As the daughters of the Imperial Couple of Russia, Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia lived a closely guarded lifestyle. It was rare that they were actually given the chance to play with their Imperial or Royal Cousins, and instead were most often in the company of the servants and their families. Being so sheltered from the Aristocratic Society that ruled St. Petersburg, they depended on each other for friendship, comfort, support, and trust. The girls were closer to each other than most other Imperial and Royal sisters. Each knew she could never come to the Russian Throne.

Everyone in the nursery eventually knew that each Grand Duchess was meant to be married off, and that hopefully at least of two of them would be married into the head of other Ruling Families. The thought of being apart from each other horrified the sisters, for each felt a strong bond and a sense of duty to their homeland and to each other. When they were young, they proclaimed their unity by inventing a single signature to represent all four girls, OTMA, using the first initial of their names. They shared everything: their hopes, dreams, thoughts, and fears, as well as clothing and jewelry. Source: www.livadia.org

Full size of the colorization here.

A young Empress Maria Feodorovna.

Footage of OTMAA from Russia’s Lost Princesses: The Gilded Cage (BBC; 2014)

Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna, then Princess of Sweden, in Russian folk dress

Alexandra Feodorovna and her beautiful, but very shy smile (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧

Her face was generally sad. It was her official expression, the photographic face of her youth. It seldom lighted up in public with the particularly charming smile that those who knew her well saw privately." – Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden.

Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna.


The Russian Imperial family. Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra Feodorovna and their five children Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and Alexei.

Colorized by: National Geographic ChannelApocalypse World War I.

Grand Duchesse Maria Nikolaevna and Anastasia Nikolaevna with their brother Tsarevich Alexei Nikolaevich and their nannies in a carriage


24 September 1891 -  Death of Grand Duchess Alexandra Georgievna at the age of 21.

During the autumn of 1891 Alexandra was expecting her second child. With her husband Paul, they were staying at Ilinskoe, Sergei and Ella’s retreat house and it is there that the tragedy happened, Alexei Volkov wrote : “It was in Ilynskoe, Moscow Government, than an unexpected and fatal event took place for the Grand Ducal couple. The Grand Duchess, who was awaiting the birth of a second child, fainted one day during a ball, and was stricken with violent pains of premature childbirth. She was immediately taken to her apartments. This sad accident was the result of some imprudence on the part of the Grand Duchess the day before. At the estate at Ilynskoe, on the bank of the Moscow River, a dingy was permanently moored. The Grand Duchess took frequent walks there with her friends. She would not take the small path that led down to where the dingy was moored, but instead always jumped from a small ledge down directly into the dingy. That day, she did that again, despite her advanced pregnancy. This accident of which I speak and the resulting premature birth of the child - later the Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich- were the result. Everything was done to save the Grand Duchess. The efforts of doctors, the ultimate in their science, were all in vain. Grand Duchess Alexandra Georgievna died after two days of terrible suffering. It is quite impossible for me to describe the despair of Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich.

The pain that followed Alexandra’s death at the age of 21 was a terrible blow for her family and close friends. Especially for Paul, his brother Sergei had to restrain him when her body was lowered into the tomb, Volkov watched his health and spirits sink as the weeks passed : ” The doctors who cared for him…decided that the Grand Duke must go abroad to improve his physical health and restore the balance of mind and spirit."     The Camera and the Tsars

Grand Duchess Alexandra Georgievna and her daughter Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna. She tragically died few months after these photographs were taken, in childbirth with her second child Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich.