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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.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in “Downton Abbey” if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russia’s best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russia’s most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkin’s, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontov’s short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library System’s website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Club’s weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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