The Last Imperial Family of Russia:
Nicholas took the throne on 1 November 1894 at the age of 26 following his father Alexander III’s unexpected death. Throughout 1894, Alexander’s health rapidly declined and at 49, he died of kidney disease.
Nicholas and Alix’s wedding was originally scheduled for the spring of 1895, but it was moved forward at Nicholas’ insistence. Staggering under the weight of his new office, he had no intention of allowing the one person who gave him confidence to leave his side. The wedding took place on 26 November 1894. Alexandra wore the traditional dress of Romanov brides, and Nicholas a hussar’s uniform. Nicholas and Alexandra, each holding a lighted candle, faced the palace priest; a few minutes before one in the afternoon, they were married.
Further complicating domestic matters was the matter of the succession. Alexandra bore Nicholas four daughters, the Grand Duchess Olga in late 1895, the Grand Duchess Tatiana in 1897, Grand Duchess Maria in 1899, and Grand Duchess Anastasia in 1901, before their son Alexei was born on 12 August 1904.
With frightening speed, in space of only a few days, one of the world’s greatest empires ceased to exist - the empire of the Romanov Tsars, the empire of Nicholas and Alexandra.
For in those few days, not only the monarchy perished; a unique civilization with its own religion, culture, and traditions also came to an end.
Despite the rumors of possible survivals for many years, all of the family, along with loyal servants, were killed by Bolsheviks on July 17, 1918.
That realm is with us still. In a world grown accustomed, even inured, to the slaughter of innocents, these seven faces and this fateful room might serve as epigraphs for all the horrors the twentieth century would hold in store.