Grand Duke George Mikhailovich of Russia (born 13 March 1981) is the heir apparent to Maria Vladimirovna, Grand Duchess of Russia, a claimant to the disputed Headship of the Imperial Family of Russia. She attributes to him the title of Tsesarevich and he bears, as a title of pretence, the prefix of Grand Duke with the style of Imperial Highness; as the son of a cadet Prince of Prussia he also inherits the title Prince of Prussia with the style of Royal Highness.
George was born in Madrid in 1981, the son of Prince Franz Wilhelm of Prussia (at the time styled HIH Grand Duke Michael Pavlovich of Russia) and Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna of Russia, only child and heir of Vladimir Cyrillovich, Grand Duke of Russia. Grandparents on his father’s side were Prince Karl Franz of Prussia and Princess Henriette von Schönaich-Carolath. George was baptised on 6 May 1981, in Madrid; his godfather is Constantine II of Greece. Also present at the baptism were King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía of Spain and Simeon II and Queen Margarita of Bulgaria. George was given the title Grand Duke of Russia by his maternal grandfather, prompting Prince Vasili Alexandrovich, then president of the Romanov Family Association, to respond in writing that “The Romanov Family Association hereby declares that the joyful event in the Prussian Royal House does not concern the Romanov Family Association since the newborn prince is not a member of either the Russian Imperial House or of the Romanov family”.
In anticipation of his eventual succession as pretender and with his maternal grandfather’s approval, his mother applied for a change of name with the French authorities as “Grand Duke George of Russia” instead of “Prinz von Preußen”. This was refused by the French Minister of Justice. His parents separated in 1982 and divorced in 1985. His father, who stopped using his Russian title after his separation, has said of his son, “I have his German passport right here; I always carry it with me. It says he is Prince George of Prussia”.
George spent the first years of his life in France before moving to Spain. There he and his mother lived, along with his maternal grandmother, in the home of his maternal aunt, Helen Kirby, who inherited a significant fortune from her father, Sumner Moore Kirby.
George was educated at Runnymede College in Madrid, D’Overbroeck’s College, Oxford and at St Benet’s Hall, Oxford.
In Brussels, he worked at the European Parliament where he was an assistant to Loyola de Palacio, former European Commissioner for Transport and Energy. Later he moved to Luxembourg where he was employed at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Atomic Energy and Security.
On 12 December 2008, he was appointed an aide to the Director General of MMC Norilsk Nickel, a major Russian nickel-mining company.
In 2012 he was nominated chief executive of Metal Trade Overseas, the main sales hub for Norilsk Nickel in Switzerland.
In 2014 he started his own company, Romanoff & Partners, in Brussels.
On 21 April 1992, upon the death of his maternal grandfather Grand Duke Vladimir Cyrillovich, George’s mother claimed to have succeeded as the sovereign and Curatrix of the Throne of Russia, making him, to supporters of his mother, heir-apparent and tsesarevich. He visited Russia for the first time shortly thereafter to attend the funeral of his grandfather. His claim to the throne is contested, for reasons detailed in the article on the line of succession to the Russian throne.
In 1996, when he, his mother, and his grandmother Leonida returned to Russia after living in Madrid, one of President Boris Yeltsin’s former bodyguards was assigned as tutor to the 15-year-old prince. He was also set to study at a Russian Naval college but these plans were dropped out of concern that he would be bullied