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Russia

THE FAKE ANASTASIA

Since the discovery of DNA, there is no more Anastasia mystery, as it was immediately proven, without a shadow of a doubt, that Mrs Anderson ¬who pretended to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia, youngest daughter of Nicholas II, survivor of the Yekaterinburg massacre – had nothing to do with her. Long before the war, my…

Nicholas_Constantinovich_of_Russia

THE SCANDALOUS GRAND DUKE

At the time, I worked in the National Archives of the Russian State, in an immense sinister building, badly lit but redeemed by the boundless kindness of the employees. We discussed my family with these extraordinarily cultivated ladies. I told them about the four brothers of my grandmother Queen Olga. “No, one of them said…

Imperial Russia

Emperor Alexander III of Russia inspects an honor guard with his son, the future Nicholas II. Alexander III proved to be a good father, loved by his children and his nephews, my father foremost among them. Did he know that his successor was too weak for the position? In any case, he raised his son for…

Olga : Russia II

My great-grandmother, Grand Duchess Alexandra Iosifovna, was partially paralyzed late in her life. She was confined to moving around in a wheelchair, but maintained a grand appearance all the same. She is pictured here in the park of her enchanting home, Pavlosk Palace.   This photograph was taken by my grandmother Olga of Russia. She…

Imperial Russia

Mother and daughter, Grand Duchess Alexandra Iosifovna, one of the grandest beauties of the Imperial family, and her daughter Olga, a gentle, lovable, smiling, and generous child destined to become a very popular Queen of Greece.   My great-grandmother, Grand Duchess Alexandra Iosifovna of Russia, born Princess of Saxe-Altenbourg, with her two eldest children, Olga,…

Family Portrait, Russia

Princess Alexandra was the eldest daughter of King George I and Queen Olga, and married Grand Duke Paul of Russia. She died at 22, during childbirth, leaving behind two children, Dimitri and the subject of this photograph, Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna the Younger. Maria was partly raised by her grandparents in Russia. She is pictured…

The Baroness and the Child

The Baroness Buxhoeveden once shared with me from her passionate memory an extravagant anecdote. She was a child, and still living with her grandfather in the country near the Volga. “I often rode the pony that my grandfather gave to me. He was incredibly fast. One autumn day, when I was only six years old,…

The Fall of the Soviet Union

After a dozen or so years in New York, we felt the time had come to make a choice between the United States and Europe. We chose our continent. Our decision was aided by an event that changed all the rule: the fall of the Soviet Union. Personally, I was shocked. I never thought the…

Family Portrait : Imperial Russia II

Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna as a child, the Future Duchess of Edinburgh Maria Alexandrovna was the daughter of Tsar Alexander II and his first wife. She married Alfred, the Duke of Edinburgh, the second son of Queen Victoria. The queen opposed the marriage. She hated the Russians, both for their status as international political rivals…

Family Portrait, XV

Emperor Alexander of Russia was the uncle of Queen Olga of Greece. Pushed by his brother Constantine, the Tsar sought to liberalize Russia, with the goal of producing a constitution. It was a race against time; the Tsar knew anarchists and terrorists were targeting him. There had already been one bombing attempt in the dining…