Biography of Pierre Gilliard by Nick Nicholson
Pierre Gilliard was born in Switzerland in 1879. He became a teacher and tutor of the French language, and traveled to Russia in 1904 to serve as a French tutor to the family of HSH Duke George of Leuchtenberg, a cousin of the Emperor. Ultimately, Gilliard was recommended to the Imperial family, and in 1905 was engaged to instruct the Grand Duchesses Olga and Tatiana Nikolaevna.
Gilliard was devoted to the family, traveled with them, and was privy to many of their intimacies and relationships and confidences. After the Bolshevik Revolution, he followed them into exile at Tobolsk, where he was prevented from following them further to Ekaterinburg. After the murder of the family on the night of July 16/17, 1918, Gilliard remained until the White Army arrived, and then stayed behind for three years after the family’s death, assisting Nikolai Sokolov with the investigations.
In 1919, Gilliard married Aleksandra “Shura” Tegleva who had served as nanny to the Grand Duchess Anastasiya Nikolaevna.
M. and Mme. Gilliard finally returned to Europe, where they became embroiled in the Anna Anderson affair of the 1920’s, ultimately ranking amongst her chief detractors. Gilliard was made a professor at the University of Lausanne, and was awarded the French Legion d’Honneur.
His memoirs, Thirteen Years at the Russian Court, stand amongst the best and most unbiased of intimate reports of the lives of the last imperial family. In 1958, Pierre Gilliard was seriously injured in an automobile accident, and died of complications in Lausanne, Switzerland four years later on May 30, 1962.