Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich of Russia - Romances


In 1902, Michael met Princess Beatrice of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. They fell in love, and began to correspond in her native English. Michael spoke both French and English fluently. At first it seemed they would marry, however, the Orthodox Church refused to allow the marriage of first cousins, and Michael's father and Beatrice's mother were siblings. Nicholas refused to permit the marriage, and to Michael's and Beatrice's mutual dismay their romance ended.

Michael's attention turned to Alexandra Kossikovskaya (September 1875, Orel region – 1923, Berlin), known affectionately as "Dina", who was his sister Olga's lady-in-waiting. Dina's father, Vladimir Kossikovsky, was a lawyer, and Dina was a commoner. Michael rejected the notion, proposed by his friends, that he keep her as a mistress, and in July 1906 he wrote to Nicholas asking permission to marry her. Nicholas and Dowager Empress Marie were appalled. Both Nicholas and Marie felt that royalty should marry royalty, and according to Russian house law any royal that married outside of royalty was removed from the line of succession. Nicholas threatened to revoke Michael's army commission and exile him from Russia if he married without his permission. Marie had Dina dismissed as Olga's lady-in-waiting, and took Michael to Denmark until mid-September.

Shortly after his return to Russia, three British newspapers announced on 24 September 1906 that Michael was to marry Princess Patricia of Connaught, but neither he nor Patricia knew anything about it. Buckingham Palace issued a denial. Nevertheless, two years later, in October 1908, Michael visited London, and he and Patricia were "paired" at social engagements. It seems likely that Michael's mother was plotting to get him married to a more suitable bride, and the originator of the false report, Reuters correspondent Guy Beringer, read too much into the plans. Michael and Dina were planning to elope, but their plans were stymied as Dina was under surveillance by the Okhrana, Nicholas's secret police, and she was prevented from travelling. Under family pressure, and unable to see Dina, by August 1907, Michael appeared to be losing interest. Dina went to live abroad. She never married and believed herself to be Michael's rightful fiancée, but their romance was over.

In early December 1907, Michael was introduced to the wife of a fellow officer, Natalia Sergeyevna Wulfert, and from 1908 they began a deep friendship. Natalia was a commoner, who had a daughter from her first marriage. By August 1909, they were lovers, and by November 1909, Natalia was living apart from her second husband in an apartment in Moscow paid for by Michael. In an attempt to prevent scandal, Nicholas transferred Michael to the Chernigov Hussars at Orel, 250 miles from Moscow, but Michael travelled from there several times a month to see Natalia. Their only child, George, named after Michael's dead brother, was born in July 1910, before her divorce from her second husband was finalised. To ensure that the child could be recognised as his rather than as Wulfert's, Michael had the date of the divorce back-dated. Nicholas issued a decree giving the boy the surname "Brasov", taken from Michael's estate at Brasovo, which was a tacit acknowledgement that Michael was the father.

In May 1911, Nicholas permitted Natalia to move from Moscow to Brasovo and granted her the surname "Brasova". In May 1912, Michael went to Copenhagen for the funeral of his uncle King Frederick VIII of Denmark, where he fell ill with a stomach ulcer that was to trouble him for years afterwards. After a holiday in France, where they were trailed by the Okhrana, Michael was transferred back to Saint Petersburg to command the Chevalier Gardes. He took Natalia to the capital with him, and set her up in an apartment, but she was shunned by society, and within a few months he had moved her to a villa in Gatchina.

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