Grand Duchess Maria Kirillovna of Russia

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Grand Duchess Maria Kirillovna
Princess of Leiningen
Grand Duchess Maria Kirillovna of Russia.JPG
Born(1907-02-02)2 February 1907
Coburg, Bavaria, Germany
Died25 October 1951(1951-10-25) (aged 44)
Madrid, Spain
Karl, 6th Prince of Leiningen
(m. 1925; died 1946)
IssueEmich Kyrill, Prince of Leiningen
Prince Karl
Kira, Princess Andrej of Yugoslavia
Margarita, Princess of Hohenzollern
Princess Mechtilde, Mrs. Bauscher
Prince Friedrich Wilhelm
Prince Peter
Full name
Maria Kirillovna Romanova
FatherGrand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich of Russia
MotherPrincess Victoria Melita of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

Grand Duchess Maria Kirillovna of Russia (2 February 1907 – 25 October 1951) was the eldest daughter of Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich of Russia and Grand Duchess Victoria Feodorovna. She was born in Coburg when her parents were in exile because their marriage had not been approved by Tsar Nicholas II. She was generally called "Marie," the French version of her name, or by the Russian nickname "Masha." The family returned to Russia prior to World War I, but was forced to flee following the Russian Revolution of 1917.


Early life[edit]

Grand Duchess Maria Kirillovna as a young girl.

Maria was raised in Coburg and in Saint-Briac, France. She was born Princess Maria Kirillovna of Russia, but her father granted her the title Grand Duchess of Russia with the style Imperial Highness when he declared himself Guardian of the Throne in 1921. As a child, the dark-haired, dark-eyed Maria [1] took after her maternal grandmother, Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia, in appearance, with a wide, round face [2] and a tendency to be overweight and to look older than her actual age when she was still a teenager.[3] She was described as "shy and easy-going",[2] but also had her share of mishaps. In 1921, when she was fifteen, the "flighty" [4] Maria visited her aunt, Queen Marie of Romania, and carried on a flirtation with the son-in-law of a lady-in-waiting at the Romanian court.[4] Her fifteen-year-old cousin, Princess Ileana of Romania, spread rumors about the flirtation when Maria returned home, resulting in strained relations between Marie of Romania and Maria's mother, Victoria.[4] The conflict was eventually smoothed over.

Marriage and issue[edit]

The following year, on 24 February 1925, Maria was engaged to Karl, 6th Prince of Leiningen (13 February 1898 – 2 August 1946), and they were married on 25 November.[5] Victoria was at her daughter's bedside when she gave birth to her first child, Emich Kirill, in 1926.[6] She also attended the subsequent births of Maria's children. Maria had seven children in all, one of whom died in infancy during World War II. Her husband was forced to join the German army and was taken captive by the Soviets at the end of World War II. He died of starvation in a Russian concentration camp in 1946. Maria, left with little money, struggled to support her surviving six children. She died five years later of a heart attack at age forty-four.[7]

Maria had seven children:



  1. ^ Michael John Sullivan, A Fatal Passion: The Story of the Uncrowned Last Empress of Russia, Random House, p. 374
  2. ^ a b Sullivan, p. 374
  3. ^ John Van der Kiste, Princess Victoria Melita, Sutton Publishing, 1991, p. 136
  4. ^ a b c Van der Kiste, p. 157
  5. ^ Sullivan, p. 373
  6. ^ Sullivan, p. 377
  7. ^ Sullivan, p. 408
  8. ^ Paul Theroff (2007). "Leiningen". An Online Gotha. Retrieved 7 January 2007.


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