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“The name of Olga we chose as it has already been several times in our family and is an ancient Russian name,” Emperor Nicholas II of Russia wrote to Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
I am Her Imperial Highness the Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna Romanova of Russia. To differentiate from Olga Constantinovna, my aunt, and Olga Nikolaevna, my niece, I am referred to as Olga A and OA. I was born on 1/13 June 1882 to Emperor Alexander III (Alexander Alexandrovich) and his wife, Empress Maria Feodorovna, formerly Princess Dagmar of Denmark. I am the youngest child in my family. There are five before me, including Alexander, who died at 10 months and 26 days, and George, who died at twenty-eight.
“My father was everything to me. Immersed in work as he was, he always spared that daily half-hour. Once, my father showed me a very old album full of most exciting pen and ink sketches of an imaginary city called Mopsopolis, inhabited by Mopses. He showed it to me in secret, and I was thrilled to have him share his own childhood secrets with me.”
I had a brief, but wonderful childhood. Papa doted on his two youngest children, Floppy and I, who were inseparable. I was twelve when he died and Nicky became Emperor. Being so young, I suffered greatly at the loss. Mama, now Dowager Empress at only forty-seven, had hoped Nicky would serve as a father figure for Floppy and me, but our older brother could never take the place of our beloved father. I became my widowed mother’s companion, which was trying because she is reserved, formal, and well… boring. She did not take me on hikes in the forests. Instead, she paraded me around society like a caged animal.
“Children are children no more! I am sure you won’t BELIEVE what has happened. Olga is engaged to PETYA and BOTH are very happy. I had to consent, but it was all done so quickly and unexpectedly that I still cannot believe it; but PETYA is nice, I like him, and God willing, they will be happy. Don’t talk about it yet, except to Alix of course, your agitated Mama.”
I accepted a marriage proposal to escape it. Duke Peter Alexandrovich of Oldenburg was handsome, sophisticated, and "not interested in ladies" to put it delicately. I was completely naive of this. We were married on 9/22 August 1901, but our "marriage" was never consummated. I spent our wedding night crying because he was gambling. The family that I sought was found in Nicky and his family. I am particularly close to Olga, my namesake, and Anastasia, my god-daughter. Since Nicky’s wife, Alexandra, hates parties, I took it upon myself to escort my excited nieces to Saint Petersburg and to parties that I organized for them.
I met the true love of my life, Nicholas Alexandrovich Kulikovsky, in 1903. It was love at first sight. I asked Petya for an annulment. Instead, he appointed Kukushkin as a personal aide-de-camp, allowing him to live in my house until an annulment would be appropriate. Our romance was a kept secret and we did not act on it, but at least we were able to see each other. The Great War changed that. I, along with Alix and her two eldest daughters, became a nurse. Maria and Anastasia were too young to do so, but they had their own infirmary where they visited the wounded soldiers. Anastasia even had a military hospital train named after her. Kukushkin served with my regiment, the 12th Akhtyrsky Hussars, that was stationed on the frontlines in Southwestern Russia.
“My darling Olga, You have my permission and all my blessing for your upcoming wedding. May N. K. be worthy of you, dear, and may he give you all you deserve and expect from him! […] God bless you darling Olga! I shall think of you and pray for you more than ever. […] I hug you lovingly. Your old brother, Nicky.”
I was allowed to marry Kukushkin in 1916 following my annulment from Petya. Nicky and his family could not attend the wedding on 14/27 November; however, Mama did. During the Revolution, we lived in Kiev and then, the Crimea. We managed to escape the persecution of my family, unlike Nicky, his family, and Floppy, traveling all across Europe. There was a trying period of time where I once again became Mama’s companion and secretary in Denmark before finally settling in Canada.
"It is really terrible how I miss you all. I would love to show Tikhon in all his appearances. He is the sweetest in his bath in the morning when he wakes up. He is always happy and smiling. Most of his smiles go to the ceiling, with which he has a very good relationship. He talks with it a lot in a language only understandable to them. Together with Nikolai, we sing him different soldiers’ songs. He is delighted. Just now he fell asleep listening to the old march of the Chasseur regiment."
I spent my days raising my boys, Tikhon (born 12/25 August 1917) and Guri (born 10/23 April 1919), and painting while being bombarded with Romanov pretenders. Every one of them wanted to speak to “dear Aunt Olga.” My neighbors would ask me if I am a princess and I would tell them that I certainly am not. I am a Russian Grand Duchess! Royalty visiting the area would always pay me a visit, but I very much appreciated and accepted the kindness of those around me. Kukushkin died on 29 July/11 August 1958 and I died on 11/24 November 1960. I only outlived my sister, Xenia, by a few months. My Canadian descendants have revived the Romanov surname and are now addressed Kulikovsky-Romanoff.
In the What If? storyline. . .
Our family survived to become a part of a constitutional monarchy. The succession changed to include women again. That does not worry me because many would have to die, God forbid, for me to become Empress. I spend my days raising my children. My husband, who was granted the style of Count Kulikovsky-Romanovsky, and I welcomed our third child and only daughter in 1922. Nadezhda was born on 13/26 July.
The Romanovs - One Last Dance
Zone : History
My Reference Books:
The Craft Faire
Through the Lens
Mashkas Tea Room
Christopher of Greece
Princess Irina Alexandrovna
My Favorite Reads:
Seldom a Single Wave: Tales of the Viking Age
The Lost Age
The Raven's Fountain
Loved this detailed look at names!
Jul 14, 2019 01:28 am