Olga Nikolaevna was born on 15 November 1895, in Tsarskoye Selo, Russian Empire. She was the daughter and first child of Alexandra Feodorovna, Empress Consort of Russia (6 June 1872 - 17 July 1918) and Nicholas II, Emperor of Russia (18 May 1868 - 17 July 1918). Her maternal grandparents were Princess Alice of the United Kingdom (25 April 1843 - 14 December 1878) and Grand Duke Louis IV of Hesse and the Rhine (12 September 1837 - 13 March 1892). Her paternal grandparents were Maria Feodorovna, Empress Consort of Russia (26 November 1847 - 13 October 1928) and Alexander III, Emperor of Russia (10 March 1845 - 1 November 1894). Her maternal great - grandparents were Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom and Empress of India (24 May 1819 - 22 January 1901) and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (26 August 1819 - 14 December 1861). Her paternal great - grandparents were Princess Elisabeth of Prussia (18 June 1815 - 21 March 1885) and Prince Karl of Hesse and by Rhine (23 April 1809 - 20 March 1877). Olga's parents were married on 1 November 1894. Her siblings were: Grand Duchess Tatiana Nikolaevna (10 June 1897 - 17 July 1918), Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna (26 June 1899 - 17 July 1918), Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna (18 June 1899 - 17 July 1918) and Grand Duke Tsarevich Alexei Nikolaevich (12 August 1904 - 17 July 1918). The birth og Olga Nikolaevna was announced by 101 rounds of the cannon in St. Petersburg. Her name was Slavic for "holy". She was called, "Olishka" or "Olya". According to the diary of her father, Nicholas, "She is a big baby weighing 10 pounds and measuring 55 centimeters. I can hardly believe it's really our child! God what happiness! She does not look at all new-born, because she is such a big baby with a full head of hair." Among her godparents was her great-grandmother, Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom. Her little sister, Tatiana was born on 10 June 1897. Olga and Tatiana were devoted to one another, they shared a room, played together and dressed alike. Her second sister, Maria was born on 26 June 1899, at Peterhof. Her third sister, Anastasia was born on 18 June 1901, at Alexandria Dacha, in Peterhof. The two older girls became known as "The Big Pair" and the two younger girls as "The Little Pair". Their cousin, Princess Elisabeth of Hesse and by Rhine (1895-1903) died of typhoid fever on 6 November 1903, while on a visit to the Romanovs at their Polish estate. According to Six Years at the Russian Court by Margaretta Eagar, "My children talked much of cousin Ella and how God had taken her spirit, and they understood that later God would take her body also to heaven. On Christmas morning when Olga awoke, she exclaimed at once, 'Did God send for cousin Ella's body in the night?' I felt startled at such a question on Christmas morning, but answered, "Oh, no, dear, not yet." She was greatly disappointed, and said, "I thought He would have sent for her to keep Christmas with Him." Her brother, Alexei was born on 12 August 1904, in Peterhoff. Olga loved to read and enjoyed school work. According to her tutor, Pierre Gilliard, "The eldest, Olga Nicolaevna, possessed a remarkably quick brain. She had good reasoning powers as well as initiative, a very independent manner, and a gift for swift and entertaining repartee." Her brother, Akexei suffered from hemophilia and the Tsarina relied on the counsel of Grigori Rasputin. In November 1911, a ball was held to celebrate Olga's 16th birthday and her entry into society in Livadia. Her hair was put up and her ballgown was pink. Her parents gave her a diamond ring and a diamond and pearl necklace as a birthday present. Olga was known for her compassionate heart and desire to help others, but also for her temper. According to Anna Vyrubova, "Her chief characteristics... were a strong will and a singularly straightforward habit of thought and action. Admirable qualities in a woman, these same characteristics are often trying in childhood, and Olga as a little girl sometimes showed herself willful and even disobedient." In 1913, when Tatiana turned sixteen, the two sisters attended their last ball in St. Petersburg, at the Anitchkov Palace. In June 1914, the family took a trip on the Standart to Constanza, Rumania, to visit the Rumanian Royal family. In 1914, Olga became a nurse with her mother, sister Tatiana, and Alexandra's friend Anna Viroubova at a hospital in Tsarskoye Selo. Olga was assigned on 19 October 1915, to work administrative. On her 20th birthday, Olga was given a part of her fortune and began to respond independently to requests for charity. Alexandra wrote to Nicholas on 13 March 1916, "Olga is always most unamiable about every proposition, though may end by doing what I wish, and when I am severe - sulks me." Rasputin was murdered on 17 December 1916. He was buried with an icon signed on the reverse side by Olga, her sisters and mother. During the Revolution of 1917, the family was arrested and imprisoned first at their home in Tsarskoye Selo. In April 1918, the Bolsheviks moved Nicholas, Alexandra, and Maria to Yekaterinburg. Alexei had suffered another attack of hemophilia and Olga was left in charge of the household at Tobolsk. While there, Olga and her sisters sewed jewels into their clothing to hide them from the Bolsheviks. In May 1918, they left Tobolsk for Yekaterinburg. During her final months, Olga was reportedly deeply depressed. According to the memoirs of one of the guards, Alexander Strekotin, "She was thin, pale, and looked very sick. She took few walks in the garden, and spent most of her time with her brother." Olga Nikolaevna was killed with her family aged 22, on 17 July 1918, at the Ipatiev House, in Ekaterinburg, by forces of the Bolshevik secret police under Yakov Yurovsky. They were buried in a mass grave. In 1981, Olga Nikolaevna and her family were canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad as Holy Martyrs. In 1991, remains later identified as the Romanovs and their servants were discovered in the woods outside Yekaterinburg. The bodies of one of the daughters and Alexei were missing from the gravesite. The bodies of Alexandra, Nicholas II, and three of their daughters were interred on 17 July 1998, at St. Peter and Paul Cathedral, in St. Petersburg. In 2000, the family was canonized as passion bearers by the Russian Orthodox Church.
"Father asks to... remember that the evil which is now in the world will become yet more powerful, and that it is not evil which conquers evil, but only love..." Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna of Russia
Excerpts and Source: Six Years at the Russian Court by Margaretta Eagar.