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Julia Grant, Princess Cantacuzene
Julia Grant was a granddaughter of the American military legend and President, Ulysses S. Grant. She and King were lifelong friends and shared an interest in spiritualism. This illustration of her is an early twentieth-century miniature, by an unknown artist.
Mackenzie King first met Julia Grant, a granddaughter of Ulysses S. Grant, in 1899. He wrote of her: "I like Miss Grant very much she is pleasant & natural." (Diary, September 9, 1899)
This was shortly before Julia's marriage to Prince Michael Cantacuzene of Russia. Julia had met the Prince while travelling in Europe that summer. After their wedding, Julia and Michael lived in Russia where they had three children, Michael (1900), Barbara (1904) and Zinaida (1908). In 1917, during the Russian Revolution, they fled to America. Julia wrote two books about her experiences, Revolutionary Days: Recollections of the Romanoffs and Bolsheviki, 1914-1917 (1919) and My Life Here and There (1921).
Mackenzie King met Julia again, by chance, in Paris in 1928. By 1932, they had taken up a regular correspondence. Julia divorced her husband in 1934, and wrote as a travel advisor for the Saturday Evening Post. She shared King's interest in spiritualism. In 1935, when King was in Washington, he and Julia had a sitting, during which Julia's father and grandfather, as well as Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, talked to them. (Diary, November 16, 1935)
Julia visited King at Kingsmere in 1939. He enjoyed showing her around his estate. "Julia had on, a light, reddish stone sort of coloured dress - summer print - & a broad blue rimmed hat, most becoming," King wrote. "We talked much of my life & work & hers...." (Diary, July 16, 1939) But he also noted: "I told her I doubted if I should ever marry now that I was 65 & if I did it would not be out of Canada...." (Diary, July 17, 1939)
Their friendship and correspondence continued. Less than two weeks before his death, King noted in his diary that he had written Julia a letter by hand. (Diary, July 11, 1950)