Wednesday, Jul 26 2017
All Cities
Choose Your City
'Russian efficiency regarding train arrival and departure times is astonishing.'
Jon Pearson (Telegraph Online)

Remarkable private pictures of the Russian royal family found in a remote Urals museum

By The Siberian Times reporter
08 May 2013

Tsar Nicholas II appears in a photograph to be teaching his daughter Grand Duchess Anastasia how to smoke.

A zoo on the Tzar's estate would be closed after the 1917 revolution, but on that day the ruler wrote in his diary: 'Took the elephant to our pond with Alexei today and had fun watching him bath'. Picture: Zlatoust City History Museum

Another picture taken by the emperor dated 1916 shows Tsarevich Alexei - heir to an autocratic throne that would be abolished the following year - posing on a tree in winter with his beloved pet spaniel Joy. 

These images of the Russian royal family, captured in photographs taken by the Tsar himself or his children, mostly date from the years of the First World War, and some very soon before the Romanov dynasty crumbled, to be rapidly replaced by Communism. 

Found in a vault in Zlatoust, the album shows the private moments of the royals as the storm clouds gather over a dynasty that had ruled for more than three centuries. 

The smoking picture shows the youngest princess Anastasia, then 15, evidently imbibing from a cigarette with every encouragement from the Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias. At the time there was not the same stigma attached to smoking and in fact a year earlier Anastasia had written to her father: 'I am sitting here with your old cigarette that you once gave me, and it is very tasty'.

She - like Alexei - would soon be central characters in the mystery of what became of the Romanov family. 

Remarkable private pictures of the Russian royal family

The smoking picture shows the youngest princess Anastasia, then 15, evidently imbibing from a cigarette with every encouragement from the Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias. Pictures: Zlatoust City History Museum

For decades there were claims that the pair had survived the 1918 shooting that took the lives of Russia's last royal ruler, his former empress Alexandra, and their other three children, Olga, Tatiana and Maria. 

In the event, DNA evidence gathered from bones found near Yekaterinburg gives credible evidence that both were indeed killed in the shooting at the Ipatiev House, where the family were held by Lenin's forces. Anastasia and her brother were, however, buried separately from the rest of the family. 

The images of Alexei show a surprisingly strong boy given that his haemophilia saw him portrayed as sickly.

Indeed it was his serious illness that led his mother to rely on debauched holy man Grigory Rasputin, a relationship that did much to undermine royal credibility as the country became embroiled in an ugly war and revolutionary fervour. 

Remarkable private pictures of the Russian royal family


Remarkable private pictures of the Russian royal family


Remarkable private pictures of the Russian royal family

These images of the Russian royal family, captured in photographs taken by the Tsar himself or his children, mostly date from the years of the First World War, and some very soon before the Romanov dynasty crumbled, to be rapidly replaced by Communism. Pictures: Zlatoust City History Museum

In one of the earlier pictures in the set, the four carefree Romanov princesses are seen in 1914 enjoying the royal yacht 'Standart' on the Black Sea. 

The same year at Peterhof, the Tsar is shown relaxing on rocks in a picture almost certainly taken by one of his children using a camera he had imported from Britain. And in another picture, the Tsar, Alexei and the boy's tutor are seen walking an elephant near their palace in Tsarskoye Selo.

A zoo on the estate would be closed after the 1917 revolution, but on this day the ruler wrote in his diary: 'Took the elephant to our pond with Alexei today and had fun watching him bath'.

With war breaking out in 1914, the heir is shown in a military game with his tutor's two smaller children. In 1916, as he commanded Russian forces in the First World War, the Tsar is seen playing with his son on the banks of the Dnieper River close to Mogilyov. Here - where the smoking picture was taken - Russian military headquarters was based during the war, and Nicholas insisted on having his family around him. 

Other pictures show the older princesses visiting wounded soldiers in military hospitals. 

Remarkable private pictures of the Russian royal family


Remarkable private pictures of the Russian royal family


Private pictures of Russian Royal family, Grand Duchess Tatiana

Remarkable private pictures of the Russian royal family


Remarkable private pictures of the Russian royal family

Top to bottom: Grand Duchess Olga and Tatiana, Grand Duchess Olga pictured looking through family album; Grand Duchess Tatiana; clockwise Grand Duchess Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia; Tsarina Alexandra Fyodorovna on board of Russian Royal Yacht. Pictures: Zlatoust City History Museum

The images have been released in a year which marks the 400th anniversary of the Romanov's coming to power in Russia. 

'The emperor was very fond of photography and passed his passion for it to his wife Alexandra and children,' said Milena Bratukhina, an historian at the Zlatoust Museum where the album was hidden in Soviet times.

It remains unclear how it got to Zlatoust.  One theory is that the album - which has 200-plus pictures, many never seen before - was taken from the royals by a revolutionary called Dmitry Chudinov, nicknamed Kassian, who was an escort when the exiled royals were brought westward from Tobolsk in Siberia to Yekaterinburg on their final move before they were shot. 

He was from Zlatoust and it is known that he appropriated some royal possessions. The album could have been among them.

Remarkable private pictures of the Russian royal family


Remarkable private pictures of the Russian royal family


Remarkable private pictures of the Russian royal family


Private pictures from Russian Royal family album, Tsar Nikolai II

Comments (71)

Amazing find! The profiles photos of the girls imo were taken imo for the making of Fabergé Easter egg given by Nicholas II to Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna for 1914. The likeness of the photos and the portraits found in the egg are exact. The egg was purchased by King George V for Queen Mary in 1933 and is in the Royal collection
Anne, Phila. US
10/05/2013 01:46
17
0
Please publish all of the photos. Thank you.
Jasen Carlsen, Victorville, CA
10/05/2013 00:15
19
0
Amazing photos, especially the profile picture series of the young grand duchesses! Would love to see more of those!
Katia, Finland
09/05/2013 23:36
15
0
Please, please, please publish all the rest of the photographs. There are so many of us who would like to see them and have no access to them. Thank you.
Chris Humphrey, Austin, Texas USA
09/05/2013 23:29
18
0
These photos are UNREAL! WONDERFUL! Would you please publish them all? It would be such a treat and record for history to have these long lost photos finally available for historians and the public.
Laura Mabee, Ontario, Canada
09/05/2013 23:24
21
0
Beautiful photos! Would you be able to publish all of the photos? It would be amazing to see all of them. Thank you!
Val Carlsen, California, USA
09/05/2013 23:24
11
0
I would like to request please that you publish all the photos.....so many people all around the world would love to see them! Thank you.
Janet Rasmussen, Kaua'i, United States
09/05/2013 23:20
9
0
Can you PLEASE publish all of the photos? Many people around the world would be eager to see them.
Rob Moshein, Austin, Tx, USA
09/05/2013 23:16
12
0
Grand Duchess Tatiana was exceptionally beautiful. Well actually all of them were stunning. I love the elephant picture and the one with Grand Duchesses profiles
Pawel, Poland
09/05/2013 23:13
11
0
These photographs are simply amazing! The fact they have survived is a miracle. I hope the museum puts all of them online. I have never seen most of these. This proves that the family took photo albums into exile. What is the history of this album? Who did it belong to? Will others be discovered? There are so many questions!
Bob Atchison, Austin, Texas. USA
09/05/2013 23:13
15
0
breathtaking pictures and an incredibly tragic family. So so sad
Maria , Russia
09/05/2013 19:17
9
0

Add your comment

We welcome a healthy debate, but do not accept offensive or abusive comments. Please also read 'Siberian Times' Privacy Policy

Name

Town/Country

Add your comments

The views expressed in the comments above are those of our readers. 'Siberian Times' reserves the right to pre-moderate some comments.

Control code*

Type the code

* obligatory


News

Business

The Bank of Russia official exchange rates of foreign currencies
EUR69.68USD59.91GBP78.06Other...