Anna Stepanovna Demidova was born on 26 January 1878 as the daughter of Stepan Demidov in Cherepovets. She had a brother named Demidov and a sister named Elizabeth. Her nickname was Nyuta, and she was described as a tall, statuesque blonde. She graduated from the Yaroslavl Institute for Maids with a teaching certificate.
In 1905, her friend Elizaveta Ersberg, who worked as a parlourmaid at Court, secured her a position at the court, also as a parlourmaid. Reportedly, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna was impressed by Anna’s needlework.
Anna accompanied the royal family into exile, first to Tobolsk and later to Ekaterinburg. She told Mr Gibbs, the children’s English tutor, “I am so frightened of the Bolsheviks, Mr Gibbes. I don’t know what they will do to us.” She stayed in a room which had originally been intended for Alexei, but his failing health prompted his parents to move him back in with them. 1
Anna helped the Grand Duchesses do their own laundry, and the girls also learned to cook and make bread. 2
She was murdered alongside them on the night of 16 July and 17 July 1918. Anna carried to two pillows into which gems had been sewn. She reportedly tried to protect herself from the bullets with one of these pillows and bullets bounces off diamonds that had previously been sown into her dress. She survived the initial round of bullets and exclaimed, “Thank God! I am saved!”3 She was killed with a bayonet, which was reportedly hit the floor through Anna’s chest and she defended herself with her bare hands until the very end.
Anna was canonised together with the rest of the victims in 1981 by the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, but she was not mentioned in the canonisation by The Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate in 2000.
Anna was just one of four other people who were killed alongside the Romanovs. The other three were Eugene Botkin, the court physician, Alexei Trupp, a footman, and Ivan Kharitonov, a cook.
Anna was buried on 17 July 1998 in the Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg and the funeral was attended by her great-niece.