ST PETERSBURG, Russia (Reuters) – A descendant of Russia's former imperial family married his Italian bride on Friday in the first royal wedding to take place on Russian soil since tsarist times more than a century ago.
Grand Duke George Mikhailovich Romanov tied the knot with Victoria Romanovna Bettarini, an Italian, at St. Isaac's Cathedral in Russia's former imperial capital St Petersburg.
Russian Orthodox clergy conducted the elaborate ceremony, watched by hundreds of guests who included the groom's mother, Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna of Russia – the self-proclaimed heir to Russia's imperial throne – and more than a dozen minor European royals.
George Mikhailovich's great-grandfather, Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich, fled Russia during the 1917 Bolshevik revolution, escaping first to Finland and later relocating with his family to Western Europe.
Russia's last tsar, Nicholas II, his wife and five children were murdered by a revolutionary firing squad in July, 1918, in the cellar of a merchant's house in Yekaterinburg, a city 1,450 km (900 miles) east of Moscow.
George Mikhailovich, 40, was born in Madrid and has lived most of his life in Spain and France.
Bettarini, 39, who converted to the Russian Orthodox faith last year and took the name Victoria Romanovna, was led to the altar by her father, Roberto Bettarini, who has served in the Italian diplomatic service.
George Mikhailovich visited Russia for the first time in 1992 and moved to Moscow in 2019, where he works on a number of charity projects.
The Romanov dynasty ruled Russia for over 300 years before Nicholas II abdicated in early 1917, setting the country on course for the Bolshevik Revolution in November of that year, civil war and 70 years of Communist rule.
Russia's Orthodox Church in 2000 canonised Nicholas II, who had been portrayed as a weak leader by Soviet authorities.
(Reporting by Maria Vasilyeva; Writing by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Gareth Jones)
A descendant of Russia's former imperial family married his Italian bride on Friday in the first royal wedding to take place on Russian soil since tsarist times more than a century ago.
Russia's former Imperial capital is set to play host to the wedding of a descendant of the Russian royal family in the first such event in more than a century. Grand Duke George Mikhailovich Romanov will tie the knot with Italian fiancée Victoria Romanovna Bettarini at St. Isaac's Cathedral in St. Petersburg on Friday in an elaborate religious ceremony with hundreds of foreign guests in attendance. Russia's last tsar Nicholas II, his wife and five children were killed by a revolutionary firing squad in July 1918 in the cellar of a merchant's house in Yekaterinburg, a city 1,450 km (900 miles) east of Moscow.
Grand Duke George Mikhailovich Romanov tied the knot with Italian fiance Victoria Romanovna Bettarini at St. Isaac's Cathedral in St. Petersburg in an elaborate religious ceremony with hundreds of foreign guests in attendance.The Romanov dynasty ruled Russia for 300 years before Nicholas II abdicated in 1917. Nicholas II, his wife, and five children were killed by a revolutionary firing squad the following year.Royal Family expert Nicolas Polonsky described the event as "truly historical.""This is the Romanov family's first Italian lady. Never before has an Italian become a Russian princess. We are now witnessing a totally unique event," he said.George Mikhailovich was born in Spain to Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna of Russia – the self-proclaimed heir to Russia's imperial throne – and her husband Grand Duke Mikhail Pavlovich of Russia. He lived in France and Spain for most of his life.His great-grandfather, Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich, managed to escape Bolshevik violence during the 1917 revolution to Finland. He and his family later relocated to Western Europe.Bettarini, 39, converted to the Russian Orthodox faith last year and took the name Victoria Romanovna.
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