To all Russians and to all those who deliberately or by mere coincidence find themselves on the Romanov Family site, a greeting from the President of the Romanoff Family Association.
I would like to give some information about the genesis of the Association I have the honour to preside.
After the October Revolution, those of the members of the Romanoff Family, who were able to leave Russia and avoid the fate of sixteen of their relatives found themselves in various countries, usually close to their European relatives.
Between the two wars, when hope of a quick return to the homeland practically disappeared, a few of the then younger generation of Romanoff princes looked for a suitable employment elsewhere and two or three settled definitely outside Europe.
Most of the Princes and Princesses of Russia chose their spouses among the members of great historic Russian families as they no longer could bear the idea of seeking a husband or a wife in the traditional German breeding grounds. They considered Germany the main reason of all Russia's ills, which began with the war declared to Russia in 1914 and last but not least for the poisoned gift to Russia of Lenin, who crossed Germany in a sealed train carriage and eventually reached Russia.
During the Second World War particularly after the Germans invaded the Soviet Union, many Romanoffs tried to do their part. Some served in the British navy, others were active in France in the resistance, while some after the liberation were finally able to work with the allied forces against a Germany, which in attacking the Soviet Union had in fact attacked their old homeland - Russia.
After the end of the war, the Romanoff Diaspora was accentuated. We have now members of our family living in Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, the United States and Uruguay.
After the end of the Second World War, some of the Princes of Russia, realising how tenuous have become the links between the members of the Family, decided to do something about it. The first idea originated with the heads of three branches of our Family, Prince Vsevolod Ioannovich, Prince Roman Petrovich and Prince Andrew Alexandrovich. They thought that some kind of organism had to be created so as to strengthen the links between a family so dispersed across the world. In the beginning, progress was very slow, compared to the present possibility of communicating in real time, but yet progress was made.
In 1978, after the death of my father, Prince Roman Petrovich, putting in order his papers, I found with great surprise that a scheme for the creation for a Family Association was practically ready. I then wrote to all the members of the Family, who had been in contact with my father, and they all agreed that the idea of creating a Family Association would have to be pursued.
In 1979, seven Princes and Princesses of the Blood Imperial, Their Highnesses the Princes Andrew Alexandrovich, Dimitri Alexandrovich, Vassili Alexandrovich, Her Serene Highness the Princess Catherine Ioannovna, as well as Their Highnesses the Princesses Vera Constantinovna, Marina Petrovna and Nadejda Petrovna, all born before the March 1917 revolution, jointly decided the creation of the ROMANOFF FAMILY ASSOCIATION - which in Russian was to be called:
It is important to quote two among the first articles of the Association Statute, as they clearly indicate the intents of the Founders and the wish not to involve the Association in any possible dynastic quarrel.
Article 3 of the Statute reads: "The principal aim of the Association is to foster closer ties between the members of the Association, but the founders give a primary importance to the keeping of the Great Book of the Association, giving the line of descent of each member from Emperor Paul I".
Article 4 of the Statute reads:
As their next step the founding Princes and Princesses proposed to all princes and princesses born after the Revolution, whose addresses were known and whose desire to be part of a Family Association was obvious, to confirm their agreement to become members of the Romanoff Family Association.
The new members accepted in the Association, in order of the arrival of their letter of acceptance were the following Princes and Princesses: Nikolai Romanovich (1979), Nikita Nikitich (1979), Xenia Andreevna (1979), Elizaveta Nikolaevna (1979), Andrey Andreevich (1979), Natalya Nikolaevna (1979), Mihail Fedorovich (1979), Mihail Mihailovich (1979), Tatiana Nikolaevna (1979), Fedor (Nikitich (1979), Dimitri Romanovich (1979), Alexandr Nikitich (1979), Nadejda Dmitrievna (1979), Rostislav Rostislavich (1980), Mihail Andreevich (1980), Marina Vassilievna (1980), Stefana Rostislavna (1980), Olga Andreevna (1980), Alexey Andreevich (1981), Alexandra Rostislavna (1982), Rostislav Rostislavich (1985), Nikita Rostislavich (1987), Petr Andreevich (1996), and Pavel Dmitrivich (1996). In the official documents of the Association, all names are written phonetically as in Russian.
The first President of the Romanoff Family Association was Prince Dmitri Alexandrovich and after his death the Presidency passed to Prince Vassili Alexandrovich. During both chairmanships Prince Nicholas Romanovich was Vice President.
After the death of Prince Vassili Alexandrovich, Prince Nicholas Romanovich was chosen as President and Prince Nikita Nikitich as Vice President.
In 1992 the General Assembly of the Romanoff Family Association decided the creation of the post of Honorary President electing the oldest living member of the Family, Princess Vera Constantinovna. The General Assembly also decided the creation of Associate Memberships in the Romanoff Family Association, which could be offered to children and grandchildren of Romanoff Grand Duchesses and Princesses, persons who have always shown close ties to the Family, as well as to widows and widowers of Princes and Princesses.
The first Associate Members elected were Princess Maria Illariovna, widow of Prince Nikita Alexandrovich, and Tihon Nikolaevich Kulikovsky, son of the late Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna, both now deceased. At present the Romanoff Family Association numbers only two Associate Members. Prince David Pavlovich Chavchavadze, son of the late Princess Nina Gheorgievna and Mrs. Xenia Sfiris, née Countess Cheremeteff, granddaughter of the late Princess Irina Alexandrovna.
The Romanoff Family Association achieved its first and principal aim, that of knitting closer the Family, and as a consequence not only members of the Family exchange communications, but many have finally met. Saturday 27 June 1992 was a great day in the life of the Romanoff Family Association. Seven princes met in Paris and decided to create a suitable instrument for benevolent activities in a Russia now shedding the symbols of communism.
The record of the activities of our Fund is described in detail in the reports of its chairman, Prince Dimitri Romanovich.
At present the Romanoff Family Association is attentively following the preparations of the impending ceremonies, which will see the burial at St. Petersburg, in the Cathedral of the Saint Apostles Peter and Paul, of the remains of Emperor Nicholas II, of his family and of the four faithful retainers, who lost their lives with the imperial victims.
May that day see all the Romanoffs united in front of the grave of our martyred Emperor, and may that day be the first in a new period of Russian History, with Russian citizens looking into the future and leaving the past in the hands of historians.
Prince Nicholas Romanovich