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.
“Once upon a time …” runs the fairy tale. For Anastasia, the fairy tale began with this elaborate ceremony, which embodied all the splendid privilege of the Russian Court. Related by blood and marriage to the royal houses of Great Britain, Denmark, Romania, Germany, Spain, and Greece, she was born into a lavish world of palaces and liveried servants, gold-braided courtiers and sleek yachts, loving parents and a devoted family—everything necessary to the traditional, heartwarming conclusion. For Anastasia, though, there would be no happy ending; her fairy tale went horribly awry, its peaceful promise shattered by war and revolution. In its place arose a new tale that gave resonance to the meaning of her name, in which hope triumphed over despair, and desire transcended brutal reality. There was even a Prince Charming said to have come to Anastasia’s rescue. It all coalesced to form a powerful myth, a modern legend, a new fairy tale that, in its traumas, seemed to encapsulate the turmoil of the twentieth century.
—Greg King and Penny Wilson, Resurrection of the Romanovs: Anastasia, Anna Anderson, and the world’s greatest royal mystery (Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2011): 17-18.
She was not just a diffident pupil: she could also be a difficult one. Perhaps because her more outrageous behavior had largely been indulged, Anastasia seemed to approach lessons with a sense of amusement, as though they were simply obstacles requiring escape. Her usual approach, when confronted with difficulty, was simply to charm her way out of unpleasant situations. Once, after a particularly disastrous test, a tutor graded her accordingly; Anastasia left the classroom, returning a few minutes later and offering a large bouquet of flowers snatched from a nearby table if her marks were changed. When the tutor refused, she drew “herself up to the most of her small height” and “marched into the schoolroom next door,” loudly and pointedly presenting the flowers to another teacher.
—Greg King and Penny Wilson, Resurrection of the Romanovs: Anastasia, Anna Anderson, and the world’s greatest royal mystery (Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2011): 29.
Tatiana has given me something new to worry about. She asked me what I’m planning to do with this diary, and if I’ve written things in it that I don’t want the guards to read - about hiding the jewels, for instance. I confessed that I had.
"Then you must burn it," she said. "You can’t take it with you."
I know she’s right. But this diary has been my friend for a long time, and I can’t bear to destroy it.
So this is what I’ve decided: I’ll entrust this diary to Sonia, who lives here in Tobolsk and has been kind to me, and ask her to keep it safe for me. Then, when we’re free, I’ll write to her from England or Japan or wherever we’re going, and ask her to send it to me.
And so, farewell to you, dear diary. Until we meet again.
—Carolyn Meyer, Anastasia, the last Grand Duchess
(New York: Scholastic Inc., 2000): 174.
We leave tomorrow, on the river steamer “Rus” that brought us here. Then we’ll take a train to Ekaterinburg. All is ready - even the dogs. I can hardly wait to see Mama and Papa and Mashka again.
I nearly forgot: this is Papa’s fiftieth birthday.
—Carolyn Meyer, Anastasia, the last Grand Duchess (New York: Scholastic Inc., 2000): 173.
A shot of David Witanowski as Nicholas II, Katharine Gibson as Alexandra Feodorovna, Amy Ligoci as Olga Nikolaevna, Maya Dwyer as Tatiana Nikolaevna, Elizabeth Russell as Maria Nikolaevna, Esther Richardson as Anastasia Nikolaevna, and Calvin Mele as Alexei Nikolaevich from The Romanovs, a 2011 play written by Garrett A. Heater for the Syracuse-based Covey Theatre Company.
The silence of death: it lay across the terrible jumble of bodies and blood-spattered walls. But Anastasia was still alive, and Marie, too, for as their bodies were carried to a Fiat truck that stood waiting in the courtyard, first one, then the other, suddenly sat up, coughing blood, moaning, screaming. They were outside now, and the men couldn’t shoot them; the bayonets came out, slashing through the air, but the knives struck the hidden jewels. And so someone grabbed a rifle, turned it around, and hammered away at the barely conscious faces, driving the wooden stock down again and again and again. Battered into silence, choking on splintered bone and shattered teeth, drowning in her own blood - this was how Anastasia died.
—Greg King and Penny Wilson, Resurrection of the Romanovs: Anastasia, Anna Anderson, and the world’s greatest royal mystery (Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2011): 330.
Although the name “Anastasia” is recognized by almost everyone today, most people, don’t know the real story of Anastasia’s life: what it was like to be a royal Duchesses in Russia; how it felt to be imprisoned in the palace and have everything taken away from her; and the terror of being escorted under guard to a small town in Siberia, the family’s final destination. This is a classic fairy tale story without a happy ending, of a princess who had everything in the world until her father’s rule was overthrown and the family were incarcerated and ultimately assassinated. This diary, although a fictionalized version of what fifteen-year-old Anastasia would have written about if her diaries had not been destroyed, was carefully researched and includes true dates and experiences that Anastasia had.
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