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Grand Duchess Kira Kirillovna of Russia (9 May 1909 – 8 September 1967) was the second daughter of Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich of Russia and Grand Duchess Victoria Feodorovna. She married Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia.

Russian Revolution

Kira, named after her father, was born in Parismarker when her parents were exiled because their marriage had not been approved by Tsar Nicholas II. This was because her maternal grandmother and paternal grandfather were siblings and the Russian Orthodox religion forbids the marriage of two first cousins. As well, her mother had divorced her husband Ernst Ludwig, Grand Duke of Hesse, who was the brother of the Empress Alexandra. Her parents were later restored to favor and returned to Russia.

Following the Russian Revolution of 1917, the family fled to Finlandmarker. Kira, eight at the time, recalled that her family was permitted to leave by the Provisional Government of Russia. For the first time they rode on a public train. "For the first time there were no royal trappings ... i.e. red carpets, special comforts, etc.," she recalled. In Finland, her 40-year-old mother gave birth to a son, Vladimir. The family waited in Finland for more than a year, hoping that the White Russians would defeat the Bolsheviks and they could return to Russia. "How I wish I could see you," 9-year-old Kira wrote to her aunt, Queen Marie of Romania, in May 1918. "Here it is quite cold though it ought to be summer. Boy (baby Vladimir) is so sweet. When he is hungry and Nana is preparing his lunch, the tears simply stream down his cheeks with hunger." Kira spoke of gathering mushrooms in the woods, going to the movies on Fridays, and of lessons, but also mentioned that they were running out of sugar. Her mother wrote to relatives in other countries begging for baby food to give the baby Vladimir.

Later life

The family eventually left Finland and headed first to Coburg and then to Saint-Briac, France. Kira was born Princess Kira Kirillovna of Russia, but her father later gave her the title "Grand Duchess" when he declared himself Guardian of the Throne in 1924. Dark-haired Kira, high-spirited and straightforward , also had an even temper. She was intelligent, curious, and interested in the arts like her mother, with whom she worked in the art studio at Saint-Briac. Kira also frequently visited her cousins at various royal courts or attended house parties in the United Kingdom. Kira had some difficulty finding a suitable husband. She was interested in the hemophiliac Alfonso of Spain, Prince of Asturias, son of Alfonso XIII of Spain, but was disappointed when the prince showed more interest in one of the daughters of Prince Nicholas of Greece. Later, she was fond of Prince Constantine "Teddy" Soutzo, a Romanian aristocrat. Her cousin, Carol II of Romania, refused to permit the match for political reasons. Kira married Louis Ferdinand on 4 May, 1938. Louis Ferdinand worked with the underground against the Nazis, and, in the later years of the war, the couple was arrested and imprisoned at Dachau concentration campmarker, where they were rescued by American troops in 1945. They raised a family of four sons and three daughters in a village near Bremenmarker, Germanymarker. Her children were Friedrich Wilhelm (b. 10 February 1939); Michael (b. 22 March 1940); Marie Cécile (b. 28 May 1942); Kira (27 June 1943 – 10 January 2004); Louis Ferdinand (25 August 1944 – 11 July 1977); Christian-Sigismund (b. 14 March 1946); and Xenia (9 December 1949 – 18 January 1992).

After World War II, Kira was called upon to testify in the case of Anna Anderson, the woman who claimed to be Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia. Kira had met Anderson briefly in 1952 at the urging of her mother-in-law, Crown Princess Cecilie of Prussia, who believed Anderson's claim. Kira was not convinced. She found the woman "repellent" and "not a lady" and incapable of speaking the cultured English used by her family. Kira had last seen Anastasia when she was a child of seven. Kira's uncle, Grand Duke Andrei Vladimirovich of Russia had been convinced Anderson was Anastasia, but her father and mother were unconvinced by Anderson's claim.

In later years, Kira was disappointed when her eldest son, Friedrich Wilhelm, renounced his rights to the title and married a commoner. She also paid little heed to her health, putting on weight and suffering from high blood pressure in her fifties. She was in good spirits on a visit to her brother Grand Duke Vladimir of Russia at Saint-Briac in September 1967, where she ate well and dumped several spoonfuls of sugar into her coffee, commenting, "God forbid I should eat anything healthy!" That night, she suffered a heart attack and soon died.


Grand Duchess Kira Kirillovna of Russia: ancestors in three generations
Grand Duchess Kira Kirillovna of Russia Father:

Grand Duke Kyrill Vladimirovich of Russia

Paternal Grandfather:

Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich of Russia

Paternal Great-grandfather:

Emperor Alexander II of Russia

Paternal Great-grandmother:

Princess Marie of Hesse and by Rhine

Paternal Grandmother:

Princess Marie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin

Paternal Great-grandfather:

Friedrich Franz II, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin

Paternal Great-grandmother:

Princess Augusta of Reuss-Köstritz


Princess Victoria Melita of Edinburgh and Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

Maternal Grandfather:

Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

Maternal Great-grandfather:

Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

Maternal Great-grandmother:

Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom

Maternal Grandmother:

Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia

Maternal Great-grandfather:

Emperor Alexander II of Russia

Maternal Great-grandmother:

Princess Marie of Hesse and by Rhine




  • Peter Kurth, Anastasia: The Riddle of Anna Anderson, Back Bay Books, 1983, ISBN 0-316-50717-2
  • Michael John Sullivan, A Fatal Passion: The Story of the Uncrowned Last Empress of Russia, Random House, 1997, ISBN 0-679-42400-8
  • John Van der Kiste, Princess Victoria Melita, Sutton Publishing, 1991, ISBN 0-7509-3469-7
  • Paul Theroff, An Online Gotha, genealogy of the royal family of Prussia

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