Today, July 17th, is the anniversary of the slaughter in 1918 of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, his wife, the Empress Alexandra, and their four children, Maria, Tatiana, Anastasia and Aleksey, on the orders of the revolutionary leader Valdimir Ilyich Lenin. My book, ‘Natalie Tereshchenko – Lady In Waiting’ tells the story of the last months of the Russian monarchy, from the viewpoint of a servant in the royal household, as she follows them into exile, imprisonment and, ultimately, their murder.

Resentment against the Tsar had been building for years. His cruel suppression of the working classes and his disastrous military policies had left the country emaciated, and in February 1917 began the final acts of defiance by the citizens. Strikes and street demonstrations quickly turned into revolution, and the Tsar was forced to abdicate. It was the beginning of the end.

For several tense months, the family was held under guard in one of the royal palaces near Saint Petersburg, stoically believing that they would be rescued. Then they were taken into exile in the Ural mountains, where conditions slowly deteriorated further, and finally to the city of Yekaterinberg, where, in the early hours of July 18th, they were taken to a cellar and shot.

In an attempt to disguise their bodies, they were burnt, then thrown into a well. The servants who were with them were also killed, and, over the next few days, other members of the royal family were rounded up and murdered.

Some years later, a young woman gained fame following her claim to be Anastasia, the youngest daughter, alleging that she had survived the shooting. An investigation allegedly disproved her claim.

Read ‘Natalie Tereshchenko – Lady In Waiting’ to experience the last months of the Russian royal family first hand, as recounted by one of the servants who stayed with them to the end.