fall-1996

Givenchy Haute Couture Fall 1996 by John Galliano - Patrick Demarchelier

8

During the winter months of 1913 at the Alexander Palace, Nicholas’s diary is a testament to his hand-on parenting of his four daughters in lieu of his perpetually sick wife. No matter the amount of paperwork on his desk, the number of meeting with ministers, public audiences and military reviews that filled his day, at this time of the year when they were home at Tsarskoe Selo he always found time for his children. History may have condemned him many times over for being a weak and reactionary Tsar, but he was, without doubt, the most exemplary of the royal fathers. The months of january and february were a special time for him and his daughters, during which he treated them all to trips to see the ballets ‘The little Humpbacked Horse’, ‘Don Quixote’ and ‘The Pharaoh’s Daughter’ – in which last they were thrilled to see Pavlova dance.

As the eldest, Olga (and Tatiana, until typhoid fever prevent her) enjoyed the added bonus of seeing the operas ‘Madame Butterfly’, ‘The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh’ and Wagner’s ‘Lohengrin’, which latter Olga found particularly beautiful and moving. But in the main, time with Papa was spent out in the park, whatever the weather sharing invigorating walks, riding bicycles, helping break the ice on the canals, skiing, sliding down the ice hill and joined – when he was well enough – by Alexei wearing his specially made boot with a caliper. The girls so enjoyed having their father to themselves; he was fast, unrelenting walker and they had all learned to keep up or left behind, Olga in particular always walking closest to him on one side, Tatiana on the other, Maria and Anastasia running back and forth in front of them, sliding on the ice and throwing snow ball. It was clear to anyone who encountered the Tsar and his daughters at the Alexander Park how much pride he had in his girls. “He was happy that people admired them. It was though his kind blue eyes were saying to them:Look what wonderful daughters I have.””

The Romanov Sisters – Helen Rappaport