The Romanov Diaries: Tsar Nicholas II

The first in a series of articles showing the lives of the Romanov family through their own writings.



20 October, 1894. My God! My God! What a day! The Lord has called our adored, precious, fiercely beloved Papa to Him. My head is spinning. Don’t want to believe it. It seems so unlikely, this terrible reality! We spent all morning around him. At about half past 2 he took Communion. Oh, Lord! I stood at the head of his bed for more than an hour holding his head. The death of a saint…. (Nicholas on the passing of his father Tsar Alexander III)

The Wedding of Nicholas and Alix

13 November, 1894. Anichkov. At 11 we went to mass in our dear church. It was both sad and painful to stand there … knowing that one place would always remain empty. Words cannot express how hard it was and how sorry I feel for dear Mama!… Saw my dear Alix at tea. Then said goodbye to her at 8. We are not to see each other anymore! Until the wedding! It still seems as if all this were leading up to someone else’s wedding. Odd under these circumstances to think about one’s own marriage.

14 November. My wedding day. After coffee with the others went to dress. Put on my hussar’s uniform and at 11.30 went with Misha to the Winter Palace. Troops all along Nevsky. Mama and Alix. We all waited while they completed her toilette in the Hall of Malachite.

Finally she appeared: she wore a silver dress and a diamond necklace, and over her shoulders lay an ermine-lined, gold brocade mantle with a long train. On her head rested a tiara blazing with diamonds. The new empress.

At 10 minutes after 12 the entrance into the Great Church began, whence I returned a married man.… We were presented with an enormous silver swan from the family. Alix and I changed clothes, got into a Russian carriage, and went to Kazan Cathedral. A sea of people in the streets.… An honor guard from the Uhlan Life Guard Regiment was waiting in the Anichkov courtyard when we arrived. Mama welcomed us with bread and salt.… All evening we answered telegrams.… Collapsed into bed early, since her [Alix’s] head had begun to pound.


The birth of Olga

3 November 1895. Friday. A day forever memorable for me, during which I suffered much! At 1 in the morning dear Alix began having pains that would not let her sleep. All day she lay in bed in great torment, poor thing. I could not watch her calmly. At about 2 in the morning dear Mama arrived from Gatchina. The three of us—she, Ella, and I—were with Alix constantly. At exactly 9 we heard a child’s squawk, and we all breathed freely! A daughter sent by God, in prayer we named her Olga….

6 November. In the morning admired our enchanting little girl. She doesn’t seem like a newborn at all because she’s such a large child and her little head is covered with hair.

Emperor And Daughter

Please stay tuned as we bring you more diary entries from The Tsar and his family throughout the month of July.