The fascination of the Romanovs 1894 to 1918 — Rosemary Beney — 20th August 18

Rosemary spoke about Tsar Nicholas II and Princess Alexandra of Hesse and showed us many pho­to­graphs of the family, espe­cially the chil­dren.  Although the pho­to­graphs were ori­gin­ally mono­chrome, many of them had been col­our­ised to modern stand­ards.

Tsar Nicholas was born in 1868, the son of Tsar Alexander III.                 Tsar Nicholas was known to be the richest man in the world but he was regarded as a polit­ic­ally weak man.

Princess Alexandra was the grand-daughter and favour­ite grand-child of Queen Victoria, but was not pop­u­lar in Russia.                                 Nicholas and Alexandra became engaged in 1893 and were mar­ried later in St. Petersberg.  The mar­riage was regarded as a love match and they were a pas­sion­ate couple.

Nicholas suc­ceeded his father, Alexander III, in 1894.   The coron­a­tion was immense with Royal fam­il­ies from all over the world in attend­ance.  Alexandra’s dress was so heavy with jewels and ermine that she had to have help to sit and kneel.   Outside the cathed­ral a crowd of over 50,000 had gathered to see the Royal couple.   There was a stam­pede and over 1300 people were crushed to death and many more were injured.  The couple still appeared before the crowd in the after­noon.

They had five chil­dren; at first four daugh­ters, which did not go down well with the pop­u­la­tion, and finally a son.

Olga was born May 3rd, 1895 when they vis­ited Balmoral and lived at Alexandra Place.

Tatiana was born in 1897 and later did Red Cross work in World War I.

Maria was born in 1899 and was strongly fan­cied by Lord Mountbatten.

Anastasia was born in 1901 and always had poor health.

Alexis was born in 1904.  He was found to be a hae­mo­phil­iac and was always pro­tec­ted because of it.  He was car­ried by a retainer at all public events, even when he was older, and was not allowed a bicycle or to play any sports.  He had a major bleed some years later when the family was on hol­i­day in Finland and was bathed in mud to stop the bleed­ing.

The family trav­elled in luxury in a fant­astic train with guards sta­tioned at 10 meter inter­vals along­side the tracks!  They owned a per­sonal Rolls Royce and another 66 cars.  Alexandra had dia­monds galore.

Nicholas had estab­lished an Entente Cordiale with Great Britain and, early in World War I, took over com­mand of the army.  He left the con­duct of home affairs to his wife, who became dom­in­ated by Rasputin.  At the time there was great unrest and threats of revolu­tion in Russia.

In 1917 Nicholas was forced to abdic­ate and, three days later, they were put under house arrest at Tsarskoe Selo.  They still had the ser­vants and the free­dom of the palace and grounds, so life car­ried on fairly nor­mally.

They were moved to Topol August 1917 with sev­eral of their staff.  The locals were kind and gen­er­ous but life in the Siberian sur­round­ings was not as col­our­ful.

In May 1918 they were put on ‘sol­diers rations’ and con­fined to a small area, then moved to Ekaterineberg  where they were held for 78 days in a ‘house of spe­cial pur­pose’.  Captivity became very harsh and some staff thought they were being sexu­ally abused.

They were assas­sin­ated on July 17th, 1918.

There are many stor­ies of their buri­als  etc. and the mys­ter­ies con­tinue to this day.