20 January 2021

2021-01-20 Announcement of the Upcoming Wedding of His Imperial Highness The Heir, Tsesarevich, and Grand Duke George of Russia and Nob. Victoria Romanovna Bettarini





Announcement of the Upcoming Wedding of His Imperial Highness The Heir, Tsesarevich, and Grand Duke George of Russia and Nob. Victoria Romanovna Bettarini


Her Imperial Highness The Grand Duchess of Russia, Head of the Russian Imperial House, is pleased to announce the marriage of her son and heir, His Imperial Highness The Grand Duke George of Russia, with Nob. Victoria Romanovna Bettarini, the daughter of His Excellency Ambassador Nob. Roberto Bettarini and Nob. Carla Bettarini.


Nob. Rebecca Virginia Bettarini was received into the Orthodox faith on 12 July 2020 in the Ss. Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg, taking the name Victoria Romanovna. (See http://imperialhouse.ru/en/allnews-en/news/2020-07-14-h-i-h-the-heir-tsesarevich-and-grand-duke-george-of-russia-visits-st-petersburg-11-13-july-2020.html.)


In 2020, H.I.H. Grand Duke George of Russia and Nob. Victoria Romanovna Bettarini received permission to marry from the Head of the Imperial House of Russia, H.I.H. The Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, as well as the blessing of the bride’s father, His Excellency Ambassador Nob. Roberto Bettarini.


The wedding is expected to take place in Autumn 2021. Further details of the date and time of the wedding will be announced in due course.




His Imperial Highness The Heir, Tsesarevich, and Grand Duke George of Russia


The Grand Duke George Mikhailovich was born in Madrid on 28 February/13 March 13, 1981. His parents are H.I.H. The Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, who, since 1992, is the Head of the Russian Imperial House, and H.I.H. The Grand Duke Mikhail Pavlovich of Russia (H.R.H. Prince Franz-Wilhelm of Prussia).


The baptism of the Grand Duke on the Feast Day of the Holy Martyr and Victory-Bearer George (23 April/6 May 1981), which took place in the presence of the miraculous Kursk icon of the Mother of God in the Orthodox Church of Ss. Andrew and Demetrius in Madrid, was attended by King Juan-Carlos I and Queen Sophia of Spain, and by 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 Saint-Briac-sur-Mer, France, and then in Paris. Later, until 1999, the Heir, together with 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 duties to his homeland.


The Tsesarevich first visited Russia in April 1992, when the entire Imperial Family attended the funeral of his grandfather, the Grand Duke Wladimir Kirillovich, Head of the Russia Imperial House from 1938 to 1992. 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 special prayerful atmosphere, have made an indelible impression upon 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 enjoys sports and is an excellent marksman. Besides Russian, the Grand Duke speaks English, French and Spanish.


On 27 March/9 April 1997, during a pilgrimage of the Imperial Family to the Holy Land, the 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 Patriarchal residence, where the oath of His Imperial Highness was witnessed by the strict 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 dynasty.


After finishing his studies at Oxford University, and wanting to learn about 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 the Commissioner for Transport and Energy, Loyola de Palacio, in Brussels. Subsequently he continued working for the European Commission in Luxembourg, at 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 alone to Russia. He came to Russia at the request of his mother to congratulate His Holiness Patriarch Aleksei II of Moscow and All Russia, on the 45th anniversary of his ordination to the episcopacy.


During another visit to Russia in November 2008, the Grand Duke accepted an offer from the management of MMC Norilsk Nickel, and in December 2008, the Grand Duke assumed the position of special advisor to the company’s director. In this new position, His Imperial Highness represented in the European Union the interests of one of Russia’s largest companies.


Having gained extensive experience advancing the rights and interests of Russian businesses and industries in the European Union, and after the expiration of his contract with Norilsk Nickel, the Tsesarevich formed his own government relations firm, “Romanoff & Partners,” in Brussels. The agency represented the interests of Russian and East European companies in the European Union.


Grand Duke George of Russia is 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. Rather, it imposes great responsibilities: that neither your ancestors nor your 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 carries out his duties as Heir to the Head of the Russian Imperial House.


Regularly visiting (either with his mother or 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. The Foundation raises funds to help solve urgent social problems, finance medical research, respond to natural disasters, and support environmental projects in Russia and elsewhere.


In April 2015, the Grand Duke made a pilgrimage to Mount Athos, and in May of that year he represented the Imperial House of Russia at the events in Berlin marking the 70th anniversary of the allied victory in the Second World War.


Since 2017, the Grand Duke spends most of his time in the Russia, living in Moscow. He works to advance the social and cultural goals of his Foundation, participates in various charitable and educational projects, and serves as the Chairman of the Board of FoodBank Rus’ (Rus’ being an older name for “Russia”).






Rebecca Virginia Bettarini—Victoria Romanovna, after her conversion to Orthodoxy—was born in Rome on 18 May 1982, the only daughter of Ambassador Roberto Bettarini, a career diplomat, and his wife, Carla Virginia Bettarini (née Cacciatore).


Rebecca Virginia Bettarini spent her first five years with her parents in Paris and then lived a year in Venice, before the family moved to Baghdad, where she began elementary school in 1988.


She returned to Rome with her mother in August 1991 when the Iraqi army invaded Kuwait. Her father at the time was the chargé daffaires at the Italian Embassy and remained in Baghdad until January 1992 to help evacuate Italian nationals and to close the Italian embassy.


From 1991 to 1993 she attended schools in Rome. In June 1993, following the appointment of her father as the Italian Consul General in Venezuela with jurisdiction over the Caribbean, the family moved to Caracas for four years. There Rebecca Virginia attended the Agustin Codazzi Bilingual Institute.


Inspired by the example of her mother, who started a non-profit foundation “Un pesebre para Canaima” (A Nativity Scene for Canaima), Rebecca Virginia Bettarini developed a deep and lasting interest in charitable activities. This foundation provided educational materials and facilities for the indigenous Yanomami people, who are native to the Amazon Region in southern Venezuela.


Funds for the foundation were raised from charity events and from entrance fees to view the beautiful and life-size Christmas nativity scene measuring some 70 square meters that the Bettarini family has traditionally constructed and displayed both in Italy and abroad.


In 1996, the family moved to Brussels, Belgium, where she attended the European School, with instruction in French, English, Spanish and Italian.


During her years in Brussels, she played a number of roles in various productions of the theatrical company “Il Cerchio Magico”. The proceeds from these productions supported the charitable activities of the VAI Foundation (Italian Volunteers Assistance), of which her mother, Carla Virginia Bettarini, was an active and leading member. The VAI Foundation supports Italian patients undergoing liver transplant surgery in Belgium, and their families.


After obtaining her European diploma in 2000, Rebecca Virginia Bettarini returned to Rome to study political science, with an emphasis on international and European studies, at Luiss Guido Carli University. She graduated with honours in November 2004, having written a thesis entitled “Trade in Agricultural Products and the Rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO)”.


After graduation, she obtained a master’s degree, with an emphasis on European law, international law with a specialization in the law of armed conflict, and laws governing the World Trade Organization and international trade disputes in the World Trade Organization’s DBS (Dispute Settlement Body).


During these years in Rome, Rebecca Virginia Bettarini served as a volunteer of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, distributing food and basic necessities every Saturday morning to those in need. She also became an active member of the Association of Italian Historic Houses (Associazione Dimore Storiche Italiane, or ADSI), which organizes international events to promote and preserve Italy’s historical heritage by working collaboratively with other European historical and preservation associations dedicated to the same purpose.


She also obtained a master’s degree in ceremonial and international protocol.


In March 2005, Rebecca Virginia Bettarini was hired by Finmeccanica, an Italian defense contractor, where she initially dealt with event management for the Farnborough international air show in England, organizing and receiving official government delegations to the air show.


In December 2005 she transferred to the company’s institutional relations department where she was in charge of analyzing disputes in the aviation sector presented to the World Trade Organization, in particular cases under DS316 (Measures Affecting Trade in Large Civil Aircraft) and DS353 (the formal complaint lodged in 2006 by the European Union over alleged U.S. government subsidies to Boeing) .


She also researched and drafted a detailed analysis of the effects of changes in European policies on the company’s defense research and development division.


In 2010, she transferred to the Finmeccanica office in Brussels, where she was accredited as a lobbyist in the institutions of the European Union.


She contributed to an analysis of the evolution of the European Galileo, Copernicus, Earth Observation and Navigation System programs, and she participated in several working groups, including the ASD (Aerospace and Defense Industry Association), the Kangaroo Group, the Steering Group, and other lobbying groups charged with negotiating the priority of companies in the aerospace sector of European institutions.


She also dealt with the Public Regulated Services of the Galileo Program, as well of the Space Situational Awareness project, and took part in meetings for the drafting of the International Code of Conduct on the Use of Outer Space, and participated in negotiations on the issue of space pollution (space debris).


Rebecca Virginia Bettarini worked as an impact analyst on the negotiations for the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership) and TAFT (Transatlantic Free Trade) agreements.


She traveled to Russia for the first time in 2009, visiting St. Petersburg with her father. For 10 years she has provided constant support to H.I.H. The Grand Duke George of Russia in his many cultural and charitable activities.


Her father, Ambassador Roberto Bettarini, provided significant support for the construction of the Orthodox Church of St. Catherine in Rome. For his assistance to the Russian Orthodox Church and his efforts to develop and strengthen relations between Russia and Italy, the Head of the Imperial House of Russia, H.I.H. The Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, made him a Knight of the Imperial Order of St. Anna, First Class, an award which carried with it membership of the historical hereditary nobility of the Russian Empire.


In 2017 Rebecca Virginia Bettarini left Finmeccanica to become the Director of the Russian Imperial Foundation, which was founded by H.I.H. The Grand Duke George of Russia and which enjoys the patronage of the Head of the Imperial House of Russia, H.I.H. The Grand Duchess Maria of Russia.


Also in 2017, she founded Carré, a consulting and management company that works mainly with European clients.


In 2020, for her charity work in Russia and her assistance to humanitarian efforts between Russia and Europe, the Head of the Imperial House of Russia, H.I.H. The Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, made Rebecca Virginia Bettarini a dame of the Imperial Order of the Holy Great Martyr Anastasia the Alleviatrix of Captives.


In addition, in recognition of her charitable activity, H.R.H. Prince Charles of Bourbon-Two Sicilies awarded her the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George.


Since 2019 Rebecca Virginia Bettarini has lived in Moscow, where she directs the activities of the Imperial Foundation and the Carré company, and studies the Russian language and culture.


In 2019, she began studying the teachings of the Orthodox faith under the direction of His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America, Second Deputy to the President of the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (Moscow Patriarchate). On 12 July 2020, the Feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul according to the Julian Calendar used by the Orthodox Church, in the Ss. Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg, and in the presence of His Eminence Metropolitan Varsonofy of St. Petersburg and Ladoga, and H.I.H. The Grand Duke George of Russia, Rebecca Virginia Bettarini was received into the Orthodox Church with the name Victoria Romanovna, in honour of the Holy Martyr Victoria of Rome, and in memory both of the Empress-in-Exile Victoria Feodorovna (who made a significant contribution to the tradition of Russian charity and philanthropy) and the ancestor of the Imperial House of Romanoff, the governor (voyevoda) Roman Iurievich.


She is fluent in French, English, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese and has become increasingly proficient in Russian.


She enjoys riding horses and writing fiction set in countries where she has lived. Her debut novel, Beauty Queen. An International Thriller is set in Venezuela and will be published by the British publishing house Europe Books in 2021 and distributed in English.




Photographs of the couple for distribution in the Press:


1. https://yadi.sk/i/TlBU59KdHy7opg


2. https://yadi.sk/i/42mlFqM3X3Q7XA










make it known to all that


Asking the Lord’s blessing, We are pleased to grant Our permission to Our beloved son and heir, His Imperial Highness The Tsesarevich and Grand Duke GEORGE of Russia, to enter into marriage with his chosen bride, the hereditary noblewoman Rebecca Virginia Bettarini, who, on 29 June / 12 July 2020, the Feast of the Holy Chief Apostles Peter and Paul, in the Cathedral of Ss. Peter and Paul in St. Petersburg, was received into Holy Orthodoxy with the name VICTORIA ROMANOVNA.


We deem it proper that VICTORIA ROMANOVNA should, from the moment of her marriage with Our son, have the right to use the dynastic surname Romanoff with the title of Princess and the predicate of Serene Highness.


Announcing this event, so joyful for Our heart, and entrusting the future of our Most August son and heir, H.I.H. The Grand Duke George of Russia, and his future wife to the almighty protection of the Heavenly King, with firm faith in His mercy, We have every confidence that Our countrymen will join their prayers with Ours to Almighty God for a happy marriage, prosperity, and the blessing of children.


Issued in Madrid on the 20th day of January in the year of Our Lord 2021, and in the thirtieth year since Our succession to the rights and duties of Our Most August Ancestors—the Emperors and Empresses of Russia.


The original is signed in Her Imperial Highness’s own hand:




A.N. Zakatov

Director of the Chancellery of the

Head of the Imperial House of Russia

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