White House Princess Julia Dent Grant Cantacuzène

Did you know this? Over the past couple of centuries Americans have been on the move and have made in-strides wherever they have landed, some good and not so good. Here is a story of privilege and being in the right place at the right time. Julia made her mark and fled a war in which she could have been trapped and then documented the journey out in a her many writings and books and in her lectures. She had a first hand account of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 where her husbands brothers family, the Russian Czar, were all assasinated. This is a book I will read. 

On June 7, 1876, a princess was born at the White House—but nobody knew it yet. Julia Dent Grant was named after her grandmother, First Lady Julia Dent Grant, and born during her grandfather Ulysses S. Grant’s second term as president. She was christened by her parents, Frederick Dent Grant and Ida Honoré Grant, in the White House East Room and later brought to parties and events at the Executive Mansion as a young girl. In her 1921 memoir, My Life Here and There, Julia recalled happy childhood memories with her grandfather, writing: “he held my pudgy dimpled hand on the palm of his, and we learned to count the fingers and dimples together… and he taught me ‘cat-cradle’ with a string.”

As a young woman, Miss Grant traveled to Europe with her father Frederick, who served as President Benjamin Harrison’s Minister to Austria-Hungary, and her aunt, socialite Bertha Palmer. While visiting Cannes, France, Julia met and fell in love with Russian Prince Mikhail Cantacuzène, and the two were married in 1899. Now a princess, Julia and Mikhail settled in Russia and started a family, welcoming three children to their royal family. Prince Mikhail later served in World War I until he and his family fled Russia during the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917. They then returned to the United States.

Princess Julia Grant Cantacuzène spent the rest of her life as an author and historian, contributing to American newspapers and magazines, publishing a memoir, and writing two books about her experiences in Russia during the fall of the Romanov dynasty. She died at age 99.

A White House Princess
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