The Parrish Snead Franklin Simpson, PLC Lecture
On the night of 17 July 1918, Russia’s Imperial Family were brutally murdered. It is a crime that still resonates today; for, killed along with their parents Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra, were their five innocent children: Olga 22, Tatiana 21, Maria 19, Anastasia 17 and Alexey 13. What had brought this loving and devoted family to this terrible end?
In this illustrated lecture, English historian Dr. Helen Rappaport will describe the love match of Nicholas and Alexandra. They may have been Emperor and Empress of a vast empire, but in private the Romanovs were a devoted couple who valued family life and who placed great emphasis on the role of the Russian Orthodox faith in their everyday lives. A key feature will be Alexandra’s desperate quest to produce a male heir to the Russian throne after giving birth to four daughters and the horror the couple faced on discovering their son was a hemophiliac. As a result the family retreated from public view to their palace at Tsarskoe Selo, where they became close followers of Grigory Rasputin. The Romanov Tercentenary of 1913 all too briefly brought the Imperial Family back into public view, before the outbreak of war in 1914 and the February Revolution in 1917 brought their world tumbling down. Confined to house arrest for the next 16 months, the lecture will describe how the Romanovs endured their captivity in Siberia with courage and dignity.
Speaker: Helen Rappaport
Dr. Helen Rappaport is an historian and Russianist with specialisms in the Victorians and revolutionary Russia. Her most recent book, The Race to Save the Romanovs, was published in June 2018. Drawing on an unprecedented range of unseen sources, tracking down missing documents, destroyed papers and covert plots to liberate the family by land, sea and even sky, Helen unpicks many false claims and conspiracies, revealing the fiercest loyalty, bitter rivalries and devastating betrayals as the Romanovs, imprisoned, awaited their fate. Her other books include No Place for Ladies: The Untold Story of Women in the Crimean War; Ekaterinburg: The Last Days of the Romanovs; Beautiful For Ever: Madame Rachel of Bond Street – Cosmetician, Con-Artist and Blackmailer; Magnificent Obsession: Victoria, Albert and the Death that Changed the Monarchy; Four Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Romanov Grand Duchesses; and Caught in the Revolution: Petrograd, 1917.
Dr. Rappaport was a historical consultant for the first two series of the acclaimed PBS/ITV TV Drama ‘Victoria.’ Her 2017 book Victoria: The Heart and Mind of a Young Queen is the official companion to the Masterpiece Presentation on PBS/ITV. She is also a frequent contributor to television documentaries including BBC2’s ‘Russian’s Lost Princesses’ and 'Russia 1917: Countdown to Revolution’, as well as BBC TV’s The One Show, Sky Breakfast News, and a range of TV documentaries including programmes on Mary Seacole, the birth of photography, Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and the Russian Revolution. She has also worked extensively in radio broadcasting, appearing as a specialist on BBC Radio 4, as well as contributing to Woman’s Hour, Start The Week, and Today Programme, to name a few.
A fluent Russian speaker, she has translated many classic Russian plays (including all of Chekhov’s) and was historical consultant to Tom Stoppard’s National Theatre trilogy The Coast of Utopia (2002). She lives in West Dorset, England.