Having visited Maria Feodorovna's bedroom while under the auspices of the Baltic Fleet, I can assure you the walls were not papered pink, nor was there a tented ceiling. The fireplace remained as did the cornice. The room, used as a library, was divided up with tall bookcases and gave a totally utilitarian impression. When I asked permission to take photographs, this was denied. What they could not deny me was the opportunity to look out of the windows and take in the aspect of the room where Nicholas was born, he and Alexandra spent their honeymoon. I think it will be a long time before TSM authorities have the funding or time to restore this room along with the others on the west wing - although potentially this could be the most 'profitable' area of the restored palace housing lecture theatre, commercial and other educational activities. I believe the restaurant area will be in the basement - a reflection of Nicholas' I choice for food preparation! Because of their siting, it does not appear it will be possible to restore Elizabeth Feodorovna's rooms which, I believe, remain largely intact but delapidated.
An Instrument of Restitution has been worked on for well over ten years, the object being that displaced items be returned to their original 'homes'. Having witnessed the huge, leather-bound volumes around which the endeavour to restore all items removed from the Alexander Palace and resited at Peterhof, the Hermitage and - the majority - at Pavlovsk, this is a massive task which seems to be going nowhere. We had Tatiana Nicholaevna's nurse's dress, cape and apron on display at the Alexander Palace for a while - 'borrowed' from Pavlovsk, but even that had to be returned. Like former Imperial retainers, soviet curators were meticulous in continuing the cataloguing of every item and its precise location.
Much of what rightfully belongs to the Alexander Palace remains at Pavlosk...some adopted to appear as a natural part of Pavlovsk's possessions, but much not displayed. The Grand Palace at Pavlovsk does not attract the number of visitors it did soon after its restoration and during the very active and forward-looking leadership of Yuri Mudrov. His successor, Nicolai Tretchakov, has now departed and I believe he has been replaced by a female director. The new director at Peterhof is also a woman.
Now we have a trio of women running those palace complexes, we might witness a very different approach and a greater degree of sensitivity applied to this difficult subject. However as long as the all-powerful Piotrovsky Dynasty reigns at the Winter Palace/Hermitage - where they have so much they don't know what to do with it all - resistance will remain.