November 30, 1912
Although the visit of Grand Duchess Vladimir of Russia is described as unofficial, she has accepted the "constant escort of Anthony Drexel and allowing him to make up intimate little dinner parties" where she can meet people who are "fashionable and entertaining," reports the Los Angeles Times.
Many believe there is a more serious reason for the Grand Duchess' visit. There are "grave questions of state" regarding the health of the young Tsarevitch Alexis, the heir to the throne. Few believe that that he will recover from his latest illness.
The question on many minds is who will be the heir apparent if young Alexis dies. The Emperor's younger brother, Grand Duke Michael, ran off several months ago, and married a divorce commoner, a marriage that was not approved by Nicholas II.
It also being whispered that the Grand Duchess is in England to "secure the personal support" of King George V and Queen Mary for her eldest son, Grand Duke Kyril, who is third in line to the throne after Alexis and Grand Duke Michael.
The Grand Duchess's second son, Grand Duke Boris, has accompanied her on this trip, and "match-making intent." Boris, is a "gay young man," but in England, he has hardly left his mother's side, "conducting himself in an exemplary manner."
Grand Duchess Vladimir might be considering George V's only daughter, Princess Mary, as a wife for Boris. However, Princess Mary is only fifteen years old, and unlikely to marry for several years.