In November 2012 a rare First edition of Les Dernières années de la cour de Tzarskoïé-Sélo. Volume 1: 1906-1910 [Translated from the Russian by Jeanson. Paris: Payot, 1928.] by Aleksandr Ivanovich Spiridovich (1873-1952) sold at Christie's in London for $4,800 USD.
The book was a presentation copy inscribed by the author to the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna (1847-1928) -- probably the last book she read before her death on 13 October, 1928. Spiridovich's inscription is dated 04 July 1928; Maria's daughter, Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna (1882-1960), sister of Tsar Nicholas II, returned the book to Spiridovich in November of the same year with the inscription, in Russian: 'I return to you your book, with the page marked where Mother stopped before she could reach the end'. The page marked is page 119, and describes Rasputin embarking on his pilgrimage to Mount Athos.
In 1906, General Spiridovich had been charged with Nicholas II's personal safety, a post which he helf for 10 years. In 1915, he was awarded the rank of Major General. In 1915, he was awarded the rank of Major General. In August 1916 Spiridovich was appointed Mayor of Yalta.
After the February Revolution Spiridovitch, who was visiting St. Petersburg, was arrested under the personal order of Alexander Kerensky. On October 2, he was released by accident, and managed to leave Russia. He and his second wife and children managed to escape from Petersburg and re-settle in Paris in 1920.
During his years in exile Spiridovich wrote several books, including Les Dernières années de la cour de Tzarskoïé-Sélo in two volumes which provide an intimate, first-hand account of life at Tsarskoe Selo up to 1914.
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 30 May, 2013