Stratford royalty reunited with estranged family
Stratford princess Maria Sviatopolk-Mirski has returned from a festival held at her ancestral castle in Belarus where she was reunited with her royal cousins after 40 years.
Princess Maria is descended from a prince of the former Soviet Union and her family were the last to own 16th century Mir Castle, near Minsk.
She was invited to attend a festival honouring classical composer Nicolas Nabokov, along with her first cousin Princess Irene Furtwaengler, Nabokov’s niece.
Describing the moment when she met her estranged relative, Maria, of Victoria Street, said: “I did not realize that the Sviatopolk-Mirski family and the Nabokovs were so closely related.
“I said to Princess Irene, I call her Irenka, ‘I’m so happy to see you again after all this time,’ and all of us hugged and kissed each other.”
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Maria arrived at Mir Castle on Saturday August 27 for the three day festival where she was treated to a champagne reception, poetry readings, music concerts, interviewed by the Belarusian press and took a guided tour of the castle where she saw paintings of her ancestors.
Maria, 65, said: “Now I am taking a keen interest in Nabokov’s life and music so will try to get books on him which I know are available. It’s wonderful to have relatives who are so gifted and artistic.
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“This last visit to Belarus has opened up a new avenue for me. And of course, I shall keep in touch with my cousins in Germany which is where they now live.”