Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia

Real Name

Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna Romanova of Russia


June 18, 1901


July 17, 1918


Grand Duchess Anastasia Romanova was born on 18 June 1901 the fourth daughter of Russian Emperor Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra Feodorovna Romanova.

Anastasia was chosen as her name because her father celebrated her birth by pardoning a number of students who had recently rioted in St Petersburg – one of the many meanings of the name Anastasia is “breaker of chains.”

Along with her elder sisters (Olga Romanova, Tatiana Romanova and Maria Romanova) and, later, her younger brother Alexei Romanov, she was raised in a rather simple style by her parents, who were not believers in ostentatious displays of the Russian Royal Family’s wealth. Accordingly, Anastasia was a relatively down to earth and energetic young girl, with a zest for life, and was well known for the pranks that she would play on fellow family members and servants.

Like some of her other siblings (notably Alexei, who suffered from hemophilia), Anastasia’s health was not as good as her parents would have hoped. She suffered from a small deformity in her left foot, as well as a back weakness. There are some suspicions that, because Anastasia and her sisters were prone to bleeding, they were also sufferers, to a lesser exert, of haemophilia.

Because of the poor health of her children, Anastasia’s mother, Alexandra, sought the counsel of many medical experts – some reputable, others far less so. One of the least reputable but most famous of those she consulted was Grigori Rasputin, a holy man with no medical qualification. He became very close to the family and has a great deal of undue influence on the family.

The Rasputin/Anastasia relationship is shrouded in much mystery. She was known to be close to him and, along with two of her sisters attended his funeral. There are persistent rumours that he seduced Anastasia’s mother and sisters, and possibly even Anastasia herself. No evidence has been discovered to support these rumours, but they were widespread through Russian society. So great was his perceived negative influence on the Romanovs that Rasputin (known to many as the Mad Monk) was murdered by members of the Russian nobility, and discredited the royal family in the eyes of the Russian people, perhaps contributing to the Russian Revolution of 1917.

When her father abdicated on 15 March 1917, the family were confined to their residence at the Alexander Palace in St Petersburg. The family initially had hoped that they would be able to go into exile, perhaps to the United Kingdom, as they were quite closely related to the British Royal Family. However, the British Government were reluctant to accept Nicholas II and his family, fearing that his arrival could lead to unrest.

Instead, Anastasia and her family were moved to Tobolsk in August by the Russian Provisional Government, who were fearful that the continuing unrest in Russia could lead to their capture by more radical forces such as the Bolsheviks. It wasn’t long, though, before the Bolshevik’s toppled Krensky’s provisional government, however, and the Romanovs were transferred into their custody.

On 30 April 1918, Anastasia and her family were moved to Yekaterinburg, in what was to prove their final move. On 17 July, Grand Duchess Anastasia, her parents, brother, sisters and remaining family staff were ordered to gather in the basement of the house they were being held at, and were executed by Bolshevik forces in a chaotic bloodbath of shooting and fighting.

The Romanov family’s bodies were dumped into a mass grave nearby. The grave wasn’t discovered until 1970, and this led to many claims that some members of the Russian Royal Family had escaped the killing and fled abroad.

At least 10 woman came forward between 1917 & 1970 claiming to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia, the most famous claimant being Anna Anderson.

See Also

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