My introduction to Anastasia and the rest of the Romanov family started (like with most people of my generation) was seeing the 1997 animated film Anastasia. While the story was 95% total inaccuracy, it captured the hearts and minds of young people everywhere and gave light and interest to Anastasia Romanov. However, the movie itself is not about Anastasia, at least the real Anastasia. The movie is about the alluring legacy of Anastasia and her family and is also based on the 1956 film (starring Ingrid Bergman and Yul Bryner). When Anderson made claims that she was the actual Grand Duchess, that stirred a controversy throughout the world that hasn't really ended.
What is it about Anastasia and her family that forever fascinates so many people? A lot of it could be summed in the fact that they were not a typical by the book royal family. Many of their journals, photo albums and photographs were saved and the world has been given an extraordinary inside look at the lives of a royal family that had fun, spent time with one another and were genuinely gracious people. While Nicholas and Alexandra were terrible rulers, they poured their lives into their children which was a rarity at that time for any royal couple.
Another factor is how they all died in such a brutal and unmerciful way. Their murder left the whole world in shock when it happened in 1918 and has been considered one of the worst mass murders in history. If the family had died of sickness or even a train accident, that would be one thing; there would have been some sense of honor. However, there is no honor found in death by a firing squad. Especially when your crime was being born royal and nothing else.
Only a few years into Lenin's Communist regime and the Russian people began to see that they were better off under the royal family, but by then it was too late. So, when Anna Anderson made her claim that she may be the lost Grand Duchess, it would be understandable why it made world news. A young princess who survived a firing squad and is the last in her family line? That's truly the stuff of fairy tales! Even when Anderson was revealed to be a fraud and imposter, it did not diminish people's desire to find out if any of the Romanovs survived.
Today, Anastasia would have 115 years old. Yet, she never lived to see eighteen; she was barely seventeen. She was a young girl who loved her family, her life and was gifted in so many ways. Anastasia is only a small representation of who the Romanovs were as a whole. A good family that did what they thought was best for themselves and for the country. While Alexandra made some terrible decisions that brought down the monarchy, would the life of her only son have been worth it? Studies and research into the deaths of the Romanov family still continue on today. No other royal family in history has a greater impact on world as the Romanovs have and their youngest daughter, whose name meant resurrection, is still one of the most alluring mysteries of the 20th century.