Who was Prince Yuri Galitzine?The Galitzine family can be traced back to the Middle Ages when they were Grand Dukes of Lithuania. In the 14th century one son became King of Poland, while his brother moved to Moscow to found a rich and powerful dynasty. Two hundred years later a member of the family was chosen to be Tsar of Russia. The Revolution of 1917 resulted in the loss of Galitzine estates, and Prince Yuri’s grandfather emigrated to Paris.Prince Yuri Galitzine was born in Japan in 1919 and spent his early years in Austria and France before being brought to England at the age of seven to learn the language and attend school.However, his family fell on hard times and Prince Yuri left school to become a glove-maker then a representative before gaining an apprenticeship with Fairey Aviation. With the outbreak of WWII he enlisted in the Middlesex Regiment.Having gained a commission in the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers he served in Northern Ireland, North Africa and El Alamein, followed by Tunis where he became liaison officer with the Free French. D-Day saw him commanding the Propaganda Unit of the United States 45th Division, and when the war ended he was involved with War Crimes investigations.
Obituary of Prince Yuri GalitzineTim Clough, the Society's Editor, and a founder member of Rutland Record Society, prepared the following obituary, originally published in the Society’s December 2002 Newsletter:One day in 1978 a small group of conspirators – and I think we can be called that – met at Bisbrooke Hall at the invitation of George Boyle. They included Bryan Matthews and Prince Yuri. The result of that meeting was the foundation of the Rutland Record Society. Bryan was to become its first Honorary Secretary, George Boyle its President, and Prince Yuri the Chairman of its Council; all were confirmed in office at the first AGM in May 1979. The Chairman’s enthusiasm for Rutland and its local history was infectious, and straightaway - with the benefit of hindsight perhaps too quickly - the Society launched into its publication programme, not just with the Rutland Record but also with Tudor Rutland. Prince Yuri’s personal support for the Society in these early years when it found itself for a while in financial difficulties was crucial to its early success, but his contribution was much greater than that. He undertook extensive local research and contributed articles on the history of his then house, Quaintree Hall at Braunston, and on Anthony Jenkinson and his Russian travels to Rutland Record as well as the Occasional Publication Domesday Book in Rutland: the dramatis personae (1986). He found time to lead meetings of the Council despite a busy schedule and supported its events and activities in person. Eventually, the Society merged with the Rutland Local History Society and then with the Field Research Group, to become Rutland Local History & Record Society with Prince Yuri continuing in office as Chairman of the new Executive Committee. In 1998, Prince Yuri was elected President, and despite ailing health since that time continued to attend meetings when he could. He invited the Society to Holywell Hall near Stamford – he regretted it was not quite in Rutland – where he took pride in renovating the house and its gardens: just as he had done at Braunston. It may seem strange to some that a scion of a Russian aristocratic family should have taken such an interest in England’s smallest county, but societies such as ours often owe much to people like Prince Yuri who find the time in their own busy lives to support and encourage them. He was proud of his Russian ancestry, and glad to have been able to visit that country in recent years. He was also proud of his association with his adoptive county, and we remember what he did for us and his support of the Society – and of the Rutland County Museum – with gratitude._______[Prince Yuri also invited the Archaeology Group to fieldwalk in the grounds of Holywell Hall; sadly he died before the full results could be presented to him. Audrey Buxton, also a founder member of Rutland Record Society, interviewed Prince Yuri for the Rutland Times in 1982. This interesting interview is included in her book Rutland People].
After the war Prince Yuri worked as a journalist and press officer before starting his own public relations business in 1954. By 1982 he had become Regional Vice-President of an international group of 88 companies.Prince Yuri Galitzine developed a deep interest in local history and in particular that of Rutland where he lived for much of his life. He was a founder and long-standing chairman of the Society, becoming its President in 1989. Over the years he wrote and edited several books, including Domesday Book in Rutland: the dramatis personae (1986). In 2000 Prince Yuri generously donated his large collection of Rutland papers and books to the Society and they are now in the local studies reference library at Rutland County Museum. He died on 28th November 2002.