The Year of the last Romanovs – Grand Duchess Tatiana Nikolaevna of Russia

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The second bright happy day in our family: at 10.40 in the morning, the Lord blessed us with a daughter – Tatiana. Poor Alix suffered all night without shutting her eyes for a moment, and at 8 o’clock went downstairs to Amama’s bedroom. Thank God this time it all went quickly and safely, and I did not feel nervously exhausted. Towards one o’clock the little one was bathed and Yanyshev read some prayers. Mama arrived with Ksenia; we had lunch together. At 4 o’clock there was a Te Deum. Tatiana weights 8 3/4 pounds and is 54 centimetres long. Our eldest is very funny with her. Read and wrote telegrams. – From the diary of Nicholas II[ref]Helen Azar and Nicholas B.A. Nicholson – Tatiana Romanov: Daughter of the last Tsar p. VII [/ref]

Grand Duchess Tatiana Nikolaevna of Russia was born on 10 June 1897 (O.S. 29 May) at the Peterhof as the second daughter of Tsar Nicholas II and Alexandra Feodorovna. The infant Tatiana took after her mother and Nicholas often remarked that she reminded him of his wife. By contemporary accounts, Tatiana was a calm and balanced child with dark hair and grey eyes. She was direct and had a dry sense of humour. She often wore white muslin dresses and sailor suits made by her mother as she grew up. She was very close to her elder sister Olga, and they were named “the big pair.”[ref]Helen Azar and Nicholas B.A. Nicholson – Tatiana Romanov: Daughter of the last Tsar p. X [/ref] The “big pair” shared a room and all the girls used Coty perfumes. Tatiana preferred the scent “Jasmin de Corse.”[ref]Massie, Robert K. Nicholas and Alexandra p. 135[/ref]

Tatiana was also close to her father and often accompanied him when no aide-de-camp was available. She was highly skilled in needlework and was described as the family’s manager and organiser.[ref]Helen Azar and Nicholas B.A. Nicholson – Tatiana Romanov: Daughter of the last Tsar p. XV [/ref] Her controlling nature over her younger siblings earned her the nickname, “the Governess.”[ref]Helen Azar and Nicholas B.A. Nicholson – Tatiana Romanov: Daughter of the last Tsar p. XV [/ref] The French Tutor Pierre Gilliard observed that “Tatiana was as religious as Olga, but was more patient at long orthodox; she also loved to read books of spiritual content. While Olga was sometimes a bit brisk in her conversation with strangers, Tatiana tended to be more shy at first.”[ref]Helen Azar and Nicholas B.A. Nicholson – Tatiana Romanov: Daughter of the last Tsar p. XVI [/ref]

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In 1911, Tatiana was excited to become the Imperial Patron, or Honorary Commander, of the 8th Voznesensky Ulans with their navy and yellow uniforms. The year 1913 marked Tatiana’s 16th birthday, but she also fell ill with typhoid fever. She was forced to shave off her beautiful long hair. That same year, she and Olga witnessed the assassination of Peter Stolypin as they and their father were attending a performance of Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera Tsar Sultan at the Kiev Opera House. Nicholas wrote to his mother, “Tatiana was very upset, and she cried a lot…”[ref]Massie, Robert K. Nicholas and Alexandra p. 226[/ref]

When the First World War broke out, the now 17-year-old Tatiana certified as a military surgical nurse. She was probably the most suited of all family for the work in the infirmary. A fellow nurse said, “all the doctors who saw the Grand Duchess Tatiana at her work (said) that she was born to be a nurse, that she gently and fearlessly touches the most serious wounds, that all of her dressings are done by a confident and skilful hand. Meanwhile, just the sight of some of these injuries could deprive (another) person of sleep and rest.”[ref]Helen Azar and Nicholas B.A. Nicholson – Tatiana Romanov: Daughter of the last Tsar p. XVII – XVIII [/ref]

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After her father’s abdication, the Imperial family was placed under house arrest. Shortly after the abdication, most of the family fell ill with the measles. Tatiana and Anastasia both had painful ear abscesses as a result of secondary infections. Tatiana even suffered from hearing loss because of it.[ref]Massie, Robert K. Nicholas and Alexandra p. 437[/ref] They were separated in April 1918 when Nicholas, Alexandra and Maria were moved to Ekaterinburg. Three of the sisters remained behind with Tatiana taking care of Alexei until he was well enough to travel. They were reunited a month later. [ref]Helen Azar and Nicholas B.A. Nicholson – Tatiana Romanov: Daughter of the last Tsar p. XIX [/ref]

On 17 July 1918, Tatiana was shot and bayonetted alongside the rest of her family.[ref]Helen Azar and Nicholas B.A. Nicholson – Tatiana Romanov: Daughter of the last Tsar p. XIX [/ref]

The entire family was canonised as Holy Martyrs by the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad in 1981, and in 2000 the Council of the Bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church canonised them as the “Holy Royal Passion Bearers.”[ref]Helen Azar and Nicholas B.A. Nicholson – Tatiana Romanov: Daughter of the last Tsar p. XIX [/ref]

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About Moniek 923 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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