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Prince George Galitzine

46 Fontanka

The Galitzine Family

The Mecklenburg-Strelitz Family







The Dukes of Mecklenburg-Strelitz were a German ruling family of Slavonic origin, that has existed since the 12th century.  The Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz lies in the North East of Germany, the capital is Neustrelitz, and the area is now the State of Mecklenburg – West Pomerania.  In 1701 the Duchy became independent.  Among the famous representatives of this ruling family were Queen Charlotte of England (1744-1818), wife of George III and Queen Louisa of Prussia (1776-1810).  The Mecklenburg-Strelitz motto are the Latin words “Fuimus et Sumus” (“We Were and Are”) placed within the family coat of arms.

In 1851 Duke Georg August (1824-1876), the youngest son of the ruling Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, married the Russian Grand Duchess Ekaterina Mikhailovna (1827-1894) – Emperor Paul I’s granddaughter, thus starting the Russian branch of the Mecklenburg-Strelitz House.  Duke Georg August moved to Russia.  He enlisted in the Russian army as Major General, and was a member of the scientific-military committee.  He made a great contribution to the rearmament of the Russian army, and was a leading figure in the improvement of their firearms.  The Michael Palace in St Petersburg became the winter residence of the married couple, and their summer residences were the Stone Island Palace in St Petersburg, and  the palaces in Oranienbaum on the coast of the Gulf of Finland.
Five children were born into the family of Duke Georg August of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Grand Duchess Ekaterina Mikhailovna, but two of them died at a very young age.  The eldest daughter Duchess Elena (1857-1936) – Princess Saxe-Altenburg by marriage did much for the development of music in Russia; she was the last President of the Imperial Russian musical society.  The younger son Duke Carl Michael (1863-1934)graduated from German University, and enlisted in the Russian army: he served as Lieutenant General, held commander’s posts, took part in the First World War, and was decorated with the First Class Order of St George.  The eldest son Duke George Alexander (1859-1909) graduated from two German Universities, served in the Russian army as Major General, was a commander of the Life Guards Dragoon regiment, and a knight of the order of St. Apostle Andrew.  Duke George of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was also known as an amateur composer, a talented musician (cellist and pianist), and the founder of his own string quartet.

In 1890 Duke George Alexander of Mecklenburg-Strelitz entered into the morganatic (not of equal genus) marriage with Natalia Feodorovna Vanliarskaya (1858-1921), thereby sacrificing his right to inherit the crown of the Duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.  The Duke’s wife was given the title of Countess and the surname of Carlow through the marriage.  Countess Natalia Carlow was a daughter of the Privy Councilor Feodor Ardalionovich Vanliarsky, and was related to the Taneevs, Bakhmetievs, and Counts Tolstoys.  Countess Natalia Carlow and Duke George Alexander of Mecklenburg-Strelitz had four children from their marriage: daughters Ekaterina (1891-1940), Maria (1893-1979), and Natalia (1894-1913), and a son Georgii (known as Teddy) (1899-1963); the children were also given the titles of Countess and Count and the surname of Carlow.
Since 1896 the family of the Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz lived in the mansion at 46 Fontankain St Petersburg, having sold the Michael Palace to the Emperor in order to create the first Russian museum.  In 1913 the eldest daughter Ekaterina Georgievna Carlow married Prince Vladimir Emanuilovich Galitzine.  They had three sons: Nicholas (1914-1999), George (1916-1992), and Emanuel (1918-2002).  The Prince George Galitzine Memorial Library was founded in memory of the middle son – Prince George Vladimirovich Galitzine – in the Carlow family house in St Petersburg.
In 1919-1920 all descendants of Grand Duchess Ekaterina Mikhailovna and Duke Georg August of Mecklenburg-Strelitz left Russia and settled in Great Britain, Germany and France.