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THE ROMANOV FAMILY ARCHIVE, 24.05.2018 - 30.12.2018

Nicholas II’s 150th birth anniversary exhibition in the Room near Third Antechamber of the Catherine Palace from May 24 to December 30, 2018. Currently closed approximately till September 30 (TBC).

2018 marks 150 years since the birth of Nicholas II, the last Emperor of Russia whose life was closely tied to Tsarskoe Selo.

Born at the Alexander Palace on May 18 (O.S. May 6), 1868, he always felt for this place and made it his permanent residence in 1905. There he spent the last 13 years of his reign and the first months of his imprisonment after the abdication. From there his family left for exile in Tobolsk on August 1, 1917.

Commemorating the 150th birth date of the last crowned owner of Tsarskoe Selo, the Museum is honoured to present a collection of personal documents and photographs of the Romanov dynasty members, acquired in London in 2017 thanks to financial support by Sberbank of Russia.

Covering more than half a century of Russian history from 1866 to the 1920s, the archive’s 200 artefacts include warm telegrams from Emperor Alexander III and his wife Maria Feodorovna to their children, as well as letters from their daughter, Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna, to her younger brother Mikhail, with whom she corresponded from a young age. The little brother and sister had hardly learned to write when they began sharing their impressions of some discoveries and funny occasions in their then carefree lives. Later married to Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich, Xenia never forgot her “dear Mishkin” to whom the newly-weds often wrote from their estates in Crimean Ay-Todor and Caucasian Abbas-Tuman. In his letters from the French city of Biarritz, Grand Duke Alexander liked to describe his passions for motorboat rides, hunting, fishing, archaeological excavations, tennis, golf and cards. Xenia and Mikhail’s correspondence in 1913 reveals a new stage in their uneasy family relations, with the drama of the morganatic marriage between Mikhail and Natalia Brasova.

Of great importance to the Museum are several autographs of Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra Feodorovna, acquired as part of the archive. Empress Alexandra’s letters are accompanied by her watercolour drawing with an Easter congratulatory signature for Xenia.

The letters of Grand Duke Nikolai Mikhailovich to Prince Georgy Shervashidze, the Oberhofmeister (Head Court Master) under Empress Maria Feodorovna, describe the tragic events of 1917–1918. Nikolai’s diary-styled neat handwritings reflect his visionary understanding of Russia’s future fate.

Several letters received by Grand Duchess Xenia during her emigration were written by Dowager Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom, a sister to Empress Maria Feodorovna.

The acquired archive is the largest entire collection of Romanov-related documents and photographs, purchased by the Museum over its 100 years.

A catalogue to be published (TBA) for a closer look at the documents on our display.

Click pictures above to enlarge them

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