Grand Duchess Tatiana playing tennis at Spala: 1912.
Does anyone know of there’s this same photo that’s a better quality? I feel as if I’ve seen one, but I’m not sure and am still searching if there is one.
This is the copy from Anna Vyrubova’s album at Yale. Unless there is another copy of it somewhere in the Russian archives, I’m afraid this is as good as it’s going to get.
Grand Duchesses Anastasia and Maria preparing for a game of tennis
The tsar with a buck he has killed on a hunt
Grand Duchess Anastasia with a Polish peasant girl during a game of tennis
Grand Duchesses Tatiana and Olga, Alexandra Feodorovna, Grand Duchess Maria, the Tsar and Grand Duchess Anastasia on the steps of the hunting lodge.
It absolutely amazes me that they had the strength to put on a brave face for so long when the family and the dynasty were so clearly in crisis! It must have been especially difficult for the girls, who adored their brother so much.
As morbid as it sounds, I have often wondered what would have happened if Alexei had died from his attack at Spala in 1912. Grand Duke Michael would have obviously become heir again. But I do wonder whether Alix would have interfered so much in politics during the war if there had been no son to pass the throne to. She often reminds Nicholas in her letters that he must “leave a good legacy for Baby,” etc. Perhaps Rasputin would have fallen out of favor, being unable to save Alexei after all. I believe that the public would have been extremely sympathetic if the tsarevich had died in 1912 and that the image of the Imperial family would have been bolstered by the inevitable dismissal of Rasputin. Of course it would have been awful for everyone if Alexei had died in 1912, but it is interesting to speculate how history may have played out differently.
Nicholas II and Tsarevich Alexei in uniform on the balcony of the Alexander Palace in honor of the Romanov Tercentenary: 1913. Alexei was meant to look like he was posing for the photograph, but in fact he still could not straighten his leg from his attack of hemophilia at Spala the previous fall.