Russia History Romanov Letters Tsar Nicholas II to Dowager Empress Maria Fyodorovna Letter from Nicholas II to Maria Fyodorovna in Tobolsk on 19 September 1917

Letter from Nicholas II to Maria Fyodorovna in Tobolsk on 19 September 1917

My dear, deeply beloved Mama,

Finally, I have the opportunity to write to you. [1] I very much hope that this letter reaches you and finds all of you, my dearest ones, in good health. I think of you and them every hour. I know what you are going through, and how you all suffer for our poor, ravished Russia! But I will not write any more about this, as our opinions and feelings are the exact same!

A few hours before our departure from Ts[arskoe] Selo, I had the great joy of seeing Misha for half an hour, in the presence of Kerensky and the captain of the guard. I do not know whether Misha wrote to you about our meeting?

We were supposed to leave on the night of 1st August, at one o’clock, but actually left the Alexander Palace at 5.30 am! We and our things had been awaiting departure since 11 pm in the circular room. The delay occurred on account of the desire to keep the time of our departure secret; neither the trucks nor the train had been ordered on time. We were exhausted by such a lack of organisation, thanks to which the children did not sleep at all, but now remember various details of that night not without laughter. The trip passed smoothly and quite comfortably; only we were supposed to cover up the windows at all the stations. Our train was allegedly carrying an American mission, but they nevertheless knew that it was us at the stations and said so to the sentries accompanying us. Every day, we stopped somewhere for an hour, and took a walk along the railway line.

At Tyumen, we transferred to the large steamship Rus, and arrived in Tobolsk in two days. [2] But instead of moving into the town that evening, we had to spend another week on the steamer, as the governor’s home and other houses intended for the suite and guards were impossible to live in. Again, as a result of the secrecy surrounding our arrival, nothing was ready! Finally, on Sunday 13th August, we moved from the steamship into our house, the children, the others and I on foot, Alix in a coach with Tatyana [3] one step behind. We all fitted in and have arranged ourselves in the house very well. Concerning walks, things are not quite so good. There is essentially no garden, it consists entirely of an allotment; besides that, a small space has been partitioned off in front of the house, part of the street; we walk there and play various games. A stroke of luck is the sun, which shines here the whole day and is still remarkably warming. Fortunately, it has been a wonderful autumn, there were cold and rainy days, but few, most were dry and sunny. The air is excellent, one can breathe easily. All walks outside the partition are forbidden! Meanwhile, the surroundings on the hill are beautiful, as far as we can see from the windows, how one longs to walk there!

We have been to the Annunciation Church closest to the house twice for mass, the other services are held in our hall.

When everyone arrived, we all caught cold, and have only now got better, only poor Alix still suffers from facial neuralgia.

I will write to you more often. Goodbye, my dear Mama. We all hug you tightly and warmly. God be with you all.

Endlessly loving you

Your Nicky.



1. The correspondence between the imperial family and their relatives eventually regularised. From September 1917, all letters sent and received by the imperial family in Tobolsk were opened and read by Vasily Pankratov, the commissar of the Provisional Government.

2. On 4 August 1917, the train with the royal family arrived at Tyumen, where the river steamer Rus was waiting to take them to Tobolsk. They set off at 3 am on 5 August, arriving in Tobolsk late on 6 August.

3. Grand Duchess Tatyana Nikolaevna (1897–1918): Second daughter of Nicholas II.

Random articles