“Her tastes were very simple, and with her warm heart she was kindness itself.”1
Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna of Russia was born on 26 June 1899 (O.S 14 June) as the third daughter of Tsar Nicholas II and his wife, Alexandra Feodorovna. She was considered to be the prettiest of the four daughters. She had light brown hair, dark blue eyes and red cheeks. As a child, she was chubby and healthy. As she grew up, she became flirtatious and merry. She often talked about marriage and wanting a large family.2
The girls slept on hard camp beds without pillows and took cold baths each morning. Maria had an English nurse named Miss Eager, who was fascinated by politics. She was once so involved in a discussion that she forgot little Maria in the bath and Maria scrambled out of the bath, naked and dripping, and started running up and down the palace corridor.3 Maria shared a room with her younger sister Anastasia and they were known as the “little pair.” They were often dressed alike by their mother. Marie’s favourite scent to use was Lilas by Coty.4
Maria was too young to become a nurse, like her elder sisters, during the First World War. She did often visit patients and tried to boost the morale of the wounded soldiers.5
In early 1917, Maria fell ill with the measles and pneumonia and nearly died. She was actually the last of the children to catch the measles. She was not told of her father’s abdication until she had begun to recover. After her father’s abdication, Maria was initially under house arrest with the rest of her family. They were then moved to Tobolsk. When their final transfer to Yekaterinburg was to take place, her brother Alexei could not go because he was ill. It was decided that Maria should accompany her parents, while the other three sisters remained behind with Alexei and their tutor. The family was reunited a month later, and Maria gave up her bed and slept on the floor so that Alexei could sleep more comfortably.6 Initially life went on as usual with lessons, though the family was under constant guard.
While plenty of letters7 by Maria survive, once the family was reunited in Yekaterinburg, hardly any letters were going out. Most of the information from the Romanov’s last months in Yekaterinburg come from the diary entries of Nicholas and Alexandra. Nicholas recorded on 26 June (Maria’s 19th and last birthday), “Our dear Maria has reached her 19th year. The weather stayed the usual tropical, 26C in the shade, and inside 24C, even hard to tolerate! Spent an anxious night and stayed awake and dressed… All this was because the other day we received two letters, one after the other, which informed us to get ready to be kidnapped by some loyal people! But the days passed, and nothing happened, and the anticipation and uncertainty were extremely torturous.”8
In the early morning of 17 July, the family was awoken and taken to the basement where they were told to wait for the automobiles to arrive.9 As the family was gathered in the small room, the orders were read aloud, “Your relations have tried to save you. They have failed, and we must now shoot you.”10 Maria had been standing behind her mother, and she died quickly. 11
Maria’s remains were not discovered until 2007 and are still undergoing testing. Once this is complete, the remains, alongside those of her brother Alexei, will be interred with the rest of her family.
- Julia P. Gelardi – From Splendor to Revolution p.219
- Massie, Robert K. Nicholas and Alexandra p. 133
- Massie, Robert K. Nicholas and Alexandra p. 131
- Massie, Robert K. Nicholas and Alexandra p. 135
- Helen Azar – Maria and Anastasia: The Youngest Romanov Grand Duchess in their own words p.7
- Massie, Robert K. Nicholas and Alexandra p. 509
- Helen Azar – Maria and Anastasia: The Youngest Romanov Grand Duchess in their own words
- Helen Azar – Maria and Anastasia: The Youngest Romanov Grand Duchess in their own words p.186
- Massie, Robert K. Nicholas and Alexandra p. 516
- Massie, Robert K. Nicholas and Alexandra p. 517
- Massie, Robert K. Nicholas and Alexandra p. 517
Hi Ladies, I was wondering where the article on Grand Duchess Olga Nicholaenva (did I spell that correctly??) Her aunt has an article, but she is the only one of the Daughters of the Tzar and Tzarina I could not find.
Hi, Olga’s article will be posted on her birthday, the 15th of November! 🙂
So Sad. My Most Favorite Grand Duchess. I read that they could not prove what killed her, as there no bullets in her, was that try?😥💐🌸🌼💝🙏
Maria like her sisters had precious jewels sewn into her corsets and the bullets bounced off, the girls were eventually stabbed with bayonets. However her remains could have been those of Anastasia as they were close in age and examination could not determine whose skeleton it was. The missing boy and girl’s bones were only fragmentary and discovered later they are still awaiting burial at this time.A truly haunting tragedy.