At our lunchtime writing workshop the other day, a woman brought in a souvenir book from the late 1930s that was full of pictures of the Royal Family; our exercise was to write about various pictures from the book. The other writers were mostly descriptive, but mine – of a picture titled "The Children of George V and Queen Mary" – went a different direction....]
They look like the Tsar's children, just before – well, you know.
Actually they're a bit sturdier, a bit happier – not quite the fragile solemnity of Anastasia and her bigger brothers and sisters. But what if things had happened differently – what if we were looking at this picture, its relaxed smiles and sturdy tartans, through the nostalgic grief of a post-revolutionary era?...
"When the rebel forces caught up with the royal family at Balmoral, they were already enraged by the resistance and losses from the Northumbrian campaign, and in no mood for clemency. It was perhaps unfortunate that Scott, rather than Sandringham, was the first of the rebel leaders to reach the castle; ever since Scott had lost his family in the Whitsun Massacre at the height of the riots that followed George's attempted resumption of the throne, soon after the assassination of the second Elizabeth, he had blamed the royal family for all his woes. Under these circumstances, the murder of the children and their retainers was perhaps to be expected. Although the Central Committee is no longer entirely under the control of the Reichstag, memorials and monuments are still discouraged today; despite this, it is said that each October 30, under the vigilant eyes of Party sentinels, wreaths are placed in the field to the west of the entrance of the now-abandoned castle."