There appears to be a family dispute among members of the Georgian royal family. Prince David, whose engagement to Princess Anna Bagration was recently, is considered by many to be the legitimate heir to the Georgian throne. Anna's father, Nuzgar, is the senior male line descendant from Georgia's last king. Thus, this marriage unites both lines, thus clearing up confusion over the line of succession. But does it.
A few days ago, David's half-aunt and half-uncle, Princess Maria Paz and Prince Bagrat, released a statement to the media where they challenged David's position as the head of the Georgian royal house.
They claim to be the legitimate descendants of HRH Prince Irakly Bagration-Mukhrani, and they do not recognize David Bagration Zornoza as head of the Georgian royal house or heir to Georgia's non-existent throne. Maria and Bagrat also claim that their older half-brother, Jorge Bagration Pasquini, was removed from the succession by their father, Prince Irakly, although this statement contradicts comments made by Princess Maria in 1992.
They also want it known that David's wedding is not a royal wedding but "a private wedding between two individuals."
Although the Spanish media have written that David is related to the Spanish royal family, Maria and Bagrat make it clear that he is not related to Juan Carlos and his family.
The late Prince Iraki, who died in 1977, was married four times. His first marriage, to Maria Belaiev ended in divorce. His second marriage took place in 1940. when he married an Italian countess Maria Antonietta Pasquini. Four years later, Irakli was a widower, as his wife died after giving birth to Jorge. In 1946, Irakli married again, this time to a member of the Bavarian royal family. His third wife was Princess Maria de las Mercedes of Bavaria, who was also an Infanta of Spain, due to her father's marriage to King Alfonso XIII's sister, Infanta Maria Teresa.
Maria and Bagrat are the issue of this third marriage, although their statement says second marriage. Their mother died in 1953. Irakli married for a fourth time in 1961 to a Spaniard, Maria del Pilar Pascual y Roig. There were no children born of this marriage.
This is not the first time that Maria has commented on the unworthiness of her elder half-brother's line. In an 1992 interview with the Associated Press, Jorge said that he believed that if a restoration occurred it "will be sooner rather than later. I believe that I have more possibilities of being king than my children, that's what I meant by sooner.
Princess Maria Paz, then 44, and an oral surgeon in Madrid, did agree that there was a new interest in the monarchy in Georgia, but she did not believe that monarchy was the answer to Georgia's problems.
"There is a feeling in several former communist countries that a return to the monarchy will solve all the problems. It won't. Royal families do not supply bread and other vital essentials of daily life." She also said that her older brother would be unfit to be king. "His matrimonial life is a tangle. And if he cannot organize his family life, how could he manage the affairs of state?"
Maria also said that Jorge had renounced his claim when he married, and she believed that her younger brother, Bagrat, would make a better king.
She was also asked about her position as heir to the throne. "I have no aspirations for myself, but if they call me I will go. There is no rule laid down for male or female succession."
Maria's father, Prince Irakli, had died suddenly from a heart attack, and she said that his will included no references about the succession. "But he never thought there was a possibility of the monarchy going home. Nor did I until a few months ago."
She added: "If the monarchy is to be restored it will have to show leadership.It cannot just be a figurehead. Anyway," she added, "the succession problem has to be resolved. But there are other branches of the family living in the United States and Italy.
Another article in 1992 notes that Georgian politicians who visited Spain in 1992 to meet the royal family, were leaning toward Jorge's more serious younger brother, Bagrat, or his young son, Juan.
Jorge was a former motor-racing champion who appeared frequently in Spain's gossip magazines.
Jorge's mother was a commoner, while Bagrat's "was impeccably blue-blooded."
It was also noted at the time that Maria Paz was the only one who had a job, and was the one most interested in Georgia, having even taught herself "the difficult language of her homeland."
Another profile of the family from 1992 notes "that there is no love lost between Maria and Jorge." The princess once described her brother as a playboy.
"She claims I am immoral and feckless, a man who can't even run his marital life properly. That is not true. She is bitter because I divorced my first wife, who was a childhood sweetheart, who was also Maria's best friend." It was said at the time that Maria never forgave her brother for his failed marriage, as he lived with his second wife, Nuria, before he was divorced from his first wife.
Despite Maria Paz's protestations, her late brother, Jorge, and his son, David, have been recognized as the heirs to the former monarchy. David now lives in Georgia. In 2005, he said in an interview: "I am an ordinary person with ordinary habits without any monarchist approaches. I try to follow Georgian traditions." In that interview he also said that he wanted to marry a Georgian woman so he can raise his children as Georgians. "Nobody ordered me to marry here, but I, myself, want to have a Georgian wife. I want my children to speak Georgian. This will be a great happiness." He also wants to marry for love.