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Mama and teensy tiny baby meMy adoring public! Hello! I am Her Imperial Highness the Grand Duchess Anastasia, but you may call me Anastasia Nikolaievna, Nastya, Shvibz, or any number of other things, because formal titles are a bore and I do not want to be bothered by them! I was born on June 5/18, 1901, and am the fourth and youngest (and most interesting if you ask me!) daughter of Tsar Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra. I am closest to my little brother Alexei (Alyosha is so much fun!) and my older sister Maria (MASHKA!). I have two other big sisters, Olga and Tatiana, whom I also love dearly.

We are OTMA, an acronym of our names (Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia -- that's me at the very end!). I have pretty hair that's kind of brownish-reddish-golden. I'm the only one of the sisters to wear my hair in bangs! I also have beautiful cornflower blue eyes that are the same color as my dear, sweet Papa's! Olga and Tatiana are disgustingly thin... not like me and Mashka at all, but at least Marie is tall! I hate being short! Some people even have the nerve to call me "dumpy!"

Alexei, Olga, Tatiana, Mashka and me, 1906


Olishka is the smart one, Tanya holds the authority among we children (in fact, we call Tatiana "the Governess!"), Maria is a perfect angel, and Alexei is our Baby. This leaves poor little me, the youngest daughter, to be the family clown. I do impressions of people (like the the fat countess who is afraid of mice, or...) and I often climb trees to avoid lessons or a visit from a doctor or massuese, and I only come down when Papa himself tells me to do so. I am very charming (or so everyone says, and I am inclined to agree!) and I love dogs. I've had two: Shvibzik was my doggy who died in 1915 of a brain disorder, and Jimmy.

Me in 1910.  Aren't I CUTE?But I am not all sweetness and goodness like my roommate Maria! Oh no. My cousins tend to remember me as a rough little girl: they remember me pulling their hair and whatnot! One reason is because I'm so short (I was only about 5'1"-5'2" or so at 17) and I would mercilessly pick on anyone who was taller than me, especially when I was older and out-ranked them (like cousin Nina Georgievna... grr...) . That's really the only time my rank mattered to me. I am also a tease and I will make fun of anyone and everything: Olga's funny little nose, Tatia's bossiness, Mashka's flirting. . . you get the idea! I have a talent for picking up on a persons "foibles" and exploiting and mimicking them to the best of my considerable ability, and I am very fond of pulling pranks. I've been called an "imp," a "very monkey for jokes," and an "enfant terrible."

I am called by various nicknames: "Shvibz", which is short for the Russian word for Imp, 'Shvibzik'; Malenkaya, Russian for "Little One," Nastasia, Nastya, Nastas, 'Caspian Nastaska'... I answer to them all! In family correspondance I am often simply "A." or "An." and I am called "Anastasia Nikolaievna," without any of my formal titles, by members of the Imperial suite (tutors and servants and stuff). Same with my sisters and brother: Maria Nikolaievna, Alexei Nikolaievich, etc... When I was little people thought I would grow up to be the prettiest of we sisters, but... I don't think so. Tatiana (the 'aristocratic' fairy princess--bah!) and Maria (our 'typical Russian beauty') are the beauties of the family, but Olga and I certainly are not UGLY. I don't care about such girly things. I'm much more of a tomboy, and clothes, jewels and boys are all just a bunch of FUSS! Except for maybe Dmitri Pavlovich... Ahem.

Me and Alexei.  We were very close, can you tell?!?I shared a room with my Mashka, who is just two years older than me. Maria and I are the "Little Pair." Olga and Tatiana are the "Big Pair" ( they share a room, too). Sometimes I think I may take advantage of my good Marie (she is so sweet about everything!). I am the power behind much of "the Little Pair's" activites, especially the pranks! Maria and I used to play tennis in our room at the Alexander Palace. Our room is also above Mama's receiving room and we would turn up our phonographs as loud as they would go, and generally make a racket, embarassing poor Mama in the process!

I am also very, very, very close to Alexei, my little brother the Heir Tsesarevich who was born in 1904. Mama and Papa were so happy to finally have a boy after four girlies (they love OTMA dearly, of course, but they needed a son because only a boy can rule Russia). He is sick though... It's kind of a secret so I don't want to talk about it. So let's not talk about it, OK? Alyosha is so much fun! He likes jokes and pranks and other nonsense as much as me, and if I can't convince Mashka to do something with me (she can be so stubborn), Alexei is always willing, except when he is ill. It is so hard for us when our Lyosha is ill. He'll be in bed for days and days, I like to go and be silly to cheer him up... Oh! I'm sorry, I thought we weren't going to talk about this?

a formal portait of me, c. 1914


I also like to act, take photographs, and paint. I like art, and so does my god-mother, Auntie Olga Alexandrovna. She sometimes has parties for me and my sisters, and I also like it very much when she visits and we paint together. She's a very talented artist! Sometimes Mashka paints with us too, because Maria is also a very good painter, but sometimes it seems like Masha doesn't really care too much about it. I like to paint pictures and give them to Papa. He likes them a lot, so that leads me to believe that I must be a very good painter too!

Mashka and me visiting the hospital we sponsoredWhen the war started in 1914, everything started to change. Mama, Olga, and Tatiana became nurses. Mama and Tatiana were suited for the work, but Olya was not. Masha and I were too young to be nurses, be we went and visited the soldiers and sponsored our own hospital! We went often to help out in small ways and to keep the poor wounded men company. Papa was often away and Alexei would go with him later, and I wrote Papa lots and lots of letters! We girls were all honorary colonels-in-chief of various regiments, mine was the 148th Caspian Infantry Regiment of Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaievna. Of course it's mine, for is has my name in it! I don't have a picture of me in uniform (there are ones of the sisters), but you can see my regiment's badge if you'd like!

In March of 1917, we were all coming down with the measles. Maria and I were the last ones to catch it, and I helped out Mama (Papa was away, Olga, Tatiana, and Alexei were already sick) until I got sick too. Blech. It was no fun being sick, and there was a lot going on. While Mama was taking care of we children, the revolution happened. The people didn't want a tsar anymore, so Papa abdicated--for himself and Alyosha--and gave the throne to Uncle Mikhail, who didn't really want it, either! Marie then got sick--with measles and pneumonia! She and Olga had it real bad, and almost died. Papa came home, we got well, had our heads shaved (our hair was falling out!) and were under house-arrest in the Alexander Palace! Can you believe that? From Grand Duchess to prisoner!

me in 1917, and bald as a cue-ball!!!!We stayed there until the summer, working outside on a kitchen garden, and then we were moved to Tobolsk, Siberia. We lived in the Governor's mansion, all four of us girlies sharing a room. It wasn't bad, but it was so boring! We put on plays and stuff to try and pass the time. In April of 1918, we were told that Papa needed to go. To Moscow, I think it was. We would have all gone together, but Alexei had hurt himself. Mama was so upset, having to decide between Papa and her "Sunbeam." In the end she decided to go with Papa, and they took Maria with them! Olga needed to watch after Alyosha, Tatia was to be in charge of the household and I was supposed to "cheer all up."

We were so surprised when we found out that they didn't end up in Moscow at all, but Ekaterinburg! We joined them there eventually, when Lyosh was well enough to travel. We were so happy to be all together again, but--UGH!--was life there awful. While some guards were nice and kind of friendly, others were drunk and mean and they drew nasty cartoons and--it's too awful to talk about. No matter what anyone tells you, we all died together (along with four loyal friends) in the early hours of July 17, 1918. I was barely seventeen years old. Some people think I escaped, and some even pretended to be me, like Anna Anderson.

My whole family was cannonized in 2000 (we were all very religious and even before we were granted sainthood many thought of us as martyrs). I wonder what my cousins would think to know that "wild, rough" Anastasia is now a Saint!?

anastasia

In the What If? storyline. . .

Well, that's it then: I'm married. I'm now Her Royal Highness Princess Anastasie of Belgium, Duchess of Brabant. "Duke of Brabant" is the title they give to the heir to the throne in Belgium, like they do with "Prince of Wales" in England. So, yes--that makes me the Belgian Crown Princess. It's all very strange and I am still not at all used to it. My husband (ack! What a thought!) is obviously the Crown Prince, Leopold. He's gorgeous which is perhaps the main reason I married him. I like him, we aren't really in love, but such a thing is hardly a requirement of royal marriages and we're certainly starting off in a better place then either Olga or Tatiana did with their husbands. Mashka didn't have a 'royal' marriage and so she doesn't count.

Perhaps I should explain. Tatiana married Papa's ghost-hunting, piano-playing cousin Prince Christopher of Greece in 1919 and they have two children; Sandra and Michael. They recently became the King and Queen of newly-independent Lithuania. I know, I've never heard of it either. Mashka did exactly what she always said she would do and married her "soldier boyfriend" Ivashko Tarkhan in 1918. They are mad about each other. It's disgusting. They have three children, Natalia, Nikolai and Grigory, and Papa recently changed the succession to include Mashka and her children, much to my sister's horror. Poor Olga married the Prince of Wales (whom you know as Edward but in the family we call David) and now is stuck in England. They call her Alexandra there which is so strange. They have a daughter, Catherine, who will one day be Queen of England if Olga doesn't pop out a boy next.

this is LEOPOLD.  isn't he handsome?!?!?Alexei is in love with Christo's niece, Princess Elizabeth, whom we played with when she was little and whom her sisters call "Woolly;" a nickname which I think is just GREAT! She and her sisters Olga and Marina are very nice girls, although I can't forgive them for being taller than me. As for Alexei, I only tease him a bit--honest! Now we are back to ME. As I mentioned, I just married the very tall, very bookish, very French-speaking (but very HANDSOME!!!) crown prince of Belgium and I will someday be Queen of Belgians. Vive la Reine Anastasie!! Poor Zhilik must be having a heart attack. He was my French tutor and I was never very good!

I think Leo and I will be happy together. We already have one child, my little 'Brussels Sprout,' Philippe. That's right--Anastasia produced a male heir on her first try. You are welcome, Belgium!

My Novels:

The Romanovs - One Last Dance

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Marie Nikolaievna
Olga Oldenburg
Alexei Nikolaevich
Irina Ekaterina Peterova
Christopher of Greece
Elena Vladimirovna
Aleksandra Feodrovna
Leopold III
Tsar Nicholas II
Georgie Kent
King Albert
Queen Elisabeth
Nicholas II
Olga Nikolaievna
Prince Charles
Ekaterina Alexeevna
Olga Nikolayevna

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Panda
Good characterisation
Nov 03, 2018 12:03 pm
Panda
Genius!
Jul 19, 2018 05:35 pm
Panda
Best Bicycle Ride
Dec 17, 2009 10:23 am
Panda
Best explanation about Russian Nicknames
Dec 17, 2009 09:56 am


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