Pavlovsk Palace, Sadovaya Ulitsa, 20, Pavlovsk, Sankt-Peterburg, Russia, 196621
Peter and Paul Cathedral, Peter and Paul Fortress, Sankt-Peterburg, Russia, 197046
Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich of Russia (22 August 1858 in Strelna – 15 June 1915 in Pavlovsk) was a grandson of Emperor Nicholas I of Russia, and a poet and playwright of some renown. He wrote under the pen name "K.R.", initials of his given name and family name, Konstantin Romanov.
As exemplary and dedicated (and even conservative) as KR's public life was, his private turmoil was intense. Had it not been for the publication of KR's strikingly candid diaries long after his death, the world would have never known that this most prolific of Grand Dukes, the father of nine children, was tormented by his homosexual feelings.
As mentioned, KR's first homosexual experiences occurred in the Imperial Guards. The Grand Duke made great efforts to repress his feelings. But despite his love for his wife, KR could not resist the temptations offered to a person of his exalted state. KR claimed in his diary that between 1893 and 1899 he remained away from the practice of what he called his "main sin." Yet by the birth of his seventh child, KR had become a steady visitor to several of the male brothels of St. Petersburg. In 1904 he wrote in his diary that he "ordered my coachman...to go, and continued on foot past the bath-house. I intended to walk straight on... But without reaching the Pevchesky Bridge, I turned back and went in. And so I have surrendered again, without much struggle, to my depraved inclinations." The cycle of resistance and capitulation to temptation is a common theme of KR's diaries.
By the end of 1904, KR became somewhat attached to an attractive young man by the name of Yatsko. "I sent for Yatsko and he came this morning. I easily persuaded him to be candid. It was strange for me to hear him describe the familiar characteristics: he has never felt drawn to a woman, and has been infatuated with men several times. I did not confess to him that I knew these feelings from my own personal experience. Yatsko and I talked for a long time. Before leaving he kissed my face and hands; I should not have allowed this, and should have pushed him away, however I was punished afterwards by vague feelings of shame and remorse. He told me that, ever since the first time we met, his soul has been filled with rapturous feelings towards me, which grow all the time. How this reminds me of my own youth." A few days later, KR and Yatsko met again, and a relationship developed between the two.
In KR's final years, he wrote of his homosexual urges less and less, whether from having reached some arrangement with his conscience, or from the natural advance of age and ill health.
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