Russia History Romanov Letters Tsar Nicholas II to Dowager Empress Maria Fyodorovna Letter from Nicholas II to Maria Fyodorovna from Stavka in Mohilev on 25 May 1916

Letter from Nicholas II to Maria Fyodorovna from Stavka in Mohilev on 25 May 1916

Ts[arskaya] Stavka, 25 May 1916

My darling, dear Mama, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your lovely letter with Sandro. I was so glad and did not at all expect to see you in Kiev, when we were travelling south. [1]

I understand and share completely your joy that everything has now been patched up between Misha and Olga!

I recently learnt that he had to go to Gatchina, as he was licked by a dog that later turned out to be rabid, and the doctors found it necessary to treat him!

The death of poor Lord Kitchener [2] and everyone with him on the battleship is really awful, such a loss for Georgie [3] and the whole of England.

We were expecting him here in a week’s time. The naval battle near Jutland should be considered a British victory, despite the heavy losses, because the German fleet simply fled to its ports. Thank God, with His mercy, our wonderful troops are breaking through the Austrian lines and moving forwards in many places. [4] You will probably soon be seeing enormous masses of prisoners in Kiev.

Our trip to Vinnitsa, Bender, Odessa, Sebastopole and Eupatoria [5] made a fine impression on me. I was extremely pleased with the sight of our new divisions and a Serbian one [created] from former Austrian prisoners. The Black Sea Fleet is in ideal form; Alexis and I deliberately visited each vessel that had been in battle and everywhere thanked the officers and crews. The spirit there is the exact same as in the armies at the front – pleasing to the heart!

The children, of course, were in delight at being in warm Sebastopole, and Alexis very much liked Eupatoria, with the lovely plage, where he ran barefoot. Anya V. takes mud baths there.

Goodbye, my dear Mama. I hug you and Olga warmly.

God be with you. With all my heart, your Nicky.



1. In 1916, Maria Fyodorovna moved to Kiev, where she stayed with her daughters, who were running military hospitals on the South-West Front. On 8 May 1916, Nicholas made a stop at Kiev on his way to the front. He wrote in his diary: “Arrived in Kiev before 9 am and, to our delight, were met by dear Mama and Olga. We spoke for about twenty minutes, parted, and it was off again” (“Iz dnevnika Nikolaya II ot 8 maya 1916 g.”, Dnevniki Nikolaya II, Moscow, 1991, p. 585).

2. Lord Herbert Horatio Kitchener (1850–1916): British fieldmarshal, secretary of state for war (from 1914). Killed when his ship, HMS Hampshire, hit a mine at Scapa Flow on his way to Russia (5 June 1916).

3. George V (1865–1936): King of Great Britain (1910–36), cousin of Nicholas II.

4. Russian offensive launched on the South-West Front on 22 May 1916 under the command of General Alexei Brusilov. The Austro-German lines were broken by about a hundred miles and the enemy suffered heavy casualties.

5. Nicholas II and his family visited the south of Russia from 7 to 17 May 1916. He reviewed troops, met General Brusilov in Bender and visited a Russian warship in Sebastopole.

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