Prince Ilia of Georgia

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Ilia, Prince Royal of Georgia
Anastasia Obolenskaya

Ilia (Georgian: ილია; Russian: Илья Георгиевич, Iliya Georgiyevich), also known as Elizbar (ელიზბარი), (2 September 1790 – 18 July 1854) was a Georgian prince royal (batonishvili), a son of George XII, the last king of Kartli and Kakheti, by his second marriage to Mariam Tsitsishvili. After the Russian annexation of Georgia in 1801, Ilia accompanied his mother into exile to Russia. He then received military training and served in the Russian army, fighting with distinction at the battle of Borodino against the French in 1812 and retiring with the rank of colonel in 1823. He had 13 children of his marriage with Princess Anastasia Obolenskaya and his descendants, bearing the surname of Gruzinsky, have survived in the 21st-century Russian Federation.


Prince Ilia was born in Tbilisi in 1790 as the fifth child of the then-crown prince George and his second wife Princess Mariam Tsitsishvili in the lifetime of his grandfather, King Heraclius II.[1] Ilia was 10 years old when his father died in December 1800 after two years of a troubled reign.[2] In the ensuing succession crisis, Ilia's elder half brother and regent for the vacant throne, David, vied with Heraclius II's son, Iulon. The situation was exploited in 1801 by the Russian Empire to make annexation of Kartli and Kakheti, the eastern Georgian kingdom, followed by the deportation of the Georgian royal family to Russia proper. In 1803 Ilia himself witnessed the killing of the Russian general Ivan Lazarev by his mother, Queen Dowager Mariam, when Lazarev tried to force her out of her bedroom for resettlement in Russia. Mariam and her children were eventually deported to Russia, where Mariam was confined to a monastery. Ilia was accepted in the Page Corps for military training.[2]

Prince Ilia, known in Russia as the tsarevich Ilya Georgyevich, was commissioned in March 1812 as a podporuchik of the Jäger Guards Regiment, with which he served in the war with Napoleon's Grande Armée. Under the command of Major-General Karl von Bistram, he fought at Smolensk and was marked for distinction at Borodino. In September 1812 illness forced him to retire from active service to Moscow. During the 1813–14 campaign he served in the Reserve Army of General Dmitry Lobanov-Rostovsky in the vicinity of the besieged French fortress of Modlin in Poland.[3] In 1823 Prince Ilia was transferred to the Izmailov Guards Regiment with the promotion to colonel. He retired with that rank the same year.[2]

Prince Ilia mostly lived in Moscow. In 1832, the Russian government revealed that Georgian nobles and intellectuals plotted a coup against the Russian overlordship. Among the principal leaders of the conspiracy was Ilia's brother Prince Okropir, living in St. Petersburg. Although one of the numbers, Philadelphos Kiknadze, testified on interrogation that Prince Ilia was also present when Okropir discussed the Georgian affairs with him, Ilia was never brought to a trial or otherwise persecuted.[4] While living in Russia, like many of his siblings and relatives, Ilia showed interest in literature. In 1844, he translated from French into Georgian the Leibniz–Clarke correspondence as „ბაასი ორთა უჩინებულესთა ფილოსოფთა ევროპიისათა კლარკ და ლეიბნიცისა“ ("The conversation between the two preeminent philosophers of Europe, Clarke and Leibniz").[5] He died in Moscow at the age of 64 in 1854 and was interred at the Intercession Monastery.[2]

Family and descendants[edit]

Prince Ilia married at Moscow in 1827 Princess Anastasia Grigoryevna Obolenskaya (Анастасия Григорьевна Оболенская; 25 September 1805 – 3 March 1885), a Muscovite noblewoman of a Rurikid stock. She is buried with her husband at the Intercession Monastery. The couple had 13 children, titled as princes and princesses (knyaz) Gruzinsky, with the addition of the style "Serene Highness" since 1865.[6][7]

Prince Ilia's surviving male-line descendants are through his son, Prince Grigoriy Gruzinsky, whose great-grandchildren reside in Russia. The only living male member of the line is the Moscow-born Evgeny Petrovich Gruzinsky (born 1947), a son of the Soviet naval officer Pyotr Petrovich Gruzinsky (1916–2006) by his wife Raisa Sergeyevna Yasinkov-Maletskaya (1923–1987). Based on the principle of primogeniture practiced by the Georgian royal family, he can be considered heir presumptive to Nugzar Bagration-Gruzinsky, a scion of Ilia's elder brother Bagrat, who claims headship of the Royal House of Georgia and has no son.

The children of Prince Ilia and Princess Anastasia were:[6][7]

Portrait Name Dates of birth and death Biographical notes Family
Princess Anna Ilynichna Gruzinskaya.JPG Princess Ana Gruzinskaya 1828 – 5 October 1905 She spent eight months as a hostage of the Dagestani Imam Shamil (July 1854–March 1855). She was married to General Prince David Chavchavadze (1817–1884), with one son, Archil (1869–1913).
Princess Varvara Ilynichna Gruzinskaya -1.JPG Princess Varvara Gruzinskaya 1831 – 18 March 1884 Maid of honor to the Empress of Russia, she was with her sister Ana in the captivity of Shamil. She married firstly, in 1852, General Prince Ilia Orbeliani (1818–1853), with two sons, Giorgi (1853–1924) and Dimitri (b. 1853, died in infancy); she married secondly, in 1854, to the certain Nestel, with no known issue.
Princess Gayana Ilynichna Gruzinskaya.JPG Princess Gayana Gruzinskaya 1832 – 5 June 1903 Maid of honor to the Empress of Russia. She is buried at the Intercession Monastery in Moscow. Unmarried, without children.
Prince Grigory I. Gruzinsky.JPG Prince Grigoriy Gruzinsky 15 November 1833 – 18 September 1899 Colonel, he was aide to the Emperor of Russia from 1860 to 1863. He married in 1864 to Olga Frolova (1844–1902) and had 7 children: Alexander (1867–1917), Ilya (1867–c. 1947), Pyotr (1868–1922), Anastasia (1871–1956), Elisaveta (1873–c. 1901), Tamara (1874–c. 1898), and Nina (1876–1895).
Prince Gruzinsky COA (B&W).jpg Prince Pyotr Gruzinsky 1833 or 1836 – 17 September 1855 Praporshchik of the Russian army, he was killed at the siege of Kars. He was buried at the Cathedral of Living Pillar in Mtskheta Unmarried, without children.
Prince Gruzinsky COA (B&W).jpg Princess Elisaveta Gruzinskaya 6 March 1836 – c. 1890 Maid of honor to the Empress of Russia. She married in 1857 Colonel Arkady Bashmakov (1826–1880), without issue.
Prince Dimitri I. Gruzinsky.JPG Prince Dmitri Gruzinsky 1839 – 7 January 1860 Lieutenant of the Russian army, he was killed in the Caucasus War. He is buried at the Cathedral of Living Pillar in Mtskheta Unmarried, without children.
Princess Olga Ilynichna Gruzinskaya.JPG Princess Olga Gruzinskaya 1840 – 18 July 1913 Maid of honor to the Empress of Russia and author of memoirs, she died in Moscow. Unmarried, without issue.
Princess Vera Ilynichna Gruzinskaya.JPG Princess Vera Gruzinskaya 1842 – 1861 She was born in Tiflis. Married in 1860 as his first wife General Nikolay Svyatopolk-Mirsky (1833–1898), she had a son, who died very young.
Prince Nikolay I. Gruzinsky.JPG Prince Nikolay Gruzinsky 7 August 1844 – 24 October 1916 Colonel of the Imperial Guards, he served in the Russo-Turkish War (1877–78). He was then Actual State Councilor and Jägermeister (1881), Governor of Vilno (1899) He married in 1868 Maria Mikhailovna Katenina (died 1910) and had six children: Maria (1869–1901), Nadezhda (1871–1907), Ilya (1874–1879), Anastasia (1880–1936), Mikhail (1886–1917), and Olga (died 1902).
Princess Aleksandra Ilynichna Gruzinskaya in Italian costume.JPG Princess Aleksandra Gruzinskaya Died 24 September 1909 Maid of honor to the Empress of Russia. She died unmarried, without issue.
Princess Ekaterina Ilynichna Gruzinskaya.JPG Princess Ekaterina Gruzinskaya Died 1888 Maid of honor to the Empress of Russia. She died unmarried, without issue.
Prince Gruzinsky COA (B&W).jpg Princess Nadezhda Gruzinskaya c. 1847 – 1930 Maid of honor to the Empress of Russia. She was married to Mikhail Aleksandrovich Pisarev. According to Burke's Royal Families of the World, she married secondly Dr. Neftel, a United States citizen and she is buried at the Mount Olivet Cemetery, New York.[8]



  1. ^ Dumin 1996, p. 75.
  2. ^ a b c d Montgomery 1980, p. 68.
  3. ^ Nersisyan 1965, p. 166.
  4. ^ Khachapuridze 1950, p. 328.
  5. ^ Baramidze 1980, p. 106.
  6. ^ a b Montgomery 1980, pp. 68–69.
  7. ^ a b Dumin 1996, pp. 75–76.
  8. ^ Montgomery 1980, p. 69.


  • Baramidze, A. (1980). "ილია ბატონიშვილი" [Ilia Batonishvili]. ქართული საბჭოთა ენცილოპედია [Georgian Soviet Encyclopedia] (in Georgian). 5. Tbilisi. p. 106.
  • Dumin, S.V., ed. (1996). Дворянские роды Российской империи. Том 3. Князья [Noble families of the Russian Empire. Volume 3: Princes] (in Russian). Moscow: Linkominvest.
  • Khachapuridze, Giorgi (1950). К истории Грузии первой половины XIX века [History of Georgia in the first half of the 19th century] (in Russian). Tbilisi: Zarya Vostoka.
  • Montgomery, Hugh, ed. (1980). Burke's Royal Families of the World, Volume 2. London: Burke's Peerage. ISBN 0850110297.
  • Nersisyan, Mkrtich (1965). Отечественная война 1812 года и народы Кавказа [The Patriotic War of 1812 and the people of the Caucasus] (in Russian). Yerevan: Academy of Sciences of the Armenian SSR.