Transcript: Nicholas and Alexandra: The Letters - Ep. 1 | Jan 21, 2019

(music plays)

An aerial view shows images of Saint Petersburg.

Old clips show images of a revolution.

Suzannah says THIS IS
A LOVE STORY.
A LOVE STORY TOLD ACROSS THREE
DECADES AND TWO CONTINENTS
AGAINST A BACKDROP OF WAR AND
REVOLUTION.
IT'S THE STORY OF BOY MEETS
GIRL, BOY MARRIES GIRL, AND
TOGETHER, BOY AND GIRL PRESIDE
OVER ONE OF THE MOST
SIGNIFICANT AND BLOODIEST
PERIODS OF MODERN HISTORY.

A portrait of Nicholas and Alexandra Romanov appears.

Simon says NICHOLAS AND ALEXANDRA WERE
CATASTROPHIC RULERS.

Simon is in his fifties, bald and with a beard. He wears a blue shirt.

Dominic says WHATEVER ELSE ONE COULD EVER
SAY ABOUT HER, SHE LOVED
NICHOLAS.
AND ALWAYS LOVED HIM.

Dominic is in his sixties, balding and clean-shaven. He wears glasses, a white shirt, a golden tie, a black scarf and a burgundy blazer.

Suzannah says THEIRS WAS A ROMANCE THAT
INFLUENCED THE FALL OF A
300-YEAR-OLD EMPIRE, AND THE
RESHAPING OF ONE-SIXTH OF THE
GLOBE.
TWO LOVERS WHO, THROUGH THEIR
INTIMATE CORRESPONDENCE, CAUSED
THE EARTH, OR AT LEAST ITS
BORDERS, TO MOVE BENEATH THEM.
THIS IS THE EPIC LOVE STORY OF
THE LAST RUSSIAN TSAR AND HIS
EMPRESS.
BUT RATHER THAN LIVING HAPPILY
EVER AFTER, THEIR LOVE LED ONLY
TO THEIR OWN VIOLENT DEATH, AND
THE GRUESOME MASSACRE OF THEIR
YOUNG FAMILY.

A man says THE SHOOTING WAS
ABSOLUTE CHAOS.
BLOOD AND BRAINS EVERYWHERE.

Suzannah says THIS IS A ROMANTIC FABLE THAT
ENDS IN BLOODSHED.
IT IS THE STORY OF THE
OBSESSIVE RELATIONSHIP THAT
DESTROYED AN EMPIRE.
THIS IS NICHOLAS AND ALEXANDRA
IN THEIR OWN WORDS.

As the royal family crest appears, the name of the show reads "Nicholas and Alexandra: The Letters. With Suzannah Lipscomb."

(BELL TOLLING DISTANTLY)

A caption reads "Saint Petersburg."

The caption changes to "Doctor Suzannah Lipscomb. University of Roehampton."

Susannah is in her late thirties, with long curly blond hair and wears a red coat, a white turtleneck sweater, beige fur hat and scarf and a pair of beige gloves.

She says LIKE MANY A MODERN-DAY
RELATIONSHIP, OUR TWO LOVERS MET
AT A WEDDING, RIGHT HERE AT THE
WINTER PALACE IN ST. PETERSBURG.
THE 16-YEAR-OLD NICHOLAS, WHO
WAS ATTENDING HIS UNCLE'S
WEDDING, WAS INTRODUCED TO THE
BRIDE'S LITTLE SISTER.
SHE WAS JUST 12 YEARS OLD, AND
HER NAME WAS ALEXANDRA.

A portrait of Alexandra appears.

The caption changes to "Simon Sebag Montefiore. Author, The Romanovs 1613-1918."

Simon says THEY WERE VERY
TAKEN WITH EACH OTHER, AND THEY
MET AGAIN AT FAMILY OCCASIONS.
AND GRADUALLY, IT BECAME CLEAR
THAT NICKY WAS DETERMINED THAT
HE WOULD MARRY THIS GIRL.
COME WHAT MAY.

The caption changes to "Professor Dominic Lieven. University of Cambridge."

He says THEY WOULD HAVE MET ANYWAY,
YOU KNOW.
THEY WERE FROM THAT VERY, VERY
NARROW ROYAL CIRCLE.
BUT IT MADE IT MUCH EASIER FOR
THEM TO MEET, AND EVEN TO SPEND
SOME TIME TOGETHER, THAT THEY
WERE THEN RELATED BY MARRIAGE.
AND QUITE CLOSELY RELATED.

The caption changes to "Doctor Philippa Hetherington."

Philippa is in her thirties, with long straight blond hair with side swept bangs and wears a black blouse.

She says PRETTY SOON AFTER MEETING, WE
KNOW THAT NICHOLAS WROTE IN HIS
DIARY ABOUT HOW MUCH HE CARED
FOR HER, AND HOW HIGHLY HE
THOUGHT OF HER.
BUT THEY DON'T ACTUALLY HAVE AN
OPPORTUNITY TO TALK ENGAGEMENT,
ETCETERA, FOR A FEW YEARS
LATER.

Nicholas says MY DREAM: ONE DAY
TO MARRY ALIX H.
I HAVE LOVED HER FOR A LONG
TIME, BUT MORE DEEPLY AND
STRONGLY SINCE 1889, WHEN SHE
SPENT SIX WEEKS IN PETERSBURG
DURING THE WINTER.
FOR A LONG TIME, I RESISTED MY
FEELINGS AND TRIED TO DECEIVE
MYSELF ABOUT THE IMPOSSIBILITY
OF ACHIEVING MY MOST CHERISHED
WISH.

Suzannah says BEFORE
NICHOLAS'S DREAM COULD COME
TRUE, HE WOULD FIRST STRUGGLE
FOR PARENTAL APPROVAL.
HE MIGHT HAVE HAD HIS HEART SET
ON A GERMAN PRINCESS, BUT HIS
FATHER HAD OTHER IDEAS.

Philippa says PART OF THE
PROBLEM IS THAT ALEXANDRA,
OF COURSE, IS GERMAN.
AND THERE WERE FACTIONS OF THE
IMPERIAL FAMILY IN RUSSIA,
INCLUDING NICHOLAS'S OWN FATHER,
WHO WERE VERY FERVENTLY
ANTI-GERMAN.

Simon says THE FAMILY WAS
ACTUALLY VERY AGAINST IT FOR
ALL SORTS OF REASONS: BECAUSE
THEY THOUGHT HE WAS TOO YOUNG,
THAT SHE WAS TOO ENGLISH,
SHE WAS TOO GERMAN.
AND FOR ALL THESE REASONS, THEY
JUST FELT THAT IT WAS AN
INAPPROPRIATE MARRIAGE FOR THE
HEIR TO THE RUSSIAN THRONE.
AND THEY STARTED TO LOOK FOR
OTHER CANDIDATES.

Suzannah says THE SEARCH BEGAN.
BUT IN THE MEANTIME,
ALEXANDER THE THIRD THOUGHT THE
IMPRESSIONABLE YOUNG NICHOLAS
OUGHT TO HAVE A LITTLE FUN.

Simon says HE WAS A BIT OF A
SORT OF-- BIT OF A NERVOUS
VIRGIN, REALLY.
HIS FATHER WAS BEGINNING TO
THINK HE WAS A BIT OF A GIRL'S
BLOUSE, AND SO SOME OF THE
FAMILY SAID IT'S TIME HE MET A
BALLERINA.
THE IMPERIAL BALLET, WHICH WAS
ACTUALLY RUN BY THE ROMANOV
FAMILY AS A PERSONAL INSTITUTION
OF THE MONARCH, WAS A SORT OF
DATING AGENCY FOR GRAND DUKES.

Suzannah says AND SO THE TSAR TOOK HIS SON
TO THE GRADUATION CEREMONY OF
THE IMPERIAL SCHOOL OF
THEATRICAL DANCE, WHERE HE
INTRODUCED NICHOLAS TO THE
18-YEAR-OLD POLISH BALLERINA,
MATHILDE, AFFECTIONATELY KNOWN
AS LITTLE K.

Simon says THEY INTRODUCED
NICKY DELIBERATELY, WITH THE
AGREEMENT OF HIS FATHER,
TO MATHILDE KSCHESSINSKAYA.
AND THEY BEGAN THIS REALLY
TOUCHING AFFAIR, ACTUALLY.
AND SO HE HAD A WONDERFUL TIME
WITH THIS GIRL, AND IT WAS FIRST
LOVE.
IT WAS A VERY SWEET
RELATIONSHIP, REALLY.

Suzannah says AS A TIMID AND GENTLE SOUL
WITH GENUINE INTEREST IN MUSIC
AND THE ARTS, NICHOLAS, NOW 22,
WAS SOMETHING OF A HOPELESS
ROMANTIC.
IT'S SAID THAT HE LOVED TO WATCH
THE BEAUTIFUL MATHILDE THROUGH
HIS BINOCULARS WHENEVER SHE
PERFORMED, WHICH WAS OFTEN IN
STUNNING LOCATIONS LIKE THIS:
THE MIKHAILOVSKY THEATRE IN
ST. PETERSBURG.
THE BALLERINA WHO CAPTURED THE
HEART OF THE FUTURE EMPEROR
OPENED HIM UP TO A DIFFERENT
WORLD AND TO NEW EXPERIENCES.
HE WAS SWEPT UP IN ALL THE
PASSION AND OBSESSION THAT
CHARACTERIZES THE FIRST TASTE
OF A LOVE AFFAIR.

She walks in a dance classroom and says THESE DANCES ARE DEMONSTRATING A
SORT OF BEAUTIFUL RUSSIAN
TECHNIQUE THAT NICHOLAS WOULD
HAVE SEEN LITTLE K MATHILDE
DOING.
AND WE CAN SEE WHY HE WAS SO
ENTRANCED.

Nicholas says I HAVE NOTICED
SOMETHING VERY STRANGE WITHIN
MYSELF.
I NEVER THOUGHT THAT TWO
SIMILAR FEELINGS, TWO LOVES,
COULD COEXIST AT ONE TIME,
WITHIN ONE HEART.
I HAVE ALREADY LOVED ALIX H FOR
THREE YEARS, AND CONSTANTLY
HOPE TO MARRY HER ONE DAY, GOD
WILLING.
AND SINCE THE CAMP OF 1890
UNTIL NOW, I HAVE BEEN MADLY IN
LOVE WITH LITTLE K.
WHAT A SURPRISING THING A HEART
IS.
AND AT THE SAME TIME, I NEVER
STOP THINKING ABOUT ALIX.

Suzannah says THOUGH NICHOLAS WOULD ALWAYS
HOLD MATHILDE DEAR, AND WOULD
CONTINUE TO WATCH HER DANCE, IT
WAS SOMEWHAT INEVITABLE THAT THE
CURTAIN WOULD FALL ON THEIR
ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIP, BECAUSE
HE WAS DETERMINED TO MARRY
ALEXANDRA, NO MATTER WHAT THE
OBSTACLES.
AND THERE WERE MANY.
AND YET, AS HIS DIARY ENTRIES
ATTEST TO, ALEXANDRA WAS NEVER
FAR FROM NICHOLAS'S THOUGHTS.
AT THE START OF THE 20TH
CENTURY, THE RUSSIAN AND GERMAN
EMPIRES OCCUPIED MUCH OF
NORTHERN AND EASTERN EUROPE.
A MARRIAGE BETWEEN THE TWO
NATIONS WAS A SERIOUS BUSINESS.
BUT WHAT CONCERNED THE TSAR MORE
WAS THAT ALEXANDRA, THE GERMAN
PRINCESS THAT HIS SON NICHOLAS
SEEMED INSISTENT UPON MARRYING,
WAS THE GRANDDAUGHTER OF QUEEN
VICTORIA, MAKING HER, TO ALL
INTENTS AND PURPOSES, CULTURALLY
ENGLISH.

A portrait of Queen Victoria appears.

Simon says SHE WAS REALLY
BROUGHT UP AS AN ENGLISH WOMAN.
AND MUCH OF HER PROBLEM CAME
FROM A SORT OF ENGLISH FROIDEUR.
A SORT OF CHILLY ENGLISHNESS
THAT WAS DISASTROUS IN RUSSIA.

Suzannah says ALEXANDRA'S CHILDHOOD HAD
BEEN BLIGHTED BY TRAGEDY.
SHE HAD LOST HER BROTHER,
A HEMOPHILIAC, WHEN SHE WAS 3
YEARS OLD.
AT THE AGE OF 6, HER 5-YEAR-OLD
SISTER AND HER MOTHER BOTH DIED
OF DIPHTHERIA.

Dominic says ALEXANDRA'S MOTHER
DIED YOUNG.
AND ACTUALLY QUEEN VICTORIA THEN
REALLY TOOK THE GIRLS UNDER HER
WING.
SO ALEXANDRA WAS A RATHER PRISSY
VICTORIAN ENGLISH UPPER-CLASS
WOMAN, IN MANY WAYS.

Simon says QUEEN VICTORIA
WAS AN INCREDIBLY SHREWD OLD
BIRD, AND SHE RECOGNIZED THAT
THOUGH SHE ABSOLUTELY LOVED HER
ALIX, THAT SHE WOULD BE VERY
ILL-SUITED TO MARRY INTO A
DIFFICULT POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT.
AND THERE WAS NO MORE
POLITICALLY DIFFICULT
ENVIRONMENT THAN THE COURT OF
RUSSIA.

Suzannah says ALEXANDRA GREW UP TO BE A
SERIOUS WOMAN WHOSE INHERITED
PRUDERY AND VICTORIAN RESERVE
MADE HER SEEM ANTISOCIAL IN THE
WIDER EUROPEAN CIRCLES IN WHICH
SHE WAS NOW MOVING.
SHE WAS SHY OF STRANGERS.
SHE FLUSHED HORRIBLY WHEN
NERVOUS, AND SHE SPOKE IN A
WHISPER.
SHE WAS ALSO A FUSSY EATER, HAD
LITTLE INTEREST IN OR INSTINCT
FOR FASHION.
AND SHE WAS REPORTEDLY A BAD
DANCER.
ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, ALEXANDRA
WASN'T BEST PLACED TO ENJOY THE
SOCIAL SCENE OF THE YOUNG, RICH
AND POWERFUL.
AND YET, DESPITE ALL THIS, SHE
WAS BEING COURTED BY ONE OF THE
MOST ELIGIBLE BACHELORS IN
EUROPE.

Nicholas says DARLING ALIX, JUST
A WEE LINE TO SEND YOU MY VERY
BEST WISHES ON YOUR BIRTHDAY,
WHICH IS IN TWO DAYS.
I SEE ELLA RATHER OFTEN, AND WE
ALWAYS SPEAK ABOUT YOUR STAY IN
ST. PETERSBURG.
IT SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN SO LONG
AGO.

Alexandra says DEAREST NICKY, SO
MANY THANKS FOR YOUR DEAR
LETTER, WHICH GAVE ME GREAT
PLEASURE.
IT WAS SO KIND OF YOU TO
REMEMBER THE OLD TOAD'S
BIRTHDAY.

Suzannah says THE CORRESPONDENCE
OF THEIR COURTSHIP SET THE TONE
FOR THE REST OF THEIR
RELATIONSHIP.
THEY WROTE TO EACH OTHER
OBSESSIVELY WHEN APART.
OFTEN INTIMATE, ALWAYS PERSONAL,
MUNDANE DETAILS WREATHED WITH
ARDENT, PASSIONATE DECLARATIONS.
SOME 1,700 OF THEM SURVIVE FROM
THE COURSE OF THEIR
RELATIONSHIP.
AND THEY WERE WRITTEN IN
ENGLISH.
NICHOLAS WAS MULTILINGUAL.
AND ALEXANDRA, ON FIRST MEETING
HIM, WAS YET TO MASTER RUSSIAN.
AND SO ENGLISH BECAME THEIR
COMMON LANGUAGE.
THEIR USE OF ENGLISH WOULD
BECOME HABITUAL, AND IT
REMAINED THE LANGUAGE OF THEIR
LETTERS UNTIL THEY DIED.
BUT LOVE IN THESE CIRCUMSTANCES
WAS NOT ALWAYS ENOUGH.
ALEXANDRA'S RELIGION ALSO PROVED
TO BE AN OBSTACLE.
(BELLS TOLLING)
(BELLS JINGLING)

Philippa says ONE OF THE PROBLEMS FOR
NICHOLAS AND ALEXANDRA WHEN THEY
WERE WANTING TO GET ENGAGED WAS
ONE OF RELIGION.
SO BEING A GERMAN PRINCESS,
ALEXANDRA WAS LUTHERAN.
AND NICHOLAS, OF COURSE, WAS
RUSSIAN ORTHODOX.
HE WAS NOT ONLY RUSSIAN
ORTHODOX, HE WAS IN FACT
PERCEIVED BY THE RUSSIAN
ORTHODOX CHURCH AS THE GREAT
GOD-GIVEN AUTOCRAT.
SO IF ALEXANDRA WAS GOING TO
BECOME THE EMPRESS OF ALL THE
RUSSIAS, THEN SHE NEEDED TO BE
RUSSIAN ORTHODOX AS WELL.

Dominic says THE WIFE OF ALMOST ANY
RUSSIAN GRAND DUKE, BUT
ABSOLUTELY THE WIFE OF THE HEIR
TO THE THRONE, HAD TO BE
ORTHODOX.
SO THE PRICE OF MARRYING
NICHOLAS WAS CONVERTING FROM
PROTESTANTISM TO RUSSIAN
ORTHODOXY.

Alexandra says DEAREST NICKY,
I AM CERTAIN THAT YOU WOULD NOT
WISH ME TO CHANGE AGAINST MY
CONVICTION.
WHAT HAPPINESS CAN COME FROM A
MARRIAGE WHICH BEGINS WITHOUT
THE REAL BLESSING OF GOD?
FOR I FEEL IT A SIN TO CHANGE
THAT BELIEF IN WHICH I HAVE
BEEN BROUGHT UP, AND WHICH
I LOVE.
IT WOULD BE ACTING A LIE TO
YOU, YOUR RELIGION, AND TO GOD.

Suzannah says AFTER
RECEIVING THIS LETTER, NICHOLAS
WROTE IN HIS DIARY.

Nicholas says THIS MORNING, IN A
LETTER FROM ALIX, I LEARNED
THAT EVERYTHING IS OVER BETWEEN
US.
IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR HER TO
CHANGE HER RELIGION.
AND ALL MY HOPES ARE SHATTERED
BY THIS IMPLACABLE OBSTACLE.
MY BEST DREAMS AND MOST
CHERISHED WISHES FOR THE
FUTURE.

Simon says THIS WAS A
TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE OBSTACLE.
AND SHE LOVED NICKY TOO.
BUT SHE WAS AN ABSOLUTE
BELIEVER.
ALEXANDRA WAS OF A VERY
RELIGIOUS TEMPERAMENT.
SHE WAS MYSTICAL, SHE WAS
RELIGIOUS, SHE WENT TO CHURCH A
LOT.
AND SHE SAID SHE COULD NOT
CHANGE HER RELIGION FOR
ANYTHING.
NO CHANGE OF RELIGION,
NO MARRIAGE.

Suzannah says PARENTAL DISAPPROVAL,
RELIGIOUS DIFFERENCES.
ALEXANDRA WASN'T AN OBVIOUS
CHOICE FOR EMPRESS.
BUT IN TIME, ALEXANDRA
ACQUIESCED.

Philippa says EVENTUALLY, SHE
CAME TO ACCEPT THE FACT THAT IF
SHE WANTED TO MARRY NICHOLAS,
AND THAT MEANT IF SHE WANTED TO
BECOME THE TSARINA EVENTUALLY,
THEN SHE WAS GOING TO HAVE TO BE
RUSSIAN ORTHODOX, AND SHE DID
EVENTUALLY CONVERT.
ALEXANDRA STAYS VERY PIOUS
THROUGHOUT HER LIFE, AND
RELIGION PLAYS A VERY BIG ROLE
IN THE WAY THAT SHE LIVES HER
LIFE AND, IN FACT, IN HER
POLITICAL ROLE IN RUSSIA.

Suzannah says IN FACT,
ALEXANDRA BECAME EVEN MORE
ORTHODOX THAN MOST, INVOLVING
HERSELF IN THE STUDY OF THE
MYSTICAL ASPECTS OF RUSSIAN
ORTHODOXY.
SHE WAS COMMITTED TO NICHOLAS
FROM THE START.
AND WHEN SHE FINALLY AGREED TO
CONVERT, THE TSAR TOO BEGAN TO
SOFTEN.

Simon says NICKY COULD BE
VERY OBSTINATE.
PART OF HIS CHARACTER WAS A HUGE
OBSTINACY.
AND HE WAS DETERMINED.
AND IN THE END HE SAID TO HIS
TERRIFYING FATHER, "LOOK, IT'S
EITHER HER OR NO ONE."
SO IN THE END HIS FATHER SAID,
"OKAY, THEN, ASK HER."

Suzannah says AND HE DID.
NICHOLAS AND ALEXANDRA BECAME
ENGAGED IN THE SPRING OF 1894.
IT WAS TO BECOME A TURNING
POINT IN THE HISTORY OF RUSSIA.
TO MARK THE OCCASION, NICHOLAS
PRESENTED HIS FIANCÉE WITH AN
EXTRAVAGANT BROOCH THAT REMAINED
SYMBOLICALLY IMPORTANT UNTIL THE
END OF THEIR LIVES.

Alexandra says EVERY POSSIBLE
TENDER WORD FOR TOMORROW.
THE FIRST TIME IN 21 YEARS WE
DON'T SPEND THIS ANNIVERSARY
TOGETHER.
HOW VIVIDLY ONE REMEMBERS ALL.
AH, MY BELOVED BOY.
WHAT HAPPINESS AND LOVE YOU
HAVE GIVEN ME ALL THESE YEARS.
21 YEARS ALREADY.
YOU KNOW I HAVE KEPT THE GREY
PRINCESS DRESS I WORE THAT
MORNING.
AND I SHALL WEAR YOUR DEAR
BROOCH.

Suzannah says FRAGMENTS OF THIS BROOCH, A
12-KARAT DIAMOND, WOULD BE FOUND
IN THE CHARRED REMAINS OF
ALEXANDRA'S CLOTHES, THROWN
MERCILESSLY ONTO A FIRE AFTER
HER MURDER IN JULY 1918.
SHE HAD WORN IT UNTIL THE VERY
END.

(music plays)

Suzannah NICHOLAS'S FATHER, TSAR
ALEXANDER THE THIRD, WAS A VERY
DIFFERENT MAN TO HIS SON AND
HEIR.
ALEXANDER'S NICKNAME WAS THE
COLOSSUS.
SUCH WAS HIS STATURE.
HE WAS A BIG, STRONG, AUTOCRATIC
BEAR OF A MAN.
NICHOLAS, BY CONTRAST, WAS 5'7."
WITH NARROW SHOULDERS AND SHORT,
STALKY LEGS.
ALEXANDER SHIELDED HIS SON AND
HEIR FROM THE RIGORS AND
RESPONSIBILITIES OF BEING
EMPEROR.
NICHOLAS WAS MORE THAN HAPPY TO
RECEIVE THIS PROTECTION.

Simon says IT WAS A
TERRIFYING THING TO BE TOLD YOU
WERE HEIR TO THE RUSSIAN THRONE.
VIRTUALLY EVERYBODY, EVEN
NICHOLAS THE SECOND'S GIANT FATHER, HAD
WEPT WHEN THEY LEARNED THAT THEY
WERE THE HEIR TO THE RUSSIAN
THRONE, BECAUSE IT WAS A
TERRIFYING POISON CHALICE, AND
EVERYONE KNEW THAT.

Philippa says ALEXANDER THE THIRD
WAS SOMEONE WHO-- YOU KNOW, HE
TOOK ON THIS GREAT ROLE OF TSAR
THAT HE BELIEVED WAS THE MOST
IMPORTANT FIGURE IN THE KINGDOM.
YOU KNOW, THE HEAD OF THE ENTIRE
GOVERNMENT.
AND THIS WAS SOMETHING THAT HE
SORT OF ATTACKED WITH GUSTO,
IN A WAY.
NICHOLAS BELIEVED, LIKE HIS
FATHER, THAT THE TSAR WAS
EVERYTHING.
BELIEVED, LIKE HIS FATHER, THAT
THIS RULE FOR THE TSAR CAME
DIRECTLY FROM GOD.
BUT UNLIKE HIS FATHER, HE WAS
AFRAID OF THIS.
SO HE DID NOT FEEL NECESSARILY
LIKE HE WOULD BE UP TO IT.
HE WAS WORRIED THAT THIS WAS
GOING TO BE TOO GREAT OF A
BURDEN FOR HIM TO BEAR.

Suzannah says IT WAS A
MAMMOTH UNDERTAKING TO BECOME
TSAR, AND ALEXANDER WAS,
PERHAPS UNDERSTANDABLY,
RETICENT TO PREPARE HIS SON FOR
RULE.
NICHOLAS, THE TSAREVITCH, THE
HEIR TO THE THRONE, WAS NOT
ALLOWED TO JOIN THE COUNCIL OF
STATE UNTIL 1893.

Simon says ALEXANDER THE THIRD
DIDN'T INCLUDE HIM IN ENOUGH
GOVERNMENT.
HE SHOULD HAVE INCLUDED HIM IN
MORE.
TO BE TSAR OF RUSSIA WAS AN
EXTREMELY DIFFICULT JOB, EVEN
FOR THE MOST ABLE PERSON.
YOU REALLY HAD TO BE A GENIUS TO
BE EMPEROR OF ALL THE RUSSIAS.
YOU HAD TO BE A FIELD MARSHAL,
A PRIME MINISTER, A PATRIARCH,
A FAMILY LEADER.
NICHOLAS THE SECOND WAS NO GENIUS.

Suzannah says THE TSAR HAD BELIEVED THAT
TIME WAS ON HIS SIDE.
HE STILL HAD DECADES TO LIVE.
PLENTY OF TIME FOR NICHOLAS TO
LEARN SLOWLY.
HE WAS WRONG.
THE FOLLOWING YEAR,
ALEXANDER THE THIRD WAS DEAD.
HE WAS JUST 49.

(music plays)

Suzannah says ALEXANDER DIED FROM
INFLAMMATION OF THE KIDNEYS.
NICHOLAS BECAME TSAR
IMMEDIATELY, ALTHOUGH HIS
CORONATION WASN'T TO HAPPEN FOR
TWO YEARS.
FIRST, HE MUST MARRY.
SO HE AND ALEXANDRA WERE WED
WITH MUCH POMP AND CEREMONY
HERE, AT THE GRAND CHURCH, AT
THE WINTER PALACE IN ST.
PETERSBURG, JUST WEEKS AFTER
NICHOLAS'S FATHER'S DEATH.
THE PASSING OF THE TSAR, THE
IMMEDIATE THRUSTING OF NICHOLAS
INTO TSARDOM, AND HIS
SUBSEQUENT MARRIAGE, MEANT THAT
THIS WAS AN INCREDIBLY
DIFFICULT TIME, NOT ONLY FOR
NICHOLAS AND FOR ALL OF RUSSIA,
BUT ALSO FOR ALEXANDRA.

A panting depicting the wedding ceremony appears.

Dominic says IT WOULD CERTAINLY
HAVE BEEN EASIER FOR HER IF SHE
COULD HAVE HAD QUITE A LONG
PERIOD MARRIED TO THE HEIR.
AS IT WAS, YOU KNOW, THEY'RE
DUMPED IMMEDIATELY ON MARRIAGE,
INTO THE BUSINESS OF BEING
EMPEROR AND EMPRESS.

Simon says SHE HAD TO BURY HER NEW
FATHER-IN-LAW, AND THEN GET
MARRIED ABOUT, YOU KNOW, WITHIN
TWO WEEKS OF THAT.
A REAL STRAIN FOR THIS GIRL WHO
WAS REALLY NOT A TOUGH PERSON AT
ALL.
SHE BARELY MADE IT THROUGH THE
MARRIAGE.

Suzannah says AND YET DESPITE HER PERCEIVED
WEAKNESS, HER LATER LETTERS SHOW
THAT ALEXANDRA WAS SURPRISINGLY
STRONG WHEN IT CAME TO NICHOLAS,
AT LEAST, AND REGULARLY
ENCOURAGED HER HUSBAND TO BE
TOUGHER IN AFFAIRS OF STATE.
IT WAS A STANCE THAT WOULD LATER
PROVE TO BE THEIR DOWNFALL.

Alexandra says LOVE BE FIRM.
SHOW THE MASTER HAND IT IS WHAT
RUSSIA NEEDS.
LOVE AND KINDNESS YOU HAVE
NEVER FAILED TO SHOW.
NOW, LET THEM FEEL YOUR FIST AT
ALL TIMES.
THEY MUST LEARN TO FEAR YOU.
LOVE IS NOT ENOUGH.
A CHILD THAT ADORES ITS FATHER
MUST STILL HAVE FEAR TO ANGER,
DISPLEASE OR DISOBEY HIM.

Suzannah says AS THE GRANDDAUGHTER OF QUEEN
VICTORIA, ALEXANDRA HAD
SEEMINGLY INHERITED SOME OF THE
BRITISH MONARCH'S STUBBORNNESS.
NICHOLAS IN TURN DERIVED GREAT
STRENGTH FROM HIS NEW WIFE'S
CONVICTIONS.
THE YOUNG TSAR BELIEVED IN
AUTOCRATIC RULE, BUT HE LACKED
THE METTLE OF A NATURAL
AUTOCRAT.
ALEXANDRA OFFERED HIM A SPINE,
GIVING HIM FORCEFULNESS WHERE HE
HAD NONE.
SHE ALSO OFFERED A KIND OF
MATERNAL PROTECTIVENESS THAT HE
HADN'T RECEIVED FROM HIS OWN
MOTHER.
HIS FATHER RULED WITH AN IRON
FIST, A CONSERVATIVE BACKLASH
AGAINST THE LIBERAL REFORMING
EFFORTS OF HIS OWN FATHER,
ALEXANDER THE SECOND.

Dominic says ALEXANDER THE SECOND HAD
DECIDED THAT MODERNIZATION WAS
ESSENTIAL.
THIS WAS AT THE HIGH POINT OF
THE VICTORIAN ERA.
AND HE BROUGHT IN A NUMBER OF
CLASSICALLY LIBERAL REFORMS.
I MEAN, HE EMANCIPATED THE
SERFS.
HE INTRODUCED A WESTERN-STYLE
JUDICIAL SYSTEM.
HE LOOSENED THE CENSORSHIP.
THESE KIND OF REFORMS.

Suzannah stands next a uniform displayed in a glass case and says BUT THESE CHANGES DIDN'T
PLEASE EVERYONE, AND IN 1881,
NICHOLAS'S GRANDFATHER WAS
BRUTALLY MURDERED.
THIS IS THE UNIFORM HE WAS
WEARING ON THE DAY THAT HE DIED.

(music plays)

Philippa says ALEXANDER THE SECOND WAS ASSASSINATED
BY SOME REVOLUTIONARIES WHO
DIDN'T LIKE THE WAY THAT HE HAD
DEALT WITH THE PEASANTRY IN
RUSSIA, AND WHO FELT THAT THERE
NEEDED TO BE A REVOLUTION.
HE'S KILLED IN HIS CARRIAGE IN
ST. PETERSBURG, AND AS A RESULT
OF THIS, THIS BRINGS A KIND OF
END TO A PERIOD OF
EXPERIMENTATION WITH LIBERAL
REFORMS IN RUSSIA.

Simon says AT THE AGE OF 13, NICHOLAS THE SECOND
HAD SEEN AN UNBEARABLE AND
TERRIBLE SIGHT.
HIS GRANDFATHER HAD BEEN BLOWN
TO PIECES BY A TERRORIST BOMB.
HE STOOD AND WATCHED AS HIS
GRANDFATHER DIED, ONE OF HIS
LEGS BLOWN OFF, HIS FACE TORN TO
PIECES, HIS MISTRESS HOWLING AS
HE DIED.
AND THIS GAVE HIM, FROM A YOUNG
AGE, A SORT OF FATALISM THAT HE
CARRIED WITH HIM HIS WHOLE LIFE.
IT GAVE HIM A SUSPICION OF ANY
CONCESSIONS TO LIBERAL OPINION.

Suzannah says CONSIDER THE
EFFECT THIS MUST HAVE HAD ON THE
YOUNG NICHOLAS.
ON A PERSONAL LEVEL,
HE WITNESSED THE HORRIFIC AND
BLOODY DEATH OF HIS BELOVED
GRANDFATHER.
ON A POLITICAL LEVEL, HERE WAS
THE DIRECT CONSEQUENCE OF WHAT
HAPPENED WHEN EMPERORS EMBRACED
DEMOCRACY.
ALEXANDER THE SECOND'S REFORMS WERE
ROLLED BACK IN THE WAKE OF HIS
ASSASSINATION.
AND IN THE MOMENT OF HIS DEATH,
NICHOLAS'S FATHER IMMEDIATELY
BECAME EMPEROR, MAKING NICHOLAS
HIMSELF THE HEIR TO THE THRONE.
THE TSAREVITCH.

(music plays)

Suzannah rides a carriage and says THE RUSSIAN
MONARCHY WAS BUILT ON A
FOUNDATION OF EXCEPTIONALISM: A
BELIEF THAT THE RULING FAMILY
DID SO UNDER APPOINTMENT BY
GOD.
IT WAS THIS SENSE OF
ENTITLEMENT THAT DROVE
AUTOCRATIC RULE.
THIS BELIEF IN THEIR OWN DIVINE
PROTECTION ALLOWED NICHOLAS AND
ALEXANDRA TO WITHDRAW FROM
REALITY AND REVEL IN MATTERS OF
THE HEART AND OF THE FLESH.

Alexandra says "I CLASP YOU
TENDERLY TO MY HEART, KISS AND
CARESS YOU WITHOUT END: MEANT
TO SHOW YOU ALL THE INTENSE
LOVE I HAVE FOR YOU; WARM,
CHEER, CONSOLE AND STRENGTHEN
YOU; AND MAKE YOU SURE OF
YOURSELF.
SLEEP WELL, MY SUNSHINE,
RUSSIA'S SAVIOUR."

Nicholas says "MY OWN WIFEY DEAR,
MY WARMEST THANKS FOR YOUR
LETTERS.
AFTER OPENING THE ENVELOPE, I
PUT MY NOSE IN AND BREATHE YOUR
SCENT."

Philippa says NICHOLAS AND ALEXANDRA WROTE
TO EACH OTHER A HUGE AMOUNT
DURING THESE YEARS, OFTEN MORE
THAN ONCE A DAY.

Nicholas says "MY OWN DARLING, I
KISS YOU OVER AND OVER FOR YOUR
BELOVED LETTERS.
THE TWO LAST ONES SMELT
DELICIOUS OF YOUR SCENT, WHICH
EVEN WENT THROUGH THE ENVELOPE
IN THE SHAPE OF A GREASY SPOT."

Philippa says A LOT OF IT WAS VERY MUCH
ABOUT THEIR OWN, YOU KNOW,
PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP: ABOUT HOW
MUCH THEY MISSED EACH OTHER.
A LOT OF IT WAS VERY FLIRTY.
IT WAS CERTAINLY VERY
AFFECTIONATE.
THEY ALWAYS USED PET NAMES FOR
EACH OTHER.
SOME OF IT WAS SEXUAL.

Alexandra says "LOVY, MY SOUL,
IT'S SO LONELY WITHOUT YOUR
CARESSES, WHICH MEAN EVERYTHING
TO ME.
AH, HOW ME LOVES YOU!
I KISS AND CARESS EVERY
TENDERLY BELOVED PLACE AND GAZE
INTO YOUR DEEP, SWEET EYES,
WHICH LONG AGO CONQUERED ME
COMPLETELY."
(HOOVES CLOPPING)

Suzannah says THEY WERE OBSESSED WITH EACH
OTHER.
IF THE LETTERS SHOW US ANYTHING,
IT'S THAT THEY CREATED THEIR OWN
WORLD, LIVED BY THEIR OWN RULES,
AND EVEN SPOKE THEIR OWN
LANGUAGE.

Simon says THE LETTERS ARE CHOCK-A-BLOCK
FULL WITH LONGING FOR EACH
OTHER.
THEY'RE VERY ROMANTIC LETTERS,
IN A WAY.
THEY REALLY SHOW HOW CLOSE THEIR
RELATIONSHIP WAS.
THEY SHOW HOW CLOSE THEIR SEX
LIFE WAS.
THEY'RE PASSIONATE.
THEY SHOW NICHOLAS AND ALEXANDRA
HAD PET NAMES, FOR EXAMPLE, FOR
EACH OTHER'S GENITALIA.
SHE WAS LADY AND HE WAS BOYSY.

Alexandra says "I DO SO ENDLESSLY
LOVE MY VERY OWN, PRECIOUS,
BOYSY DEAR.
I BLESS YOU AND LOVE YOU AS MAN
HAS RARELY BEEN LOVED BEFORE."

Simon says SO, VERY FASCINATING,
INTIMATE STUFF IS IN THESE
LETTERS.

Suzannah says THEIR PET NAMES
EVEN EXTENDED TO HER PERIOD,
SOMETHING NICHOLAS AND
ALEXANDRA WOULD REFER TO AS
MADAME BECKER.

Nicholas says "MY PRECIOUS LOVE,
I WANT YOU SO.
PLEASE DO NOT HAVE MADAME
BECKER WHEN I COME HOME."

Alexandra says "MADAME BECKER IS
A BORE.
IT SHOULD BE MUCH FREER WITHOUT
HER."

Suzannah says NICHOLAS, FOR HIS PART,
BOUGHT INTO HIS WIFE'S
UNWAVERING BELIEF, BOTH IN
HIMSELF AND IN THE FUTURE OF THE
ROMANOV DYNASTY.
THAT DYNASTY, HOWEVER, NEEDED AN
HEIR.
IN 1901, NICHOLAS AND ALEXANDRA
HAD BEEN MARRIED FOR SIX YEARS.
THE IMPERIAL FAMILY HAD FOUR
DAUGHTERS, BUT STILL NO SON.

A picture of the four girls appears.

Philippa says WE KNOW, OF
COURSE, THAT RUSSIA IN THE PAST
HAD HAD EMPRESSES, CATHERINE THE
GREAT BEING THE MOST RECENT ONE
BEFORE NICHOLAS.
HOWEVER, AFTER CATHERINE THE
GREAT, NEW RULES WERE ENACTED
WHICH SAID THAT NO WOMAN COULD
INHERIT THE THRONE.
AS A RESULT OF THIS, NICHOLAS
AND ALEXANDRA ARE UNDER ENORMOUS
PRESSURE TO HAVE A BOY AS SOON
AS THEY CAN.

Suzannah says WHEN ALEXANDRA
FAILED TO PRODUCE A SON AGAIN
AND AGAIN, SHE BECAME DESPERATE
AND TURNED TO MYSTICISM.
IT WAS BELIEVED THAT BATHING IN
THE SPRING OF A SAINT COULD
LEAD TO THE BIRTH OF A BABY BOY.
WHATEVER THE TRUTH, SOMETHING
WORKED.
THEY ONLY SON ALEXEI WAS BORN
HERE AT PETERHOF PALACE IN
AUGUST, 1904.

Philippa says THIS IS THE
PRINCE ALEXEI.
HE'S NAMED AFTER NICHOLAS'S
FAVOURITE TSAR, ALEKSEY
MIKHAILOVICH FROM THE 17TH
CENTURY, AND THERE IS MUCH
REJOICING AT THE FACT THAT THEY
HAVE FINALLY HAD A BOY.

Simon says THEIR DELIGHT
OVERFLOWED WITH EXCITEMENT, BUT
THERE WAS ALREADY SOMETHING
WORRYING ABOUT THIS BOY.
HE WAS BLEEDING FROM HIS NAVEL,
AND THE BLEEDING WENT ON AND ON.
NOW, THEY KNEW THAT THERE WAS
SOMETHING WHICH THEY CALLED THE
ENGLISH DISEASE, AND THE ENGLISH
DISEASE WAS HEMOPHILIA.
ALEXANDRA, IN HER FAMILY, MANY
PEOPLE HAD ALREADY DIED OR BEEN
INFECTED WITH THE HEMOPHILIA,
THE ENGLISH DISEASE, AND SHE WAS
AWARE THAT SHE COULD BE A
CARRIER, AND IT TURNED OUT THAT
SHE WAS.

Suzannah says ALEXANDRA TOOK THE
NEWS OF HER SON'S HEMOPHILIA
PARTICULARLY HARD.
AS A HEREDITARY DISEASE PASSED
DOWN BY THE MOTHER, SHE FELT
DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE.
AS THE SHAME BUILT, SO DID THE
FEAR THAT ALEXEI'S ILLNESS WOULD
EVENTUALLY DEPRIVE HIM OF THE
THRONE.
SO, THE DECISION WAS TAKEN TO
KEEP IT A SECRET FROM ALL BUT
CLOSE FAMILY.
ALEXEI'S CONDITION REQUIRED
NEAR-CONSTANT MANAGEMENT, AND
IT FREQUENTLY THREATENED THE
BOY'S LIFE.
ALEXANDRA WOULD OFTEN BECOME
HYSTERICAL, OBSESSED WITH AND
ALL-CONSUMED BY THE ILLNESS.

Alexandra says "BABY WAS AWFULLY
CHEERY AND GAY ALL DAY TILL HE
WENT TO BED.
IN THE NIGHT, HE WOKE UP FROM
PAIN IN HIS LEFT ARM AND FROM
2:00 ON, SCARCELY HAD A
MOMENT'S SLEEP.
IT'S TOO DESPAIRING FOR WORDS.
POOR LITTLE MAN.
THE PAIN CAME WITH SUCH FORCE
IN THE NIGHT AND THE ARM WON'T
BEND, BUT PERHAPS GOD WILL
MERCIFULLY MAKE IT PASS."

Suzannah says THE FAMILY NEEDED HELP, AND
HELP CAME IN THE MOST UNEXPECTED
FORM... ..A DRUNK, PROMISCUOUS HOLY MAN
NAMED FATHER GRIGORI.
HISTORY MORE OFTEN REMEMBERS
FATHER GRIGORI BY ANOTHER NAME:
RASPUTIN.

(music plays)

Suzannah says HERE WAS A MAN THAT
ALEXANDRA BELIEVED COULD
PREDICT THE FUTURE.
HE OFFERED SPIRITUAL GUIDANCE
AND MOST IMPORTANTLY OF ALL, HE
PROMISED HE COULD SAVE ALEXEI'S
LIFE.
FATHER GRIGORI WAS NOTHING BUT
A PEASANT, A SELF-ANOINTED
HEALER.
AND THE EXACT SCALE OF HIS
INFLUENCE IS MUCH-DEBATED, BUT
IT IS CERTAIN THAT HE PLAYED A
SIGNIFICANT ROLE IN THE PROBLEMS
BEGINNING TO ENGULF THE
ROMANOVS; PROBLEMS THAT
THREATENED THE VERY FOUNDATIONS
OF THE RUSSIAN EMPIRE AND
HASTENED THE IMPENDING
REVOLUTION.

A clip shows a crowd taking the streets holding banners.

(CHATTERING)

Simon says RASPUTIN WAS A
VERY TYPICAL TYPE IN THE
ORTHODOX CHURCH: A PEASANT WHO
DISCOVERED RELIGION.
HE'D PROBABLY BEEN A HORSE THIEF
AND SEDUCER AS A YOUNG BOY.
HE LOVED TO DRINK.
HE LOVED WOMEN.

Dominic says RASPUTIN WAS A
PEASANT FROM WESTERN SIBERIA.
HE WAS A SORT OF ORTHODOX
WANDERER.
HE WASN'T A MONK; IT'S NONSENSE
CALLING HIM A MONK.
HE HAD NO OFFICIAL POSITION WITH
THE CHURCH.
BUT THERE WAS A TRADITION IN
RUSSIA OF SORT OF SO-CALLED HOLY
MEN GOING ON PILGRIMAGE,
ACQUIRING A SORT OF AURA OF NOT
QUITE SANCTITY, BUT OF PIETY.

Pictures of Rasputin with the Imperial family appear.

Philippa says HE WAS MEANT TO
BE VERY CHARISMATIC.
HE WAS SOMEONE WHO PEOPLE, YOU
KNOW, ALTERNATELY DESCRIBED AS,
YOU KNOW, HIDEOUSLY UGLY AND
TERRIBLE-SMELLING AND DIRTY, AND
AT THE SAME TIME SOMEHOW AS
EXERTING THIS KIND OF INTENSE
CHARISMA AND POWER AND
AUTHORITY WHEN HE SPOKE TO
PEOPLE, AND KIND OF AUTHORITY
OVER ESPECIALLY WOMEN.
WHEN HE TURNS UP AND SORT OF
MANAGES TO WEASEL HIS WAY INTO
THE IMPERIAL FAMILY, HE PRESENTS
HIMSELF AS JUST THIS SIMPLE MAN
FROM THE COUNTRYSIDE WHO, DUE TO
HIS, YOU KNOW, COMPLETE LACK OF
SORT OF AIRS OR GRACES, ACTUALLY
HAS A CLOSER LINK TO GOD THAN
ANYONE ELSE.

Suzannah says A POWER-HUNGRY MADMAN.
A DRUG ADDICT.
A RAPIST.
PEOPLE ACCUSED RASPUTIN OF BEING
MANY THINGS, BUT ALEXANDRA
BELIEVED THAT HE COULD HEAL HER
SICKLY SON.
AND SO, IN HER EYES, HE COULD DO
NO WRONG.
IN 1913, NICHOLAS NOTED IN HIS
DIARY...

Nicholas says "IN THE EVENING,
ALEXEI'S ELBOW BEGAN TO HURT.
HE COULD NOT SLEEP FOR A LONG
TIME AND WAS IN GREAT PAIN, THE
POOR THING.
AT 7:00, GRIGORY ARRIVED AND
SPENT A SHORT WHILE WITH ALIX
AND ALEXEI.
SOON AFTER HIS DEPARTURE, THE
PAIN IN ALEXEI'S ARM STARTED TO
GO AWAY.
HE HIMSELF BECAME CALMER AND
BEGAN TO FALL ASLEEP."

Suzannah says THE REMARKABLE
STORIES OF RASPUTIN'S ABILITY
TO HEAL THE SICKLY TSAREVICH
HAVE PASSED INTO LEGEND.
IN 1912, ALEXEI SEEMED TO BE
DYING.
OF THAT, THE DOCTORS WERE IN NO
DOUBT.
A BLOOD INFECTION HAD TAKEN
HOLD.
BUT RASPUTIN ON THIS OCCASION
SENT ALEXANDRA A TELEGRAM,
STATING, "GOD HAS SEEN YOUR
TEARS AND HEARD YOUR PRAYERS.
DO NOT GRIEVE.
THE LITTLE ONE WILL NOT DIE."
ALEXEI RECOVERED ONCE MORE.

Simon says NOW, YOU CAN
ANALYZE THIS IS MANY DIFFERENT
WAYS.
IT REALLY DEPENDS WHAT YOUR
ATTITUDE IS.
FIRSTLY, YOU CAN CHOOSE TO
BELIEVE THAT RASPUTIN WAS, IN
FACT, A SACRED HEALER WHO COULD
SAVE THE BOY'S LIFE.
SECONDLY, YOU COULD REGARD
RASPUTIN AS SOMEONE WHO COULD
SIMPLY CALM THE HYSTERICAL
MOTHER, PARTICULARLY, AND THE
BOY, BUT ALSO THE MOTHER, WHO
BELIEVED IN HIM AND TRUSTED HIM,
AND THAT THIS CALMING OF THE
MOTHER ACTUALLY CALMED THE BOY
AND MUCH OF THE BLEEDING WOULD
SLOW DOWN.
BUT EITHER WAY, ALL THAT
MATTERED IN RUSSIA WAS THAT TWO
PEOPLE BELIEVED IN THIS, AND
THOSE TWO PEOPLE WERE NICHOLAS
AND ALEXANDRA.

Suzannah says WHETHER A PLACEBO
OR A MIRACLE, THE HEIR TO THE
RUSSIAN EMPIRE WAS STILL ALIVE,
AND ALEXANDRA BELIEVED THAT
FATHER GRIGORI WAS RESPONSIBLE.
THE ROMANOVS WERE NOW HEAVILY IN
RASPUTIN'S DEBT.
NICHOLAS AND ALEXANDRA'S BELIEF
IN RELIGIOUS HEALING HAD BEEN
TESTED AND, IN THEIR EYES,
PROVED RELIABLE.
THEIR FAITH IN DEMOCRACY WAS FAR
LESS ROBUST.
IN 1905, RUSSIA HAD BEEN
INVOLVED FOR MORE THAN A YEAR IN
A COSTLY WAR WITH JAPAN, AND
WORKERS WERE STRIKING BECAUSE OF
THEIR TERRIBLE LABOUR
CONDITIONS.

Simon says A PRIEST CALLED
FATHER GAPON WOULD LEAD A HUGE
MARCH TO PRESENT TO THE TSAR A
PETITION FOR REPRESENTATIVE
RULE: A MORE BROAD-BASED
GOVERNMENT, NOT JUST AN
AUTOCRACY.
AND HE WOULD PRESENT THESE
WISHES TO THE TSAR AT THE WINTER
PALACE.
THE TSAR IMMEDIATELY MADE SURE
THAT HE MOVED TO TSARSKOYE SELO,
ONE OF HIS COUNTRY ESTATES, AWAY
FROM THIS TROUBLE, AND THE
MILITARY OFFICIALS DECIDED THAT
THEY WOULD NOT ALLOW THESE
PROTESTORS TO CROSS THE BRIDGES.
AND THEY SET UP MACHINE-GUN
NESTS AND PUT COSSACKS ON
HORSEBACK TO STOP THEM.

Suzannah says NICHOLAS'S ABSENCE
MEANT THAT THE PROTESTORS WERE
MET NOT BY THEIR TSAR, BUT BY
THE GUNFIRE OF ARMED COSSACKS.
HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE WERE KILLED.
THE MASSACRE BECAME KNOWN IN
RUSSIA AS BLOODY SUNDAY.

Simon says NICKY AND
ALEXANDRA WERE STRANGELY REMOVED
FROM THIS TRAGEDY.
I MEAN, YES, THEY REALIZED THAT
THEY HAD SCREWED UP IN A BIG
WAY.
BUT THEY BLAMED OTHER PEOPLE.
THEY DIDN'T THINK IT WAS TOO
SERIOUS.
AND ANYWAY, ULTIMATELY THEY
BELIEVED THAT THEY WERE THE
SACRED AUTOCRATS AND THAT WAS
ALL THAT MATTERED.

Suzannah says THIS DISCONNECTION BETWEEN
THE LUXURIOUS LIFESTYLE OF THE
ROMANOVS AND THE PAIN AND
SUFFERING OF THE PEASANTRY WAS
NOTHING NEW.
IN FACT, IT WAS A RECURRING
THEME.
AS FAR BACK AS THE COUPLE'S
CORONATION, MORE THAN A THOUSAND
PEOPLE HAD DIED IN A STAMPEDE AT
KHODYNKA FIELD IN MOSCOW AS A
RESULT OF THE POOR MANAGEMENT OF
THE CORONATION CELEBRATIONS.
MANY WERE HORRIFIED THAT THE
EMPEROR AND EMPRESS DIDN'T
CANCEL THEIR PLANS TO ATTEND A
BALL AT THE FRENCH EMBASSY THAT
SAME NIGHT, THOUGH NICHOLAS DID
NOTE THE TRAGEDY IN HIS DIARY.

Nicholas says "THE CROWD BROKE
THROUGH THE BARRIER AND THERE
WAS A CRUSH DURING WHICH, IT
WAS TERRIBLE TO SAY, ABOUT 1300
PEOPLE TRAMPLED.
WE DINED WITH MAMA AT 8:00 AND
THEN WENT TO THE MONTEBELLO
BALL.
IT WAS VERY MAGNIFICENTLY DONE,
BUT THE HEAT WAS UNBEARABLE."

Philippa says THERE'S THIS
IDEA THAT THE TSAR, ALTHOUGH HE
IS THIS FIGURE THAT IS CLOSE TO
GOD...
SO, IN MANY WAYS, IT'S, YOU
KNOW, VERY FAR ABOVE THE
PEOPLE...
AT THE SAME TIME, THERE'S THE
IDEA OF THE KIND OF "LITTLE
FATHER" TSAR: THAT HE IS THE
PERSON WHO MOST UNDERSTANDS THE
PAIN AND THE SUFFERING OF THE
RUSSIAN PEOPLE, OF THE RUSSIAN
PEASANTS, OF THE RUSSIAN WORKER.
BUT WHAT NICHOLAS HAS DONE, BY
IGNORING WHAT HAPPENED AT
KHODYNKA, SEEMINGLY, IS HE HAS
SEEMED TO SUGGEST THAT HE
DOESN'T UNDERSTAND THE PAIN AND
SUFFERING OF THE RUSSIAN PEOPLE,
OR PERHAPS EVEN WORSE, THAT HE
DOESN'T CARE.
A REIGN THAT BEGINS WITH OVER A
THOUSAND PEOPLE DYING IN A
STAMPEDE AT THE CORONATION?
PEOPLE THINK THAT'S NOT
SOMETHING THAT'S GOING TO GO
VERY WELL.

Suzannah says AND THEY WERE RIGHT.
YEARS LATER, THE MASSACRE AT THE
WINTER PALACE, THE ESCALATION
FROM PEACEFUL PROTEST TO VIOLENT
BLOODBATH, IGNITED THE
TOUCH PAPER THAT BEGAN THE 1905
REVOLUTION.
ANARCHY SPREAD ACROSS RUSSIA AND
SEEPED INTO THE ARMY AND THE
NAVY.
ONE VERY WELL-KNOWN DEPICTION
OF THIS ANARCHY IS SERGEI
EISENSTEIN'S FILM
BATTLESHIP
POTEMKIN.

The caption changes to "Professor Jeremy Hicks. Queen Mary University of London."

Jeremy is in his late forties, bald and clean-shaven and wears glasses, a white shirt and a gray blazer.

He says HE MADE THE FILM IN 1925 TO
COMMEMORATE THE RUSSIAN
REVOLUTION OF 1905 THAT HAD
HAPPENED 20 YEARS EARLIER.
SO, IT DEPICTS A MUTINY ON BOARD
A SHIP OF THE BLACK SEA FLEET.
THE CREW TAKE OVER, KILL THE
OFFICERS AND THEN SORT OF EXPORT
THEIR MUTINY TO THE CITY OF
ODESSA, WHICH THEY DOCK IN FOR
SUPPLIES.
THE PEOPLE ON THE ODESSA STEPS
SEQUENCE, SUDDENLY THEY'RE
BRUTALLY ATTACKED BY THE RUSSIAN
ARMY, THE IMPERIAL ARMY, AND A
MASSACRE ENSUES.
(SHOUTING AND SCREAMING)
(GUNSHOTS SOUNDING)
IT'S DEFINITELY PROPAGANDA IN
THE WAY THAT, FOR EXAMPLE, WE
SEE THE CHILDREN KILLED ON THE
ODESSA STEPS.
THESE, OF COURSE, ARE DETAILS
THAT ARE PICKED OUT TO REALLY
EXAGGERATE THE EMOTIONAL EFFECT
OF THINGS.
BUT FILMS LIKE THIS PERPETUATE A
MEMORY OF THE 1905 REVOLUTION AS
ONE IN WHICH THE PEOPLE'S
DEMANDS WERE VIOLENTLY
SUPPRESSED.
FOR ME, THIS FILM IS ABOUT THE
SYMBOLIC LOSS OF FAITH IN THE
AUTOCRATIC SYSTEM.

Suzannah says FOLLOWING THE 1905
REVOLUTION, MANY SAW THE
ROMANOV REIGN AS BECOMING
SYNONYMOUS WITH VIOLENT
SUPPRESSION.

(music plays)

Suzannah says THE VIOLENT EVENTS OF 1905
PROVED THAT THE ROMANOVS COULD
NOT IGNORE THE CLAMOUR FOR
DEMOCRACY ANYMORE.
IN THAT SAME YEAR, AS A DIRECT
RESULT OF THE UNREST, NICHOLAS
SIGNED A MANIFESTO FOR THE
IMPROVEMENT OF THE STATE ORDER
HERE AT PETERHOF PALACE.
IT PROMISED BASIC CIVIL RIGHTS
AND A PARLIAMENT CALLED THE
DUMA.

Philippa says NICHOLAS HAD
PROMISED A DUMA.
SO, "DUMA" IS THE RUSSIAN WORD
FOR "PARLIAMENT."
SO, HE ESSENTIALLY PROMISED TO
TURN HIS AUTOCRACY INTO A
CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCHY.
SO, HE WOULD STILL STAY THE
ALL-POWERFUL MONARCH, BUT SOME
OF THOSE POWERS WOULD BE RENTED
OUT TO A PARLIAMENT,
ESSENTIALLY, THAT WOULD BE
ELECTED BY THE PEOPLE.

Dominic says HE PROMISES A
PARLIAMENT WHICH WILL HAVE
CONTROL, TO SOME EXTENT, OVER
BUDGETS, AND WHICH WILL ALSO BE
A SOUNDING BOARD FOR PUBLIC
OPINION.
THE REGIME'S INITIAL HOPE IS
THAT BY GRANTING A VERY
GENEROUS...
ALL-MALE, BUT NEVERTHELESS
GENEROUS FRANCHISE, PEASANT
CONSERVATIVISM WILL MEAN THAT
THE DUMA WILL BE MORE FRIENDLY
TO THE TSAR, TO THE MONARCHY.

Suzannah says IT WAS A STEP TOWARDS
DEMOCRACY, BUT IT WASN'T ENOUGH.

Philippa says IT BECAME CLEAR
THAT PART OF THE DEAL WITH THE
DUMA WOULD BE THAT NICHOLAS
COULD VETO ANY LEGISLATION THAT
THEY PASSED.
SO, WHILE ON THE ONE HAND YOU
HAVE THIS LEGISLATIVE BODY,
WHICH IS SOMETHING THAT AT A
KIND OF ALL-EMPIRE LEVEL RUSSIA
HAD NEVER HAD BEFORE IN QUITE
THE SAME WAY, CERTAINLY NOT AN
ELECTED ONE, BY THE SAME TOKEN
IF NICHOLAS HAS VETO OVER
LEGISLATION, THEN YOU CAN SEE
THAT MAYBE THE POWER ISN'T
NECESSARILY IN THE DUMA'S HANDS
QUITE SO MUCH.

Alexandra says "SURELY THERE IS
SOME WAY IN WHICH A WOMAN CAN
BE OF HELP AND USE.
I DO SO YEARN TO MAKE IT EASIER
FOR YOU.
AND THE MINISTERS ALL
SQUABBLING AMONGST EACH OTHER
AT A TIME WHEN ALL OUGHT TO
WORK TOGETHER?
IT MAKES ME RAGE.
IF YOU COULD ONLY BE SEVERE, MY
LOVE.
IT IS SO NECESSARY.
I COVER YOUR SWEET FACE WITH
ENDLESS, TENDER KISSES.
LOVE YOU BEYOND WORDS, MY OWN,
VERY OWN SUNSHINE AND JOY."
(SHOUTING)

Suzannah says THE SOCIAL UNREST THAT HAD
BEGUN IN 1905 HAD BEEN CAUSED BY
A SENSE THAT THE ROMANOVS FAILED
TO ACT DECISIVELY IN TIMES OF
CRISIS.
THIS CREATED A FEELING THAT THEY
CARED LITTLE FOR THE PLIGHT OF
THE EVERYDAY RUSSIAN.
THEY NEITHER UNDERSTOOD NOR
LISTENED TO THEM.
THE DUMA WAS A PARLIAMENT
CREATED TO GIVE THE PEOPLE A
VOICE.
IT LASTED THREE MONTHS.
ONE DUMA AFTER ANOTHER WAS
CREATED, AND EACH ONE PROVED
REBELLIOUS AND DIFFICULT TO
MANIPULATE.

Simon says VERY QUICKLY,
NICHOLAS DISCOVERED THAT THE
ELECTED MEMBERS OF THE DUMA, MPS
IF YOU LIKE, WERE EXTREMELY
LEFTIST, NOT TO SAY SOCIALIST.
AND SO, HE DISSOLVED ONE
PARLIAMENT, THEN ANOTHER
PARLIAMENT, THEN ANOTHER
PARLIAMENT, AND KEPT TIGHTENING
THE RULES TO TRY AND CLAW BACK
MORE POWER TO HIMSELF AS
AUTOCRAT.
AND ALSO, TO FILL THE DUMA WITH
TRUSTWORTHY RIGHT-WING
CONSERVATIVE LOYALISTS.

Suzannah says BUT YET AGAIN, THE
LETTERS SHOW US THAT NICHOLAS
AND ALEXANDRA CHOSE TO EITHER
DISMISS OR IGNORE THESE
LEGITIMATE THREATS TO THEIR
POWER.

Nicholas says "MY OWN DARLING
WIFEY, AS SOON AS THE DUMA IS
GONE AWAY, I WILL SEND FOR THE
MINISTERS.
THEY CONTINUE COMING NEARLY
EVERY DAY, AND THAT TAKES ALL
MY TIME UP.
I GO TO BED AFTER 1:30 A.M.
NORMALLY, HAVING TO MAKE HASTE
ON MY WRITING, READING AND
RECEIVING.
SIMPLY DESPERATE."

Suzannah says THE MOST STRIKING THING ABOUT
1905 IS HOW NICHOLAS IN
PARTICULAR FAILED TO LEARN THE
LESSONS OF THAT FIRST
REVOLUTION.
THE PEOPLE WANTED A VOICE.
WHEN THEY THOUGHT THEY HAD BEEN
GIVEN ONE VIA THE DUMA, THEIR
PROTESTS SUBSIDED.
YET THE TSAR MISREAD THESE
SIGNALS, THINKING THAT FORCE HAD
QUELLED THE REVOLUTION.
IN DISMISSING THE DUMA, HE ONLY
HIGHLIGHTED HOW LITTLE HE
UNDERSTOOD HIS OWN EMPIRE.
THE BALLOT BOX COULD HAVE SAVED
NICHOLAS, HIS DYNASTY AND HIS
YOUNG FAMILY.
NICHOLAS CHOSE THE BULLET.
(GUNSHOT SOUNDING)

Suzannah says BY 1914, NICHOLAS
WAS FACING A GREATER CHALLENGE
THAN HIS FATHER OR INDEED, ANY
ROMANOV IN 300 YEARS OF RULE
HAD EVER EXPERIENCED.
HE WOULD SOON BE FORCED TO
BATTLE RIOTS ON THE STREETS OF
PETROGRAD...
(SHOUTING)...TO FIGHT THE THREAT OF
RASPUTIN ENDING HIS RULE...
AND TO TAKE ON THE ADVANCING
GERMAN ARMY IN ONE OF THE WORST
WARS OF THE 20TH CENTURY.
THE RUSSIAN EMPEROR AND HIS WIFE
WERE PLAYING DIRECTLY INTO THE
HANDS OF THOSE WANTED THEM
DEPOSED, PROVIDING THE
REVOLUTIONARIES WITH AMMUNITION
THAT WOULD LATER BE USED TO
ASSASSINATE THEM AND THEIR
CHILDREN.
IN LESS THAN FOUR SHORT YEARS,
IT WOULD ALL BE OVER.

Nicholas says "MY BRAIN FEELS
RESTED HERE.
NO MINISTERS AND NO FIDGETY
QUESTIONS TO THINK OVER.
I THINK IT DOES ME GOOD, BUT
ONLY THE BRAIN.
MY HEART SUFFERS FROM BEING
SEPARATED, AND THIS SEPARATION
I HATE, DURING SUCH TIMES
ESPECIALLY.
I WON'T BE LONG AWAY, ONLY TO
PUT ALL THINGS AS MUCH AS
POSSIBLE TO RIGHTS HERE,
AND THEN MY DUTY WILL BE DONE."

Suzannah says IN 1915, NICHOLAS MADE A
FATEFUL DECISION.
LEAVING HIS FAMILY BEHIND, HE
TRAVELLED HUNDREDS OF MILES TO
THE EASTERN FRONT.
THE TSAR WAS TAKING COMMAND OF
THE ARMED FORCES.
NICHOLAS WAS GOING TO WAR.

A caption reads "Next time..."

Suzannah says IN ST. PETERSBURG, A REVOLUTION
WAS BREWING.

Simon says THEY WERE
DETERMINED THAT THERE WOULD BE A
MARXIST REVOLUTION.

Dominic says THEN, POLITICS GETS
VERY NASTY INDEED.

Philippa says WITH A STROKE,
RUSSIA HAS NO TSAR ANYMORE.

Simon says RASPUTIN WAS
BLAMED FOR EVERYTHING THAT WAS
GOING WRONG IN RUSSIA.
(GUNSHOTS SOUNDING)
NEVER HAS MASS MURDER BEEN SO
DISORGANIZED, SO SHAMBOLIC, SO
CHAOTIC AND SO CRUEL.

Music plays as the end credits roll.

Presenter, Doctor Suzannah Lipscomb. University of Roehampton.

Executive producer, David Notman-Watt.

Series producer, Debbie Rich.

Produced in association with Yesterday, UKTV.

Logo: Flame Distribution.

Copyright 2018, Back2Back Productions Limited.

Watch: Nicholas and Alexandra: The Letters - Ep. 1