During the war years when no balls or court entertainments were allowed to take place, and life was a series of solemn events, the Romanov sisters managed to find various ways to brighten their dutiful days as well as those of others.
Grand Duchess Maria: “…[We] played with O[lga], A[nastasia] and A[leksei] in Mama’s large sitting room with toy revolvers in the dark.” “…[We] went to the sisters’ infirmary, played tiddly winks”. “Went to the sisters’ infirmary. Played croquet and Dobchinsky-Bobchinsky.” “The Cossacks danced, sang, and [we] played various games.” “… Went to the new infirmary with A[nastasia]… Played ping pong with A… Went to the sisters’ infirmary, sat, played ruble.” “Sailed on the Dnepr on “Desna”. Had tea in the train. Played various games with the village children.” “Tormented and scared Toto, played hide and seek.”
Grand Duchess Anastasia: “We had tea in the dining room, and almost the entire time there played various games.” “We just played ping pong with Maria and were bustling around and yelling so incredibly much that now my hands are shaking like someone with a head injury.”
From the book ““MARIA and ANASTASIA: The Youngest Romanov Grand Duchesses In Their Own Words: Letters, Diaries, Postcards.” by Helen Azar