Grand Duchess Maria Timeline
1899 (26th June)
1901 (18th June)
Another daughter, Anastasia
, was born to Nicholas II and Alexandra. Nicholas was bitterly disappointed that the child was not a boy.
Grand Duchess Maria shared a room with her sister Anastasia, while her other two sisters shared another room.The children were overseen by their governess, Margaretta Eagar. They lived very simply.
Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna was schooled by the family tutors, Pierre Gilliard and Sydney Gibbes. She was not very interested in academic studies.
1904 (12th August)
Maria’s brother, Alexei, was born to Nicholas II and Alexandra. It was soon discovered that he had haemophilia, a disease that affects the ability of blood to clot, for which there was no cure. The disease was kept a secret from the outside world. Maria’s sister Tatiana idolised her little brother and spent time caring for him.
1905 (1st November)
The holy man Grigory Rasputin
was introduced to the Royal family he told the Tsarina that he had the power to heal Alexei, who was haemophiliac.
Tsarevich Alexei was taken ill due to his haemophilia. Rasputin was summoned and he managed to stop the bleeding.
Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna and the Russian royal family made a visit to England where they attended Cowes Week on the Isle of Wight.
Prime Minister Pyotr Stolypin conducted an investigation into the affairs of Rasputin after claims of rape and inappropriate behaviour were made against the holy man, and presented it to Nicholas. After Nicholas took no action, Stolypin ordered Rasputin to leave St Petersburg. Alexandra was furious but Nicholas refused to order his return.
1912 (5th September)
Alexei jumped into a boat and injured himself on an oarlock. A large haematoma appeared but began to reduce in size after a week.
1912 (2nd October)
Maria’s brother Alexei was riding in a carriage with his family. The carriage jolted rupturing the haematoma in his thigh. His conditioned worsened rapidly and he soon became unconscious.
1912 (10th October)
Although Alexei was beginning to recover, Maria’s mother secretly sent a message to Rasputin asking him to come to help Alexei recover. Rasputin replied by letter that Alexei would not die.
1912 (19th October)
Maria’s brother, Alexei had recovered considerably. Her mother was convinced it was due to Rasputin.
The Octobrists, the largest party in the Russian parliament, ordered an investigation into the affairs of Rasputin. They were concerned about the influence Rasputin had with the Tsarina.
1913 (21st February)
Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna and her family attended a service held at Kazan Cathedral and a reception at the Winter Palace to celebrate the three-hundredth year anniversary of the Romanov dynasty.
The Russian royal family made a tour of the Russian Empire as part of the three-hundredth year anniversary of the Romanov dynasty.
This treaty of mutual support allied Russia with Britain and France.
1914 (28th June)
The heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Franz Ferdinand, was assassinated by Gavrilo Princip
, member of the Black Hand a Serbian Nationalist group, in Sarajevo.
1914 (29th July)
Nicholas sent a message to Kaiser Wilhelm calling on him to use the Hague Conference to settle the Austro-Serbian dispute rather than declaring support for Austria. He received no reply.
1914 (30th July)
Nicholas II ordered a general mobilisation of Russian troops.
1914 (1st August)
Germany declared war on Russia beginning Russia’s involvement in World War One
Maria had an operation to remove her tonsils. During the operation she bled profusely and it was thought that she was a carrier of the haemophilia gene.
During World War One, Grand Duchess Maria and her sister Anastasia visited wounded soldiers in hospital and played games with them and talked to them. Olga, Tatiana and their mother became Red Cross Nurses.
1914 (1st September)
Saint Petersburg was renamed Petrograd (Peter’s City). The move was made to remove the German word ‘burg’ from the city.
1915 (6th September)
Tsar Nicholas II took personal charge of the army, possibly on the advice of Rasputin and dismissed the Duma (parliament). Although a brave move by Nicholas he did not have sufficient military experience to turn the war to Russia’s favour. Moreover, he had put himself in a position where he was wholly responsible for the continuing defeats Russia faced. He left his wife in control of the country during his absence at the front.
Rasputin was blamed for a series of ministerial changes made by the Tsarina. People were becoming increasingly suspicious of the extent of Rasputin’s influence on the Tsarina.
The numbers of men conscripted into the army continued to rise. Many of them were peasants and their serving at the front meant they were not on the farms getting in the harvest.
Food prices were now four times higher than in 1914. Workers began to strike for higher pay.
1916 (30th December)
Rasputin was assassinated
by a group of nobles including Prince Felix Yusupov and Dmitri Pavlovich. They poisoned Rasputin’s food and when that failed they shot him. His body was dumped in the Little Nevka river. The royal children and their mother were very upset when they learned of Rasputin’s death.
The army had no faith in Nicholas as their leader. Army officials agreed to support the Duma if it took control of the country.
1917 (2nd January)
Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna and the Russian royal family attended the funeral of Grigory Rasputin.
1917 (22nd January)
150,000 workers took to the streets of Petrograd to protest at the desperate situation many were in – lack of food, poor living conditions and Russia’s continued participation in a war that was going from bad to worse.
1917 (26th January)
Prince Carol of Romania visited Russia and asked for the hand of Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna. However, Nicholas considered Maria too young for marriage.
1917 (23rd February)
Cold weather, anti-war feeling and food shortages led to people rioting and breaking shop windows to loot food. Anti-Tsar feeling was at its highest and people chanted ‘Down with the Tsar’. Troops were sent onto the streets to remove the protestors by force. Although some complied killing around 40 protestors many sympathised with the masses, refused to fire on them and joined the protests instead.
1917 (8th March)
Workers on the streets of Petrograd were joined by women celebrating International Women’s Day and protesting against food rationing.
1917 (9th March)
200,000 protestors were on the streets of Petrograd calling for the Tsar to be replaced.
1917 (10th March)
Petrograd was at a standstill as more than 250,000 people were on strike.
1917 (12th March)
Members of the Duma decided to form a Provisional Committee.
1917 (15th March)
Nicholas II reluctantly abdicated as Tsar. He named his younger brother Mikhail as the new Tsar, a position he refused. Grand Duchess Tatiana Nikolaevna, her siblings and parents as well as their close servants were placed under virtual house arrest in the Alexander Palace.
Maria was taken ill with measles and pneumonia.
Nicholas requested that the new foreign minister, Pavel Milyukov, contact the United Kingdom to request that the Russian royal family be allowed to go into exile in Britain.
1917 (19th March)
The British government agreed to grant asylum to the Russian royal family. However, many in Britain did not approve, particularly as the Tsarina was German and Britain was at war with Germany.
1917 (late March)
Fearful that accepting the Russian royal family into Britain would lead to protests against the British monarchy, King George V
wrote to the British Prime Minister stating that accepting the Romanovs would adversely affect the popularity of the monarchy in Britain and could lead to their overthrow. Lloyd George withdrew the offer of asylum.
1917 (3rd April)
The Russian Royal family were moved to Tobolsk in Western Siberia. They were housed in Kuklin House in relative comfort.
1917 (25th October)
Armed Bolshevik supporters entered the Winter Palace and arrested members of the Provisional Government.
1917 (26th October)
A congress of Soviets was held which appointed the first Soviet government and appointed Vladimir Lenin as Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars.
1917 (7th November)
Russian Civil War
Although Lenin had taken control of the country there were still many opponents that sought to overturn the new regime. These were known as whites. The fighting between the whites and the red army was often violent.
1918 (1st March)
The Bolshevik government was less lenient with the Royal family and began imposing greater restrictions on them. Ten of their servants were dismissed and their food allowance was reduced to that of a soldier’s rations.
With the White Army advancing and fearing a possible foreign invasion in support of the Romanovs, Lenin moved the capital of Russia to Moscow. Nicholas, Alexandra and Maria were moved to the Ipatiev House in Yekaterinburg where they were closely guarded by a detachment commanded by Yakov Yurovsky. Alexei was ill with haemophilia and could not be moved so he, Olga, Tatiana and Anastasia remained in Tobolsk.
Alexei had recovered and he and his sisters were moved to join their parents at Yekaterinburg. Here, even greater restrictions were placed on the family. The windows were blacked out and they were forbidden to speak any language apart from Russian. They were accompanied by guards at all times.
1918 (17th July)
Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna and all members of her family were woken and told to dress and then taken to the cellar. They were informed that they were to be moved for their safety as the White Army was approaching Yekaterinburg. Guards then entered the room, told them they were to be executed and began firing. Nicholas was killed first followed by his wife and Tatiana and then the others. So many rounds were fired that the room was filled with smoke. Those that showed any signs of life were bayonetted or clubbed. The bodies were buried in shallow graves in nearby woods. Yakov Yurovsky wrote a detailed account of the event which was sent to his superiors.
The detailed report of the assassination of the Russian Royal family written by Yakov Yurovsky was found. In addition to the details of the actual assassination, the note revealed that two bodies had been removed from the main grave and cremated elsewhere This had been done to try to disguise the fact that the Royal family had been murdered.
After the fall of Communism in Russia, the graves of the Russian Royal family, in the woods outside Yekaterinburg, were excavated revealing the remains of nine persons rather than the expected eleven that were executed. The body of Alexei and one of the girls was missing.
2007 (23rd August)
An archaeologist found two burned partial skeletons. Analysis revealed them to be the remains of a teenage boy and girl. DNA testing revealed the remains to be those of Alexei and one of his sisters, most likely Anastasia Romanov.
2007 (23rd August)
The discovery of the two additional bodies was proof that all members of the Russian Royal family were killed in 1918.