/ Members of the Imperial House / Head of the Russian Imperial House, Her Imperial Highness the Grand Duchess (de jure Empress of all the russias) Maria Wladimirovna
Head of the Russian Imperial House, Her Imperial Highness the Grand Duchess (de jure Empress of all the russias) Maria Wladimirovna
Head of the Russian Imperial House Her Imperial Highness the Grand Duchess (de jure Empress of all the Russias)
The Head of the Russian Imperial House, Her Imperial Highness the Grand Duchess (de jure Her Imperial Majesty the Empress of all Russias) Maria I Wladimirovna was born the 23rd of December 1953 (new church calendar) in Madrid, Spain. She is the only daughter of the late Head of the Russian Imperial House, H.I.H. Grand Duke Wladimir III Kirillovich, and His Most August Spouse H.I.H. Grand Duchess Leonida Georgievna (born H.R.H. Princess Bagration-Muhkrani of Georgia). Following the tradition of the Imperial Family, the Grand Duchess was brought up in the spirit of the Orthodox Faith and devotion to the interests of Russia.
Because Her Father was the only male dynast of the Imperial House to contract an equal marriage after 1917, it became highly likely that the young Grand Duchess would in due course become the heiress to the Russian throne. Because of this, Her Father the Grand Duke Wladimir III Kirillovich determined that She had reached Her dynastic majority at the age of 16 (Article 40 Fundamental Laws of the Russian Empire), and on December 23, 1969, the Grand Duchess swore the prescribed dynastic oath of allegiance of loyalty to Her Fatherland and Her August Father. The same day the Head of the Russian Imperial House issued a Decree ordaining that, should He die prior to the deaths of the several then living Princes of the Imperial Blood who have entered into morganatic marriages, the Grand Duchess Maria would become the Curatrix of the Imperial Throne.
On the 22nd of September 1976 the Grand Duchess contracted an equal marriage with H.R.H. Prince Franz-Wilhelm of Prussia. Since the Grand Duchess would eventually be the head of the Romanoff Dynasty, a dynastic agreement was entered into and legally formulated between the Russian Imperial House and the Prussian Royal House prior to the wedding, in which Prince Franz-Wilhelm converted to the Orthodox Faith and became a member of the Russian Imperial House with the name Mikhail Pavlovich and the title of Grand Duke. He also promised that any issue from this marriage would be brought up in the Orthodox Faith. The status of the Grand Duke Mikhail Pavlovich was determined by the provisions of Article 6 of the Fundamental Laws of the Russian Empire.
In any event, the Decree of 1969 did not need to come into force. In 1989, Prince of the Imperial Blood Vassily Alexandrovich (Prince Vassily of Russia) died, leaving the Head of the Imperial House, the Grand Duke Wladimir III Kirillovich, as the only surviving male dynast of the male line of the dynasty. From that point, the Grand Duchess became first in line after Her Father.
The Grand Duke Wladimir III Kirillovich was the last male dynast in the male line of the Romanoff Dynasty. At His death and in accordance with Article 30 of the Fundamental Laws of the Russian Empire, the succession passed to the female line in the person of His Daughter. The Grand Duchess thus became the Head of the Russian Imperial Dynasty (de jureEmpress of all Russias) Maria I.
Her Imperial Highness studied at Oxford University. In addition to Russian, the Grand Duchess is fluent in English, French, and Spanish. She also speaks and reads German, Italian and Arabic. Her first visit to the Fatherland was April 1992 to attend the funeral of the Grand Duke Wladimir III Kirillovich in St. Petersburg. Since that time, Her Imperial Highess has repeatedly been in the Fatherland, carrying on the duties of Her Father and attempting to help Her compatriots in a difficult transitional period. In Her speeches She constantly emphasizes that She is ready to respond to a call from the people, but that under no circumstances does She wish Monarchy to be imposed on the Russian people against their will.
Like Her Father and Grandfather, the Grand Duchess Maria I Wladimirovna loyally and steadfastly discharges the service entrusted to Her by God, completely dedicating Her life to Her beloved Fatherland.