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H.I.H. the Heir, Tsesarevich, and Grand Duke George of Russia

His Imperial Highness the Heir, Tsesarevich, and Grand Duke George of Russia was born on March 13, 1981 (new style) in Madrid, on the eve of the 100th Anniversary of the martyrdom (on March 1/14, 1881) of his great-great-grandfather, Emperor Alexander II the Tsar-Liberator. He is the son of H.I.H. Grand Duchess Maria of Russia and H.I.H. Grand Duke Mikhail Pavlovich.

The Grand Duke was baptized before the miracle-working Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God, in the Orthodox Church in Madrid. Present at the baptism were King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sophia of Spain, and King Simeon II and Queen Margarita of Bulgaria. His godfather was King Constantine II of Greece.

The early childhood of the Tsesarevich was spent in St.-Briac, France, and then in Paris. Up until 1999, the Heir and his mother lived principally in Madrid, where he completed college. From the time of his early childhood, the Grand Duke was educated in the spirit of the Orthodox Faith and in the full awareness of his royal duties to his homeland.

The Tsesarevich first visited Russia in April 1992, when the entire Imperial Family attended the funeral of Grand Duke Wladimir III. Since then he has been many times to Russia, always showing a lively interest in all aspects of the life of the people.

Russia’s ancient Orthodox churches, and what he considers their uniquely prayerful atmosphere, have made an indelible impression on the Grand Duke. He also takes special interest and great pleasure in visiting military bases and in meeting and conversing with soldiers, sailors and officers of the Russian army and navy.

The Tsesarevich plays a variety of sports and is an excellent marksman. Besides Russian, in which he always received excellent grades, the Grand Duke speaks English, French, and Spanish. He knows, and participates in, the order of services of the Orthodox Church.

On April 9, 1997, during a pilgrimage of the Imperial Family to the Holy Land, the Heir, Tsesarevich, and Grand Duke George of Russia, pursuant to the Russian Fundamental Laws, took his dynastic oath to the Fatherland and to his august mother. The ceremony took place in Jerusalem, in the Throne Room of the Patriarch’s residence, where the oath of His Imperial Highness was witnessed by the faithful guardian of the purity of Orthodoxy, Patriarch Diodoros of Jerusalem. The Patriarch gave his blessing to the Grand Duke and offered his prayers that the Grand Duke will defend the Orthodox Faith, serve Russia and her people, and inviolably preserve the laws of the Russian Imperial House.

After completing his studies at Oxford University, and wanting to study the processes that were determining the future course of Europe, His Imperial Highness began working for the European Parliament, and then moved to the position of assistant to the vice-president of the European Commission and Commissioner for Transport and Energy, Loyola de Palacio, in Brussels. Later he continued working for the European Commission in Luxembourg, in the European Commission for Atomic Energy and Security. During these years, the Grand Duke visited Russia several times on business.

In 2006, he made his first official visit to Russia. He came to Russia at the request of his mother, the Head of the Russian Imperial House, Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, to congratulate His Holiness, Patriarch Aleksei II of Moscow and All Russia, on the 45th anniversary of his ordination to the episcopacy. During that visit, the Grand Duke also met with the First Deputy Chairmen of the Duma, Oleg Morozov and Liubov Sliskaia, as well as with the chairs of several Duma committees and other Duma deputies.

During another visit to Russia in November 2008, the Grand Duke accepted a job offer from the management of Norilsk Nickel; and in December, the Grand Duke assumed the position of special advisor to the company’s Director, V. I. Strzhalkovskii. In this new position, His Imperial Highness represented the interests of Norilsk Nickel—one of Russia’s largest companies—in the European Union. In addition, Grand Duke George of Russia took a seat on the Board of the Nickel Institute.

After having gained significant experience advancing the interests of Russian industry, and his employment contract with Norilsk Nickel having expired, Grand Duke George of Russia formed his own public relations consulting firm—Romanoff & Partners—in Brussels. The agency represents Russian and East European companies in the European Union.

Grand Duke George of Russia is entirely convinced that for him there is no obstacle to exploring a variety of professions and business activities. “My ancestor, Peter the Great,” he stated, “bequeathed to future generations of the Imperial House a wonderful example of respect for work. He scorned no form of employment and he was interested in everything. One can and should do what one does best and what benefits others, without regrets or stigma. Being a member of the Imperial house does not grant one privileges. It rather imposes great responsibilities—that neither your ancestors nor descendants should ever be ashamed of you, and that the dynasty’s good name should never be tarnished.”

In addition to his business ventures, Grand Duke George of Russia of course regularly performs his duties as Heir to the Head of the Russian Imperial House. Regularly visiting (with his mother and by himself) the Russian Federation and other countries that were once part of the former Russian Empire, the Tsesarevich works to strengthen the friendship between the peoples of these countries, and to contribute to a range of charitable and cultural projects.

In 2013—the 400th anniversary of the House of Romanoff—the Grand Duke established in London the Russian Imperial Foundation for Cancer Research.

Concerning his vision of the role of the Imperial House in the modern world, His Imperial Highness has said, “Our main responsibility is to preserve the continuity in our history. Compared with this mission, even our role in government pales in significance.

“Our ancestors never sought after power, even at the time of the foundation of the dynasty. When emissaries from the Assembly of the Land came in 1613 to Mikhail Fedorovich to announce that he was the heir to the throne, he was filled with terror at the very thought of it and for a long time refused it.

“Power is a duty—a very weighty duty. If it is required of us, we will do our duty without hesitation. We are prepared to respond to a summons from the people of Russia, should they want someday to restore the monarchy. But we do not seek power, nor do we make any claims to it—neither to any sort of political rights nor properties.

“To maintain a living connection to modern Russia and to its thousand-year-long history—that is our duty and out eternal right, regardless of what form of government may be in power.”