Duke of Edinburgh, Emperor Nicholas I of Russia, Grand Duchess Olga Constantinova of Russia, House of Romanov, King George I of the Hellenes, Marchese di Villaforesta, Prince Philip, Princess Catherine Ivanovna of Russia, Queen Elena of Montenegro, Ruggero Farace, Russian Revolution
Princess Catherine Ivanovna of Russia (July 12, 1915 – March 13, 2007) was a male line great-great-granddaughter of Emperor Nicholas I of Russia and a niece of King Alexander I of Yugoslavia. She was the last member of the Imperial Family to be born before the fall of the dynasty. She was also second cousin of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, as Catherine’s grandfather Grand Duke Constantine Constantinovich of Russia was a younger brother of Prince Philip’s grandmother Grand Duchess Olga Constantinova of Russia, Queen of Hellenes as wife of King George I of the Hellenes.
Born in Pavlovsk Palace, she was the second child of Prince John Constantinovich of Russia and Princess Helen of Serbia. After the Revolution, her father was arrested and deported from the capital and her mother followed her husband into exile.
Catherine and her brother, Vsevolod, remained in the care of her grandmother, the Grand Duchess Elizaveta Mavriekievna of Russia. On July 18, 1918, their father, Prince John, was killed, and their mother, Princess Jelena, was arrested and spent several months in Soviet prisons. Grand Duchess Elizabeth was able to take Catherine and her brother to Sweden. Sometime later, they were reunited with their mother.
The family lived in Yugoslavia, then moved to England. There, Catherine received an excellent education, although she never learned the Russian language because her mother, devastated by her husband’s death, did not want her children speaking that language in front of her.
From 1937 to 1945, Princess Catherine Ivanovna lived in Italy, with her great-aunt Queen Elena of Montenegro. During her stay she married the Italian diplomat Ruggero Farace, Marchese di Villaforesta (1909 – 1970), in Rome on September 15, 1937; on occasion of her wedding, she renounced to her succession rights to the Russian throne.
Marchese Ruggero Farace Farace di Villaforesta (1909-1970) was son of Alfredo, Marchese Farace di Villaforesta (1860-1949), member of an old Sicilian noble family and Greek aristocrat Caterina Fachiri (1882-1968), who was descendant of some of the most prominent Phanariote families of Constantinople.
Through mutual descent from Princes of Mavrocordato Ruggero was distantly related to Queen Natalia of Serbia (1859-1941), Princess Aspasia of Greece and Denmark (1896-1972) and her daughter Queen Alexandra of Yugoslavia (1921-1993), who was married to his wife’s first cousin King Peter II of Yugoslavia (1922-1970).
In 1945, after the end of the World War II, Princess Catherine separated from her husband (although they never legally divorced) and moved with her children to South America. In later years, she lived in Montevideo, capital city of Uruguay.
She died on March 13, 2007 in Montevideo, Uruquay. Aged 91.