27th February. Monday. Disorders started several days ago in Petrograd; unfortunately, even the troops have begun to take part in them. It is a sickening feeling to be so far away and to receive fragments of bad news. Did not spend much time listening to reports. During the day took a walk along the highway towards Orsha. The weather was sunny. After dinner I decided to quickly head to Tsarskoe Selo, and at 1 o’cl. in the morning boarded the train.
MARIA ROMANOV: STRANGE EPISODE OF BREAKING WINDOWS (THE CAPRICE)
In a 1915 letter from Grand Duchess Maria to her father, she described a very strange episode of the grand duchesses breaking glass panels with their parasols on the Caprice overpass in Alexander Park.
“15 September… We walked to the Caprice and walked up the stairs. You know [a diagram drawing]. And then, when we got up there, Olga took her parasol and attacked one of the windows viciously, and broke 3 glass panels, then gave me the parasol, and I broke a window too and Anastasia [did] too. “”
For a long time, I was very confused by these lines, and could not figure out what happened, or why the girls would engage in an act that was nothing short of vandalism. So when I got back to Tsarskoe Selo last December, I decided to take a careful look at that area to see if I could find any clues.
GRAND DUCHESS MARIA NIKOLAEVNA: BRETHREN CEMETERY OF TSARSKOE SELO
In 1914, soon after the start of the First World War, near the Kazan Cemetery, a special section of land was assigned for burial of deceased soldiers from Tsarskoe Selo infirmaries. Originally the cemetery contained 400 graves and was named “The Heroes’ Cemetery”, but by early 1915 it was renamed ‘The Brethren Cemetery of Tsarskoe Selo”. From this time it came under the special patronage of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna.
1913 DIARY OF MARIA ROMANOV. MATH AND SCIENCE SCHOOL
“4 [March]. Monday. Had lessons in the morning. Had breakfast with Papa and Mama on the sofa. Went to the review of the Albavsky sailors. Had tea alone. Had a music lesson. Went to Realnoye School with Olga and Trina for a physics [lesson]. Did homework. Had dinner with Anastasia and Alexei. “
The Math and Science school (Realnoye School) is located almost directly across the street from Grand Duchesses’ Olga and Tatiana’s infirmary, so occasionally Maria would stop by to see them there before or after Physics lesson.