The Grand Duchess Tatiana Nikolaevna – was the second daughter of Tsar Nicholas II and of Tsarina Alexandra Fyodorovna. She was born on June 10th, 1897 at the Peterhof. She was named after the martyress Tatiana.

Out of all the subjects taught to her, Tatyana Nikolayevna preferred music and dance lessons. On those few balls, which she managed to visit, she danced easily and beautifully. However, those who knew her well were saying that , the basis for her life was home, farming, needlework. All the portraits of Tatiana Nikolaevna, in her youth, left by her contemporaries, are very similar to each other. Here we give only the most remarkable of them.

Sofia Ofrosimova: “To my right there is the Great Duchess Tatiana Nikolaevna. She is the Grand Duchess from head to toe, she is so aristocratic and regal! Her face is matte-pale, only the cheeks are slightly rosy, as if pink satin is trying to escape just from under her thin skin. Her profile is impeccably beautiful, it is as if carved from marble by the graver of a great artist. Her wide-spaced eyes attach to her face originality and strangeness. The nurse’s Red Cross kerchief is more flattering to her than to her sisters. She laughs more rarely than her sisters. Her face sometimes has a focused and stern expression. In those moments, she looks like her mother. On the pale outlines of her face are the traces of deep thoughts and sometimes even sadness. Without any words, I feel that she is special, different from her sisters, despite their common traits of kindness and friendliness. I feel hers – is a wholly secluded and unique world».

Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden: “Tatiana Nikolaevna, in my opinion, was the prettiest. She was taller even than the Empress, but she was so slight and well-proportioned that her great height was not remarkable. She had beautiful and regular facial features and resembled her beautiful royal relatives whose family portraits decorated the palace. She had dark hair, a rather pale complexion, and wide-apart, light-brown eyes, that gave her a poetic far-away look, not quite in keeping with her character. There was a mixture of sincerity, straightforwardness and perseverance, a propensity for poetry and abstract ideas. She was closest in sympathy to her mother, and was the definite favorite of both her parents. She was completely unselfish, always ready to give up her own plans to go for a walk with her father, to read to her mother, to do anything that was wanted. It was Tatiana Nicolaevna who took care of the little ones, and who -was a constant help to the Household, always willing to help them in arranging that their official duties should not clash with their private engagements. She had the Empress’s practical mind and love of detail”.

Julia von Den was also echoing other memoir writers: “Grand Duchess Tatiana Nicolaevna was as charming as her elder sister, but in her own manner. She was talked as about arrogant woman, but I didn’t know anyone whom the pride was less resided than to her. She experienced the same as the Grand Duchess. Her humbleness and modesty were often taken for arrogance, however no sooner they got acquainted with her, became closer and gained her loyalty, from being reserved she turned into natural Tatiana Nicolaevna. She was of poetic nature, eager true friendship. His Majesty loved dearly the second daughter, and sisters made jokes that if somebody of us had needed to beg Tsar, then definitely Tatyana had to ask Papa to permit us that.” Very tall, very slim, she had a graceful cameo profile and nutbrown hair. She was fresh, tender and clean as a rose.”

A.A. Taneeva — Vyrubova passionately recollected in her majestic memoirs about Tsar’s family: “Tatiana Nicolaevna resembled her mother — slim and tall. She rarely was naughty and resembled Empress with her modesty and manners. She always stopped her sisters and recollected to them their mother’s will, that’s why they loved to call her “nanny”. It seems to me that her parents loved her more than others. The Emperor repeatedly said to me that Tatiana Nicolaevna strongly reminded Empress with her character, traits and manners. Her hair was dark… It seemed to me that she was extremely popular: Everybody loved her — family, teachers and in the hospitals. She was the most sociable and wanted to get along with her friends.”

P. Zhiliar loving his “royal foster children” to self-oblivion wrote “about the second flower of royal crown”:

“Tatiana Nicolaevna was by nature modest and reserved, had will, but was less open and winsome than her elder sister. She was even less gifted, but compensated this drawback for high coherence and stable character. She was very beautiful, although didn’t have prettiness of Olga Nicolaevna. If only the Empress made any diffrence between her daughters, Tatiana Nicolaevna was her favourite one. Not that her sisters loved their mother less than she did, but Tatiana Nicolaevna was able to cater constantly and she never dared to show that she was out of sorts. Along with her beauty and natural manner to carry herself in society she lightly shaded her sister, who occupied herself less and got embarrassed Nevertheless both sisters tenderly loved each other, having only one and a half year gap in the age, what made them closer indeed. They were called “bigger ones”, and Maria Nicolaevna and Anastasia Nicolaevna — smaller ones”.

A. Mosolo, head of chancellery of Ministry of Emperor’s court: “Tatiana was taller and slimmer and thinner than her sister, her face was more oval and her figure looked more well-bread and aristocratic, her hair was darker than her elder sister had. In my view, Tatiana Nicolaevna was the most beautiful among all sisters.”

Klavdia Bitner, nanny of royal children in imprisonment in Tobolsk, resumed making somehow unexpected conclusion after having conversation with Grand Duchess:

“If family had lost Alexandra Fedorovna, Tatyana Nicolaevna would become a roof for her family. She was the dearest friend to the Empress. They were two close friends.”

Colonel E. S. Kobylinsky added some distinctive portrait pages: “When Emperor and Empress left Tobolsk, nobody noticed the elderliness of Olga Nicolaevna. If something, everyone addressed to Tatiana: “How Tatiana will say”. “We need to ask Tatyana.”

She was a young lady with almost completely set character, direct, honest and of clean nature, she had a strong ability to set an order in life and was know for her strong call of duty. When her mother was sick, she ran the house, took care of Alexey Nicolaevich and always accompanied the Emperor while his walks if V.Dolgorukov was absent. She was brilliant, refined, was good at keeping house, making herself at home, particularly keen on sewing and ironing the cloths”.

Not surprising that comparison of Tatiana with Grand Duchess Olga is often made here, along all these memoirs. “The big couple” of Duchesses was hand in and glove with, nevertheless while Grand Duchess were growing up , soft superiority of the younger sister became more distinctive to everybody. Olga Nicolaevna was unintentionally compared to princess, and Tatiana Nicolaevna was obviously by her spirit a queen: moderately powerful, decisive, intelligent, used to taking care of weakest, who needed her patronage. Aptness of royal tones in the Duchess’s portrait evidenced those words.

Here it is the letter of Tatiana Nicolaevana dd 15.08.1915: “All the time I was praying for you both, my dear, to let God bless you in this awful time. I simply is not able to express how i love you and care of you, my beloved. It’s so pity that I cannot hep you at all … At those minutes i complain that i was not born a man.

Be blessed my beloved. Sleep well. Kiss you and dearest Papa many times … Your loving and faithful daughter Tatiana”.

It’s not easy to guess that these words written by indeed strong person belong to eighteen year old young lady and are addressed to her parents. There is one more note of Tatiana to her mother. It is dated by 1912 and the tone of humbled and obeying daughter gradually and softly is being replaced with warm motherlike intonation:

“I hope that Ania (*A, A. Taneeva- Vyrubova — author) will be nice with you, and won’t make you tired, won’t enter and disturb you, when you want to be left alone. Please, my dear Mom, don’t run along the rooms checking if everything is in order. Send Ania or Iza, (*A.A. Taneeva — Vyrubova and one of maid of honour of the Court, unknown person — author.) otherwise you will get tired and it will be hard for you to receive an uncle and an aunt. I will try to behave as good as I can on board with officers. (*The letter is likely saying about one of the solemn receptions on board of royal yacht “Standart”. Tzar’s daughters had already learnt how to replace their mother on some of the secular or high society ceremonies — author)

Good-bye, see you tomorrow. Pretty, please don’t worry about Baby (*home name of Tzar’s son , Alexey Nicolaevich in English manner — “Small boy” — author). I’ll look after him, and everything will be all right” — writing the daughter in her teens to her mother. You can feel her early set wholesome character, master quickness on the uptake, practicality and business-like manner. Behind that, if we don’t forget who wrote those words, stands pure “Romanov’s” royal strength and will.

But also Tatiana Nicolaevna inherited typical calm female talents more than her sisters. Anna Taneeva wrote that when they were doing needlework, Tatiana was doing the best. She had very light fingers, and was good at sewing to herself and her sisters very beautiful blouses, embroidering, knitting, doing her mother’s hair, when servant maids had their day-offs.

Being in her young age thoughtful Grand Duchess could already assess her insight state, all her mistakes and faults ultimately critical: “Maybe I have a lot of errors, nut please, forgive me”. (In her letter to her mother dd. January 17th, 1909).

“June 16th, 1915. Forgive me please that right now when you are so sad and lonely without Dad, we are naughty. I give you my word that I will do whatever you want, and will always obey you, my love.” — confessing Tatiana to her dearly loved mother in another letter.

“February 21st, 1916. I only wanted to ask forgiveness from you and my dearest Papa for all I did to you, my dear, for all trouble i caused. I’m praying God make me better….”

In several weeks after beginning of war the Grand Duchess Tatiana initiated to set up in Russia “Committee of Her Emperor Majesty Grand Duchess Tatiana Nicolaevna for assistance and relief to those who suffered from war”.

Being famed for wide charitable activities “Tatianinsky committee” set the following goals: Assistance to people who became poor due to the war in the places of their permanent residence or in the places of their temporary stay; help in sending refugees to their mother countries or to their permanent place of living; search of work vacancies ; search of work for disabled people; assistance in allocating disabled people to the hospices, shelters; providing refugees with money allowance; establishing own hospitages for disabled people; admission of donations.

The Grand Duchess Tatiana was Honorable Chairman of the Committee where famous Russian statesmen and public men were members. The representatives of Defensive Ministry, Internal Affairs Ministry and Railway Ministry and Finance Ministry attended the meetings of the Comittee either.

Public activity of the Grand Duchess was welcomed and actively directed by the Empress. From the letter of the Empress to her spouse on September 20th, 1914: “At 4 o’clock Tatiana and I received Neidgarda on affairs of her Committee — the first meeting will take place in the Winter Palace on

Wednesday, after prayer service, and I won’t attend again. It’s helpful to let girls work on her own, they will get acquaintance and will learn how to bring positive result”.

The same idea was repeated in Her Majesty’s letter dd October 21st, 1914: “O. and T. are in Olga’s committee right now. Tatiana received Neidgard with his report on her own, he was reporting half an hour.

It’s very important for girls. They are learning how to be self-sufficient, and this will teach them much more, because they have to think and speak for themselves”.

Letter dd. October 24th, 1914: “Tatiana was at the meeting of the Committee, which lasted 1.5 hours. She joined us in my Cross Community, where I together with Olga get used drop in after the warehouse”.

Letter dd. October 24th, 1914: “Tatiana was at the meeting of the Committee, which lasted 1.5 hours. She joined us in my Cross Community, where I together with Olga get used drop in after the warehouse”.

Another activity, which Grand Duchess Tatiana Nicolaevna sellessly gave all her strength, was the work of nurse.

S.Ya. Ofrosimova remembered: “If, as an artist, I wanted to draw a portrait of the sister of mercy, as it appears in my ideal, I would only need to write a portrait of Grand Duchess Tatiana Nikolaevna; I did not even need to write it, but only point to a photograph of her, always hung over my bed, and say:” Here is the sister of mercy”. During the war, after passing the nursing examinations, the senior princesses worked in the Tsarskoselsky hospital, showing complete dedication in the matter … (sisters. — author) it was noticed for all four sisters that from the early childhood they were inspired by a great sense of duty. Everything they did was permeated with thoroughness in execution. The two elders were mostly committed.

They not only carried in the full sense of the word the duties of ordinary sisters of mercy, but also with great skill assisted in complex operations … Tatiana was more serious and composed, «- writes Mosolov.

Tatiana Evgenievna Melnik-Botkina (a daughter of physician of ordinary of Nicolas II E.S Botkin) recollected that the doctor V. Derevenko, “a man very demanding in relation to his sisters, “ said after the revolution that he rarely had met such a calm, light-handed and skilled surgical nurse as Tatiana Nicolaevna. Perceptively looking through the archive of the diary of Grand Duchess Tatiana in 1915-1916, — the already mentioned historian Tatiana Gorbacheva tells — written in a large even handwriting, I was amazed with the unique sensitivity of the Grand Duchess — after visiting the infirmaries she used to writing down the names, ranks and regiment where the people served whom she helped with her work as nurse of mercy. Each day she went to the infirmary… Even on her birthday”.

Tatiana did a very hard job in the hospital: bandaging of purulent wounds, assisting in complex surgeries. The Empress repeatedly tells her husband: “Tatiana will replace me while bandaging”, “assigning this deed to Tatiana”.

From memoirs of T. Melnik-Botkina: “I am so amazed at their ability to work, «my father told me about the Tzar’s family, needless to mention His Majesty, who impresses with the number of reports he can receive and remember, but even Grand Duchess Tatiana, for example, she rises at seven in the morning before going to the infirmary to take a lesson, then goes to make bandaging, then breakfast, again lessons, next round of visiting infirmaries, and when the evening comes … she immediately takes up needlework or reads”.

After February coup she shared the destiny of her family: Following arrest in Tzarskoye Selo, together with her family was brought into Tobolsk, then Ekaterinburg. In Ekaterinburg Tatiana more often read her mother upon her ask “spiritual reading”: Books about life of Serafim Sorovsky and Holy Mother, “Pateric Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra”, Bible in brown book cover with lilac, moire, almost faded bookmark. Lilac-violet was a diary of Alexandra Fedorovna, which Tatiana gave her for the New Year, maken a cover from a piece of her silk scarf. The title page was decorated with an inscription made in English, in an elegant, flying hand, slightly obliquely, with an invariable paraphrase-stroke:

“My beloved, dear Mama, with the best wishes of a Happy New Year. May God’s blessing be with you and it always protects you. Loving daughter Tatiana. «

Some records from the diary of the Empress. Last.

“July 16th, Tuesday. Grey morning, later the sun appeared in the sky. Baby caught a little fever. All has gone for a walk for half an hour, in the morning. Olga and I took some medicine. Tatiana was reading spiritual books. When they’d gone, Tatiana left with me and we were reading the book about prophet Avdiy and Amos….

Supper is at 8. We were playing basic with N. 10.30 — go to bed Ambient temperature is 15C.”

She prayed before going to bed and at 11 pm.the light faded in their room. Girls and Alexey were already sleeping….

….There, in the wise and old Bible book, read by Tatyana before the very death, there are strange, menacing, prophetic words: . Here they are:

“And the king shall go into captivity, he and his princes with him, says the Lord …

But at least you, as the eagle rose high and built your nest among the stars, then from there I will bring you down, says the Lord. «