Grand Duchess Olga (1895-1918)
Grand Duchess Olga Nicolaevna was born at the Tsar’s country estate at Tsarskoe Selo at 9am on November 15th 1895 (November 3rd OS) and was the Tsar’s eldest child. She was tall and powerfully built with a very good figure and beautiful luxurious long blonde hair. Of all the Tsar’s children, she was the quickest and most intelligent and carried immense personal authority and charisma. But unlike Tatiana, she was incapable of hiding her intense emotions. This was a trait that occasionally got her into trouble when she was a child. Later on, her intensely held emotions would sometimes understandably explode into outbursts of violent rage, on at least one documented occasion leading to her slapping Anastasia so hard that she knocked her down and made her cry.
But her intensity was also the mark of a powerful inner life and a passionate Romantic nature in the very broadest philosophical sense of the word. She loved reading and devoured books on all subjects, especially philosophy, theology, literature and poetry. She loved dancing and improvising at the piano and reports of her playing affirm that she was capable of great and moving emotional expression, something her younger sister Tatiana lacked, despite her having the better technique. As she got older and found herself in captivity, this deep inner emotional life led her to become increasingly spiritual in nature. In the end she became possibly the most spiritual of the children. Hymns written by her found in the ruins of their place of execution in Ekaterinburg attest to a deep and beautiful acceptance of suffering and death, part of which involved complete and unconditional forgiveness for those who murdered both her and her family. I quote the following in the book, a sentence found written in Olga’s hand on the back of a prayer card, which perfectly sums up her complex character, and her intense and beautiful soul:
“Papa asks us to remember that the evil which is now in the world will only increase. And that it is not evil which destroys evil, but only love.”
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