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Letters of Russian duchess who escaped 1918 execution for sale

Letters from a surviving member of the Russian royal family expressing her ‘hatred’ of the British for not protecting her murdered relatives have emerged for sale for £70,000.

The correspondence took place between Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna and her sister the Grand Duchess Xenia between 1916 and 1920.

Olga’s older brother Tsar Nicholas II – who was related to the British royal family – was executed along with his wife and children in 1918 following the Russian Revolution the year before.

The letters were written mostly in English to get past the censors since the entire Romanov family lived in constant fear of assassination by Bolshevik forces.

After the First World War the British and French joined the Russian Civil War in support of the anti-Bolshevik White Army, but could not save the Romanovs from execution.

In a letter Olga wrote in January 1919, her anger at the Allies is palpable. She bemoans the fact they had not done more to protect her family from the ‘horrors’ of their predicament.

At the time Olga was still in Russia under the protection of the White Army and Xenia was in exile in Crimea.

Her letter captures a sense of hopelessness at the danger she was in.

Olga wrote: ‘This life of waiting, uncertainty and horrors will go on for at least a year or two.

‘I nearly hate the Allies. When will they help – or won’t they. All words and no actions. No tanks yet here – nothing that can help us.’

In another letter she lambasted the ‘devils’ who slaughtered her ‘beloved’ family in ‘cold blood’.

She wrote: ‘I try to squash the idea: If really those devils could, in cold blood, kill all those innocent people. They have done the same with the beloved family. Oh no! No! it can’t be.’

Nicholas II was overthrown during the revolution and he and his family were sent to exile in Siberia.

But they were murdered by Bolshevik troops in a basement in Yekaterinburg, Russia, on July 17, 1918, bringing an end to the 300 year old Romanov dynasty.

In April 1919, with the Red Army approaching the Crimea, King George V sent the British warship HMS Marlborough to the area which brought Xenia to England.

Olga escaped Russia with her second husband and their two sons in February 1920 and settled in Denmark.

The collection of 52 letters, which originally belonged to Olga’s grandson, are now being sold by a private collector with auctioneers William George, of Peterborough, Cambridgeshire.

The first batch were written from Kiev where Olga worked as a nurse caring for wounded First World War soldiers between 1915 and 1917.

She then fled to the Crimea with her second husband, cavalry officer Nikolai Kulikovsky.

In 1948, feeling threatened by Joseph Stalin’s regime which had invaded a Danish island, Olga emigrated to a farm in Ontario, Canada. She died in 1960.

Nicholas’ mother, Dagmar, was the sister of Queen Alexandra who married Edward VII in 1863. Their second son, George, Prince of Wales, was Nicholas’ cousin.

A William George spokesperson said: ‘These letters represent a most important correspondence between the two sisters of the last Tsar Nicholas II at a time of intense international uncertainty.

‘They date from during and after World War One and after the Russian Revolution.

‘Also during this period Grand Duchess Olga’s first marriage was annulled by Tsar Nicholas II so she could marry Paul Kulikovsky, the love of her life.

‘To avoid the censors, the letters were carried privately by sympathisers or neutral couriers rather than being handled by the Russian Post Office.

‘They are a poignant reminder of the interwoven nature of the European Royal families in Russia, Denmark, Great Britain and Germany.’

The timed auction takes place on Thursday.

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