daughter of Grand Duke Frederick Francis II of Mecklenburg-Schwerin by his first wife, Princess Augusta Reuss of Köstritz. A prominent hostess in Saint Petersburg following her marriage in 1874 to the Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich of Russia, she was known as the "grandest of the grand duchesses" and had an open rivalry with her sister-in-law the Empress Maria Feodorovna.
Grand Duchess Anastasia Mikhailovna of Russia was the only daughter and second child of Grand Duke Michael Nicolaievich of Russia and a granddaughter of Tsar Nicholas I of Russia.
Princess Marina Petrovna of Russia was a daughter of Grand Duke Peter Nikolaevich of Russia and his wife, Grand Duchess Militza Nicholaevna, born Princess of Montenegro. A great-granddaughter of Tsar Nicholas I of Russia, she was born in Nice and grew up in the last period of Imperial Russia, mostly in Znamenka, her father's summer palace near Peterhof.
Princess Nina Georgievna of Russia,, was the elder daughter of Grand Duke George Mikhailovich and Grand Duchess Maria Georgievna of Russia. A great-granddaughter of Tsar Nicholas I of Russia, she left her native country in 1914, before World War I finished her education in England and spent the rest of her life in exile. In London in 1922, she married Prince Paul Chavchavadze, a descendant of the last king of Georgia. They had one child, Prince David Chavchavadze, born there two years later. In 1927 the family of three moved to the United States and settled in New York. In 1939 they bought a home in Wellfleet, Massachusetts. Princess Nina was an artist, her husband worked as an author; he wrote five books and translated several others. Their son, Prince David Chavchavadze, served with the U.S. Army during World War II and, thanks in part to his knowledge of Russian, eventually became a CIA officer. After his retirement, he wrote his memoirs and published those of his grandmother, Grand Duchess George, as well as a book about the grand dukes of Russia.
The wedding dress of Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark was worn at her wedding to Prince George, Duke of Kent on 29 November 1934. The couple was married first in an Anglican ceremony at Westminster Abbey, followed by a private Greek Orthodox ceremony at Buckingham Palace. Princess Marina was the youngest daughter of Prince and Princess Nicholas of Greece and Denmark. Prince George was the fourth son of King George V and Queen Mary.
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