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Haunting last picture before execution of the boy born to be Russia’s tsar

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11 June 2018


Last picture of Tsarevich Alexei and sister Olga Nikolayevna was taken either on, or shortly after 20 May 2018, on board of Rus riverboat. Picture: Tobolsk History Museum

This image shows heir Alexei on his river trip to death, aged 13 and nine months old, around eight weeks before he was murdered with the rest of his family by a Bolshevik execution squad.

The museum - part of a new trail for tourists and royal enthusiasts  following the route of the Romanovs in exile after Nikolai’s abdication in 1917 - has confirmed this image is the last known photograph of the Tsarevich.

It was taken as he left the historic Siberian town of Tobolsk where the family were held in the so-called Governor’s House from August 2017.

In April, Nikolai, his former empress Alexandra and one of their daughters, Maria, moved to Yekaterinburg. 

Alexei, a haemophiliac, had been ill, and he remained in Tobolsk in their care of his three other sisters, Olga, Tatiana and Anastasia, and 26 servants. 

They left by riverboat on 20 May 1918, two months before they would be killed. 

The picture was taken on board the riverboat called Rus.

Haunting last picture before execution of  the boy born to be Russia’s tsar

Haunting last picture before execution of  the boy born to be Russia’s tsar

Haunting last picture before execution of  the boy born to be Russia’s tsar

Haunting last picture before execution of  the boy born to be Russia’s tsar

Haunting last picture before execution of  the boy born to be Russia’s tsar
Tsarevich Alexei pctured with sisters in Tobolsk, Siberia, and on his own during 2017-2018 exile; last picture shows the house where Romanov family stayed during their exile in Tobolsk. Pictures: Tobolsk History Museum, Vesti Rossiya

Alexei health had caused acute concern to the royal family before the revolution, contributing to their obsession with ‘crazed’ monk Gregory Rasputin who was seen as a healer. 

As Nikolai’s sole male heir, Alexei was born to inherit from his father the following formidable and colourful titles as an absolute ruler: Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias, Moscow, Kiev, Vladimir, Novgorod; Tsar of Kazan, Tsar of Astrakhan, Tsar of Poland, Tsar of Siberia, Tsar of Chersonese Taurian, Tsar of Georgia; Lord of Pskov and Grand Prince of Smolensk, Lithuania, Volhynia, Podolia, Finland; Prince of Estland, Livland, Courland, Semigalia, Samogitia, Belostok, Karelia, Tver, Yugorsky land, Perm, Vyatka, Bolgar and others; Lord and Grand Prince of Nizhny Nogorod, Chernigov, Ryazan, Polotsk, Rostov, Yaroslavl, Belozersk, Udorsky land, Obdorsk, Kondia, Vitebsk, Mstislav, and all of the northern countries Master; and Lord of Iberia, Kartli, and Kabardia lands and Armenian provinces; hereditary Sovereign and ruler of the Circassian and Mountainous Princes and of others; Lord of Turkestan; Heir of Norway; Duke of Schleswig-Holstein, Stormarn, Dithmarschen, and Oldenburg, and others, and others, and others.

It was not to be, of course. 

Haunting last picture before execution of  the boy born to be Russia’s tsar

Haunting last picture before execution of  the boy born to be Russia’s tsar

Haunting last picture before execution of  the boy born to be Russia’s tsar

Haunting last picture before execution of  the boy born to be Russia’s tsar
The execution site of Romanov family inside the Ipatiev house in Yekaterinburg; Tsarevich Alexei pictured with favourite spaniel Joy, sisters, and mother Alexandra. Pictures: Tobolsk History Museum

The new Tobolsk museum The Imperial Route project, which charts the Romanov family’s stay or transfer after Nikolai’s abdication through  St Petersburg , Moscow,  Tyumen, Perm, Tobolsk and Yekaterinburg. 

The museum is in the old Governor’s House with 13 rooms preserved as well as possible from a century ago. 

Items have been gifted by the descendants of Briton Charles Gibbes, Alexei’s tutor, who went with the family into exile before finding his way out of the revolution maelstrom via China. 

Pictures below show reconstruction and picture of Alexei's room in the house in Tobolsk, Alexei with a cat and his favourite spaniel Joy, and Alexei with tutor Charles Gibbes

Haunting last picture before execution of  the boy born to be Russia’s tsar

Haunting last picture before execution of  the boy born to be Russia’s tsar

Haunting last picture before execution of  the boy born to be Russia’s tsar

Haunting last picture before execution of  the boy born to be Russia’s tsar

Comments (47)

Always I think that was a historic mistake. I can see how you can kill in cold to someone and special a boy of 13 year ola. I feel that he can cry before his death but he was a strong boy and he can stand up. I hope so can give us example
Manuel Brown , Surrey England
20/12/2022 01:04
It's been 105 years since this tragic tragedy and it breaks my heart to know that he didn't deserve this he was just a boy I hear his family didn't deserve to be woken up at midnight and be enforced and this interview with Kolya Derevenko who was his best friend and I was very sorry to read their letters and watch his interview. It must have been super hard to lose your best childhood friend. I hope they are very happy in heaven now. Sometimes I wonder if this execution had not taken place and they would have lived on, the USSR would not have been created, there would have been no holocaust and terrorism, no Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler and maybe the Romanov dynasty would have survived to this day. Every day I read your letters Alexie and your family history and I cry you didn't deserve this you were too young I hope you're out of hemophilia and fully recovered
Ola, Poland
10/04/2023 22:30
Yes, Alexis looks sweet and harmless at 13: but at 23, 33, 43, 53? The Romanovs brought the tragedy of Ekaterinberg on themselves. They clung to the principle of autocracy and hostility to democracy, which was then inherited by the Communists and is now espoused by the present regime in the Kremlin. The Russian people have only experienced autocracy throughout their history and Putin knows that and is exploiting it to his advantage. If the Romanovs had fully embraced democratic reforms in the 19th century we would not be fighting for Ukrainian freedom and independence now; and if Alexis had survived I doubt the Ukrainians would have achieved it under his rule.
Adrian Marlowe, Netherlands
01/03/2023 22:16
This poor child, these cruel people killed a 13 year old boy who didn't eve get the chance to live, The way he died is terrible and horrific in every way, the poor boy didn't deserve this at all! I cry every time and pray silently an apology to him and his family. God bless the poor soul
Rose, America
28/02/2023 05:44
Alexei---you deserved far better than to die in order to satisfy Lenin's murderous lust for vengeance and dominance. My heart goes out to you, but I am also confident that have found joy and bliss in Heaven. My path toward converting to Orthodox Christianity began, largely, because of you. I thank you for that; I believe you have blessed me from Heaven; and I look forward to the privilege of meeting you there.
Starward, Riverside, OH USA
09/02/2023 01:11
THE KID had to go, while not his fault.... had he lived there'd be almost a century of people trying to return the family (thus him) to the throne.
I would like think he'd be better than his father ... but to their consul they would likely have been friends of the family thus his father, so likely more bad advice
qazwiz, USA
05/08/2022 06:30
104 years ago, and it breaks my heart! I wonder, too. If this abomination had never happened, and the Bolsheviks had never taken power, whether that would then have meant there would have been no reaction to them in Germany, no National Socialism, no Hitler - and ergo no holocaust. Either way, God Almighty grant Alexei happiness and a kingdom to make pale the earthly one that was his right.
Christopher Briggs, Lødingen, Norway
09/03/2022 20:23
Why kill the servants and all the pets too. Those cowardly revolutionaries delighted in killing the defenceless.
Jerry Larkin, Ograntz
20/02/2022 22:19
I feel so sorry for those poor souls it was a senseless tregady that should not of happened. When I watch or look or watch anything about this I cry and walk away from my tv and may the souls of the Russian royal family know . that even a 103 years later people still love them. May they rest in peace
Sharissa Elliott, Usa
31/08/2021 08:48
I will have Proof that Tsar Nicolas II did approve the marriage of his younger Brother Micheile Brasova the Document has the red wax seal with the Tsars Ring embedded on the wax and I will have the ring as well that fits right into it The document that Duke Kirill has of his Approvile from Nicolas II is a fake my GGG Grand Papas document will prove it he Kirill stole the Empora In Exile from his cousin Grand Duke Michele Romanov Brasovo because he had a liven son Grand Duke George II Brasov my GG Grand Papa all the proof is in Europe every Document even the Marriage lines of Duke George II and the Birth Certificate of his only child a Girl my G Grand Mama married my G Grandad my Granny Married there only son
Hamish McDonald, England
27/06/2021 22:11
Alexie was a little child, no one deserve to die like this, if his father was at fault, they should have put him on trial.
Majeed, Australia
15/06/2021 16:05
Rest In Peace Tsar Alexei . It breaks my heart everytime i think of you and how the evil communist took your life in a very inhumane way . You will always be remembered and loved . Respect and Honor is what you deserve. You have no place in this world that is full of cruelty and greed. Its nice to have known that Once upon a time there was a Prince of Russia named Alexei Nikolaevich Romanov - Tsarevich of Russia.
Annabell, Philippines
03/05/2021 11:53
103 years later this is still a heart sinking tragedy. Karl Marx's evil legacy sadly lives on. You would think humanity has learned it's lesson about the evils of Marxism and socialism.
Matt, Texas
11/04/2021 08:18
This family did not need to die; Nicholas had abdicated on his own behalf, and on behalf of his son. They were not going to rise up to again rule Russia. Nicholas never wanted to be Tsar in the first place. I am heartend that most people who left comments seems to feel the same way. I do feel bad, when I hear people say they that the Romanovs had to die, or there would always have been strife in the country. I don't think Russia is a country at peace now, and it has been 103 years since this unfortunate family was woken from sleep, taken to a cellar and murdered in cold blood. I read that the guards, or the execution squad, if you can stomach the term, actually took a break in the midst of the killings. I can imagine nothing more horrible than waiting to be killed, while you sit near the murdered bodies of your parents. This was the heartless act of cowards.
Susan M. Hooper, United States
28/03/2021 22:29
All were saved no one died all died natural death. It was real to leave Russia they had no choice.
Abhijeet, India
28/11/2020 01:26

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