Anna Anderson: Is She the Romanov Princess Anastasia?
Anastasia Romanov was born June 5,1901 to Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and Alexandra Fyordorvn who was the granddaughter of Queen Victoria and her husband Albert. Her parents had four daughters and one son. Anastasia was the youngest of the girls, although her brother Alexei Nikolavich was younger. Her older sister's names were Tatiana, Maria, and Olga.
On July 17, 1918, the Romanov family was ambushed by the Bolshevik secret police a year after Nicholas Romanov, Anastasia's father, was forced to abdicate his throne. They were brutally stabbed in the basement of their house. After the killing, the bodies were recovered, except two: Anastasia's and her younger brother's.
Some believe that the remains were found in Ekaterinburg, when two charred bodies were uncovered in 2007. Skeptics believe that the Russian officials only claimed that they were the remains of these two children, because it would be beneficial to the Russian government if Anastasia Romanov truly died those many years ago.
The Power of the Romanovs
The Romanovs were very powerful people. They controlled about ten percent of the world's land mass and their net worth was thirty billion dollars. This was during a time when thirty billion was worth more than it is today. In his time, Tsar Nicholas was the most powerful man on the earth and his wealth trumped any of the European royalties. It was most likely this tremendous power, which caused those to end his time as Tsar of Russia, as well as murder him and his family.
Even without the power, his life seemed much like a fairy tale. The love affair between Anastasia's parents was beautiful. They often wrote back and forth when he was traveling for political duties. Once the letters were recovered, it is clear that they were madly in love and quite devoted to one another. They were also wonderful parents. Nicholas, despite his desire to have a male heir, was sincerely excited for each of his daughters' births and recorded all of the details in his journal.
Anastasia was the most charming of her sisters and also the naughtiest. She loved pranking her tutors and servants, often tripping them among other stunts. She also loved climbing trees and when asked to come down she would often refuse. She was strong-willed with a mind of her own. Yet people were often drawn to her because of her captive personality. Although she never cared much for her looks, she was considered very beautiful. Unlike her sisters, she had blue eyes, and strawberry-blond hair. She was also notoriously funny and enjoyed putting on plays for her parents. Many of these plays would cause her parents and siblings to "howl with laughter."
The Claims of Anna Anderson
When she disappeared and her remains were unknown, many people had claimed to be her. Anna Anderson is only one of the women who claimed to be the heir of Tsar Nicholas II. Although, unlike many of the others, she is the most well-known and there are people who recognize her as being Anastasia.
Anna first came out in 1920 and again in 1922 as the missing Anastasia. She lived in Charlottesville until her death in 1984. She sincerely believed that she was the Grand Duchess Anastasia. Even shortly after her marriage, the couple was asked to grab one item from their living room that most exemplified the other person for a newspaper photo. Her husband Jack Manahan grabbed a photo of Anastasia's father.
There were reasons to believe her claims for she knew more about the Romanov family than any casual observer could possibly know. When she first made her claims, only a few knew about the attack from the Bolshovic police, since media was nothing like it is today. She was one of those who knew. Plus she had unusual scars that she believed were the result of a skirmish with the Bolshevik secret police. In fact, much of the details that we now know, are taken from Anna Anderson's testimony, which demonstrates the complete faith many have of her being the true heir of Tsar Nicholas II.
Another reason Anna Anderson is viewed as the real Anastasia Romanov is because of Maria Rasputin's claim. Maria Rasputin was the daughter of the family's most trusted adviser Gregori Rasputin. Maria was only three years older and often played with Anastasia. When hearing of Anna Anderson's claim, she asked to meet her in private. After a meeting that lasted several hours, Maria proclaimed that Anna Anderson was in fact the real Anastasia. Maria said that Anna reminded her of things she had long forgotten.
Although years later, Maria took back her claim when Anna refused to dine in Los Angeles under the name of Anastasia Romanov. Anna felt that it was ridiculous to flaunt her name, this angered Maria, and she changed her claim of Anna's identity.
Do you believe that Anna Anderson is Anastasia?
Similarities Between Anna and Anastasia
There are many similarities between the two. The most obvious is that Anna looks like Anastasia. As you compare the two, both have similar petite features, same nose, hair color, and face shape. She had similar scarring on her abdomen and face, as well as the same measurements of Anastasia. Also Anna Anderson never once left character of being Anastasia, the Romanov's youngest daughter. One of the more unique similarities was a deformity that Anastasia was born with. Anna Anderson had the exact same deformity on the left foot. Although she spoke German, her accent was Russian, which also was an indicator.
The only way we will ever know is through a true legitimate DNA test. In fact, after Anna Anderson died, in 1994 (nearly ten years later), they finally did a tissue test. The results showed Anna Anderson was not Anastasia. Although due to Russia's desire to keep things hidden, it is believed that the tissue samples may have been purposely mixed up to show that she was not the true Anastasia Romanov. There is also speculation that the hair retrieval was not accurate, since it is unknown whether the hair follicle was in tact, which is the only way to have a true confirmation of paternity. Since Anna Anderson chose cremation, further DNA tests are not possible.
Another reason why they believe there may have been a falsification with the DNA is that there is no proof that the hair and tissue sample that were used was in fact Anna Anderson. For one, the test was several years after her cremation, and the hair sample was kept from Anna Anderson's husband. No one truly knew if the hair follicle was in fact Anna Anderson's.
Yet, in 2008, they had done some DNA testing on charred remains that were found the year prior. The DNA revealed that the two children found were related to the royal family and most likely Alexei and one of his four sisters. Was Anna Anderson really Anastasia Romanov? Truthfully, we'll probably never know.
Staff, Legacy. "Anna Anderson: The Great Imposter." Legacy.com. September 30, 2015. Accessed January 26, 2018. http://www.legacy.com/news/explore-history/article/anna-anderson-the-great-imposter.
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© 2010 Angela Michelle Schultz