Who's Who - Grand Duke Mikhail

Grand Duke Mikhail Grand Duke Mikhail (1878-1918) was Nicholas II's nominated successor as Tsar of Russia in March 1917.

Mikhail served with the Russian Army - and was commander of the Imperial Guard for many years - in addition to his role as a member of the royal family.  He subsequently alienated his brother Tsar Nicholas II by choosing to elope with a twice-divorced commoner, Natalia Wulfert, whom he met in 1906.

Consequently exiled to Austria in disgrace he was permitted to return to the motherland with the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 and was given command of the so-called 'Wild Division' (which subsequently fought in the White Army following the revolution).  In spite of his return he could not lay any claim to intimacy with the Tsar, who continued to regard his marriage to Wulfert as a gross betrayal of royal duty.

Although the Tsar abdicated in favour of Mikhail in March 1917 - much to the latter's surprise - in the wake of the February Revolution, Mikhail chose to decline the throne unless it was offered him by a popularly elected constituent assembly.  In the absence of such a circumstance he offered full support to the Provisional Government.

"We bequeath Our inheritance to Our brother the Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich and give him Our Blessing on his accession to the throne."

Tsar Nicholas II when abdicating in favour of Grand Duke Mikhail

Mikhail's moderation did not endear him to the Bolsheviks however.  As 'Tsar for a day', and having aided Alexander Kerenski's escape from Russia (he obtained him a Danish passport), he was imprisoned and murdered in June 1918.

The first zeppelin raid on London was on 31 May 1915.  Earlier raids in January 1915 had avoided London.  The London raid resulted in 28 deaths and 60 injuries.

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