Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna of Russia

From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna
Photo, c. 1914
Born15 November [O.S. 3 November] 1895
Alexander Palace, Tsarskoye Selo, Saint Petersburg Governorate, Russian Empire
Died17 July 1918(1918-07-17) (aged 22)
Ipatiev House, Yekaterinburg, Russian Soviet Republic
Burial17 July 1998
Full name
Olga Nikolaevna Romanova
FatherNicholas II of Russia
MotherAlix of Hesse and by Rhine
ReligionRussian Orthodox

Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna of Russia (Olga Nikolaevna Romanova; 15 November 1895 – 17 July 1918) was the eldest child of Nicholas II of Russia and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. After she was murdered in the Russian Revolution of 1917, she was canonized as a passion bearer by the Russian Orthodox Church.

In the 1990s, her remains were identified through DNA testing and were buried in a funeral ceremony at Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg alongwith her parents and two of her sisters.

Biography[change | change source]

Olga as a toddler in 1898.

Olga was born on 15 November 1895. She was the oldest child and daughter of Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra. She had four siblings, Grand Duchesses Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and Tsarevich Alexei of Russia.

In 1896, her father and her sister on a visit to Scotland, France, and Darmstadt. In France, Olga was very popular. Her father told his mother that Olga made a great impression everywhere.[1]

Olga and her siblings were raised as simply as possible. They slept on hard camp cots unless they were ill, and they took cold baths every morning.[2] She was most often paired with her sister Tatiana. The two girls shared a room, dressed alike, and were known as "The Big Pair."[3]

Servants called Olga and her siblings by their first names and patronyms rather than by their imperial titles.[3] Olga's friends and family generally called her simply Olga Nikolaevna.

Appearance and personality[change | change source]

Olga in 1914.
Olga and Tatiana in 1914.

Olga had chestnut-blonde hair, bright blue eyes, a broad face, and an upturned nose. She was considered less pretty than her sisters, Tatiana and Maria,[4] She was slightly above the medium height, with a fresh complexion, deep blue eyes, quantities of light chestnut hair, and pretty hands and feet."[5] Olga had sparkling blue eyes, charm of freshness, an enchanting existince that made her irresistible."[6]

Olga was compassionate and sought to help others. As a child, she saw a little girl crying in the road. She threw her doll out of her carriage and gave it to the little girl.[7]

When she was 20, she took control of a portion of her sizable fortune and began to respond independently to requests for charity. One day when she was out for a drive she saw a young child using crutches. She asked about the child and learned that the youngster's parents were too poor to afford treatment. She set aside an allowance to cover the child's medical bills.[8]

Olga was highly intelligent and enjoyed studying. She enjoyed reading about politics and read newspapers. She reportedly enjoyed choosing from her mother's book selection.[9]

Olga was musically gifted. She could play by ear anything she had heard, and could transpose complicated pieces of music and play the most difficult one at sight, and her touch on the piano was delightful. She also sang pretty in mezzosoprano.[10]

Early adulthood and World War I[change | change source]

Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia with their mother in 1916.

During World War I, she trained to become a Red Cross nurse. Olga, her sister Tatiana, and her mother treated wounded soldiers at a hospital on the grounds of Tsarskoye Selo.

Nursing during the war provided Olga and her sister Tatiana with exposure to experiences they had not previously had. The girls enjoyed talking with fellow nurses at the hospital, women they would never have met if not for the war, and knew the names of their children and their family stories.[11]

Olga in her nursing uniform in 1915.

Olga cared for and pitied the soldiers she helped to treat. However, the stress of caring for wounded took a toll on her sensitive moody nerves.

On 19 October 1915 she was assigned office work at the hospital because she was no longer able to bear the gore of the operating theater. She was given arsenic injections in October 1915, at the time considered a treatment for depression or nervous disorders.[12]

Russian Revolution and captivity[change | change source]

Olga, Anastasia, Tatiana, and Maria in 1916.

In March of 1917, Olga and her family were under house arrest at Tsarskoye Selo. The family was then moved to the former governor's mansion in Tobolsk by the provisional government that replaced the monarchy.

Olga, Maria, Tatiana, and Anastasia in the captivity in the spring of 1917.

They were strictly supervised by 300 guards, their windows were sealed and painted over as higher and higher walls were built around the building. The commanding officers could access any of the family's rooms at any time and forced the prisoners to ring a bell to use the lavatory.

Death[change | change source]

Russian Imperial Family, 1913
Romanov family in 1913.

Throughout the civil war in 1918, the Bolsheviks grew worried that the White Army would seize the Romanovs, who could be a powerful symbol for the anti-Communist cause. The Ural Regional Soviet decided on June 29 to execute the family and received tentative approval from Moscow. On July 16, the captors were ordered to kill the family because the Red Army forces were retreating.

On July 17, 1918, Olga and her family were executed by Bolshevik agents with gunshots and bayonets at the Ipatiev House in Yekaterinburg. To avoid the corpses' discovery, the guards stripped the bodies of clothing and jewels, mutilated them with sulphuric acid and buried them in the Koptyaki forest.

References[change | change source]

  1. Helen Rappaport, The Romanov Sisters, p. 41
  2. Massie (1967), p. 132
  3. 3.0 3.1 Massie (1967), p. 135
  4. Massie, Nicholas and Alexandra, pp. 132–133
  5. Dehn, Lili (1922). The Real Tsaritsa. ТЕРРА--Книжный клуб. ISBN 5-300-02285-3. Retrieved 22 February 2007.
  6. Meriel Buchanan.
  7. Helen Rappaport, The Romanov Sisters, p. 93
  8. Maylunas and Mironenko, p. 370
  9. Massie (1967), p. 133
  10. Sophie Buxhoeveden, The Life and Tragedy of Alexandra Feodorovna, Chapter 16: The Empress and her Family
  11. Tschebotarioff, p. 60
  12. "Letters of the Tsaritsa to the Tsar – October 1915". Retrieved 1 January 2007.