On 27 May 1896, a large crowd gathered at Khodynka Field in Moscow to enjoy the festivities following the new Tsar’s Coronation.
For most Russians the Tsar was little short of a God, he was their father, and they his children, and so eager to usher in the new reign they were in celebratory mood and many were drunk but no attempt had been made to control the increasingly intoxicated crowd and as the available space became ever more restricted it was evident that disaster was looming. Even so, the Police continued to stand aside and do nothing.
Eventually some people stumbled and in the ensuing chaos panic took hold as 1,389 men, women, and children were trampled and suffocated to death in the desperate attempt to escape the crush,
Upon being informed of the tragedy the Tsar was advised out of respect for the dead not to attend the French Ambassadors Ball being held in his honour that night but he refused to cancel the engagement, and so from the very beginning of his reign the new Tsar was perceived as being indifferent to the suffering of his people.
The subsequent Inquiry into the tragedy that found the Authorities to have been negligent but held no individuals accountable and brought no criminal charges merely compounded the sense of a cover up that no amount of compensation paid to the victims families could change.
The Khodynka Field Disaster damaged the reputation of the new Tsar Nicholas II and it was an event that seemed the precursor of all that was to come as he stumbled from one calamity to the next.
Nikolay Alexandrovich Romanov had been born on 6 May 1868, to great luxury in the Palace of Tsarkoye Selo, just outside the Russian capital St Petersburg.
He was a frail, nervous, painfully shy child who looked up to and admired his father greatly, and was doted on by his mother but as he grew into a young man it became increasingly clear to those who knew him that indecisiveness and irresolution prevailed and that he lacked the character to be Tsar. Few who met him were impressed.
When his father, Tsar Alexander III died unexpectedly at the age of just 49 of liver failure, the 26 year old Nicholas was thrust into the position of prominence he had hoped so much to avoid. He was now to be Tsar of All the Russia’s but his father who had little faith in his son’s abilities and had expressed as much to his Ministers had provided him with little formal training but then the young Tsar had already stated that he wished to rule as his father had, as an unyielding autocrat who would change nothing.
He may have wanted to rule as an autocrat but he had neither the will nor the strength of character to do so. Even his own cousin King George V, who was fond of Nicky, doubted his ability to run a medium sized company let alone a great Empire. Indeed, it was said that he based his decisions on whatever opinion had been expressed by the last person he spoke to.
His wife the Empress Alexandra Federovna, known somewhat inappropriately as Sunny, was a deeply religious, superstitious, fatalistic person subject to depression who often hysterical in her response to any crisis did not provide the source of dependability and support required to alleviate the pressure he often felt himself under.
Not long after taking the reins of power he confided to his cousin Grand Duke Alexander his self-doubt:
“What’s going to become of me and all Russia?”
His cousin could not answer, after all wasn’t he Tsar now.
Nikolay Alexandrovich became Tsar on 1 November 1894, but his Coronation did not take place until two years later on 26 May 1896, at the Uspensky Cathedral within the walls of the Kremlin. In the meantime, he had married the German granddaughter of Queen Victoria, Princess Alix of Hesse.
Marrying a German was not a popular move and she had already made a bad impression thought unkempt in appearance by the melee of overdressed sycophants who festooned the Imperial Court. She said little, was a poor dancer, and was considered arrogant and overbearing in manner.
She did, however, convert from Lutheranism to the Russian Orthodox Church and take the name Alexandra Fedorovna to make, herself more acceptable to the Russian people, and no one doubted that the young Tsar and his German Princess were very much in love.
Tsar Nicholas was determined to rule as his forebears had done by Divine Right, as the Father of his People responsible for their welfare and beyond reproach. He would tend to their needs but in return he expected their total obedience. As such, he would delegate power but he would never share it.
His hard-line approach stood in stark contrast to his physical appearance for unlike so many of the Romanov’s past and present he did not cut an imposing figure being short, narrow-shouldered, soft-featured and somewhat wide-eyed. He was aware of his physical inadequacies and would sometimes bemoan his ill-fortune in being a dwarf among giants but it did little to curb his determination to appear strong, to be a militarist, an imperialist, and an enthusiastic anti-Semite who not only endorsed but encouraged the anti-Jewish pogroms that swept the Pale of Settlement between 1903 and 1906 leaving hundreds dead and thousands homeless.
He also firmly believed in the Global Jewish Conspiracy as expounded in the pages of the erroneous Protocols of the Elders of Zion and though he was later to accept that it was a forgery and have those copies of it in Russia pulped retained his own much-thumbed copy.
Russia’s aggressively expansionist policies in the Far East had brought her into direct conflict with the emerging Japanese Empire towards whom they behaved with a breathtaking arrogance in reneging upon a series of deals over Manchuria until the Japanese at last decided they’d had enough with negotiation.
On 8 February 1904, they launched a surprise attack on Port Arthur on the Liaotung Peninsula.
The Russians had blundered into a war where they could only reinforce their forces in Manchuria via the still as yet incomplete Trans-Siberian Railway and outnumbered more than two-to-one they suffered a series of heavy defeats culminating in the surrender of Port Arthur on 2 January, 1905.
Forced to withdraw from Manchuria altogether following a crushing defeat at the Battle of Mukden in late February, their last desperate gamble to retrieve some shred of honour from a conflict they had done so much to cause ended disastrously with the destruction of the Russian Baltic Fleet in the Straits of Tsu-Shima.
The conflict had been a bloody and brutal affair, a precursor of the trench warfare and mechanised slaughter of the Great War to come that had cost the Russians 125,000 casualties of whom 49,000 were killed. Japanese looses had been even higher.
Defeat in a war that no one had wanted sparked a revolution at home that saw much of the country paralysed and Workers Soviets established in many of the major cities that for a time seemed to imperil the very existence of the regime itself and many of the troops just returned from Manchuria had to be mobilised to crush the rebellion by force. Even so, for many months the outcome seemed in the balance and Nicholas was forced to make political concessions to secure a peaceful resolution which resulted in the issuing of his October Manifesto, a constitutional charter which allowed for the formation of a Duma, or Elected Assembly.
This heralded the end of Absolutism in Russia and perhaps of the Romanov Dynasty itself or at least Nicholas thought so for he later expressed his deep regret at having signed the document that brought it into being saying:
“I feel sick with shame at my betrayal of the dynasty.”
Tsar Nicholas, who so wanted to rule as the Autocrat appeared incapable of acting with the iron fist required and he was to become increasingly reliant upon his Interior Minister Piotr Arkadyevich Stolypin, whom he was to appoint his Prime Minister on 21 July, 1906, and it was Stolypin who had to pick up the pieces following the chaos of the 1905 disturbances. He also had to work with the recently elected Duma and placate those more radical members who sought reforms that that he knew the Tsar would never countenance.
Stolypin knew that reform was the only way of preserving the Romanov Dynasty and he set about trying to institute those reforms that would in time create a prosperous middle-class peasantry that had a stake in society and a reason for ensuring the maintenance of the political status-quo. This was no easy task given a deeply conservative peasantry that was firmly wedded to the old ways while at the same time he clamping down firmly on any dissent.
Tsar Nicholas was happy to give Stolypin a free hand as long as it appeared that he remained the man making the final decision and the documents still appeared on his desk awaiting his signature.
On 14 September 1911, Stolypin, along with the Tsar and his two eldest daughters attended a performance of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Tale of the Tsar Saltan at the Kiev Opera House. Security was tight but even so Stolypin, a particular target of both left and right, had been advised to stay away. He thought it safer to remain close to the Tsar not only physically but to ensure he remained under his sway.
As he was preparing to watch the opera from his seat near the orchestra pit when he suddenly rose and turning his back to the stage gestured towards the Imperial Box for the Tsar and his two daughters to leave immediately. He then collapsed to the ground.
Stolypin, who had been shot twice in the chest by the revolutionary socialist and police spy Dmitry Bogrov, his body guard having excused himself just minutes earlier, never regained consciousness dying three days later with the Tsar weeping at his bedside.
The assassination of Stolypin in front of his own daughters had profoundly shocked Tsar Nicholas who launched an Inquiry into the assassination but curtailed its activities shortly after when its investigations appeared to be pointing the finger of responsibility at Monarchists within the Imperial Court unhappy at Stolypin’s agricultural reforms – it appeared yet another example of the Tsar’s unwillingness to act.
Stolypin’s murder was not the first time that Nichoas had witnessed an assassination. He had been present when his grandfather Tsar Alexander II had been blown up by a bomb thrown by a member of Narodnya i Volya, or The People’s Will.
Alexander had been the great reforming Tsar who had abolished serfdom, reformed village life, and introduced local democracy; Stolypin too had tried to reform Russia. Nicholas had seen first-hand where embracing liberal reform led. He would not make the same mistake.
Russia had ambitions to wed industrial might to her already great resources of people and land and a programme of rapid industrialisation financed by Western, mostly French, money was underway but little, if no, provision had been made for the workers who were to oil the wheels of this process and conditions in Russian factories were quite simply appalling.
Forced to work an average eleven hours a day six days a week for subsistence wages in filthy, unsafe conditions they were banned from forming associations or trade unions to represent them or fight on their behalf, and to attempt do so would lead to instant dismissal. In 1904, inflation and a scarcity of goods suppressed wages even further.
A priest, Father Georgi Gapon, who had considerable influence among the workers of the massive Putilov Iron Works, organised a petition on their behalf to be presented to the Tsar. It was deferential in its tone and merely asked the Tsar to intercede with the employers on their behalf.
On 22 January 1905, a bitterly cold Sunday with snow lying thick on the ground, Father Gapon led some 150,000 workers and their families in a march on the Winter Palace many of whom were carrying religious icons and portraits of the Tsar.
Unknown to the marchers the Imperial Family were not resident at the Winter Palace instead forewarned of the demonstration they had earlier moved to their Palace at Tsarkoye Selo some 15 miles outside St Petersburg. In fact, details of the march were well known to the Authorities passed on them as they were by Father Gapon himself who was also employed as a police spy. As a result, measures had already been undertaken to prevent the marchers from reaching the Winter Palace with troops stationed both outside and blocking the routes to and from the Palace.
The crowd was large but the mood sombre and non-threatening even so it seemed as if the Authorities were set upon a show of force and it was claimed that no order for the crowd to disperse was received before the troops opened fire and it is certainly true that as those at the front of the march began to flee in panic Cossacks positioned nearby with sabres flashing rode them down with gusto.
It was a horrible massacre which made for bad headlines around the world.
The official casualty figures for the events of ‘Bloody Sunday’ as it became known were some 132 killed and 1,000 wounded but the likelihood is they were much higher with some estimating as many as 4,000 killed.
The Tsar wrote in his diary for that day:
“There have been serious disorders in St Petersburg because workers came up to the Winter Palace. Troops had to open fire in several places in the city. There were many wounded and killed, how painful and sad.”
The concerns of these newly-industrialised workers were never addressed and serious industrial unrest was to continue with one particularly notorious incident occurring at the Lena Goldfields on 4 April, 1912.
The Lena Goldfields were situated to the north-east of Lake Baikal on the Lena River near Irkutsk in Siberia. The environment was harsh, wages low, and the working day as long as sixteen hours. Also, a large percentage of the worker’s wages were paid in coupons that could only be exchanged at the Company’s own stores where the goods available for purchase were often of poor quality and the food rotten and inedible.
On 29 February 1912, what had first started as a walkout became a full-blown strike.
The workers quickly organised and on 4 March they presented their employers with a list of demands including an 8 hour day, 30% increase in wages, the elimination of company fines, and an improvement in the quality of food.
The Company refused to even discuss them and instead, on 3 April the Authorities ordered the arrest of the strike leaders.
The following day 2,500 miners and their families descended on the Chief Prosecutors Office demanding their release. Troops sent by the Tsar to restore order barred their way.
When the miners refused to disperse as ordered, Captain Trenschenkov gave the order for the troops to open fire. Within minutes 270 miners lay dead with a further 250 wounded.
The Lena Goldfield Massacre created a public outcry that went some way to reviving revolutionary activity in Russia which had become somewhat moribund since the repression of 1905 and the creation of the Duma. In response, the Tsar ordered an Inquiry into events but with so many high-ranking members of the Government and Imperial Family on its board no one from the Company was found culpable or held to account.
Weighed down by the responsibility of power and his wife’s constant demands to “be an autocrat Nicky” the Tsar took solace in his children and the placid domesticity of a family life so far removed from the drudgery of officialdom and tiresome politics – and he was a good father, if not to his people, then at least to his own children.
On 28 July 1914, war broke out in Europe, and like all of the combatants Russia entered into it with an enthusiasm borne in the confidence of a swift victory, and for the first time in many years the Tsar enjoyed popular acclaim something he absorbed with uncritical delight. But Russia she was ill-prepared for war.
The much-vaunted Russian steamroller with its limitless manpower was greatly feared but with rolling stock inadequate mobilisation was painfully slow and materiel and goods so lacking they soon found that they were unable to equip the men they had called up.
Their tactics also remained unchanged since the days of Napoleon.
Even so, their armies swept triumphantly into German East Prussia, but after some early successes catastrophic defeats at the Battles of Tannenberg and the Masurian Lakes saw them embark on a long and relentless retreat in the face of their better organised, better armed, and better led German opponents.
By the summer of 1915, just a year into the war, Russian losses stood at a staggering 1,400,000 killed and wounded.
Preferring the obedience of soldiers to the squabbling of politicians Nicholas had wanted to take personal command of the army since the beginning of the war but had been dissuaded from doing so by those who warned of the political vacuum that would be created by the Tsar’s absence from his capital. Now in response to the cycle of defeat and retreat and declaring that the ordinary Russian soldier would fight better for the person of the Tsar he dismissed his cousin Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaievich as Head of the Army naming himself his successor. In reality it was more of a symbolic gesture than anything but it was to have serious political consequences for he would now be blamed for the poor performance of the army, the shortages it endured, and the losses it sustained.
Also, his Headquarters at Mogilev were too distant from St Petersburg, since renamed Petrograd, for him to influence events at home and the Empress Alexandra Federovna took it upon herself to reign in his absence with his blessing.
Widely loathed by the people, and much more than the Tsar ever was, Alexandra Federovna was not only believed to be acting under the influence of the rogue Rasputin but was in fact his lover and a German spy.
Rasputin, a monk from Siberia who had a reputation as a prophet and a healer had travelled to St Petersburg upon hearing that the young Tsarevich was seriously ill determined to gain access to the Imperial Court.
The Tsarevich Alexei was indeed ill, he was a haemophiliac, an inherited disease which prevented his blood from clotting meaning whenever he cut or injured himself he was in serious danger of bleeding to death. For this there was no cure and the doctors often appeared unable to cope.
The Empress was frantic but also deeply religious so when a spiritualist friend of hers brought the healer Rasputin to her attention a meeting with this Holy Man was hastily arranged by Bishop Hermogen. The Empress was impressed and when next the Tssarevich fell seriously ill she insisted that he be permitted to see her son.
Rasputin, described by those present as unwashed and smelling like a goat, breezed into the Tsarevich Alexei’s bedchamber and demanded that all the doctors and servants present be dismissed. Then sitting beside the Tsarevich he placed his hand upon his brow and spoke quietly to the boy. Within a few hours his fever had subsided.
It was a miracle, this simple peasant Holy Man had succeeded where all of the doctor’s medicines had failed.
As far as the Empress Alexandra Fedorovna was concerned he had been sent by God to serve the Dynasty and for the rest of her life she would be in awe of Rasputin, his every utterance believed, his every misdeed forgiven.
But Rasputin’s influence and the Tsarina’s reliance upon him went far beyond the care of her son and for much of the war he dictated policy in Petrograd, determining priorities, promoting favourites, hiring and firing Ministers at will and all done with the seeming endorsement of the Tsar and his surrogate in the capital the Tsarina.
It was a disaster for Russia and something had to be done.
On the evening of 16 December 1916, Grigori Rasputin was lured to the palatial home of Prince Felix Yusupov on the pretext of meeting his wife Irina, the most beautiful woman in Russia it was said. The prospect of sex with the Princess was inferred and would be little objected to by the homosexual Yusupov whose own advances towards Rasputin had only recently been spurned.
Upon his arrival Rasputin was left alone in a room with an array of cakes and wines all liberally laced with cyanide it being assumed that his notorious appetite would see him indulge himself with the usual abandon. It is not known how much he may have ate or drank but it failed to kill him and in what would become a prolonged and messy affair he would be beaten, strangled and repeatedly shot before being thrown into the River Neva where he either froze to death or drowned.
Rasputin had already predicted his imminent demise and just a few weeks earlier had written to the Tsar warning him:
“If it is your relatives who wrought my death, then no one in your family, that is to say, none of your children will remain alive for more than two years. They will be killed by the Russian people.”
He was right for his assassins were not agents of a foreign power, the mob, or any number of cuckolded and disgruntled husbands but a small number of feckless aristocrats some of whom were indeed related to the Tsar.
Upon hearing of Rasputin’s murder the Empress went into a paroxysm of grief and demanded that Nicholas have the murderers arrested, tried for treason, and executed. But the Tsar would not hear of it.
In the months preceding his murder Rasputin had wielded unprecedented influence in the Imperial Court and in the Governance of Russia and the Empress, in awe of her Holy Man had deferred to him in all things.
The Tsar, who was never as much in thrall to the enigmatic Rasputin as his wife knew this and was complained to repeatedly about Rasputin’s influence at Court and he even exiled him from Petrograd for a short time but unable to deny the Tsarina anything when she demanded his return he consented..
But he understood when Rasputin’s murderers declared that only his death could save Holy Mother Russia from ruin.
Now the ‘Mad Monk’ was dead much to most people’s relief and the Tsar could once more wash his hands of politics and return to his Headquarters at Mogilev.
But things were no longer that simple, and with the Tsar now being held directly responsible for the defeat of the Russian Army and widespread shortages at home there was a breakdown of deference of frightening proportions.
In February, 1917 a wave of strikes swept through the capital bringing Petrograd to a stand-still and despite the severity of the weather and the intense hunger thousands of workers took to the streets carrying anarchist and communists banners chanting revolutionary slogans – these were no longer the icon bearing supplicants of 1905 – now they called for the arrest of the Tsarina, the abdication of the Tsar, and the violent overthrow of the Government.
They demanded bread and an end to the war and but when the troops ordered onto the streets to disperse the crowds were ordered to open fire they refused, some Regiments merely returned to their barracks others killed their Officers and joined the demonstrators – time was running out for the Romanovs.
Within weeks all authority had effectively broken down and many of Russia’s major cities were in turmoil, the streets occupied, shops looted or closed, factories had ceased production. Those troops who had been expected to restore order had not done so. Even the Tsar’s own Lifeguards had abandoned his cause.
Mikhail Rodzianko, Chairman of the Duma, dispatched numerous and ever more frantic telegrams to the Tsar begging him to return to Petrograd and form a new Government as the only way of saving the Dynasty. They went unanswered.
In the power vacuum that resulted from the Tsar’s silence the Duma formed its own Provisional Government to work alongside the recently formed Petrograd Soviet of Soldiers and Workers Deputies. Its first act was to place the Cabinet and the Royal Family under house arrest.
Shocked upon hearing the news that his family had been taken into custody Tsar Nicholas was at last prompted to act. He ordered troops loyal to the regime be sent from the front to Petrograd while he himself made haste for the capital.
Learning that the railway line he intended to use was under the control of the revolutionaries he switched to one that was controlled by General Nikolai Ruzzki, the Commander of the Northern Armies but upon his arrival at Ruzzki’s Headquarters he received a frosty reception. The General curtly informed him that he now only took orders from the Provisional Government, and that he had no orders to permit the Tsar to continue his journey to Petrograd.
On 15 February, Tsar Nicholas sent a telegram to the Executive Committee of the Duma and its new leader Prince Grigori Lvov granting them permission to form a new Cabinet. In return he received a telegram from the previously loyal Rodzianko demanding his immediate abdication.
The Tsar, at first dismissed the telegram saying:
“Fat Rodzianko has sent me some nonsense.”
But as the reality of the situation dawned on him he declared that he had been betrayed by those he had previously thought loyal, and refused to sign any abdication document. He was adamant that the Romanov Dynasty would not cease to exist under his watch.
But on further reflection, realising that all effective power had already been wrenched from his grasp, and fearing for the safety of his family, he agreed to abdicate in favour of his son, the Tsarevich. This however, the Provisional Government would not agree to and the Tsar conscious of the fragility of his son’s health concurred.
So instead he abdicated in favour of his brother the Grand Duke Michael, but Michael would not touch the poisoned chalice until the decision had been endorsed by the people in a popular vote.
Even so, the abdication stood and the Romanov Dynasty that had ruled the Russian Empire for more than three hundred years had ceased to exist.
The now ex-Tsar and his family were placed under house arrest on the orders of a Provisional Government that was now dominated by the ambitious young lawyer, Alexander Kerensky. He was soon to have the Romanov’s, as they were now known, evacuated to Tobolsk in the Urals, supposedly for their own safety, though the truth was that he did not know what to do with them.
The Imperial Family were at first well-treated retaining their servants and many of the trappings of Court life and Nicholas was confident that his cousin King George V would grant him and his family asylum in Britain before anything untoward happened.
He was shattered to learn that the offer of asylum had been withdrawn on the advice of the British Prime Minister David Lloyd George and that the decision had been wired to the Government in Petrograd. In the meantime, Kerensky’s determination to continue to prosecute the war was to have disastrous consequences.
His catastrophic offensive of July 1917, when the Russian Army simply ignored orders, discarded their weapons, melted away, and went home, was to lead directly to the overthrow of the Provisional Government in October of that same year and the seizure of power by the Bolsheviks under Lenin that resulted was to change everything for the Romanovs.
The Bolsheviks were professional revolutionaries untainted by sentiment and untroubled by nostalgia. To them the Romanov Family were criminals no more, no less, who as long as they remained alive posed a threat as the rallying point for the forces of reaction, and they would be treated as such.
In April 1918, they were removed to the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg where they were placed under armed guard and constant surveillance with their every move monitored. They were also denied luxuries such as coffee and cigarettes and were forced to eat soldier’s rations.
The Tsar’s daughters were to be the subject of constant sexual innuendo and lewd remarks, and sexually explicit drawings adorned the walls of the courtyard. The Tsar, however, was treated with greater respect and he was allowed to retain his uniform.
Yet strangely, the now ex-Tsar appeared to be enjoying his time under arrest, the weight of responsibility had been lifted from his shoulders and always a much better family man than he was a Tsar and now he was spending time with his children whom he tried to cheer up with stories and anecdotes, though he worried for their safety and that of his wife who had descended into a lugubrious fatalism. He tried very hard to ameliorate the bitterness she freely expressed towards their gaolers as it upset the children.
By mid-July gunfire could be regularly heard in the distance and seemed to getting closer with the passing of every day. It was the Czech Legion of the anti-Bolshevik White Army closing in on Ekaterinburg and the prospect of the Romanov’s liberation began to loom large.
It was to seal their fate.
On the afternoon of 27 July, ten members of the Cheka, the Bolshevik Secret Police, arrived at the Ipatiev House.
They reported to the man in charge Yakov Yurovsky, who was heard to say:
“Then we must shoot them all tonight.”
In the early hours of 28 July, Yurovsky sent for the Tsar’s doctor, Eyvgeny Botkin, and told him to rouse the Imperial Family. When the Tsar demanded to know why they had been dragged from their beds in the middle of the night, Yurovsky told them that they were being taken to the basement for their own safety.
They were also to line up to have their photographs taken to show to the world that they were still alive and being taken good care of. Once they had all gathered in the basement the Tsarina requested a chair for herself and the Tsarevich, and chairs were duly provided. Her daughters, all carrying small pillows, then gathered around her.
With the family all together posing as if they were about to have their portrait taken, Yurovsky called in the men from the Cheka and addressing the Tsar directly announced that they were all to be shot on the orders of the Executive Committee of the Urals Soviet.
No one from among the Royal party or their servants uttered a sound, and it was said that you could hear a pin drop. At last the Tsar stepped forward but with no final words to be relayed Yurovsky gave the order to open fire.
Nicholas and Alexandra died almost instantly but the Royal children did not.
Unknown to their executioners they had sewn jewels into their clothing that prevented the bullets from piercing their bodies. So they were to be beaten, bludgeoned, and bayoneted to death, instead.
The young Tsarevich was dispatched personally by Yurofsky with three bullets to the head.
Following the execution the bodies were taken from the house to a nearby forest and placed into pits before being covered in sulphuric acid in a crude attempt to dispose of the evidence. When this failed the bodies were removed and thrown down a mineshaft, before finally being sealed in a tomb.
Those who died in the Ipatiev House were:
Tsar Nicholas II aged 50
Tsarina Alexandra Federova aged 46
Grand Duchess Olga aged 22
Grand Duchess Tatiana aged 21
Grand Duchess Maria aged 18
Grand Duchess Anastasia aged 17
Tsarevich Alexei aged 13
Botkin, the Family Doctor
Trupp, the Tsar’s Valet
Demidova, the Maid
Kharitonov, the Cook