There are so many names that won’t easily be forgotten in this world and Galina Ulanova happens to be one of them. Galina was a prolific Russian ballet dancer who garnered fame through her outstanding dancing skills. She was regarded as one of the greatest ballet dancers of the 20th and 21st century. With a career that spanned over 5 decades, the legendary dancer was one of the highly sought after ballerinas in her prime.
In addition to being a dancer, Galina was also an actress and she appeared in several theatre productions when she was alive. Some of her notable works include Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella, Swan Lake, and Gisele, to mention a few.
During her active years, Galina Ulanova received lots of accolades, some of which include Hero of Socialist Labour, People’s Artist of the USSR, Stalin Prize and Lenin Prize, among many others. Prior to her retirement from stage at the age of 50, the dancer had tutored many generations of Russian dancers.
She also dominated the limelight following her alleged relationship with Prince Philip, a rumor which began following the release of the 2016 Netflix thriller, The Crown. This happened 18 years after the Russian dancer had kicked the bucket. She died in 1998 at the age of 88. Join us as we explore interesting facts about the dancer including her bio, husband, and alleged relationship with Prince Philip.
Galina Ulanova – Bio
Born Galina Sergeyevna Ulanova on the 8th day of January 1910, the dancer is a native of Saint Petersburg, Russia. She was the daughter of dancers Sergei Ulanova and his wife, Maria Romanova. Her father worked as a regisseur at the Imperial Russian Ballet while her mom worked as a teacher as well as a dancer.
When she was very young, Galina never had an interest in dancing but later changed her mind after living through the Soviet Revolution. She learned dancing from her mother before she enrolled at the prestigious Agrippina Vaganova’s dance school. Galina spent quality time at the dance school and went through rigorous pieces of training.
Soon after she graduated from the dance school, Galina quickly made her way into Mariinsky Theatre aka Kirov Theatre in 1928 and there she kicked off her professional career. Shortly after she joined the theatre, she started appearing in various stage productions such as Chopiniana, The Nutcracker, and Sleeping Beauty.
Through her role as Odette in Swan Lake, Galina earned critical acclaim from fans and critics following her outstanding performance. 1932 saw the dancer playing the lead role of Giselle in the theatre production of Giselle. Her most iconic role came a few years later when she portrayed the role of Maria in the theatre production of The Fountain of Bakhchisarai, a play that was based on Alexander Pushkin’s poem of the same name.
By 1944, Ulanova’s exploits reached Joseph Stalin, former leader of the Soviet Union and Joseph requested that the dancer be sent to the Bolshoi Theatre. As a result of this, Galina spent the next 16 years of her career at the historic theatre. During this time, the actress/dancer appeared in a handful of theatre productions. She also toured different parts of the world alongside the Bolshoi Theatre crew. Some of her noteworthy performances include China, East Berlin, Hungary, United Kingdom, Paris, United States, Egypt, Canada, Czechoslovakia, and many others.
Galina Ulanova retired from dancing in the year 1961 at the age of 50 and after her retirement, she devoted the later part of her life, teaching and training the next generation of ballet dancers.
Was There a Relationship with Prince Philip?
While Galina was touring the UK during the 1950s, she was said to have met Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh at the Royal Opera House, London. Thereafter, rumors began to fly around that the two had an affair; nevertheless, the rumors were never confirmed to date. However, 18 years after Galina’s demise, her name resurfaced on the media in 2016 following the release of the Netflix drama, The Crown.
The film which chronicled the life of Queen Elizabeth II, sparked lots of curiosity among many fans, thus pointing towards Prince Philip’s alleged affair with the Russian ballerina. In the wake of the foregoing, the rumors cannot be confirmed and it is not clear if the events in the film happened in real life.
Galina Ulanova’s Husband
Although she was regarded as a great dancer of her time, Galina Ulanova managed to keep the details of her personal life under the shades. According to reports, the prolific dancer was married several times, however, the details of her marital life are not public knowledge. Her most popular relationship was with Yuri Zavadsky, a Russian actor whom she married in 1941. She was also linked to the famous designer Vadim Rindin. Sadly, in all her marital attempts, Galina didn’t have any kids of her own.
She gave up the ghost in Moscow in 1998 and was buried in the cemetery of the Novodevichy Convent. Following her death, one of her apartments in Moscow is now being used as a memorial museum. Her monuments were also erected in Saint Petersburg and Stockholm.