И ГЕНЕАЛОШКЕ СТУДИЈЕ
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I WOULD LIKE MY CHILD TO BE
GEORGIAN IN HEART AND SOUL
On 8 February 2009 the Royal wedding of H.R.H. Davit Bagrationi Mukhran Batonishvili and H.R.H. Anna Bagrationi-Gruzinsky Batonishvili will be celebrated at Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi by H.H. Catholicos-Patriarch Illa II. The President of Georgia will attend the ceremony.
The wedding service will begin at 4 P.M. Afterwards a cocktail party and dinner gala will take place in a building near the Cathedral.
An agreement resulting from the marriage of H.R.H brings to an end any possibility of dynastic dispute in Georgia, as the bride is a princess of the Bagrationi-Gruzinsky Royal House, a branch of the Bagrationi family which had previously claimed a hypothetical right to be the royal house of Georgia, and the marriage reunites the two branches of the family.
This is a shortened version of the rare interview given by David Bagration-Mukhranbatonishvii which was published in the Georgian Times several years ago when he visited our editorial office.
GT: Why did you come to Georgia?
DB: Since my childhood I have been told about “Georgia”. Some five Georgian families lived in Madrid, we gathered frequently… we had Georgian swords and helmets at home… I am Orthodox… I did not have a right not to come. When I grew up and Georgia regained its independence it became possible to return. When I realized I could live here, I left immediately.
GT: You were probably very anxious?
DB: Yes, I could not sleep for a week. We first went to Mtskheta, when the car turned at the mountain and I saw Svetitskhoveli, I did not believe it, it was the happiest moment of my life. In Spain we have bronze models of Georgian churches, of Alaverdi, Svetitskhoveli, Metekhi… we have pictures, but I had never seen a Georgian church in real life. It was something very special.
GT: When were you baptized?
DB: When I was one or two months old. My father’s cousin, Elene Kirby-Bagrationi, had church at home in Madrid and that is where we children were baptized. Every wedding in our family has been held in the Orthodox Church, my father and mother wed in church. Since there was no Orthodox church in Madrid then, they went to France to wed in church.
GT: Is it true that Irakli Bagrationi opened the first Orthodox Church in Spain?
DB: Yes, it was opened by my grandfather, Irakli Bagrationi, Bulgaria’s King Simeon and Vladimir Romanov, the then heir to the Russian crown. A Georgian priest served there, but unfortunately he passed away. I was baptized by Father Dmitri, a Greek.
GT: What was your occupation in Spain?
DB: My father was a racing driver; he was champion of Spain thirteen times in various categories, and once champion of Europe. I wanted to follow in his footsteps. I was 18 years and 2 weeks old when I first participated in a race, the youngest driver there. I participated in various races, but then had an accident. My brother Irakli is an IT specialist and is involved in Alpine skiing. My younger brother Guram (Ugo) is a University student and works. My sister is married to a Catalonian, Jaime Gaisha, they have a son called Jaime.
GT: What do Georgians say when they find out you are a Bagrationi?
DB: Georgians appreciate history, they are all respectful.
GT: Although conditions are bad here, will you stay anyway?
DB: I think that I am Bagrationi, and Georgian, and this is where I have to live. Life is full of comfort in Spain, but my homeland is Georgia.
GT: Giorgi, the grandson of Irakli Bagrationi’s sister, Leonida Bagrationi, is the heir to the Russian throne. What are your relations with him?
DB: We have been friends since childhood; he visited Georgia when he was a child. He is a little bit younger than me.
GT: Do they know about the Bagrationis in Spain?
DB: Not many of the younger generation do. The older generation knows more about our origins, especially because of my father’s fame.
GT: Did Giorgi Bagrationi have good relations with Juan Carlos, King of Spain?
DB: They grew up together, they were both born in Rome. Juan Carlos loves cars a lot, he participated in races. He loves motorcycles. His son-in-law was my grandfather, Irakli Bagrationi.
GT: I believe the King of Spain was on very good terms with Irakli Bagrationi, and called him uncle?
DB: Yes, this is correct. The heir to the throne Felipe used to call my father uncle.
GT: Is it true that King Juan Carlos is very popular in Spain?
DB: Certainly, he has played a prominent role in Spain’s modern history, namely, in the democratization of the country. He has been the King for 30 years and the economy has grown significantly. Initially people were doubtful about the restoration of the monarchy, but Juan Carlos has won the love of his people. They also love his child Felipe very much, he married a simple journalist, and they have a little girl. Felipe has many friends, regardless of whether they are peasants, workers or anything. Felipe’s sisters are also much loved, they and the whole royal family are very straightforward. This is a very democratic family.
GT: Do you recall that when the first satellite antenna was installed here President Gamsakhurdia made the first call to Giorgi Bagrationi?
DB: It was early in the morning, there is a time difference, so we woke up… it was a big surprise, we were very happy.
GT: You are not married yet. Will you probably marry a Georgian?
DB: Unfortunately, I was not born in Georgia, I was born in Madrid, my father was born in Rome, but I want my child to be born in Georgia. I want to marry a Georgian. I want my child to learn the Georgian language first, to be brought up on Georgian traditions and be a real Georgian.