Princess Irina Yusupov

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Today marks the 50th Anniversary of the death of Princess Irina Yusupov, who died on this day in 1970. The only daughter of Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich and Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna of Russia, Princess Irina Alexandrovna was the only niece of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, and grew up on extensive family estates in Russia and France. In 1914, she married Prince Felix Yusupov, the eclectic Heir of a very wealthy noble family who murdered Rasputin, and the couple’s wedding was the last society event before the First World War, which broke out during their honeymoon. The couple had one child, Princess Irina Felixovna Yusupova, and were exiled out of St. Petersburg after the killing of Rasputin, which inadvertently saved them from the fate of other members of the Royal Family, who were executed by the Bolsheviks. After spending two years in the Crimea, the family were evacuated on the British Warship sent for her grandmother, the Dowager Empress, eventually settling in Paris, living off the proceeds from jewels and paintings they had smuggled out of Russia. Prince and Princess Yusupov founded a short-lived couture house called Irfé, but their philanthropy and financial mismanagement rapidly deteriorated their still substantial fortune. Later, the couple won a lawsuit against MGM for the 1932 movie ‘Rasputin and the Empress’, which led to the ‘all persons fictitious’ disclaimer in films today.  While they had a difficult relationship with their daughter, the couple had a long and happy marriage lasting over 50 years. In 1956, Prince Felix won back the Château de Keriolet, which used to belong to the Yusupov family, which along with a house in Paris was where Princess Irina continued to reside after his death in 1967, until her own death in 1970.

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