The Humble Grand Duchess: The Last Grand Duchess by Ian Vorres

  February 18, 2009 at 4:01 pm by

Ian Vorres’s kind neighbour, a rather charming, little old lady, often invited him in to have a cup of tea. Soon he found out that she was Grand Duchess Olga, the sister of the last Russian Tsar. It was destiny… Vorres, a writer, persuaded her to let him write her biography.

Grand Duchess Olga’s life was so dramatic that it remains interesting even though Vorres’s writing is rather straightforward and prosaic. The interview format doesn’t help. He doesn’t often let his imagination run away with him! However, it doesn’t matter because Olga’s words capture the splendour of the Russian court and the horrors of the Revolution.

Grand Duchess Olga wanted to correct the untruths directed at her family – the Rasputin scandal, accusations of tyranny and criticisms of the Tsarina Alexandra. She does this to a big extent, although her argument that monarchy is a divine right is not very convincing. She explains that Tsar Nicholas was really not brought up to be Tsar – her father’s main mistake.

The Grand Duchess is surprisingly honest, blaming the rest of the Romanovs (not the immediate Royal Family) for their downfall. She thought that their involvement in scandals lessened the people’s respect for them.

She is also very humble and disliked the balls, parties, etc. that she had to attend almost every night at one stage. When she found a new life in Canada she was quite happy gardening, staying at home, and wearing shabby clothes.

This is a very sad book, of course, but well worth reading because it gives a personal insight into the lives of the last Russian royals.

Grand Duchess Olga looking pensive

Grand Duchess Olga looking pensive

Filed under Historical Royals, Russia
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3 Responses to The Humble Grand Duchess: The Last Grand Duchess by Ian Vorres

  1. Harfang says:

    Russia was never more progressive than under the rule of tsars. It’s nice that she chose Canada.

  2. attaininggrace says:

    I agree with you about Russia.

    GD Olga was reasonably happy in Canada, apparently – I say ‘reasonably’ because she had so much tragedy in her life.

  3. Arun Dube says:

    It would have been easy for her to have lamented her fate and that of the rest of the Imperial family but she chose not to, an extremely admirable way of moving on and accepting the altered circumstances of her life.

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