Part One - Old Russia Alexander Palace Time Machine
Royalty Discussion Forum
Part Two - Revolution L'Envoi

The first idea of writing this book occurred to me some time after my arrival in England. I had always known that the Empress had been grossly misrepresented in Russia, but I had not attached much importance to the fact, as I had seen the Revolutionary propaganda, and I fully realized the methods of the Revolutionaries in relation to the Imperial Family.

I was, however, astonished and horrified to discover that the same ideas were current in the broad-minded and enlightened country which has afforded me and so many other fugitives such kindly sanctuary.

If possible, I think the Empress has been more universally condemned in England than in Russia. I have scarcely heard her name mentioned without its being coupled with the degrading attributes of treachery, sensualism, hysteria, and religious mania. To one who knew her intimately and who loved her devotedly, such a state of things is unspeakably painful. I accidentally saw a film which was the grossest libel on her character and her personality, the mind of the producer having been apparently bent upon presenting the Empress as a combination of the chief forms of lurid wickedness which appeal to patrons of the cinema. I have also read novels about her which, whilst enraging me as mendacious chronicles, have considerably enlightened me as to the capacity for invention of which the human imagination is capable. More serious works have condemned the Empress in a courteous manner, but they have been none the less scathing in their judgment. Some writers, after the story of Ekaterinburg was authentically given to the world, have been more tolerant and more pitying in their censure, but it has been always censure.

Therefore, in the face of such hatred and contempt for one at whose hands I have received nothing but kindness and love, I determined to write my impressions of the Empress as I knew her, both in the happy days and afterwards in those of war and unrest during the first dark weeks of the Revolution.

I reasoned, I trust with justice, that although the majority of people are always ready to believe the worst of anyone, there must be others who, in the spirit of fair play, would be willing to look on the reverse side of the picture. There must surely be friends and relations in England who would welcome facts which proved that the Empress had been true to her English upbringing and to the traditional right living of the descendants of Queen Victoria. English people seem to have forgotten, when the Empress was vilified on the screen and in cold type, that she was the daughter of Princess Alice, a name which is associated with all that is noblest and best in woman, a name which alone, one might have thought, would have pleaded for that of her daughter. But nothing protected her, not even the facts that her first cousin was King of England and that one of her sisters was married and living in this country.

I knew the almost impossible task of rehabilitation which lay before me, but, as the task daily assumed greater proportions, love and pity for my beloved friend urged me to attempt it.

I knew that I might be accused of being a Rasputiniere, since my photograph taken with him had appeared in one of the English illustrated papers; but my best reply to such a possible charge is that I am living in England with my husband and child, and that my husband has sanctioned my description of Rasputin as I and others knew him. If the Empress's association with Rasputin had been a guilty one, or if I had not been in a position to describe events exactly as they happened, this book would never have been written.

It is both unjust and untrue to ascribe the Revolution as directly consequent upon the Emperor's weakness, or the pro-Germanism and hysteric sensuality of the Empress. I have endeavoured to show that Rasputin was probably one of the unconscious tools of the Revolution against Imperialism: there is no doubt that German intrigues brought Lenin back from Switzerland to overthrow the milder rule of Kerensky, who was not ready to offer the country an efficient substitute for Tsardom, but the Empress was entirely innocent of pro-Germanism. Russia was ripe for Revolution; she had essayed Revolution years before the Empress or Rasputin saw the light. Her political history alone proves my statement, but War hurried the feet of Revolution toward her bloodstained goal. Other European kingdoms have tottered or fallen, but Russia is a land of extremes: hence the extreme methods of her ideas of equality, which are, in many respects, similar to those of the French Revolution.

I am well aware that certain "official" documents relative to the Empress were sent to England, and I know the shameful assertions which they contained. These documents emanated from the Duma, and were "arranged" by the Duma, in order to justify many things which would otherwise have been unjustifiable.

I have not attempted to give to the world any elaborate descriptions of Court festivities, and those happenings which are the common property of all European journalists. Mine is a very simple resume of the daily life and personality of the Empress as I knew her. I have endeavoured to avoid anything in the nature of exaggeration, in the hope that the public, who have innocently lent a ready ear to those things which are untrue, and which have been exploited by people who never saw or spoke to the Empress, will give equal consideration to the testimony of one who both knew and loved The Real Tsaritsa.

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Russian Painter - Mikhail Vasilievich Nesterov

Nesterov was one of Empress Alexandra's favorite painters, his picture of the Annuciation hung in the Mauve Room.  He worked for Grand Duchess Elizabeth in her Martha and Mary convent in Moscow.  Here's a bio.

Introduction by Bob Atchison

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