For 300 years the Russian Romanov Tsars had been the most magnificent rulers in Europe, but in 1917 they were swept away by the Russian Revolution.
One hundred years after their brutal murder the story of Nicholas II and Alexandra, their family and the fantastically jewelled Faberge eggs still continues to hold a fascination for the world. Stephen Davis reveals more…
The Romanovs were the wealthiest family in the world and it is the Imperial Easter eggs made by Fabergé that are most identified with their splendour. The Russian jeweller produced sixty-four jewel encrusted eggs for the Romanovs. Each year Nicholas would present one to his wife and a second to his mother
When the Romanovs travelled they did not leave their luxurious lifestyle behind. There were carriages, yachts and cars but the most interesting was the royal train consisting of twelve carriages and 26 staff. The floors were covered in thick carpets and the walls covered in silk with wooden panels inlaid with tortoiseshell and mother-of-pearl. One carriage was a power station supplying electricity for the train and others included a kitchen, wine cellar, staff accommodation, a dining room that could seat 16, a study, various sitting rooms, bedrooms, two bathrooms and even a church car with a chapel richly decorated with icons and a small belfry containing a bell that jingled as the train travelled through the countryside.
After fleeing into exile the Tsar’s mother together with her Cossack bodyguards paid a visit to George V of Great Britain at Buckingham Palace. On seeing the King, who bore a striking resemblance to the murdered Tsar, the two Cossacks, believing the Tsar was alive, fell to the floor and began to kiss the King’s boots, much to George V’s embarrassment.
Lenin, the leader of the Bolsheviks (Communists) was born to a wealthy middle-class family and embraced revolutionary socialist politics following his brother’s execution in 1887 for plotting the assassination of the Tsar. During 1905 he lived in London and spent most mornings at the Reading Room of the British Museum plotting the overthrow of the Russian Royal Family.
The Empress Alexandra was German by birth and only six when her mother died. Her Grandmother, Queen Victoria, took over her upbringing and education. After she became Empress of Russia she insisted on taking afternoon tea and cakes at exactly 4pm.
Stephen Davis is author of ‘The Tsar’s Banker’ and ‘I Spy The Wolf’, a series of novels that follows the fortunes of the Tagleva family between 1912 and 1946. Visit thetsarsbanker.com