A Prince of Russia Falls Asleep in the Lord
- A prince among men, but few really knew it
October 1, 2008
HE MAY have been a prince - indeed, a direct link to the last Tsar of Russia and the current British monarch - but from the tributes delivered at Michael Andreevich Romanoff's funeral yesterday, you would not have known the extent of his regal heritage.
"A great many people invent titles for themselves," the late Prince Michael's friend and Australian monarchist leader, Professor David Flint, said. "Michael had the highest of titles but he was always too humble to use it."
He was the grand-nephew of Nicholas II, the last Tsar of Russia who, with his immediate family was murdered in 1918, a year after the Bolshevik Revolution.
The prince was born in France in 1920 and later found refuge in Britain, where he lived in a cottage in the grounds of Windsor Castle, the home of King George V and Queen Mary, whom he called Aunt and Uncle.
In the closing years of World War II, Prince Michael, then serving in the Royal Navy, ended up in Australia. After the war, due to red tape, he found himself unable to return to Britain and decided to settle in Sydney, working initially as an aircraft engineer.
As his family recalled yesterday, during a service at St James's Anglican Church in Sydney, which followed the formal funeral at the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of St Peter and St Paul in Strathfield, the prince took to the Australian lifestyle with passion.
Amanda Dennis recalled her blue-blooded uncle arriving at the family home in a green Kingswood station wagon, usually packed with the ladder and paint pots from the interior decoration business he later started.
His stepson, Daniel Crespi, remembered their dinners and beers at the Golden Sheaf Hotel in Double Bay, usually after a day of body surfing at Bondi, where they would discuss their favourite action movies.
Despite his immersion in Australia, Prince Michael remained a royal, speaking with a slight British accent and presiding over the Sovereign Order of Orthodox Knights Hospitaller of St John of Jerusalem, of which he was the "Protector and Grand Prior".
Read Stephen Hutcheon's interview with Mr Romanoff from 1992:
This story was found at: http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2008/09/30/1222651084382.html