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Princess Olga Paley

Russian noble
The basics
Date of birth Saint Petersburg, Russia
Date of death Nov 02, 1929 Paris, Île-de-France, France
Children: Irina Paley Vladimir Paley
Spouse: Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich of Russia
Authority VIAF id Library of congress id
The details

Princess Olga Valerianovna Paley (Ольга Валериановна Палей) (2 December 1865–2 November 1929), was the second wife of Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich of Russia.

Early life and first marriage

She was born Olga Karnovich at St. Petersburg, the daughter of Valerian Karnovich and his wife Olga Vasilyevna Meszaros. She married Erich Gerhard von Pistohlkors (1853–1935 Riga) in 1884, by whom she had four children:

  • Alexander Erikovich von Pistohlkors (1885–1944), who married Alexandra Taneyeva.
  • Olga Erikovna von Pistohlkors (1886–1887).
  • Olga Erikovna von Pistohlkors (1888–1963), married firstly in 1906 to Count Alexander Belzig von Kreutz and secondly in 1922 to Fürst Sergius Kudaschew.
  • Marianna Erikovna von Pistohlkors (1890–1976), married firstly in 1908 Peter Durnowo, secondly in 1912 to Christoph von Derfelden and thirdly in 1917 to Count Nicolaus von Zarnekau.

Scandal of second marriage

She later began an affair with Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich of Russia, causing a great society scandal, and bore him a child, Vladimir. Her marriage to Pistohlkors was terminated by divorce, and Paul asked permission of Tsar Nicholas II to marry Olga, but he refused.

In 1902, Paul married her morganatically, but the marriage was not approved, and she was given no titles. In 1904, Luitpold, Prince Regent of Bavaria granted Olga the title of Countess von Hohenfelsen. Nicholas II later acquiesced to the marriage and made her Princess Paley.

Olga and Paul had three children:


Olga left Russia in 1920 with her two daughters to Finland, after her son and her husband were executed by the revolutionary government. She died in exile in Paris on 2 November 1929, at the age of 64.

Titles and styles

  • 1865-1884: Miss Olga Valerianovna Karnovitsch
  • 1884-1898: Mrs Olga Valerianovna von Pistohlkors
  • 1898-1902: Ms Olga Valerianovna Karnovitsch
  • 1902-1904: Mrs Olga Valerianovna Romanov
  • 1904-1914: Countess Olga Valerianovna von Hohenfelsen
  • 1914-1929: Princess Olga Valerianovna Paley
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