Transcript: Nicholas and Alexandra: The Letters - Ep. 2 | Jan 28, 2019

A clip shows images of The Winter Palace, in Saint Petersburg.

Suzannah says TSAR NICHOLAS
ROMANOV-- A FLAWED EMPEROR...

A man says NICHOLAS THE SECOND WAS NO
GENIUS.

Suzannah says AND HIS WIFE THE EMPRESS
ALEXANDRA.

A man says THE WOMAN OF MONUMENTAL
STUPIDITY.

Suzannah says A LOVE SO OBSESSIVE, IT
DESTROYED AN EMPIRE.

A woman says A REIGN THAT BEGINS
WITH OVER 1000 PEOPLE DYING,
THAT'S NOT SOMETHING THAT'S
GOING TO GO VERY WELL.

Pictures of the couple's son Alexei and of Rasputin appear.

Suzannah says IN SICKNESS AND CORRUPTION,
THROUGH WAR, MURDER,
AND REVOLUTION-- THIS IS THE
STORY OF NICHOLAS AND
ALEXANDRA IN THEIR OWN WORDS.

(music plays)

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

A caption reads "Moscow."

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

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

Suzannah says NICHOLAS THE SECOND-- THE LAST OF THE
RUSSIAN TSARS-- WAS BORN DURING
THE FEAST OF ST. JOB-- THE
PATRON SAINT OF DESPAIR.
JOB WAS A GOOD AND DECENT MAN,
WHO WAS PLAGUED BY A SERIES OF
HORRIFIC DISASTERS THAT BEFELL
HIS HEALTH, HIS PROSPERITY AND
HIS FAMILY.
FOR A NATION THAT TAKES ITS
RELIGIOUS SYMBOLS AS SERIOUSLY
AS RUSSIA, THIS WAS A WORRYING
SIGN FOR THE FUTURE EMPEROR.

Reading as Alexandra, a female voice says "SO SAD WE SHALL
NOT SPEND YOUR DEAR BIRTHDAY
TOGETHER-- THE FIRST TIME!
IT IS NOT AN EASY NOR LIGHT
CROSS HE HAS PLACED UPON YOUR
SHOULDERS.
SO MUCH YOU HAVE HAD TO SUFFER
IN THOSE 20 YEARS, AND YOU WERE
BORN ON THE DAY OF THE
LONGSUFFERING JOB TOO, MY POOR
SWEETHEART."

Suzannah says NICHOLAS, THE ROMANTIC,
WANTED TO BE A DIFFERENT SYMBOL
OF RUSSIA.
BY GOING TO WAR, NICHOLAS HOPED
THAT HIS PEOPLE WOULD SEE HIM ON
THE FRONT LINE, LEADING BY
EXAMPLE.

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

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.

Dominic says NICHOLAS THE SECOND DECISION TO TAKE
OVER THE SUPREME COMMAND IN THE
SUMMER OF 1915 WAS RATIONAL.
IT WAS ALSO DRIVEN BY HIS OWN
SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY AND OF
HIS OWN MONARCHICAL ROLE.
AND, IN A WAY, IT WAS VERY
SELF-SACRIFICING.
YOU KNOW, IT WAS COURAGEOUS IN A
WAY OR SUICIDAL, DEPENDING ON
HOW YOU PUT IT.

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 NICHOLAS HAD THIS WONDERFUL
IDEA THAT HE'D GO DOWN IN A
WHITE HORSE, ESSENTIALLY, AND
RESCUE EVERYONE.
OF COURSE, WHEN HE GOT THERE,
NICHOLAS DIDN'T HAVE MILITARY
EXPERIENCE.
CRUCIALLY, HE WASN'T HIS FATHER.
HE REMEMBERED THIS WHEN HE GOT
DOWN TO THE FRONT.
HIS FATHER WAS A REAL MILITARY
MAN; NICHOLAS WASN'T.
SO, HE DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT
MILITARY STRATEGY AND HE WASN'T
THAT KEEN ON PUTTING HIMSELF IN
THE LINE OF FIRE, EITHER.
SO, NICHOLAS SORT OF CONSOLED
HIMSELF THAT HIS ROLE WAS A
SYMBOLIC ROLE, THAT THIS WAS
ACTUALLY ALL ABOUT JUST SHOWING
PEOPLE THAT HE WAS ABLE TO GO
DOWN TO THE FRONT, BRINGING
THEREFORE, YOU KNOW, THE LIGHT
OF HIS DIVINE AUTHORITY TO THE
SOLDIERS AT THE FRONT, BUT THAT
HE DIDN'T NEED TO ACTUALLY BE,
YOU KNOW, AT THE FRONT OF THE
ARMY WITH A SWORD IN HIS HAND.

Reading as Nicholas, a male voice says "MY OWN LOVEBIRD,
SOMETIMES MY HEAD FEELS LIKE
WANTING TO CRACK WHEN I TURN
OVER THOSE QUESTIONS AND TRY
TO GUESS HOW IT WILL GO."

Dominic says THERE WAS NOTHING WRONG WITH
HIM TAKING OVER THE COMMAND OF
THE ARMY... IF THAT HAD BEEN
COMBINED WITH LEAVING BEHIND IN
CHARGE IN PETROGRAD A COMPETENT,
ESSENTIALLY, PRIME MINISTER.

Suzannah says NICHOLAS BELIEVED IN A QUASI
SPIRITUAL BOND BETWEEN THE
IMPERIAL FAMILY AND THE MASSES.
BUT HIM BEING ON THE EASTERN
FRONT LEFT BOTH A SYMBOLIC AND
A POLITICAL VACUUM BACK HOME.

The caption changes to "Saint Petersburg."

Suzannah says IF NICHOLAS WAS AWARE OF THE
DANGERS OF A POWER VACUUM, HE
FAILED TO ADDRESS THE PROBLEM.

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

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

Simon says THE TRAGEDY WAS THAT
HE WAS FAR AWAY FROM THE
CAPITAL-- PETROGRAD.
SO, HE NEEDED TO APPOINT SOMEONE
BEHIND THE SCENES TO RUN THE WAR
EFFORT FROM THE CAPITAL, AND
THAT WAS REALLY ALL ABOUT FOOD
SUPPLIES, LOOKING AFTER THE
DUMA, RUNNING THE MINISTERS AND
SO ON.
AND THIS PERSON SHOULD HAVE BEEN
A COMPETENT AND RUTHLESS
DICTATOR OF THE HOME FRONT.
INSTEAD, HE APPOINTED THE ONE
PERSON HE STILL TRUSTED, WHICH
WAS THE EMPRESS ALEXANDRA.
SOMEONE WHO WAS DESCRIBED BY A
CLOSE COURTIER AS A WOMAN OF
IRON WILL AND MONUMENTAL
STUPIDITY.

Suzannah says RIGHT FROM THE START,
ALEXANDRA HAD FAILED WIN THE
HEARTS AND MINDS OF THE RUSSIAN
PEOPLE.
HER GERMAN ANCESTRY HAD ALWAYS
BEEN CONTENTIOUS.
AND NOW, RUSSIA WAS AT WAR WITH
GERMANY.

Old clips show images of the war.

(GUNS FIRING)

Philippa says ALEXANDRA IS, YOU
KNOW, TORN OVER THIS SITUATION.
SHE'S GERMAN, SHE'S A GERMAN
PRINCESS.
SHE HAS CLOSE RELATIONS WITH THE
GERMAN IMPERIAL FAMILY.
AT THE SAME TIME, SHE BELIEVES
IN HER HUSBANDS GOD-GIVEN PATH,
AND IF THAT NECESSITATES HIM
GOING TO WAR, THEN THAT'S
NECESSARY.

Simon says ALEXANDRA VERY QUICKLY BECAME
THE MOST HATED PERSON IN RUSSIA.
SHE WAS GERMAN.
SHE WAS FROM HESSE IN GERMANY.
AND THAT MEANT THAT SHE WAS
SWIFTLY BLAMED WHEN THERE WAS
SPY MANIA AND THE RUSSIANS WERE
FACING TERRIBLE DEFEATS.
THERE WERE SAID TO BE GERMAN
SPIES EVERYWHERE.
PEOPLE WERE LOOKING FOR
EXPLANATIONS FOR WHY THE
RUSSIAN ARMY HAD NO SHELLS, WHY
IT WAS SO BADLY COMMANDED, WHY
IT KEPT RETREATING AGAINST THE
GERMANS.
IN FACT, OF COURSE, SHE WASN'T A
GERMAN SPY.
SHE'D BECOME A SORT OF DEVOTED
RUSSIAN PATRIOT AND A DEVOUT
ORTHODOX AS WELL.

Philippa says IN TERMS OF PUBLIC
OPINION, YOU KNOW, THE FACT THAT
ALEXANDRA IS GERMAN IS A
TERRIBLE LIABILITY FOR THE
ROMANOV FAMILY.

The caption changes to "Winter Palace. Saint Petersburg."

Suzannah walks inside the palace and says THOUGH FAR FROM THE LADY
MACBETH FIGURE MANY SAW HER AS
AND CERTAINLY NOT A GERMAN SPY,
ALEXANDRA WAS A STRONG CHARACTER
WITH FORTHRIGHT VIEWS.
SHE DIDN'T LIKE GOING TO
ST. PETERSBURG-- THEN CALLED
PETROGRAD.
SHE LIVED A RATHER SECLUDED
LIFE.
BUT SHE WAS MORE THAN HAPPY TO
SHARE HER OPINIONS WITH HER
HUSBAND.

Alexandra says "AH, MY LOVE, WHEN
AT LAST WILL YOU THUMP WITH
YOUR HAND ON THE TABLE AND
SCREAM AT THE OTHERS?
THEY MUST BE FRIGHTENED OF YOU.
OH MY BOY, MAKE ONE TREMBLE
BEFORE YOU.
YOU ARE ALWAYS TOO KIND AND ALL
PROFIT.
IT CANNOT GO ON LIKE THAT,
DEARY."

Nicholas says "WHAT YOU WRITE
ABOUT BEING FIRM, THE MASTER,
IS PERFECTLY TRUE.
I DO NOT FORGET IT, BE SURE OF
THAT.
BUT I NEED NOT BELLOW AT PEOPLE
RIGHT AND LEFT EVERY MOMENT.
A QUIET SHARP REMARK OR ANSWER
IS ENOUGH VERY OFTEN TO PUT ONE
OR THE OTHER INTO HIS PLACE."

Suzannah says THE REALITY WAS NICHOLAS WAS
FIGHTING A LOSING BATTLE.
BEHIND THE FRONT LINES, THERE
WERE SERIOUS PROBLEMS IN THE
RUSSIAN MILITARY.

Philippa says RUSSIA HAD BEEN
MODERNIZING HEAVILY, YOU KNOW,
FROM THE LATE 19TH CENTURY...
INDUSTRIALLY, MILITARILY.
HOWEVER, THEY STILL HADN'T DONE
ANYWHERE NEAR ENOUGH TO HAVE THE
KIND OF MODERN MILITARY THAT
THEY WERE CONFRONTED WITH,
ESPECIALLY BY THE GERMANS.
SO, THE RUSSIA APPROACH WAS
ESSENTIALLY THAT WE HAVE MORE
PEOPLE THAN ANYONE ELSE, SO
WE'LL HAVE A BIGGER ARMY THAN
EVERYONE ELSE, AND THAT MEANS
WE'LL JUST, YOU KNOW, ROLL OVER
EVERYONE, EVEN IF THEY HAVE
FANCIER GUNS THAN US.
UNFORTUNATELY, THIS DIDN'T
ACTUALLY WORK VERY WELL.

Simon says WHEN THE WAR BEGAN, THE
RUSSIAN ARMY WAS REVEALED TO BE
INCOMPETENT, BADLY LED, THERE
WAS RAMPANT CORRUPTION.
AND, OF COURSE, RUSSIA WAS A
SORT OF HALF BANKRUPT COUNTRY.
THEY SOON FACED MASSIVE DEFEATS,
MASSIVE RETREATS, AND ONE
DISASTER AFTER ANOTHER IN THE
WAR.

(BOMBS EXPLODING)

Suzannah says WHILE NICHOLAS WAS
BUSY LOSING A WAR ABROAD,
ALEXANDRA WAS FIGHTING ONE AT
HOME.
ON THE EASTERN FRONT, RUSSIAN
SOLDIERS WERE DYING AT A RATE
OF CLOSE TO 2000 A DAY.
AND IN PETROGRAD, A REVOLUTION
WAS BREWING.

A clip shows an aerial view of the Winter Palace.

Suzannah says WHILE THE ROMANOVS ENJOYED A
LIFE OF LUXURY, LIVING
CONDITIONS FOR THE MAJORITY
WERE BLEAK, AND RESENTMENT WAS
GROWING TOWARDS AN EXPENSIVE
WAR, A WAR THAT WAS NOT ONLY
KILLING RUSSIA'S MEN, BUT
CHALLENGING MONEY AWAY FROM
ITS PEOPLE.
SOCIALISM WAS ON THE RISE.

Simon says RUSSIA WAS ACTUALLY
TOTALLY UNSUITED TO MARXISM
'CAUSE MARXISM WAS ALL ABOUT AN
INDUSTRIAL COUNTRY WITH A
PROLETARIAT AND RUSSIA WAS
80-90 percent PEASANT.
BUT THAT DIDN'T MATTER.
DURING THE LATE 19TH CENTURY,
THE IDEAS OF KARL MARX SPREAD
FAST THROUGH RUSSIA, ESPECIALLY
THROUGH THE INTELLIGENTSIA, AND
AMONG THE PARTIES THAT GREW UP
WAS THE ILLEGAL, SECRET SOCIAL
DEMOCRATIC PARTY, IN WHICH THERE
WERE TWO FACTIONS-- MENSHEVIKS
AND BOLSHEVIKS.
THE BOLSHEVIKS WERE LED BY
VLADIMIR LENIN.
THEY WERE DETERMINED THAT THERE
WOULD BE A PROLETARIAN
REVOLUTION, A MARXIST REVOLUTION
IN RUSSIA.
SO, ALL THESE PEOPLE WERE
AMONGST THE MANY, MANY
REVOLUTIONARY GROUPS-- SOME
NATIONALIST, SOME COMMUNIST...
ALL OF THEM HOPING TO OVERTHROW
THE MONARCHY.

Suzannah says WORKER STRIKES WERE
BECOMING COMMONPLACE, ORGANIZED
IN PART BY AN INCREASING NUMBER
OF WORKERS COUNCILS.
THESE UNIONS WERE STARTING TO
HAVE THEIR VOICES HEARD IN THE
DUMA, CHAMPIONED BY THE LIKES
OF ALEXANDER KERENSKY.
THE DEMAND FOR POLITICAL CHANGE
WAS GROWING RAPIDLY, AND YET, IN
THEIR LETTERS THE EMPEROR AND
HIS WIFE STILL FOUND TIME TO
CONCERN THEMSELVES WITH INTIMATE
FLIRTATION, SEXUAL INNUENDO, AND
AT LEAST IN NICHOLAS' CASE,
PARLOUR GAMES.

Nicholas says "IN THE EVENING, WE
PLAYED WITH MAMA'S NEW DOMINOES
AND LISTENED TO FEDEROV.
LAST NIGHT, I PLAYED DOMINOS
FOR AN HOUR.
I MISS MY HALF AN HOUR'S WORK
AT THE PUZZLE EVERY EVENING.
IF I AM FREE HERE, I THINK I
WILL TURN TO THE DOMINO AGAIN
BECAUSE THE SILENCE AROUND ME
IS RATHER DEPRESSING.
OF COURSE, THERE IS NO WORK FOR
ME."

Philippa says A LOT OF THE TIME THAT HE WAS
AT THE FRONT, HE ACTUALLY
ENGAGED IN THE KINDS OF PURSUITS
THAT HE MIGHT HAVE OTHERWISE
ANYWAY-- YOU KNOW, RELAXING,
PLAYING CROQUET, CHATTING TO HIS
FRIENDS, THIS KIND OF THING.
SO, WHEN WE LOOK AT THE LETTERS
THAT HE AND ALEXANDRA ARE
WRITING TO EACH OTHER DURING THE
WAR, THEY'RE ACTUALLY LESS FULL
OF MILITARY DISCUSSIONS THAN ONE
MIGHT EXPECT.

Nicholas says "THIS MORNING,
WHILE I WAS DRYING MY FACE AND
HANDS BY THE OPEN WINDOW, I SAW
TWO LITTLE DOGS PURSUING EACH
OTHER.
A MOMENT LATER, ONE WAS RIDING
ON THE OTHER, AND A MINUTE
LATER, THEY WERE STUCK.
THEY SQUEALED FOR A LONG TIME
AND COULD NOT GET ASUNDER.
POOR BEASTS."

Simon says THE SECRET LETTERS ARE
TOTALLY FASCINATING AND THEY
REALLY DO REVEAL A SORT OF
DRIFTING, LETHARGIC NICHOLAS.
HE CONSOLED HIMSELF WITH GOING
FOR WALKS EVERY DAY AND WITH
WRITING PASSIONATE LETTERS TO
ALEXANDRA.
I THINK THE LETTERS ARE BOTH
EXTRAORDINARY, HILARIOUS, MORE
BIZARRE THAN YOU COULD
POSSIBLY BELIEVE AND ALSO
ABSOLUTELY DAMMING.
THESE PEOPLE REALLY WERE NOT FIT
TO BE RUNNING A VILLAGE, LET
ALONE THE GREATEST EMPIRE IN THE
WORLD IN A TIME OF TOTAL WAR.

Suzannah says HERE WAS A MAN RESPONSIBLE
FOR MILLIONS OF SOLDIERS AT WAR,
WHILE MILLIONS OF THEIR FAMILIES
WERE IN ABJECT POVERTY AT HOME.
YET, HIS LETTERS SUGGEST ONE
THING QUITE CLEARLY-- HUNDREDS
OF MILES AWAY FROM THE TROUBLE
THAT WAS BREWING, THE RUSSIAN
TSAR WAS BURYING HIS HEAD IN THE
SAND.

On a train across a snowed area, Suzannah TRAVELLING FROM ST. PETERSBURG
TO MOSCOW BY TRAIN GIVES SOME
SENSE OF THE VASTNESS OF THIS
PLACE.
IT IS THE LARGEST COUNTRY ON
EARTH.
AND WHEN NICHOLAS AND ALEXANDRA
WERE RULING OVER IT, IT COVERED
1 6TH OF THE GLOBE.
HUNDREDS OF LETTERS PASSED
BETWEEN THE TSAR AND TSARINA
DURING THEIR TIME APART.
MOST OF THOSE LETTERS ARE
HOUSED HERE IN MOSCOW AT THE
STATE ARCHIVES OF THE RUSSIAN
FEDERATION.
THESE BOXES HOLD THE INTIMATE
CORRESPONDENCE OF TWO OF THE
MOST SIGNIFICANT FIGURES IN THE
HISTORY OF RUSSIA-- NICHOLAS THE SECOND
AND ALEXANDRA.
I'M REALLY, REALLY EXCITED ABOUT
LOOKING AT THESE.
(SIGHING)
SO, THIS TOP FOLDER IS LETTERS
FROM ALEXANDRA.
AND IMMEDIATELY, I'M STRUCK BY
HOW BEAUTIFUL THE HANDWRITING
IS.
THERE'S SOMETHING SO
EXTRAORDINARY ABOUT THE
TANGIBILITY OF THESE.
I MEAN, THE INK ISN'T EVEN
FADED.
AND, YOU KNOW, JUST TO BE
HOLDING THESE IN MY HANDS...
THAT LAST PERSON, YOU KNOW,
WRITING THEM WAS ALEXANDRA.
SHE NUMBERED HER LETTERS, SO
HERE WE GO, 471.
SHE WROTE HIM SO MANY LETTERS.
THIS IS FROM APRIL THE FIRST,
1916.
IT STARTS, "MINE OWN SWEET ONE,
NOW YOU'RE BACK AGAIN, I'LL FEEL
AWFULLY LONELY.
AND TO STAND ALL ALONE DURING
THOSE LOVELY CHURCH SERVICES
WILL BE SAD."
AND SHE SAYS SHE'D LIKE TO
"RELIVE THE HAPPY, PEACEFUL
MOMENTS WHEN WE ARE ALONE
TOGETHER IN OUR BEAUTIFUL LOVE,
WHICH EVERY DAY BRINGS NEW
REVELATIONS.
THESE CONSTANT PARTINGS WEAR OUT
THE HEART."
I'M STRUCK ANEW BY HOW
ASTONISHING IT IS THAT THESE ARE
JUST ORDINARY LETTERS BETWEEN
THE DEVOTED COUPLE.
AH, HERE WE GO.
THIS IS ON THE 8TH OF APRIL,
1916, AND SHE'S UNDERLINED THE
8TH THREE TIMES BECAUSE IT'S THE
DAY THEY'RE ENGAGED.
"MY OWN SWEET NICKY LOVE, ON
THIS, OUR ENGAGEMENT DAY, ALL MY
TENDEREST THOUGHTS ARE WITH YOU,
FILLING MY HEART WITH BOUNDLESS
GRATITUDE FOR THE INTENSE LOVE
AND HAPPINESS..."
I'M WELLING UP READING THESE
THINGS BECAUSE THEY'RE JUST...
IT'S SO MOVING TO HAVE A COUPLE
MARRIED FOR 22 YEARS EXPRESSING
THIS INTENSE, YOU KNOW,
INFATUATED, ALL CONSUMING LOVE
FOR EACH OTHER AND MARKING IT
WITH THESE SWEET WORDS.
AND IT SEEMS AN EXTRAORDINARY
PRIVILEGE THAT WE WOULD GET TO
READ IT, WE GET TO HEAR THESE
THOUGHTS.
AND YET, AT THE SAME TIME, I'M
REALLY AWARE THAT IT WAS THIS
INTENSE LOVE THAT BLINKERED THEM
AND MADE THEM UNABLE TO NOTICE
THE WORLD AROUND THEM.
SO, THESE LETTERS ARE
BITTERSWEET.

(music plays)

The caption changes to "Moscow."

Suzannah says BY NOVEMBER OF 1916, TSAR
NICHOLAS THE SECOND RULED OVER AN EMPIRE
IN CRISIS.
HE WAS OUT OF HIS DEPTH AND
RAPIDLY BECOMING A SYMBOL OF
NOTHING BUT DEFEAT.

Nicholas says "MY OWN BELOVED
ONE, FONDEST THANKS FOR YOUR
DEAR LETTERS.
NOW THAT I DON'T SEE THE
TROOPS, THEY ARE MY ONLY
COMFORT.
LOVY MINE, ME LOVES YOU SO,
REALLY MORE THAN EVER AND MISS
YOU SO, THESE DAYS ESPECIALLY."

Suzannah says NICHOLAS HAD TAKEN ON A
THANKLESS TASK ON THE FRONTLINE,
AND IN SO DOING, HE HAD LEFT
ALEXANDRA TO MIND HIS EMPIRE
BACK HOME.
AND, OF COURSE, SOMEONE WHO WAS
NEVER FAR FROM ALEXANDRA WAS
RASPUTIN.

Simon says NICKY WAS VERY FOOLISH
TO ENTRUST ALEXANDRA WITH ANY
RESPONSIBLE POSITION.
HE WAS EXTREMELY FOOLISH IN
TAKING HER ADVICE ON ANYTHING.
AND ONE OF HIS MOST FOOLISH
THINGS WAS TO TRUST HER WITH
MILITARY MATTERS.
HE SHOULDN'T HAVE TOLD HER ANY
MILITARY SECRETS.
SHE TOLD EVERYTHING TO RASPUTIN,
EVEN WHEN HE'D SPECIFICALLY
ASKED HER NOT TO.

Nicholas says "A FEW DAYS AGO,
ALEKSEEV AND I DECIDED NOT TO
ATTACK FROM THE NORTH, BUT TO
CONCENTRATE ALL OUR EFFORTS
LOWER DOWN.
BUT PLEASE DON'T MENTION THIS
TO ANYBODY, NOT EVEN OUR
FRIEND.
NOBODY MUST KNOW THIS.
I COVER YOUR SWEET FACE WITH
BURNING KISSES."

The caption changes to "Tsar Nicholas' Library, Saint Petersburg."

Suzannah says WHILE NICHOLAS WAS AWAY,
RASPUTIN REMAINED A TRUSTED
CONFIDENT TO ALEXANDRA.
IN HER LETTERS TO HER HUSBAND,
SHE CONSTANTLY REFERS TO HIM AS
"OUR FRIEND."
HE WAS A FRIEND THAT WOULD
PROTECT THE FAMILY.
HE WOULD PRAY FOR THEM.
HE WAS THERE TO HELP.
AND HE WOULD OFFER ADVICE.
AND IT WAS THIS ADVICE THAT
WORRIED MANY IN PETROGRAD AND
BEYOND.

Alexandra says "MY OWN BELOVED, I
MUST GIVE YOU OVER A MESSAGE
FROM OUR FRIEND.
HE BEGS YOU TO ORDER THAT ONE
SHOULD ADVANCE NEAR RIGA, SAYS IT IS NECESSARY.
HE SAYS THIS IS JUST NOW THE
MOST ESSENTIAL THING.
HE SAYS WE CAN AND WE MUST AND
THAT I WAS TO WRITE TO YOU
ABOUT IT AT ONCE."

Philippa says SO, RASPUTIN IS
VERY UNPOPULAR PUBLICLY.
HE'S VERY UNPOPULAR EVEN AMONGST
MANY OF THE IMPERIAL FAMILY AND
AMONGST MANY OF NICHOLAS' CLOSE
ADVISORS AND AMONGST MANY OF
EVEN ALEXANDRA ADVISORS.
SO, RELATIVELY QUICKLY, PEOPLE
AROUND NICHOLAS AND ALEXANDRA
DECIDE THAT THIS MAD MONK HAS
COMPLETELY BEWITCHED THEM AND HE
IS KIND OF TAKING THEM DOWN THIS
REALLY DANGEROUS PATH.
SO, ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WE
SEE HAPPENING IS PEOPLE OPENLY
AND IN PRINT MAKING FUN OF
RASPUTIN, USUALLY GIVING HIM A
PSEUDONYM, MAKING FUN OF
RASPUTIN AND CRITICISING THE
IMPERIAL FAMILY VIA RASPUTIN,
ESPECIALLY CRITICISING
ALEXANDRA.

Simon says RASPUTIN WAS HATED BY
EVERYBODY, ESSENTIALLY.
HE WAS HATED BY THE CHURCH
BECAUSE THE BISHOP FOUND THAT HE
ONLY WAS LOYAL TO THE ROYAL
FAMILY, TO THE ROYAL COUPLE,
ACTUALLY.
HE WAS HATED BY THE RUSSIAN
GOVERNMENT AND ALL THE MINISTERS
'CAUSE HE HAD PRIVATE ACCESS TO
THE TSAR.
HE WAS HATED BY THE WHOLE
ROMANOV FAMILY BECAUSE, EVEN
THOUGH THEY HAD INTRODUCED HIM
TO NICHOLAS AND ALEXANDRA, HE
DROPPED THEM AS SOON AS HE GOT
CLOSE TO THE TSARS, AND THEN,
THEY ALL REALIZED HE WAS A TOTAL
AMBITIOUS CHARLATAN.
SO, THEY HATED HIM.
BUT RASPUTIN ONLY NEEDED TWO
SUPPORTERS AND HE HAD THOSE TWO
SUPPORTERS-- NICHOLAS AND
ALEXANDRA.

Alexandra says "MY OWN BELOVED
DARLING, I SHALL ASK OUR FRIEND
TO QUITE PARTICULARLY PRAY FOR
YOU THERE.
OUR FRIEND WOULD HAVE FOUND IT
BETTER YOU HAD GONE AFTER
THE WAR TO THE CONQUERED
COUNTRY.
OUR FRIEND DREADS YOU BEING AT
THE HEADQUARTERS, AS ALL COME
ROUND WITH THEIR OWN
EXPLANATIONS AND INVARIABLY
YOU GIVE IN TO THEM.
HARKEN TO OUR FRIEND, IT IS NOT
FOR NOTHING THAT GOD SENT HIM
TO US."

Simon says IT'S ACTUALLY
QUESTIONABLE WHETHER HE REALLY
HAD ANY INFLUENCE AT ALL ON THEM
POLITICALLY.
FOR A LONG TIME, FOR MORE THAN
FIVE YEARS, HE WASN'T REALLY A
POLITICAL FIGURE AT ALL.
BUT THE PROBLEM WAS THAT WHEN
YOU'RE THE TSAR OF RUSSIA AND
EVERYTHING YOU DO IS POLITICAL
AND EVERYONE YOU KNOW IS
POLITICAL-- YOUR HAIRDRESSER,
YOUR TENNIS COACH-- EVERYONE YOU
EVER MEET REGULARLY HAS
POLITICAL POWER AND ARE
PRESSURING THEM.

Dominic says HIS IMPACT ON THE MONARCHY'S
PRESTIGE IS IMMENSE AND DOES AN
AWFUL LOT OF DAMAGE TO THE
MONARCHY, THE MONARCHY WHICH
OUGHT, AT A TIME OF WAR, TO HAVE
BEEN A GREAT SYMBOL OF UNITY AND
PATRIOTISM.
INCREASINGLY, IN THE PERSON OF
NICHOLAS THE SECOND AND CERTAINLY OF
ALEXANDRA, IS SEEN AS A SOURCE
OF WEAKNESS AND EVEN POSSIBLY
OF TREASON, AND THE OPPOSITION
POLITICIANS TO SOME EXTENT USE
THIS AND PLAY ON THIS.

Suzannah says ALEXANDRA'S RELATIONSHIP WITH
RASPUTIN UNWITTINGLY INFLICTED
SERIOUS DAMAGE ON THE MONARCHY,
AND THEIR CLOSENESS BECAME THE
SUBJECT OF SALACIOUS GOSSIP THAT
LASTS UNTIL THIS DAY.

Philippa says THE WHOLE RASPUTIN
THING MAKES ALEXANDRA EVEN MORE
UNPOPULAR.
NOW, ALL OF A SUDDEN, NOT ONLY
IS SHE, YOU KNOW, GERMAN, PROUD
AND NOT VERY BRIGHT, NOW SHE'S
ALSO BECOME, YOU KNOW,
ESSENTIALLY POSSESSED BY THIS
HERETIC.
THEN, WE START TO HAVE THE
CIRCULATION OF HEAVILY
SEXUALIZED RUMOURS ABOUT
RASPUTIN, ESPECIALLY ABOUT
POTENTIAL SEXUAL RELATIONSHIP
BETWEEN HIM AND ALEXANDRA.
THERE'S THIS IDEA THAT HE, YOU
KNOW, BEWITCHES PEOPLE SO MUCH
THAT, AS SOON AS THEY SEE HIM,
THEY WANT TO HAVE SEX WITH HIM.
SO, THIS ALL FEEDS INTO HIS LACK
OF POPULARITY AMONGST THE
RUSSIAN PEOPLE.

Simon says THE RUMOURS BEGAN TO SPREAD
AMONG THE ARMY PARTICULARLY
THAT SHE WAS SLEEPING WITH
RASPUTIN.
PORNOGRAPHIC LITERATURE STARTED
TO APPEAR.
AND MANY, MANY PEOPLE BELIEVED
THAT THIS WAS ACTUALLY TRUE.
THEY BELIEVED IT BECAUSE THEY
WANTED TO BELIEVE IT WAS TRUE,
JUST AS THEY WANTED TO BELIEVE
THAT ALEXANDRA WAS A GERMAN SPY.
THEY NEEDED AN EXPLANATION FOR
ALL THE THINGS THAT WERE GOING
WRONG AND, PLUS, EVERYONE LOVED
THAT SORT OF GOSSIP.
BUT, OF COURSE, THERE WAS NEVER
THE SLIGHTEST POSSIBILITY THAT
THEY WERE ANYTHING LIKE LOVERS
IN ANY SHAPE OR FORM.
THAT IS A COMPLETE MYTH.

Suzannah says AMONG HISTORIANS,
RASPUTIN IS CONSIDERED MORE
BOASTING MENACE THAN
MACHIAVELLIAN LOVER.
BUT WHAT SHOULD NOT BE IGNORED
IS HOW MUCH OF A NUISANCE HE
WAS CONTINUALLY PROVING TO BE
WITHIN THE PETROGRAD ELITE.
THE GROWING PERCEPTION OF
NICHOLAS AND ALEXANDRA AS
IRRESPONSIBLE RULERS WAS ONLY
HEIGHTENED BY THE CONTINUING
HOLD THAT THEIR FRIEND, FATHER
GRIGORI, HAD ON THEM.
ALEXANDRA LISTENED TO AND
TRUSTED THE HOLY MAN.
NICHOLAS REGULARLY TOOK HIS
WIFE'S ADVICE.
CONSEQUENTLY, RASPUTIN HAD A
DIRECT LINE OF INFLUENCE TO THE
TSAR HIMSELF.
ON THE STREETS OF PETROGRAD,
SOVIET REVOLUTIONARIES THREW
FUEL ON THE FIRE OF A RASPUTIN
MYTH CONSTRUCTED TO UNDERMINE
THE TSAR.
IF NICHOLAS COULD NOT CONTROL
HIS OWN WIFE, HOW COULD HE BE
EXPECTED TO RULE OVER AN ENTIRE
EMPIRE?
WHILE THE WAR WITH GERMANY WAS
BEING LOST, BACK HOME, HUNGER
WAS RIFE IN RUSSIAN CITIES AND
FOOD WAS GOING TO WASTE IN THE
COUNTRYSIDE.

Simon says OF COURSE, THERE WERE
FOOD SHORTAGES.
THERE WAS UNFAIR WORKING
CONDITIONS, ESPECIALLY IN THE
GIANT FACTORIES OF
ST. PETERSBURG, THE CAPITAL.
AND SOON, THIS BECAME A SORT OF
FULL-FLEDGED REVOLUTIONARY
MOVEMENT, WITH MARCHES, RIOTS,
PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT FULL
REVOLUTION.

Suzannah says AND YET, NICHOLAS' LETTERS
STILL READ LIKE POSTCARDS HOME,
ESPECIALLY WHEN THE 11-YEAR-OLD
HEIR TO THE THRONE ALEXI JOINED
HIM ON THE EASTERN FRONT.

Simon says NICHOLAS IS HUNDREDS
OF MILES AWAY AT THE MILITARY
HEADQUARTERS.
BUT, ACTUALLY, A LOT OF THE
TIME, HE HAD NOTHING WHATSOEVER
TO DO.
SO, THAT'S WHY, QUITE OFTEN,
HE'D HAVE ALEXI GO AND STAY WITH
HIM THERE, AND THEY WROTE
LETTERS BACK TO ALEXANDRA SAYING
THAT THEY WERE LYING IN BED...
THEY SHARED A ROOM, WHICH WAS
GREAT FUN, AND THEY CHATTED AND
THEY FARTED A LOT.

Nicholas says "BABY MOTORED IN
THE AFTERNOON AND FOUND A GOOD
PLACE WITH SOFT SAND WHERE HE
ENJOYED PLAYING ON.
EVERY EVENING, I READ TO HIM
ALL HIS LETTERS.
HE LISTENS, LYING IN BED, AND
KISSES YOUR SIGNATURE.
"ALEXI STARTED A COLD YESTERDAY
AND THIS MORNING HAD A SLIGHT
NOSEBLEED AFTER SNEEZING.
WE LEFT MOGILEV IN ORDER TO
VISIT THE GUARD.
BUT SINCE THE BLOOD DID NOT GET
ANY LESS, I DECIDED TO RETURN
TO HEADQUARTERS.
IN THE MORNING, HIS TEMPERATURE
HAD GONE UP TO 39."

Suzannah says WHILE NICHOLAS AND
THE YOUNG HEIR WERE AWAY, THE
PROBLEMS BACK AT HOME WERE
MOUNTING.
BY 1916, MONARCHISTS IN THE
DUMA WERE WARNING NICHOLAS THAT
A REVOLUTION WAS IMMINENT, YET
THE TSAR CONTINUED TO DO
NOTHING.
BUT BACK IN PETROGRAD, OTHERS
HAD DECIDED TO TAKE ACTION.
THROUGHOUT HISTORY, MURDER HAS
OFTEN BEEN USED AS AN EXTREME
FORM OF POLITICAL PROTEST.
(VOICES SCREAMING)
NICHOLAS' OWN GRANDFATHER,
ALEXANDER THE SECOND, HAD BEEN A PRIME
EXAMPLE OF THIS, AND PETROVSKY
BRIDGE IN ST. PETERSBURG IS
HOST TO THE FINAL CHAPTER OF
ANOTHER OF HISTORY'S GREAT
MURDER STORIES.

Suzannah walks across Petrovsky Bridge in Saint Petersburg.

Suzannah says NOW, WITH THE TSAR'S REPUTATION
IN TATTERS, THOSE LOYAL TO THE
MONARCHY TOOK MATTERS INTO THEIR
OWN HANDS.
THEIR VICTIM-- RASPUTIN.

Simon says BY THE END OF 1916,
RASPUTIN WAS BLAMED VERY MUCH
FOR EVERYTHING THAT WAS GOING
WRONG IN RUSSIA.
MANY PEOPLE BELIEVED THAT IF
THEY COULD ONLY REMOVE RASPUTIN,
THEN ALL WOULD BE WELL IN
RUSSIA.

Philippa says THERE'S A GROUP OF
NOBLES AT THE PALACE WHO ARE
QUITE RIGHT-WING.
THEY REALLY BELIEVE IN THE
IMPORTANCE OF THE AUTOCRACY AND
THEY DECIDE THAT THE ONLY WAY TO
SAVE THE AUTOCRACY IS TO KILL
RASPUTIN.

Simon says THE GREAT CONSPIRACY THAT
DESTROYED HIM WAS PUT TOGETHER
BY PEOPLE SO CLOSE TO THE ROYAL
FAMILY THAT THEY WERE VIRTUALLY
MEMBERS OF NOT JUST THE ROMANOV
DYNASTY BUT THE INNER FAMILY OF
NICHOLAS AND ALEXANDRA.
SO, THESE ARE PEOPLE SO CLOSE TO
NICHOLAS THAT THEIR BETRAYAL WAS
A TERRIBLE THING.
BUT THEY, ALONG WITH SOME
POLITICIANS BEGAN TO PLOT TO
KILL RASPUTIN, AND THEY THOUGHT
THAT WAS ESSENTIAL TO SAVE THE
MONARCHY.

Suzannah says IN DECEMBER OF
1916, FATHER GRIGORI RASPUTIN
WAS MURDERED IN THE BASEMENT OF
YUSUPOV PALACE.

Dominic says RASPUTIN WAS MURDERED BY THE
EMPRESS ' FIRST COUSIN AND BY
PRINCE FELIX YUSUPOV, WHO HAD
MARRIED THE EMPEROR'S NIECE.
AND ONE OF THE OTHER LITTLE
GROUP OF CONSPIRATORS WAS A VERY
RIGHT-WING MEMBER OF THE DUMA.

Simon says THEY'D LURED HIM TO
THE YUSUPOV PALACE, USING AS
BAIT THAT HE WOULD MEET GRAND
DUCHESS IRINA, THE WIFE OF
YUSUPOV, WHO WAS VERY PRETTY.
AND HE ALWAYS WANTED TO FLIRT
WITH THE MOST GRAND ROMANOVS
THAT HE COULD.
SO, HE WENT TO THE YUSUPOV
PALACE, AND THERE, YUSUPOV HAD
LAID OUT A SORT OF PLAN THAT
THEY WERE GOING TO POISON HIM.

Suzannah says BUT IT WASN'T QUITE THAT
SIMPLE.
IN KEEPING WITH HIS DEBAUCHED
LIFE, RASPUTIN'S DEATH WAS
EQUALLY MESSY.
HE WAS IN TURN POISONED, SHOT,
STABBED AND DROWNED.
THIS WAS A HOLY MAN WHO PROVED
DIFFICULT TO KILL.

Simon says WHEN HE WAS GIVEN THE
POISON, RASPUTIN SHOWED NO ILL
EFFECTS WHATSOEVER.
FIRST OF ALL, THEY SAT AROUND
LOOKING AT HIM, EXPECTING HIM TO
DROP DOWN DEAD, BUT HE DIDN'T.
AND THEN, THEY BEGAN TO THINK,
"OH MY GOD, MAYBE HE DOES HAVE
MYSTICAL POWERS."
AND FINALLY, YUSUPOV, PANICKING
DESPERATELY, BEGAN TO REALIZE
THAT HE WOULD HAVE TO SHOOT HIM,
HE'D HAVE TO KILL HIM HIMSELF.
SO, HE SHOT HIM TWICE.
(GUN FIRING)
WELL, NEITHER SHOT WAS FATAL.
ONE WENT INTO HIS SIDE.
THE NEXT THING THEY KNEW,
RASPUTIN WAS UP AGAIN, SHOUTING,
RUNNING OUT INTO THE COURTYARD.
AND AT THIS POINT, SOMEBODY HAD
TO DO SOMETHING TO STOP HIM
GETTING AWAY.
ONE OF THE CONSPIRATORS, HE WENT
UP TO HIM AND PUT THE GUN RIGHT
AGAINST HIS FOREHEAD, AND IN THE
PHOTOS YOU CAN SEE THAT IT WAS A
POINT BLANK EXECUTION OF A MAN
LYING DOWN.

Suzannah says AFTER HIS DEATH, RASPUTIN'S
MURDERERS PANICKED ABOUT HOW TO
DISPOSE OF THE BODY.
EVENTUALLY, THEY WRAPPED IT IN
CHAINS, BROUGHT IT TO THE RIVER
AND DROPPED IT THROUGH A HOLE IN
THE ICE.

Simon says BUT AS THEY DROPPED
HIM, ONE OF HIS BOOTS CAME OFF
AND LANDED ON THE ICE.
BUT THEY WERE IN TOO MUCH OF A
PANIC TO WORRY ABOUT THAT AND
THEY DROVE OFF.
MEANWHILE, THE NEWS REACHED
ALEXANDRA THAT RASPUTIN HAD
DISAPPEARED AND, OF COURSE, SHE
BEGAN TO PANIC.

Alexandra says "OUR FRIEND HAS
DISAPPEARED.
YESTERDAY, HE SAID FELIX ASKED
HIM TO COME IN THE NIGHT TO SEE
IRINA.
THIS NIGHT, A BIG SCANDAL AT
YUSUPOV'S HOUSE.
POLICE HEARD SHOTS.
I CANNOT AND WON'T BELIEVE HE
HAS BEEN KILLED.
GOD HAVE MERCY.
SUCH UTTER ANGUISH."

Suzannah says IN HER PANIC AT HIS
DISAPPEARANCE, ALEXANDRA ORDERED
AN INVESTIGATION WHICH BROUGHT
THE POLICE HERE TO PETROVSKY
BRIDGE.
THEY SPOTTED HIS DISCARDED BOOT
AND LATER, DIVERS RECOVERED HIS
BODY.
IT WAS FROZEN, A BULLET HOLE
STILL VISIBLE IN HIS FOREHEAD.

Philippa says ALEXANDRA IS
DEVASTATED BY THE LOSS OF
RASPUTIN.
BEARING IN MIND THAT, BY THIS
STAGE, SHE ALSO DOESN'T HAVE
NICHOLAS BY HER SIDE.
HER LETTERS TO NICHOLAS BECOME
MORE AND MORE FRANTIC AND MORE
AND MORE CONCERNED, PARANOID,
WORRIED ABOUT WHAT'S GOING ON.

Alexandra says "THEY FOUND HIS
BODY IN THE WATER.
THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS TOGETHER."

Suzannah says FOR ALEXANDRA, THE
DEATH OF RASPUTIN BROUGHT WITH
IT OMINOUS PORTENTS.
WITH HER HUSBAND STILL AT WAR
AND WITHOUT FATHER GRIGORI'S
PROTECTION, WHAT WOULD BECOME
OF HER FAMILY NOW?

(music plays)

The caption changes to "Saint Petersburg."

Suzannah says AS THE GREAT WAR RAGED ON,
THERE WAS DESPERATION IN THE
AIR.
THE TSAR'S OWN SECRET POLICE
CONSTANTLY WARNED HIM OF THE
SHEER SCALE OF CIVIL UNREST.
IN TELEGRAMS TO THE EASTERN
FRONT, THEY SPOKE OF THE
ALARMING MOOD AMONG THE
REVOLUTIONARY UNDERGROUND AND
HOW ANIMOSITY IS MOUNTING.
BUT EVEN AFTER RASPUTIN'S DEATH,
ALEXANDRA CONTINUED TO MISJUDGE
THE SERIOUSNESS OF THE SITUATION
IN PETROGRAD.

Alexandra says "IT'S A HOOLIGAN
MOVEMENT-- YOUNG BOYS AND GIRLS
RUNNING ABOUT SCREAMING THAT
THEY HAVE NO BREAD, ONLY TO
EXCITE.
IF IT WERE VERY COLD, THEY
WOULD PROBABLY STAY INDOORS.
BUT THIS WILL PASS AND QUIETEN
DOWN."

Suzannah says IT DID NOT PASS.
ON THE NIGHT OF THE 26TH OF
FEBRUARY, 1917, A TELEGRAM
ARRIVED FROM MICHAEL RODZIANKO...
THE PRESIDENT OF THE DUMA...
INFORMING THE TSAR THAT THE CITY
OF PETROGRAD WAS NOW IN A STATE
OF ANARCHY AND URGING HIM TO
TAKE ACTION IMMEDIATELY.
"THERE MUST BE NO DELAY," HE
STATED.
"HESITATION IS FATAL."
HE DID NOT RECEIVE THE TELEGRAM
TILL THE MORNING.
AFTER YEARS OF DENIAL, OF
RUNNING AWAY FROM
RESPONSIBILITIES, OF RELYING ON
GOD AND RASPUTIN TO PROTECT
THEM, IT WAS THIS TELEGRAM THAT
FINALLY MADE NICHOLAS SEE SENSE.
HE KNEW THAT HE HAD TO RETURN TO
PETROGRAD.
THE TSAR LEFT THE EASTERN FRONT
AND BEGAN THE LONG JOURNEY
HOME, WRITING TO HIS WIFE FOR
THE FINAL TIME.

Nicholas says "MY OWN TREASURE,
THIS WILL BE MY LAST ONE.
HOW HAPPY I AM AT THE THOUGHT
OF MEETING YOU IN TWO DAYS.
I HAVE MUCH TO DO.
GOD BLESS YOU AND MY BELOVED
SONNY.
I COVER YOUR SWEET FACE WITH
KISSES."

Suzannah says NICHOLAS WAS AWARE THAT HE
WAS RETURNING TO A CITY IN
CHAOS, THE SYMBOLIC CRUMBLING OF
HIS EMPIRE.
HE KNEW THAT HE NEEDED TO TAKE
DRASTIC ACTION AND HE SOUGHT
THE SUPPORT OF HIS MILITARY
COMMANDERS.
BUT TO NICHOLAS SURPRISE, THEY
IMMEDIATELY AND UNANIMOUSLY
ENCOURAGED HIM TO STAND DOWN.
BETRAYED BY HIS OWN ARMY, THE
EMPEROR WAS NOW COMPLETELY
EXPOSED.
AND FACED WITH A PROVISIONAL
GOVERNMENT WHO WERE READY TO
SEIZE POWER, NICHOLAS HAD LITTLE
CHOICE.
HE ABDICATED ON THE 15TH OF
MARCH, 1917.

Alexandra says "BELOVED SOUL, MY
SOUL, MY OWN WEE ONE, HOW MY
HEART BLEEDS FOR YOU.
MY HEAD HURTS FROM THE PAIN FOR
YOU IN YOUR UTTER SOLITUDE.
I FULLY UNDERSTAND YOUR ACTION,
MY OWN HERO.
WE KNOW EACH OTHER THROUGH AND
THROUGH, NEED NO WORDS.
AS I LIVE, WE SHALL SEE YOU
BACK ON YOUR THRONE, BROUGHT
BACK BY YOUR PEOPLE TO THE
GLORY OF YOUR REIGN.
YOU HAVE SAVED YOUR SON'S REIGN
AND YOUR COUNTRY."

Suzannah says BUT ALEXANDRA WAS
WRONG.
NICHOLAS HAD NOT SAVED HIS
SON'S REIGN AT ALL.

Simon says SO, HE STARTS TO WRITE
OUT AN ABDICATION, AND RUSSIAN
LAW IS PERFECTLY CLEAR-- THE
SUCCESSION MUST GO TO THE ELDEST
SON.
AND HE STARTS TO THINK ABOUT
ALEXI, ABOUT ALEXI'S ILLNESS.
AND HE SUDDENLY CALLS IN HIS
DOCTOR AND HE SAYS, "WHAT DO WE
KNOW ABOUT HAEMOPHILIA?
YOU KNOW, WILL ALEXI LIVE TILL
OLD AGE?"
AND THE DOCTOR SAYS, "THE
CHANCES ARE HE WON'T.
THE CHANCES ARE HE'LL DIE
YOUNG."
SO, HE SAID, "I'M GOING TO LEAVE
IT TO MY USELESS BROTHER
MICHAEL--" WHO'S FAMILY NICKNAME
WAS FLOPPY, AND THAT TELLS YOU
ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HIM.

Dominic says HIS YOUNGER BROTHER INHERITS
A SITUATION WHICH IS SPIRALLING
BEYOND CONTROL.
BUT IN ANY EVENT, THE GRAND DUKE
MICHAEL, THOUGH A VERY SWEET
MAN, IS ANYTHING BUT A TOUGHIE
AND HE'S NOT REMOTELY COMPETENT
OR WILLING TO TAKE
RESPONSIBILITY FOR TRYING TO
HOLD THINGS TOGETHER.

Philippa says HIS BROTHER SAYS,
"NO WAY, I'M NOT TAKING THAT
POISONED CHALICE."
AND THAT, WITH A STROKE, RUSSIA
HAS NO TSAR ANYMORE.

Suzannah says MICHAEL
RELINQUISHING POWER WAS THE
FINAL ACT OF A DYNASTY.
THREE CENTURIES OF ROMANOV RULE
HAD COME TO AN END.

Simon says THE PUBLIC WERE
DELIGHTED WHEN NICHOLAS
ABDICATED.
HE HAD BEEN BLAMED FOR MUCH OF
THE INCOMPETENCE.
HIM AND ALEXANDRA, ABLY ASSISTED
BY RASPUTIN, HAD REALLY
DESTROYED THE LAST PRESTIGE OF
THE MONARCHY, SINGLE-HANDEDLY,
BY ACTS OF UTTER IDIOCY AND
IRRESPONSIBILITY AND ARROGANCE.
SO, YES, THERE WAS GREAT
REJOICING, PEOPLE DANCED IN THE
STREETS, PEOPLE HAD SEX IN
PUBLIC, PEOPLE DROVE CARS
THROUGH THE STREETS, FIRING
GUNS.
EVERYONE WENT CRAZY, BASICALLY.

Dominic says MOST OF EDUCATED SOCIETY
GREETS THE OVERTHROW OF THE
MONARCHY WITH GLEE, AND EVEN
MANY CONSERVATIVES WOULD HAVE
BEEN ONLY TOO HAPPY TO GET RID
OF NICHOLAS THE SECOND.
OF COURSE, ALL LIBERALS AND ALL
THE LEFT, THE REVOLUTIONARY, ARE
HAPPY.

Suzannah says BUT ALEXANDRA, AT
LEAST, VOWED TO STAND BY HER
HUSBAND.

Alexandra says "I HOLD YOU TIGHT,
TIGHT IN MY ARMS AND WILL NEVER
LET THEM TOUCH YOUR SHINING
SOUL.
I KISS, KISS, KISS AND BLESS
YOU AND WILL ALWAYS UNDERSTAND
YOU.
WIFEY."

Suzannah says THE EMPIRE THAT
NICHOLAS INHERITED FROM HIS
FATHER WAS VAST-- FINLAND TO
THE WEST, TURKEY AND MONGOLIA
TO THE SOUTH, AND THE ISLANDS OF
JAPAN TO THE EAST.
BY THE TIME OF NICHOLAS' DEATH,
IT WAS ALREADY STARTING TO BREAK
UP.

Dominic says NICHOLAS IS IMMEDIATELY
PLACED UNDER ARREST, AS IS
ALEXANDRA AND THEIR CHILDREN
LIVING WITH THEM.
THEY ARE HELD IN THE ALEXANDER
PALACE AT TSARSKOYE SELO UNDER
SORT OF HOUSE ARREST.
THEY CAN GO OUT INTO THE
GARDENS, BUT THEY CAN'T GO ANY
FURTHER.

Suzannah says THE PROVISIONAL
GOVERNMENT LED BY ALEXANDER
KERENSKY INHERITED BOTH THE
FIRST WORLD WAR AND A WORKING
CLASS NOW BEING STIRRED UP BY
THE BOLSHEVIK LEADERSHIP OF THE
PREVIOUSLY EXILED LENIN...
AND TROTSKY.
AS KERENSKY ATTEMPTED TO
SOLIDIFY CONTROL IN PETROGRAD,
HE MOVED THE ROMANOVS FROM
THEIR HOME AT TSARSKOYE SELO TO
THE SIBERIAN TOWN OF TOBOLSK.

Simon says NO ONE KNEW QUITE WHAT
TO DO WITH THE IMPERIAL FAMILY,
BUT THEN THERE BECAME STRONGER
AND STRONGER CALLS FOR THEM TO
BE KILLED OR TRIED OR SOMETHING.
SO, KERENSKY-- WHO IS NOW THE
SORT OF DOMINANT MINISTER IN THE
RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT-- ACTUALLY
WAS QUITE PROTECTIVE OF THEM.
AND HE DECIDED THAT THEY'D BE
MUCH SAFER IF THEY WERE SENT
INTO SIBERIAN EXILE.

Suzannah says AS THEY WERE
TOGETHER, NO LETTERS EXIST FROM
NICHOLAS AND ALEXANDRA DURING
THEIR TIME IN EXILE.
BUT BOTH KEPT DIARIES, AND
ALTHOUGH ALEXANDRA BURNED MANY
OF HERS IN MARCH 1917, THOSE
THAT DO SURVIVE, TOGETHER WITH
NICHOLAS' NOTEBOOKS, PAINT A
GRIM PICTURE.

Nicholas says "IT HAS DROPPED TO
22 DEGREES WITH A STRONG WIND
THAT CUTS THE FACE.
IN MY STUDY AND IN THE GIRLS'
ROOM, IT IS VERY COLD.
HOW DIFFICULT THE LAST YEAR HAS
BEEN.
WHAT MORE DOES THE FUTURE HOLD
IN STORE FOR US?
EVERYTHING IS IN THE HANDS OF
GOD.
HE IS OUR ONLY RECOURSE."

Suzannah says BOREDOM REIGNED DURING THEIR
YEAR UNDER HOUSE ARREST, BUT
THINGS WERE ABOUT TO GET MUCH
WORSE FOR THE FAMILY.
IN PETROGRAD, KERENSKY'S
PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT HAD BEEN
OVERTHROWN BY LENIN'S BOLSHEVIK
PARTY, MEANING THAT THE CITY WAS
NOW UNDER SOCIALIST RULE.
(CROWDS SHOUTING)

Dominic says BUT ONCE, YOU KNOW, THE
BOLSHEVIK TAKEOVER RESULTS IN
CIVIL WAR, WHICH, OF COURSE, IT
WAS VIRTUALLY CERTAIN TO DO,
THEN POLITICS GETS VERY NASTY
INDEED, TERROR ON BOTH SIDES.

Old clips show images of the Bolshevik Revolution.

(music plays)

Suzannah says SOVIET RUSSIA WAS SOLIDIFYING
ITS EXISTENCE AND ESTABLISHING
ITS POWER.
ONE SUCH ACT OF CONTROL WAS TO
TAKE OWNERSHIP OF THE IMPERIAL
FAMILY.

Simon says AS SOON AS PEOPLE LIKE
LENIN, TROTSKY AND STALIN WERE
IN CONTROL OF THEM, THEY
IMMEDIATELY STARTED CONSIDERING,
DEBATING WHAT TO DO WITH THEM.
AND TROTSKY, LENIN, ALL WANTED
TO PUT THEM ON TRIAL IN A PUBLIC
TRIAL.
SO, THE LIKELIHOOD WAS, FROM
THE BEGINNING, THAT NICHOLAS AND
ALEXANDRA WOULD BE TRIED AND
EXECUTED, AND NICHOLAS AND
ALEXANDRA HAD A GROWING SENSE
OF THAT.

Suzannah says IN APRIL OF 1918,
THE RED ARMY TRANSPORTED THE
FAMILY NEARLY 600 KILOMETRES TO
IPATIEV HOUSE IN THE INDUSTRIAL
CITY OF YEKATERINBURG-- AN
ENCLAVE TO THE EAST OF THE URAL
MOUNTAINS THAT WAS A HOTBED OF
ANTI TSARIST SENTIMENT.
THE FOUR ROOMS AT IPATIEV HOUSE
WOULD BE THEIR CELLS FOR A
FURTHER THREE MONTHS.
THE FAMILY THAT HAD DINED IN
PALACES FOR GENERATIONS WERE NOW
LIVING ON TOP OF ONE ANOTHER.
THEY WERE TREATED WITH SUSPICION
AND DISTRUST.
THEY WERE EVEN FORCED TO PARADE
PAST A GROUP OF SOLDIERS WHEN
THEY WANTED TO USE THE TOILET.
THIS WAS BOLSHEVIK HOSPITALITY.
BUT THEIR LIVING CONDITIONS WERE
THE LEAST OF THEIR PROBLEMS.

Dominic says YEKATERINBURG IN THE
URALS IS DOMINATED BY VERY
RADICAL LOCAL BOLSHEVIKS WHO
HATE THE ROMANOVS AND ARE
COMPLETELY COMMITTED TO
MURDERING THEM.

A picture of a middle-aged man with a wavy brown hair and a thick beard appears.

Suzannah says YAKOV YUROVSKY WAS
INTRODUCED TO THE ROMANOV
FAMILY ON THE FOURTH OF JULY,
1918, AS THEIR NEW COMMANDANT.
A WEEK LATER, YUROVSKY LED
NICHOLAS, ALEXANDRA AND THEIR
FIVE CHILDREN INTO A SMALL
BASEMENT ROOM AND BRUTALLY
MURDERED THEM.

Dominic says THERE IS A DISPUTE
TO THIS DAY AS TO WHETHER THE
ORDERS FOR THE KILLING OF THE
IMPERIAL FAMILY CAME FROM LENIN
OR WHETHER THIS WAS LOCAL
INITIATIVE.
YOU CAN'T BE CERTAIN BECAUSE THE
EVIDENCE, IF IT EXISTED, HAS
BEEN DESTROYED.
CERTAINLY, LENIN AND THE
BOLSHEVIK LEADERSHIP KNEW WHAT
THE LOCAL BOLSHEVIKS WERE GOING
TO DO AND COULD HAVE STOPPED
THEM IF THEY WANTED.

Suzannah says THEY WERE NOT
STOPPED.
YUROVSKY HAD ALREADY ASSEMBLED
HIS FIRING SQUAD AND THEY
EMBRACED THE CHANCE TO TAKE
SAVAGE REVENGE AGAINST BLOODY
NICHOLAS AND HIS MUCH HATED
WIFE.
BUT WHEN IT CAME TO THE TASK OF
KILLING THE CHILDREN IN COLD
BLOOD, IT WAS A DIFFERENT STORY.

Simon says HIS PROBLEM WAS TO
FIND PEOPLE TO DO IT BECAUSE
WHEN THEY HEARD THAT THEY WERE
GOING TO BE KILLING THE SON
ALEXI AND THE DAUGHTERS...
BEAUTIFUL TEENAGE DAUGHTERS-- A
LOT OF PEOPLE REFUSED TO TAKE
PART IN THE FIRING SQUAD, SAID
THEY COULDN'T KILL CHILDREN.
AND FINALLY, HE MANAGED TO
GATHER TOGETHER A GROUP THAT WAS
A MIXTURE OF WORKERS,
AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN PRISONERS OF
WAR, BOLSHEVIK FANATICS, AND A
COUPLE OF KIND OF PSYCHOPATHS
WHO'D KILLED PEOPLE BEFORE IN
ALL SORTS OF TERRIBLE WAYS.
SOME OF THEM WERE DRUNK.
SOME OF THEM WERE SOBER.
SOME OF THEM WERE SO HEAVILY
ARMED THAT THEY HAD ABOUT FIVE
PISTOLS AND BAYONETS AND RIFLES.
NEVER HAS MASS MURDER BEEN SO
DISORGANIZED, SO SHAMBOLIC, SO
CHAOTIC, SO CRUEL.
PEOPLE SCREAMING, BLOOD AND
BRAINS EVERYWHERE.

Suzannah says THE ROMANOVS, TOGETHER WITH
FOUR OF THEIR LOYAL STAFF, WERE
MERCILESSLY SHOT, BAYONETTED AND
BLUDGEONED TO DEATH.
SUCH WAS THE CHAOS IN THE ROOM
THAT THE MASSACRE REPORTEDLY
TOOK 20 MINUTES-- 20 MINUTES OF
VIOLENCE, FEAR, TERROR AND
DEATH.

Simon says THEY COULDN'T
UNDERSTAND WHY, WHEN THEY SHOT
THE GIRLS, THEY WEREN'T KILLED.
BUT, OF COURSE, THEY WERE
WEARING BULLETPROOF VESTS MADE
OF THE BEST ROMANOV DIAMONDS,
WHICH IS A MATERIAL VERY HARD,
THE BULLETS BOUNCED OFF.
IN THE END, THEY HAD TO CRAWL IN
AMONGST THEM AND STAB THEM WITH
BAYONETS.
AND EVEN THEN, THE BAYONETS
WOULDN'T GO THROUGH THE DIAMONDS
EITHER.
SO, THEN, THEY SHOT THEM IN THE
HEAD.
AND THEN, EVEN THEN, WHEN THEY
STAGGERED OUT OF THIS ROOM WITH
EVERYONE PURPORTEDLY DEAD, AS
THEY CARRIED OUT THE BODIES, TWO
OF THE GIRLS WOKE UP AGAIN AND
STARTED COUGHING AND THEY HAD TO
BE KILLED ALL OVER AGAIN.

Suzannah says THEIR NAKED BODIES-- 11
CORPSES IN ALL-- WERE STRIPPED
OF JEWELLERY AND OF DIGNITY BY
DRUNKEN KILLERS-- THEN
UNCEREMONIOUSLY DUMPED IN A
SHALLOW GRAVE IN NEARBY
WOODLAND, DOUSED IN ACID AND
LEFT TO ROT.

(music plays)

Suzannah IN RECENT YEARS, THE VIEW OF
NICHOLAS AND ALEXANDRA HERE IN
ST. PETERSBURG HAS SHIFTED.
IN 1998, THEIR BODIES WERE
EXHUMED AND RELOCATED TO HERE,
THE SPECTACULAR PETER PAUL
FORTRESS.
AND IN 2000, THE ENTIRE FAMILY
WERE CANONIZED AS SAINTS.
NICHOLAS IS NOW REFERRED TO AS
THE HOLY TSAR.
HISTORY, IT SEEMS, HAS BEEN
KINDER TO NICHOLAS AND ALEXANDRA
THAN LIFE WAS.
SINCE THE FALL OF THE SOVIET
UNION IN 1991, THEIR LEGACY HAS
BEEN REASSESSED AND IS NOW
CONSIDERED AN IMPORTANT CHAPTER
IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF MODERN
RUSSIA.
THE LARGEST NATION ON EARTH IS
ONE OF THE MOST DIFFICULT OVER
WHICH TO GOVERN.
AND YET, THE ROMANOVS PRESIDED
OVER IT SUCCESSFULLY FOR ALMOST
THREE CENTURIES, BEFORE A YOUNG
COUPLE CAME TO POWER WHO LET IT
SLIP THROUGH THEIR FINGERS.
BUT WHAT THEIR EXTRAORDINARY
LETTERS HAVE SHOW IS THAT
NICHOLAS AND ALEXANDRA WERE AT
TIMES SO INFATUATED WITH EACH
OTHER THAT THEY FAILED TO ACT AS
THE WORLD CRUMBLED AROUND THEIR
VERY EARS.
THEIRS WAS A LOVE STORY SO ALL
CONSUMING, IT LED TO THE DEATH
OF AN EMPIRE.

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. 2