Princess Olga Romanoff claims Queen Mary had 'upmarket kleptomania'

Queen’s distant cousin Princess Olga Romanoff claims Queen Mary had ‘upmarket kleptomania’ and would comment on items she liked while visiting so the host would be obliged to give it to her

  • Princess Olga, 71, is the daughter of Prince Andrew, Tsar Nicholas II’s nephew 
  • She appeared on ITV’s The Queen and Her Cousins with Alexander Armstrong
  • Said Her Majesty’s grandmother Queen Mary had ‘upmarket kleptomania’

The Queen’s distant cousin Princess Olga Romanoff has revealed how Her Majesty’s grandmother, Queen Mary, had ‘upmarket kleptomania’ and would often remark on how nice an item was while visiting so her hosts would be obliged to give it to her.

Princess Olga, 71, is the daughter of Tsar Nicholas II’s eldest nephew, Prince Andrew, who escaped Russia on a British warship in 1919, and lives alone at Provender, a 30-room 13th century home in Kent. 

Tsar Nicholas II was the first cousin of King George V, who was Queen Elizabeth II’s grandfather, and husband to Queen Mary of Teck. 

The Queen’s distant cousin Princess Olga Romanoff (pictured) has revealed how Her Majesty’s grandmother, Queen Mary, had ‘upmarket kleptomania’ because she would often remark on how nice an item was so her hosts would be obliged to give it to her

She claimed Her Majesty’s grandmother (pictured) had a habit of wanting other people’s belongings when visiting stately homes around Britain, and was ‘famous’ for it

Princess Olga appeared on ITV’s one-off documentary The Queen and Her Cousins with Alexander Armstrong last night. 

She claimed Her Majesty’s grandmother had a habit of wanting other people’s belongings when visiting stately homes around Britain, and was ‘famous’ for her ‘kleptomania’, which is a compulsive condition which prompts people to steal.

During the programme, Princess Olga showed Alexander around the house and pointed out a signed photograph from Queen Mary. 

She said: ‘She had kind of upmarket kleptomania because she would go stay in somebody’s house and she’d be sitting on one of a dozen Sheraton chairs and she’d say “Oo, I do like this chair,” And you’d be obliged to give her all 12.

‘So people got wise to this, and they’d say “Oh god, Queen Mary’s coming to stay”, so they’d put the good stuff in the attic and bring the more rotten stuff down.  

Queen Mary (seated right) with the Dowager Marchioness of Milford Haven (seated left) and (standing, left to right) Lady Brabourne, the Duke of Edinbrugh, King George VI, the Hon. David Bowes-Lyon, the Earl of Athlone and Princess Margaret at Prince Charles’s christening

‘She was famous for it, absolutely famous for it. Outside church, she’d say “I do like that fur coat” and you’d have to give it to her. Thank god our royal family don’t do that,’ concluded Princess Olga. 

Elsewhere on the programme, the royal admitted she is glad not to be an imperial princess. 

She said: ‘You don’t want to scrub up every day. You want to be smelling of horse and you don’t want to have to be tarted up.

Princess Olga, 71, is the daughter of Tsar Nicholas II’s eldest nephew, Prince Andrew, who escaped Russia on a British warship in 1919. She is pictured in 1968 

‘The Queen used to take Charles and Anne to have tea with my grandmother and they apparently had beautiful manners and I had terrible manners,’ she added.

Olga’s parents fled Russia during the revolution, a year after Tsar Nicholas II and his family were executed by Bolsheviks revolutionaries under Yakov Yurovsky in Yekaterinburg on July 1918. 

Through her mother is Nadine Sylvia Ada McDougall, Princess Olga is a descendant of William Paterson, who founded the Bank of England in 1694, and also of Henrik Borgström, who founded the Bank of Finland.   

Olga, who takes the English spelling of her surname as opposed to the Russian ‘Romanov’ – was home-schooled before moving between London, Scotland and Kent and returning to the historic home of Provender in 2000. 

Provender was bought by her grandmother Constance Borgström in 1921 and is laden with portraits of her illustrious Russian relatives.

The Romanoff descendant now spends her time restoring her UK family home and rents the servants’ wing on AirBnB in order to make extra money.  

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