For more than three centuries, Russia was ruled by the House of Romanov. This isn't particularly notable, for history's various nations and empires have long been led by one royal dynasty or another. Yet, while royal houses come and go, the Romanovs linger in the public consciousness due to the grisly and tragic circumstances of their demise.
Victims of a tumultuous cultural revolution, the Romanovs were held prisoner by their subjects. Then, in the early morning hours of July 18, 1918, Tsar Nicholas II, Empress Alexandra, and their five young children were executed.
This is the story many people are familiar with, but there are facts about the Romanovs that are less well known: the fate of the family's dog, for instance, or their intertwined relationship with European royalty. Read on to learn more Romanov family facts, and vote up the ones you never knew before.
The Romanov Children Spoke English With An Irish Accent
From Redditor u/LeighAnoisGoCuramachCarlow:
TIL the Russian Romanov princesses spoke English with a slight Irish accent, as their nanny [Margaretta Eager] was from Limerick.
[Editor's Note: While the source above only notes that Margaretta Eagar was Irish and from the town of Limerick, the New York Times claims that, after the nanny departed, a tutor was brought in to correct the Romanov children's "Scottish" accents. This may be an editorial oversight.]Royal surprise?
Tsar Nicholas II Had A Tattoo Of A Dragon On His Forearm
From Redditor u/Katya_qi:
TIL Nicholas II, the last tsar of the Russian Empire, had a black dragon tattoo on his forearm. During his stay in a Nagasaki harbor on a Russian battleship, he asked to be introduced to artists, so the next day [one] came and tattooed his right forearm with a black dragon.Royal surprise?
The Bolsheviks Tried To Execute All The Romanovs' Dogs - But One Spaniel Survived
From Redditor u/malvoliosf:
TIL when the Bolsheviks [executed] the Romanov family, they also tried to kill all their pets, but missed one dog, a spaniel named Joy. The dog was later rescued by a British officer and lived out its life in England.
[Editor's Note: In her memoir, a former lady-in-waiting to Empress Alexandra, Sophie Buxhoeveden, wrote: "What had little Joy seen on that terrible night of July 16? He had been with the Imperial Family to the last. Had he witnessed the tragedy? His brain had evidently kept the memory of a great shock, and his heart was broken. It was pathetic seeing this dumb friend, who brought back the memory of the Tsarvich so vividly. Little Joy was well cared for. He was taken to England by Colonel Rodzianko and spent the last years in the utmost canine comfort, but still never recovered his spirits."]Royal surprise?
More Than 1,000 People Perished At Tsar Nicholas II's Coronation
From Redditor u/CoffeeDrive:
TIL that 1,429 people [perished] at Tsar Nicholas II's coronation party as people were trampled trying to get their share of beer and food.
[Editor's Note: The BBC reports that "another 9,000 to 20,000 were injured."]Royal surprise?