Bibelots

London

Grand Duke Vladimir of Russia Signed Autograph Christmas Card 1980

£125.00

Fine signed Christmas card from Grand Duke Vladimir Kirillovich of Russia (30 August [O.S. 17 August] 1917 – 21 April 1992). He was the Head of the Imperial Family of Russia and Titular Emperor and Autocrat of all the Russias, from 1938 to his death.

He was born as Prince Vladimir Kirillovich of Russia at Porvoo in the Grand Duchy of Finland, the only son of Grand Duke Cyril Vladimirovich and Grand Duchess Viktoria Feodorovna (née Princess Victoria Melita of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha). Vladimir's paternal grandparents were Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich of Russia and Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna (née Duchess Marie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin). His maternal grandparents were Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna of Russia.

Vladimir's family had fled to Finland after the Russian Revolution of 1917. His family left Finland in 1920, moving to Coburg, Germany. On 8 August 1922 Vladimir's father declared himself Curator of the Russian throne. Two years later on 31 August 1924 his father went a step further and assumed the title Emperor and Autocrat of all the Russias. With his father's assumption of the Imperial title Vladimir was granted the title of Tsesarevich (heir apparent) and Grand Duke with the style of Imperial Highness. In 1930 his family left Germany for Saint-Briac, France where his father set up his court.

On the death of his father on 12 October 1938, Vladimir assumed the Headship of the Imperial Family of Russia. In 1938 there were suggestions that he would be made regent of Ukraine but he rebuffed the idea, saying he would not help dissolve Russia.

During World War II, Vladimir was living in Saint-Briac-sur-Mer in Brittany. In 1942, Vladimir and his entourage were placed in a concentration camp at Compiègne after he refused to issue a manifesto calling on Russian emigres to support Nazi Germany's war against the Soviet Union.

In 1944 the German army moved the family inland out of fear of an invasion from the coast. The Germans were taking them to Paris when an order to drive to Vittel was given. Even Vittel proved to be unsafe, so they were moved to Germany. Vladimir lived in a castle belonging to the husband of his elder sister Maria Kirillovna in Amorbach, Bavaria until 1945. After Germany's defeat, Vladimir was afraid to continue living in Germany out of fear of being captured by the Soviets. Vladimir then moved to Austria and next to the border of Liechtenstein. He tried to move with General Boris Smyslovsky's army and cross the border, but neither Liechtenstein nor Switzerland would issue him an exit visa, so he stayed in Austria where he lived in the American occupation zone. Vladimir's maternal aunt, Infanta Beatrice of Orléans-Borbon, secured for him a Spanish visa. He subsequently lived in Sanlúcar de Barrameda.

Grand Duke Vladimir died of an apparent heart attack while addressing a gathering of Spanish-speaking bankers and investors in Miami, Florida, in the United States on 21 April 1992. His body was returned to Russia and he was buried with full pomp and splendour in the Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg, the first Romanov to be honoured so much since the revolution.

"My best wishes to you too -
Wladimir
Grand Duke of Russia
Xmas. 1980."

Size: 16 x 8 cm approx

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