Centenary of Deaths of Russian Imperial Royal Family

Yesterday marked the 100 anniversary of the deaths of Tsar Nicholas II and his family and the end of the Russian Imperial royal dynasty.  Commemorations were held in St. Petersburg, including the unveiling of a memorial statue of the late czar, his wife and children, a memorial service and the reburial of remains of two children, Alexei and Maria, with the rest of the family.

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Prince and Princess Michael of Kent was in attendance, the princess in a black lace veil (click on bottom photo below and scroll to last photo. Also in attendance was Princess Olga Romanoff, great niece of Nicholas II (granddaughter of the Tsar’s younger sister Grand Duchess Xenia), in an elegant black straw pillbox hat trimmed with dotted veil, crin leaves and bows by British milliner Laura Cathcart.


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The photo is of Princess Olga Romanoff this morning in the Astoria Hotel in St Petersburg on way to the graveside memorial service of the murder of her imperial family 100 years ago today - From today’s Daily Mail - “A feather in the cap for society milliner Lady Laura Cathcart”: The wife of writer William Cash and eldest daughter of Earl and Countess Cathcart has been appointed hat maker to the House of Romanov. Princess Olga Romanoff, the great-niece of Tsar Nicholas II, and her daughter Alex will wear Laura's creations today at the official graveside service in St Petersburg to mark the centenary of the murder of the Russian royal family. In 1768, Laura's direct ancestor Charles, 9th Earl Cathcart — known as 'Patch' due to the black silk patch he wore on his cheek after being shot in the face at the Battle of Fontenoy — was appointed ambassador at St Petersburg, and he was well known to Catherine the Great. Laura says: 'I'm so happy with the result that I've decided to launch a new 'in memoriam' range, which will feature hats in black and blue and will be ideal for funerals, memorial services and, of course, the Cenotaph Remembrance Day service. 'I'd be delighted to make a hat for Theresa May to wear in November.' #romanoff #princessolga #princessolgaromanoff #romanov #romanov100 #russianprincess #dailymail #millinery #ambassador #cathcart #lauracathcartmillinery #lauracathcarthats #centenary #astoriahotel #houseofromanov

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In Yekaterinburg, large memorial procession marked the route from the murder site to a monastery. Self-proclaimed Princess Olga Kulikovskaya-Romanova, widow of  Tsar Nicholas’ nephew Tikhon Nikolaevich Kulikovsky (son of Grand Duchess Olga) attended the procession in a purple straw cloche variation with flat topped crown wrapped in a wide lighter purple hatband.
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Even a hundred years on, the complexity of factors surrounding this tragic royal event is difficult to comprehend. This is, however, a major anniversary and that’s why I decided to cover it. I also recommend this this interview with Princess Olga that appeared in The Telegraph back in March which gives interesting insight into the post-Imperial life experienced by members of the Romanoff family who were able to leave Russia.
Photos from social media and Getty as indicated

7 thoughts on “Centenary of Deaths of Russian Imperial Royal Family

  1. That Laura Cathcart pillbox is absolutely wonderful! I love all the trim/detailing on this one, keeping it respectful for the occasion, but not over the top.

  2. Princess Romanoff’s hat is very beautiful and elegant. I don’t usually like veiling that comes down over the face, but this is very nice indeed.

    This question might be better suited to a historical, rather than millinary blog, but why were the royal children Maria and Alexei not buried with the rest of the family until now? Were their remains not discovered until recently?

    • After the Imperial family was executed, they were buried in unmarked graves. Over succeeding years, the bodies were reportedly moved several times. In 1991, after the Soviet Union had fallen, the bodies of the parents and three of the children were exhumed and identified based on DNA donated by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (a great-nephew of Alexandra), and given a state funeral. The missing two children were believed at the time to be Maria and Alexei. Their bodies were not found until 2007, at which time the girl’s body (based on age characteristics) was identified to be Anastasia rather than Maria, thus finally setting to rest the claim of Anna Anderson that she was Anastasia. Though I believe I read somewhere that when Anna Anderson died in 1984, they also did DNA testing on her to verify that she was in fact NOT related to the Romanovs, well before Anastasia’s body was actually found. It is actually not clear to me why it took so much longer to find the last two children, since their graves were not that far away from the original location.

      If you are interested in further history on this subject, the best place to start is the Wikipedia article here:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_of_Romanov#Remains_of_the_Tsar
      and from there, branch out by following the many links and footnotes. I admit to being somewhat obsessed with this subject when I was a teenager (well before any of the bodies were found or the concept of DNA testing existed), but doing this reading now has brought back many memories of what I read decades ago.

      The first English translation of the diary of Olga, the eldest daughter, was published only a few years ago, and is available on Amazon, even in Kindle version. It covers her childhood up to Nicholas’ abdication.

  3. Hi
    Would appreciate if anyone cold explain why Princess Michael of Kent was in a black lace veil as opposed to a hat?

    • The services she was attending were in commemoration of the deaths of members of her husband’s family. So, dressing as for a funeral was appropriate.

  4. Princess Olga Romanoff looks very elegant in her smart hat. It must have been a very poignant ceremony. Prince Michael is always a favourite of mine, since I once met him. The resemblance to his Russian ancestors is quite remarkable,

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