A CENTURY LONG MYSTERY IS SOLVED
Anastasia was an energetic and vivacious young woman of 17 in 1918. World War I was winding down across Europe. Too young to serve as a nurse, Anastasia and her sister Maria volunteered to visit military hospitals to raise the spirits of the injured soldiers.
Things were not going well for Anastasia’s father, the Tsar. Years of injustice in Russia gave rise to the Bolshevik movement among the lower classes. Most people in Russia were split between the “Whites”, supporting the crown and the “Reds” supporting the Bolsheviks. Tsar Nicholas was forced to abdicate his throne in March of 1917. He and his wife, Alexandra, son
and three daughters, Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia, were moved east of
the Ural Mountains to a safe location by sympathetic factions. Seven months
later, the Bolsheviks seized power and imprisoned the Romanov family.
On July 17, 1918, in the town of Ekaterinburg, the royal family was awakened in the middle of the night and ushered down to the basement. Fearing that the White Army, loyal to Nicholas, would soon take the city, the Bolsheviks executed the family and their servants.
Over the next 50 years, many women came forward and claimed to be Anastasia. The most notable was Anna Anderson who fought for recognition from 1938 to 1970. Late in her life, DNA samples were obtained and compared with that of Prince Philip, the spouse
Queen Elizabeth II, who was related to the Royal Russian family. Results proved
that Anna Anderson was not the “missing” Anastasia.
In the 1980’s, the graves of the family were found but kept secret by the Soviets. When they announced it a decade later, they admitted that two bodies were missing. This aroused interest in the mystery once again. Just four years ago (2007), a Russian archaeologist discovered two burned skeletons at a site near the original graves. One was a boy, probably Tsarevich, and one a girl. DNA later confirmed that they were in fact children of the Romanov family, even though it could not be said for certain whether the girl was Anastasia or Maria.
After almost a century, all of the family’s bodies have been recovered and confirmed. All of the women who claimed to be Anastasia could now be dismissed due to modern day DNA techniques. A sad story of course, but now it can be told with some closure.