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.
Spouse Nadezhda Caralli
House House of Beauharnais
Father George Maximilianovich, 6th Duke of Leuchtenberg
Mother Duchess Therese Petrovna of Oldenburg
Born (1881-11-13)13 November 1881
St. Petersburg, Russian Empire
Died 26 September 1942(1942-09-26) (aged 60)
Salies-de-Béarn, France
Burial Salies-de-Béarn, France

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.

Family and early life[edit]

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.

Military career[edit]

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]

Marriage[edit]

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][6] 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][6] George Gould and others put down these rumors vehemently, stating there the two were mere friends and there was no engagement.[3]

In 1912, Alexander was reported to have gained the reluctant consent of Emperor Nicholas to marry the wealthy Marriane Friedlander 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.[7] Despite being the senior descendant of Eugene de Beauharnais (son of Empress Josephine), 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.[7] He was however the principal heir to his grandfather.[7]

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

Russian revolution[edit]

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.[8] 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".[9] 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.[8] 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.[8] 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.[8]

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.[10] 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".[11][12] Empress Alexandra insisted she "would rather die in Russia than be rescued by the Germans".[12] In the end, nothing came of these plans, as monarchist groups could not decide whether to restore Nicholas or his son Tsarevich Alexei Nikolaevich.[10]

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.[13] 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,[14] though no further reports confirmed this.

Death[edit]

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[edit]

The Leuchtenberg coat of arms.

Titles and styles[edit]

  • 13 November 1881 – 16 May 1912: His Imperial Highness Prince Alexander of Leuchtenberg (also known as Prince Alexander Georgievich Romanovsky)
  • 16 May 1912 – 26 September 1942: His Imperial Highness The Duke of Leuchtenberg

Honours[edit]

Ancestry[edit]

Notes[edit]

  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.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Lundy, Darryl. "The Peerage: Alexander Herzog von Leuchtenburg". Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Prince Alexander Georgievich Romanovsky". Website of Nicholas Romanov, Prince of Russia. Retrieved 24 October 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "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. ^ a b Eilers Koenig, Marlene. "No formal request yet for Miss Gould's hand". Royal Musings. Retrieved 20 November 2010. 
  6. ^ a b "Goulds and Prince to meet again soon", The New York Times (Paris), 27 October 1909 
  7. ^ a b c d "Kinsman Of Czar To Wed Heiress", The Washington Post, 6 October 1912 
  8. ^ a b c d Clark, p. 26.
  9. ^ Quoted in Clark, p. 26.
  10. ^ a b Clark, William (1994). The Lost Fortune of the Tsars. New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 92. 
  11. ^ Quoted in Clark, p. 92.
  12. ^ a b Rappaport, Helen (2008). The Last Days of the Romanovs: Tragedy at Ekaterinburg. New York: St. Martin's Press. 
  13. ^ "Russian Dukes Arrested", The Washington Post, 26 December 1917 
  14. ^ 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