Princess Tatiana Constantinovna of Russia - Terms of Marriage

Terms of Marriage

In early 1911, Tatiana was rumored to be marrying Prince Alexander of Serbia (later Alexander I of Yugoslavia), but nothing came of this; Alexander later married Princess Maria of Romania.

In the spring of 1911, Tatiana Konstantinovna became engaged to Prince Konstantin Alexandrovich Bagration-Mukhransky (2 March 1889, Tbilisi, - 19 May 1915, Jarosław), a Georgian by birth who was serving in a Russian Imperial Guards regiment, and died in World War I. She was to be the first daughter of the Romanovs to openly marry a Russian subject or non-dynastic prince since the dynasty ascended the throne in 1613. Her anxious father approached the Emperor and Empress for approval. On 30 November 1910 he noted in one of his posthumously published journals ("From the Diaries of Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich", Moscow, February 1994), that he received assurances that "they would never look upon her marriage to a Bagration as morganatic, because this House, like the House of Orléans, is descended from a once ruling dynasty."

Previously, the morganatic wives of Romanov grand dukes had been banished from Russia along with their disgraced husbands (for example, Countess Sophia de Torby and Grand Duke Michael Mikhailovich of Russia, or Princess Olga Paley and Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich of Russia). Female Romanovs had only dared marry morganatically in secret, and the couples’ relationships had been kept as open secrets (examples include, Empress Elizabeth of Russia and Alexey Razumovsky and the second marriage of Grand Duchess Maria Nikolayevna of Russia and Count Grigory Stroganov).

Nonetheless, legally Tatiana Konstantinovna's marriage was morganatic. It was, in fact, the first marriage in the dynasty conducted in compliance with the Emperor’s formal decision not to accept as dynastic the marriages of even the most junior Romanovs—those that bore only the title of prince/princess—with non-royal partners. According to "Always A Grand Duke", the 1933 memoir of Nicholas II’s brother-in-law, Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich of Russia (published in New York, by Farrar and Rinehart, Inc.), concern about the eventual marriages of cadet Romanovs so troubled the senior grand dukes that Alexander approached the Emperor about relaxing the requirement that dynasts marry partners "possessing corresponding rank" enshrined in article 188 of the Fundamental Laws (the so-called "Pauline Laws"), but was rebuffed. The grand dukes officially petitioned the Emperor through a commission chaired by Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolayevich of Russia, requesting that a new category of dynastic marriages be recognized, to consist of Imperial princes and princesses entitled, with specific Imperial consent, to marry persons of non-royal blood and to transmit to the issue thereof eligibility to inherit the throne. The Emperor’s response was issued formally on 14 June 1911 in the form of a memorandum from the Imperial court minister, Baron Vladimir Frederiks (State Archives of the Russian Federation, Series 601, {"The Emperor Nicholas II"}, Inventory {register} 1, File 2143, pages 58–59):

The Lord Emperor has seen fit to permit marriages to persons not possessing corresponding rank of not all Members of the Imperial Family, but only of Princes and Princesses of the Blood Imperial...Princes as well as Princesses of the Blood Imperial, upon contracting a marriage with a person not possessing corresponding rank, shall personally retain the title and privileges which are theirs by birth, with the exception of their right to succession from which they shall have abdicated before entering the marriage. In relation to the categorization of the marriages of Princes and Princesses of the Blood Imperial, the Lord Emperor has seen fit to recognize only two categories in these marriages: (a) equal marriages, i.e. those contracted with persons belonging to a Royal or Ruling House, and (b) unequal marriages, i.e. those contracted with persons not belonging to a Royal or Ruling House, and will not recognize any other categories.

As promised in this communiqué, the Emperor proceeded to legalize authorized marriages of imperial Romanovs below grand ducal rank to persons who lacked "corresponding rank". Such marriages had been altogether banned, rather than deemed morganatic, by Alexander III’s ukase #5868 on 23 March 1889. But ukase #35731/1489, issued on 11 August 1911, amended the 1889 ban with the words, "Henceforth no grand duke or grand duchess may contract a marriage with a person not possessing corresponding rank, that is, not belonging to a Royal or Ruling house."

Both the 1889 and 1911 decrees were addenda to article 188 of the Pauline laws (re-codified as article 63 of the Imperial Family Statute). Left intact, however, was that original statute: "A person of the Imperial family who has entered into a marriage alliance with a person not possessing corresponding rank, that is, not belonging to a Royal or Ruling House, cannot pass on to that person, or to any posterity that may issue from such a marriage, the rights which belong to the Members of the Imperial family."

Also remaining unrepealed was article 36 ("Children born of a marriage between a member of the Imperial Family and a person not of corresponding rank, that is, not belonging to a Royal or Ruling House, shall have no right of succession to the Throne"). Aside from article 188, article 36 applied to prevent Tatiana Konstantinovna's issue from claiming succession rights.

Her contemplated marriage having been rendered legal, Tatiana Konstantinovna renounced her dynastic rights, as required. Nicholas II acknowledged this in a ukase addressed to the Imperial Senate on 9 February 1914 (Collection of Statutes and Decrees of the Government, 1914, #441): "Her Highness the Princess Tatiana Konstantinovna has presented to Us over Her own sign manual, a renunciation of the right to succession to the Imperial Throne of All the Russias belonging to Her as a member of the Imperial House," receiving in return Nicholas II’s authorization to marry Bagration-Mukhransky.

Finally, Tatiana Konstantinovna and her Georgian prince were married, at her father's estate at Pavlovsk, on 3 September 1911. The Emperor was present at the wedding and, according to a family tradition subsequently repeated by the bride’s son, Nicholas II is reported to have suggested that the bridegroom sign the wedding register as "Prince Gruzinsky" (i.e. "Prince of Georgia"), perhaps a courteous acknowledgement of the fact that, although for the preceding century the Bagrations might only rank as nobles who bore the fairly common title of Knyaz (prince) in Russia, historically the Mukhranskys were a branch of a deposed royal dynasty that had ruled on both sides of the Caucasus for hundreds of years longer than the Romanovs. By changing the law, granting unprecedented permission for the marriage, and personally attending it, Nicholas II was not, in fact, treating this marriage as an act of rebellion, nor as a disgrace to the Romanovs. Yet his acceptance was conditioned upon the marriage being deemed legally morganatic, reflecting the non-dynastic status that the Bagration-Mukhranskys held in Russia in 1911.

On the same day, the Emperor issued yet another ukase, (#35766): "By Our and Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich’s and Grand Duchess Elizaveta Mavrikievna’s consent, the wedding took place on 24th day of this August of the Daughter of Their Imperial Highnesses, Her Highness the Princess Tatiana Konstantinovna, with Prince Konstantin Bagration-Mukhransky. In consequence of this order: The Princess Tatiana Konstantiovna to retain the title of Highness and henceforth to bear the name of Her Highness the Princess Tatiana Konstantinovna Princess Bagration-Mukhransky..."

Read more about this topic:  Princess Tatiana Constantinovna Of Russia

Famous quotes containing the words terms of, marriage and/or terms:

    Whoever today speaks of human existence in terms of power, efficiency, and “historical tasks” ... is an actual or potential assassin.
    Albert Camus (1913–1960)

    The best friend will probably get the best spouse, because a good marriage is based on the talent for friendship.
    Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900)

    The Catholic Church has never really come to terms with women. What I object to is being treated either as Madonnas or Mary Magdalenes.
    Shirley Williams (b. 1930)