Duke of Mecklenburg, Prince of Wenden, Schwerin and Ratzeburg, Count of Schwerin,
Lord of the Lands of Rostock and Stargard, Head of the Grand Ducal House of Mecklenburg-
Duke Georg, Dr. rer. pol. was born on 5 October 1899 at the Oranienbaum Palace, near St Petersburg. He was the youngest child and only son of Duke Georg Alexander and his wife Countess Natalia Feodorovna of Carlow.
Life in Russia
Duke Georg was christened into the Lutheran Church with the names Georg Alexander Michael Friedrich Wilhelm Albert Theodor Franz. Among his godparents were his great uncle and great aunt, the Grand Duke Friedrich Wilhelm and his wife Grand Duchess Augusta. As his parents had not sought official dynastic recognition for their marriage, at birth Duke Georg derived his status and title Count of Carlow from his mother who had been created Countess of Carlow on 18 March 1890 by Grand Duke Friedrich Wilhelm.
As a second generation member of the family to be born in Russia, Duke Georg spent his childhood in St Petersburg with his family at their river embankment mansion 46 Fontanka, which his father had acquired after selling the Mikhailovsky Palace. The family also owned the Oranienbaum Palace, located on the Gulf of Finland near St Petersburg, which provided an idyllic childhood for Duke Georg and his sisters. For his secondary education Duke Georg studied at Imperial Lyceum in St Petersburg.
With the sudden and unexpected death of his father in 1909, Duke Georg’s uncle Duke Carl Michael was appointed the guardian of Duke Georg and his sisters by Grand Duke Adolf Friedrich V. Despite having grown up in Russia and not officially being a member of the Grand Ducal Family, Duke Georg grew up connected to Mecklenburg and his relations there. On his last visit to Germany before World War I broke out he joined the Grand Ducal Family at the small mourning ceremony in Berlin that was held days after the death of Grand Duke Adolf Friedrich V in June 1914.
Too young to serve in the First World War, Georg’s involvement was restricted to
helping victims of the war through the hosting of charitable events at Oranienbaum.
The overthrow of the Russian monarchy in February 1917 brought about great upheaval
on Georg and his family. With the internal situation in Russia deteriorating Georg
and his mother left St Petersburg in the summer of 1917 travelling to Kislovodsk
in the Caucasus region of Russia where they joined his surviving sisters and their
families. His late father’s siblings, Duke Carl Michael and Princess Helene of Saxe-
With the Bolsheviks success in the Russian Civil War it soon became too dangerous
for Georg and his family to remain in Russia. Faced with the encroaching Red terror
Georg and his family left Russia in April 1919 aboard a British ship. In exile the
family separated, Georg, his mother, widowed sister Princess Maria Galitzine and
her young children initially settled in Southern France, his eldest sister Princess
Katharine Galitzine settled in England with her husband Prince Vladimir Galitzine
and their children. His uncle and aunt, Duke Carl Michael and Princess Helene of
Beginning of a life in exile
Now safely in Western Europe, Georg was married on 7 October 1920 in Geneva to fellow
Russian exile Countess Irina Mikhailovna Tolstoy, the widow of Count Aleksandr Mikhailovich
During their time in France, Georg and his wife lived on the Promenade des Anglais
in Nice. It was here on 27 August 1921 that the couple welcomed their first child
Georg Alexander. In 1922, Georg, his wife and newborn son moved to Germany taking
up residence at Schloss Remplin in Mecklenburg-
Duke of Mecklenburg
Since the death of Grand Duke Adolf Friedrich VI in February 1918, Georg’s uncle
Duke Carl Michael was the head of the House of Mecklenburg-
Duke Carl Michael who had fought for Russia in the First World War ended his Danish
exile in 1930 and joined Georg and his family at Schloss Remplin. In 1933 Georg and
his wife became parents for the final time with the birth at Remplin of another son,
Carl Gregor. When Duke Carl Michael died at Remplin on 6 December 1934, Georg duly
succeeded him as head of the House of Mecklenburg-
During the 1930s Georg, who had been denied German citizenship, began to face persecution at the hands of the ruling Nazi Party who viewed him with suspicion due to his Russian roots, royal status and perceived involvement in ‘political Catholicism’. In exile Georg never forgot about his Russian roots. He retained ties to his Romanov cousin’s attending the burial of Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich in the mausoleum of Coburg in October 1938. Having spent his youth in Russia and with his family closely related to ruling House of Romanov, growing up Georg learnt firsthand a number of interesting and little known stories about the Romanov’s. With this knowledge he maintained close contact with various historians of Russian history including Karl Stählin whose multi volume work on the history of Russia included suggestions made by Georg.
Under the threat of expropriation Georg was forced by the Nazi Party to sell of his
land holdings, which consisted of forests and fields, to the state for a nominal
price well below its real value. As such by the time the Second World War broke out
all that remained was Schloss Remplin itself. However even the Schloss was not safe
as on the night of 10-
In what he hoped would only be a temporary move before he could someday return to Mecklenburg, Georg and his family took up residence in a Villa located at 4 Nikischstrasse in the Grunewald quarter where they became a fixture of Berlin high society, often entertaining ambassadors, generals and fellow royalty at lunch. The family remained in Berlin until February 1944 when their villa was destroyed during an Allied bombing raid. Following the loss of their second home in the space of four years Georg and his family moved into Schloss Birstein in Hesse, the Schloss was home to Georg’s son in law Prince Franz Ferdinand of Isenburg who had married his step daughter Countess Irina Tolstoy at Remplin in 1939.
In August 1944 after having attempted to use his contacts with military officers
to gain bail for two catholic priests, Georg was arrested by the Nazi secret police,
the Gestapo. After a period incarcerated in the Gestapo headquarters in Prinz-
With the end of the Second World War Georg’s hoped for return to Mecklenburg became
impossible due to the partition of Germany into West and East. Having been forced
out of first Russia and now Mecklenburg by communism, Georg and his family remained
in Sigmaringen making the Prinzessinnen-
Because of confusion in some quarters regarding his status as head of the House of
After thirty four years of marriage Georg was widowed on 22 January 1955 when his wife Duchess Irina passed away in Sigmaringen aged 62. The Duchess was the first member of the grand ducal family to be buried in the family crypt in the chapel at Inzigkofen, Sigmaringen.
In May 1956 Duke Georg’s engagement to Archduchess Charlotte of Austria, the daughter of the last Austrian Emperor Karl and his wife Empress Zita, was announced. In the presence of members of the German and Austrian royal houses and media from around the world, on 25 July 1956 Duke Georg and Archduchess Charlotte were married in the baroque church at Pöcking, the civil service having taken place on 21 July. After the ceremony the newlywed couple spent five hours on the terrace of the villa of Charlotte’s brother Crown Prince Otto to receive the congratulations of the five thousand Austrians who had made their way to Pöcking. Georg’s second marriage was childless.
Georg died on 6 July 1963 in Sigmaringen aged 63. He was interned alongside his first
wife in the family vault in Inzigkofen, Sigmaringen. Georg’s elder son Georg Alexander
succeeded as head of the House of Mecklenburg-
Decorations and honours