George Maximilianovich, 6th Duke of Leuchtenberg
|George Maximilianovich de Beauharnais|
Duke of Leuchtenberg
|Born||29 February 1852|
St. Petersburg, Russian Empire
|Died||16 May 1912 (aged 60)|
Duchess Therese Petrovna of Oldenburg
(m. 1879; died 1883)
Princess Anastasia of Montenegro
(m. 1889; div. 1906)
|Issue||Alexander Georgievich, 7th Duke of Leuchtenberg|
Sergei Georgievich, 8th Duke of Leuchtenberg
Princess Elena Georgievna, Countess Tyszkiewicz
|Father||Maximilian de Beauharnais, 3rd Duke of Leuchtenberg|
|Mother||Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna of Russia|
Prince George Maximilianovich Romanowsky, 6th Duke of Leuchtenberg (29 February 1852 – 16 May 1912), 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.
Family and early life
George's father Maximilian de Beauharnais, 3rd Duke of Leuchtenberg had traveled to St. Petersburg, eventually winning the hand of Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna, Nicholas I's eldest daughter in 1839. Maximilian was subsequently bestowed with the style Imperial Highness. As the son of a Russian grand duchess and an ennobled Russian prince Romanowsky, George and his siblings were treated as princes and princesses of the blood, bearing the styles Imperial Highness.
After their father's death in 1852, Grand Duchess Maria morganatically remarried to Count Grigori Stroganov two years later. As this union was kept secret from her father Emperor Nicholas I (and her brother Emperor Alexander II could not permit the union, preferring instead to feign ignorance), Maria was forced into exile abroad. Alexander felt sympathy for his sister, however, and paid special attention to her children from her first marriage, who lived in St. Petersburg without their mother.
Marriage to Therese
On 12 May 1879, George married Duchess Therese Petrovna of Oldenburg, a daughter of Duke Peter Georgievich of Oldenburg and Princess Therese of Nassau-Weilburg. Therese's elder brother Duke Alexander Petrovich had been married to George's sister Princess Eugenia Maximilianovna since 1868. Therese's grandfather had married Grand Duchess Catherine Pavlovna, daughter of Paul I of Russia, and their descendants had been raised in Russia ever since and become completely "Russianized", much like George's own family. Thus, despite her German title, Duchess Therese, like her father before her, had grown up entirely in Russia. She was always considered a part of the Russian imperial family.
George and Theresa had one son:
- Alexander Georgievich, 7th Duke of Leuchtenberg (13 November 1881 - 26 September 1942); morganatically married Nadezhda Caralli.
In July 1881, the British Reserve Squadron held entertainments on board the HMS Hercules, which was stationed in Cronstadt. The luncheon was attended by Therese and her husband, as well as the Emperor and Empress and other important royal Russian and German figures. Two years later, on 19 April 1883, tragedy struck the couple when Duchess Therese died in St. Petersburg.
Marriage to Anastasia
Two Montenegrin princesses, Milica and Anastasia, were educated at the Smolny Institute in St. Petersburg under the immediate protection of Empress Maria Feodorovna. They remained at the convent for a year after their educations were complete, and made themselves extremely popular by enjoying themselves in society. Both girls soon caught the eye of two members of the Russian imperial family: Grand Duke Peter Nikolaevich, and George himself.
On 16 April 1889 at Sergeyevsko Estate, George married Princess Anastasia of Montenegro, six years after Therese's death. Emperor Alexander III gave Anastasia a grand trousseau, as well as a considerable dowry.
They had two children:
- Sergei Georgievich, 8th Duke of Leuchtenberg (4 July 1890 – 7 January 1974); died unmarried
- Princess Elena Georgievna of Leuchtenberg (3 January 1892 – 6 February 1971); married Count Stefan Tyszkiewicz.
The family owned a small estate near the Black Sea, where they spent the winter. While staying there in 1905, they witnessed the battleship Potemkin revolt. In the spring, the family stayed at their Peterhof residence the Villa Sergievskaia Datcha for the entire following summer.
When still married to his second wife, George moved in with his French mistress, to the great anger of the morally upright Emperor Alexander III. When told that George was spending his vacations at the coastal town of Biarritz in south-western France, Alexander declared "So the prince is washing his filthy body in the waves of the ocean".
Their marriage was considered "tempestuous and stormy," with George reportedly "insult[ing] and outrag[ing] her from the very first day of their marriage". Anastasia was able to obtain a divorce from him several years into their marriage, on 15 November 1906. Various sources attribute George to have been good-looking but a "stupid and rather sorry individual", although these reports were most often in connection with his second wife, who, when arranging her divorce from George, was widely reported to want to do so because she could no longer live with a man of "intolerable stupidity". Anastasia later remarried to Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich of Russia, a grandson of Nicholas I of Russia (and on his mother's side a nephew of George's first wife Theresa). She and her sister became famous in Russian society as the "black peril" so called because of their home country of Montenegro, their dark complexions and their interest in occult.
In 1901, through either the deaths or morganatic marriages of his elder brothers, George became the head of the Russian branch of the House of Beauharnais. At the turn of the twentieth century, when still married to Princess Anastasia of Montenegro, George was considered as a possible successor to the childless Alexander I of Serbia. Alexander was overthrown and murdered in a military coup, and succeeded by Peter I of Serbia.
George inherited a large collection of paintings, sculptures, and other works of art from his father, who had brought them with him when he moved from Munich to St. Petersburg to marry Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna of Russia. He was buried in tomb #29 of the Grand Ducal Mausoleum in the Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg.
Titles, styles, honours and arms
Titles and styles
- 29 February 1852 – 31 August 1901: His Imperial Highness Prince George Maximilianovich of Leuchtenberg
- 31 August 1901 – 16 May 1912: His Imperial Highness The Duke of Leuchtenberg
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Georgiy Maximilianovich, 6th Duke of Leuchtenberg.|
- Lundy, Darryl. "The Peerage: Georgi Maksimilianovich von Leuchtenberg, 6th Duc de Leuchtenberg". Retrieved 20 November 2010.
- "The Czar's New Brother-In-Law", The Washington Post, 6 April 1901
- Radziwill, Catherine (1915). Memories of Forty Years. London: Funk & Wagnalls Company. p. 235.
- "Russia and Bulgaria", The Manchester Guardian, 7 September 1886
- Radzinsky, Edvard (2005). Alexander II, The Last Great Tsar. New York: Free Press. p. 177. ISBN 978-0-7432-7332-9.
- "Princess A Philanthropist", The Washington Post, 13 February 1907
- "Duke Victim of Auto Wreck", The Washington Post, 9 July 1914
- "The Reserve Squadron", The Observer, Cronstadt, 9 July 1881
- The Near East from within. New York: E.P. Dutton & Company. 1918. p. 209.
- Gilliard, Pierre. "Thirteen Years at the Russian Court". Alexander palace.org. Retrieved 20 November 2010.
- Perry, John Curtis; Constantine V. Pleshakov (1999). The flight of the Romanovs: a family saga. New York: Basic Books. p. 32.
- Radziwill, Catherine (1915). The Royal Marriage Market of Europe. New York: Funk & Wagnalls Co. p. 120.
- Radziwill, Catherine (1918). Confessions of the Czarina. New York: Harper & Brothers. p. 82.
- "Prince Alexander and Miss Gould", The Washington Post, 13 October 1909
- "Russian Grand Dukes Enjoy Liberty At Crimean Homes", The Washington Post, 25 August 1917
- Perry and Pleshakov, p. 107.
- Vivian, Herbert (1904). The Servian tragedy: with some impressions of Macedonia. London: Grant Richards. pp. 73–4.
- Jaffe, Irma B; Gernando Colombardo (2002). Shining eyes, cruel fortune: the lives and loves of Italian Renaissance women poets. p. 204.
George Maximilianovich, 6th Duke of LeuchtenbergBorn: 29 February 1852 Died: 16 May 1912
| Duke of Leuchtenberg
31 August 1901 – 16 May 1912