Chapter Eleven - The Death of Rasputin
Rasputin made his first appearance at Court after a very violent bout with hemophilia struck the Tsarevich during a stay by the Imperial Family at Spala in 1906. [sic - Volkov is blending two events together. Rasputin was first received at Court in 1906, but the Tsarevich's illness in Spala occurred in 1912. -RM]
The Tsarevich was dying, a cure did not seem possible. The whole Imperial Family gathered often to pray for the child's health. Father Alexander, Court Priest, officiated at a moving service.
Someone advised the Empress, stricken with sadness, to ask a certain "Rasputin" to pray for the Tsarevich. The Empress immediately sent him a telegram to which Rasputin responded: "I have prayed. The Tsarevich will recover his health." The next day, the Tsarveich's condition began to improve.
After the Imperial Family returned to Tsarskoe Selo, Rasputin was soon recieved by the Empress at the recommendation of the Court, Maria Ivanovna Vichniakova. It was so by her that Rasputin gained access to the Court.
Rasputin's visits to the Palace were not as frequent as is usually said. During the three months that I was on duty to the Empress without interruption, I saw that Rasputin came to see her only two times, and these two visits did not last more than ten minutes.
During Rasputin's meetings with the Emperor, Rasputin kissed the Emperor's hand and the Emperor would kiss Rasputin's.
Rasputin was killed in December 1916. It was Protopopov who informed the Palace. His death produced the most painful impression on the Empress and some of those near her. They carried Rasputin's body to Tsarskoe Selo and buried him behind the Feodorovski Cathedral, in the place where Anna Vyroubova wanted to build a hospice for the sick. She wanted to live there herself, being sick and lame.
Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich had taken part in Rasputin's murder. He was, at the Emperor's orders, exiled to Tashkent, where Grand Duke Nicholas Constantinovich had been sent before him.
Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich, his father, intervened on his behalf with the Emperor, as did the other Grand Dukes as well, including the brothers Nicholas and Alexander Michaelovich. The Emperor responded to them all "I do not give pardons to assassins."
So Dmitri Pavlovich left for exile.
As for the Empress, she refused to even recieve those who wanted to ask her intervene.
Shortly after these tragic events Grand Duke Alexander Michaelovich sent a letter to the Emperor. The other Grand Dukes followed his example.
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