A LETTER FROM THE MINISTER OF THE IMPERIAL COURT
BARON VLADIMIR FREDERIKS
TO THE GRAND DUKE NIKOLAI NIKOLAEVICH
WHO PRESIDED AT A MEETING OF GRAND DUKES
ADDRESSING THE QUESTION OF PERMITTING MEMBERS OF
THE IMPERIAL FAMILY TO CONTRACT UNEQUAL MARRIAGES.
"Your Imperial Highness,
After I presented [to the Lord Emperor] my loyal report on the project worked out at the Meeting of the Grand Dukes, at which Your Imperial Highness presided, regarding amendments and additions to the Statutes of the Imperial Family, together with a determination by the Minister for justice, the Lord Emperor has seen fit to set following conditions under which His Imperial Majesty might permit marriages of Princes and Princesses of the Blood Imperial to persons not possessing corresponding rank.
The Lord Emperor has seen fit to permit marriages to persons not possessing corresponding rank of not all Members of the Imperial Family, but only of Princes and Princesses of the Blood Imperial. [Translator's Note: The titles of Grand duke and Grand Duchess extended to all children and grandchildren of an Emperor; subsequent generations received the titles of Prince and Princess of the Blood Imperial].
The marriages of Prince and Princess of the Blood Imperial are considered legal only when the Reigning Emperor has given his permission [to such a union].
Such unions will be permitted by the Lord Emperor only on the indispensable condition that the Princes and Princesses of the Blood Imperial abdicate their right to succession before contracting the marriage.
Surnames and coats of arms of the spouses and descendants of Princes of the Blood Imperial who have contracted marriages with persons not possessing corresponding rank will be granted in each specific case by the Lord Emperor. Descendants of Princesses of the Blood Imperial shall use the surnames of the spouses.
Princes as well as Princesses of the Blood Imperial, upon contracting a marriage with a person not possessing corresponding rank, shall personally retain the tittle and privileges which are theirs by birth, with the exception of their right to succession from which they shall have abdicated before entering the marriage.
In relation to the categorization of the marriages of Princes and Princesses of the Blood Imperial, the Lord Emperor has seen fit to recognize only two categories in these marriages:
(a) equal marriages, i.e. those contracted with persons belonging to a Royal or Ruling House, and
(b) unequal marriages, i.e. those contracted wit persons not belonging to a Royal or Ruling House, and will not recognize any other categories.
In those cases when the Lord Emperor sees fit to subject the permissibility of a marriages of Princes and Princesses of the Blood Imperial to a preliminary discussion, His Majesty will appoint, in each specific case, a special Family Council in accordance whit His own personal choice. When this Council has recommended its judgements to His Majesty's attention, the decision regarding the permissibility of the marriage will be made by the Lord Emperor.
The rights and privileges of spouses and descendants of a Prince and Princess of the Blood Imperial upon their entering a union with a person not possessing corresponding rank, shall be determined, in each specific case, by the Lord Emperor in a special Decree to the Governing Senate addressing this subject.
In does not please the Lord Emperor at this time to enact any amendments to the Statutes of the Imperial Family, with the exception of a redrafting of the Note to Article 188 of these Statutes which will thus recognize as impermissible, for Grand Dukes and Grand Duchesses only, the entry into marriage with a person not possessing corresponding rank.
Regarding the question concerning the retention of the titles of Grand Duke and Imperial Highness amongst descendants of each grandson of a Emperor by the eldest son and by his eldest male descendants in accordance with the laws of primogeniture, the Lord Emperor has seen fit to refer in for further examination and, specifically, for discussion regarding the generation to which privilege should be extended. In relation to other descendants of an Emperor, the existing position will be maintained without change. I consider it my duty, with utmost respect, to bring the abovementioned to the attention of Your Imperial Highness.
With profoundest reverence
Your Imperial Highness' most loyal servant
4th June 1911".
[The State Archives of the Russian Federation. Series (fond) 601 ("The Emperor Nicholas II"); Inventory (register) 1; File 2143; pages 58-59].