Grand Duchess Tatiana

10 June 2013

Tsarina Alexandra, Olga and the baby Tatiana, 1897.

Tsarskoe Selo,

The second bright happy day in our family life: at 10.40 in the morning the Lord blessed us with a daughter – Tatiana. Poor Alix suffered all night without shutting her eyes for a moment, and at 8 o’clock went downstairs to Amama’s bedroom. Thank God this time it all went quickly and safely, and I did not feel nervously exhausted. Towards one o’clock the little one was bathed and Yanyshev read some prayers. Mama arrived with Xenia; we lunched together. At four o’clock there was a Te Deum. Tatiana weighs 8 3/4 pounds and is 54 centimetres long. Our eldest is very funny with her. Read and wrote telegrams.

— Diary of Nicholas II, 29th May (OS), 10th June (NS) 1897.

Grand Duchess Tatiana.

The Grand Duchess Tatiana Nikolaevna Romanov, second daughter of Tsar Nicholas II and his wife, Alix of Hesse was born on this day (or the 29th May as it was styled then) in 1897. A beautiful, contented baby, she grew up to be a serious, contemplative, rather reserved girl with auburn hair and blue-grey eyes,known within her family as ‘The Governess’ because she was accustomed to make decisions on behalf of her siblings and take the lead in any given situation. She was also her mother’s favourite daughter and would usually be nominated by the others to make any requests for favours to the Tsarina as she was sure not to be refused. She was also the daughter who was most often to be found at their mother’s side, making sure that she was comfortable, reading to her when she was confined to her sofa or just generally keeping her company.

Within her sibling group, she was closest to Olga, her elder sister and they were known collectively as The Big Pair while the two younger girls, Maria and Anastasia were The Little Pair. Both pairs were dressed in the same clothes and shared a room, becoming extremely close. In fact, even their names were intentionally a pair – Olga and Tatiana were the names of two sisters in Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin. Although the lives of the grand duchesses were relatively and intentionally austere, as Nicholas II replicated his own wholesome upbringing of camp beds, cold baths and rigorous exercise, there were comforts too in the rose scented oils that the family used in their icon lamps, the pretty white muslin and lawn dresses the girls habitually wore and the warm baths they took at night, scented with their favourite Coty fragrances. We know that Tatiana’s favourite was Jasmin de Corse, while Olga favoured La Rose Jacqueminot, Maria liked Lilas and Anastasia loved Violette.

Grand Duchess Tatiana.

522982-1425664080

Grand Duchesses Olga and Tatiana.

Grand Duchesses Olga and Tatiana.

522955-1425663849

Grand Duchesses Olga, Anastasia, Tatiana and Maria.

We know that Tatiana’s story was to end in tragedy in July 1918 but it was not always so. Spartan though their upbringing may have been in some respects, the grand duchesses had a happy childhood with adoring parents, frequent holidays and, above all, each other. There was even a romance too for Tatiana when she fell in love with Dmitri Yakovlevich Malama, a young equerry from the Russian Imperial Cavalry who was sent to Tsarskoe Selo after being wounded in 1914. Of course, the social divide between them was too great to ever be surmounted so there was no hope that they could be married but I hope that the romance brought her some happiness before things took a nose dive and they were separated forever. Malama gave Tatiana a puppy, Ortino (actually he gave her two but the first one died) as a present, which may have died with her at Ekaterinberg. Malama was apparently so charming that even the Tsarina, Tatiana’s demanding mother, wished that he could have been her son in law and lamented that none of the foreign princes who were considered more ‘suitable’ matches for her daughter’s hand were so ‘nice’. Sadly, Malama was to be killed fighting the Bolsheviks in August 1919.

Not all the foreign princes were awful though – there was talk of Tatiana marrying Prince Alexander of Serbia (later Alexander I of Yugoslavia) who was very taken with her grave and rather austere high cheek boned beauty but unfortunately war cut the negotiations short before anything could come of it. The two continued to correspond though and it’s possible that they might have married if Tatiana had managed to survive the revolution, in which case she would have become Queen of Yugoslavia. How sad it is that she didn’t. I often wish that all the girls had been married off and whisked away (and that Alexei had been sent to live with one of them) before war broke out as what actually happened is just too sad for words.

335426-1351698963

Grand Duchess Tatiana Nikolaevna Romanov, 1897-1918. Photo: Royal Collection.

******

******

I don’t have adverts or anything like that on my blog and rely on book sales to keep it all going and help pay for the cool stuff that I feature on here so I’d like to say THANK YOU SO MUCH to everyone who buys even just one copy because you are helping keeping this blog alive and supporting a starving author while I churn out more books about posh doom and woe in the past! Thanks!

As the youngest daughter of the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, Marie Antoinette was born into a world of almost unbelievable privilege and power. As wife of Louis XVI of France she was first feted and adored and then universally hated as tales of her dissipated lifestyle and extravagance pulled the already discredited monarchy into a maelstrom of revolution, disaster and tragedy. Marie Antoinette: An Intimate History is now available from Amazon US and Amazon UK

Set against the infamous Jack the Ripper murders of autumn 1888 and based on the author’s own family history, From Whitechapel is a dark and sumptuous tale of bittersweet love, friendship, loss and redemption and is available NOW from Amazon UK, Amazon US and Burning Eye.

‘Frothy, light hearted, gorgeous. The perfect summer read.’ Minette, my young adult novel of 17th century posh doom and intrigue is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US and is CHEAP AS CHIPS as we like to say in dear old Blighty.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Follow me on Instagram.

Follow me on Facebook.

Follow me on Twitter.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2014-2015 Melanie Clegg