Letter of Tsesarevich and Grand Duke Constantine Pavlovich to the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna Confirming His Abdication of Rights to the Succession to the Throne, 26 November 1825

Most Gracious Empress, Beloved Mother!

Having received with a sorrowful heart, at 7 o’clock in the evening last night, from the Chief of the Headquarters of His Imperial Majesty, Adjutant-General Baron Dibich, and from General-Adjutant Prince Volkonskii, the notification and decree, which struck me with enormous grief, about the death of Our adored Sovereign Emperor Alexander Pavlovich, my Benefactor, I hasten to share with Your Imperial Majesty the grief that has befallen Us, beseeching the Most High to strengthen Us by His Almighty Grace to bear the cruel fate that has befallen Us.

The degree to which the unhappiness that has befallen Us has affected Me also obligates Me to pour out to Your Imperial Majesty with all openness My true feelings about this important matter.

It is no secret to Your Imperial Majesty, that, of my own accord, I requested the Sovereign Emperor Alexander Pavlovich, of blessed memory, to remove me from the right of succession to the Imperial Throne, in answer to which I received on 2 February 1822 His handwritten Imperial decree—in proof of which a copy is herewith attached—in which His Imperial Majesty indicated His Imperial approval, declaring that Your Imperial Majesty also agreed, and that this agreement was confirmed by both of You to Me personally. The will of the late Sovereign Emperor was that the above-mentioned decree be kept secret until His Majesty’s death.

Accustomed from My youth to fulfilling the will of My late Father, of the late Sovereign Emperor, and, equally, of Your Imperial Majesty, and not departing from the bounds of that will now, I consider it My duty to yield My right to the succession which I enjoy according to the State Decree on succession of the Imperial Family, to His Imperial Highness, Grand Duke Nicholas Pavlovich, and to His Progeny.

With the very same sentiments of candor, I consider it an obligation to indicate that I, expressing nothing more than My wishes, only will consider Myself most happy if I should be favored to continue My more than thirty years of service to the Sovereign Emperors, of blessed memory, My Father, Brother, and now His Imperial Majesty Nicholas Pavlovich, with the same deepest respect, vigorous zeal, and boundless devotion, which has always animated and will continue to animate me until the My last days.

Having indicated in this way my true and unalterable feelings, and having bowed down before the feet of Your Imperial Majesty, I humbly beseech You, having favored this letter with Your gracious acceptance of it, to extend to Me your favor by making public its contents where appropriate so that its provisions may be enacted; by means of which the will of His Imperial Majesty, the late Sovereign and My Benefactor, will be carried out in full measure and force, together with the agreement of Your Imperial Majesty.

In this regard, I take the liberty of humbly presenting to Your Imperial Majesty a copy of My letter to His Imperial Majesty Sovereign Emperor Nicholas Pavlovich, which I attach to this letter.

With the profoundest respect, Gracious Sovereign, I am the humble and devoted son of Your Imperial Majesty.


Constantine Tsesarevich

Warsaw, 26 November 1825

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