Queen Elizabeth Makes Historic Visit to Russia
Queen Elizabeth II, leaving behind the latest Royal Family flap, came to the Kremlin on Monday on the first visit to Russia by a British monarch.
A new authorized biography of her son and heir, Prince Charles, threatened to overshadow the visit by the queen and her husband, Prince Philip. In the book, Charles accuses Philip of forcing him into a loveless marriage.
Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin’s chief spokesman, Vyacheslav V. Kostikov, said the queen’s visit is evidence of Russia’s break with its totalitarian past.
“We realize that the British queen would never have visited a Communist country,” Kostikov said.
Both the queen and Prince Philip are related to the imperial Romanov family of Czar Nicholas II, executed by Bolshevik revolutionaries in 1918. The queen’s grandfather, King George V, the czar’s first cousin, refused to give Nicholas II asylum a year earlier.
The 68-year-old queen, wearing a fur coat and pillbox hat, was greeted at Moscow’s Vnukovo-2 airport by First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg N. Soskovets. A beaming Yeltsin and his wife, Naina, gave the royal couple a formal welcome at the ornate St. George’s Hall in the Kremlin.
The royal couple are staying in the Kremlin as Yeltsin’s guests. They attended a performance of “Giselle” at the Bolshoi Ballet on Monday evening, sitting in the “czar’s box” under the coat of arms of the former Soviet Union.
Back in Britain, newspapers were full of speculation about excerpts from the biography of Charles.
Charles recalls how, as a boy, his mother paid him little attention and his father belittled him to the point of tears. As an adult, Charles suggests that Philip pressured him into marrying Princess Diana, whom he says he never loved.