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The Tragic Story Of Maria Romanov, The Beautiful Daughter Of Russia’s Last Tsar

The Tragic Story Of Maria Romanov, The Beautiful Daughter Of Russia’s Last Tsar

Maria Romanov, the third daughter of Tsar Nicholas II and Alexandra, is often overshadowed by her famous sister, Anastasia. However, Maria’s beauty and charming personality make her an intriguing figure in Russia’s history. Let’s explore the life and untimely death of Maria Romanov, a lesser-known member of Russia’s last royal family.

The Most Beautiful Daughter

Maria Romanov was born in June 1899 and was considered the most beautiful of the four grand duchesses. With her light hair and large, dark blue eyes, she had an enchanting charm. Unlike her mischievous younger sister Anastasia, Maria was known for being merry and good-natured. She often followed Anastasia, apologizing for her sister’s teasing or antics. While Anastasia’s story often takes center stage, Maria Romanov’s life and tragic death provide a fascinating, lesser-known view of Russia’s last royal family.

A Flirtatious Young Duchess

As a young duchess, Maria Romanov enjoyed flirting and dreaming about marriage and children. She once expressed her affection for a regiment of passing soldiers, saying, “Oh! I love these dear soldiers; I should like to kiss them all.” Maria’s warmth and kind-hearted nature endeared her to those around her. Lord Mountbatten, a cousin of the grand duchesses, recalled his infatuation with Maria, describing her as “absolutely lovely.”

Despite their royal status, Maria and her sisters lived a surprisingly simple life. They shared plain cots in their bedrooms and started their days with cold baths. Nonetheless, Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra were loving parents who showered their children with affection.

The Romanovs faced many challenges, notably Alexei’s hemophilia, which caused severe bleeding from even minor injuries. This condition greatly distressed the tsarina. Everything changed in 1905 when Grigori Rasputin, a Siberian peasant mystic, entered their lives.

Rasputin: The “Mad Monk”

Grigori Rasputin, known as the “Mad Monk,” gained influence in Russian high society, including with the imperial family. Though the true extent of Rasputin’s healing abilities is unclear, his prayers seemed to alleviate Alexei’s suffering. Alexandra became totally dependent on Rasputin, believing he was the only one who could heal her beloved son. Soon, Rasputin spent a lot of time with the royal family. Maria and her sisters formed a close bond with him, seeking his advice on personal matters. Rasputin wrote affectionate letters to Maria, saying how much he missed her “simple soul.”

However, these innocent interactions were misinterpreted by outsiders, fueling rumors of Rasputin’s seduction of Alexandra and her daughters.

The Romanov Family’s Downfall

Rasputin’s presence complicated things for the Romanovs, worsening the already tense political climate. The outbreak of World War I in 1914 only added to their troubles. Olga and Tatiana worked as nurses, while Maria and Anastasia visited wounded soldiers, lifting their spirits with humor and liveliness.

As casualties mounted and popular discontent grew, Tsar Nicholas II and his alleged reliance on Rasputin’s guidance were blamed. The situation worsened when Rasputin was murdered in 1916 by a relative of the Romanovs.

The revolution that erupted in February 1917 was the final blow. Tsar Nicholas II abdicated, leaving the Romanov family at the mercy of the new provisional government.

The Romanovs in Exile

Initially, the Romanovs were exiled to Tobolsk, Siberia, where their lives were monotonous but bearable. However, in October 1917, the Bolsheviks seized power, prompting the family’s relocation to Ekaterinburg. This move ensured that the fervently Bolshevik population would prevent any rescue attempts.

Life in Ekaterinburg was grim. The Romanovs were confined to a house with whitewashed windows, venturing outside for only one hour a day. Even Maria’s cheerful disposition began to fade. She struggled to write anything pleasant.

However, Maria found a way to brighten her days within the “House of Special Purpose.” She flirted with the teenage guards, winning their favor. Maria’s sincere and modest character endeared her to the men, who found solace in her presence.

Ivan Skorokhodov, one of the guards, went the extra mile to make Maria’s 19th birthday memorable. He smuggled in a cake, but their relationship soon drew unwanted attention. The guards, no longer friendly, were replaced with a more hostile group.

The Death and Legacy of Maria Romanov

In the early hours of July 17, 1918, the Romanovs were awakened and led to the basement. They believed they were being rescued by their supporters. Unfortunately, their fate was far worse.

The Bolsheviks decided to execute the royal family instead of relocating them. Yurovsky, the leader of the secret police guarding the Romanovs, announced their fate to Nicholas. Before he understood the situation, the last Tsar of Russia was shot in the chest.

In the chaos that followed, the terrified grand duchesses miraculously survived briefly. Unbeknownst to their captors, they had sewn the royal jewels into their corsets, creating a protective armor. One of the executioners tried to stab Maria in the chest multiple times but failed to penetrate her unconventional armor. In the end, he shot Maria in the head as she sobbed.

As the bodies were carried outside, one of the girls cried out and covered her face, prompting a frenzy of stabbings. The exact identity of the girl, whether Maria or Anastasia, remains uncertain. Such was the tragic end of Russia’s last imperial family.

The remains of the Romanovs remained a mystery for many years. Speculation swirled, with several women claiming to be Maria Romanov. However, in 1991, their remains were discovered, putting some rumors to rest. DNA testing in 2008 confirmed the identities of Alexei and one of the grand duchesses as the missing members of the Romanov family, finally laying Maria Romanov’s ghost to rest.

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