A Chancellor's Village Lecture
On March 15, 1917, Tsar Nicholas II abdicated the Russian throne amidst revolution, ending the 300-year-old Romanov Dynasty. A century later, Nicholas, his wife Alexandra, and their tragic family still captivate international imaginations. Behind the love story, set against a doomed empire and peopled with infamous characters like Rasputin, is a tale of tragic decisions enacted by emotionally damaged actors. Stripping away the romantic mantle reveals a new, more realistic portrait of Russia’s last Imperial Family: an immature Nicholas II, desperate to please everyone around him yet firmly convinced that he acted with God’s mandate; an imperious, psychologically damaged Alexandra, dominating her husband and family in an obsessive relationship that destroyed his self-confidence and undermined Imperial rule; and their five children, struggling against their gilded cage and destined to be ruthlessly cut down in a hail of Bolshevik bullets. In the process, Nicholas and Alexandra emerge as fatally flawed figures in a saga by turns grand and grim, sympathetic and infuriating. The centennial of the Russian Revolution offers the perfect occasion to reassess the last tsar and his doomed family.
Speaker: Greg King
Greg King is the author of fourteen internationally published works. His books on Imperial Russia and the Romanovs include The Last Empress: The Life and Times of Alexandra Feodorovna, Tsarina of Russia (1994); The Man Who Killed Rasputin (1995); The Fate of the Romanovs (2003); The Court of the Last Tsar (2006); and The Resurrection of the Romanovs (2011). King has also written extensively on Gilded Age and Edwardian social history and royalty in the United Kingdom, including the bestseller The Duchess of Windsor (2000); Twilight of Splendor: The Court of Queen Victoria in Her Diamond Jubilee Year (2007); A Season in Splendor: The Court of Mrs. Astor in Gilded Age New York (2009); Assassination of the Archduke: Sarajevo 1914 and the Murder That Changed History (2013); Lusitania (2015); and the forthcoming Mayerling (2017). A frequent contributor and onscreen expert for historical documentaries, his work has appeared in Majesty Magazine, Royalty Digest, and the Washington Post.