It was on a cool July night in 1918 when the Bolsheviks executed the Romanovs, Russia’s last Imperial Family. And I dedicate this post to them – in pictures:
Tsar Nicholas II with his wife (right) Empress Alexandra and her sister Grand Duchess Elizabeth. Tragically, all three would perish in July 1918 at the brutal hands of the Bolsheviks.
The Imperial Family in 1899. Alexandra holds baby Marie, with Nicholas propping up tiny Tatiana and little Olga in the foreground.
The Imperial Family after the birth of Alexis in 1904. Olga, aged nearly nine, holds her father’s arm. Tatiana snuggles to her mother while Marie sits in front of her. Nicholas holds Anastasia by the hand.
Their Imperial Highnesses the Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Marie and Anastasia in a formal sitting in 1906.
The Imperial Children in 1906 (l-r) Olga, Alexei, Tatiana, Marie and Anastasia
The Imperial Family eating a meal like any other family.
Empress Alexandra and the Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Anastasia and Marie in 1913, during the Romanov tercentenary
The Grand Duchesses Marie, Anastasia, Tatiana and Olga in 1914
The Romanovs in 1915
The Imperial Family
In 1971, the film “Nicholas and Alexandra” premiered in London. The cast (Michael Jayston as Nicholas, Janet Suzman as Alexandra, Roderic Noble as Alexis, Ania Marson as Olga, Lynne Frederick as Tatiana, Candace Glendenning as Marie and Fiona Fullerton as Anastasia) also posed for pictures, similar to the royal family’s formal sittings:
The real McCoy
from the film
And another match-up:
I wish Hollywood would make another film based on the Romanovs. Casting the four daughters is actually tricky but if I had my way, I’d cast the following:
Apart from the blond hair and squarish face, Julia has the strong-willed, intelligent, well-read aura of the eldest of the Grand Duchesses:
A runner-up to play Olga would be Kirsten Dunst, who actually resembles Fiona Fullerton, who played Anastasia in 1971. But I think with the proper hairstyling, she’d be a credible Grand Duchess Olga. She is also talented enough to convey the complexities of Olga’s character.
Emily Blunt can capture the figure of authority and elegance in Grand Duchess Tatiana. She already has one royal role – that of Tatiana’s maternal great-grandma, Queen Victoria. Her eyes are also slanted in a manner similar to that of the grey-eyed stunner:
One runner-up can be Keira Knightley:
My take on Keira is that I never really found her to be elegant; she seems more skittish than anything else, really. One reason why she was perfect to play Lizzy Bennet is because she has that rather playful manner.
I’ve never seen how Selena acts but am sure she can pull off the more docile role of Grand Duchess Marie. Properly styled and costumes, she would be a dead ringer for the prettiest (albeit chubbiest) of the Grand Duchesses:
A distant runner-up (who would also need to gains something like twenty pounds) would be Leighton Meester:
It would be a far cry from her days as Queen Bee as she will assume the title Her Imperial Highness but wear rather dowdy clothes. Marie has been described as flirt of sorts so Meester can assume the same stance.
Saoirse Ronan would play the tomboyish, mischievous Russian Grand Duchess; her work in “The Lovely Bones” just might prepare her for the bloody night of July 16-17, 1918.
Another contender would be Mia Wasikowska (who played Alice in Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” – which is a throw-back to Fiona Fullerton as she played Alice after playing Anastasia)
I think these casting choice could do justice to the girls after the 1971 version:
left to right – Marie, Tatiana, Anastasia and Olga
Hopefully their deaths will be properly commemorated in 2018.