I'm a princess. A grand duchess. But I don't feel much like one most of the time. I just feel like me. Shall I tell you what that feels like? It feels like being a girl, and a younger sister. The only one I'm older than is Alexei, and he's ill most of the time.
I'm not allowed to have friends outside my family, except in big groups. We sometimes dance with the officers. Now, in 1913, the Jubilee year, there's lots of dancing. We'll travel to Moscow and Livadia in the Crimea, all the places I love to go. Thousands of people will cheer.
Do you want to know what my favorite room looks like? Here's a picture. I took it myself with my Kodak camera:
It's called The Mountain Room. We have a slide built right into a room at the Alexander Palace in Tsarskoe Selo. I like it there better than at the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg.
Alexei has to be very careful because he has hemophilia, a disease that makes him bleed inside with the slightest bump. But he can be mischievous anyway. We all take care of him, me and my sisters: Olga, Tatiana, and Maria.
This year is the beginning of my secret, a special thing that only I know. I've never kept anything from my sisters before, so it's hard.
If you follow me, I'll let you in on lots of things we do in our palace, and show you what my life is like before—before everything starts going wrong.
So follow me! I promise you won't be sorry.