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Messages - DNAgenie

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The Imperial Family / Re: The Romanovs as artists
« on: July 22, 2018, 05:01:55 PM »
Sorry about that. I am not a subscriber but I can see it. The article came up in my local news feed.

The Imperial Family / The Romanovs as artists
« on: July 21, 2018, 10:13:29 AM »
Here is an interesting article about the modern Romanov family as artists, painters, cartoonists, etc. It does not refer to the photography of Nicholas II and his family but that could be covered by this topic as well.

The Final Chapter / Re: One Hundred Years On
« on: July 18, 2018, 11:23:38 AM »
There is a comprehensive article about the current Russian attitudes to the Romanov deaths in The Moscow Times of July 19 2018.

See .

The Final Chapter / Re: One Hundred Years On
« on: July 18, 2018, 10:48:04 AM »
The Bolsheviks were violent, bloodthirsty criminals, and murdering innocent young women, and sickly boy, who probably would not have lived to see his 25th birthday, hammers that home.
You can certainly apply that description to the Urals Bolshevik committee, but it is too sweeping a statement to apply to the Russian Bolshevik Government.

The Moscow Bolshevik government had wanted to put Nicholas II on trial for his crimes against the Russian people, but that turned out to be impossible because of the military situation, as the White Russian armies approached Yekaterinburg. So they sanctioned the Tsar's  execution. Just that. They announced his death in a press release as soon as they received confirmation from the Urals Soviet.

But they discovered that the Urals lot had gone ahead and massacred the whole family, so the coverup began. No more official information was released beyond the message that the rest of the family was in a safe place. Moscow was forced to approve the assassinations retrospectively, as, after all, what else could they do? The Urals Bolsheviks were a loose cannon and Russia has paid a price for that ever since.

The Final Chapter / Re: People Being 'Horrified' by OTMAA's Murders?
« on: July 12, 2018, 07:32:35 PM »
If individuals in Britain, France and Germany were asked in 1918 something like 'Do you think that the murder of the Romanovs was a terrible crime?', then probably 99 out of 100 would have answered yes.

You are forgetting that in 1918 no-one knew anything about the murder of the Romanovs. The death of Nicholas and Alexei had been announced by the Russian Government but at that stage the rest of the family was reported to be in a place of safety.

That question was not relevant until the mid-1920s, at the earliest, and it can only be answered in hindsight.

In 1918 many European royal families had lost their thrones, and there was little public sympathy for their plight. The world was trying to recover from a calamitous World War and most of the royals were seen as having caused that war. Seen in that context, the death of some members of a particular royal family would not have been seen as a terrible crime, but as retribution.

You would probably get a different answer today, as modern readers are suitably horrified by the manner of the Romanov deaths. But in 1918? No.

The Final Chapter / Re: One Hundred Years On
« on: July 09, 2018, 07:10:23 PM »
One week to go. It will be interesting to see what happens in Russia, quite apart from official recognition of the event.

The Final Chapter / Re: People Being 'Horrified' by OTMAA's Murders?
« on: July 07, 2018, 06:06:07 PM »
There is an interesting article about British newspaper reports on the reign of Nicholas II at . "It was in Yekaterinburg, in July 1918, that the Romanov family was murdered by the Bolsheviks. The reports afterwards were conflicting and rumours circulated about the tragic fate of the family.

 ‘Fate of the Romanovs’, Edinburgh Evening News – Saturday 06 July 1918

‘Romanov mystery’, Aberdeen Press and Journal – Tuesday 09 July 1918

‘The last journey of the ex-czar’, Sheffield Evening Telegraph – Monday 05 August 1918

‘Fate of the Romanovs’, The Scotsman – Thursday 05 December 1918"

Palaces in Moscow / Re: Grand Kremlin Palace
« on: June 10, 2018, 07:48:46 PM »
I may have been misled by the use of the term 'quarterings'. There's a nice representation of the Russian Imperial Arms in 1883 at You can see descriptions of the various charges by hovering the cursor over them.

Palaces in Moscow / Re: Grand Kremlin Palace
« on: June 09, 2018, 07:29:06 PM »
Quarterings on a coat of arms represent marriages, so the quarterings referred to here would represent the arms of the individual families whose women married into the Romanov royal line, not countries within the Russian Empire.

The Final Chapter / William Lincoln archive
« on: May 10, 2018, 06:13:30 PM »
Yesterday I watched an episode of the 2017 BBC program, Antiques Roadshow, in which the final item featured a Romanov family photograph album which had apparently been given to an Englishman, William Lincoln, in Ekaterinburg, by one of the maids to the Romanov family.  She had said to him: "I want you to keep this for me. If I am found with it, I will be shot."

There was also an extensive series of letters written by William Lincoln from Ekaterinburg to his family in England in 1918, during and after the imprisonment of the Romanovs. The AR expert accepted the authenticity of the archive and estimated its value at auction at perhaps 65,000 pounds. He expected a publisher to pay that sort of money for the archive, which had been held in private hands for nearly a hundred years.

Alexandra Feodorovna / Re: The "suitability" of royal wives
« on: February 21, 2018, 06:52:39 PM »
This thread represents a very blinkered view of 'suitability' in a royal bride.  It has come down to a critique, in hindsight, of why Alexandra's personality made her unsuitable for the position of Tsarina. In my view the reason why she was unsuitable was not because of her personality, but because she was extremely unlucky.

Two major factors determined why Alexandra did not appear to be suitable, and they are evident only in hindsight. Firstly she did not produce a male heir early in her marriage. It took ten years of her time as Tsarina, giving birth to four girls in succession before Alexei was born. Secondly when she did have a boy, the child was unlucky enough to inherit her haemophilia gene, and that was only a 50-50 chance. Those two factors put an enormous emotional strain on the Tsarina, as they would have done to any royal bride.

Just think what her life would have been like if her first-born child had been Alexei, born healthy. In all aspects except his illness he was a son to be proud of, so she would have had the chance to become the darling of Russian society, and with no need to produce a child every two years until she had born a boy. She would probably have had two more children (allowing for 'the heir and the spare' and perhaps one other) and they might have been Olga and Tatiana, but the pressure to produce a boy would have been removed, and she would have had no need to rely on Rasputin for more than casual religious guidance. No problem.

Actually there was a third reason why she was unlucky, which was to follow in the footsteps of her socially outgoing,extremely popular and comparatively young mother-in-law. If Maria Feodorovna had been other than what she was, Alexandra would have had a much easier time of it in Russian society.

The Myth and Legends of Survivors / Re: Testing of Paternal (Nuclear) DNA
« on: February 06, 2018, 05:16:39 PM »
Later DNA tests included the standard forensic (autosomal) CODIS DNA tests that can confirm close relationships, and Y-DNA tests for males. All proved positive for the Romanov family when compared with appropriate living relatives.

Balkan Royal Families / Re: King Mihai of Romania and his family
« on: December 06, 2017, 02:42:06 PM »
King Michael was a descendant of Tsar Nicholas I and of Queen Victoria from both his paternal and maternal lines, and a descendant of Kaiser Wilhelm I maternally, so he was a typical European monarch.

Books about the Romanovs and Imperial Russia / The Romanovs. 1613-1918
« on: December 01, 2017, 03:55:00 PM »
I have just been given a paperback copy of The Romanovs. 1613-1918 by Simon Sebag-Montefiore (2017). I am still only part way through but it is the most illuminating book I have read about the family, and must qualify for its own entry on the list of books about The Romanovs and Imperial Russia.

Some quotes from the Introduction:
 It was hard to be a tsar. Russia is not an easy country to rule. Twenty sovereigns of the Romanov dynasty reigned for 304 years, from 1613 until tsardom's destruction by the revolution in 1917. Romantic chroniclers of the tragedy of the last tsar like to suggest that the family was cursed, but the Romanovs were actually the most spectacularly successful empire-builders since the Mongols...
This is a history of the monarchs, their families and retinues, but it is also a portrait of absolutism in Russia. - and whatever else one believes about Russia, its culture, its soul, its essence have always been exceptional, a singular nature which one family aspired to personify. The Romanovs have become the very definition not only of dynasty and magnificence but also of despotism, a parable of the folly and arrogance of absolute power...
If the challenge of ruling Russia has always been daunting, the role of autocrat could only be truly exercised by a genius - and there are very few of those in most families. The price of failure was death. It was a dangerous job. Six of the last twelve tsars were murdered. In the final catastrophe in 1918, eighteen Romanovs were killed. Rarely was a chalice so rich and so poisoned. It is ironic that now, two centuries after the Romanovs finally agreed a law of succession, Russian presidents still effectively nominate their successors just as Peter the Great did...
The essence of stardom was the projection of majesty and strength, but this had to be combined with what Otto von Bismarck, rival and ally of the Romanovs, called 'the art of the possible, the attainable, the art of the next best'. For the Romanovs, the craft of survival was based on the balancing of clans, interests and personalities of both a miniscule court and a gigantic empire. Emperors needed to keep the support of their army, nobility and their administration. If they lost all three they were likely to be deposed - and in an autocracy that usually meant death...
The success of autocracy depends mainly on the quality of the individual. The Romanovs did produce two political geniuses - the Greats Peter and Catherine - and several of talent and magnetism. After Emperor Paul's brutal murder in 1801, all the monarchs were  dutiful and hard-working, and most were charismatic, intelligent and competent, yet the position was so daunting for the normal mortal, that no one sought the throne any more: it was a burden that had ceased to be enjoyable...
It is unlikely that even Peter or Catherine could have solved the predicaments of revolution and world war faced by Nicholas II in the early twentieth century, but it was unfortunate that the Romanov who faced the darkest crises was the least capable and most narrow-minded, as well as the unluckiest. Nicholas was both a poor judge of men and unwilling to delegate. While he could not fill the role of autocrat himself, he used his power to make sure that no one else did either....

I'm sure the British Royal Family later regretted not allowing the Romanovs asylum. At the time of the February Revolution, Empress Alexandra was very much disliked in most foreign countries, including Britain. She was not then regarded as a victim of the Revolution as she would be later.
When the question of the British receiving the Russian royal family in Britain was first proposed, it was a political question, and was treated as such. It was not until later that King George and Queen Mary realized that the family was in physical danger, and by then it was too late to do anything.

how would you explain Edward’s story of being an eye-witness of the incident when Queen Mary denied granting asylum to them? Gore Vidal writes that he was told by George V’s first son himself, Prince Edward, about his account as an eye-witness of the scene.
There would have been more than one discussion and many such scenes, as the situation developed. There is little doubt that King George did ask for the British govt's first invitation to be withdrawn, and it may well have been at Queen Mary's instigation as she probably read the papers, while George probably didn't. But at that stage it was a political question, and family loyalty didn't come into it.

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