On the picture HRH Prince Davit Bagration Mukhranbatoni – Picture by Royal House of Georgia.
By Baron Henri Estramant.
Diplomat Magazine had the pleasure of interviewing HRH Prince Davit Bragationi Mukhran Batoni of Georgia, dynastic heir of the world’s oldest Christian dynasty. The Bragationi dynasty is currently of much topicality in Georgia after the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, His Holiness and Beatitude Ilia II, suggested once more for the country to adopt a monarchical form of state.
Diplomat Magazine: Your Royal Highness, you are the Head of Georgia’s Royal House, and as such recently the government of your homeland supported the bestowal of “The Order of the Eagle of Georgia and the Seamless Tunic of Our Lord Jesus Christ” for HM Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom. Can you please tell us a bit about the granting of this honour to Her Britannic Majesty?
Prince Davit of Georgia: HM the Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom accepted the gift after consulting with Her Foreign Office, and everything happened in compliance with protocolary rules, and with the support of the Georgian government. For the Bragationi dynasty, that I represent, it was a very important because the order was the first one awarded by a non-head of state in 64 years of Her Majesty’s reign, and the latter fills me with pride.
Diplomat Magazine: The Royal Georgian Orders include a lot of prominent members, from royalty to high ranking clerics to politicians from various countries around the globe. What type of relevance do you think such orders have for Georgia nowadays? Is the Georgian state behind you?
The Order of the Eagle of Georgia was founded within an honour system by Queen Tamar the Great of Georgia (1160-1213) and restored in 1939 by the former head of Royal House, my grandfather Prince Irakli Bagration Mukhran Batoni. It was my father Prince Giorgi Bagration Mukhran Batoni who provided the orders with new statutes. During all these decades, and then with me as Grand Master for already almost 10 years; there have been numerous personalities having been awarded ranks within the orders. The most precious being the “Grand Collar” which has been granted since 1939 only at nine occasions, including recently to HM the Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom.
In reference to the second part of the question, the current government, they are making a great effort and have achieved very important things for the country such as a visa liberalisation scheme for Georgian citizens traveling to the EU. It is a government that listens the needs and problems of the people, thus acts accordingly. The situation in Georgia until the year 2012, was very cumbersome, the change has been for good and this pleases me. I respect all political parties equally except those ones who have put their personal interests ahead of the nation. The state is not behind me yet I am at the disposal of the country for anything that might be necessary.
Diplomat Magazine: The Bragrationi Dynasty can be traced back to the 9th century; making it older than many more well-known European royal and princely houses. How well-known do you think the Royal House is, and what is the raison d’être for a royal house in contemporary times, and above all within republican systems?
The Bagrationi Dynasty is the world’s oldest Christian dynasty and the second oldest royal house just after the Imperial House of Japan. Due to the long and terrible years of communism, not only the dynasty but also Georgia have been unknown for many, almost 3 decades have passed and many people abroad are interested in Georgia, her history and of course because of 11 centuries of my ancestors’ reign. Anyone interested in my beloved country will not find difficulties to find out about the existence of our Royal House.
Being able to live in Georgia is a privilege for anyone. For me even more after 86 years of exile that my family suffered, communicating with people and seeing the progress of the country in person verily satisfies me. Georgia is a great nation.
Diplomat Magazine: Do you see yourself as a “private” statesman, and ambassador to your country as you are recognisable figure internationally? What role does the Royal House play in Georgian diplomacy?
My family has worked hard during the years of exile, in order to make Georgia known as an ancient country and not as a former Soviet republic. The latter works continues today. Georgia is a very old country with a rich and millennial culture. It is a mistake to refer to Georgia a former Soviet republic, that it was, but not for so long period comparing with the thousands of years of independence.
The Royal Orders of Georgia in this moment has international representation in 46 countries and 61 cities. For some years our representatives have been in charge to receive and welcome new ambassadors of the State of Georgia in some countries. Events and gala dinners have been organised to introduce them to a part of the societies of those countries. They have been put in contact with personalities from all walks of life, be they of business, culture, politics or military, etc.
Diplomat Magazine: What are the assets that the Royal House bring to Georgia? Yourself personally?
To name some since 2003, we have brought charitable aid, green programmes in various Georgian cities. We are currently working on an economic forum Inviting to Georgia a large number of companies and potential European investors for 2018.