April 17 ends the earthly journey of Prince Philip. On this day, the funeral of one of the most titled persons in the Old World, who is directly related to several monarchical dynasties in Europe, will take place. Among other things, the husband of Queen Elizabeth of England was a descendant of Russian emperors from the House of Romanov. We investigated connections with the royal family.
The death of the nearly 100-year-old Duke of Edinburgh has once again brought attention to the issue of “Romanov” roots among the current generations of the British royal family. Yes, Prince Philip died, but his heirs remained in a straight line – children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren. Can any of them claim to be the Russian emperor, even if only theoretically?
We tried to solve such a dynastic issue by contacting the Director of the Office of the Head of the Russian Imperial House, Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna of Russia, Aleksandr Nikolaevich Zakatov.
– Alexander Nikolaevich, have members of the Russian Imperial House already somehow reacted to the death of the spouse of the English queen?
– On the same day when it became known, Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna sent Queen Elizabeth a telegram of condolences from the Russian Imperial House.
– Is she going to attend the funeral of Prince Philip?
– Not. Buckingham Palace has already announced that it will be, according to the will of the deceased, a very modest ceremony in the presence of only loved ones. In principle, a large number of people are not expected and they ask no one to come to England for this. Moreover, given the current aggravation of the epidemic situation, it is unsafe. However, the prayer for the deceased will come from everywhere …
– Will the Grand Duchess order any church services, a memorial service in connection with what happened?
– In such cases, a memorial service was previously served in the Anglican Church in St. Petersburg. But now, probably, it will not be possible to organize such a service. And in an Orthodox church, this cannot be done, since Prince Philip, many years ago, switched from Orthodoxy to Anglicanism.
– The fact that Philip, in order to marry the English princess Elizabeth, changed his faith, renouncing Orthodoxy, somehow influenced his status among the descendants of the House of Romanov?
– In fact, Prince Philip was not a member of the Imperial House of Romanov. He was a member of the Greek royal dynasty. Therefore, his heirs are also not automatically members of the House of Romanov.
– So, for example, the grandson of Philip and Elizabeth, Prince Harry or his child from his wife Meghan Markle can not claim to be included in the Russian Imperial House?
– Now the Russian Imperial House is represented by only two people – the Empress Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna and her son, the Emperor, the heir to the Tsarevich and the Grand Duke Georgy Mikhailovich. It is only theoretically possible that one of the descendants of Prince Philip will become a member of the Russian Imperial House.
The fact is that representatives of other European dynasties, due to their close family intertwining, are in the so-called hypothetical line of inheritance, including the Russian throne. In the same way, Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna and Grand Duke Georgy Mikhailovich, being in kinship with the Windsors, occupy a certain place in the line of hypothetical heirs to the British throne.
That is, if the current lineage fades away, then other heirs can claim the primacy in the sequence determined by their pedigree. In the first place, inheritance is carried out, of course, through the male line. To the descendants in the female line, the matter can only reach if all the male “dynastic chains” are broken.
– That is, since he was already mentioned, Prince Harry and his children are still some … tenth in line for the “virtual” Russian throne?
– Well, if everyone in front of them, for some reason, disappears … In any case, the heir who claims to become the head of the Russian Imperial House will have to convert to Orthodoxy. If he refuses to convert to such a faith, he will be deprived of this right.
Alexander Zakatov also clarified that the grandchildren of Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth on the hypothetical line of succession are not “leaders” in the “race for the Russian throne.” Thanks to their ancestry, they are “overtaken” by another representative of the royal dynasty of Windsor – the cousin of Elizabeth II, Prince Michael of Kent and his children. After all, they are female descendants of the Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna, the granddaughter of Emperor Alexander II.
That is, if God forbid, several other dynasties closer to the beginning of the “line” are suppressed, then first the Kenites can claim the supremacy in the Russian Imperial House, and only after they are the descendants of Grand Duchess Olga Konstantinovna – children and grandchildren of the deceased Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth.
Glucksburg, Romanov, Mountbatten
Now back to Prince Philip.
If His Royal Highness during his lifetime had suddenly decided to apply for a residence permit in Russia, then in the column “surname, name, patronymic” it would be necessary to write – Maunbetten Philip Andreevich. But in addition to such a “triad”, which featured the prince’s mother’s engraved surname (which he chose when accepting British citizenship in 1947), he had many other “requisites”.
His paternal surname is Glucksburg. The surname on the line of the paternal grandmother is Romanov.
In addition, two kings conferred high titles on Philip. First, the Greek monarch George I made his newborn grandson a Prince of Greece and Denmark. A few decades later, another ruler with the same name, King George VI of England, granted the young man on the eve of his marriage to Princess Elizabeth of the Windsor family in exchange for these “grandfather’s” honorary titles the titles of Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merionet and Baron of Greenwich.
But why instead? Couldn’t the old ones be preserved and the new ones received? It turns out that it is impossible: by agreeing to marry a princess who, like all Windsors, professes the Anglican faith, Philip had to abandon Orthodoxy, adopted in his native Greece, and become a co-religionist of his future wife. In such a situation, it was no longer fit for him to wear the previous titles bestowed by the Orthodox Greek king.
But Philip became Prince only 10 years after the wedding, in 1957. Special order in this regard was then signed by his “faithful” – Elizabeth, who had already become the British queen.
“Donated DNA to identify the remains of the royal family”
Over the long centuries of European history, the monarchical dynasties existing in the countries of the Old World have closely intertwined with each other, entering into inter-dynastic marriages. So, in the end, kings, kings, grand dukes and princes ended up in close or more distant kinship with each other. Philip the Duke of Edinburgh was no exception. Among his relatives are representatives of several ruling houses of Europe that have ruled in the past: the Danish Glucksburgs, the Hessian Battenbergs, the English Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (which later became the Windsor), and also our Romanovs.
Prince Philip was connected with the Russian royal family by several threads at once.
First, he is the great-great-grandson of Tsar Nicholas I. This relationship stretched through Philip’s grandmother, Grand Duchess Olga Konstantinovna Romanova. In 1867, she, the daughter of the second oldest son of Nicholas I, was married to King George of Greece.
Secondly, his mother, the Hessian princess Alice, was a relative of both members of the last royal couple in Russia: the second cousin of Emperor Nicholas II and the niece of his wife Empress Alexandra Feodorovna (thus Philip is the grand-nephew of the empress-queen).
Thirdly, Philip’s father, Prince Andrey of Greece, and the last Russian Tsar Nicholas II were cousins: they had a common grandfather and grandmother – King Christian IX of Denmark and his wife Queen Louise of Hesse-Kassel.
In addition, the Prince of Edinburgh was also related to the wife of Tsar Alexander II, Empress Maria Alexandrovna, being her great-grand-nephew.
The Duke of Edinburgh himself did not forget about his Russian roots and considered the representatives of the Romanov family to be relatives. It is known, for example, that when in 1967 he was asked if he felt like visiting the USSR, Philip replied: “I would very much like to go to Russia, although these bastards killed half of my family.”
And one more touch to the portrait of this man, adding to him “Russianness”. According to the former chef of Buckingham Palace, among the favourite dishes of the husband of the British queen was a special treat for gourmets of St. Petersburg, Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg – fish kulebyaka.
His Royal Highness even once tried to help in the return from the oblivion of his Russian relatives – the family of Emperor Nicholas II. In the early 1990s, when the investigation into the “Yekaterinburg remains” was actively underway, Prince Philip provided his biological samples for genetic examination of bone fragments from a burial found near Yekaterinburg on the Old Koptyakovskaya road. DNA comparisons then showed with a high degree of accuracy that Tsar Nikolai and his relatives, who were killed in the summer of 1918 by the Ural commissars, were in this disguised grave.