This letter was sent to Grand Duke Sergei Mikhailovich (1869-1918), grandson of Nicholas I and first cousin of Russia’s last tsar Nicholas II. Mailed from St. Petersburg on December 20, 1890, the letter was addressed to the Russian consulate in Colombo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) where it was to wait for the return of the royal yacht “Tamara”, with Grand Dukes Sergei and Alexander Romanov in board, from their voyage to Sumatra. The voyage of the royal yacht “Tamara” took place in 1890-1891. It was part of the education of Russian grand dukes (sons or grandsons of a tsar) to make a voyage to distant seas on a royal sailboat. Grand Dukes, brothers Alexander and Sergei accompanied Nicholas who was traveling on his frigate “Memory of Azov”, to India. At Ceylon, the future tsar stayed in India to sightsee and hunt elephants while the brothers on board of “Tamara” went to Sumatra to surreptitiously explore the ocean currents and the possibility of setting up a Russian naval base there. The voyage was interrupted by the unexpected death of the Dukes’ mother, Grand Duchess Olga, and in spring 1891 the brothers returned home to St. Petersburg.

In spring 1918, Grand Duke Sergei Mikhailovich, together with Tsarina’s sister Elizaveta Fedorovna and four other Romanov princes, were brutally executed by the Bolsheviks. After the October revolution, all the Romanovs were ordered to report to the new government. Those who did were arrested and exiled to the Urals. On the day after the murder of Nicholas II and his family, Grand Duke Sergei Mikhailovich , Elizaveta Fedorovna and their cousins were  thrown alive down an abandoned mine shaft. Grand Duke Sergei was the only one shot before being thrown into the nearly 180 foot deep shaft for the offense of attacking one of the guards.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the murdered Romanovs were canonized by the Russian church as holy royal martyrs, and the town of Alapaevsk where the royal prisoners were slaughtered is now a place of pilgrimage.

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