Young Anastasia grew into a vivacious and energetic child, described as short and inclined to be chubby, with blue eyes and strawberry-blonde hair. Margaretta Eagar, a governess to the four grand duchesses, said one person commented that the toddler Anastasia had the greatest personal charm of any child she had ever seen. Anastasia’s daring occasionally exceeded the limits of acceptable behavior. “She undoubtedly held the record for punishable deeds in her family, for in naughtiness she was a true genius”, said Gleb Botkin, son of the court physician Evgeni Botkin, who later died with the family at Ekaterinburg. Anastasia sometimes tripped the servants and played pranks on her tutors. As a child, she would climb trees and refuse to come down.
In his memoirs, one of the guards at the Ipatiev House, Alexander Strekotin, remembered Anastasia as “very friendly and full of fun”, while another guard said Anastasia was “a very charming devil! She was mischievous and, I think, rarely tired. She was lively, and was fond of performing comic mimes with the dogs, as though they were performing in a circus.” Yet another of the guards, however, called the youngest grand duchess “offensive and a terrorist” and complained that her occasionally provocative comments sometimes caused tension in the ranks. Just a few days before her violent death, she stuck her tongue out at Yakov Yurovsky, the head of the detachment and eventual chief murderer of her family, when he momentarily turned his back and left the room.