Coquetdale Local History Society - December meeting

Nicholas and Alexandra was the subject of a talk by Robert Moon to members of Rothbury and Coquetdale Local History Society.

It was difficult to condense the life, times, and death of the last Tsar of Russia and his family into a short talk. He was a key player in the struggle for democracy, which was taking place throughout Europe. It led up to and continued during the First World War.

The seeds were sown before Nicholas came to the throne. He witnessed his grandfather’s assassination. The people were restless, demanding a say in their affairs.

He was happily married to Alexandra of Hesse, a German, had four daughters and a son Alexis,who had haemophilia.She converted to the Russian Orthodox Church, he was a loving family man.

Nicholas was related to most of the Royal families of Europe, and visited them frequently.

His large, well-appointed royal yacht was seen at Cowes, and they holidayed at Balmoral. He was proud to be made an Honorary Colonel in the Scots Greys by his Cousin George V.

The box brownie camera was very popular in the family which gives us a good photographic record of the Royal and Romanov life.

As an autocratic ruler, Nicholas was very unprepared for ruling the whole of Russia and a people finding their voice.

He had provoked a disastrous war with Japan in 1904, causing heavy losses, and the people were in increasingly dire poverty, famine and wretchedness.

As the opposition grew, he agreed to a constitution and parliament (Duma) of the elite, but gradually tried to whittle it away, and there was still no improvement for the people.

The First World War was equally disastrous, made worse for him when he unsuccessfully took over from the Generals.

The dominant and already unpopular German Tsarina often took over the Government in his absence.

In February 1917, Nicholas was persuaded to abdicate. The throne was offered to a relative, but he refused. The Revolutionaries took over the Government and ended the war.

The Royal family were imprisoned in increasingly poor conditions. George V refused them sanctuary. The various factions led to civil war.

With the White Army (Royalists) approaching, Nicholas and his family and small staff were shot and unceremoniously buried. In 1991, they were exhumed and canonised in 2000. Boris Yeltsin publically apologised for what was done.