Empress Alexandra, wife of Nicholas II, the last Tsar of Russia, wrote frequently to her husband, numbering each of her letters. Several years ago, at a second hand book stall, I found a book of her letters, written between 1914 and 1916. It is called Letters of the Tsaritsa to the Tsar 1914-1916, published by Duckworth & Co of London in 1923. There is an introduction by Sir Bernard Pares, K.B.E. My google searches tell me Pares was a university lecturer who spent much time in Russia, apparently attracted by its exotic nature. During WWI Pares was appointed British Military Observer to the Russian Army. This year will be 105 years since Rasputin was murdered, so I thought that this month I will share excerpts from some of the letters leading up to that event. Please note, these are excerpts only – not the full letters.
In December 1916, my grandfather, Pavel Voronov (Paul Woronoff) was at the front somewhere, fighting for the Russian Army. My grandmother, Olga Voronov was in Petrograd, anxiously waiting for news of him.
On 5 December 1916, the Empress wrote letter 392, from Tsarskoye Selo.
My own Sweetheart,
From the depths of my loving heart I send you warmest, heartiest good wishes & many tender blessings for yr dear Namesday. May yr. patron saint quite particularly be near you & keep you in safe guard. Everything that a devoted, unutterably loving heart can only wish you – Sunny wishes you…
After dinner went to the hospital – to forget oneself. – I thank God I could help you a little – you too, Sweet one, become firm & unwavering, show the masterhand & mind…To follow our Friend’s councils, lovy – I assure is right – He prays so hard day & night for you – & He has kept you where you are – only be as convinced as I am & as I proved it to Ella & shall for ever – then all will go well…
Went at 11 to Znamenia (which I more than ever love) & to the hospital – sat much – Now receive 4 officers, then we all sledge. Paul comes to tea then Poguliayev then Church & in the evening see our Friend, who will give strength…
Now I must end. Sleep well & peacefully, beloved Angel. The Holy Virgin guards you & Gr. prays for you & we all do so hard.
I cover you with tenderest, passionately loving kisses & caresses & long to be of use & help in carrying yr. heavy Cross. God bless & protect you, my Nicky. Ever yr. very own.
Letter 393 from Tsarskoye Selo, 6 December 1916
My own sweet Angel
Many happy returns of the day – tenderest blessings & fondest good wishes & deepest love. So sad not to be together for your Namesday – the first time in 22 years. But it was for the good you had to leave, so of course I don’t dream of grumbling…
… How dare he go against you – thunder on the table don’t give in (as you said, you wld. at the end) – be the master; listen to your staunch Wify & our Friend, believe us.
Its snowing away, but still we want to sledge & get a little air. The couple Benkendorf, Zizi, Isa, Nastinka, Trina, Ania, Ressin and Apraxin lunched with us and we drank to yr. dear heath. Paul was also in church. The soldiers stood outside afterwards and congratulated.