Russian royal heir dies alone and unknown

2015-11-30 09:49

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Sydney - The great grandson of Russia's tsar, Leonid Kulikovsky, was buried in Australia's northern city of Darwin Monday after dying in the Outback alone and unknown.

It took police nine weeks to determine the identity of the 72-year-old after his body was found under a tree in the town of Katherine where he collapsed on September 27 while walking his dog.

Kulikovsky had lived alone in a caravan park for the past six years but nobody knew his real name or his royal ancestry.

The park owner, Peter Byers told the NT News he was known simply as "Old Nick" who kept to himself and "never, ever" mentioned his royal heritage.

He'd retired from working for the Sydney Water Board and travelled around Australia with his beloved dog until his car broke down in the remote outback town of Katherine.

"He got on with everybody. He loved his dog and took great care of him. He was a great reader and had a huge number of books on Vikings," Byers said.

Simon Andropov, Russia's representative in the Northern Territory, told the broadcaster ABC on Monday Kulikovsky was the great grandson of Tsar Alexander III who ruled Russia between 1891 and 1894.

Lost contact

Alexander's son Tsar Nicholas II was executed with most of his children in 1917 during the Russian Revolution, but Kulikovsky's parents escaped to Denmark.

As a member of the long-exiled Russian royal family he is distantly related to Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip.

Kulikovsky grew up in Denmark aware of his royal ancestry, but as a young man migrated to Australia where he did not tell anyone of his royal connection.

"No-one knew of his royal heritage and on retirement he decided to travel around Australia," Andropov told the ABC

"He got as far as Katherine, and then he had problems with his vehicle. He's been living in a caravan park with his dog for the last five to six years."

Andropov said it was a sad story as Kulikovsky had no relatives in Australia and his body remained unidentified in the morgue for two months.

"When I contacted his sister in Denmark she said she lost contact with him 20 years ago," Andropov told the ABC.

The funeral service was held in Darwin's tiny Serbian Orthodox Church dug into the side of a cliff.

A spokesperson for the church told dpa a Russian priest flew to Darwin to hold the service attended by a representative of the Russian embassy, local politicians and dignitaries and media.

Read more on:    russia  |  australia

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