Who is my fav Romanov, well that is a hard question! It would have to be Alexandra Fyodorovna. I have always been fascinated by her. As I have grown older I have understood her a little better. I do not say that I understand her, but I can see her points of view a little clearer. She came from a small provincial court and I think this had an enormous effect on the way she saw the Russian court in her early days. The education she had recieved and her knowledge of the constitutional monarchy of her grandmother created huge conflicts within her. I think Queen Victoria knew AF's failings and this is why she was against the marriage. I do not agree with some of Greg Kings conclusions about AF in Ekaterinburg, (but the new book on the Ipatiev house by him and Penny is the best book I have ever read on the subject, bravo you two, excellent work!!!!) I don't think she was a very different mother from many of the time. I mean of her class and education. I think by the time of Ekaterinburg she was an emotinal and physical wreck. But she could still call on reserves of strength, this I think she had learnt from the struggles with AN's illness.
Many have said that Nicholas II would have made a good constitutional monarch, but I am not sure AF would have been a good constitutional consort. You have to be seen to be that. She had similar traits to her mother and grandmother, reliance on men not of the family, i.e. John Brown. I have never believed the relationship with Raspution to have been physical. I am not convinced that Nicholas was always controled by AF, her letters are full of why have you not, when will you and you must listen to our friend. But I do hold her in a special place, I think she did love Russia, but her misfortune was to be in love with a Russian that was rapidly changing and had no place for the Autocracy. She was a good mother and devoted wife and what would any of us have done if we had the constant knowledge that our children or spouse could be blown up at any moment. Would you not have wanted to withdraw to a place of safety, mentally and physically.
She fascinates me and I have to say I am a little obsessed by her. Her faith has always been an example to me, I wish I had such devotion.
David Newell, London April 2004