Grand Duchess Xenia of Russia (1875-1960) was the elder daughter of Tsarevich Alexander, later Tsar Alexander III, and brother of the ill-fated Tsar Nicholas II. As such she was a first-hand witness to the events of the last years of the Romanov dynasty, from her brother's coronation and the fatalities at one of the celebrations, to their defeat in the Russo-Japanese war, and the Bolshevik revolution. Extracts from her diary, recording the tumultuous goings-on of 1917-18, are published here for the first time.
She and her husband Alexander were among those lucky enough to escape from Russia on a warship, though they separated soon afterwards. She spent her remaining years in exile, mostly in England, where she was given a 'grace and favour' cottage at Hampton Court by her cousin, George V.
As one of the longest-lived survivors of her family, this biography contrasts the life of splendour and privilege she knew during her first forty years with the uncertainty and 'downsizing' that came afterwards.
This report prepared by John Van der Kiste