Unpublished Photos: The Special Christmas of George Romanov and Rebecca Bettarini, Grand Dukes of Russia

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This Christmas will be special for George Romanov and the writer Rebecca Bettarini. His son, Prince Alexander, is already old enough to enjoy the staging of these dates. He was born on October 21, 2022 and, as his mother explains, “he already realizes everything and the problem we have is that he wants to help place the tree and the ornaments. Actually, what it does is play with the balls as if they were balls. He is a happy child, who adapts to our changes of address, and a lot of fun. We live between Moscow, Madrid and Dubai. In all three sites we develop solidarity projects. For us, these days are very endearing.”

“We all have a good time together,” he continues, “because they are parties to share with the family and we will be divided between Madrid and Rome.This year much more, because at the age of two Alexander realizes that something is happening and that they are important days. For me they are beautiful dates with many memories. My parents organized parties for the children and a huge manger (our nativity scene) of sixty square meters with special effects. I have grown up in a very Christmas atmosphere and we are recovering it for Alexander.”

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Greeting card of the grand dukes with their little one. (Courtesy)

One of the most exciting nights for the imperial princess was the arrival of Santa Claus. “Last year, Alexander didn’t find out much, but this time he did and we are thinking about who will appear so that he doesn’t recognize him.” It tells the anecdote of how he discovered at the age of ten, on Christmas Day, the secret of who gave the gifts to the children.

“Someone we couldn’t identify was always in charge of this mission. The bell was ringing and we were waiting for him in the living room. That was the custom. Last year I went into one of the bedrooms and discovered it. There were several parents dressing one of them. I asked my mother: ‘And what is this?’ ‘Well, what you see and don’t tell anyone’. What I was most excited about were the stuffed animals.”

A special Christmas

The writer, daughter of former Italian ambassador Roberto Bettarini, shows through Vanitatis how these holidays are going to happen. They have adapted to their lives in common the customs and traditions that they have shared with their respective families throughout their lives. George Romanov, son of Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna and Francisco William of Prussia, was born, studied and lived in Madrid. And Rebecca is Italian, although, due to her father’s profession, her existence has been very moved. Therefore, their Christmas is very complete and they enjoy the habits of each of the families. Although there are convergent points, such as turkey, which has always been part of the menu of both, just like chestnuts. They incorporate the kulich, the Russian bread similar to the panetone.

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The grand dukes and their son with the Grand Duchess Maria. (Courtesy)

“It is a mix of traditional Spanish, Italian and Russian cuisine. There is everything. I really like sweets and there is no shortage of panetone and pandoro. It is also very traditional, at my parents’ house, a fish that is like an eel and is called capitone. We took the grapes on the 31st and, the next day, the lentils that bring money. We celebrate Christian and Orthodox Christmas, which begins on January 6 with the birth of the Child Jesus. Therefore, the holidays are prolonged in time. The New Year is the same for everyone.”

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Little Alexander with his pet. (Courtesy)

This difference in fourteen-day dates has to do with the use of different calendars between Catholic and Orthodox Christians. One is the Julian and the other the Gregorian, who changed Pope Gregory. For countries such as Russia, Georgia, Armenia, Belarus, Serbia, Egypt, Ethiopia and Kazakhstan, January 6 is Christmas Eve. On the 7th, Christmas Day.

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The grand dukes in a pose. (Courtesy)

The writer and daughter of the former Italian ambassador, Roberto Bettarini, and the heir to the throne of Russia met as mutual friends in Brussels. They separated and, when they met again, he asked him to help him in a solidarity project for the development and search for new cures for cancer.

From that moment on, they realized that theirs went beyond a joint job. The courtship arrived, the request with a very special ring with a design that maintained the tradition of the commitments of the tsars. They were married in St. Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg on October 1, 2021. It was a historic celebration, with more than two hundred accredited media, since it became the first wedding of the imperial family in Russian territory after the fall of the tsars. An event that brought together outstanding representatives of the political, social, economic and royal world such as Kings Simeon and Margaret of Bulgaria, the Dukes of Braganza, Princess Leah of Belgium; the Dukes of Anjou, Louis Alfonso of Bourbon and Margarita Vargas, and Miriam Ungría with her firstborn Boris, who inherited the title of Prince of Tirnovo.

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