Friday, March 23, 2007

Remembering Anastasia and the Romanovs

Nothing captures the imagination more than a tragic story of death at the hands of the enemy. Yet, one must contend that the escape of one from the hands of her captors is also quite exciting to many. This is how many would describe the tragic story of the Imperial Russian Family, the Romanovs. I searched various websites dedicated to the Romanovs, and i found an interesting one which carried not only the biographies of each of the the Romanovs but also an album full of pictures of the Royal Family. (click here to go the site). Incidentally, i also learned that Prince Charles' father, Prince Philip of Edinburgh, is related to the Romanovs on both sides of his family. His relation to the Romanovs finally closed a chapter on the history of the Romanovs, as the Prince gave DNA samples which proved that the skeletal remains found in a Russian mine were indeed that of the executed Romanov family.

There was a movie years ago called Anastasia, based on the story of Princess Anastasia's supposed escape from his family's executioners. as a backgrounder, here is what Jane Kuo, owner of the site "The Romanovs: A Royal Family" wrote on Princess Anastasia:

Anastasia, born on June 5, 1901, was the youngest daughter of Nicholas and Alexandra. She had brown hair and blue eyes and was the jokester of the family who liked to play pranks on people and was the enfant terrible of the family.

Anastasia and her older sister, Maria, were known in the household as the "Little Pair", being the younger sisters. As well as their older sisters, they shared a bedroom and Anastasia dominated her older sister with her energy and enthusiam.

She was very short and thin but during the family's captivity, she became plumper and her mental development had slowed down. Even though she was living through a horrible time, she still managed to entertain her family during a performance. Anastasia took the male lead and she was supposed to turn her back and open her dressing gown. The tail of the gown went up to her back, showing her wearing her father's underwear.

Most people believe that Anastasia died with her family on July 16/17, 1918 but there have been claims that she had survived. The most famous was Anna Anderson, who claimed to be Anastasia. It was later proved that Anna wasn't the Grand Duchess. Anastasia would have been 17 years old when she died.

The bloodline of the Romanovs still survive. As i mentioned earlier, Prince Philip, duke of Edinburgh and husband of Queen Elizabeth II is a relative of the Romanovs. It is sad to note that the massacre might have been prevented had Tsar Nicolas' cousin, King George V of England, given the family safe haven in Britain.
As a postscript, in 1998, the remians of the "massacred" Romanov Family were finally laid to rest at the St. Peter and Paul church in St. Petersberg. Though the Russian Orthodox church refused to accept the scientific findings, then russian president Boris Yeltsin did attend the funeral rites and said that the burial should finally put an end to russia's bloody past.