Prince Philip is lending a hand or rather his DNA to help identify the last of the Romanovs.
The Romanovs, who were executed by the Bolsheviks in 1918, were one of the most powerful Royal Families in history, they ruled from the time of Ivan the Terrible until Nicholas II.
In 2007 the bodies of two children were found in a field and are believed to be Maria and Alexei. Historian Simon Sebag Montefiore who has been preparing a book on the Romanov’s revealed that the Duke of Edinburgh’s DNA is being used to identify the bodies. In 1998, his DNA was also used with the positive identity of what were thought to be the last of the family whose bodies have now been exhumed. Those bodies were up to this point believed to be Alexei and Anastasia.
Prince Philip is a great-nephew of the last Tsarina and it has been suggested that scientists should also look the female line of descendants such as Spain’s Queen Sofia.
There is fear that President Putin will use this to boost his popularity as many still resonate with the Romanov story. Speaking at the Hay Festival Montefiore said:
“All of this is happening now and we are waiting on tenterhooks,
“Are they going to be reburied? Are these two children going to be added to the others? What is going to happen?
“I think this is all to do with President Putin’s view of history. I think he’s going to save this up as part of the 1917 centenary and somehow this will play to his view of Russian history.”
Putin believes that he is somehow linked to the Romanovs, part of a “sacred destiny.”
“There is a view of Russian exceptionalism, that they are a unique civilisation, a view right since Ivan the Terrible that Russia is a special civilisation with a special culture. Putin is pushing that now. There is a continuity.
“Putin regards Stalin as a great tsar, he is a great tsar. Asked who the worst tsars were, he said Nicholas II and Gorbachev.”
The family was murdered by a drunk killing squad who were each suppose to shoot at a different family member, but they all shot Nicholas and mayhem broke out. The execution took over 20 minutes in part because the of Romanov diamonds that were sewn into their clothes acted as a bullet-proof vest.
The murder of the family was a particularly ghastly affair because it was so badly done, Hay heard. It took more than 20 minutes to execute every member because the children were wearing what were effectively bullet-proof vests in that Romanov diamonds had been sewn into their clothes.
Montefiore added that the crime of killing the Romanov’s was made even worse by them killing the children.
“To kill the children … even in the French Revolution they did not kill the children.”
Photo Credit: By Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, Attribution, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1601097