We take a closer look at the tragic life of Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna of Russia, the third daughter of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia.
Russia is a country which, in our humble opinion, is vastly misunderstood and underappreciated for many reasons.
The country is beautiful, is steeped in ancient history and culture, and has seen some of the most interesting monarchies in history. These range from iconic figures such as Peter the Great, Ivan the terrible, and Catherine the Great to more less know monarchs such as Paul I of Russia.
Today, we’re going to be learning more about Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna of Russia, the third daughter of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia.
Maria was one of the most caring and compassionate women of her generation, so here’s more about her story.
Maria was born on June the 26th, 1899 to Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, and Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna (Alix of Hesse).
She was described as a pretty, flirtatious, inquisitive young girl, who wanted nothing more than to care for others and to become a red cross nurse, just like her older sisters. Sadly, she was too young to do so, so she became the patroness of a hospital and would regularly visit wounded soldiers.
When she was a baby, many people would compare her to one of Botticelli’s Angels.
Revolution, Captivity and Death
Unfortunately, in St Petersburg, back in the summer of 1917, the Russian Revolution broke out.
Russia, now in political turmoil, was not a safe place to be but moreover, the Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna of Russia, along with her siblings, were struck down with measles and nearly died.
Her mother was instructed to move her children to the Great Gatchina Palace for safety.
During this time, her father abdicated the throne and her family was arrested and imprisoned, eventually winding up in the desolate wilderness of Siberia.
They were imprisoned for several months, until one fateful July night in 1918, when the family were instructed to come down to the lower levels of the home they were being held in, due to unrest in the town nearby.
The guards were friendly, compassionate, and made the family feel at ease, convincing them that they wanted to help them, when in fact they had something far more sinister in store.
During the early hours of July 17th, Maria and her family were lined up and instructed by the guards to recite the sentence of execution. They barely had a chance to protest before the firing squad opened fire.
Duchess Maria allegedly tried to escape after the first round of gunfire which killed her parents, but the doors and windows were nailed shut.
Maria was shot in the torso, but jewels sewn into her clothing stopped the bullets. This angered the guards, who brutally stabbed her and struck her in the head, dealing her a fatal blow before she had even reached the age of 20.
Over the decades there have been rumours that Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna of Russia had in fact escaped and survived, though there was indeed no evidence to back up these rumours.