The beginning of the end of Romanov rule of Russia began with the ascension of Nicholas II. Ill prepared for the crown by his father, Nicholas depended heavily on his new wife Alexandra (married under the shadow of the death of Nicholas’ father their marriage was seen as a curse by the Russian people). Problems for the Romanovs multiplied when Alexandra, after several difficult pregnancies, produced only female heirs leaving the line of succession unsure. A disconnect from the government and the people, and an overdependence on Alexandra and her religious advisors, made Nicholas appear weak and indecisive. When their son Alexi was born, the couple thought all their trails were over…unwilling to acknowledge the revolution brewing in their country.
Living an idyllic, close-knit family life, the Romanov children were unaware of the turbulence outside their palace. As Russia entered World War II the patience of the people frayed. They formed their own representative government, a rebellion that Nicholas did not handle well taking all power away from the Duma before their first meeting. The people, incensed at the Tsar’s disregard for their rights to be heard rebelled again and were only sated when Nicholas abdicated the throne. Living in exile and house arrest, the Romanovs thought they would be able to live the quiet life they had always wanted. But as the White Army marched to Siberia to free the family, their Bolshevik guards rounded the family up in the basement and murdered them, disposing of the bodies in a marsh. The legend of the Romanovs would live on after their 300 year reign.
The downfall of one of the richest families in the world makes for interesting reading. Add to that the mystique surrounding the reign and death of Nicholas II and you have a captivating story told by one of my favorite non-fiction writers, Candace Flemming. Don’t miss this fascinating story about the last Tsar and his family.