a post by @TraditionalMike on twitter
Nicholas Alexandrovich Romanov was born on the 18th of May 1869 in the Alexander Palace in Saint Petersburg. He was the eldest son of Emperor Alexander III & Empress Maria Feodorovna and one of six children born to the royal couple. Nicholas was related to several monarchs in Europe and during his childhood he, his parents and siblings would make annual visits to the Danish royal palaces to visit extended family.
On March 1st 1881 Tsar Alexander II was assassinated and Nicholas’s father Alexander III became the new Tsar. This meant that Nicholas himself was now the heir apparent to the Russian throne (a position called Tsarevich). In 1886 at the wedding of Nicholas’s uncle Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich & Princess Elizabeth the 16 year old Tsarevich met 12 year old Princess Alix to whom he would later be wed.
Despite the fact that Nicholas was heir apparent to the Russian throne his father Tsar Alexander III failed to properly prepare his son for the role of one day ruling Russia.
The Tsar was very reluctant to give his son serious responsibilities. Despite this the Russian Finance Minister Sergei Wittle pushed the Tsar to give son the education he would need to rule saying ” If Nicholas was not introduced to state affairs, he would never be ready to understand them.”
Added to this Alexander III was only in his forties at the time, and was expecting it to be many years before Nicholas took over as Tsar.
1894 would prove to be a very eventful year in the life of Nicholas. During this year he would take several overseas trips, the first of which was to Coburg Germany.
While in Coburg, Nicholas proposed to Princess Alix and they were formally engaged on the 20th of April. He also visited the United Kingdom this year.
By the autumn of 1894, Alexander III was in very poor health and he passed away on November 1st. This left 26 year old Nicholas as the new Tsar of Russia. That evening, Nicholas was consecrated by his father’s priest as Tsar Nicholas II and, the following day, Alix was received into the Russian Orthodox Church, taking the name Alexandra Feodorovna with the title of Grand Duchess
Nicholas and Alexandra were married on the 26th of November 1894. Alexandra wore the traditional dress of Romanov brides, and The Tsar wore a hussar’s uniform.
Nicholas’ formal coronation as Tsar took place on the 26th of May 1896. Four days later a banquet was to be held for the people of Khodynka Field to celebrate the coronation.
An area was set up for the banquet to occur. At about 6 o’clock in the morning of the celebration day, several thousand people were already gathered on the field. Rumours spread among the people that there was not enough beer or pretzels for everybody, and that the enamel cups contained a gold coin. A police force of 1,800 men failed to maintain civil order, and in a catastrophic crowd crush and resulting panic occurred. Tragically 1,389 people were trampled to death, and roughly 1,300 were otherwise injured.
It was sometime after the tragedy took place that The Tsar and Empress were informed of what had happened. Nicholas wrote in his diary:
“Until now, everything was going, thank God, like clockwork, but today there was a great mishap. The crowd staying overnight at Khodynka, awaiting the start of the distribution of lunch and mugs pushed against buildings and there was a terrible crush, and awful to say trampled around 1300 people !! I found out about it at 10 1/2 hours before the report by [minister of war] Vannovski; a disgusting impression was left by this news.”
The very next day after the tragedy The Tsar & Grand Duchess visited hospitalized victims of the stampede and the government distributed a large amount of aid to the families of the dead.
Despite his outpouring of grief and public support for the victims of the Khodynka tragedy Nicholas’s opponents cruelly and wrongly labelled him “Nicholas the bloody” as a result of this event. The new royal family had no choice but to move on with their lives.
From 1895 until 1901 The Tsar and the Grand Duchess would have four daughters. Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria & Anastasia. In 1904 they would have a son and as such an heir to the Russian throne, Tsarevich Alexei.
Nicholas was raised in the Russian Orthodox faith, which is observed all of his life. His beliefs and faith were passed on to his five children. His four daughters, the Grand Duchesses, kept copies of the gospels and prayer books beside their beds, as well as crosses. All of the family were strong believers and members of the church.
The events of January 1905 (which have come to be known as Bloody Sunday) are well documented. The Tsar himself, who the protesters had come to St Petersburg to hand a petition to, was not there at the Winter Palace at the time. He was, in fact, at Tsarskoye Selo at the time. Nicholas wrote in his diary after the events of Bloody Sunday:
“A painful day. Serious disorder took place in Petersburg when the workers tried to come to the Winter Palace. The Troops have been forced to fire in several parts of the city and there are many killed and wounded. Lord, how painful and sad this is”
It should be noted at this time that The Tsar did not order the troops to fire on the demonstrators.
The Tsar along with his family continued to rule Russia until the 15th March 1917. I’m sure many of you consider this the date that Nicholas II abdicated from the throne and the Russian Monarchy was abolished. However this was a false statement made by his enemies and the Bolsheviks.
To find out more about the truth of the abdication of Nicholas II please read this article
Also please stay tuned as we will be doing separate posts regarding the events of murder of the Romanov family on the evening the evening of July 16th 1917 on the anniversary of the event.