ROMANOV FAMILY: FUN IN THE SNOW
Recently I was contacted by a reader who had an interesting story. He told me that his mother is a long time collector of antiques, and one of her acquisitions was an early Steiff bear that belonged to the Tsar’s children. Both of them were able to meet with me, and I was able to meet the teddy, whose name is, appropriately Nicholas, in person!
A unique Romanov relic that once belonged to the last Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II, was recently sent from London to a museum in Moscow’s Kremlin. The Royal Victorian chain to was presented to Tsar Nicholas II to honor the close relationship between Russia and The Great Britain.
Most Romanov history buffs know of “The Standard”, the beloved imperial yacht which belonged to the Romanov family. But did you know that the original “Standart” belonged to another member of the Romanov family – Tsar Peter the Great? Frigate “The Standart” – the first ship in the Baltic navy, was built on orders of Peter the Great on 24 April, 1703.
New Year celebrations are arguably the most major holidays in modern Russia. One of the traditional treats on a Russian New Year’s table are mandarin oranges. This fruit was not native to Russia – it was introduced only a few years prior to the Russian revolution – by a member of the Romanov family Grand Duke Peter of Oldenburg, a great grandson of Tsar Nicholas I and first husband of Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna, sister of Tsar Nicholas II.
Thousands of guests were invited to the first imperial ball of the New Year. The balls usually took place in late January or early February at the Winter Palace. The first dance was the official polonaise, performed of course by the first couple of the nation – Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra. After this initial ceremonial dance, the fun began consisting of mazurkas, polkas and waltzes.
The waiters walked around offering sweets like candies, ice cream and fruit, as well as soft drinks and champagne. Having danced for a couple of hours, the guests moved on to the banquet.