Grey morning

The final diary entry of Alexandra Feodorovna, facing a blank page for the day of her death
Photo: State Archive of the Russian Federation

Alexandra Feodorovna, granddaughter of Queen Victoria, was born Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine on June 6, 1872. Twenty-two years later, she wed Nicholas II, the last Tsar of Russia, and adopted her new name. Her reign as Tsarina was turbulent, marked by her controversial association with Grigori Rasputin, whom she trusted to heal her ailing, haemophiliac son, and her German heritage, which only exacerbated the public discontent. This unrest culminated in the 1917 Russian Revolution, leading to the exile of Alexandra and her family to the wilderness of Siberia. It was there, on 16th July 1918, that she wrote what would be her final diary entry. Mere hours later, in the early morning of 17th July, Alexandra, her husband, and their five children were led to the basement of Ipatiev House and executed by Bolshevik revolutionaries.

The Diary Entry

Yekaterinburg 3/16 July

[Niece] Irina’s 23d B.D.


Grey morning, later lovely sunshine. Baby has a slight cold. All went out ½ hour in the morning. Olga & I arranged our medicines [codeword for jewellery and other valuables being hidden from the guards]. T[atiana] read Spir. Readings. They went out. T. stayed with me & we read: Bk. of the Pr. Amos and Pr. Obadiah. Tatted. Every morning the Command. comes to our rooms, at last after a week brought eggs again for Baby.

8. Supper.

Suddenly Lyonka Sednyov [the kitchen boy] was fetched to go & see his Uncle and flew off—wonder whether it’s true & we shall see the boy back again!

Played bezique [a card game] with Nicholas.

10½ to bed. 15 degrees.

Further Reading

Alexandra’s declassified diaries were finally published in full in 1997 by Yale University with the cooperation of the State Archive of the Russian Federation. That fascinating volume is titled The Last Diary of Tsaritsa Alexandra.


Diary entry excerpted from The Last Diary of Tsaritsa Alexandra by Tsaritsa Alexandra. Copyright © 1997 by Yale University. Yale University Press. Reproduced with permission of the Licensor through PLSclear

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