The Romanovs

EMILY: I’ll see you for dinner tonight, Lorelai. And Luke, I’m sure I’ll see you again soon. What do you think of the Romanovs?

LUKE: They probably had it coming.

EMILY: A match made in heaven.

The House of Romanov, the reigning imperial family of Russia from 1613 to 1917. They became prominent after the first Tsar of Russia, Ivan the Terrible, married Anastasia Romanova, the first Tsarina. It is from Anastasia’s name that the family became known as the Romanovs.

The abdication of Tsar Nicholas II during the Russian Revolution on 15 March 1917 ended 304 years of Romanov rule and paved the way for the formation of the Russian Republic. In July 1918, Bolshevik officials executed Nicholas and his family.

Although Lorelai refers to their murder as “the firing squad”, they were shot and bayoneted, then the bodies taken to the forest to be stripped, buried, then mutilated with grenades to prevent identification. This is what Luke thinks they “probably had coming”.

The Romanov burial site was discovered in 1979 by an amateur sleuth, but not officially confirmed by Russia until 1989. The remains were identified by forensic and DNA analysis, assisted by British experts, and in 1998 the remains were re-interred in a state funeral in the Peter and Paul Cathedral in St Petersburg. In 2000, Nicholas II was canonised as a saint by the Russian Orthodox Church.

After the assassination of Nicholas and his family, the remaining 47 members of the Romanov family went into exile abroad, still claiming the former Russian throne. Since 1991, the line of succession has been in dispute.

[Picture shows Nicholas II of Russia with his wife Alexandra (Alix of Hesse), his son Alexei, and four daughters Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia].

EDIT: A date edited with the kind assistance of reader Omar.

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