Braemar’s Russian connection revisited

The fabulous Russian Princess Alexis Dolgorouki.
The fabulous Russian Princess Alexis Dolgorouki.

An archive dating back to the 16th century will provide the inspiration for the re-creation of a dinner held at the turn of the 20th century in Braemar Castle, hosted by Russian Princess Alexis Dolgorouki.

Village volunteers who now operate the castle have been busy researching and cataloguing the archive of Invercauld Estate and have put together a timeline of the owners and occupants of the 400 year-old castle.

For the past 200 years, it has been home to the Farquharsons of Invercauld and was frequently rented out to an array of tenants for the shooting season.

One such tenant was the fabulous Russian princess Alexis Dolgorouki.

Fanny Fleetwood Wilson had inherited great wealth from her Portsoy-born father. As one of the ‘Marlborough Set’ the fast glittering set of friends round Edward Prince of Wales, she became known as one of the most popular spinsters in London.

At one of her many lavish society dinneres she had a miniature ‘lake’ with goldfish and water lilies sunk into the middle of her dining table.

Maureen Kelly, who has been helping research the archives and will take on the rol of the Princess, says: “Fanny was 47 when she married Prince Dolgorouki in 1898.

“The Dolgorouki family had extensive estates in South Russia and were the rules or Russia prior to the Romanov dynasty.

“They were actively involved in Russian Government over the centuries and the Prince’s father was Secretary of State and Privy Seal to the former Tsar, Alexander II.

“Prince Alexis Dolgorouki was brought up with Tsar Nicholas II. Fanny, nowever,m had Scottish roots. Her father was born in Portsoy and as a child she had frequently holidayed in the north-east which I think is what drew her to Braemar.”

Fanny took on the lease of Braemar Castle in 1897 for a period of almost 25 years during which time she made it a poular centre for society on Deeside. On Saturday, July 16, you are invited to join this recreated opulence when Princess Dolgorouki again hosts a society dinner.

Be entertained between courses by the voice of tenor Colin Hunter accompanied by Eva Robertson and get a glimpse into the Princess’s fraught relationship with Mr Foggo, factor of Invercauld Estate. Tickets are £25 to include a three-course dinner and two glasses of wine and are available at www.braemarcastle.co.uk or by calling 013397 41219.

Early booking is advised.