Alexei Nicholaevich

Alexei Nikolaevich (12 August [O.S. 30 July] 1904 – 17 July 1918) was the last Tsarevich (Heir apparent to the throne of the Russian Empire). He was the youngest child and only son of Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden , whose father was appointed ambassador to the Royal Danish Court in Copenhagen – and had functions as  Alexandra’s lady-in-waiting, reflected that “he was a pretty child, tall for his age, with regular features, splendid dark blue eyes with a spark of mischief in them, brown hair, and an upright figure”.

Alexei had few friends his age and was often lonely. Alexei’s companions were his sailor-orderly Derevenko’s two young sons and Gleb Botkin, the dentist Eugene Botkin’s son. Derevenko watched them as they played, and he chastised his children if they played too roughly with Alexei. Alexei was very close with his four sisters. The french-teacher Pierre Gilliard wrote that they “brought into Alexei´s life an element of youthful merriment that otherwise would have been sorely missed”.

Alexei enjoyed playing the balalaika and he had a favorite pet, the spaniel Joy. Actually Nicholas once gave Alexei an old performing donkey named Vanka.

Photograph: Alexei in the garden with a broomstick and watering can. Photograph in a private collection.