Grand Duke Vladimir Kirillovitch

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Grand Duke Vladimir Kirillovitch (KV 2/1667)

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Kirillovitch (1917-1992) was the heir to the Romanov dynasty in Russia and lived in exile, in France, Germany and Hungary for most of the Second World War. He was believed to have fascist sympathies, and was considered by some a likely German puppet ruler in the event of a successful German invasion of Russia, though the file documents his refusal to endorse the German invasion and his eventual arrest.

While much of the file (which covers 1939-1952) relates to efforts to establish his whereabouts during the war, the most interesting elements are those relating to his pre-war stay in Britain. Security Service interest in this started when the King's private secretary, Sir Alexander Hardinge, provided copies of the Grand Duke's correspondence which show that the King had intervened to secure him work at the Stafford factory of agricultural engineers R A Lister (the factory manager, Robert Hyde, was a personal friend of the King). The Grand Duke worked there under the alias W. Mikhailov, but the file notes that 'Mikhailov apparently did not like hard work, and eventually, according to Sir Alexander, went off to France.' He arrived in St Briac, Normandy, in August 1940, and spent much of the time until his arrest there. The SIS were asked to keep tabs on him, and made frequent reports about his believed location and any political developments he was involved in.

There are typescript copies of some of the Grand Duke's correspondence on the file, and for the post-war period, sketchy details of some of the White Russian activity surrounding him during his time living in Madrid. The file includes a photograph of the Grand Duke.