Tatiana Romanov

BIRTH: 10 June 1897
Peterhof Palace, Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire

DEATH: 17 July 1918 (aged 21)

Ipatiev House, Yekaterinburg, Russian Soviet Republic

 

Grand Duchess Tatiana Nikolaevna of Russia (Tatiana Romanov) was the second oldest daughter of the Romanov Family, her parents named her Tatiana in honor of sisters Olga and Tatiana Larina from the book Eugene Onegin by Alexandre Pushkin.

Tatiana's official title, "Grand Duchess", translated literally means "Grand Princess", that is, as an "imperial highness" she was on a higher level than other European princesses who were only referred to as "royal highness". Accustomed to being treated only by her name and nicknames, she was disoriented when Baroness Sofie Buxhoeveden called her "Your Imperial Highness" and asked her: Are you crazy to treat me like this? Tatiana was also religious and liked to ponder abstract ideas. Her ideals were generally seen as poetic and spiritual.

Anna Vyrubova, her mother's friend recalled: “Tatiana was her mother's perfect incarnation. Taller and more slender than the sisters, she had the smooth, refined manner of her English ancestors. Kind and friendly, she had a protective spirit towards her younger sisters and brother, so that they jokingly nicknamed her "The Housekeeper". Of all the grand duchesses, Tatiana was the most beloved among those who knew them, and I suspect that, in their hearts, she was the most tenderly loved by her parents. Of all the sisters, Tatiana was the most sociable. She liked society and long friendships. But friends for these well-born, but unfortunate girls, were very difficult to find. The empress feared for her daughters the company of naughty girls from the aristocracy, of minds, early on fed nonsense and usually other vices, of intrigues of the decadent society. The empress discouraged associations with cousins ​​and close relatives, many of them precocious in their life points. "

Tatiana and her sisters were raised with some austerity. She and the sisters slept in removable beds, without pillows, took cold baths in the morning and were always expected to be busy with embroidery or knitting in their spare time. His works were offered to solidarity bazaars.

Tatiana and Olga were known as "The Big Pair" in the family. While the two youngest, they formed "The Little Pair". The four sisters sent gifts and signed letters using the nickname "OTMA". And they always shared their things with each other, and with their friends.

They (big pair) shared a bedroom and were very close to each another from early childhood. In the spring of 1901, Olga had typhoid fever and was confined to the nursery for several weeks. When she began to recover, Tatiana was permitted to see her older sister for five minutes but didn't recognize her. When her governess, Margaretta Eagar, told her that the sickly child was Olga, four-year-old Tatiana cried bitterly and protested that the pale, thin child couldn't be her beloved older sister. Eagar had difficulty persuading Tatiana that Olga would recover. French tutor Pierre Gilliard wrote that the two sisters were "passionately devoted to one another."

Tatiana was nicknamed by the brothers "the Housekeeper" because she was the one who interceded with her parents if they wanted to ask for something. Tatiana was described as tall, with light brown hair and gray-blue eyes.

Olga was 18 months older than Tatiana, but she uncomplainingly allowed Tatiana to be the leader of their group.Gilliard wrote that Tatiana was reserved and "well balanced" but less open and spontaneous than Olga. She was less naturally intelligent than Olga, but she was more hard-working and dedicated.
Colonel Eugene Kobylinsky, the family's guard at Tsarskoye Selo and Tobolsk, claimed that Tatiana "had no liking for art" and that "it would have been better for her had she been a man."
Others claimed that Tatiana expressed her artistic talents by choosing attractive clothing and creating elegant hairstyles. Her mother's friend Anna Vyrubova wrote that Tatiana was talented in embroidery and crocheting and that she could dress her mother's hair as well as a professional hair stylist.

Her favorite scent was Jasmine de Corse de Coty which was discontinued in 1950. She also liked to read fashion novels and magazines. She was considered a good pianist.

Like her mother, Tatiana was deeply religious. She read  Bible frequently, studied theology, and struggled with the meaning of "good and evil, sorrow and forgiveness, and man's destiny on earth". She decided that "one has to struggle much because the return for good is evil, and evil reigns. Her English tutor, Sydney Gibbes, claimed that Tatiana viewed religion as a duty rather than a passion.

Like her sisters, Tatiana was unworldly and naive. When her lady-in-waiting sent a carriage without an attendant, Tatiana and Olga decided to go shopping for the first time. They ordered the carriage to stop near a group of shops and went into one of the stores. The shopkeepers did not recognize them because they wore nurses' uniforms. They left the shop without buying anything, because they didn't carry money with them and had no idea how to use it. The next day, they asked Chebotareva how to use money.

In the spring of 1913, Tatiana suffered from typhoid fever and, to her chagrin, lost all her hair. A year later, when the First World War broke out, Tatiana became a nurse at the Red Cross together with Olga and their mother. They took care of wounded soldiers in a private hospital in Tsarskoye Selo. According to reports from that time, Tatiana was almost as competent and committed as her mother and only complained about the fact that, due to her age, she was spared more demanding cases.

Tatiana was very patriotic and apologized in a letter dated 29 October 1914 for the negative comments made to the Germans in the presence of her mother born in that country. She explained that she forgot that her mother was born in Germany because she saw her only as a Russian. The Tsarina replied that she felt that way too and that her daughter had not insulted her with her sharp words, but was hurt by the rumors circulating among the Russian people that she was a German spy.

August 1915, Tatiana wrote another letter to her mother expressing her desire to help her carry the burdens brought by the war: I simply cannot tell you how sad I am for you and for everyone. I'm so sorry that I can't help you or be useful. At times like this, I feel sorry for not being a man.

During the period when Tatiana worked at the hospital, she met a wounded soldier named Dmitri Malama, who gave her a French bulldog as a gift, which she named Ortino, when Otino die Dmitri gave anotehr dog to Tatiana and this new dog also died in the Ipatiev house with her.

It is said that Tatiana and Dmitri had an affair.

In August 1919, Malama was killed while commanding a unit of the White Russians fighting the civil war against the Bolsheviks in Ukraine.

The Serbian king Peter I wanted Tatiana as a bride for his younger son, Prince Alexander. In January 1914, the Serbian prime minister Nikola Pašić delivered a letter to Tsar Nicholas in which King Peter expressed a desire for his son to marry one of the Grand Duchesses.Nicholas replied that he would allow his daughters to decide whom to marry, but he noticed that the Serbian prince Alexander often gazed upon Tatiana during a family dinner. Marriage negotiations ended due to the outbreak of World War I. Tatiana exchanged letters with Alexander during World War I. Alexander was distraught when he learned of her death.

When Tatiana was already in captivity in Tobolsk, she missed being caring for wounded soldiers from World War I. It is strange to sit in the morning at home, to be in good health and not to change bandages! Tatiana wrote to Chebotareva. Tatiana, apparently trying to defend her mother, asked her friend Margarita Khitrovo in a letter dated 8 May 1917, why her fellow nurses did not write to her directly. Chebotavera wrote in her diary that, while she felt sorry for the rest of the family, she was unable to write directly to the empress because she blamed her for the Revolution. If anyone wishes to write to us, then let them write directly, the Tsar's daughter wrote to Chebotareva on December 9, 1917.

In April 1918, the Bolsheviks transferred Nicholas, Alexandra and Maria to Yekaterinburg. The remaining children stayed in Tobolsk due to the fact that Alexei suffered another attack of hemophilia and was not in a position for the long trip. It was Tatiana who persuaded the mother to go with her husband. Alexandra decided that her strong daughter should also be left behind to take care of Alexei. During the month they spent separated from their parents and sister, Tatiana, Olga, Anastásia and a maid who had stayed with them, they kept busy sewing precious stones and all kinds of jewelry inside their clothes, to hide them from your guards. Tatiana and the sisters were later shocked when they were sexually harassed by the guards aboard the ship "Rus" that took them from Tobolsk to Yekaterinburg in May 1918. The guards followed the leads of one or more employees in the group and searched for jewelry. Sydney Gibbes was haunted for the rest of his life by the memory of the Tsar's daughters' terrified screams and the fact that he could do nothing to help them.

Pierre Gilliard, the French tutor and family photographer, later recalled the last time he saw Olga, Tatiana, Anastasia and Alexei when they were separated in Yekaterinburg: “Sailor Nagorny, who always took care of Alexei Nikolaevitch, passed my window with the sick boy in his arms, behind him came the grand duchesses loaded with suitcases and small personal belongings. I tried to get out, but I was pushed sharply into the carriage by a guard. I went back to the window. Tatiana Nikolaevna came in last, carrying her small dog and struggling to drag her big, heavy brown suitcase. It was raining and I saw her feet sink deeper into the mud with each step she took. Nagorny tried to help her; he was pushed hard by one of the guards.

At Yekaterinburg, She spent a great deal of time sitting with her mother and ill brother, reading to her mother or playing games to occupy the time.

At the Ipatiev House, Tatiana and her sisters were required to do their own laundry and make bread. Her nursing skills were called upon at the end of June 1918 when she gave an injection of morphine to Dr. Eugene Botkin to ease his kidney pain.

On 15 July, Tatiana and her sisters appeared in good spirits as they joked with one another and moved the beds in their room so visiting cleaning women could scrub the floor. They got down on their hands and knees to help the women and whispered to them when the guards weren't looking. All four young women wore long black skirts and white silk blouses, the same clothing they had worn the previous day. Their short hair was "tumbled and disorderly". They told the women how much they enjoyed physical exertion and wished there was more of it for them to do in the Ipatiev House.

On the afternoon of 16 July 1918, the last full day of her life, Tatiana sat with her mother and read from the Biblical Books of Amos and Obadiah, Alexandra noted in her diary. Later, mother and daughter sat and just talked. As the family was having dinner that night, Yakov Yurovsky, the head of the detachment, came in and announced that the family's kitchen boy and Alexei's playmate, 14-year-old Leonid Sednev, must gather his things and go to a family member. The boy had actually been sent to a hotel across the street because the guards did not want to kill him along with the rest of the Romanov party. The family, unaware of the plan to kill them, was upset and unsettled by Sednev's absence. Tatiana went that evening to Yurovsky's office, for what was to be the last time, to ask for the return of the kitchen boy who kept Alexei amused during the long hours of captivity. Yurovsky placated her by telling her the boy would return soon, but the family was unconvinced.

Late that night, on the night of 16 July, the family was awakened and told to come down to the lower level of the house because there was unrest in the town at large and they would have to be moved for their own safety. The family emerged from their rooms carrying pillows, bags, and other items to make Alexandra and Alexei comfortable. The family paused and crossed themselves when they saw the stuffed mother bear and cubs that stood on the landing, perhaps as a sign of respect for the dead. Nicholas told the servants and family "Well, we're going to get out of this place." They asked questions of the guards but did not appear to suspect they were going to be killed. Yurovsky, who had been a professional photographer, directed the family to take different positions as a photographer might. Alexandra, who had requested chairs for herself and Alexei, sat to her son's left. The Tsar stood behind Alexei, Dr. Botkin stood to the Tsar's right, Tatiana and her sisters stood behind Alexandra along with the servants. They were left for approximately half an hour while further preparations were made. The group said little during this time, but Alexandra whispered to the girls in English, violating the guard's rules that they must speak in Russian. Yurovsky came in, ordered them to stand, and read the sentence of execution. Tatiana and her family had time only to utter a few incoherent sounds of shock or protest before the death squad under Yurovsky's command began shooting. It was the early hours of 17 July 1918.

The initial round of gunfire killed only the Emperor, the Empress and two male servants, and wounded Grand Duchess Maria, Dr Botkin and the Empress' maidservant, Demidova. At that point the gunmen had to leave the room because of smoke and toxic fumes from their guns and plaster dust their bullets had released from the walls. After allowing the haze to clear for several minutes, the gunmen returned. Dr Botkin was killed, and a gunman named Ermakov repeatedly tried to shoot Tsarevich Alexei, but failed because jewels sewn into the boy's clothes shielded him. Ermakov tried to stab Alexei with a bayonet but failed again, and finally Yurovsky fired two shots into the boy's head. Yurovsky and Ermakov approached Olga and Tatiana, who were crouched against the room's rear wall, clinging to each other and screaming for their mother. Ermakov stabbed both young women with his 8-inch bayonet, but had difficulty penetrating their torsos because of the jewels that had been sewn into their chemises. The sisters tried to stand, but Tatiana was killed instantly when Yurovsky shot her in the back of her head. A moment later, Olga too died when Ermakov shot her in the head.

In 2000, Tatiana and her family were canonized as Bearers of the Passion for the Russian Orthodox Church.

© 2019 made by Mark Margo

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