Princess Olga Romanoff has simply dropped her cellphone down the toilet. ‘I’d pulled down my denims, was reducing myself and the f***ing factor fell out of my pocket and went down the pan,’ she explains.
An undignified expertise certainly, however to listen to a princess — the Queen’s cousin, and a descendent of the Russian imperial Romanovs, no much less — recount it so colourfully is startling.
But Princess Olga, star of the brand new ITV sequence Preserving Up With The Aristocrats, admits persons are typically shocked after they meet her. The builders who’ve been doing work on Provender Home, her grand Grade II listed residence in Kent, just lately introduced her a swear field, as a result of even they thought the expletives (quoted right here at solely a fraction of their frequency) have been an excessive amount of.
Kids have additionally been identified to sob — not on account of her language, fortunately — as a result of they’re so dissatisfied to fulfill a real-life princess carrying denims and no tiara. Not that she doesn’t have a tiara for particular events, and it appears to have particular anti-swear powers.
Princess Olga, star of the brand new ITV sequence Preserving Up With The Aristocrats, admits persons are typically shocked after they meet her
‘Oh I do behave myself in public when I’ve a tiara on. I don’t do effing and blinding then. I’m VAIRY well mannered. All of the issues my mom taught me come swooping again.’
Princess Olga, 71, is correctly posh. The photographs on her partitions (she has 30 rooms, so quite a lot of partitions) are of individuals you’ll discover in historical past books. Her father was Prince Andrei Alexandrovich, nephew of Tsar Nicolas II, who was massacred, alongside together with his spouse and youngsters, by the Bolsheviks in 1918.
Olga’s father, then aged 21, fled to Britain to be joined by members of the surviving household, who would spend the remainder of their lives in exile, depending on their British kin.
Her grandmother — a primary cousin to George V — lived in a succession of grace-and-favour homes, together with, for ten years, Frogmore Cottage, latterly residence to Meghan and Harry, and now Princess Eugenie and her household.
The Queen as soon as introduced a younger Prince Charles and Princess Anne to play with Olga, the one little one of her father’s second marriage. Years later, Anne would kick her, unintentionally on objective, she thinks (there was a person they each had their eyes on) at a dance. She likes Anne now, although: ‘She’s finished a bloody good job. She’s bought huge balls, that lady.’
Olga’s mom was Nadine McDougall, of the Scottish flour mill household. Hers was a childhood of horses and governesses. She had no formal schooling. When she was 18, she bought to decide on whether or not to have a debutante ball or a swimming pool. She went for a ball at The Dorchester.
She was famously lined up as a future spouse for Prince Charles.
‘My mom tried to tout me on the market. Nicely, sale is a robust phrase, however she thought I’d be an ideal spouse for poor Prince Charles. On the very least she needed me to marry a duke, with an property.’
Alas, she was the incorrect faith (Russian Orthodox). ‘I used to be the incorrect every little thing actually. I might have been a horrible Princess of Wales. I used to be far an excessive amount of of a insurgent.
‘I imply, I wasn’t a insurgent insurgent. I by no means did medication. I didn’t drink. I didn’t screw round as such. However I used to be a insurgent by way of what my mom and father anticipated.’
Kids have additionally been identified to sob — not on account of her language, fortunately — as a result of they’re so dissatisfied to fulfill a real-life princess carrying denims and no tiara
You didn’t screw round ‘as such’?
‘Oh, I used to be terribly harmless till I used to be 20! I can’t say an excessive amount of as a result of my daughter will say “MOTHER!”, however virginity was very excessive on my mom’s bargaining chips for getting me a very good husband.’
Why is she venturing into the world of actuality TV? ‘They paid me, and when you possibly can’t warmth your home you’ll do something. I might streak, though possibly individuals would pay me NOT to take my garments off!’.
After her mom died in 2000, she inherited her childhood residence, by then so dilapidated that woodpeckers had moved in. Thousands and thousands have been spent on it since and opening to the general public for elements of the 12 months has, actually, saved the roof on.
She runs a part of the home as an Airbnb, too. However the pandemic has had a significant influence, and there are eye-watering gas prices. This princess is one other pensioner who tries to dwell in just one room, it appears.
Now, it’s all the time tough when toffs who dwell in big homes plead poverty, however she actually doesn’t appear to dwell a princess-y type of life.
She outlets at Sainsbury’s or Tesco, and ‘hasn’t bought the measure’ of Aldi but, however that’s as a result of it’s new to the world, and she will’t work out the place the cat meals is.
There isn’t any butler or housekeeper. She runs the Airbnb herself and does all the washing-of-sheets and mowing the garden. Even that tiara is barely borrowed from upmarket jewellers for particular occasions.
Anybody smart would promote up, purchase a flat and blow the remainder on cruises, however she’s eager to maintain the house within the household.
The Queen as soon as introduced a younger Prince Charles and Princess Anne to play with Olga, the one little one of her father’s second marriage. Years later, Anne would kick her, unintentionally on objective, she thinks (there was a person they each had their eyes on) at a dance
Her daughter, Alex, additionally options within the present, most hilariously whereas making an attempt to persuade Olga — who has been single since her marriage led to 1989 — to attempt on-line courting. Alex duly set her up with a profile. On which web site? ‘Oh Christ is aware of. It wasn’t one of many upmarket ones. They have been making an attempt to get me to go on a date and I mentioned “no f***ing method”. She didn’t use my identify for the profile both. She couldn’t actually put bloody Princess Olga Romanoff, might she?’
Nicely, no, not in the event you needed to keep away from gold-diggers. ‘There isn’t any gold to be dug, sadly, however I did make the error of claiming, within the programme, that I’d fairly like a person who was ex-military, a skilled killer. When it goes out, I’m going to be contacted by each psycho in England, aren’t I?’.
She has fairly a listing of necessities for a future husband. He could be ‘a huntin’, shootin’, fishin’ kind, however who additionally occurs to be enticing. Not a toy boy both.
‘Sadly, my possibilities of discovering a person in his Seventies who can sit on a horse and decide up a gun AND look good are distant.’
Her dream man was Prince Philip, whom she met at a Serbian funeral. As you do. ‘He had every little thing — spine of metal, good sense of humour, there wasn’t a sport he couldn’t deal with. He mentioned it because it was, even when individuals bought upset.’
Wouldn’t it have upset the apple cart, I say, in the event you had married Prince Charles however secretly lusted after his father? ‘In these days, one wouldn’t have gone that far. These are very trendy ideas, Jenny,’ she chides.
For all her outspokenness, there are some topics which might be off limits — specifically Prince Andrew and the Sussexes ‘I don’t agree with airing soiled washing in public,’ she says.
She cherry-picks the royals she CAN be constructive about. Prince Charles will do a sterling job as king, she thinks. Camilla is her kind of gal (‘sure we do share comparable traits, and other people do say we glance alike’).
The Duchess of Cambridge will get a thumbs up. ‘She might be a very good queen’. Why? ‘As a result of she is grounded and appears good’. However the Queen soars above all of them. ‘A rare lady. She introduced up these 4 youngsters, and she or he nonetheless has these crimson packing containers dropped at her every single day.’
Conference isn’t for Olga, although. At one level I ask if she would ever marry a poor man. ‘I did! That’s why I’m sitting right here with no housekeeper, freezing.’
Whether or not she married out of affection, or to harass her mom, is unclear. Thomas Mathew was a grasp printer, not a duke, however they did dwell for some time in a flat in Eaton Sq., which doesn’t sound that poor (‘Rented!’ she says. ‘And a peppercorn hire. A one-off.’).
Her good pal Clarissa Dickson Wright, one of many Two Fats Girls, lived with them for a bit, sleeping on the couch. She was an alcoholic, and one evening was so determined for a drink that she drank a bottle of Princess Olga’s fragrance. ‘I used to be livid. It was the fragrance too, not the eau de toilette.’
Most of her married life was truly spent in Scotland, within the small city of Banchory.
Was hands-on motherhood a problem? ‘I took to it like a duck to water,’ she says, immediately wistful. ‘My husband got here from an enormous household and I bear in mind him displaying me the way to change a nappy. I liked it. My remorse is that I didn’t realise how a lot, on the time. It’s so fleeting.’
Then there may be Tom, her fourth little one. He was born with a coronary heart defect and died on the age of 18 months, in 1989. Did she go to items? ‘I’m not the type of individual to go to items, due to my background. One cries, clearly, at residence, however . . .’
She did the stiff higher lip factor, within the fast aftermath, however unravels somewhat within the telling of it.
‘Tom died on my daughter Alex’s eighth birthday. He had been within the intensive care unit in Edinburgh, and we had stayed with him, however the evening earlier than, I’d gone residence to get issues prepared for her birthday and I bought the cellphone name at 10am the following day to say “he has died”.
‘We determined telling Alex on her birthday could be imply, so we went forward with the celebrations. She continues to be upset we didn’t inform her instantly.’
What absolute metal it should require to explode balloons and hold smiling in that state of affairs. She recollects her final moments with Tom, and does cry. ‘He was very eager on Michael Jackson. The final time I sat with him, I performed him some Michael Jackson. I can’t bear in mind which track. It will have been one thing I believed was hideous however he liked. He squeezed my hand. He was such a cheerful wee boy.’
Tom is buried within the churchyard in Banchory. He has a easy gravestone, pink granite, and an excellent view. ‘If you need to have a grave, it’d as properly be there.’
She makes a number of references to household graves throughout our interview, which is maybe inevitable together with her household historical past. Now a grandmother herself, she has solely been to Russia a handful of instances however wish to return for a burial that’s lengthy overdue.
The stays of two of the slain Romanov youngsters, Maria and Alexei — her father’s first cousins — have nonetheless not been laid to relaxation, over 100 years on.
‘They’re in Tupperware packing containers,’ she says. Whereas that won’t actually be true, their burial has been blocked by the Russian Orthodox Church so their bones stay in storage. ‘Which is frankly s**t,’ she says.
Preserving Up With The Aristocrats begins at 9pm on Monday, January 17, on ITV and ITVHub.
Source: Day by day Mail