Tsarevich Alexei had inherited haemophilia from his mother and upon the discovery of his remains in 2007, it was established that he suffered from haemophilia B, which results in a deficiency of factor IX. Alexei had to be careful not to injure himself and two sailors were assigned to him to monitor him.
Yet, not everything could be prevented. In September 1912, Alexei jumped into a rowboat and hit one of the oarlocks with his thigh. Within a few minutes, a huge bruise appeared. Over the course of the week, the bruise became smaller but after the family moved on to Spala, the “juddering of the carriage had caused the still healing hematoma in his upper thigh to rupture and start bleeding again.” Alexei drifted in and out of consciousness and his mother barely left his side.
By 10 October the situation had become so grave that Alexei received the last sacrament. On 13 October, the family received a telegram from Rasputin, the peasant healer that Alexandra believed in, which read, “The little one will not die. Do not allow the doctors [Eugene Botkin and Vladimir Derevenko] to bother him too much.” By 19 October, Alexei had improved considerably and the bruise disappeared. He eventually underwent orthopaedic therapy to straighten his left leg.
Alexei’s recovery became one of the most mysterious episodes of Rasputin’s eventual legend. Alexandra strongly believed that Rasputin had performed a miracle and her faith in him was only strengthened.