Author Topic: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?  (Read 34584 times)

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Offline TimM

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #135 on: August 23, 2016, 07:27:54 AM »
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Risking British lives to transport vital military equipment to an ally was different to risking British lives to transport the King’s foreign relatives. 

That's why a deal with Germany would have to be made first (through a  neutral third power), so Germany would not attack the ship transporting the IF to Britain. 

This could have happened.  This wasn't Hitler's Germany, after all.  The Kaiser did have some honour in him, after all.
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Offline NicolasG

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #136 on: August 23, 2016, 08:42:32 AM »
I cannot see how anyone can use terms like ‘bunch as many problems’ and ‘strategy’ in describing correspondence of nearly 100 years ago and then state unqualified conclusions that are really conjecture.

What is clear is that the Kings views were made known to the government in a series of notes and letters.  People on this forum have noted many possible problems that might have been encountered in allowing the Romanovs to come to Britain.  No one knows if the government and the monarch had taken account of any or all of these problems in reaching their decisions but given what is known of the circumstances at that time but in my opinion the King was right express the views that he did.  For me he put the interests of the monarchy and the country first (the two things were partly caught up with each other) and in doing so he acted correctly.

When was the deal done with the enemy regarding the Romanovs' travel arrangements?  An offer of safe passage was made by the enemy which was passed on to the Russian government by a Danish politician. For a deal to be done, the British government had to agree as well.  Is this documented?  Risking British lives to transport vital military equipment to an ally was different to risking British lives to transport the King’s foreign relatives.  



"Conjectures" is the business of historians, because usually kings, statesmen, dictators, revolutionaries.... don't keep a diary where they explain the reasons behind every decision they take. These "conjectures" can be valid guess or wild speculations, depending on how they fit with the information available.

An example of wild speculation: Nicholas II, who looked like George V's twin brother, wanted to replace him as the King of Great Britain and have him imprisoned in a dungeon, as in Anthony Hope's "The Prisoner of Zenda". There's nothing to support it. In fact, it is something that I have just made up.

An example of valid guess: George V panicked. That's the conclusion a historian, Helen Rappaport, reaches in her book Ekaterinburg. Why? She analyses the information available:

1. 9 March 1917: The British government gave their agreement to the Russian provisional government's proposal to offer asylum in Britain to the Russian Imperial Family.

2. 17 March 1917: Lord Stamfordham, the King's secretary, wrote to Balfour, Secretary of State for Foreing Affairs, expressing the King's misgivings about the Russian Imperial Family arriving in Britain.

3. 20 March 1917: Balfour replied that they cannot go back on their word. The deal is done and cannot be reversed.

4. 21 March 1917: Stamfordham sent Balfour a letter giving the King final assent: "As His Majesty's Ministers are still anxious that the King should adhere to the original invitation sent on their advice His Majesty must regards the matter as settled."

5. 24 March 1917: Stamfordham, following the King's order, started a campaign (2 letters that day, meetings with Lloyd George and Balfour) to stop the arrival of the Russian Imperial Family to Britain, after giving his agreement to it twice: 9 March and 21 March.

How to explain that complete volte-face? Why would George V go back on his word given TWICE? The most logical explanation, one that fits with all the information we have, is that he panicked.

Of course, you would not believe it, unless we can present an entry is George V's diary stating literally: "I panicked". Well, in 99,9% of the cases historians lack that kind of evidence. If you think that any conclusion that is not based in that kind of evidence is not valid, forget about history (and journalism, and politics).

And now, why should you keep posting about mines, submarines and deals with Germany, if you have already reached the conclusion that George V's decision was right?
If what George V did was the right thing to do, why should you look for excuses?

George V had already succeeded in having the Government reject the request that they had initiallt granted: Nicholas II and his family would not come to Britain. The door was closed, the drawbridge was raised for them. What does it matter how many mines or how many German submarines were between Russia and Britain, if the Russian Imperial Family would not be allowed to travel there? We might as well discuss the possibility of them settling in the Moon.

Offline Horock

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #137 on: August 23, 2016, 10:34:21 AM »
I cannot see how anyone can use terms like ‘bunch as many problems’ and ‘strategy’ in describing correspondence of nearly 100 years ago and then state unqualified conclusions that are really conjecture.

What is clear is that the Kings views were made known to the government in a series of notes and letters.  People on this forum have noted many possible problems that might have been encountered in allowing the Romanovs to come to Britain.  No one knows if the government and the monarch had taken account of any or all of these problems in reaching their decisions but given what is known of the circumstances at that time but in my opinion the King was right express the views that he did.  For me he put the interests of the monarchy and the country first (the two things were partly caught up with each other) and in doing so he acted correctly.

When was the deal done with the enemy regarding the Romanovs' travel arrangements?  An offer of safe passage was made by the enemy which was passed on to the Russian government by a Danish politician. For a deal to be done, the British government had to agree as well.  Is this documented?  Risking British lives to transport vital military equipment to an ally was different to risking British lives to transport the King’s foreign relatives.  



"Conjectures" is the business of historians, because usually kings, statesmen, dictators, revolutionaries.... don't keep a diary where they explain the reasons behind every decision they take. These "conjectures" can be valid guess or wild speculations, depending on how they fit with the information available.

An example of wild speculation: Nicholas II, who looked like George V's twin brother, wanted to replace him as the King of Great Britain and have him imprisoned in a dungeon, as in Anthony Hope's "The Prisoner of Zenda". There's nothing to support it. In fact, it is something that I have just made up.

An example of valid guess: George V panicked. That's the conclusion a historian, Helen Rappaport, reaches in her book Ekaterinburg. Why? She analyses the information available:

1. 9 March 1917: The British government gave their agreement to the Russian provisional government's proposal to offer asylum in Britain to the Russian Imperial Family.

2. 17 March 1917: Lord Stamfordham, the King's secretary, wrote to Balfour, Secretary of State for Foreing Affairs, expressing the King's misgivings about the Russian Imperial Family arriving in Britain.

3. 20 March 1917: Balfour replied that they cannot go back on their word. The deal is done and cannot be reversed.

4. 21 March 1917: Stamfordham sent Balfour a letter giving the King final assent: "As His Majesty's Ministers are still anxious that the King should adhere to the original invitation sent on their advice His Majesty must regards the matter as settled."

5. 24 March 1917: Stamfordham, following the King's order, started a campaign (2 letters that day, meetings with Lloyd George and Balfour) to stop the arrival of the Russian Imperial Family to Britain, after giving his agreement to it twice: 9 March and 21 March.

How to explain that complete volte-face? Why would George V go back on his word given TWICE? The most logical explanation, one that fits with all the information we have, is that he panicked.

Of course, you would not believe it, unless we can present an entry is George V's diary stating literally: "I panicked". Well, in 99,9% of the cases historians lack that kind of evidence. If you think that any conclusion that is not based in that kind of evidence is not valid, forget about history (and journalism, and politics).

And now, why should you keep posting about mines, submarines and deals with Germany, if you have already reached the conclusion that George V's decision was right?
If what George V did was the right thing to do, why should you look for excuses?

George V had already succeeded in having the Government reject the request that they had initiallt granted: Nicholas II and his family would not come to Britain. The door was closed, the drawbridge was raised for them. What does it matter how many mines or how many German submarines were between Russia and Britain, if the Russian Imperial Family would not be allowed to travel there? We might as well discuss the possibility of them settling in the Moon.

The ‘Prisoner of Zenda’ about sums this up.

The government gives its approval to a request for the Romanovs to be allowed to reside in Great Britain.  As far as I can see this was an approval in principal. If any of the practical details of the matter- the journey and the living arrangements in Britain had been worked out and documented, where are those details?

Eight days later, the King informed the government of his misgivings regarding this matter.  I cannot see a ‘volte-face’ here.

Four days later, acting constitutionally (not unconstitutionally as previously claimed on this forum) the king gives the royal assent to the government’s decision. As he had to give that assent I cannot see a ‘volte-face’ here.

Over the next four days the King continues to express his misgivings regarding the matter of the Romanovs coming to Britain, having fulfilled his constitutional duty in approving this matter. I cannot see a ‘volte-face’ here. I cannot see how by continuing to express his misgivings, the King can be said to have a ‘panicked’.
 
Where in this series of events has King George V gone back on his word?

Speculation regarding the possible political problems that might have been caused by the Romanovs living in Britain is reasonable, as is speculation regarding the dangers involved in their journey and the political consequences that might have ensued had something gone wrong during that journey.

How ridiculous can this get?  An opinion is expressed regarding the King’s conduct, reasons are given for forming that opinion and these are described as ‘excuses’.


Offline NicolasG

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #138 on: August 23, 2016, 03:51:10 PM »

  
Where in this series of events has King George V gone back on his word?



1. On March 9 1917 Mr Lloyd George (Prime Minister), Mr Bonar Law (Chancellor of Exchequer and Leader of the House of Commons) and Lord Hardinge (Undersecretary at the Foreign Office), with Lord Stamforham, the King's secretary as representative of George V AGREED to offer asylum to the Russian Imperial Family in Britain:

Lord Stamforham: "It was generally agreed that the proposal that we should receive the Emperor in this country (having come from the Russian Provisional Government which we are endeavouring with all our powers to support) could not be refused... Lord Hardinge undertook to draft an official telegram to Sir George Buchanan to the effect that the King and His Majesty's Government would be prepared to give effect to Monsieur Miliukov's request that the Emperor and his family should be received in this country."

2. On March 21 1917, Lord Stamforham, writing to David Balfour on behalf of George V, confirmed the King's acceptance of the offer:

"As His Majesty's Ministers are still anxious that the King should adhere to the original invitation sent on their advice His Majesty must regard the matter as settled, unless the Russian Government should come to any fresh decision on the subject."

3. On March 24 1917, Lord Stamforham, writing again to David Balfour:

"The King wishes me to write again on the subject of my letter of this morning... Buchanan ought to be instructed to tell Milyukov that the opposition to the Emperor and the Empress coming here is so strong that we must be allowed to withdraw from the consent previously given to the Russian Government's proposal."

Isn't that "going back on his word"? Isn't that "a complete volte-face"?

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« Last Edit: August 23, 2016, 03:54:11 PM by NicolasG »

Offline JamesAPrattIII

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #139 on: August 23, 2016, 08:50:36 PM »
I would like to point out again the overthrow of the Tsar really shocked a number of royal families. I would say it shocked George V badly. I must also point out again that in 1917 he was being accused of disloyalty and being non-English hence the name change to Windsor.

a while back someone mentioned that the IF should try and get away through China. The only way to do this was to travel along way passed Omsk to where the Trans-Siberian railroad branches off into China then the rail line goes to either Port Arthur or Vladivostok. This is the Buxhoeveden took out of Russia in the book "Left Behind"

As for an escape from Tobolsk the book "Former people" mentions a number of nobles who planned to save the IF, but they gave it up as being too difficult.

Another problem with planning a escape from Tobolsk is the IF may not get much help from the local ROC. Because the local head was Bishop Hermogen . The same Bishop Hermogen who attacked Rasputin and was punished by Nicholas for his actions. Hermogen from what I have read had a reputation for being extremely quarrelsome and being a rabid anti-Semite. He is arrested by the Reds in the spring of 1918 and is taken to the Tobol river where a rope tied to a large rock was put around his neck then the rock was tossed in the river from a boat.


Offline TimM

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #140 on: August 25, 2016, 07:30:21 AM »
Someone needed to remind George V of the English Civil War, in which ultimately decided that Parliament, not the Monarch, was in charge. 

If the British Government wanted to invite the Russian IF to Britain, they could have done so whether Georgie Boy liked it or not.   Unlike Russia, Britain was not an Autocracy.  The King could advise, he could suggest, but he had no power to interfere with Government.

Perhaps if Lloyd George had a solid majority in Parliament, he could have gone ahead and invited the IF in without worrying about others bringing his government down (which happens in Coalition Governments).
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Offline Horock

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #141 on: August 25, 2016, 12:02:30 PM »
Right. We have already established that George V did not act unconstitutionally, that he did not block any government decision and that the matter of whether he panicked is purely a matter of opinion.

I do not know how things worked in Spain in 1917 (or how it works with the monarchy in post Franco Spain), but in Great Britain in 1917, as now, the monarch cannot overturn any lawful government decision and the monarch has to approve what the government decides to do. Were the monarch to defy the elected government then that government of the day would resign and the opposition would refuse to form a new government. 

The Monarchy gets the Civil List, Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and so but as far as the normal business of government is concerned, the monarchy is utterly powerless. Who knows, perhaps that is why anyone can read the Court Circular to find out what the Queen is doing but has to look on the Alexander Palace Time Machine to find out about what the Tsar was doing. If non Britons on here have romantic visions of the monarch then or now deciding this or that on behalf of the country then sorry, that did not, and does not happen.

The only aspect of the episode regarding the former Tsar's possible exile in Britain that made it in any way different to normal government business was that the Romanovs were related to the King – hence the exchanges of correspondence and the meetings.

As far as the King was concerned, he seems to have had reservations about the Tsar coming to Britain but accepted the decision of the government.  The following, copied from previous posts should about cover things:
'17 March 1917: Lord Stamfordham, the King's secretary, wrote to Balfour, Secretary of State for Foreing Affairs, expressing the King's misgivings about the Russian Imperial Family arriving in Britain. '
'21 March 1917:"As His Majesty's Ministers are still anxious that the King should adhere to the original invitation sent on their advice His Majesty must regard the matter as settled” '.

As far as the government of the day was concerned, I can only guess that of its 10 most pressing matters at that time, the fate of the former Tsar was about number 25.

I thought this thread was bad until I looked at a thread on this forum regarding the lunatic idea that George V was bribed.

Offline NicolasG

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #142 on: August 26, 2016, 07:08:13 AM »
Right. We have already established that George V did not act unconstitutionally, that he did not block any government decision and that the matter of whether he panicked is purely a matter of opinion.

Who are you including in that "We"?

In order for a debate to take place, a minimum of intellectual honesty is needed. You have not shown any. In your last post you wrote that "He (George V) accepted the decision of the government". He did, indeed, twice: on March 9 and March 21. And then, on March 24 he changed his mind, went back on his word and pressed the British government to go back on theirs. You deliberately left out the final part of the story. That kind of crass manipulation would not fool a five-year old child.

So from now on I am not going to waste my time replying to any of your posts. Have a nice day.

Offline NicolasG

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #143 on: August 26, 2016, 07:29:22 AM »
What four historians have to say about George V's role in the withdrawal of the offer of asylum for the Russian Imperial Family.

"What does remain certain is that the King, by persuading his Government to withdraw their original offer of asylum, deprived the Imperial Family of their best, perhaps the only, means of escape".

King George V, Kenneth Rose, 1983

"It was believed then and for a long time afterward that it was the Prime Minister David Lloyd George who had dissuaded George V from following his generous impulses. Lloyd George himself liked to perpetuate this impression. But it has since become known that he did so to protect the King, who had vetoed the earlier decision for fear that it would embarrass the Crown and irritate Labor MPs who were "expressing adverse opinions to the proposal." The King's role in this dishonourable action was kept in strict secrecy..."

The Russian Revolution, Richard Pipes, 1990

"To his honour, the Kadet leader, Miyukov, now Foreign Minister in the Provisional Government, requested that the British government offer Nicholas II and his family asylum in England. Initially the British felt constrained to agree. Very quickly came second thoughts and it was the King, and old personal friend of his Russian first cousin, who took the lead in closing off the possibility of asylum."

Nicholas II, Dominic Lieven, 1993

"And so, on 10 April, at the King's insistence, a telegram had arrived at the British embassy in Petrograd fron Lloyd George's government advising that it was no longer deemed wise for the Imperial Family to come to England...Official records, however, do not back up the accusations that Lloyd George was directly instrumental in preventing the Romanovs from coming to England. Indeed, he too came under pressure when writing his War Memoirs in 1934 to cover up the King's ignominious abandonment of the Tsar, by scrapping an entire chapter on the discussions over the asylum offer..."

Ekaterinburg, Helen Rappaport, 2008
« Last Edit: August 26, 2016, 07:31:23 AM by NicolasG »

Offline Horock

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #144 on: August 26, 2016, 01:17:40 PM »
Is there a contemporary document that shows that George V urged the government to accept the Russian government's request for the Romanovs' to be able to live in Britain before the government decided to agree to that request?


Offline JamesAPrattIII

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #145 on: August 29, 2016, 06:36:28 PM »
One person who should have been at the center of all escape plans is Colonel Kobylinsky commander of the Guard force ay TS and later Tobolsk. The only account I have found of him being used is in the book "The Real Romanovs" which has him recruiting a small detachment of loyal men to aid in a escape. he planned to flee northward to Obdorsk a settlement in the Artic circle and hold up until a ship arrives. The book points out Kobylinski needed money to do this but the monarchist supporters refused to give him any since they heard rumors he spoke disparagingly of OTMA. This looks like the least worst of the bad options of getting the IF out of Russia after escaping form Tobolsk. While I don't reguard this source as not that great.
 On Kobylisky he may have been a fine man , but he did have some problems. He mentions being wounded having shell shock what we would now call PTSD Kidney trouble and was unfit for frontline service. This was why he was in Petrograd at the start of the Revolution. In reading his testimony in last days of the Romanovs by George telberg online at archive.org This man acts like he is falling apart mentally. This is the book "Nicholas and Alexandra" as well.  One wonders how good of an leader he would have been if he had taken charge of the escape.
 On the plus side for the IF if they had escaped and had gone north into the artic there may be someone to rescue them. In the book "File on the Tsar" there is a chapter the Jonas lied Affair about a planned artic rescue operation. King George v and others knew about it approved of it and backed it, but the PM Lloyd George vetoed it. This is because in the spring of 1918 the British French and US goverments were doing everything they could to keep Russia in WW I. it should also be point out that on 21 march 1918 Operation Michael AKA the Kaiserschalacht began this was the first of the great 1918 German offensives that was supposed to win the war for Germany. For awhile it looked like they might succeed. So saving the IF was put on the backburner. The night the IF was murdered 16/17 july 1918 is the same date were the last of the great German offensives were called off.

Offline TimM

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #146 on: August 30, 2016, 07:16:19 AM »
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This is because in the spring of 1918 the British French and US goverments were doing everything they could to keep Russia in WW I.

That's how Lenin won, his big  promise was peace.
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Offline NicolasG

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #147 on: August 30, 2016, 08:07:41 AM »
On the plus side for the IF if they had escaped and had gone north into the artic there may be someone to rescue them. In the book "File on the Tsar" there is a chapter the Jonas lied Affair about a planned artic rescue operation. King George v and others knew about it approved of it and backed it, but the PM Lloyd George vetoed it. This is because in the spring of 1918 the British French and US goverments were doing everything they could to keep Russia in WW I. it should also be point out that on 21 march 1918 Operation Michael AKA the Kaiserschalacht began this was the first of the great 1918 German offensives that was supposed to win the war for Germany. For awhile it looked like they might succeed. So saving the IF was put on the backburner. The night the IF was murdered 16/17 july 1918 is the same date were the last of the great German offensives were called off.

I am very sceptical about those "the Scarlet Pimpernel / James Bond" plans to rescue the Russian Imperial Family from Siberia. Certainly there were people in Russia who wanted to save them and devised ineffective plans, but I do not think that any of those plans had any kind of support from foreign governments. I do not think it is very likely that the very same man, George V, who panicked at the request of an ally government to collect the Imperial Family in Murmansk and take them to Britain might be involved in something much more dangerous and more likely to fail.

Regarding Lloyd George's veto, the "File on the Tsar" was written before Kenneth Rose published his biography of George V and at that time, following Buchanan's memoirs, Lloyd George was still the villain who had opposed granting asylum to the Russian Imperial Family.

Kenneth Rose tries to explain George V's lack of remorse after the murder of the Imperial Family was known by making up a theory he might have been involved in some kind of rescue attempts:

"Having belatedly realized the danger to which their cousins were now exposed, he may have instigated or at least encouraged the British Secret Service to rescue them by bribery or force. The planning of such a scheme, although in the end it came to nothing, would have taken the will for the deed, stilled the King's uneasy conscience and enabled him to recall his conduct towards the Tsar without guilt.
All this is mere conjecture. No evidence exists to link the King with those abortive plans known to have been made for the rescue of their ex-ruler...
It is a tenous theory, yet not implausible."

Kenneth Rose, King George V, p. 216-217

Helen Rappaport also mentions some British attempts, but they do not seem serious.

"As late as March 1918 a Hudson's Bay trouble-shooter called Henry Armistead, who also worked for the British secret service and whose family were well-known traders in Riga, was said to gave set up a Romanov rescue bid in collaboration with a Norwegian Arctic shipping merchant, Jonas Lied, aimed at getting the family out of Tobolsk, via the River Enisei in Siberia to Murmansk... The rescue plan he had mooted, using British agents and local Russian monarchists officers, had foundered because the British government would not stump up the money to fund it, but also because the Ipatiev House proved utterly impregnable and Alley's associates in Ekaterinburg too closely watched by the local Cheka."
Helen Rappaport, Ekaterinburg, p.153-154

The author does not state the source of this information, but it is probably Mangold and Summer's The file on the Tsar, included in the bibliography. So everything is based on that book.

How it looks like: someone came to the British Secret Service saying that he had an idea to rescue the Imperial Family. They noted it down, checked it with their agents in Russia (there was some kind of British consul in Ekaterinburg), saw that it was very difficult and that was it. Probably neither Lloyd George nor the King had any influence in vetoing it.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2016, 08:09:29 AM by NicolasG »

Offline JamesAPrattIII

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #148 on: October 11, 2017, 02:29:11 PM »
This is from the book "Last Hope Island" King Haakon VII of Norway "...had offered to send a warship to rescue his first cousin, Tsar Nicholas II, and the tsar's wife and children after Nicholas was dethroned in 1917. King George v, Haakon's brother-in-law and another first cousin of Nicholas's, had told the Norwegian king not to bother, that he would send a ship for the Russian royal family himself. The British vessel, however, had not been dispatched, and Haakon had reportedly never forgiven his brother-in-law for abandoning Nicholas and his family, who were murdered by the Bolsheviks in 1918."


Offline GDSophie

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #149 on: October 11, 2017, 09:06:49 PM »
This is from the book "Last Hope Island" King Haakon VII of Norway "...had offered to send a warship to rescue his first cousin, Tsar Nicholas II, and the tsar's wife and children after Nicholas was dethroned in 1917. King George v, Haakon's brother-in-law and another first cousin of Nicholas's, had told the Norwegian king not to bother, that he would send a ship for the Russian royal family himself. The British vessel, however, had not been dispatched, and Haakon had reportedly never forgiven his brother-in-law for abandoning Nicholas and his family, who were murdered by the Bolsheviks in 1918."



King Haakon VII of Norway and Alfonso of Spain tried rescuing them it seems then. George V should have told Haakon VII they changed their minds so Haakon could have stepped in. Even Prince Phillip was/is reportedly angry about his Russian cousins murders, rightfully so, and how George pulled out from rescuing them.
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