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House of Mukhrani

House of Mukhrani
Country Mukhrani (Georgia)
Ancestral house Bagrationi dynasty
Titles Prince of Mukhrani
Founder Bagrat I of Mukhrani
Final sovereign Constantine IV of Mukhrani
Current head David Bagration of Mukhrani
Founding 1512
Deposition 1801

The House of Mukhrani is a Georgian princely family, a collateral branch of the former royal dynasty of Bagrationi of which it sprung early in the 16th century, and received in appanage the domain of Mukhrani located in Kartli, central Georgia. The family has since been known as Mukhran-Batoni (Georgian: მუხრანბატონი), that is "lords (batoni) of Mukhrani".

An elder branch of the house of Mukhrani, now extinct, furnished five royal sovereigns of Kartli between 1658 and 1724. Its descendants bore the Imperial Russian noble titles of Princes of Georgia (Gruzinsky; Грузи́нский, გრუზინსკი) and Princes Bagration (Багратион, ბაგრატიონი). A younger branch, presiding in Mukhrani and received among the princely nobility of Russia under the name of Bagration of Mukhrani (Bagration-Mukhransky; Багратион-Мухранский; Bagration-Mukhraneli, ბაგრატიონ-მუხრანელი), still flourishes and has, since 1957, claimed to be the Royal House of Georgia by virtue of being the genealogically eldest surviving line of the Bagrationi dynasty. David Bagration of Mukhrani has been the head of this house since January 16, 2008.[1][2]

History

Origins of the house of Mukhrani date back to 1512, when King David X of Kartli was oblidged to create his younger brother Bagrat a hereditary lord of Mukhrani in order to secure his support against encroachments from another Georgian ruler, King George II of Kakheti. Over time, the princes of Mukhrani exploited the weakness of royal authority and converted their fiefdom into an autonomous seigneury, satavado, that is "a holding of tavadi (prince)".[3] On the death without heirs of King Rostom of Kartli, his adopted son Vakhtang, Prince of Mukhrani, succeeded on the throne as King Vakhtang V in 1659 and ceded the ownership of Mukhrani to his younger brother, Constantine I, ancestor of all the subsequent Princes of Mukhrani.[4]

The descendants of Vakhtang V, the elder branch of the house of Mukhrani, retained the crown of Kartli until 1724, when the Ottoman invasion forced King Vakhtang VI of Kartli and his household into exile in Russia, without, however, renouncing their rights to the throne. They formed two lines in exile, both accepted among the ranks of Russian princely nobility, knyaz. One of these, Princes Gruzinsky ("of Georgia"), descended from Vakhang VI’s son Bakar and died out in 1892. The other, Princes Bagration, descending from Vakhang VI’s nephew Alexander, was made famous by Pyotr Bagration, a Russian general of the Napoleonic Wars, and became extinct in male line in 1920, after the death of the brothers Dmitry and Alexander Bagration. The throne of Kartli eventually passed to their distant cousins from the Bagrationi dynasty of Kakheti. This new royal house defeated all subsequent attempts by the exiled Mukhranian pretenders to reclaim the crown and, by 1762, united both Kartli and Kakheti into a single monarchy.

Constantine's scions, the younger branch of the house of Mukhrani, chose to stay in Kartli rather than follow Vakhtang VI to Russia. They remained in possession of Mukhrani under the Kakhetian Bagrationi and continued to exercise within the united kingdom of Georgia the hereditary positions of Mayor of the Palace of Georgia and High Constable of Upper Kartli.[4] After Russia's annexation of Georgia in 1801, Mukhrani ceased to exist as an autonomous princedom and its former rulers were confirmed as Russian princes in 1825 and 1850.[1] This line became the genealogically senior representatives of the Bagrationi dynasty as the elder branch of the house of Mukhrani had gone extinct in its male line by 1920. After the Bolshevik takeover of Georgia, the family relocated to Europe in 1930. In 1957, Prince Irakli Bagration of Mukhrani, having established himself in Spain, declared himself a head of the Royal House of Georgia, a title that has passed to his descendants and is currently held by his grandson, David who has returned to Georgia. A rival claim, based on male primogeniture descent from the last kings of Georgia, comes from Prince Prince Nugzar, head of the Bagration-Gruzinsky family, an offshoot of the Bagrationi of Kakheti.[5]

Intra-dynastic marriage

Prince Nugzar's daughter, Princess Anna, a divorced teacher and journalist with two daughters, married Prince David Bagration of Mukhrani, on 8 February 2009 at the Tbilisi Sameba Cathedral.[6] The marriage united the Gruzinsky and Mukhrani branches of the Georgian royal family, and drew a crowd of 3,000 spectators, officials, and foreign diplomats, as well as extensive coverage by the Georgian media.[7]

The dynastic significance of the wedding lay in the fact that, amidst the turmoil in political partisanship that has roiled Georgia since its independence in 1991, Patriarch Ilia II of Georgia publicly called for restoration of the monarchy as a path toward national unity in October 2007.[8] Although this led some politicians and parties to entertain the notion of a Georgian constitutional monarchy, competition arose among the old dynasty's princes and supporters, as historians and jurists debated which Bagrationi has the strongest hereditary right to a throne that has been vacant for two centuries.[7] Although some Georgian monarchists support the Gruzinsky branch's claim, others support that of the re-patriated Mukhrani branch.[8] Both branches descend in unbroken, legitimate male line from the medieval kings of Georgia down to Constantine II of Georgia who died in 1505.

Whereas the Bagration-Mukhrani were a cadet branch of the former Royal House of Kartli, they became the genealogically seniormost line of the Bagrationi family in the early 20th century: yet the elder branch had lost the rule of Kartli by 1724.

Meanwhile, the Bagration-Gruzinsky line, although junior to the Princes of Mukhrani genealogically, reigned over the kingdom of Kakheti, re-united the two realms in the kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti in 1762, and did not lose sovereignty until Russian annexation in 1800.[9]

The bridegroom is the only member of his branch who retains Georgian citizenship and residence since the death of his father, Prince George Bagration-Mukhrani in 2008.[9] Aside from his unmarried elder brother, Prince David is the heir male of the Bagrationi family, while the bride's father is the most senior descendant of the last Bagrationi to reign over the united kingdom of Georgia. Since Nugzar and Princes Peter and Eugene Bagration-Gruzinsky are the last patrilineal males descended from King George XIII, and all three were born before 1950, their branch verges on extinction. But the marriage between Nugzar Gruzinsky's heiress and the Mukhrani heir resolves their rivalry for the claim to the throne, which has divided Georgian monarchists.[9] The son born of this marriage, prince George Bagration-Bagrationi (born on September 27, 2011) is apt to eventually become both the heir male of the House of Bagrationi and the heir general of George XIII of Georgia.

Princes of Mukhrani (1512-1801)

  • Bagrat I (1512–1539)
  • Vakhtang I (1539–1580)
  • Erekle I (1580–1605)
  • Teimuraz I (1605–1625)
  • Kaikhosro (1625–1626)
  • David I, son of Teimuraz I of Kakheti (1626–1648)
  • Vakhtang II (1648–1659)
  • Constantine I (1659–1667)
  • Teimuraz II (1667–1688)
  • Ashotan (1688–1691)
  • Papua (1691–1710)
  • Constantine II (1710)
  • Erekle II (1710–1716)
  • Levan (1716–1719)
  • David II (1719–1734)
  • Mamuka (1734–1735)
  • Constantine III (1735–1755)
  • Simon (1755–1785)
  • Ioane I (1785–1800)
  • Constantine IV (1800–1801)

Heads of the Princely House (1801-Present)

References

External links

  • Royal House of Bagration of Georgia
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