It was not long before Sydney Gibbes found himself once more having to contend with Anastasia’s quirky and inattentive behaviour in class. On one occasion, having lost his temper, he told her to ‘shut up’; the next time she handed in her homework she had added a new nameplate to her exercise book – ‘A. Romanova (Shut up!)’.
—Helen Rappaport, The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2014): p. 335.
…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.
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.