The youngest child of Grand Duke Konstantin Romanov (“KR”) and his wife Grand Duchess Elizaveta Mavrikievna (“Mavra”), Princess Vera Konstantinovna Romanov was born in Pavlovsk in 1906. Having lived into 21st century, she was arguably the very last direct Romanov family link to the long gone world of imperial Russia. Princess Vera was a Romanov cousin whose godmother was Empress Alexandra Fedorovna herself.
As a little girl in 1915, she was no doubt traumatized when she witnessed the early death of her father, the esteemed poet “KR”. Little Princess Vera was the one who alerted her mother and others as her father struggled to breathe. Later the family was amazed as to how she was able to open very heavy doors of the study in order to do that.
After the Russian revolution broke out, Vera Konstantinovna, along with her mother, brother and nieces and nephews left Russia to Sweden, then to Belgium, and finally to Germany.
Her mother died in 1927, and Vera lived with relatives in Altenburg. This great-granddaughter of a Russian Emperor spent the entire Second World War in Germany without any complications, because she was considered German. At the end of the war she and her family walked west on foot, fleeing from the advancing Soviet troops. In the devastated postwar Hamburg, as a representative of the Red Cross, Vera Konstantinovna divided her time between church, hospitals and camps for displaced people, leading priests to the dying.
Between 1945 and 1951, Vera Konstantinovna Romanov worked as a translator in the British department of the Red Cross, and in 1951 she moved to New York.
For the rest of her life Vera lived in a house of the Tolstoy Foundation (founded by the daughter of Leo Tolstoy – Alexandra Tolstoy), where her nephew Teymuraz Bagration- Mukhransky worked. She never accepted American citizenship.
Vera Konstantinovna was the last member of the Romanov family who actually remembered life before the revolution and the Russian imperial family. Her own long and eventful life ended in early 2001, at the age of 94. She never married or had children.
Translated from Russian “Vera” means “Faith”. Vera Konstantinovna’s father, Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich once wrote this poem, entitled “Vera”:
Oh, Faith pure and holy,
You are the soul’s door to heaven,
You are the dawn of future life
Burn in me, the light of Faith,
Burn brighter, do not quench,
Be my faithful companion
And light my life for me.