Maria Romanov with her sister Anastasia and father in 1916
Maria Romanov with her sister Anastasia and “Papa” in 1916

From a 1916 letter from Maria Romanov to Nicholas II:

 3 March. My sweet and dear Papa!

Yesterday after we saw you off, Tatiana, Anastasia and I went to the cemetery in a motor. We drove there for an unusually long time because the roads are so bad. We arrived there and went to the officers’ graves, there was nothing there yet, and too much snow, then I wanted to visit the graves of our patients from the lower ranks. There was a big pile of snow on the side of the road, so I was able to climb up with great difficulty on my knees and jump down from it. Down there the snow turned out to be above the knees, and although I was wearing long boots, I was already wet so I decided to continue ahead. Nearby I found one grave with the surname Mishenko, this was the name of our patient; I laid down some flowers there and walked ahead, and suddenly I saw the same surname again, I looked up at the board, [to see] which regiment he was from, and it turned out that he was one of our patients [too], but not the same one. So I laid down the flowers for him and was just starting to walk away when I fell on my back, and was lying there for almost a minute not knowing how to get up, there was so much snow that I could not reach the ground with my hand for leverage. I finally got up and walked ahead. Earlier Tatiana and Anastasia said that they were going to go to another cemetery, to Sonia Orbeliani [grave] and that they will return for me. But instead they sent the man in charge of the graveyard to help me. He crawled over to me with great difficulty and we went to look for another grave together. We searched and searched and could not understand at all what happened to it. It turned out that it was closer to the fence and that we should have climbed over a ditch. He stood in the ditch and said to me “I will carry you over”, I said “no”, he said “let’s try”. Of course he put me down not on the other side but right in the middle of the ditch. And so we are both standing in the ditch, up to our bellies in snow, and dying from laughter. It was hard for him to climb out, as the ditch was deep, and for me too. So he climbed out somehow and stretched his hands out to me. Of course I slid back down into the ditch on my stomach about three times, but finally climbed out. And we performed all this with flowers in our hands. Then we couldn’t fit through between the crosses for a while, as we were both wearing our coats. But in the end I did find the grave. Finally we were able to leave the cemetery. Tatiana and Anastasia were already waiting for me on the road. I felt half-dead from heat and dampness. We climbed into the motors and drove away. I took off one boot to shake out the snow. At this same time we ran into a wagon. We were driving rather fast. We just swerved to the side a little, when Lapin’s steering wheel spun [out of control] and our front tires slid into a snow bank, and scarily [we] turned to our side, I jumped out wearing one boot and put the other one back on out on the road. What could we do, no one was there anymore and it was already 1 o’clock 10 minutes. Then we 3 decided to walk home on foot, but luckily at this moment some squadron was walking back from shooting practice and they dug out the motor, while we walked almost all the way to the shooting gallery. The motor caught up to us and we got home safely. But the road was so bad the entire time that we were certain that the motor would break. Across from the Cuirassier Cathedral. And we were tossed up so high that Tatiana almost hit her head on the roof. In the afternoon during our troika ride we almost ran over another sleigh. So after all this, we went to our infirmary, and we were certain that we will fall into a ditch or something else will happen to us again. [We] went to the tower yesterday. The sailors were all very sweet and worked hard. You were very much missed there. […]

In the evening Anya finished reading “Our People Abroad” to us. Olga went to bed early of course. And you are probably enjoying the English book. Grandmama sent the book “Olive”, and Mama sent her another one.

Well, farewell my darling. May Christ be with you. +

Your Kazanetz. I kiss you affectionately and squeeze you a lot and for a long time. Titanis titanis. Dukchik Dukchik.


From the book MARIA and ANASTASIA: The Youngest Romanov Grand Duchesses In Their Own Words: Letters, Diaries, Postcards.




Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.