In going through my immense book collection, I came across a book entitled, Michael and Natasha, The Life And Love of Michael II the Last Of The Romanov Tsars.
This is one of the most tragic
love stories I have ever come across (and I've come across many). Michael was the younger brother of Tsar Nicholas II. He never really liked the formality of the life he was fed and fell in love with a devastatingly
beautiful commoner, named Natalie Wufert
. Their affair was a huge thorn in the side of the monarchy, and especially of the Tsar's wife, the hyper Alexandra; their every move was followed by the dreaded secret police, The Ohkrana
. One day they set out on a drive and drove all the way to the south of France, escaping the police, and married. The scandal that created was immense, and the couple settled into a gloriously happy life on an estate in England. The start of WWI brought Michael, now the father of a son, back to Russia where he was the famously successful general of The Savage Division
that tore apart the mountains
. Natasha remained in a distant country villa with her son, occasionally visited by Michael, but mostly reviled
by the official Court. Other, outside, members sort her limited favor, but she was happy being the mother of her son, George.
Suddenly, in the chaos of revolution, Nicholas II abdicated and did so for his son, too, in favor of his brother. Michael became Michael II, but only for little over a day; by that time Romanovs
were being rounded up and he wisely abdicated in favor of the Provisional Government. It was not long before he was sent off to Perm in Siberia with guarantee of safety and then executed by the Bolsheviks. Natasha found safety with the Germans who recognized the fact that her son, George, represented the actual blood line to the Romanov dynasty. She eventually reconciled with Nicholas's
mother, The Dowager Empress Marie in Denmark, because George looked so like his father. Marie's final days were graced by a beautiful boy that brought back memories of the past. Unfortunately, George died in a car accident at the age of 21 in 1931, leaving Natasha alone, again.
Natasha died in a charity hospital in Paris in 1952. Her official title was Princess Brassova
, but no one paid attention to cast-out Russian titles. She died poor and forgotten, but according to those with her in the end, was proud that she was--in history--the wife of the last Tsar of Russia. Theirs
is the most sad romance I ever read.