Alexis Andreievich, Prince of Russia
|His Serene Highness|
|Prince of the Imperial Blood of Russia|
|Tenure||28 November 2021 - present|
|Predecessor||Prince Andrew Andreievich|
|Heir presumptive||Prince Peter Andreievich|
|Born||27 April 1953|
San Francisco, California
|Alexis Andreievich Romanoff|
|Father||Andrew Andreievich, Prince of Russia|
|Mother||Elena Konstantinovna Dourneva|
Alexis Andreievich, Prince of the Imperial Blood of Russia (born 27 April 1953) has been a claimant to the headship of the House of Romanov, the Imperial House of Russia, in opposition to Maria Vladimirovna, Grand Duchess of Russia since 2021. A claim to the Russian throne is also advanced by Maria’s cousin Prince Nicholas Kirilovich (Karl Emich) of Leiningen.
For supporters of Grand Duchess Maria’s claim, Alexis is not a dynastic Russian prince of the imperial blood, but instead simply Prince Alexis Andreievich Romanovsky. In his professional life he goes by the name Alex Romanoff.
Early life, education, and career
Prince Alexis was born in San Francisco, California the only son of Andrew Andrievich, Prince of Russia and his first wife Elena Konstantinovna Dourneva (1927-1991), the daughter of Russian émigré's, Constantin Afanasievich Dournev and his wife Felixa Stanislavna Zapalski. He is a member of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Prince Alexis is a great grandson of Grand Duchess Xenia, during whose lifetime he was born, and through her a great great grandson of Emperor Alexander III. In the direct male line, he is a descendant of Emperor Nicholas I and so belongs to the Mikhailovich branch of the family which, is the most junior branch of the family and was founded by the emperor’s youngest son Grand Duke Michael Nikolaevich of Russia.
Prince Alexis’ parents divorced in 1959. His father later remarried twice, firstly in 1961 with Kathleen Norris (1935-1967) with whom he had two further sons, Prince Peter Andreievich (born 1961) and Prince Andrew Andreievich (born 1963). His father married thirdly in 1987 with Inez Storer, née von Bachelin (born 1933).
Since 2002 he has owned two businesses in Oakland where he lives. The Romanoff Agency, which provides bookkeeping and finance services to companies and individuals, and A to Z Printing which provides printing services to local businesses. Previously he owned an insurance agency specialising in health insurance.
Through his maternal grandfather Constantin Afanasievich Dournev, Prince Alexis developed an interest in stamp collecting as a young child. His grandfather, a Russian émigré, moved to Tokyo, Japan after leaving Russia and began selling and trading stamps in the late 1930's. After moving to the United States in 1947 he started the Tokyo Stamp Company. After losing interest in his late teens, Prince Alexis' passion for stamps was rekindled in the 2000s when his grandfathers remaining stock was discovered in his grandmothers closet. Prince Alexis then revived the Tokyo Stamp Company name to sell the stamps and became a member of both the International Society for Japanese Philately and the Ryukyu Philatelic Specialty Society.
Prince Alexis has been a member of the Romanov Family Association since 1981 and has served as a committee member. He participated in the reburial of the remains of Emperor Nicholas II and most of his family in 1998, as well as the reburial of his great great grandmother Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna in 2006, following the repatriation of her remains from Denmark to Russia. His aunt Princess Olga Andreevna of Russia has been president of the Romanov Family Association since 2017.
The headship of the House of Romanov has been contested since the death of the last undisputed male dynast Vladimir Kirillovich, Grand Duke of Russia in 1992. Upon his death competing claims over the succession emerged between Nicholas Romanovich, Prince of Russia and Grand Duke Vladimir’s daughter Grand Duchess Maria. Prince Nicholas’ claim was based on the argument that per a 1911 Ukase issued by Emperor Nicholas II the equal marriage rule (a marriage between two people of the same rank) only applied to grand dukes (the sons and grandsons of an emperor) and that princes (the great grandsons onwards of an emperor) could marry women of “good standing” in order for their marriage to be dynastic and therefore transmit succession and dynastic rights to their children, and that women, namely Grand Duchess Maria, can only succeeded on the total extinction of the male line. The Romanov Family Association recognised Prince Nicholas as the senior male dynastic representative and head of the family on 31 December 1992 in Paris, which was symbolically re-confirmed on Russian soil at the conclusion the state burial of Emperor Nicholas II and his family in 1998.
Grand Duchess Maria and her supporters argue that princes were also required to marry equally and that as none did so then upon the death of her father the dynastic Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov male line became extinct and in accordance with the semi-salic law of succession she duly succeeded her father as head of the imperial house.
Prince Nicholas, who was recognised as head of the House of Romanov by all living Romanov’s apart from Grand Duchess Maria, died in 2014 being succeeded by his brother, the next male heir, Dimitri Romanovich, Prince of Russia. With the death of Prince Dimitri at the end of 2016 Prince Alexis’ father Prince Andrew, as the next male heir, succeeded with Prince Alexis becoming first in the line of succession, before in turn succeeding himself upon the death of his father in 2021.
If the interpretation of the 1911 Ukase regarding Princes of the Imperial Blood is valid, then at birth Prince Alexis was a distant 10th in the line of succession, but as none of the princes ahead of him and his father in the succession had a son he gradually moved up the line of succession.
As a member of the Romanov Family Association Prince Alexis and his predecessors consider:
“that all questions concerning the form of government in Russia and consequently also all matters of a dynastic character have been transmitted to the will of the great Russian people based on "general, direct, equal and secret voting" by the Manifest of Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich, which followed the abdication of Emperor Nicholas II." (Article 4 of the Statutes of the Romanov Family Association)”
As such Prince Alexis and his predecessors have not actively agitated for the restoration of the monarchy, nor engaged in dynastic activities such as the distribution of the Russian imperial orders. As she is not a member of the Romanov Family Association and so bound by it statutes, Grand Duchess Maria, who claims the status of de jure Empress of all Russias, styles her son and heir Grand Duke George Mikhailovich of Russia as the Tsarevich and actively distributes the Russian imperial orders, all of which has been condemned by the Romanov Family Association along with the adoption of the grand ducal titles by Maria, her parents, her paternal aunts and her son.
Prince Alexis was married on 19 September 1987 in Oakland, California, to Zoetta "Zoe" Leisy (born 25 November 1956, Memphis, Tennessee), the daughter of Robert Leisy and wife Ellen Telfer. The couple who live in Oakland don’t have any children, the heir presumptive to Prince Alexis' claims to the headship of the House of Romanov is therefore his half brother Prince Peter.
Title and style
As a great great great grandson of a Russian Emperor in the male line, if his imperial claims are accepted as valid, then Prince Alexis is formally titled His Serene Highness Prince of the Imperial Blood Alexis Andreievich, the princely title is informally shortened to Prince of Russia. Prince Alexis would also hold the dynastic titles derived from the Romanov’s Holstein-Gottorp heritage, namely Heir of Norway, Duke of Schleswig, Holstein, Stormarn, Count of Oldenburg and Delmornhorst.
These Holstein titles are recognised by both the post 1998 Almanach de Gotha, which supported the claims to headship of the House of Romanov of Prince Nicholas, before adopting a neutral position sometime after his death in 2014 before the publication of the 2018 edition, and by royal author Guy Stair Sainty, who is a supporter of the Russian claim of Grand Duchess Maria. Both have accepted the senior Romanov by primogeniture, currently Prince Dimitri Romanovsky-Ilyinsky, as de jure Duke of Holstein-Gottorp.
Romanov’s born after the Russian revolution, such as Alexis, have tended to simply use the title Prince, appropriate style, and the surname Romanov (or Romanoff), i.e. His Serene Highness Prince Alexis Romanov.
Because the marriage of Prince Alexis’ paternal grandparent’s Prince Andrew of Russia and Donna Elisabetta Sasso-Ruffo was not a marriage between two people of equal rank, Alexis’ claim to a Russian imperial princely title is disputed and has never been recognised by Grand Duke Vladimir or Grand Duchess Maria. In 1951 Grand Duke Vladimir granted the hereditary noble title Prince Romanovsky to Alexis’ father (and the other Romanov’s born of unequal marriages), however this title was rejected by the recipients believing it illegitimate. The Romanovsky name indicates kinship with, but not membership of, the House of Romanov.
|Ancestors of Alexis Andreievich, Prince of Russia|
- Almanach de Gotha (2013), 250th Edition, Volume I. P 337-345
- Russia. An Online Gotha
- Broeck, Pieter. A Genealogy of the Romanov Dynasty, The Imperial House of Russia, 1825-1994.
- Willis, Daniel. The Romanovs in the 21st Century. A Genealogical Biography. P95
- Alex Romanoff. Facebook
- Alex Romanoff. LinkedIn.
- About Us. The Tokyo Stamp Company
- The Romanoff Family Association. Official Website of the Romanov Family Association
- General Assembly of May 2007 and Committee Decision of 1 January 2011. Official Website of the Romanov Family Association
- 17 July 1998: The funeral of Tsar Nicholas II. Official Website of the Romanov Family Association
- Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna reburied in St Petersburg. Official Website of the Romanov Family Association
- Meyer, Klaus J. (2 April 1999) The Quest for a Czar
- Press Releases by Prince Dimitri. Romanov Family Association
- Russia, Chivalric Orders Guy Stair Sainty
- Le Petit Gotha (2002). P 815