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Romanov grand duchess dies aged 95: spokesman

Grand Duchess Leonida Georgievna, one of the leading members of the Romanov dynasty ousted from the Russian throne by the Bolsheviks, has died in Spain, a spokesman said Monday. She was 95.

Leonida, known to some of her supporters as the Dowager Empress of Russia, was the widow of Grand Duke Vladimir Kirillovich, who until his death in 1992 was the head of the Romanov dynasty and pretender to the Russian throne.

She was also the mother of Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, the current head of the Romanov dynasty. Grand Duke Vladimir was the great-grandson of Alexander II, the third-to-last Tsar of Russia.

“Leonida died overnight Sunday to Monday in Madrid. She will be buried, as she requested, next to her husband Vladimir Kirillovich in Saint Petersburg,” Alexander Zakatov, the director of the Romanov dynasty’s office, told AFP.

Born in 1914 in Tbilisi in modern-day Georgia, Leonida was the last surviving representative of the Romanov family to have been born before the Russian Revolution on the territory of the Russian Empire, he added.

The Romanov dynasty was ousted in the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 and many of its leading members, including the last Tsar Nicholas II, were murdered by the Bolsheviks.

However after the fall of communism, the most recent years have seen cautious official moves to rehabilitate their reputation.