Rare et of four table linen napkins made for Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich of Russia (1891 – 1942), embroidered with his initials DP in Cyrillic surmounted by an imperial crown. If only one napkin is requied then please contact us.
He was a Russian Imperial Highness and one of the few Romanovs to escape murder by the Bolsheviks after the Russian Revolution. He is known for being involved in the murder of the mystic peasant and faith healer Grigori Rasputin, who had undue influence on Dmitri's first cousin, Tsar Nicholas II.
He was born at the family estate, Ilyinskoye (Krasnogorsky District, Moscow Oblast), as the second child and only son of Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich and a first cousin of Nicholas II of Russia. Dmitri's mother, Grand Duchess Alexandra Georgievna, was a daughter of George I of Greece and Olga Konstantinovna of Russia.
His mother, Alexandra, was seven months' pregnant with him when while she was out with friends, she jumped into a boat, falling as she got in. The next day, she collapsed in the middle of a ball from violent labour pains brought on by the previous day's activities; Dmitri was born in the hours following the accident. Alexandra slipped into a coma from which she never emerged. Although doctors had no hope for Dmitri's survival, he still lived, with the help of Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich of Russia, who gave the premature Dmitri the baths that were prescribed by the doctors, wrapped him in cotton wool and kept him in a cradle filled with hot water bottles to keep his temperature regulated. "I am enjoying raising Dmitri," Sergei wrote in his diary. Alexandra died shortly after Dmitri's birth. She was only 21, and the cause was almost certainly preeclampsia.
Dmitri and his sister Maria lived in St Petersburg with their father until 1902, when Grand Duke Paul married a divorced commoner, Olga Pistolkors, and was banished from Russia by the Emperor. He was not allowed to take the children with him into exile, so they were sent to live with their uncle, Grand Duke Sergei, Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna (the Empress's sister), in Moscow. The loss of their father and the sudden move to Moscow caused the children great distress. In her memoirs, Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna (the Younger) describes Grand Duke Sergei as a stern disciplinarian, and his wife, Grand Duchess Elizabeth as a cold and unwelcoming presence.
On 4 February 1905, Grand Duke Sergei, who had recently resigned from the post of Governor General of Moscow, was assassinated by Ivan Kalyaev, a member of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party. Kalyaev, armed with a homemade bomb, had aborted his first attempt to kill the Grand Duke when he spotted Dmitri and Marie with their uncle in his carriage. His uncle's death was only one of several assassinations that robbed Dmitri of close family members. After Sergei's death, Grand Duchess Elizabeth undertook to raise her niece and nephew on her own, thus making them part of a rare female-headed household. Maria Pavlovna continued to have some feelings of anger toward her aunt, whom she would blame for her overly hasty marriage to Prince William of Sweden in 1908, but Dmitri formed a very strong bond with Elizabeth and came to admire her personal fortitude.
Maria Pavlovna's wedding to Prince William took place at Tsarskoe Selo in 1908, and then, she had departed for Sweden with her husband, Dmitri. Elizabeth Feodorovna stayed on for time at Alexander Palace in Tsarskoe Selo as guests of the Emperor and the Empress. It was during this period that Dmitri began to form a close bond with Nicholas II, looking upon him as a surrogate father. He would join on him on his daily walks and seek to spend as much time with him as possible. Nicholas, in turn, treated Dmitri very kindly. He seems to have loved the young man's free spirit and sense of humor, a welcome diversion from the stresses of his daily life. Dmitri wrote several letters to his sister during his stay with Nicholas and Alexandra, describing how much he was enjoying himself there.
In 1909, Dmitri left his aunt's care to move to St Petersburg with his head tutor and companion, G.M. Laiming. He lived at his father's vacant palace and then at the Beloselsky-Belozersky Palace, which he had inherited from Grand Duke Sergey and would become his principal residence before the Russian Revolution. He prepared to enter the Nikolaevskoe Cavalry School. Upon graduation, he was commissioned as a cornet in the Horse Guards Regiment, which his father had once commanded and in which he had been enrolled at birth. He is reputed to have been a very good equestrian, and he competed in the 1912 Stockholm Olympics, coming seventh. Before World War I, he instigated the idea of a national Russian sports competition, the very beginning of what under Soviet rule became the Spartakiad.
A few days before the night of 16/17 December (OS), Rasputin had been invited to the Moika Palace at an unseemly hour, intimating Felix Yusupov's attractive wife, Princess Irina, would be present. She was really away in Crimea, staying with her parents-in-law. Yusupov, who had visited Rasputin regularly in the past few months for treatment, went with Stanislaus de Lazovert to Rasputin's apartment in Dmitry's car. A soundproof room in the basement in the east wing had been specially prepared for the killing. Waiting on another floor were the fellow conspirators: Dmitri, politician Vladimir Purishkevich and army officer Sergei Mikhailovich Sukhotin.
His own letters and diary entries, at times written under emotional duress as he relived events that would as always disturb him greatly, support the conventional historical account of the assassination. His frankness, his tone, and the details that he provides all speak to his credibility on this topic. His final break with Yusupov in London in 1920 is well documented in letters exchanged between the two men, none of which has ever been published. The originals are all part of the Ilyinsky family collection, along with Dmitri's diaries, and have been woefully, almost incredibly, neglected by scholars. Dmitri, who, as an adolescent, had envisioned Nicholas II as a 'man of action' and admired him greatly, was devastatingly disillusioned by the Tsar's attitude and behavior during the war years. Like many other grand dukes, he unsuccessfully tried to warn Nicholas of Russia's imminent peril. The assassination was, in his conception, a patriotic act and one of desperation, but he almost immediately regretted it and would later describe on several occasions in his letters and diaries the disgust and remorse that he felt about his own involvement in the affair. Yusupov was, in 1920, offered a chance to speak about the assassination in a US lecture tour, the profits from which would go to the Red Cross, and it was his interest in pursuing the tour that proved to be the last straw in his relationship with Dmitri.
The direct result of his involvement in the December 1916 assassination was to be exiled to Persia, where he served briefly under General Nikolai Baratov in the Persian city of Kazvin. After the February Revolution, Baratov had to ask Dmitri to leave since there were rumblings from the lower ranks, and his safety could not be guaranteed. Ronald Wingate entertained Dmitri when he passed through Najaf. In Tehran, he lived briefly with General Meidel, then the head of the Persian Cossack Division, before being taken in by the British Minister to Tehran, Sir Charles Murray Marling, and his wife, Lucia.
Marling became an important father figure to Dmitri, and the relationship there established between Dmitri and the entire Marling family would prove to be a close and enduring one. It was Sir Charles who, by persuading the British Foreign Office in 1918 that Dmitri would become the next Emperor of Russia, gained his admission to England after many previous rejections.
He would often have strong but overlapping relationships, as, for instance, with Natalia Brasova and the ballerina Vera Karalli, both of whom he saw in 1915 and 1916. (He would be reunited with both women in exile and would briefly resume his relationship with Karalli.) His diaries chronicle relationships with many of the most fascinating women of his day, but the affair for which he was most remembered was with iconic fashion designer Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel, whom he first met in pre-World War I Paris.
Despite the popular conception of Dmitri as a frail man who had suffered all his life from chronic tuberculosis, he was for most of his life a very active sportsman, excelling at polo, horse racing, tennis, and bobsledding. His doctors in London and Davos estimated that he first contracted tuberculosis around 1929, which ran a chronic course, but he had not had it previously. He entered Sanatorium "Schatzalp" on 2 September 1939, the day after the German invasion of Poland, and remarked in a letter to his sister that he had never before spent a single night in any kind of hospital or medical institution. His cause of death remains unknown since there is no cause listed on his death certificate, and all of Schatzalp's medical records were destroyed after the conversion of the sanatorium into a hotel in the 1950s.
Size: 70 x 70 cm approx