Look at the logistics of arranging and carrying it out. THAT is where this all falls apart IMO.
Ok. So, how exactly does Ernie arrange to show up? He can't pick up the phone and call Alicky. Too many people listen in on her phone line.
Telegram? forget that. It would pass thru too many unsecure hands.
Letters? well, we don't want this all in writing as evidence, do we?
Diplomatic channels? Well, who and how??
OK: so, Ernie pops up at the Finnish border. How does he get to Petrograd? Hop on the train with hundreds of witnesses? Nicholas arranges for a car? well...lets see, Border guards, customs agents, railroad police? I mean, Russia is at WAR, and its not exactly like Ernie can just stroll on into the country, can he?
So, ok, he somehow manages to make it to Tsarskoe Selo TOTALLY UN NOTICED. Now, anyone who has studied the functionality of the town knows that every single visitor to the town is recorded. Period. Now, he somehow gets slipped into town, then pops up at the AP. You could not covertly slip into the palace. EVERY entrance to the Imperial Park has guards. The roads are patrolled by police, every single portal into the palace has a Cossack guard STANDING there. EVERY single door inside has a footman STANDING there. Servants hurrying about the halls, Ministers, valets, aides, etc etc all about.
Will ANYONE who believes the visit took place PLEASE explain, logically, HOW the visit could be arranged, planned and executed without a single piece of documentary evidence or one SINGLE actual first person eye witness evidence. I mean, Nicholas couldn't alert all those people swearing them to silence without somebody surviving to tell the tale? The literally HUNDREDS of people who would have HAD to have been involved left not ONE single first hand shred of evidence?? This makes NO sense.
I gotta agree. Such a visit just wasn't possible. Unless Ernie had the stealth skills of a ninja warrior or borrowed a cloaking device from the Romulans, I don't see how such a visit could have taken place.
And all the people at the palace that would have seen Ernie. Even if Nicholas managed to get them all to keep quiet, what about after the war. Both the Hohenzollern and Romanov dynasties were out of power, there would have been no further need to keep this quiet. Someone would have said something.
I too don't buy the "someone told someone else that they saw Ernie there". That's hearsay, something that would get thrown out in a modern court of law.