Friday, January 9, 2009

Grand Duke Nicholas buried

January 9, 1929

Grand Duke Nicholas of Russia was buried today in a crypt in a little Greek church at Cannes. The service was attended by exiled princes and peasants, many of whom had looked to the grand duke as their czar, despite the fact that he was not next in line.
The scene in Cannes was a "contrast between official pomp and remnants of bedraggled splendor flanked with pathetic evidence of real poverty and destitution" among the hundreds of Russian exiles, who had come to pay their last respects.
France was represented at the funeral by Marshall Pétain, and Count Leonardi and the Duke of Genoa, were the official Italian representatives. King Alfonso XIII also sent an official envoy, More than fifty princes, princesses and nobles were also present, and included Nicholas' widow, Grand Duchess Anastasia, his brother, Grand Duke Peter and his wife, Grand Duchess Militza and their daughter, Princess Marina Galitzine, Princess Xenia, Prince and Princess Romanoff, Princess Anna of Battenberg and the Duke de Vendome.
There were whispers that the Grand Duke died of a broken heart and poverty, and had lost the will to live. He appeared to also have been exhausted by Grand Duke Cyril's claim to the throne. Cyril, who is the next in line of the succession after Nicholas II's son and brother, Grand Duke Michael, all of whom are deceased, has not sent his condolences or a representative to the funeral, according to several sources.
The final blow may have come when two months ago, Grand Duke Nicholas learned that he would have buy outright the French chateau near Paris, where he had lived since leaving Russia. But the Grand Duke did not have the financial resources to purchase the home, so he and his wife went to the Antibes, where Anastasia's sister, Queen Elena, has a villa. Nicholas "was much shaken with this upheaval coupled with the grim uncertainty ahead." The Grand Duchess tried to keep his spirit up to no avail, as the Grand Duke would be seen at the local library, flicking through out-of-date Paris newspapers.

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