Francis Mathew is 33 years old and a photographer, but the feature that makes him part of the story is his blood, which descends from the last Russian imperial family, the Romanovs. Mathew was born in London, his family took refuge in Britain, and lived in Scotland but is the son of Princess Olga Romanov Andreyevna, now 61, daughter of Andrei Alexandrovich, which in turn was the nephew of Nicholas II, the tsar deposed and killed during the Bolshevik Revolution in 1918. Mathew has toured many countries around the world, even dangerous places like the jungles of Cameroon.
To add an item to his resume he chose to be part of a reality show, The Bachelor, where he searched for his soul mate. It’s the Ukrainian version of a famous series in the United States, and despite the channel decided to keep a secret until the finale aired, it seems that Mathew has chosen his favorite among the 25 competitors. The programme along the lines of Cinderella never concludes with “they lived happily ever after”, there was only one marriage in fifteen editions in the United Statesand Mathew had no knowledge of the language: during the program he had to use a headset to understand his potential girlfriends.
«Love works in strange ways and I met some interesting women» he said, however.
Returning to his roots when did you realize what the Romanovs represented?
«I knew from a very young age that i came from a royal family, but never fully understood the significance of it until i went to the funeral of Nicholas II». (The Tsar was buried with his family eighty years after the murder).
What did it mean for you to get in touch with other family members?
«My grandfather sadly died when I was 2 so I never had the chance to talk to him about it all. Now that I have been to Russia a few times and understand what happened and have met the remaining Romanoffs around the world, I definitely do feel a part of the Romanoff family and am very proud to have such history in my blood».
What was your childhood like?
«My childhood was adventurous, I was born in london lived there for the first few years of my life and then went to scotland around the age of 5 or 6. It was great there, running around everywhere, climbing and jumping off everything possible. My parents had a fourth child when I was about 8 or 9 a brother who sadly was born with a rare heart defect and was in and out of hospital with operations on his heart, the press picked up on it, princess has son who is ill etc and so we were in the press over the next couple of years a fair amount, tragically my brother died aged 2 and a half».
Among other adventures you lived there was an experience in India.
« My experience in Bollywood was photographing some movies being made for publicity, posters etc and also acting in a couple, playing villains. I met a few of the biggest stars and got on very well with them and have various friends in and around bollywood from directors to musicians to actors. While i lived in India my main transport was my Bike, sadly haven’t had the opportunity as yet to travel on bikes elsewhere, but i do have a lot of plans involving bike trips in the future. I felt very at ease in India, but it was time to leave when i left, followed my gut instinct. 3 and a half years was enough. I feel very much at ease wherever I go».
What was your most difficult experience?
«Living in the jungle in Cameroon was an experience, I had some good times and some very funny moments, but also the most awkward and scariest moments of my life, I experienced nearly every possible emotion while there. I have plans to write a book on the whole experience, looking back on it all now, I can laugh at the really bad moments. I wouldn’t change it as it is what got my photography career started».
Do you have any other plans for the future?
«I have lots of plans for the future, careers wise I know I will be doing various different jobs, I already am. There are lots that I have left to try, let’s see what the future holds».
What do you think instead of today’s Russia?
«Not sure how much I really know about Russia these days or even how much I should say about my thoughts. It is a great country and a crying shame that it is ruled by the mafia and this needs to change and to bring a decent middle class into the picture».