a"n interview which her chancellor in Moscow, Alexander Zakatov, gave to the Russian news service, Interfax. It then got picked up by Voice of Russia's English service. His intent was to comment on the contrast between the traditions of the monarchies in Western Europe, especially Benelux, where abdication is common, with the old Russian monarchical tradition of reigning for life. Of course, the abdication of Nicholas II, when he was abandoned and betrayed, was an anomaly which occurred during revolution. Alexander Zakatov certainly was not making a judgment about or criticism of the traditions of those other monarchies, but was just pointing out the different Russian tradition to a Russian journalist."
This information was sent to me by a close friend of Grand Duchess Maria.Here is the text of Grand Duchess Maria's personal letter to King Juan Carlos and the Prince of the Asturias.
"The Head of the Russian Imperial House, H.I.H. the Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, has sent letters to King Juan Carlos I of Spain, and to his heir, Felipe, Prince of the Asturias, who will ascend the throne after the abdication of his father. In her letter to His Majesty, Her Imperial Highness expressed her deep emotion at learning of his decision and her conviction that the manner in which he had vowed his life from an early age and had dedicated himself to Spain “will forever remain an example for all future generations.”
The Grand Duchess has noted that, in taking the decision to pass the throne to his son, King Juan Carlos I acted solely in the interests of Spain and its people, having carefully considered this historic step and taking into account Spanish traditions and the modern realities.
The Head of the Russian Imperial House has also written a letter to His Royal Highness The Prince of the Asturias, who, in accordance with the law of succession, will become the King of Spain after the abdication of his father. In her letter, Her Imperial Highness conveyed to the new Spanish monarch her best wishes and her prayers that God will guide his steps and help him in fulfilling his weighty responsibilities, and of her deep conviction of the extraordinary service he will render for the good of Spain.
King Juan Carlos I and his consort, Her Majesty Queen Sophia, are linked to the Russian Imperial House by enduring ties of kinship and friendship over many years.
The Head of the Russian Imperial Highness, who has been a guest of Their Majesties at many ceremonies of the Spanish Royal House over the years, recalls with affection the attendance of Their Majesties at her wedding and at the baptism of her son and heir, the Tsesarevich and Grand Duke George of Russia."