The offer of asylum in the United Kingdom for the Romanovs




(Public domain)

As time passed, what was one to do with the former Imperial family? At first, life went on as normally as could be expected. The family went out into the park together as loitering soldiers snickered as they went passed.1 The family planted a vegetable garden, and Nicholas began sawing up dead trees in the park.2

The family probably expected to be sent abroad at one stage. Pierre Gilliard, the children’s tutor, said, “Our captivity at Tsarskoe Selo did not seem likely to last long, and there was talk of our imminent transfer to England. Yet the days passed and our departure was always being postponed…”3

(public domain)

Nicholas II was a first cousin of King George V of the United Kingdom, and the two bore a striking similarity. The Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, was highly reluctant to permit the deposed Tsar and his family to come to the United Kingdom. However, as the request for asylum had not come from the Tsar himself but from the Provisional Government, it could not be refused. If Nicholas came to the United Kingdom, Russia would have to foot the bill.4

Although the Provisional Government had taken the initiative, the Soviet were hostile to the idea of the Tsar leaving Russia. The chairman of the Petrograd Soviet exclaimed, “The Republic must be safeguarded against the Romanovs returning to the historical arena. That means that the dangerous persons must be directly in the hands of the Petrograd Soviet.” The moving of Nicholas and his family to Murmansk, from where they could depart for the United Kingdom, was postponed.5

A personal telegram from King George V never reached the Tsar. It reads, “Events of last week have deeply distressed me. My thoughts are constantly with you, and I shall always remain your true and devoted friend, as you know, I always have been in the past.”6 As news leaked in the United Kingdom that asylum had been offered, opposition began to mount. A semi-official statement from the Foreign Office stated, “His Majesty’s Government does not insist on its former offer of hospitality to the Imperial Family.”7

Eventually, the failure of the project was blamed on the Provisional Government “not being masters in their house.” The Prime Minister insisted that the offer of asylum had never been withdrawn.8

King George’s personal feelings vacillated. He had wanted to help his relatives, but he began to doubt on account of the dangers of the voyage and on whether it would be advisable that the Imperial Family should take up their residence in the country. He was concerned about the indignation felt in the country against the Tsar. Receiving them would bring down his own popularity. 9 At that time, nobody could have known the fate that would befall the Imperial family.

  1. Massie, Robert K. (1967). Nicholas and Alexandra p. 454
  2. Massie, Robert K. (1967). Nicholas and Alexandra p. 456
  3. Massie, Robert K. (1967). Nicholas and Alexandra p. 457
  4. Massie, Robert K. (1967). Nicholas and Alexandra p. 459
  5. Massie, Robert K. (1967). Nicholas and Alexandra p. 460
  6. Massie, Robert K. (1967). Nicholas and Alexandra p. 461
  7. Massie, Robert K. (1967). Nicholas and Alexandra p. 461
  8. Massie, Robert K. (1967). Nicholas and Alexandra p. 462
  9. Massie, Robert K. (1967). Nicholas and Alexandra p. 463






About Moniek Bloks 2189 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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