Family Reunion

In the summer of 1914, two branches of a powerful and affectionate family came together in the Black Sea resort of Costanța.

It was a summer day in the middle of July, and this would be both a family holiday and a meeting of the heads of two neighboring states. One family travelled down from the summer palace in Sinaia, the other sailed in across the water.

As a state occasion, the arrival was public, with much film expended on capturing every royal move.

At 2:50 you see the motion version of the below photo

And at 4:00, a very young Princess Ileana approaches the camera

One assumes that the family reunion began after the hot, humid, and protracted public arrival. They went off for a cool drink, the young cousins were sent off with their nannies, and the family was free to spend the rest of the visit visiting friends, attending churches—

And maybe even an evening at Costanța’s grand casino—

But another important purpose of the visit was for the children of the two families to mingle, with an eye to future marriage—although as things turned out, the older son of the host family and the daughter of the visitors (Prince Carol, age 21, and Grand Duchess Olga, then 19) would have little to do with each other.  However, the younger ones (Romania’s Princess Ileana and Russia’s Tsarevich Alexei) got along very well, and their parents thought, hmm: perhaps, in ten years or so…

Except that three weeks later, an Archduke was shot and the Great War began.  When it was over, everyone in that visiting family—The Tsar, his wife, and all the children—was dead at the guns of the Bolsheviks.


Carol 1 (King of Romania); Russia’s Grand Duchess Anastasia; [?Russia’s Grand Duchess Xenia?]; Prince Carol of Romania; Crown Prince Frederick of Romania (King of Romania a few months later); [?]; Tsar Nicholas II.


Russia’s Grand Duchess Maria; [?Russia’s Empress Alexandra?]; [?Russia’s Grand Duchess Tatiana?]; Princess Ileana of Romania (in the Duchess’ lap); Marie of Romania; Russia’s Grand Duchess Olga, with [?Romania’s Prince Mircea?] in her lap.


Russia’s Tsarevitch Alexei; Prince Nicholas of Romania

Castle Shade, out June 8, 2021, here.

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