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I am Her Imperial Highness the Grand Duchess Tatiana Nikolaevna of Russia, although you can call me Tatiana. I am the second daughter and child of Tsar Nicholas II (my beloved Papa, Nicholas Alexandrovich) and Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia (my dear Mama). I have three sisters; the older Olga, who is my best friend and confidante, the younger Maria who we call Mashka or Marie, and Anastasia our resident "shvibzik". We collectively go as 'OTMA', writing it in our diaries, letters and postcards. I also have a little brother, our Baby, Alexei.
I have dark auburn locks (the darkest out of all we children) and blue eyes-that are far apart like some of my Russian ancestors-that can look grey in certain lights, not hazel or dark amber like some people say. I look more like my Mama's Hessian side like Anastasia and Alexei then that of my Papa's like Olga and Maria, although some have said that at certain angles I look like my Papa.
I am the tallest of we children, although Marie is catching up pretty quickly, and the slimmest. I have been described as 'reserved and "well balanced"' but less spontaneous then Olga.
My favourite perfume is Jasmine de Corse, which is so strong you can smell me from a mile away, so Anastasia has claimed. I have had three dogs throughout my life; Ortino I, who was a gift from my dear Dimitri Malama, Jimmy who was a gift from our dearest friend Anya Vyrobova and Ortino II, who was also from Malama after Ortino I died. During this time Anastasia's faithful furry companion also past on, and she was so upset I gave her Jimmy to cheer her up. I already had been given Ortino II then, and it would be too unfair if I had two dogs and Anastasia had none!
I am known as "Tatiana Nikolaevna", "Tanya," "Tatya," "Tatianochka," or "Tanushka" by family and servants. Being called 'Her Imperial Highness' is embarrassing. Once I was addressed as "Your Imperial Highness" by lady-in-waiting Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden when I was heading a committee meeting that I kicked the poor woman under the table and hissed "Are you crazy to speak to me like that?". I am accustomed to being addressed only by my name and patronymic and was disconcerted by the use of it, that her and my Mama had to tell me that I had to be addressed according to my status when at committees or at public affairs. Now I am used to it in public, but will not stand for any of my servants or family members calling me 'Your Highness'. It simply will not do!
I am well rehearsed in piano, but Olga is better we think; she puts so emotion into her playing and can repeat any piece she hears by ear! I think it a dreadful bore, and not into playing like my sister.
In 1917 the Russian Revolution came along. It was a terrifying moment for us all; our beloved Alexander Palace had regular blackouts and we had no communication with the outside world. Then, like God was punishing us in this trying time, Alexei and Olga caught measles from one of Baby's playmates and eventually, Anastasia and I were bedridden with the horrible disease. Maria was the healthiest, and ran about doing chores for Mama with Lili Dehn but according to her, she once found Maria sobbing in the corner of a room from sick with worry for us and Papa who we had not heard from in weeks and stress from being so busy. The four of us were all quarantined to keep Maria from catching the horrible thing, but eventually, while Alexei was near recovery she caught it AND pneumonia. You see, she went out with Mama in the cold to convince the soldiers to stay at the gates. Maria's the strongest out of all of us, but because she was already weakened by measles she became the sickest. We nearly lost her a few times, but God gave her the strength to pull through. Olga had no idea Maria was even ill because she became temporarily deaf!
When she recovered she was finally told of Papa's abdication. We were no longer Grand Duchesses, instead I became Tatiana Nikolaevna Romanova which suited me fine. Before Papa came back the medicine we had been taking to help us recover made our hair fall out, so OTMA had their heads shaved. It was less embarrassing then when I had my hair shaved in 1913 when I picked up typhoid from a glass of orangeade at the Tercentenary celebrations, because this time Olga, Maria and Anastasia also had to go through with it. Alexei followed us a day later.
We were under house arrest at Alexander Palace until Alyosha's birthday in August of 1917. We were moved to Tobolsk for our safety; except for it being a bit less, clean, then our previous home we settled in nicely. Then, in spring of 1918, we were told Papa had to go to Moscow for trial. Mama also went with him, but Maria was taken to help her as I had to stay and run the household in her absence; Olga was too depressed, Anastasia too young and Alexei was injured from sledding down the stairs weeks prior.
We missed the three of them awfully when they left, but when Alexei was well enough again we left to follow them. To our great surprise we found out we were not heading to Moscow, but Yekaterinburg where Papa, Mama and Maria had been taken. It was awful living there, but we had each other.
In the early hours of 17th July, 1918 we were all executed. Papa, Mama, Olga, Maria, Anastasia, Alexei and I were sent up to God alongside our faithful servants. We were made Saints of the Russian Orthodox Church nearly ninety years later.
In the What If? storyline...
Greetings once again!
It's now 1924, nearly eight years since we last spoke. We all survived those dreadful years, but just a little different then before. So many things have changed, first of all Papa is not the absolute monarch anymore, instead he is the constitutional ruler. Which he is quite happy with, he never wanted to be Tsar in the first place. He is still Emperor but without as much power as before. Mama is rather upset with it, she wanted Alexei to inherit the Russia his ancestors had, but things change, and with it the future.
Maria was the first out of we girls to marry. She wed her soldier love, Ivashko Tarkhan, in the summer of 1918. I was so surprised that Papa allowed one of his daughters to marry beneath her, but she is very happy and we all knew the younger ones wouldn't marry crown princes anyway so it isn't as surprising as it should be. She is happy so I will be too. She has three children; Natalia (1919), Nicholas (1921) and Grigory (1923). And no, Grisha is not named after Our Friend!
In 1921, Olga became Princess Alexandra of Wales. Yes, she married Edward (David as we call him) like we all expected. She wasn't very happy leaving her beloved Russia, but she has settled in quite nicely and is getting along quite well with her husband, especially since they had their daughter and my niece, Catherine (1922). She is in the family way once more, and we are all praying-although in England it is not mandatory-for a son!
To our surprise, Anastasia married Crown Prince Leopold of Belgium in 1922. Mama was so proud that her youngest made a royal match, especially since we all thought her and Maria would not marry any future Kings. Anastasie will be Queen of the Belgians, and I had been so horribly jealous. She made the marriage I should have made, but I wouldn't have married Leopold, he's too young. I am very proud of her regardless. We thought she would become an actress, so scandalous! In 1923 she gave birth to my nephew and Belgium's future King, Philippe. Hopefully he won't be as mischievous as his Mama!
Alexei proposed to his love, Princess Elizabeth of Greece and Denmark, and she accepted. They will wed this year in October! I am so happy for them both!
And me? I married my cousin Prince Christopher of Greece and Denmark, or Christo as we call him. Elizabeth's uncle.
As Anastasia would say; 'how did that happen?'. I'm shocked as well! He proposed to me when he visited Russia to be one of Marie's brides-men at her wedding.
It was such a surprise, I had no idea that he wanted to marry me in the first place! Truthfully, I was expecting a proposal by Prince Alexander of Serbia who expressed his desire to marry me in the past, but Christo?!
I asked my poor cousin if he could allow me time to think, and after consulting with the sisters (Olga believed he would make me happy unlike other Princes, Marie was in her own little world babbling on about how he loved me and how sweet it was while Anastasia just laughed at the thought of Cousin Christo in love with me) I agreed to marry him. He looked so happy, but I think he knew that I only accepted to be close to Mama. She needed me!
We married in 1919, and I became Her Imperial & Royal Highness Princess Tatiana of Greece and Denmark, Grand Duchess of Russia. We lived in a house in Tsarskoe Selo, built specifically for us but we regularly stayed in Alexander Palace so I can be closer to Mama.
During a visit to America in 1920, I gave birth to our daughter in Baltimore, Alexandra "Sandra". It was horrifying and painful that I swore I would never do it again, but in 1922 a son is born to Christo and I, Michael. I call him "Misha" but everyone and their mother calls him "Mikhos". He was born in Russia and so is Russian, not Greek!
When 1923 came around, I was not expecting Christo to be offered the Lithuanian throne. A selfish part of me begged the stubborn Christo to consider the offer, as I did not want to be under my Mama's thumb any longer and I wanted to be useful to the people. He accepted, and we became His and Her Majesties King Kristoforas and Queen Tatiana of Lithuania. Misha became Crown Prince and Sandra, their Princess.
Christo sacrificed so much for me and my happiness, so I'm trying to be a better wife to him. We are getting along better now, and hopefully one day there will be a place in my heart for him.
All pictures are manips done by members of the board, courtesy of Marie Nikolaievna.
The Romanovs - One Last Dance
My Reference Books:
Alexei Nikolaevich Tsarevich
Christopher of Greece
My Favorite Reads:
The Romanovs - One Last Dance