14 March 2021

2021-03-13 His Imperial Highness The Grand Duke George of Russia, Heir of the Head of the Russian Imperial House, turns 40 years old on March 13, 2021

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


The Grand Duke was baptized on April 23 / May 6, 1981, the feast day of the Holy Great Martyr and Victory Bearer George, in the presence of the miracle-working Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God, in the Church of Ss. Andrew and Dimitri in Madrid. Attending the baptism were King Juan-Carlos and Queen Sophia of Spain and King Simeon II and Queen Margarita of Bulgaria.  His godfather is King Constantine II of Greece.


The early childhood of the Tsesarevich was spent in St. Briac, 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 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 enjoys sports and is an excellent marksman. Besides Russian, the Grand Duke speaks English, French and Spanish.


On March 27 / April 9, 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 Patriarch’s 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 prayer 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 Commissioner for Transport and Energy, Loyola de Palacio, in Brussels. Subsequently he continued working for the European Commission in Luxembourg, for 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 the interests of one of the largest Russian companies in the European Union.


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 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 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 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.



On May 7, 2014, Grand Duke George signed documents creating the Imperial Foundation for Cancer Research to support the education and training of young researchers, provide funding for established researchers, and assist the work of cancer research institutes.


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 the ancient name for “Russia”).


On November 14, 2019, , the Feast Day of the Holy Martyrs, Physicians, and Unmercenaries Ss. Cosmas and Damian, a minibus carrying the Heir of the Head of the Imperial House of Russia, H.I.H. the Tsesarevich and Grand Duke George of Russia and several others, flipped over on Sinopskaya embankment in St. Petersburg.  


The Feast of Saints Cosmas and Damian of Asia Minor (November 1/14) is now among the special days when the miraculous salvation of members of the House of Romanoff from mortal danger is commemorated.


Other special days of commemoration include:


- Feast of the Venerable George of Mount Maleon (April 4/17) (commemorating the miraculous saving of Emperor Alexander II’s life during the first attempt on his life);


- Feast of the Holy Prophet Hosea and the Hieromartyr Andrew of Crete (October 17/30) (commemorating the miraculous saving of Emperor Alexander III and his family at the derailment of the Imperial train at Borki, near Kharkov, in 1888);


- Feast of the Hieromartyr Hypatius, Bishop of Gangra (March 31/April 13) (the rescue of the future Emperor-in-Exile Kirill Vladimirovich during the sinking of the battleship Petropavlovsk in 1904);


- Epiphany (January 6/19) (commemorating the miraculous survival of the Holy Royal Passion-Bearer Emperor Nicholas II, when he was accidentally wounded during a cannon salute at the Ss. Peter and Paul Fortress in 1905).


On January 20, 2021, the Head of the Imperial House of Russia, H.I.H. The Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, gave her permission to her son and heir, H.I.H. The Tsesarevich and Grand Duke George of Russia, to marry the hereditary noblewoman Victoria Romanova (Rebecca Virginia) Bettarini, who was received into Holy Orthodoxy on July 12, 2020, in the Ss. Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg.


On January 24, 2021, in the Holy Trinity Ipatiev Monastery in Kostroma—the cradle of the House of Romanoff—Metropolitan Ferapont of Kostroma and Nerekht officiated at the betrothal of Grand Duke George and Victoria Romanovna.


The wedding is planned for the Autumn 2021.

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