Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Kirill & Victoria Melita

both images - Marlene A. Eilers Koenig collection

A formal photograph of Grand Duchess Victoria Feodorovna and Grand Duke Kyril of Russia in 1906 in Coburg. Two years later, Victoria with her daughter, Marie, who was born in 1907.


Anonymous said...

Marlene, do you think that this was truly a love match? To me it rings more of a dynastic marriage, seeing that GD Kyril was next in line to the Russian throne after the tsarevich Alexis. Alexis's haemophilia was a State secret but I think that rumours of his serious illness would have circulated in both Nicholas's and Alexandra's families. Was Kyril and Victoria's close family relationship (first cousins) accepted by the Russian Church?

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

It was a love match, not a dynastic match. They were first cousins, however, and the Orthodox church does not allow marriages between 1, 2nd and 3rd cousins, but the Emperor had the sole authority to approve marriages according to the fundamental laws. Many of the marriages were between 2nd and 3rd cousins, but no first cousins. Grand Duke Michael wanted to marry his cousin Beatrice (Ducky's sister) but this was not approved because of their 1st cousin relationship. Ducky and Kirill were having an affair during her first marriage - and they were determined to marry. Nicholas did not approve the marriage right away because of the 1st cousin relationship - and Kirill was stripped of his military honors. This changed in 1907 when the marriage was approved and Victoria became known as HIH Grand Duchess Victoria Feodorovna.
Remember, Nicholas' younger brother Michael was not married in 1907, and he was 2nd in line.
Ducky and Kirill were married by an Orthodox priest.

At the time of Kirill's marriage, Michael was second in line, followed by Kirill's father, Wladimir.

FelixR said...

In Pakula's "Queen of Romania" it says that GD Victoria and GD Kyril became estranged due to something dreadful that Kyril told her.
Page 392

Ducky, Marie explained in a letter to a friend, "has had an overwhelming soulgrief which has shattered her conception of life and humanity." The trouble "which no-one is allowed to mention", remains a mystery, and Marie, sworn to secrecy, never divulged it. It had to do with Ducky's husband GD Kirill, and from the day she discovered it until the day she died, the Grand Duchess avoided any further physical contact with him.

It would seem that a case of simple infidelity, particularly on the part of a Russian Grand Duke, would justify the violence of the Grand Duchess's reaction. Whatever it was , Ducky took some sort of perverse pleasure in her misery...."

Any thoughts on what it might have been Marlene? The only thing I could think of is that Kyrill may have been sexually involved with her first husband, GD Ernest of Hesse, in his youth. They were cousins, weren't they?

Dividing My Time said...

It was definitely a love match, and they waited until Queen Victoria was dead to move forward with their marriage and VM's divorce. I do think the great secret that Queen Marie took to her grave was, as FelixR suggests, of a homosexual nature (VM had caught Grand Duke Ernst with a stableboy) but not I think that Kirill and Ernst were together, which would have been logistically uphill work at the time.
Great site! This is one of my passions and I'll look forward to seeing more from you!

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

More likely, in Kirill's case, it was another woman.