31 August 2018

Empress and Mother

By Andreas Moller via Wikimedia Commons
Among Empress Maria Theresa of Austria's many accomplishments is one that none of her male counterparts could ever have achieved: she was pregnant for more than 13 years! The first three of her children were born before her accession at age 23, but the remaining 13 children arrived after her contested rise to the throne. She spent the first several years of her reign battling against opponents who thought a woman should not be empress, and for much of that time, she was heavily pregnant. If not for that, she said she herself would have taken to the battlefield to defend her right.

It was a right that her father, Emperor Charles VI had sought desperately to assure. In a nation hampered by Salic law that barred female accession, Charles realized early on that his death could mean the end of his dynasty on the throne. After his older brother's death leaving only a daughter, Charles was the only male left standing. After three years of childless marriage, he began to worry about the issue. If he had no children, he wanted his brother's daughter, Maria Josepha, to succeed him. In 1713, he issued the Pragmatic Sanction declaring that a woman could inherit his hereditary possessions, which at that time included Austria, Hungry, Croatia, Bohemia, Milan, Naples, Sicily, and the Austrian Netherlands. He spent the rest of his life trying to convince foreign rules and rival claimants to respect this decision. Once his own daughters were born, he became even more obsessed by it. (His first child, a son born in 1716 died that same year.) He even traded off territory and made financial commitments to convince them.

Maria Theresa and Francis Stephen with 11 of their children.
By Martin van Meytens via Wikimedia Commons
All to no avail. Upon his death in 1740, Maria Theresa, who had been born in 1717, succeeded him but the War of the Austrian Succession began almost immediately. Her father's policies had left her with a depleted treasury and weakened army. He'd also done little to prepare her as a monarch. She was in a poor position when France, Prussia, Bavaria, and Spain opposed her accession, mostly for territorial not moral reasons. Fortunately, she had strong support from most of her own territories, particularly Hungary and Croatia. The war (or wars since several other European conflicts are tied to it) carried on for eight years. Maria Theresa was ultimately successful although she did lose Silesia to Prussia (an incredible economic boon to Prussia and a victory that helped earn its king the epithet Frederick the Great). Her husband, Francis Stephen of Lorraine, was elected Holy Roman Emperor, a title that had usually been given to the Habsburg ruler of Austria.

She would fight Frederick the Great two more times, but he always had the greatest respect for her, calling her "the only man among my opponents."

Maria Theresa was one of the earliest examples of a successful "working mother", taking her dual roles equally seriously. She was keenly aware of her children's value to the Hapsburg dynasty (which had often used marriage as a means of acquiring riches, lands and allies) but she was also deeply in love with them and highly involved in their education and upbringing. When her daughters went off to marry foreign princes, her frequent correspondence advised them not just about their duties as wives and mothers but of their political roles as daughters of Austria. Two of her daughters became queen consorts: Maria Carolina of Naples and Sicily and the most famous of her children, Marie Antoinette of France, whose struggles with fertility and with "fitting in" in the Parisian court deeply concerned her mother, who thankfully did not live long enough to see Antoinette's execution in the French Revolution.

By Martin van Meytens via Wikimedia Commons
Once she had secured her throne in the war, Maria Theresa set about creating a better nation for her people. She tightened and simplified the relationships between the many nations over which she ruled, strengthening the political and military bonds between them. She addressed every area of society, including health care with new hospitals and the championing of the newfangled idea of inoculation, with which she controversially treated her own children against smallpox. She revised the civil code, banning the burning of witches that had so possessed Europe in the previous centuries. She provided more protections and freedom for the serfs against their landlords. She also expanded educational opportunities for both boys and girls. Strangely for a ruler of her times, she was less interested in culture and the arts, failing even to recognize the brilliance of the young Mozart. Despite this, Vienna emerged as a cultural center in the German-speaking world and in Central Europe.

Throughout her early reign, she relied upon a strong relationship first with her husband, whom she loved dearly. After his death in 1765 she appointed her son Joseph as co-ruler, but their relationship was less smooth, mainly due to temperamental differences but also some fundamental political disagreements. She strongly disagreed with Joseph's support of partitioning Poland between Austria, Germany and Russia, only changing her mind after realizing that Germany and Russia would gladly leave Austria out.

Maria Theresa passed away in 1780 at the age of 63, leaving behind a much stronger Hapsburg empire than she had inherited.


More about Maria Theresa
Consort Profile: Empress Maria Theresa of Austria on The Mad Monarchist
Fit for an Empress: 2017 Exhibition for Maria Theresia on Royal Central
Franz I, Emperor of Austria on Unofficial Royalty
A Letter from Maria Theresa on Tea at Trianon
Maria Theresa on Biography
Maria Theresa on Enlightenment and Revolution
Maria Theresa on History's Women
Maria Theresa on The Love of History
Maria Theresa on New Advent
Maria Theresa, Archduchess of Austria on Women's History
Maria Theresa Inherits a Throne But Not Much Else! on Every Day is Special
Maria Theresa Obituary on The True Life of an Austrian Empress
Maria Theresa, the Original "Lean In" Woman on Castles & Coffeehouses
Maria Theresia of Austria, A Working Mother of 16 on Motherhood in Prehistory
Maria Theresa's Throne in 1740 on Lo Que Paso en la Historia
What made Austria's Maria Theresa a One-of-a-Kind Ruler on DW
The Year of Maria Theresa: Holy Roman Empress on History of Royal Women
The Year of Maria Theresa: Marriage to Francis of Lorraine on History of Royal Women

25 August 2018

Your Favorite Grand Duchess

The Imperial Family, a year before the war started and five
years before their massacre: (from left around the Tsar) Olga,
Maria, Alexandra, Anastasia, Alexei, and Tatiana 

By Levitsky Studio, held at the Hermitage Museum. Via Wikimedia Commons
Earlier this summer, I asked my Twitter followers (@palaceprincess) to select their favorite Grand Duchess from among the daughters of Tsar Nicholas II. This year, we are commemorated 100 years since the entire family were murdered by the Bolsheviks. At the time, Olga was 22, while her younger sisters had all celebrated their birthdays the month before: Tatiana was 21, Maria 19, and Anastasia 17. Their baby brother Alexei was less than a month away from his fourteenth birthday.

We remember the Romanov children so well because their story continued to live long after they had passed. Their gruesome deaths would have written them into the history books, just as we have never forgotten the princes in the tower who disappeared four centuries earlier. The fact that the true circumstances of their deaths remained a mystery for decades after contributed even more to their notoriety. Add to that a series of impostors claiming to be one of the children who had miraculously survived and you have a formula for generated headlines for a century. Indeed, the most famous impersonator, Anna Anderson, who even convinced some family members that she was Anastasia, so fascinated the world that her story inspired a classic movie fable starring Ingrid Bergman in the 1950s and both a children's animated film and musical theater production in the 1990s. There is even a live action film currently being produced by Netflix and starring Emily Carey, who portrayed the young Diana Prince in the 2017 hit, Wonder Woman.


(from left) Maria, Tatiana, Anastasia and Olga

Photo studio of Boasson and Eggler, 
State Archive of the Russian
Federation via Wikimedia Commons
But, I also think that another element that has kept the Romanov children "alive" for us after all these years is the massive numbers of images we have of them. Their lives played out in an era when the royalties of Europe were fascinated by cameras and photography. They also had moving picture film. So, we have access to thousands of photos of them, not just being imperial grand duchesses, but being daughters and sisters at home. Playing with each other. Farming with their dad. Reading to their mother. With their dogs. With their tutors. Nursing Russian soldiers. Recovering from measles. Photos at every stage of their lives, including while they were in captivity. There is even a photo that Anastasia took of herself in a mirror that someone has labeled the "first selfie."

The popular culture's focus on Anastasia (largely due to Anna Anderson, who has been proven a fake via DNA testing) makes it no surprise that she emerged as the favorite Grand Duchess in our poll, taking 35% of the votes, but she just edged out Tatiana with 32%, while Olga earned 18% and Maria 15%.

TojoriJ (@Tojori_Jewel) remarked that this was a very difficult decision. As she wrote, "The Grand Duchesses had a short life and unfortunately what we know or think we know is based on books written from different perspectives." TojoriJ went on to offer her thoughts on each Grand Duchess based, she said, on the few books that she had read.

Photo studio of Boasson and Eggler,
State Archive of the Russian
Federation via Wikimedia Commons
Olga
One of the biggest for many is why Olga never married. She was nearly 23 after all and had the opportunity to be betrothed to Prince Carol of Romania. It is one of the great "What if" questions of history. If she had married into Romania, would she have survived the Russian Revolution. What would her life have been like if she had lost all of her family? She had taken on nursing during the Great War, but she preferred to remain home and close to her mother and siblings. TojoriJ observed, "She was a doting sister, but lacked the drive to work towards her goal." Indeed, she is the one sister from whom a separate escape route was available, but we are looking at things with the benefit of hindsight. She didn't know that there would be a need to escape. And, if she had had that knowledge, there's no certainty that she would have preferred to have lived without them. The sisters, after all, were so close that they signed things with their joint initials: OTMA. Olga was the first and oldest, but she was not the leader.

Photo studio of Boasson and
Eggler, State Archive of the
Russian Federation
via Wikimedia Commons
Tatiana
The role of leader actually was taken by second-born Tatiana. It was she who planned activities for the siblings and even for the family. Her sisters even called her "The Governess" and their mother often communicated through Tatiana to her other children. Of the two older sisters, called "the Big Pair," Tatiana was the more serious and was the most devoted to their mother, whom she always sought to please. Both girls joined their mother as nurses during the war. She stands out to many as the most beautiful of the sisters. As poll participant Watching (@a2jean) wrote, "All beautiful girls, but Tatiana, with her darker hair and blue eyes, stands out to me." Her natural reserve could sometimes be mistaken for arrogance, but she was actually more socially inclined than any of the sisters. In my opinion, Tatiana would have made an excellent consort for the 20th Century. I could see her in the same mold as her mother's cousin, Queen Marie of Romania, ready to take on whatever task she needed to in order to help her adopted country. But, Tatiana was only 19 when the family was taken into captivity and she never had a chance to explore her possibilities.

Photo studio of Boasson and

Eggler, State Archive of the
Russian Federation
via Wikimedia Commons
Maria
TojoriJ attributes Maria with the qualities of a "People's Princess: caring, respectful and kind." When she and younger sister Anastasia would visit wounded soldiers in hospital, she was known for her innocently flirtatious nature. Like her sisters, she was devoted to family. In fact, she dreamed of having her own large family one day. Her cousin Prince Louis of Battenberg was enamored with her. Sixty years later, after his own assassination as Earl Mountbatten of Burma, it was noted that he kept her photo near him. His childhood crush inspires another of those "what if" discussions. Alas, however, crushes were a common enough occurrence for Maria, so Louis likely would have been heartbroken in the end. Interestingly, Maria was the one child who accompanied the Tsar and Empress when the family was briefly separated during their captivity. Level-headed Tatiana was left behind to look after their sick brother, but joyful Maria was thought the best companion for her parents.

Photo studio of Boasson and Eggler, 
State Archive of the
Russian 
Federation via Wikimedia Commons
Anastasia
The real Anastasia was a playful, loving girl. Many described her as witty or mischievous but never malicious. She was very lively and playful. Her visits to the war wounded were highlighted by play, distracting the weary soldiers with checkers or other games. Only 15 when the family was placed under house arrest, Anastasia presciently wrote to a friend, "Don't forget us." Nevertheless, even in captivity, she and her siblings found ways to introduce joy into their daily lives, playing outside when allowed, inventing new games, even performing little plays. The family had always been very close, but the enforced togetherness allowed Anastasia and the others to spend more time with their father the Tsar, whose duties had separated him from the family during the war. And, although Anastasia's name means "resurrection", it seems fitting that she died in the bosom of her family, together in the deep love they had for each other. The fantastic myth of her survival, if true, would almost have been sadder than the reality of her death. Brutal though it was -- shot, bayoneted, bashed with rifle butts -- to have survived without her beloved parents or siblings would have meant a life of heart-wrenching despondency.


18 August 2018

The Last Romanov Ladies Part 4

PART 1 | PART 2 | PART 3

Launched by 16-year-old Michael Romanov in 1613, the Romanov Dynasty ruled Russia for just over 300 years. In the first half of this period, they struggled to produce enough heirs and after the reign of Peter the Great went through many decades where the tsarist line did not pass to a direct heir with various tsars succeeded by wives, grandchildren, nieces/nephews, daughters, etc. until the fateful day that German-born tsaritsa Catherine overthrew her husband Tsar Peter III and declared herself empress. Having cultivated a poor relationship with her son and heir Paul I, he showed his spite by declaring that no woman would ever again rule Russia.

Once Paul succeeded, however, the concern over succession became not too few heirs (even without including the women!) but too many. By the time of the Revolution, there were dozens and dozens of Romanov Grand Dukes and Princes descended from Paul. (As a side note, many people, including well-credited scholars are not convinced that Paul was actually a Romanov, but that he was the son of one of Catherine's lovers. But that is neither here nor there for our discussion.)

In the first three parts of this Romanov series, we looked at the ladies who were closer to more recent monarchs. Now, we complete the series with the collateral descendants of Paul's third son, Tsar Nicholas I.

In addition of Tsar Alexander I, Nicholas and his wife Charlotte of Prussia were the parents of three daughters and three more sons, Konstantin, Nicholas, and Michael. Each of them still had children and grandchildren alive during World War I and the Russian Revolution.

Grand Duchess Olga Konstantinovna with her fiancee, the future King
George I of Greece and her mother, surrounded by her brothers. All of the males
in this photo had tragic death lives.Nikolai (in back) was declared insane,
Konstantine (seated left) lost for of six sons in the war and revolution, Dmitri
(seated right) was murdered by the Bolsheviks, Vyacheslav (standing right) died
of brainhemorrhage at age 16, and George was assassinated.
via Wikimedia Commons
Konstantine Nikolaievich and his wife Alexandra of Saxe-Altenburg's daughters had married outside of Russia and their children were abroad during the conflagration. His oldest daughter Olga Konstaninovna, however, like her cousin was facing the tribulations of the Greek royal family with on and off exiles following the Balkan Wars and World War I. She had married King George I of Greece, who had been assassinated in 1913, and was the mother of five sons (including Philip Duke of Edinburgh's father Prince Andrew of Greece) and three daughters. One of her other sons, Prince Nicholas had unknowingly rescued Olga's cousin Elena Vladimirovna (see Part 3 for her story) from the Romanov fate when he married her in 1902. Olga's husband had died in 1913, but she died in exile in 1926.

Konstantin Nikolaievich's sons did not have the benefit of foreign residences. The eldest, Nikolai Konstantinovich, escaped the imperial fate by being naughty. An early affair with an unacceptable American led to him being banished to the southeastern corner of the country. There, he helped improve the area of Tashkent, married morganatically, and had children by both his wife and several mistresses. His oldest son by his wife Prince Artemi Nikolaievich Romanovsky-Iksandr died in the 1919 in the Russian Civil War, while their second son Alexander, his wife and two very young children managed to survive.

Elizabeth of Saxe-Altenburg
via Wikimedia Commons
Second son Konstantin Konstantinovich and his wife, the former Elizabeth of Saxe-Altenburg (a cousin of her mother-in-law Alexandra of Saxe-Altenburg), were actually in Germany when World War II started and were taken prisoner. When they were at last released, they returned to Russia making at least part of the journey on foot. Although only in his mid-50s, Konstantin's health never recovered and he died in 1915. Meanwhile, his widow suffered like other German-born Romanov wives to have her sons fighting against her German homeland. Five of their six sons served in the military. Prince Oleg Konstantinovich was killed fighting against Germany while Ivan, Gavriil, Konstantin and Igor were arrested by the Bolsheviks after the Revolution erupted. Gavriil was too ill to be moved with his brothers to Urals, where just a few months later, the three of them were among the many Romanovs executed along with Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna, the Empress's sister. (See her story in Part 3.) Gavriil was later released and emigrated to Paris, having been saved by his illness.

Initially, Ivan's wife Helen of Serbia left their two children, Vsevolod Ivanovich and Catherine Ivanovna, with his mother Elisabeth and followed him to exile in Yekaterinburg. When he and his brothers were moved to Alapaevsk, Ivan convinced her at last to go. She tried to see the tsar and his family at Ipatiev house before leaving the region, but was refused. Her insistence on the matter caused her to be arrested and imprisoned at Perm. A month later all of the Romanovs at Ipatiev House and in Alapaevsk were killed. Helen was later transferred to the Kremlin before finally being released to Sweden.

Elisabeth of Saxe-Altenburg still had their youngest children, Prince George Konstantinovich and Princess Vera Konstantinovna, at home with her. She had stayed out of duty, believing that the Romanovs were responsible for saving Russia. The savage murder of her sons, however, convinced her to go. A few months later, she accepted an offer from Queen Victoria of Sweden and escaped on a Swedish ship with George and Vera as well as several of her grandchildren: Natalia Bagration-Mukhransky, Teymuraz Bagration-Mukhransky, Vsevolod Ivanovich and Catherine Ivanovna. Vsevolod and Catherine's mother was reunited with them there. The three of them later settled in France, where Helen died in 1962. Having already sold many of her jewels, Sweden soon became too expensive for Elisabeth and the rest of the family moved briefly to Belgium before finally settling near her ancestral home in Germany. After Elisabeth died of cancer in 1927, Vera moved to London where George had made a home for himself. When he later moved to the United States, she returned to Germany. During World War II, she worked at a prisoner of war camp but was fired for helping prisoners. That area of Germany was liberated by the Soviets, leading Vera to escape on foot, officially a stateless person. She moved to the United States were she spent the rest of her life working for various organizations to help Russians in need. She died in 2001.

Grand Duchess Tatiana Konstantinovna
with first husband, Prince Constantine
Bagration-Mukhransky
from National Parliamentary Library of Georgia
via Wikimedia Commons
Elisabeth's other daughter Tatiana Konstantinovna had married Prince Constantine Bagration-Mukhransky in 1911, but it was considered a morganatic marriage because he was not a dynastic prince. They had two children together, Natalia and Teymuraz (both of whom escaped with their grandmother). Constantine served in the Russia army in World War I and was killed in action in 1915. She later fell in love with her uncle Dmitri Nikolaievich's aide-de-camp, Alexander Korochenzov and controversially married him. Dmitri never married. He and his nephews Nikolai Mikhailovich and Georgy Mikhailovich and his cousin Pavel Alexandrovich (whose daughters Maria Pavlovna, Irina Paley and Natalia Paley are discussed in Part 3), were executed by the Bolsheviks in January 1919. After the February Revolution, Tatiana and Korochenzov managed to leave Russia for Romania. In 1921, she retrieved her children from her mother and the family moved to Lausanne. Alexander died soon thereafter. Once her children were grown, Tatiana became a nun and spent most of the rest of her life in Jerusalem.

Tsar Nicholas I's third son, Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaievich and his wife Alexandra of Oldenburg had both died around the turn of the century, but their daughters-in-law played a key role in the last days of the Romanov Dynasty. Nikolai's sons, another Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaievich and Grand Duke Peter Nikolaievich had married sisters, Anastasia and Militsa of Montenegro. The Montenegrin princesses were greatly interested in the mystic side of the Orthodox religion and were early admirers of the Russian Orthodox starets Grigori Rasputin. When Empress Alexandra was seeking someone who could help her son Tsarevich Alexei during his attacks of hemophilia, the sisters recommended Rasputin, who quickly became indispensable to the Empress and her family.

The younger sister had married the younger brother first. Militsa and Peter married in 1889 and had three surviving children at the time of the Revolution. Oldest daughter Princess Marina Petrovna was still unmarried, but younger daughter Princess Nadia Petrovna, had married Prince Nicholas Orlov in 1917 after her first fiance, second cousin Prince Oleg Konstantinovich (above) was killed in action. Their infant daughter Princess Irina Orlova was just a year old when the entire family, including Militsa and Peter's only son Prince Roman Petrovich escaped on the British ship HMS Marlborough in March 1919. Nadia had one more daughter, named Xenia, in 1921. She has descendants in France. Marina gained a reputation as an artist. She married in her mid-30s but had no children. Peter died in France in 1931 and Militsa died 20 years later in Egypt.

Anastasia of Montenegro
via Wikimedia Commons
As for Anastasia of Montenegro, she did not marry Nikolai until she was 38. She had divorced her first husband, the 6th Duke of Leuchtenberg, to marry him. She had two children by Leuchtenberg but none by Nikolai. The family was in the Caucasus at the time of Tsar's abdication, but later moved into the safer area of the Crimea. Anastasia's daughter, Elena of Leuchtenberg, was married there on July 18, 1917, almost exactly a year before the Tsar and his family were massacred. Her husband, Count Stefan Tyszkiewicz, was a Polish noble who had gone to Russia with the International Red Cross but was conscripted into the Russian Army under Nikolai's command. While in Crimea, they were able to help many Poles escape Russia before joining other members of the family on the HMS Marlborough. Anastasia and Nikolai eventually settled in France, dying in 1935 and 1929 respectively.

The youngest son of Tsar Nicholas I, Grand Duke Mikhail Nikolaievich, had passed away in 1909, 18 years after his wife, Cecily Auguste of Baden, but they left behind many descendants who had to endure the Revolution. Their sons, Nikolai Mikhailovich and Georgy Mikhailovich were murdered with their uncle Dmitri Mikhailovich were murdered along with their uncle Dmitri in January 1919 (see above). Nikolai had never married, but Georgy's wife Maria of Greece was safe in England, where she had been when World War I started. She had not wished to marry him and had taken their two daughters, Princess Nina Georgievna and Princess Xenia Georgievna, there earlier in 1914 and refused to return. The girls were 17 and 15 when their father died. Nina married Russian Prince Paul Chavchavadze and they moved to Massachusetts in the United States, where she was an artist and he was an author. Xenia also ended up in the United States, married to Christopher of Greece's stepson William B. Leeds Jr. and later to Herman Jud. Her great Romanov legacy evolved because she declared that Anna Anderson was the real Grand Duchess Anastasia, of whom she had been a childhood playmate. Anderson's claim was not accepted by most of the family, but Xenia never relented. She died in 1965 long before DNA tests proved that Anderson was an imposter. Georgy's widow married Greek Admiral Pericles Ioannides in 1922 and went with him to her homeland of Greece, where she died in 1940.

Mikhail Nikolaievich's two youngest sons never married. Alexei Mikhailovich had died at age 19 in 1895 while Sergei Mikhailovich served in the army. He managed to remain in Moscow following the Tsar's abdication but could not escape the Bolsheviks' rise to power. He was among the Romanovs killed with Grand Duchess Elizabeth the day after the tsar and his family were slaughtered.

The fourth son, Alexander Mikhailovich, had married Tsar Nicholas II's sister, Xenia Alexandrovna, whose story is told in Part 2.

Mikhail Nikolaievich's only daughter, Anastasia Mikhailovna, married unhappily to the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. She was already widowed by the time World War I broke out, and sought her own peace in Switzerland so that she didn't have to watch her adopted country battle against her motherland.

Grand Duke Mikhail Nikolaievich with his children (from left)
Countess Nadejda de Torby, Count Michael de Torby and
Countess Anastasia de Torby
via Wikimedia Commons
Likewise, Mikhail Nikolaievich's second son, Mikhail Mikhailovich, was safely abroad. He had married morganatically to Sophie of Merenburg, who was a granddaughter of Alexander Pushkin. The Tsar at the time, Alexander III, banished him from Russia. So, he and Sophie were safely in England when the Revolution happened, although he lost his fortune as a result. Mikhail and Sophie's only son, Count Mikhail de Torby, never married. Their daughters, however, married famously. The oldest, Countess Anastasia de Torby, better known has Lady Zia, married British General Sir Harold Wernher at the height of the war. The family mixed well with the British aristocracy. In fact, her grandchildren today include the Duchess of Abercorn, the Duchess of Westminster and the Countess of Dalhousie. Second daughter Countess Nadejda de Torby married into a family that was to become incredibly important in Britain: the Mountbattens. The married Prince George of Battenberg shortly before the family and other extended relations of the British royals anglicized their Germanic names. At that time, she became the Countess of Medina, later rising to Marchioness of Milford Haven. She was therefore an aunt to the most famous Mountbatten, Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh, the consort of Queen Elizabeth II.

Prince Philip has even stronger Romanov connections, too. His grandmother (Zia's mother-in-law) Victoria Marchioness of Milford Haven had been born Princess Victoria of Hesse, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria by her daughter Princess Alice. Among Alice's other daughters were Elizabeth, the future Grand Duchess who was killed at Alapaevsk (see Part 3), and little girl that Alice named for herself, Alix of Hesse, the last and most tragic Empress of Russia (see Part 1). Thus, Empress Alexandra was Philip's great-aunt and her children were his cousins in the female line, sharing the same mitochondrial DNA. When the bodies of the last Tsar and his family were finally found, Prince Philip was among the living relatives who donated his DNA to definitely prove their identities.

PART 1 | PART 2 | PART 3