Get To Know Me Meme (royalist edition) - [1/5] royal siblings ♔
Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia. Like the fingers on a hand — first headstrong Olga, then Tatiana the tallest, Maria most hopeful for a ring and Anastasia the smallest. These are the daughters of Tsar Nicholas II, Russian grand duchesses living a life steeped in tradition and privilege. For these young women each on the brink of beginning their own lives at the mercy of royal matchmakers, summer 1914 promises to be a precious last wink of time to be sisters together sisters that still link arms and laugh, sisters that share their dreams and worries, and flirt with the officers of their imperial yacht.
But in a gunshot the future changes — for them, and for Russia.
Closeup of 15-year-old Anastasia that shows how long her hair was in 1916.
…little Anastasia took a shine, surprisingly, to a rather taciturn navigator called Alexey Saltanov. She gave him and everyone else the run-around, including her sailor dyadka Babushkin, rushing around the yacht from dawn to dusk, climbing up to the bridge when no one was looking, always dishevelled and difficult to control, only to be finally carried off kicking and screaming to bed at the end of the day.
—Helen Rappaport, The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2014): 99.
During those first occasional visits Rasputin made to Tsarskoe Selo (and sources vary on how often he came), Olga and Tatiana were sometimes allowed to sit in on his discussions about religion with their parents, but the younger girls, especially Anastasia, were for a while excluded. Mariya Geringer remembered hurrying over to see the empress on an urgent matter one evening, when Anastasia ‘rushed to meet her in a corridor, threw out her arms and blocked her way, saying “You and I can’t go there, the New One (the name given to Rasputin by Alexey) is there .”’ Anastasia ‘was not allowed to enter’ when Rasputin was visiting, as she ‘always laughed when he spoke or read about religious matters ’, unable to take such discussions seriously.
—Helen Rappaport, The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2014): 113.
From the recently released high quality GARF albums: Grand Duchesses Anastasia
5 Romanov Films to get You Through Today (Or You Know, To Cry Over).
1. Romanovy: Ventsenosnaya semya (2000) watch on youtube
2. Nicholas & Alexandra (1971) watch online
3. Russian Ark (Russian History Film) (2002) watch online
4. Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny (1996) watch on youtube
5. The Lost Prince* (2003) watch online
*The Romanovs feature briefly in The Lost Prince but it shows many important scenes featuring the relationship the family had with their British cousins. (Please discount the portrayal of Alix though, it is completely inaccurate.)
"The arrival in his classroom in 1909 of the whirlwind that was eight-year-old Anastasia changed everything… like everyone else, he was won over by her effervescent charm and her quirky intelligence. Gibbes thought her ‘fragile and dainty… a little lady of great self-possession, always bright, always happy’. He also found her endlessly inventive - always coming up with ‘some new oddity of speech or manner; her perfect command of her features was remarkable' - he had never come across anything to equal it in any other child.”
- Helen Rappaport, Four Sisters.
During his time at the hospital the girls visited Dassel once or twice a week; Maria always remaining ‘a little self-conscious’, while the forthright Anastasia was ‘freer, impish, with a very dry humour’, and, as he noticed, adept too at cheating at board games with her sister. She also liked to ‘tease in a childish way’ which brought reproachful, warning glances from Maria. (The two sisters certainly still squabbled, as Tatiana told Valentina Chebotareva: they often had cat fights when ‘Nastasya gets mad and pulls [Maria’s] hair and tears out clumps of it’.) Once Dassel started feeling better the girls celebrated his recovery by posing for photographs with him. He noticed how ‘terribly proud of her hospital’ Anastasia was: ‘she feels like she’s half grown up, on an equal footing with her older sisters ’.
—Helen Rappaport, The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2014): 268.
Grand Duchesses Anastasia, Maria and Tatiana in spring 1917. Maria was still recovering from severe attack of measles and pneumonia.