Thursday, June 16, 2016

Grand Duchess Anastasia Romanov: Daughter, Duchess, Legend - Day One

     There are people that live their lives, do great deeds and are remembered throughout history as heroes, icons and legends. Then are some that lives their lives and remembered just for that, for living…even after death. The last royal family of Russia, the Romanovs, Czar Nicholas, his wife Alexandra and their four children, Olga, Tatiana, Marie, Anastasia and Alexei were all brutally murdered by the Bolshevik Party in 1918.

     While this young family had committed no crime, they were considered failures to their country that was weak, starving and craving modern independence. However, if the Bolsheviks thought that the royal family was going to be forgotten, they were wrong. One family member especially has been both mystery and inspiration throughout the decades. And oddly enough, her name means ‘resurrection.’ 

     Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna Romanov started her life as a general disappointment to her family and her country. Russia, like other monarchies, was under the strictest of male-preference primogeniture law. Females were forbidden to take the throne and it was necessary that the heir be from the present ruler. Coming after three girls, Anastasia’s birth was the greatest anticlimax in Russia’s history.

     Relief spread throughout Russia when Alexandra gave birth to a boy two years later. The line was considered secured and the country and the family could relax. While Anastasia’s birth brought little to no joy to Russia, she was probably the most spoiled of the daughters, the apple of her father’s eye and the darling of the country. She was a beautiful golden haired baby that grew into a lively and charming girl with a great deal of personality.

Anastasia has fun in front of the camera
     Anastasia was devoted to her mother and was always at her father’s feet. She was called “Malenkaya” which meant little one or “shvibzik” that meant little imp. While her older sisters were ladylike, genteel and good students, Anastasia was tomboyish, rough and tumble and despised school (actually she just like annoying her tutors). She loved the outdoors and animals, roller skating inside the palace, writing and putting on plays, pulling pranks and meeting new people. Anastasia was life itself and her over-abounding happiness made her the heart of her family during their darkest days. 

      Anastasia, like the rest of her family, was deeply religious. Although she may have had her doubt about the elusive Grigory Rasputin, she trusted him and considered him a friend. As she grew older, Anastasia became much more thoughtful about life and the world around her. She enjoyed writing and was a talented artist and many of her pictures and little stories were saved.

     When WWI began in 1914, all of Europe was plunged into fullscale war. The Romanovs were immediate targets because Alexandra was from Germany and the world blamed Germany as the cause of the war. Meanwhile, there was turmoil and distress throughout Russia as the Bolshevik party began to take over and Lenin was spouting out his Marxist ideals. One of these ideas was the disposal of the wealthy and the powerful. As a royal family with a German princess, it wasn’t hard to convince people that the Romanovs needed to go. 

The Romanov Daughters - Olga, Tatiana, Marie and Anastasia
     In 1917, the Nicholas finally abdicated. He and the family were arrested and put under house arrest. During their captivity, the family made due of their poor conditions and actually found themselves very happy. A year later, several months before the war ended, the whole family was taken down to the basement and executed. Anastasia was only seventeen years old. She was young her whole life. Marxist ideology, hatred, fear and prejudice stopped the heartbeat of a young girl that would never become a legal adult, would never marry, never have children. However, it is Anastasia’s short life that has made her legendary.

      In the 1922, a woman named Anna Anderson claimed to be the lost Grand Duchess due to her intense knowledge of the Romanov's personal lives. This claim spawned a court case and a great deal of media attention, but Anna was eventually seen as an imposter and was not the first woman to claim to be Anastasia. However, Anna Anderson put Anastasia's life on the royal fascination map and from then on, their has always been some belief that she may have survived.  


  ***  A couple of bodies were found by the canal where the Romanov family were killed and they have been identified as possibly being Alexei and Marie, not Anastasia. ***

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