Sunday, February 7, 2010

The maids of honor

Wherever we are, lots and lots of people take care of us and work for us. It's a difficult job, being tsar and tsaritsa. But sometimes it feels as if we are never alone. I think that is partly why Mama and Papa take us everywhere with them. They want us to be just a family, but it's impossible. I see it, and it's partly why I try so hard to make everyone laugh.

The maids of honor, though, are our special friends. Even though they are employed by the court with salaries, and don't live in the palace but come to do their jobs when they are on duty, like anyone with a job, they are as much like family as our tutors and Alexei's nurses and doctors. I'd like to tell you a little about them. There were so many over the years and I don't remember them all, so I'll just concentrate on the ones we have now.

Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden 
We all call Sophie Isa, I'm not certain why, except that we're terribly fond of her and people we're fond of always get nicknames. She is a calm, capable person, and often the one to accompany the four of us when we have official duties to perform on our own. Opening a school, visiting a hospital, touring a factory. She's a very trustworthy person. Her father was Danish, hence her name. She is not married, although she is still young, so who knows? Perhaps one day soon. Olga and Tatiana sometimes tease her about officers she has danced with, or nobles she knew as a young girl. I'm glad she's not thinking of marrying soon because that means she's certain to stay with us.

Lili Dehn
Lili is married to one of our favorite officers on the Standart, Karl Dehn, whose family is from Sweden. Because he is often busy with his military duties, it suits her very well to be a maid of honor, and we're all glad about that. Mama considers her a dear friend, and she is always around to help when Mama does not feel well. We have very few pictures of Lili, but you can see how pretty she is in this one.

Countess Anastasia Hendrikova
I've saved her for last, our dearest Nastinka! It is Nastinka we talk to when we cannot talk to Mama, when Alexei is ill especially. She keeps us up to date with what is happening, what the doctors have said. If we need anything, all we have to do is tell Nastinka, and she will see that we get it. And Olga and Tatiana said that it was Nastinka who helped them when they began to get the curse, and they lacked the necessary supplies. We could tell her anything, and she would keep our secrets. Often she is the one to come upstairs and bid us good night when Mama and Papa are busy. This is Nastinka with Isa, Nastinka on the left, Isa on the right.

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