The Heir to the All-Russian Emperorship,
His Highness Prince of the Imperial Blood Nikolay Kirillovich of Russia,
Prince zu Leiningen.
Prince Karl Emich Nikolaus Friedrich zu Leiningen was born on June 12, 1952 in the family of Feurst Emich Kirill Ferdinand Hermann zu Leiningen (1926–1991) and Duchess Eilika of Oldenburg (ne Duchess of Oldenburg) (1928–2016).
Prince Karl Emich zu Leiningen descends from the Princely House zu Leiningen. All his ancestors were in dynastic marriages, and from the side of his August grandmother – Grand Duchess Maria Kirillovna of Russia (1907–1951), Princess zu Leiningen, he succeeded to the legal rights in the order of the Russian succession to the throne according to the Fundamental Laws of the Russian Empire.
Prince Nikolay Kirillovich of Russia, Prince zu Leiningen, studied at the Faculty of Economics of the University of Freiburg. He knows and speaks fluent three languages: German, French, and English. His Highness Prince Nikolay Kirillovich of Russia, Prince zu Leiningen, has a wide experience of public activities. In different periods of time, he was a member of boards of trustees of many German and Russian charity and cultural and educational organizations. Under his aegis, the publication of the Gotha Almanac has been resumed in the early 2000s. In Russia, His Highness acted as a cofounder and the president of the Supervision Board of the Imperial Palace Foundation (the city of Yekaterinburg).
In 1984, Prince Karl Emich zu Leiningen contracted a dynastic marriage with Princess Hohenlohe-Öhringen (1960–1989), in which their daughter, Princess Cecilia zu Leiningen was born in 1988. His wife’s life tragically ended in a car accident in 1989. Prince Karl Emich contracted his second marriage in 1990 with Gabriella Thiessen, in which his second daughter Theresia zu Leiningen was born. It was not a dynastic marriage, according the Fundamental Laws of the Russian Empire, and it was not approved by his father, Prince Emich II zu Leiningen who, shortly before his death, deprived Prince Karl Emich zu Leiningen of his right to ascendancy in the Leiningen Princely House, transferring this right to his younger brother Prince Andreas zu Leiningen. The second marriage of Prince Karl Emich zu Leiningen was dissolved in 1998. In 2007, Prince Karl Emich zu Leiningen contracted his third marriage with Countess Isabella von Egloffstein, in which their only son Prince Emich zu Leiningen was born in 2010.
Despite of the morganatic nature of the second marriage between Prince Karl Emich zu Leiningen and Gabriella Thiessen, which deprived him of the right to ascendancy in the Leiningen Princely House, as a Prince zu Leiningen, not deprived of this title, he retained all succession rights to the All-Russian Emperorship, as the eldest of the legitimate offspring of Grand Duchess Maria Kirillovna of Russia, Princess zu Leiningen.
After the death of Grand Duke Vladimir Kirillovich of Russia in 1992, as his marriage with Leonida Georgievna Kirby (nee princess Bagration-Mukhrani) was not equal (according to articles 36 and 188 of Fundamental Laws of the Russian Empire, it is considered morganatic), his offspring did not have the succession right to the All-Russian Emperorship. Due to this fact, the succession right to the All-Russian Emperorship, according to its Fundamental Laws, passed to the family of his elder sister and the eldest daughter of Emperor Kirill Vladimirovich – Grand Duchess Maria Kirillovna of Russia, Princess zu Leiningen.
The House of the Princes zu Leiningen has always been in close family relationship with the Russian Imperial House. Thus, the celebration of the birth of Prince Emich II zu Leiningen was attended by his grandfather Kirill Vladimirovich who, at that time, had already taken the title of Emperor of All Russia, and his son, Grand Duke Vladimir Kirillovich of Russia, becoming the Head of the Romanov Imperial House, awarded his nephew Prince Emich II zu Leiningen the insignia of the highest order of the Russian Empire – St. Andrew the Apostle in 1965. He also was witness at the wedding of the second son of Grand Duchess Maria Kirillovna – Prince Karl Vladimir zu Leiningen and Princess Maria Louise of Bulgaria in 1957.
In 2013 Prince Karl Emich zu Leiningen, after having familiarized himself with the documents concerning the order of succession to the All-Russian Emperorship and his own rights, as the elderborn legitimate Prince in the House of the Princes zu Leiningen, and based on the Fundamental Laws of the Russian Empire, made the necessary actions to end the legal conflict that followed the death of Grand Duke Vladimir Kirillovich of Russia in 1992. On June 1, 2013 Prince Karl Emich zu Leiningen adopted the Holy Orthodoxy together with his wife, Princess Isabella (nee Countess von Egloffstein), after which he was dubbed the name of Nikolay and the patronymic of Kirillovich, and his wife was named Ekaterina Fyodorovna. Since that day, Prince Nikolay Kirillovich zu Leiningen, according to articles 30 and 147 of the Fundamental Laws of the Russian Empire (Ed. of 1906), by virtue of the laws themselves, has gained the title of the Russian Prince of the Imperial Blood while retaining his natural title of Prince zu Leiningen.
On October 5, 2013, Prince Nikolay Kirillovich published his Manifest on his acceptance of the dignity of Heir to the All-Russian Emperorship and his obligation to maintain the integrity of the Fundamental Laws of the Russian Empire (article 39 of the FLRE).
Thus, the legal conflict between the Act of the Grand Duke Vladimir Kirillovich of Russia dated 1969, providing for his daughter Maria Vladimirovna’s guardianship (regency) of the All-Russian Emperorship and the Fundamental Laws of the Russian Empire, was ended as the Fundamental Laws of the Russian Empire have certainly greater legal force than the Act of the Head of the Russian Imperial House.
As the elderborn legitimate offspring of the Emperors Alexander II Nikolaevich and Kirill I Vladimirovich, Prince Nikolay Kirillovich of Russia, Prince zu Leiningen, has become the legal successor to the All-Russian Emperorship since 2013.