Grand Duke George Alexandrovich of Russia
Grand Duke George Alexandrovich of Russia, (In Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

 Великий Князь Георгий Александрович Романов), (9 May 1871 in Tsarskoe Selo – 9 August 1899 in Likani
Likani is a townlet in Georgia’s Samtskhe-Javakheti region, located at the west end of the town of Borjomi in the Borjomi Gorge, some 160 km west of Tbilisi, capital of Georgia...

, Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

) was the third son of Alexander III
Alexander III of Russia
Alexander Alexandrovich Romanov , historically remembered as Alexander III or Alexander the Peacemaker reigned as Emperor of Russia from until his death on .-Disposition:...

 and Empress Marie of Russia. He was named George after his mother's younger brother, King George I of Greece
George I of Greece
George I was King of Greece from 1863 to 1913. Originally a Danish prince, George was only 17 years old when he was elected king by the Greek National Assembly, which had deposed the former king Otto. His nomination was both suggested and supported by the Great Powers...

. At the time of his birth, his father, as the eldest son of Tsar Alexander II, was titled as the Tsarevich of Russia. After his elder brother, the Grand Duke Nicholas
Nicholas II of Russia
Nicholas II was the last Emperor of Russia, Grand Prince of Finland, and titular King of Poland. His official short title was Nicholas II, Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias and he is known as Saint Nicholas the Passion-Bearer by the Russian Orthodox Church.Nicholas II ruled from 1894 until...

, the infant Grand Duke was third in succession to the imperial throne, an elder brother, Alexander
Grand Duke Alexander Alexandrovich of Russia
Grand Duke Alexander Alexandrovich of Russia was the infant son of Alexander III and Empress Marie of Russia. At the time of his birth, his father, as the eldest son of Tsar Alexander II, was titled as the Tsarevich of Russia...

 having died the year before George's birth. At times he was referred to by his family as "weeping willow".


As an infant, George was stronger and healthier than his brother Nicholas. He could be described as a typical Romanov. George was tall, unlike his elder brother Nicholas, handsome and full of fun. He was always getting into mischief and, because his mother had a great weakness for him, getting away with it. Like his siblings, he was brought up in a spartan fashion in the English manner. They slept on camp beds, rose at six and took a cold bath, although occasionally they were allowed to take a warm bath in their mother's bathroom. Breakfast was usually porridge and black bread; mutton cutlets or roast beef with peas and baked potatoes were served for lunch; bread, butter and jam at tea-time. Cake was a special treat. Nicholas and George had a sitting-room, dining-room, play-room and bedroom, all simply furnished. The only trace of ostentation was an icon surrounded by pearls and precious stones. George's mother taught him that family life was important. Because of his parents' happy marriage, he was brought up in an atmosphere of love and security missing in many royal households. On 27 May 1883, George's parents were crowned in a magnifcent ceremony in the Uspensky Cathedral in the Kremlin
A kremlin , same root as in kremen is a major fortified central complex found in historic Russian cities. This word is often used to refer to the best-known one, the Moscow Kremlin, or metonymically to the government that is based there...

 in Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

. The Emperor and Empress received the homage of the Imperial Family, including their sons, Nicholas and George, both in uniform. It was a major occasion in the life of the young Grand Duke. The family lived mostly in the security of the palace at Gatchina
Gatchina is a town and the administrative center of Gatchinsky District of Leningrad Oblast, Russia, located south of St. Petersburg by the road leading to Pskov...


Education, career and health

George was considered to be the cleverest of the Imperial children. He was also outgoing, like his mother. George and Nicholas shared the same tutors, but studied in adjoining rooms. They followed the course of the Academy of the Russian General Staff. Their tutors were distinguished professors. Their English teacher, Charles Heath, had once been tutor to their uncles, Grand Dukes Sergei
Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich of Russia
Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich of Russia was a son of Emperor Alexander II of Russia...

 and Pavel
Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich of Russia
Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich of Russia was the eighth child of Tsar Alexander II of Russia by his first wife Empress Maria Alexandrovna. His birth was commemorated by the naming of the city of Pavlodar in Kazakhstan...

. Both brothers spoke and wrote faultless English. From Mr. Heath they acquired a love of sport, particularly shooting and fly-fishing. They also spoke fluent French and passable German and Danish. George displayed signs of a promising career in the Navy before falling ill with tuberculosis in 1890.

The Emperor and Empress both decided to send Nicholas and George on a nine-month long trip to Japan in 1890. George would go as a naval cadet and Nicholas to complete his education by seeing something of the world. Their mother hoped the warm sun and the sea air would improve George's health. They left Gatchina on 4 November 1890. The Empress had never been separated from her sons for such a long time and she missed them terribly. "You cannot imagine how sad and hard it is to be without you, my angel, and how dreadfully it hurts to think of this long separation", she wrote sadly. Nicholas and George first went by warship to Athens where they were joined by their cousin, Prince George of Greece, known as "Greek Georgie". From there, they travelled to Egypt. From Bombay in India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Nicholas telegraphed that his brother George had to remain on ship because he had trouble with his leg. Although George assured his parents that he was perfectly well, they were suddenly informed he had a fever and would have to return home. The Empress was alarmed. "You can't imagine in what anguish I have passed these last few days", she wrote. "In spite of all the reasoning ... I had to take things calmly, and to tell myself that it ... is only this horrible malaria that will pass with a change of air ..." George, in fact, had acute bronchitis and was sent back to Athens where he could be examined by the Imperial doctors. The Empress was distressed for both brothers: George, whose disappointment she felt deeply and Nicholas, who was now deprived of his brother's company.


In November 1894, Alexander III
Alexander III of Russia
Alexander Alexandrovich Romanov , historically remembered as Alexander III or Alexander the Peacemaker reigned as Emperor of Russia from until his death on .-Disposition:...

 died and Nicholas mounted the throne as Emperor. At the time, Nicholas had no children, thus according to the laws of succession of the Russian Empire, the Grand Duke George became Tsarevich (formally Tsesarevich
Tsesarevich was the title of the heir apparent or presumptive in the Russian Empire. It either preceded or replaced the given name and patronymic.-Usage:...

 because the latter title had been abolished in 1721). George's ill-health had forced him to relocate to Likani
Likani is a townlet in Georgia’s Samtskhe-Javakheti region, located at the west end of the town of Borjomi in the Borjomi Gorge, some 160 km west of Tbilisi, capital of Georgia...

. It was impossible for him to return to St. Petersburg for the funeral of his father, Alexander III. The doctors had forbidden it. Nicholas wrote to his brother, "... constantly pray to God to send you a full and speedy recovery, and to comfort you, because it is so much more difficult to be alone after such great sorrow than it is for us who are at least together!" George also missed the christenings of Nicholas' elder daughters, Olga
Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna of Russia
Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna of Russia ; , November 16 after 1900 – July 17, 1918) was the eldest daughter of the last autocratic ruler of the Russian Empire, Emperor Nicholas II, and of Empress Alexandra of Russia....

 and Tatiana
Grand Duchess Tatiana Nikolaevna of Russia
Grand Duchess Tatiana Nikolaevna of Russia , , was the second daughter of Tsar Nicholas II, the last monarch of Russia, and of Tsarina Alexandra...

. Shortly after the birth of Nicholas' third daughter, Maria, in June 1899, George wrote to his brother, "I am terribly sad that I have not yet been able to see your daughters and get to know them; but what can I do! It means it's not my fate, and everything is the will of God."

Visits from his mother to Likani were greatly enjoyable. In 1895, George and his mother visited Denmark. They had not seen their Danish relatives for four years. Of course, it was sad as it was the first time for both of them without the late Tsar. Then suddenly, his health deteriorated, "Yesterday, in the garden, he expectorated some blood...that frightened me more than I can tell - the surprise of it was shocking, because he had been so well of late...I am quite desperate that this should have happened here" As a result George was forbidden to smoke and confined to bed until he was fit enough to return to Likani
Likani is a townlet in Georgia’s Samtskhe-Javakheti region, located at the west end of the town of Borjomi in the Borjomi Gorge, some 160 km west of Tbilisi, capital of Georgia...

. Writing to Nicholas back home once again, George said about his trip to Denmark, "Of course it was good to see the family after 4 years, but it did not really do me any good, as I lost more than 5 pounds which I had put on with such difficulty in May and June. I also get out of breath more easily. So these are the results of my trip. Very annoying."

Death and funeral

George died suddenly, on 9 August 1899, at the age of 28. He had been out alone on his motorcycle and some hours later, when he failed to return, his worried staff sent out a search party. By the time they found him it was too late. A peasant woman had discovered him collapsed at the side of the road, blood oozing from his mouth as he struggled to breathe. She supported him in her arms until he died. The news reached Nicholas by telegram and he had the difficult task of telling his mother. She broke down and wept. He had seldom been out of her thoughts for the last few years and his death came as a terrible shock. His family were completely devastated. Nicholas was especially grief-stricken at losing his younger brother and childhood playmate. Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich of Russia
Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich of Russia
Grand Duke Constantine Constantinovich of Russia was a grandson of Emperor Nicholas I of Russia, and a poet and playwright of some renown...

 wrote, "Everyone was struck, as if by lightning, by this sad and unexpected news. Queen Victoria wrote to Nicholas II, "Pray accept the expression of my sincerest sympathy in this great sorrow, for I know the affection you had for your poor brother Georgy, whose life was so sad and lonely" "The Dowager Empress telegraphed Queen Victoria, "Thank you so much for kind sympathy in this terrible sudden bereavement...My poor dearest son died quite alone. Am heartbroken." On 14 August 1899, he was laid to rest in the St. Peter and Paul Cathedral in St.Petersburg, not far from his late father, Alexander III. During the service, his mother stood without tears, only deep suffering was imprinted on her face. When the coffin was put down into the tomb, Maria Feodorovna stood next to Xenia
Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna of Russia
Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna of Russia was a daughter of Tsar Alexander III of Russia and the elder of Tsar Nicholas II two sisters. She married her cousin Grand Duke Alexander Mikailovich of Russia, with whom she had seven children....

, holding her arm-in-arm and suddenly, looking at her daughter with widely open, unseeing eyes, she loudly said, "Let's go home. Let's go home, I cannot stand it anymore!" and she rushed out. When a board was laid down for leaving the tomb, she went away so quickly that it was difficult for others to keep pace with her. Nobody even had enough time to throw flowers on to the tomb. In the carriage she sobbed for a long time, pressing to her breast Georgy's hat that she took off the coffin's cover.


Nicholas II always remembered George and his wonderful sense of humour. He would tell great jokes that amused his brother very much. Nicholas would dutifully write out the best jokes on pieces of paper and save them in a box. Years later, the Tsar would be heard laughing by himself in his room, looking through his old box of George's jokes. George's title as Heir Presumptive was passed to his younger brother, Michael, until the birth, in 1904, of Nicholas' son, Alexei. In 1910, Michael named his newborn son, George, after his late brother. This George would also die young; he was killed in a car crash in 1931 at the age of 20.

DNA evidence

Decades later his body was disinterred from the grave in the Cathedral of St.Peter and Paul in St. Petersburg so that a sample of DNA could be taken from the remains to see whether skeletal remains allegedly belonging to his older brother, the last Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II, were legitimate or not. The DNA sample obtained from the remains was an exact match with those obtained from the remains of Nicholas II. After the completion of DNA testing, the remains of Grand Duke George Alexandrovich were once again laid to rest not far from those of his older brother and family.


  • His Imperial Highness Grand Duke George Alexandrovich Romanov of Russia, (1871–1894)
  • His Imperial Highness George Alexandrovich Romanov, Heir, Tsesarevich and Grand Duke of Russia (1894–1899)


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