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 captured the last Empress of Russia, Alexandra, on the covered balcony she converted at the Alexander Palace at Tsarskoye Selo. She spent most of her time there reading and writing in an isolation she greatly appreciated.
The mother-in-law and daughter-in-law, two Russian Empresses, Maria Feodorovna, wife of Alexander III, and Alexandra Feodorovna, wife of Nicholas II. The two women hated each other, cordially. I wonder where this church is located, with its neo-Gothic style imported from England and not at all common in Russia.
The Emperor of Russia never removes his uniform, even to play tennis, as one sees in this photograph. I find the quality and originality quite exceptional.
Empress Maria Feodorovna in the dining room on the enormous yacht, The Polar Star. Her son Nicholas II had an even larger yacht, The Standart. Each summer the family would vacation upon it, in the Baltic sea.
Nicholas II, in uniform, impressive and viewed from behind, examining the Cossacks attached to his personal security. Inspecting and reviewing troops, one could say, was the preferred occupation of sovereigns at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. When these same troops were sent to fight the enemy, it was a different story.
Grand Duke Michael was the last son of Emperor Nicholas I. He was immensely popular within the imperial family. For decades, he was the viceroy of the Caucasus and resided in Tiflis. The whole family would travel there to visit him, just as my own father did on numerous occasions, bringing back exotic descriptions of the region at the time.