It was fascinating to come across these family photos which make Tzar Nicholas II of Russia look like just a normal family, despite the Tzar constantly wearing a stiff impressive uniform and military hat regardless of whether he’s on a cruise, or playing tennis! On the subject of outfits, his daughters Anastasia, Tatiana, Olga and Maria always seems to be wearing matching outfits. I wonder whether this was intentional. The youngest child, Alexei, was the heir to the Russian throne and he is always dressed like a miniature version of his father.
The last 3 photos are telling because they are taken after Nicholas II had been forced to abdicate following the Russian Revolution in 1917. The Romanovs were sent to evacuated Tobolsk in the Urals and the whole family was eventually executed in 1918.
The Tzar, his wife and his 5 children were shot along with their doctor and a handful of servants in a basement in Yekaterinburg in the early hours of 17th June 1918. Rumours that Alexei had somehow survived the shooting persisted until his body was discovered and positively identified in 1991.
Daughters Anastasia, Tatiana, Olga, and Maria survived the first execution attempt. They were wearing some 1.3 kilograms of diamonds and precious gems sewn into their corsets which provided some protection from the bullets. Once this was discovered they were dispatched with bayonets and then shot in the head.
By the way, if you think looks Tzar Nicholas II looks like King George V that’s because they were cousins, as indeed was Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany. It would seem that most of the European royal families are all related to each other!
My favourite photo is the one of them standing in front of the imperial train (below). Alexei has such a face on him and clearly doesn’t want to pose for a photograph. My son frequently pulls that face in photos!
Above: Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and his daughter Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna at Finnish archipelago, Imperial tennis park Virolahti, 1911.
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