Tatiana_Nikolaevna Her Imperial Highness, Grand Duchess Tatiana Nikolaevna, the second child of Tsar Nicholas II, was born on 29 May 1897.

The younger half of the so-called “Big Pair,” she shared a room with her older sister, Olga. The girls were very close, and adored each other.  When Olga was ill with Typhoid fever, Tatiana was inconsolable, terrified because she did not recognize that sick little girl in bed as her sister.

Tatiana was a leader among her siblings, and they called her “The Governess.”  While she lacked her older sister’s natural talent in the schoolroom, she was a harder worker, more likely to follow through until a project was completed.

In many ways, she was a lot like her her mother — both in looks and temperament.  She was also the daughter who was the most bonded to their mother.  While all of Empress Alexandra’s children loved her, Tatiana seemed to be her kindred spirit.  Of all the girls, Tatiana was also the most dedicated to their friend Rasputin, recording his sayings in a little notebook.  She was the most devout of the children, frequently reading The Bible and other religious books.

Tall, slender, and regal — many people considered Tatiana the most elegant of the Tsar’s daughters. She enjoyed dressing her mother’s hair and had a flair for style and fashion.  It would have been interesting to see what she would have done with the styles of the 1920’s and beyond.

tatiana child

Tatiana was devoted to her duties as a wartime nurse, and her only complaint about nursing was that she was not allowed, due to her age, to do even more.  She also appeared in public more than her sisters, chairing committees and attending events.  However, she was nervous about speaking in public and naturally shy, perhaps due to her sheltered upbringing.  Duty was paramount, though, and even nerves could not stop her from doing what she believed her country needed.

Her natural sense of responsibility was a comfort to her mother during their captivity.  When the Tsar was to be moved from Tobolsk, the Empress was willing to accompany her husband despite her son’s illness and inability to be moved only because Tatiana was able to stay behind and manage things.  However, the reduced circumstances of their imprisonment was hard on Tatiana, and she clung to her dignity via a haughty demeanor.  It is difficult to view her harshly for this, though, because she was a young woman adrift from all she was raised to expect from life.  The very position she was born and raised to hold was gone, and with it the very world she was meant to inhabit.

On 17 July 1918, Tatiana was shot along with the rest of her immediate family.

tatiana2Nota Bene: This is the second in a series about Tsar Nicholas II’s children. 

All dates prior to February 1918 given in Old Style (OS) format unless otherwise noted.


Nicholas and Alexandra by Robert K. Massie

Thirteen Years at the Russian Court by Pierre Gilliard

Six Years at the Russian Court by Margaret Eager

Memories of the Russian Court by Anna Virubova