For 40-year-old George Mikhailovich Romanov, he decided to marry his Italian fianc at a grand ceremony at St. Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg – Russia’s first “royal” wedding in more than a century.
On the one hand, St. Petersburg, once the capital of the Russian Empire, was built from the beginning when the House of Romanov ruled until 1613 and 1917.
On the other hand, this is where the Romanesque rule over Russia came to a bloody halt after the 1917 revolutions. The last Tsar, Nicholas II, was imprisoned at the nearby Alexander Palace. Nikolas Romanov, the groom’s cousin and the last royal family to marry in Russia, was later shot dead along with his wife and five young children in Ekaterinburg.
Still, Friday’s party continued.
About 1,500 people married Romanov to 39-year-old Rebecca Virginia Bitterini, now renamed Victoria Romanova Bitterini, which includes elites and dignitaries from across Europe. According to the Russian website Fontanka.ru, about 50 royal families from European countries participated. Romanov uses the Grand Duke’s self-made title.
The crowd included Russia’s Maria Vladimirovna, the groom’s mother and self-proclaimed heir to the throne. The groom’s father, who calls himself Prince Franz Wilhelm of Prussia, the grandson of Wilhelm II, the German emperor, was notorious for his misguided leadership before World War I.
In Batarini’s bridal gown, the coat of arms of the Imperial Russia was embroidered with gold.
In pre-wedding interviews, the groom admitted that his family’s historic relationship with St. Petersburg prompted the couple to marry there.
“It’s very close to our family,” Romanov told Fontanka.ru, St. Petersburg. The city was “History of Russia” and “History of the Romano Family.”
The couple also said that their marriage would help promote modern Russia. “I believe that after so many months of epidemics, this is an opportunity to show many foreign guests the modern St. Petersburg, modern Russia.”
Not all Russian officials welcomed the opportunity. Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, told reporters on Friday that the Kremlin had no plans to congratulate the couple. “This marriage is by no means on our agenda,” Peskov said.
Although Putin has often chosen Russia’s great history to strengthen his legitimacy, Romanos’ legacy is controversial within Russia. Some historians estimate that about 30,000 people died during the construction of St. Petersburg, which was built at the behest of Peter the Great at the behest of a European-faced capital.
Nicholas II and his family were transferred to St. Peter’s and Paul’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg two years ago after their bodies were secretly buried by Soviet authorities in 2000 by the Orthodox Church.
The referendum shows that the Russians have mixed feelings about the end of the empire. In a 2017 Levada poll of voters, about 42 percent said the loss of royal status was “huge”, although a slightly higher percentage said it was not. In the same survey, Nicholas II ranked Soviet figures such as Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin behind historical figures.
Born in Madrid, Romanov spent most of his life in France, but met his future wife in Brussels while working for the European Parliament. He first visited Russia in 1992, when he visited St. Petersburg, and moved to Moscow in 2019, where he and Betarini were married in a civil ceremony on September 24.