This photo was taken sometime between 1915 and 1916. Revolution would soon sweep through Russia, and mark the end of the centuries-long dynasty. From left to right: Maria, Anastasia, Olga, Nicholas II and Tatiana.
Maria, Olga and Tatiana, just one or two years before they were exiled and later executed.
Olga Romanov poses on the beach, one or two years before her killing.
Anastasia and Maria Romanov visit wounded soldiers during World War One.
Anastasia makes a face with false teeth.
Maria, Olga and Tatiana Romanov pose with their brother Alexei at the beach.
Anastasia (left) and Maria visit wounded soldiers during World War One.
Sisters pose at a palace.
Tatiana with an unidentified man, sometime between 1915 and 1916.
The Romanovs at a beach sometime between 1915 and 1916.
The family sits in a carriage sometime from 1915-1916. Maria, who inherited her father's love of photography, likely colored this photograph.
Tsar Nicholas II, 1915-1916.
In 1915, the Romanovs pose before a dock.
Olga Romanov lies in bed.
Youngest daughter Anastasia makes faces with false teeth sometime between 1915 and 1916.
Olga and Anastasia enjoy quiet time with their mother in 1916.
Tsarina Alexandra on the Standart royal yacht, 1914.
War breaks out in 1914, and Alexei (left) is pictured playing a war game with his tutor's children.
The Tsar, Crown Prince Alexei and his tutor walk an elephant near their palace in Tsarkoye Selo, 1914. In Tsar Nicholas' journal, he writes "Took the elephant to our pond with Alexei today and had fun watching him bathe." Following the 1917 revolution, the zoo was closed.
From left to right: Olga, Alexei and Tatiana. This photo was taken in 1914, four years before their July 1918 execution.
Alexei and Nicholas II play on the banks of the Dnieper River in 1915.
In winter 1916, Alexei poses with his dog, Joy. While many claim that the Bolsheviks executed the dog along with his family, the Siberian Times reports
that Joy escaped after an executioner took pity on him, and was later taken to Windsor.
The Tsar and Alexei on a boat in Finland.
During World War One, the Romanov sisters would pay visits to soldiers, wounded and not.
Sisters Tatiana and Olga worked as nurses during World War One.
Extracts of letters from Maria to her father report that Olga (featured above) was deeply affected by the wounded, so much so that in October of 1915 she was given arsenic injections, then believed to treat depression and nervous disorders. She was later removed from the operating theater and sent to do office work instead.
Gleb Botkin, the son of the family's physician Yevgeny Botkin is quoted as saying that, "as it later seemed to me, [Olga] understood the general situation better than any member of her family, including even her parents. At least I had the impression that she had little illusions in regard to what the future held in store for them, and in consequence was often sad and worried."
Nicholas II inspects the scene and porridge near Mogilyov, where the Russian military was headquartered during World War One, in 1916.
In 1917, the Romanov sisters came down with the measles and had to have their heads shaved. From left to right are Anastasia, Tatiana, Olga and Maria.
Tatiana with a shaved head.
Nicholas II meets with daughter Anastasia, after she shaved her head due to a bout with measles.
A photo of the sisters as they recover.
After being imprisoned at their first home in Tsarskoye Selo, the interim Kerensky government evacuated the Romanovs to Tobolsk, western Siberia in 1916. The Tsar hoped to go into exile in the United Kingdom following his abdication, but King George V (his cousin) denied the request, as did France. The family stayed at the Governor's Mansion (featured above) until the spring of 1918. Then, they were transported to the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg, where they would later be executed.
Some questioned the Kerensky government's motivations behind the decision to send the family to Tobolsk instead of Crimea. Kerensky claimed that it was for matters of safety. But according to Nicholas Sokolov, the judge who conducted the judicial inquiry into the murders' circumstances, all relatives of the imperial family who reached Crimea were eventually saved.
Sokolov later wrote that there was "one reason for the choice of Siberia—the dethroned Autocrat of All the Russias must be made to taste the bitterness and dreariness of exile in Siberia, must be made to experience the icy blasts of that House of Dead Souls to which he and his ancestors had banished so many Russians!"
The Romanovs at their home in Tobolsk. For a time, the family continued to live "normally" -- even though they were not permitted to go to town.
Alexei, seen here while in Tobolsk, would take care of the poultry.
Nicholas, sometime between 1917 and 1918, would engage in simple manual work, such as cutting wood.
For a time in Tobolsk, the children continued their studies as normal. From left to right: Maria, Olga, Anastasia and Tatiana.
In Christmas of 1917, Olga wrote "Everything is peaceful and quiet, thank God. We are all healthy and not losing hope. Today my sisters' and brother's vacation begun. There is still not a lot of snow, the frost reaches -20C, and the sun shines almost all the time, it rises and sets bright and beautiful. ...It's so nice to go for walks. Mama works all day or draws and paints, keeps herself busy all the time and the time flies quickly."
From left to right: Olga, Maria, Anastasia and Alexei, 1917.
Anastasia and Maria make playful gestures while held in captivity.
The Romanovs sit in Tobolsk, western Siberia, sometime during 1917 and 1918. During this period, they remained hopeful that help was on the way and that their exile would be temporary.
During the family's last Christmas together, Tsarina Alexandra wrote to her lady in waiting, Sophia Karlovna Buxhoeveden. Said Alexandra, "Perhaps the word 'joyful Christmas' sounds like a joke now, but after all this joy of the birth of our Lord. .... He will manifest His mercy when the time comes, and before that we have to wait patiently. We cannot change what is happening - we can only believe , believe and pray and never lose love for Him."
Tatiana and Olga sit with their mother in 1918. According to the 1928 writings of reporter
Edmund Walsh, "The townspeople showed themselves courteous and sympathetic, frequently sending gifts, particularly fresh food, and saluting the members of the family respectfully or blessing them with the sign of the cross when they appeared at the windows of the Palace."
Walsh continued, "It was only, the unending monotony, the drab Siberian monotony, that oppressed, together with the almost complete absence of news."
Alexei and his mother take what is likely the last photo of the two in 1918. As the Kerensky government fell to Bolshevist power, treatment of the exiled family was increasingly severe. At the end of April 1918, the family began their trip to Ekaterinburg, the headquarters of the Ural Soviets, where they would be killed.
The cellar of the Ipatiev House, where the family was systematically killed.
Walsh describes the family's final days this way: "Under the moral torture and physical confinement—toward the end the prisoners were allowed but five minutes in the garden each day —the ex-Tsar maintained that astonishing external calm and passivity which characterized his whole life. His health did not seem to weaken, nor did his hair whiten. During the few minutes allowed for exercise in the open air, he carried [Alexei] in his arms, as the boy was unable to walk, and marched stolidly up and down until his precious five minutes were over. But the Empress never left the porch; she aged visibly, her health failed, and gray hairs appeared."