Princess Olga Romanoff on George V's Betrayal of His Cousin Nicholas II Topic: Nicholas II
Cousins Emperor Nicholas II of Russia and King George V of Great Britain
This article by Jenny Johnston was originally published in The Daily Mail,
it has been abridged and amended for Royal Russia News
Princess Olga Andreevna Romanoff, a granddaughter of Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna, sister of Nicholas II, breaks down in tears as she recalls something that happened nearly 100 years ago, in a new six-part documentary series marking 100 years of the House of Windsor.
‘My father never said it was George’s fault,’ she says. ‘He always thought it was the prime minister – but apparently it was the king. I’m very glad my father died before the letter was found because he would have been really upset.’
The king she’s referring to is King George V, first cousin of her great-uncle, Tsar Nicholas II, the most famous of the Romanovs – Princess Olga, who now lives in the UK, uses the British spelling of the name.
At the start of the century, the two royal cousins – both grandchildren of King Christian IX of Denmark – were very close. They holidayed together, counselled each other and let it be known (and the letters exist to prove this) that they were devoted to each other.
When the imperial Russian family was threatened by the Bolsheviks in 1917 then, it was only natural that Nicholas should seek asylum in Britain and his first request for help from the Government was received with an immediate ‘of course’.
For reasons that have only recently come to light, however, the invitation was rescinded. Everyone knows what happened next: the tsar, his wife Alexandra and their five children – Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia and Alexei – were herded into a cellar and shot.
The full story of how they died would not be released for 75 years, but Princess Olga (whose grandmother, the tsar’s sister, was later welcomed to the UK with open arms) grew up believing that it was Lloyd George, the then prime minister, who had blocked her family’s flight. What a blow to discover it was the king himself – acting on advice from his adviser Lord Stamfordham – who was responsible.
Letters revealed in a 1984 biography of George V claim that the mood in the country would not have supported the granting of asylum to the imperial family.
It’s damning proof, argue historians, that George put his own popularity, and the future of the British royals, before wider family ties.
Royal biographer Coryne Hall is currently collaborating with Princess Olga Romanoff to write the Princess’s memoirs. Princess Olga’s father, Prince Andrew Romanoff, the eldest nephew of Tsar Nicholas II, passed down a fund of stories to his daughter. These stories, many of them unknown outside the family, will be incorporated in Princess Olga’s book and published by Shepheard-Walwyn in October 2017.
An independent group of Russian filmmakers is protesting what it says are efforts by a State Duma deputy from Russia-annexed Crimea to "censor" a controversial film centered on a love affair between Tsearevich Nicholas Alexandrovich - the future Tsar Nicholas II - and a young ballerina.
Kino Soyuz (Union of Filmmakers) on February 7 published an open letter protesting Duma Deputy Natalya Poklonskaya's calls for investigations of the unreleased film, Mathilde, by director Aleksei Uchitel.
The protest letter, signed by more than 40 Russian directors, also charges that nationalists belonging to a group called "Orthodox State -- Holy Russia" have been threatening "arson attacks and violent acts against theaters that would dare to show the film."
Poklonskaya was the Kremlin-appointed prosecutor-general in Crimea from the time Russia annexed the Ukrainian territory in March 2014 until she was elected to Russia's State Duma in September.
She now wants Moscow prosecutors to declare that Uchitel's film violates provisions in Russia's Criminal Code against insulting "the religious feelings of believers."
She says the film portrays Tsar Nicholas II -- a canonized Russian Orthodox saint -- as a sinner.
'Drunkards And Fornicators'
Poklonskaya also charges that Uchitel wrongly portrays Russia as a country full of "drunkards, gallows, and fornicators."
Although Mathilde is not scheduled to have its first screening until October 2017, it became mired in controversy after a promotional trailer was released in 2016.
The film tells the story of a three-year affair between Tsesarevich Nicholas and a teenage ballet dancer named Mathilde Kschessinska that ended in 1894. After the affair, Nicholas married Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine who became Empress Alexandra Feodorovna.
Nicholas II was murdered together with his entire family on the night of 16/17 July 1918. They were canonized as passion bearers by the Moscow Patriarchate in 2000.
A Russian Orthodox Christian and monarchist organization called Tsar's Cross denounced the film project as pornographic and unpatriotic -- leading Poklonskaya in November to demand a criminal investigation.
But the Prosecutor-General's Office in Moscow announced in January that it was unable to uncover any evidence suggesting the film might offend religious beliefs.
That ruling led more than 20,000 Russian Orthodox activists to petition Russia's Culture Ministry and demand that the film be banned.
Bolstered by that petition, Poklonskaya announced on January 30 that she had officially requested that the investigation be reopened.
The Russian Orthodox Church and Culture Ministry have not taken any public position on the controversy surrounding the film.
On February 7, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said President Vladimir Putin's administration "does not want to take sides" in the dispute.
Peskov said debate about whether the film is offensive should take place after it has been publicly screened.
The protest letter by Kino Soyuz says independent Russian filmmakers "know very well what censorship is" because of "decades" during the Soviet era that "ruined the destinies and fates of artists and impeded the development of the arts."
The letter concludes that Russian culture should "not be pressured by new forms of censorship, no matter what influential forces initiate it."
Exhibition: 1917. Romanovs & Revolution. The End of Monarchy Topic: Nicholas II
A unique exhibition entitled 1917. Romanovs & Revolution. The End of Monarchy will open at the Hermitage Amsterdam in February 2017, exactly a century after the outbreak of the Russian Revolution. This will be the only showing of the exhibition in Western Europe.
It will include over 250 items from the collections of the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, the State Archive of the Russian Federation in Moscow, and the Artillery Museum in St Petersburg. Using films, photographs, paintings, objets d’art and historical documents, the exhibition will tell the gripping story of fashionable St Petersburg and the art that flourished there in the early twentieth century, of Tsar Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra, and of the explosive political and social circumstances of their reign. Visitors will see and hear how choices and decisions made by the tsar made revolution inevitable and spelled the inescapable end of the 300-year Romanov monarchy in Russia. They will also gain moving intimate insights into the final years of the imperial family, ending in their murder. 1917: the ultimate turning point in the history of Russia. The last tsar and the revolution, on exclusive show in Amsterdam a century after the event.
Top exhibits will include items from the imperial couple’s wardrobe, portraits of the royal pair, their children’s toys and drawings, Nicholas II’s Act of Abdication, works of art created at the period (Russia’s ‘Silver Age’), various Fabergé objects and one of the murder weapons.
The exhibition 1917. Romanovs & Revolution. The End of Monarchy runs from 4th February to 17th September 2017 at the Hermitage Museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
For more information on this exhibition, please refer to the following link:
Czech Museum Hosts Nicholas II Exhibition Topic: Nicholas II
The 100th anniversary of the abdication of Emperor Nicholas II will be marked on 15 March [O.S. 2 March] 2017. Numerous exhibitions are planned this year in Russia and Europe, including an exhibition at the Masaryk Museum in Hodonín in the Czech Republic.
The exhibition Tsar Nicholas II 100 Years Since the Abdication of the Last Russian Emperor presents unique exhibits directly associated with Nicholas II. It explores the events leading up to his abdication, and the hardships endured by the last tsar, his wife, children and servants during their house arrest in Tsarskoye Selo, Tobolsk and Ekaterinburg, where they were all murdered on the night of 16/17 July 1918.
Nicholas II ascended to the throne of the largest country in the world - the Russian Empire in 1894. He took upon himself the daunting task of governing the whole of Russia. He properly seized and immediately began to make reforms. These resulted in the introduction of universal suffrage for all citizens of the Russian Empire, and the establishment of the Russian parliament - the Duma was one of the important milestones during the reign of Tsar Nicholas II. His reign was marked by great economic growth in Russia, the largest in the history of the empire.
The exhibition Tsar Nicholas II 100 Years Since the Abdication of the Last Russian Emperor runs from 27th January to 28th May 2017 at the Masaryk Museum in Hodonín in the Czech Republic.
The ancient Belarusian city of Mogilev dates back to the Middle Ages. During the Second World War, the city sustained serious damage, however, numerous churches, cathedrals, monasteries and old merchant houses from the Tsarist period miraculously survived.
One of the most significant buildings in Mogliev was the Governor’s Mansion. During the years 1915–1917, the building served as the Stavka, the General Headquarters of the Imperial Russian Armed Forces, after it was re-located from the city of Baranovichi to Mogilev in August 1915.
The city’s history is indelibly linked to Russia’s last emperor. As Commander-in-Chief, Nicholas II spent long periods in Mogilev, where he occupied the former Governor's Mansion. he was often accompanied by his son and heir, the Tsesarevich Alexei Nikolaevna.
The Emperor loved to take walks or travel by car around the city and its surroundings, particularly the Dnieper River. In the autumn of 1915 the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna arrived with their four daughters. The Empress and her children lived onboard the Imperial train which always stood on a specially constructed siding near the railroad station.
Emperor Nicholas II took leave of the Stavka for the last time as Commander-in-Chief on 28th February 1917. It was from here that his train was forced to stop at Pskov enroute to Tsarskoye Selo, and forced to abdicate on 2nd March. He returned to Mogilev the following day. On 4th March, his mother, the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna arrived in Mogilev - it would be the last time she would see her son. On 8th March, Nicholas II bids farewell to the army and boards a train for Tsarskoye Selo, where he and his family are placed under house arrest by the Provisional Government.
The Governor's Palace was heavily damaged in 1941-1945. It was demolished in the late 1940s.
During the Soviet years the square in which it stood was renamed Glory Square
Beginning in the Spring of 2017, visitors to Mogilev will have an opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Emperor Nicholas II in a guided tour. The new tourist route is part of the Belarusian State Enterprise Mogilevoblturist, headed by the company's director Yelena Karpenko.
Mogilevobltourist will offer visitors the opportunity to see the places that Nicholas II often visited. It will be a full 3 to 4-hour excursion that will be launched in the spring of 2017. In the meantime, tourists are invited to take part in a shorter excursion.
History teacher and certified tour guide Andrei Makayev will perform the role of the Emperor. He will wear a stylized Colonel's uniform. He will welcome guests at the Regional History Museum which formerly housed the General Duty Office. Mayakev will regale visitors with the history of Stavka, the main events of the period and offer a short tour of Slavy (Glory) Square. In the future, the tour will include an opportunity to have a cup of tea with Mayakev and watch documentary vintage military newsreels in the museum.
Just recently a group of Russian tourists were the first to meet with Mayakev as part of a sightseeing tour of Mogilev. “For the first time, we have tested the tour with elements of theatrical entertainment. The tour is a result of our attempt to look at Mogilev and its history through the eyes of the Emperor and Saint (in 2000, the Emperor and his family were canonized as passion-bearers by the Moscow Patriarchate). Five groups of Russian tourists have already booked the tour with Nicholas II during the Christmas and New Year holidays,” Yelena Karpenko said.
SOVEREIGN No. 3 - NOW IN STOCK! Topic: Nicholas II
I am pleased to announce that the next issue of SOVEREIGN, our popular bi-annual periodical dedicated to the life and reign of Emperor Nicholas II is now available from the Royal Russia Bookshop - Paul Gilbert
The No. 3 - Autumn 2016 issue features 136 pages with nearly 100 black-and-white photographs, and 9 full-length articles, including 4 first English translations of articles written by Russian experts.
NEW to this issue of SOVEREIGN:
featuring news highlights from Russian media sources
This issue also includes 4 first English translation articles by the following Russian experts:
Emperor Nicholas II. Initiator of Global Disarmament
by Pyotr Multatuli
Gunshot on the Moika and the End of the Russian Empire
by Archpriest Vladislav Tsypin
Was the Tsar Right to Abdicate in 1917?
by Vladimir Moss
The Tragedy of Bloody Sunday
by Andrei Mantsov
Additional full-length articles by guest writers in this issue:
Nicholas II. Russia's Last Orthodox Christian Monarch
by Paul Gilbert
Tsar and Shah. Were Nicholas II and Mohammed Reza Pahlavi Really Absolute Monarchs?
by Professor Hereward Senior
'Your Loving Nephew' Nicholas II and Edward VII
by Coryne Hall
My Impressions of Nicholas II
by Alexander Kerensky
Grounds for the Canonization of Emperor Nicholas II and His Family
by Metropolitan of Krutitsa and Kolomna Juvenaly
This issue also includes 2 collections of historic photographs on the life and reign of Emperor Nicholas II:
1903 Costume Ball in the Winter Palace
Official Portraits of Emperor Nicholas II
Emperor Nicholas II Photo Album
Historical Images of Russia's Last Emperor
Click on the link below for more information or to order the current or back issues of Sovereign. The Life and Reign of Emperor Nicholas II, please visit our web site:
Ural documentarian Sergei Aliyev has announced plans to release a documentary on the life and reign of Russia’s last emperor and tsar. The 10-part series is scheduled for release in March 2017, marking the 100th anniversary of the abdication of Nicholas II from the throne and the February Revolution.
The main objective of the project, is to gain a new and more honest assessment of who Nicholas II really was. Aliyev wants to create a portrait of the last emperor from a Russian perspective, and will be based on the opinions of historians, the clergy, monarchists and from ordinary Russian citizens. The documentary will will present a fresh assessment of Nicholas II in post-Soviet Russia.
"In March 2017 it will be 100 years since Nicholas II abdicated, but historical justice and the truth of Russia’s last emperor and tsar has yet to be done” - said Aliyev. “There are two diametrically opposed points of view regarding his 22-year reign: the Soviet - which is also embraced by Western historians and biographers - who believe that he was a spineless, tyrant; and the modern - which is embraced by Orthodox Christians and monarchists - who believe that the last Russian emperor was a devout holy monarch, one who loved his people, and made sacrifices for his country” - Aliyev added.
As part of a nationwide project, Aliyev will document the opinions of people from various regions of Russia, asking them each one question: “What does the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II mean to you?” He will also take into account the opinions of dozens of Russian historians and other experts, in which the documentarian will attempt to form an honest assessment of Nicholas II based on the results.
The ten part documentary (in Russian) on the life and reign of Russia’s last emperor and tsar will be made available on the internet in March 2017.
Sergei Aliyev is well-known for his documentaries on Russian history and Orthodoxy.
Sovereign Marks First Anniversary Topic: Nicholas II
Today marks the first anniversary of the premiere issue of Sovereign, our journal dedicated to the study of the life and reign of Emperor Nicholas II.
Russia's last emperor and tsar is one of the most documented monarchs in history, and yet a century after his murder, he remains one of the most maligned and misunderstood. Much of this can be attributed to the many biographies and documentaries produced for the masses in recent decades. It is these books and documentaries which readers and viewers must consider the words of Walt Whitman - "re-examine all that you've been told . . . dismiss that which insults your soul".
Sovereign does not “rehash” the popular memoirs of disenchanted and bitter White Russian emigres who were lucky enough to have fled the Bolshevik Red Terror. Instead, Sovereign offers post-Soviet historians an opportunity to challenge their Western counterparts with contemporary assessments and studies, based on new documents from Russian state and private archives made accessible to researchers after 1991.
Sovereign in no way tries to “whitewash” Russia’s last emperor and tsar, however, from an historical perspective, it is important to take a fresh look at his life and reign, and credit him for his many accomplishments. Nicholas II was not the "weak, stupid, reactionary" ruler which his detractors would have us believe. The tragedies which befell him during his 22-year reign are quite often exaggerated or incorrect, based on misinformation, parlour room gossip and Bolshevik propaganda.
The centenary marking the murder of Nicholas II and his family on July 17th, 2018, makes the publication of Sovereign timely. In the months leading up to this tragic anniversary, his life and reign will once again be the subject of even more books and documentaries, supplemented with exhibitions, conferences and debates. Sovereign has a responsibility to help set the historic record straight.
Three issues of Sovereign have been published to date: No. 1 (published December 2015); No. 2 (published May 2016); and No. 3 (due at the end of December 2016). Combined, these three issues offer a total of 435 pages, featuring 22 full-length articles, news and more than 300 black-and-white photographs and illustrations.
The No. 4 issue (Spring 2017) issue will feature a rich collection of photographs of Emperor Nicholas II onboard the Imperial yacht Standart, with additional first English translations of works by Russian experts and guest writers.
Photo: the cover of the No. 4 issue features Emperor Nicholas II onboard the Imperial yacht Standart
AVAILABLE SPRING 2017
On a personal note, I am very proud of what Sovereign has accomplished in its first year of publication. The popularity of Sovereign has thus far exceeded my expectations. I am delighted to offer a venue for Russian historians and experts to present first English translations of their work, and am extrememly grateful to Sovereign readers for their support of this important historic publishing project - PG
For more information on Sovereign, please visit our web site:
Historical justice is done, a portrait of Emperor Nicholas II - by the Russian artist Ilya Savich Galkin (1860-1915) - hidden from human eyes for some ninety-odd years - was presented at the St. Petersburg Museum of Applied Arts on November 30th.
The restoration which took three years to complete, was initiated by the staff and students of the department of painting and restoration of the Stieglitz State Academy of Art and Design under Professor Tatiana Potselueva.
The portrait of Russia’s last emperor was discovered on the back of a portrait of Vladimir Lenin in 2013. Today, the double portraits are presented to the public for the first time. Nicholas II is presented in an elegant frame, while Lenin is presented in the "workers and peasants” wood.
The story of this unique painting attracted the interest of the Russian media, as well as specialists in the field of painting. They believe that the history of these portraits is both mysterious as mystical, symbolizing both the tragedy and the greatness of the country's history at a time of great change and upheaval.
In 1896, Ilya Galkin was appointed Court painter. The young artist painted a portrait of Nicholas II in the year of his coronation. The emperor appears in all his glory - in dress uniform, set against the background of a palace interior. The portrait was painted under the order for the Petrovsky Commercial College, which during Soviet times became Primary School No. 206.
During the upheaval of the 1917 Revolution, to which Galkin did not live to witness, the disappearance of the portrait went unnoticed. As it turned out, the portrait of Nicholas II did not disappear, it was merely hidden. The artist Vladislav Izmailovich utilized the reverse of the canvas of Nicholas II for a portrait of the Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin (1924). Izmailovich’s initiative in fact saved Galkin’s portrait of Russia’s last emperor. For the next 90 years, the back-to-back portraits hung in the hall of Primary School No. 206 in Leningrad.
It was not until 2013, when Primary School No. 206 asked for the portrait of the Bolshevik leader, which was ripped at the bottom, to be restored. When the Stieglitz Academy restorers took the painting out of the frame, they discovered that the back of the canvas was covered with black water-soluble paint. Beneath the paint they found the well preserved portrait of Emperor Nicholas II.
Portrait of Emperor Nicholas II (1896) Ilya Savich Galkin (1860-1915)
Professor Tatiana Potselueva, engaged students of the Academy in the restoration of the portrait. These young artists took great pride and honour by participating in this historic event. Now that their work is complete, the question now, is what will the Academy do with the portraits?
Rector of the Academy Stieglitz Vasily Kichedzhi, notes that this painting requires special storage conditions and should be put on display in a large museum. In addition, he notes that the portrait has always been the property of the state and should continue to belong to the state.
“It is not just a picture, it is - the personification of the history of the country and the state” - said Kichedzhi. The rector wrote a letter to the Minister of Education and Minister of Culture with a request to determine the future fate of the picture.
In the meantime, a number of prominent museums have expressed an interest in the portrait of Emperor Nicholas II. Among those is the Director of the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve Olga Taratynova, who believes that the panting should be displayed in the Alexander Palace, which will reopen as a multi-museum complex in July 2018.
The Museum of Political History in St. Petersburg, is believed to be a perfect venue to display the portrait of Lenin.
While the fate of both portraits is being decided, visitors to St. Petersburg can view the portraits of Emperor Nicholas II and Vladimir Lenin at the Stieglitz Applied Arts Museum in St Petersburg, from December 1st.
For more information on the restoration of this painting, please refer to the following article: