A Photobiography of the Children of Tsar Nicholas II
by Paul Gilbert

The Children of Tsar Nicholas II (from left to right): Grand Duchess Olga, Tsesarevich Alexis,
Grand Duchess Tatiana, Grand Duchess Maria, Grand Duchess Anastasia

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Beginning in 2013, and in honour of the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty, Royal Russia will launch a new series of Collectors Editions devoted to the Russian Imperial family and their legacy.

The first such Collectors Edition will be OTMAA: A Photobiography. Scheduled for publication in the Summer of 2013, this tribute to the children of Tsar Nicholas II tells the story of the Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia, and their brother, the Tsesarevich Alexei through a rich collection of photographs.

OTMA was an acronym created by the four daughters of Emperor Nicholas II of Russia and his consort, Alexandra Feodorovna, as a group nickname for themselves, built from the first letter of each girl's name in the order of their births. In recent years, their brother's name was added to create OTMAA.

These four beautiful young women and their younger brother, Alexis, the Tsarevich and Heir to the Russian throne were the children of Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, the last tsar and tsarina of Russia.

Their world was a private one, shared by few outsiders. They spent much of their short lives in the Alexander Palace at Tsarskoe Selo, the Lower Dacha at Peterhof and Livadia, their palace in the Crimea. Here they were fussed over by nannies and educated by tutors. The enormous parks that surrounded the palaces became their private playground, where they enjoyed walks with their beloved papa, and played the same games enjoyed by most other children their ages. They were the centre of their loving parentsí universe.

Over the past 30 years I have amassed an enormous collection of photographs of the last Imperial family of Russia. These include original photographs, photo cards, postcards, and reproductions. Most of these I purchased from dealers during my many visits to Russia over the years, while others were donated to Royal Russia. Many of these photographs from my personal collection will be reproduced in this new publication.

See the August children at home, at play, taking their lessons, and in public, where they were under the watchful and curious eye of the Russian people. The images come to life with anecdotes from letters, diaries and personal observations by those who knew them or met them, each of whom failed to fall under the spell of their charm and childlike innocence.

This photobiography tells the story of these five children through an absorbing collection of photographs reflecting the happier days of their lives, before the Red Terror swept them to a violent death, one they sadly shared with their beloved parents.

OTMAA: A Photobiography of the Children of Tsar Nicholas II is a celebration of their lives.


Paul Gilbert is an Independent Romanov historian, and Royal Russia Founder & Web Site Administrator.


The inimitable Zhanna Bichevskaya, a famous bard and folk singer in Russia, sings about the Holy Royal Martyrs in the background.


by Margaretta Eagar
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The August children on board
the Imperial yacht Standart