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.”

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.”