“Uncle Valerian was extremely shy. He had always been in love with my aunt Zeneide Youssoupoff, and had wanted to marry her. But he could never get up the courage to ask her. He was too timorous and unworldly to propose. Yet Aunt Zeneide was very fond of him, and my mother always said that Zeneide would have married him if he had asked her.
The funny thing was that Father, according to my mother (Princess Marie Obolensky, nee Narishkin), had also fallen in love with Zeneide before he began courting my mother. Then he discovered that his older brother Valerian was secretly interested in Zeneide, so Father retired and left the field to him. But as Valerian never mustered up enough courage to propose, Zeneide married General Youssoupoff, and Father married Mother, and Uncle Valerian never married anyone.”-Prince Serge Obolensky, One Man in His Time
So many lives were destroyed that night. What had always been was now gone forever. And my Yurochka, my beloved grandchild - I never saw him again.
Yuri has no memory of his childhood other than a single phrase - Together in Paris. When he leaves the orphanage he’s grown up in and goes to St.Petersburg, he meets two foreign men - one from the far East and the other from neighbouring Kazakhstan - who are willing to take him to where he wants to go on the condition that he considers the possibility that he might be Russian nobility.
-Yuri is the last of the Plisetsky line yet still a direct descent of the Romanov family on his mother’s side. -Otabek Altin is a conman out of neccessity, not by choice. He needs the reward money in order to face his family again. Not once in his menticulous planning did he ever entertain the possibility of actually forming a bond with their spitfire of a con. -Emperor Nikolai Plisetsky lives his life of exile in Paris, offering a reward of ten million rubles for the return of his grandson.
-Keeping the Emperor company is his loyal cousin, assistant and personal confidante, Victor Nikorov. Who also happens to be the long time lover of Yuuri Katsuki. -Yuuri Katsuki was once a member of the Russian Imperial Court as the Ambassador and liaison to the Imperial Family of Japan. As such he is well versed in the customs and mannerisms that Yuri needs to adapt in order to pass off as the Grand Duke.
-And all the while the undead Georgi, better known as Rasputin, is still out to enact his revenge on the family of the lover who spurned him.
“I saw a huge change in her: in outlook and movement. Before me was not the same Tsaritsa who I knew, but some kind of creature, obviously nervous and unwell. I felt pity for her and those sweet Grand Duchesses who were with her…I pity her with all my heart. She is absorbed in power…continues to drag it into a precipice, already on edge…How right my wife was when she arrived on Kamenny Ostrov [Island] to [see] Empress Mariya Fyodorovna, in the presence of Grand Duchesses Ksenya and Olga Alexandrovna, saying that the only remedy to save the Sovereign, the children [the imperial Grand Duchesses] and Russia-is to send the Empress to a sanatorium for the soul affected. Isolation, peace and quiet life might still save her…My wife nevertheless went to her once more. The chat lasted one and half hours, [my] wife told her the whole truth, pleaded with her to change everything, but the Empress was reticent and was only irritated about this conversation.”
December 16,1915 diary entry of Count Felix Sumarokov-Elston, Prince Youssoupoff, published in
The Murder of Grigorii Rasputin; A Conspiracy That Brought Down the Russian Empire by Margarita Nelipa