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De-jure Empress Dowager of Russia dies at 95


The Dowager Grand Duchess of Russia died early on Monday at the age of 95, the Ekho Moskvy radio station reported citing a spokesman for the Romanov house.

Alexander Zakatov said Leonida Georgievna Romanov, the de-jure empress, passed away in Madrid.

She will be buried in Russia near her husband, Duke Vladimir, in St. Petersburg`s Peter and Paul Fortress. The date of the burial has not yet been set.

Leonida Georgievna was born in 1914. She descended from the House of Mukhrani, a collateral branch of the Bagrationi dynasty. Her family ruled ancient Georgia and Armenia from the early Middle Ages until the beginning of the 16th century.

She first married Sumner Moore Kirby in 1934, and gave birth to a daughter Helen. After divorcing Kirby, the princess married Grand Duke Vladimir Cyrillovich Romanov, who claimed to be the Russian Emperor from 1938 to his death.

Grand Duke Vladimir and Duchess Leonida of Russia gave birth to another daughter, Maria, who has styled herself as the heir to the Russian imperial throne since her father died in 1992.

Russia`s last tsar, Nicholas II, his wife, their four daughters and son, and several servants, were shot dead by the Bolsheviks in a basement in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg in the early hours of July 17, 1918.

The Romanovs were canonized in 2000, and are buried in St. Petersburg`s Peter and Paul Cathedral.

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