Romanov Princess, 94, Dies
Published: January 16, 2001 (Issue # 636)
VALLEY COTTAGE, New York - Princess Vera Constantinovna of Russia, the great-granddaughter of Emperor Nicholas I and the last member of the Romanov family to be born in Russia, has died at 94.
She died of natural causes Thursday in her private apartment at the Tolstoy Foundation in Valley Cottage, New York, said Catherine Larin, a foundation administrator. She had lived in New York since 1951 and worked for charitable organizations, such as the Tolstoy Foundation, Larin said. She was also a devoted member of the Russian Orthodox Church in Exile.
According to the Romanov Family Laws of Succession, the princess inherited the legitimate claim to the Russian throne after 1989 but never took advantage of it and viewed others' attempts to do so with skepticism.
The youngest of nine children by Grand Duke Constantine, known in Russian literature as the poet "K.R.," and Princess Elizabeth of Saxen-Altenburg, Vera Constantinovna escaped with her mother and one brother from the Bolshevik Revolution to Sweden in 1918, said Xenia Cheremeteff of the Tolstoy Foundation.
Five brothers were killed in World War I, while her three other brothers died in the so-called Alapayevsk Mine Shaft Massacre, Cheremeteff said. The Bolsheviks threw the men, together with Grand Duchess Elizabeth Fyodorovna, into a mine shaft and bombarded them with hand grenades. According to legend, they did not immediately die, and local peasants heard them singing hymns.
From 1918, Vera was a stateless refugee. She never took foreign citizenship and never married, Cheremeteff said. Vera Constantinovna will be buried Monday in the Russian Orthodox Cemetery of Novo-Diveyevo in Spring Valley, New York.