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
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.