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Friday, 26 May 2017
Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna's Letters Reveal Personal Hatred Towards the British
Topic: Olga Alexandrovna GD

Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna with her sister Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna

This article has been revised and edited from its original by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2017

Fascinating letters from Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna have been unearthed to reveal her 'hate' towards the British for not doing enough to save her family. The collection of more than 50 letters have belonged to the grandson of Olga who has now decided to put them on the market and they are tipped to sell for £100,000. 
Each letter is accompanied by notes prepared by the Kulikovsky family noting important events written about in the letters. The letters from Olga to her sister Grand Duchess Xenia who remains in Petrograd during World War 1 include reference to Rasputin. Events move fast and the February Revolution of 1917 brings an end to the letters for a period because the Dowager Empress, along with her two daughters and other members of the Romanov family move to one of their estates in the Crimea. The situation deteriorates in Russia after the Bolshevik uprising and the Armistice of 1918. This dangerous situation results in the assassination of the core Romanov family although Olga is the exception having married a commoner, Nicholas Kulikovsky; she has freer movement and accompanies her husband to Novominskaya where Kulikovsky fights the Bolsheviks during their Civil War.

Olga's letters to her sister Xenia resume in January 1919 describing her simple country life. Grand Duchess Olga is sad that the Allies do not help Russia 'How I wish that you and Mama would follow Sandro's advice (Grand Duke Alexander, husband of Xenia) and go to England...if only she could grasp the fact that this life of waiting, uncertainty and horrors will go on.... I really hate the Allies...when will they really help- or won't they. No tanks yet here- nothing that can help us.' In February 1919, the situation is no better-Grand Duke Alexander was not allowed to enter Britain. 

'I try to squash the idea: if really those devils could, in cold blood, kill all those innocent people (the Grand Dukes shot in Petrograd and Grand Duchess Elizabeth in Perm) perhaps they have done the same with the beloved family (Tsar Nicholas, the Tsarina and three children) Oh no! no! it can't be,' she writes.

Olga and her family are forced to Rostov. By 1920, they are in the Kuban, the last piece of White Russian territory with the Cossacks. Olga has great admiration for the spirit, self-reliance and skills of the Cossacks. Her last letter from Russia in February 1920 is from the port of Novorossisk which is signed off 'Your loving old refugee sister'. The final letters in the archive both dated March 1920 describe their arrival in Prinkipo in Turkey. The last letter, written from Belgrade, shows how Olga longs to be somewhere quiet and looks forward to being reunited with her mother in Denmark. The correspondence of 52 letters is offered with signatures of Prince Peter of Oldenburg and Grand Duchess Olga.

Translation and interpretation by the key authors and internationally renowned specialists Coryne Hall and Karen Roth- Nicholls. With the advent of the Centenary of the Revolution in Russia, the shooting of Tsar Nicholas and the end of the first World War, these letters are important and tell the vital story of the Romanov family in this turbulent time.  

The auction will be held on 28th May by William George & Co., Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, England.

In order to avoid censors, Olga's letters to her sister Xenia were written in English. Photos: William George & Co.

Click on the links below for more information about these letters:

Secrets of the Russian royal who escaped execution but spent her life hating the 'devils' who slaughtered her family - published in The Mirror

Revealed: Secret letters from Russian duchess who spent her life hating the British for not saving them from 'cold blooded devils' - published in The Daily Mail

© William George & Co. and Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 26 May, 2017


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 2:51 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 27 May 2017 1:40 PM EDT
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Sunday, 23 November 2014
Final Residence of Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna in Toronto for Sale
Topic: Olga Alexandrovna GD

The house in Toronto, Canada where the Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna died in November 1960 has been listed for sale. The modest two-story semi-detached house in Toronto’s east end residential district of Riverdale listed 10 days ago is on the market for $539,000, “and is a gut job,” according to Laura Lind of the National Post.

The youngest sister of Emperor Nicholas II convalesced in the care of Russian friends, Colonel Konstantin and Galina Martemianoff who ran the beauty shop on the main floor at 716 Gerrard Street East. “She was bedridden for a year and ate nothing but ice cream,” according to Nick Barisheff, who was 15 when the 78-year-old grand duchess succumbed to cancer in his family’s apartment. She died in the upstairs front bedroom Nov. 24, 1960. 

The palace of Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna situated at 46-48, Ulitsa Tchaikovskogo in St. Petersburg
Before the Russian Revolution, Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna lived in a 200 room palace situated at 46-48, Ulitsa Tchaikovskogo in St. Petersburg. The palace was a gift from Nicholas II to his sister on the occasion of her wedding in 1901 to Duke Peter Alexandrovich of Oldenburg.

The parapeted neo-Palladian residence with a 47-window front façade had its own church, coach houses, a two-storey gardener’s shed, a greenhouse and an art studio for Olga, who was a prolific painter - she produced more than 2,000 paintings in her lifetime. For sport, the couple hunted wolves. The childless couple was waited on by a staff of 70. The four daughters of Nicholas II - Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia were regular guests at their favourite aunt’s house in the Russian capital.

Today, Grand Duchess Olga’s former palace is home to the Saint Petersburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry. I had the opportunity to visit the interiors of her residence some years back. It was pleasing to see that a number of the original interiors had survived, including sculptures, ceiling paintings, door decorations, and fireplaces which have all been restored.

Olga brother, Emperor Nicholas II, his wife Empress Alexandra Feodorovna and their five children, were all murdered in Ekaterinburg on July 17th, 1918. Olga was one of a number of members of the Russian Imperial family who fled Bolshevik Russia two years later with her second husband Colonel Nikolai Kulikovsky and their two sons, Tihon and Guri. In 1920 they travelled by train to Novorossiysk and took shelter in the Danish consulate. From there, they went by ship to Dardanelles, a barge to the Island of Prinkipo, then on to Constantinople and Belgrade. Olga was finally reunited with her mother, the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna on Good Friday, in the Amalienburg Palace in Copenhagen. Olga, Nikolai, and their two sons then went to live temporarily at Hvidore.

They lived in Denmark in obscurity until Stalin accused her of corroboration with the Germans. For safety, the family emigrated to Canada, and resettled on a farm about 63 km west of Toronto in Campbellville, Ontario and finally in a tiny house on Camilla Road in Cooksville, Ontario. Her cousin, Queen Elizabeth II, visited in 1959, and invited Olga to lunch on her yacht Britannia when it docked in Toronto.

Lind notes in her National Post article, “reportedly, other than her clothing, the only possessions the duchess took to the Gerrard Street apartment were an orange china cup and saucer, a Faberge dog and a framed photo of her beloved second husband, which dated back to his time in the Russian army, 1917. She slept on a cot.”

She further adds, “since its day as a beauty salon in what has become East Chinatown, the grand duchess’s final hospice has been a travel agency. The main floor front room now appears to be used as a religious altar, with an eight-foot-wide staircase in the centre of the living area that evokes the Odessa Steps. The second-level apartment has 10-foot ceilings, transom windows and older baseboards. Olga Romanov’s 15 x 12 front bedroom has a bay window and southern view to Gerrard.

Mr. Barisheff is shocked. “It needed a lot of work when we moved in. My mother paid $13,000. She sold it in 1968 and bought a condo.”

Grand Duchess Olga's house at 2130 Camilla Road in Cooksville, Ontario
It is interesting to note that Grand Duchess Olga's house at 2130 Camilla Road in Cooksville (now Mississauga) was also put on the market last year. This is the house where she lived with Nikolai Kulikovsky and her two sons, Tihon and Guri. The famous photograph of her standing in front of a portrait of her father, Emperor Alexander III hanging over the fireplace was taken in this house. It was listed for a staggering $439,000 CAD - the realtor phoned to ask if I would be interested in buying the house, and then proceeded to tell me that the interior of the house was in a very bad state.

Toronto, Canada’s largest city has a large and growing Russian population, among her most famous Russian émigrés is Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna. Her years in Canada continue to interest both residents and visitors alike. From her modest home on Camilla Road, to her final home on Gerrard Street in Toronto; from the icons which today hang in the Russian Orthodox Church in Toronto, to her final resting place in York Cemetery in Toronto, these historic spots allow us to reflect on Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna as one of the most highly respected and beloved members of the Romanov dynasty to this day.
For more information on Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna, including her years in Canada from 1948-1960, please refer to the following article on Royal Russia's main web site:
The Grand Duchesses of Russia - Olga Alexandrovna 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 23 November, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:33 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 13 June 2017 10:25 AM EDT
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Monday, 22 September 2014
The Art of Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna Exhibition Opens in Kaluga
Topic: Olga Alexandrovna GD

The grand opening of the exhibition The Art of Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna, took place on September 20th, at the Kaluga Museum of Fine Arts. Kaluga is situated 50 kilometers (93 mi) southwest of Moscow. The exhibition which is dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the First World War, received the blessing of Metropolitan Kliment of Kaluga and Borovsky and the support of Governor Anatoly Artamonov of the Kaluga Region. 

The exhibition presents more than a hundred watercolours painted by the Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna (1882-1960), as well as photographs, portraits, and other personal items of the youngest daughter of Emperor Alexander III. The exhibition has been organized by Mrs. Olga Kulikovsky, the chairman of the Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna Memorial Fund. Mrs. Kulikovsky is the widow of Tikhon Kulikovsky, the eldest son of Grand Duchess Olga.

Mrs. Olga Kulikovsky at the opening of the exhibition in Kaluga, Russia. Photo: SmileKaluga
Exhibits cover the life and career of the Grand Duchess, inviting visitors on a fascinating journey of her life. Her watercolours reflect her observations and experiences, which are displayed on a background of cultural and natural features of the three countries - Russia, Denmark and Canada - countries in which she lived at different stages of her life.

The artistic works of the Grand Duchess have been touring Russia for nearly two years now, exhibited in museums in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Tyumen, Yekaterinburg, Yaroslavl, Kostroma, Balashikha, Tobolsk Lipetsk, Odintsov and Vladivostok. 

Among the works of the August artist are a number of watercolours created during the First World War, or devoted to a military theme. A special book has been published to mark the exhibition in Russian and English. The album Life at War: 1914-1918, includes rare vintage photographs and drawings, and letters written by Grand Duchess Olga during the war years. The presentation of this unique album took place at the opening ceremony in Kaluga. 

The photo album published to mark the exhibition
Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna was the younger sister of Emperor Nicholas II. She was born on June 13th (O.S. 1st June), 1882 in Gatchina, situated outside of St. Petersburg. The life of the Grand Duchess was not an easy one. The premature death of his father, the revolution, the murders of those close to her - were all part of her life's trials. Staying true to her duty to the Fatherland, the Grand Duchess helped those in need. During the First World War she established a hospital and worked there as a nurse. As a deeply religious person, she always believed in the liberation of the Motherland from Bolshevism and totalitarian dictatorship. In 1901, she was appointed Honourary Commander-in-Chief of the 12th Akhtyrsky Hussar Regiment.

The Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna is also known as a talented artist, producing over 2,000 paintings during her life. Her paintings are in many museums and private collections throughout the world, they are highly sought after by private collectors to this day. On November 20, 1960 the last Grand Duchess died in Toronto, and was buried next to her husband, Nikolai Alexandrovich Kulikovsky (1881-1958) at the cemetery in North York. A collection of watercolors is the creation of its more than 200 works.

The Art of Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna exhibition runs at the Kaluga Museum of Fine Arts until October 19th, 2014. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 22 September, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:23 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 23 September 2014 9:47 AM EDT
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Saturday, 7 December 2013
Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna Exhibition Opens in Siberia
Topic: Olga Alexandrovna GD

A new exhibition dedicated to Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna opened on December 6th, at the State Art Museum in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk. The exhibition is a joint project between the State Art Museum and Antikvariat Nikolaevskom, an antique salon in Novosibirsk which specializes in Romanov memorabilia.

Olga (1882-1960) - the youngest daughter of Emperor Alexander III, and youngest sister of the last tsar, Nicholas II, was one of the few members of the imperial family who escaped after the Bolshevik revolution. Like her father, she preferred a simple life. 

Olga Alexandrovna was a gifted painter, she studied with teachers such as V. Makovsky, S. Zhukovsky, and Vinogradov at the Imperial Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg. During her lifetime, Olga produced more than 2,000 paintings, the proceeds of which allowed her to not only support her family, but to also make donations to charity. She died in Toronto, Canada on 24th of November, at the age of 78.

The exhibition will feature seven paintings by Grand Duchess Olga, as well as lithographs, porcelain and various other personal items of the late 19th-20th centuries, including a rare 1913 edition of the Sun of Russia, published on the 300th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty.

The exhibition will portray her image in several ways: as a representative of the House of Romanov, whose 400th anniversary is celebrated this year, as an artist, as a woman, and finally, as a citizen and patriot of Russia.

The exhibition will premiere a new film Olga. From the Life of Grand Duchess, by Novosibirsk director, Peter Dikareva.
The exhibition will run until January 16th 2014 at the State Art Museum in Novosibirsk. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 07 December, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:31 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 7 December 2013 8:41 AM EST
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Wednesday, 4 September 2013
New Portrait of Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna
Topic: Olga Alexandrovna GD

A portrait of Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna by Pyotr Neradovsky is now on display at the State Historical Museum in Moscow
Further to my article about The Romanov's: Portrait of a Dynasty (see below) which opened on September 3rd at the State Historical Museum in Moscow, I am happy to update it with this very interesting image.
The photograph is from the exhibit but it is the portrait on the far left that I would like to draw to your attention. It is a previously unknown portrait of the Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna, painted by the Russian artist Pyotr I. Neradovsky. It has been kept in storage for decades but as been specially restored for this exhibition.
Neradovsky (1875-1962) was a gifted artist, art historian and museum curator.
The other portraits in the photograph: Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna (top oval portrait), Emperor Nicholas II, and Grand Duke Michael Nicholayevich by other Russian artists. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 4 September, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:57 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 4 September 2013 7:13 AM EDT
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Monday, 27 May 2013
Watercolours of HIH Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna
Topic: Olga Alexandrovna GD

An exhibition of paintings, drawings and artifacts of HIH Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna opened on May 19th in Ekaterinburg. In attendance were His Holiness Patriarch Kirill I of Moscow and All Russia, and HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, Head of the Russian Imperial House.

The exhibit presents more than 200 works in watercolour and perosnal belongings of the Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna, the youngest daughter of Tsar Alexander III who died in Toronto, Canada in 1960. Also on display is a commemorative mural, a gift from her brother, Tsar Nicholas II marking the 300th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty in 1913.

HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna and Mrs. Olga Kulikovsky at the exhibition's premiere on May 19th

The exhibit in honour of the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty has been organized by Mrs. Olga Kulikovsky, the widow of Tihon Kulikovsky (1917-1993), the eldest son of Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna.

The exhibit will run until June 7th at the Poklevskii-Kozell House, a branch of the Sverdlovsk Regional Museum, and reopen in the Patriarchal Compound, next to the Church on the Blood from June 10th to July 28th. From Ekaterinburg, the exhibit will then move to Tobolsk.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 27 May, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:03 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 27 May 2013 8:28 AM EDT
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Saturday, 18 May 2013
FOR SALE - Painting by HIH Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna
Topic: Olga Alexandrovna GD

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 18 May, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:04 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 18 May 2013 12:10 PM EDT
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Friday, 5 October 2012
Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna and Peter of Oldenburg
Topic: Olga Alexandrovna GD


Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna (1882-1960) and Duke Peter Alexandrovich of Oldenburg (1868-1924) were married at St. Petersburg on August 9th, 1901.

The couple met the year before when Peter began escorting the 18-year-old daughter of Emperor Alexander III, to the theatre and opera.

Peter asked for Olga's hand in marriage the following year, a proposal that took the grand duchess completely by surprise: "I was so taken aback that all I could say was 'thank you,'"she later told Ian Vorres.

The marriage was announced in May 1901. Her mother, the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna wrote to her son and Olga's brother, Emperor Nicholas II: "I am sure you won't believe what has happened. Olga is engaged to Petya and both are very happy. I had to consent, but it was all done so quickly and unexpectedly that I still cannot believe it."

Nicholas replied to his mother: "I cannot believe that Olga is actually engaged to Petya. They were probably both drunk yesterday.....We both laughed so much reading your letter that we have not recovered yet."

A prenuptial agreement was drawn up by a committee which included the Tsar, the Oldenburg family, and government ministers. It promised Olga an annuity of 100,000 roubles from the Tsar, and 1 million roubles to be deposited into a fund from which she could draw interest.

The wedding was a grand ceremony attended by family, European royalty, government ministers, foreign ambassadors, government officials and courtiers. They spent their honeymoon at the Oldenburg estate of Voronezh.

In the fall of 1901 they travelled to Biarritz, France, where they boarded a yacht loaned to them by King Edward VII of Great Britain and sailed to Italy.

On their return to Russia, they settled into a 200-room palace (the former Baryatinsky mansion) at 46 Sergievskaya Street (today Tchaikovskogo Street), St. Petersburg. The palace was made available to them by Olga's brother, Tsar Nicholas II. The palace has survived to this day and now houses the Saint Petersburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Their marriage remained unconsummated, and Peter was believed by both family and friends to be a homosexual. Olga asked him for a divorce and at first he refused. The couple eventually separated, their marriage was annulled by the Emperor himself on October 16th, 1916. 

Olga married a cavalry officer, Nicholas Kulikovsky the following month. After the Russian Revolution, the couple escaped with their two sons and spent their final years in Denmark and later Canada. Kulikovsky died in 1958, Olga died in 1960. 

Peter and his mother also fled Russia after the Revolution, and settled in France. He remarried to Olga Vladimirovna Ratkova-Rognova on May 3, 1922. The marriage was also without issue. Peter died at Antibes, France in 1924, he was 55.   

Sources: The Last Grand Duchess (Pub. 1960) by Ian Vorres and Olga Romanov: The Last Grand Duchess of Russia (Pub. 1998) by Patricia Phenix.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 05 October, 2012


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:24 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 5 October 2012 8:30 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 21 February 2012
Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna in Denmark
Topic: Olga Alexandrovna GD

Surrounded by plants and flowers, the Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna is photographed on the porch of Knudsminde, her home in Ballerup, Denmark. Aside from painting, the Grand Duchess also enjoyed gardening. She lived in exile in Denmark until 1948, when she went into exile yet again, this time to Canada.

© Royal Russia. 21 February, 2012


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:22 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, 23 February 2012 7:26 AM EST
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