imperial russian history

Last Words of the Romanovs

Alexei I: “I would never have married had I known that my time would be so brief. If I had known that, I would not have taken upon myself double tears.” 1676

Peter the Great: (1, written).“Leave all to…” (2, spoken). “Anna” He was calling his daughter’s name but was unconscious when she returned to his room. He died the next morning. 1725

Peter II: “Get the sledge ready, I want to go to my sister.” Spoken while delirious. His elder sister had died two years earlier at age 14. 1730

Peter III: “It was not enough then to prevent my reigning over Sweden, and to tear from my head the crown of Russia! They must have my life besides!” 1762

Paul I: “Gentlemen, in heaven’s name, spare me. At least give me time to say my prayers.” Strangled after refusing to sign his abdication. 1801

Alexander I: (1). “What a beautiful day.” (2). “Give me the remedies that you judge necessary.” 1825

Elizabeth Alexeievna: “Do not worry too much about me, but if I dared, I would like to follow the one who has been my very life.” 1826

Nicholas I: “Now I shall ascend to pray for Russia, and for you all. After Russia, I loved you more than anything else in the world. Serve Russia.” 1855

Alexandra Feodorovna: “Niki, I am coming to you.” She’s referring to her late husband, Nicholas I of Russia. She died in 1860, in the Alexander Palace.

Alexander II: Home to the palace to die…His guards heard him utter this phrase after he was attacked with bombs by anarchists in an assassination attempt. His stomach and legs were bleeding profusely and he died hours later in the Winter Palace. 1881

Alexander III: (1). “I feel the end approaching. Be calm. I am calm.” (2). “How good!” as the priest placed his hands on his head after he received the Last Rites. 1894


Nicholas II: “What? What?” He uttered those words in shock after he was told that he, his wife, five children and four servants would be shot immediately. 1918

Sergei Mikhailovich: “Tell me why? I have never been involved in politics. I loved sports, played billiards, and was interested in numismatics.” 1918

St. Elizabeth Feodorovna: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Those words were reportedly uttered by Elizabeth shortly before she was struck in the head and thrown in an abandoned mine shaft. 1918

Dmitri Constantinovich: “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Spoken while he and other 3 Romanovs were being lined up to be shot. 1919

Olga Alexandrovna: “The sunset is over.” 1960


Bronze Bust of Tsar Peter the Great of Russia dated between 1725-1729 on display at Versailles

The armour on the bust has the insignia of the Order of St Andrew incorporated into it. Decorating the cuirass are scenes of battle showing Peter’s forces celebrating great victories presumably over the Swedish army.

The bust was made by the artist Bartolomeo Carlo Rastrelli from Florence who made this after Peter’s death in 1725 and was refined by one of Rastrelli’s assistants in 1729.

Behind the bust is a panel of crimson silk with the Imperial Russian Eagle made in 1856  in homage to Peter the Great.


Day of solemn entry into Moscow of Their Imperial Majesties, a few days before the coronation (May 9, 1896).

  • Coronation carriage of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna.
  • Emperor Nicholas II, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna and the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, leaving the carriages on Voskresenskaya Square.

The last Romanov patriarchs at their Coronation Mass, painting by Laurits Regner Tuxen, c. 1898.

“The coronation in Moscow on May 26th 1896 was the most opulent celebration which I ever witnessed. It bordered close to the Oriental and lasted for 10 days. In Moscow the cathedral was filled with paintings on gold ground of saints and all priests were dressed in gold robes applied with embroidery and precious stones. A very deep feeling of mysticism was in all the ceremonies and you could feel the tradition of Byzance… And following the prayer for the Emperor he gets up and then is the only person standing at that moment in the whole Russian Empire… To look at all this must have been like a fantastic dream because the sun was shining an all.” - Ernest Louis, Grand Duke of Hesse, Brother of Empress Alexandra, Grandson of Queen Victoria

The Grand Duchess Olga was the eldest of these four fair sisters. She was a most amiable girl, and people loved her from the moment they set eyes on her. As a child she was plain, at fifteen she was beautiful. She was slightly above middle height, with a fresh complexion, deep blue eyes, quantities of light chestnut hair, and pretty hands and feet. She took life seriously, and she was a clever girl with a sweet disposition. I think she possessed unusual strength of character, and at one time she was mentioned as a possible bride for the Crown Prince of Roumania. But the Grand Duchess did not like him, and, as the Crown Prince liked the Grand Duchess Marie better than her sister, nothing came of the project. The sisters loved each other, and united in a passionate adoration for the Tsarevitch, In a recent book published in England, the Grand Duchesses have been described as Cinderellas, who were entirely subservient in family life owing to the attention paid the Tsarevitch. This is untrue. It is a fact that the Empress ardently desired a son, and that the birth of four daughters in succession was a disappointment to her, but she loved her daughters, they were her inseparable companions, and their plain and rather strict upbringing had nothing whatever of the Cinderella element.
The Grand Duchess Tatiana was as charming as her sister Olga, but in a different way. She has been described as proud, but I never knew anyone less so. With her, as with her mother, shyness and reserve were accounted as pride, but, once you knew her and had gained her affection, this reserve disappeared, and the real Tatiana became apparent. She was a poetical creature, always yearning for the ideal, and dreaming of great friendships which might be hers. The Emperor loved her devotedly, they had much in common, and the sisters used to laugh, and say that, if a favour were required, “Tatiana must ask Papa to grant it.” She was very tall, and excessively thin, with a cameolike profile, deep blue eyes, and dark chestnut hair… a lovely Rose maiden, fragile and pure as a flower.
All the Grand Duchesses were innocent children in their souls. Nothing impure was ever allowed to come into their lives - the Empress was very strict over the books which they read, which were mostly by English authors. They had no idea of the ugly side of life, although, poor girls, they were destined to see the worst side of it and to come in contact with the - most debased passions of humanity! And yet it has been stated that the Empress, in her neurotic, religious exaltation, gave each of her daughters to Rasputin. Knowing her, knowing the Emperor, and knowing the daughters as I did, such an assertion savours of the monstrous; it has even been circulated that Mlle. Tutcheff objected to Rasputin being admitted to the Grand Duchesses’ bedchamber to give them his nightly blessing after they had retired to bed, and that, as her protest was disregarded, she sent in her resignation. Mlle. Tutcheff was never governess to the Grand Duchesses, and she never witnessed Rasputin’s nightly blessing, inasmuch as it never took place. The Emperor would never have permitted such a thing, even had the Empress wished it, and she certainly did not consider such a proceeding necessary for her daughters’ salvation. Mle. Tutcheff was the victim of her own spite and jealousy. She was not a very pleasant person, and, whenever the Imperial Family went to Livadia, she usually made herself very disagreeable, as she thoroughly disliked the Crimea. Continual grumbling wears away the patience of most people; the Empress was only human, and Mlle. Tutcheff was first given a holiday and then dismissed by the Grande Maitresse de la Cour.
Mlle. Tutcheff did not hesitate to spread all kinds of vindictive rumours to account for her dismissal. She was too small-minded to state the real facts, and, as l'affaire Rasputin was generally spoken about, she decided to vent her spite on the Empress through this medium. I again assert that there is no truth in the legend of Rasputin’s nightly blessing.
When I first knew the Grand Duchess Marie, she was quite a child, but during the Revolution she became very devoted to me, and I to her, and we spent most of our time togethershe was a wonderful girl, possessed of tremendous reserve force, and I never realised her unselfish nature until those dreadful days. She too was exceeding fair, dowered with the classic beauty of the Romanoffs; her eyes were dark blue, shaded by long lashes, and she had masses of dark brown hair. Marie was plump, and the Empress often teased her about this ; she was not so lively as her sisters, but she was much more decided in her outlook. The Grand Duchess Marie knew at once what she wanted, and why she wanted it.
Anastasie, the youngest Grand Duchess, might have been composed of quicksilver, instead of flesh and blood; she was most amusing, and she was a very clever mimic. She saw the humorous side of everything, and she was very fond of acting; indeed, Anastasie would have made an excellent comedy actress. She was always in mischief, a regular tom-boy, but she was not backward in her development, as M. Gilliard once stated. Anastasie was only sixteen at the time of the Revolution - no great age after all. She was pretty, but hers was more of a clever face, and her eyes were wells of intelligence.
All the sisters were utterly devoid of pride, and, when they nursed the wounded during the war, they were known as the Sisters Romanoff, and thus answered to the numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4.
The Grand Duchesses occupied two bedrooms; Olga and Tatiana shared one, Marie and Anastasie the other. These apartments were large and light, decorated and furnished in green and white. The sisters slept on camp beds - a custom dating back to the reign of Alexander I, who decreed that the daughters of the Emperor were not to sleep on more comfortable beds until they married. Ikons hung in the corners of the rooms, and there were pretty dressing-tables, and couches with embroidered cushions. The Grand Duchesses were fond of pictures and photographs - there were endless snapshots taken by themselves, those from their beloved Crimea being especially in evidence.