Two NEW books on the Alexander Palace

I cannot think of a better way to kick off the summer than the release of two NEW titles on the Alexander Palace at Tsarskoye Selo: The Empress’s Balcony and the Empress’s Chair.

I have compiled two unique pictorials dedicated to two of the most iconic spots in the former residence of Russia’s last Imperial Family, both of them favourite spots for the rest and relaxation of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna.

The Empress’s famous balcony and the corner chair in her Mauve Boudoir served as the settings for hundreds of iconic photographs of herself, the Tsar, their children, as well as extended family members and those close to the Imperial Family.

Each of these pictorials feature more than 100 full-page black-and-white photos. The accompanying text explores the history of both the balcony and chair, as well as the history and recreation of the Maple Drawing Room and Mauve Boudoir. While the balcony was demolished during the Soviet years, the Empress’s chair has recently been recreated for the recreated interior of her Mauve Boudoir, which opened to the public in 2021.

Each of these charming pictorials will be a welcome addition to any one who shares an interest in the Alexander Palace and its Imperial residents during the late 19th to early 20th centuries.


*This title is available from AMAZON in the USA, UK, Canada, Australia,
France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and Japan


English. 110 pages, 98 black & white photos

Between 1896-1898 – the Court architect Silvio Danini carried out the reconstruction of the eastern wing of the Alexander Palace, which included the personal apartments of Nicholas II and Alexandra Feodorovna.

In addition, he installed the famous L-shaped iron balcony for the Empress, which was accessed via the Maple Drawing Room.

The Empress’s balcony became a favourite setting for taking family photographs, taken by the Empress and her children, all of whom were avid amateur photographers. More than a century later, these iconic images provide us with a rare glimpse into the private world of the Imperial Family.

The photographs presented in this pictorial, have all been selected from the private albums of the Empress and her children, and that of Alexandra’s friend and lady-in-waiting Anna Vyrubova.

The balcony was dismantled between 1947-49, with no plans to restore it. In the meantime, we have to content ourselves with the selection of vintage photographs which have survived to this day, and are presented in this pictorial.

*This title is available from AMAZON in the USA, UK, Canada, Australia,
France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and Japan


English. 120 pages, 107 black & white photos

Between 1896-1898 – the Court architect Silvio Danini carried out the reconstruction of the eastern wing of the Alexander Palace, which included the personal apartments of Nicholas II and Alexandra Feodorovna.

Among the Empress’s quarters was the Mauve Boudoir, which would become her favourite room. According to legend, the Empress gave Alexnder Meltzer a lilac branch, her favourite flower, so that he could choose the colour scheme for the decoration of the room.

Among the most notable pieces of furniture in this room was a corner chair, which became a popular spot for family photographs, taken by the Empress and her children, all of whom were avid amateur photographers. More than a century later, these iconic images provide us with a rare glimpse into the private world of the Imperial Family.

Like many other rooms in the Alexander Palace, the Mauve Boudoir suffered a sad fate – the decoration and the interior were lost during the Great Patriotic War. The room has since been reconstructed and restored to its original historic look, as has the Empress’s famous chair.

© Paul Gilbert. 31 May 2023

Tsarskoye Selo publishes rare Romanov Family Archive

NOTE: the source of the this article is from the web site of the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum, it has been edited and updated with additional information by Paul Gilbert. ALL the photographs are © Tsarskoye Selo State Museum.

The Tsarskoye Selo State Museum has composed and published a new research catalogue based on an archive of materials of Romanov family members. This priceless archive was purchased for over ₽ 5,300,000 [$65,000 USD] from a private collector in London in 2017, thanks to financial support from Sberbank, also the sponsor of the catalogue’s publication.

The new Russian language catalogue includes private correspondence, drawings and photographs of members of the Imperial Family. The catalogue is authored by researchers Irina Raspopova and Victoria Plaude of the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum.

The presentation of the catalogue was held on 7th April 2023 [see poster above] by the Director of the Tsarskoye Selo Olga Taratynova and the Chairman of Sberbank’s North-Western Office Viktor Ventimilla Alonso. The museum’s deputy director for research and education Dr Iraida Bott, delivered a talk on the Alexander Palace after the Romanovs. 

The archive includes more than 200 previously unpublished private correspondence, drawings and photographs spans over half a century, of the second half of the 19th century and the early 20th century, from 1866 to 1922.

The catalogue contains full texts with detailed comments to all the letters, telegrams and notes, as well as detailed descriptions of the photographs. An annotated name index includes 215 names mentioned in the texts. 

Most of the documents relate to Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna (1875-1960), Emperor Alexander III’s daughter and Emperor Nicholas II’s sister, and to Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich (1878-1918), Nicholas II’s brother, as well as to George Vladimirovitch Shervashidze (1894-1978), titular Prince of Abkhazia, who was close to members of the Imperial Family.

Xenia’s letters to her brother Michael, whom she always affectionately addresses as “my darling Misha”, date from the early 1880s to 1914. She wrote them on her monogrammed paper and on the headed paper of the palaces and hotels where she stayed. Her letters include those penned by her children, decorated with vignettes and drawings.

In a letter dated 23rd November 1916. Michael writes to Xenia from Ai-Todor in the Crimea. All their family quarrels settled by then, he ends the letter saying, “Natalya Sergeevna [known as Countess Natalya Brasova, from May 1911] thanks you very much and also sends her greetings, and I hug you tightly. Loving you heartily, Your Misha.”

Of particularly great  interest are three letters of 1917-18 and a postcard dated 25th February 1918 to George Shervashidze from Grand Duke Nicholas Mikhailovich, a first cousin of Alexander III and an eminent historian. The author describes in detail the situation in Petrograd during the days of the October Revolution and mentions Trotsky, Kerensky, Lunacharsky and Lenin. The envelopes have no postage stamps because the grand duke’s  letters were delivered by trusted individuals. His postcard of 25th February 1918 ends with somewhat prophetic words: “Little by little, all our acquaintances move to where there is no sadness or joy.”

Of great value to the Museum is Nicholas II’s autograph in his laconic note of 1899 to his sister, Grand Duchess Xenia. Also valuable are Empress Alexandra Fiodorovna’s short English messages to her sister-in-law, funnily addressed “Darling Chicken” and signed “Your old Hen”.

Taken away from Russia by Romanov family members, the archive was partially kept by Xenia and later inherited by her descendants.

Besides the Romanovs’ correspondence, Sberbank helped the Museum purchase twenty-three photographs taken by General Alexander Nasvetevich (1837-1911), an aide-de-camp to Emperor Alexander II. The shots include the photographer’s self-portrait, Alexander III and his son Nicholas at a parade in Krasnoe Selo, Empress Maria Feodorovna at Gatchina, and other important events at the imperial court.

The materials in the catalogue will be of interest to historians, archive specialists, museum workers, and anyone interested in the history of the Romanov dynasty and their last representatives in particular. The catalogue is currently only available at the Tsarskoye Selo Museum Shop in the Catherine Palace and at Dom Knigi in St Petersburg.

© Tsarskoye Selo State Museum. 21 April 2023

Nicholas II and the British Monarchs

*This title is available from AMAZON in the USA, UK, Canada, Australia,
France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and Japan


English. 164 pages, 36 black & white photos

Romanov historian and royal expert Coryne Hall writes about the relationships between Emperor Nicholas II with the three British monarchs who ruled during his 22-year reign.

The author has researched the relationships between Russia’s last Tsar with those of Queen Victoria – from 1894 to 1901; King Edward VII – from 1901 to 1910; and King George V – from 1910 to 1917. Her research is complemented with letters, diary entries and photographs.

The four essays presented in this volume were originally published in four successive issues of Sovereign, the semi-annual publication dedicated to the study of the life and reign of Emperor Nicholas II. They are presented here for the first time in one volume.

© Paul Gilbert. 19 March 2023

Romanov archives of Charles Sydney Gibbes

It has been almost 50 years since the publication of The House of Special Purpose by John Courtenay Trewin was published in 1975 by the US publisher Stein & Day. It was also published the same year in the UK by Macmillan, but under a different title Tutor to the Tsarevich.

Trewin’s book is a collection of letters, journal entries, photographs and memorabilia diligently kept by the English tutor to the Russian Imperial Family – Charles Sydney Gibbes (1876-1963). Described as “An Intimate Portrait of The Last Days of the Russian Imperial Family compiled from the papers of their English Tutor” this carefully produced record is also an enchanting, touching glimpse into the private world of Emperor Nicholas II and his family.

Gibbes story really began on 9th June 1908, during a meeting of the Russian Imperial and British Royal families in Reval [today Tallinn, Estonia]. The historic meeting marked the first visit to Russia by a British monarch: King Edward VII. It was during this visit that the King remarked to Empress Alexandra Feodorovna that neither of her elder daughters possessed a very good English accent. This prompted the Empress to get an English tutor for the girls and shortly thereafter Charles Sydney Gibbes found himself, most unexpectedly, appointed English tutor to the Tsar’s children.

For ten years, from the autumn of 1908 until their deaths in July 1918, Charles Sydney Gibbes was a member of the household of Emperor Nicholas II and his family. During much of that period, Gibbes served as the English tutor to the Tsesarevich Alexei Nikolaevich, as well as teaching his sisters, the Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia Nikolaevna..

PHOTO: John Courtenay Trewin —photograph published in The Illustrated London News (London, England) of Saturday 11th January 1958

Gibbes became an intimate friend of the family, first in the Alexander Palace at Tsarskoye Selo, and then during the family’s exile to Tobolsk from August 1917 to April 1918. He followed them to Ekaterinburg, where he was separated from them before they were brutally murdered by the Ural Soviet in the early morning hours of 17th July 1918. Their death and martyrdom would have a profound effect on him, he honoured their memory until the end of his life

During his years spent with the Imperial Family, Gibbes kept notes and diaries recording the Tsesarevich’s illness, the books which the children read and the plays which they acted during their time in exile. He collected a mass of souvenirs, exercise books, menus, letters, sketches, official permits and other documents, from all of which British journalist, writer and drama critic John Courtenay Trewin (1908-1990) has constructed a fascinating and highly personal narrative. This book was written from Gibbes’ surviving archives of letters, photos and other memorabilia relating to the last Imperial family of Russia which are now kept in Oxford.

Gibbes managed to preserve it all throughout his extraordinary subsequent career, first as an Inspector of the Chinese Maritime Customs at Harbin and latterly as a priest, and finally as an archimandrite, in the Russian Orthodox Church in Oxford, where he left his remarkable collection to his adopted son George Gibbes[1], who provided the material for this fascinating book.

Gibbe’s depositions form an important part of the official reports on the fate of the Imperial family, but none of the rest of this material has been published before, nor even been consulted by writers on the subject.

PHOTO: Charles Sydney Gibbes collection of Russian possessions were left with his adopted son, George, in Oxford. In this photo we see George Gibbs at this home surrounded by photos of the Imperial Family.

A year after the regicide, Gibbes found himself at the “House of Special Purpose” [Ipatiev House] where the tragedy took place, and he was at the Four Brothers where he assisted Nikolai Sokolov in his investigation into the deaths of the Emperor and his family. He witnessed the recovery of numerous items from the mine, which belonged to members of the Imperial Family, and assisted in getting them safely out of Russia in a sealed blue box[2].

In addition, the collection of precious Romanov artifacts that Gibbes brought back with him from Russia – including an icon from the Tsaritsa, a pair of Nicholas II’s felt boots, the Tsesarevich’s pencil case and exercise books belonging to his sisters Maria and Anastasia, and the beautiful Italian Murano glass chandelier of red and white lilies that he retrieved from the Grand Duchesses’ room of the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg were later on display at his chapel dedicated to St Nicholas the Wonderworker in Oxford.

Following his death in 1963, Gibbes’ collection of Russian possessions were left to his adopted son, George, in Oxford, and George subsequently donated them to the museum at Luton Hoo[3]. A small chapel was built there to house the collection, consecrated by Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh. The museum was later moved from Luton Hoo to the Wernher Collection in Greenwich. Sadly, the collection was sold and is now in the hands of a private collectior, including the Murano glass chandelier, which is now in the private collection of the Butters Family in England.

In 1986, George Gibbes, sold off two of the most important Romanov pieces in his father’s collection made by Fabergé: a pair of monogrammed cufflinks given to Gibbes by the tsar’s eldest daughter, Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna, and a miniature gold Easter egg pendant with a diamond in the A note, that belonged to Anastasia.  The latter was bought by film maker Steven Spielberg as a gift for his then wife, Amy Irving, when she finished filming at TV mini series in which she played the role of Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna.

PHOTO: in 2022, a blue plaque was unveiled in Rotherman, which incorrectly notes that Gibbes “identified remains of the Tsar’s family following their murder in 1918”. As Trewin records in his book, Gibbes took part in Sokolov’s investigation and helped identify relics belonging to the Imperial Family found at the Four Brothers Mine, near Ekaterinburg, in 1919

Charles Sydney Gibbes died at St Pancras Hospital, London, on 24th March 1963. His open coffin was displayed in the cellar (or crypt) of Saint Nicholas House in Oxford before his funeral. He is buried in Headington cemetery, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England.

A blue plaque, unveiled in 2022, marks Gibbes’ father John’s workplace at the former Sheffield and Rotherham bank, where he worked as the manager, from 1870 until around 1901. The plaque was organised by The Rotherham District Civic Society, and funded by the Rotherham Grammar School Old Boys Association, where Charles Sydney Gibbes was educated.

Bernard Fletcher, of the Rotherham Civic Society said that the process had taken about 18 months, and that he is “relived and glad” the plaque is up to commemorate the life of Mr Gibbes.

In his speech during the plaque unveiling, Tim Mumford, president of the Rotherham Grammar School Old Boys Association paid tribute to Gibbes: “He was born here, he went to Grammar School, we think in the late 1880s, and left there about 1895.


[1] In 1922, during his stay in Harbin, China, Charles Sydney Gibbes met a 16-year-old orphan, Georges Paveliev [born 16th June 1906], whom he adopted. In the early 1990s, I had the pleasure of corresponding with George Gibbs in whose letters he shared numerous anecdotes about his father. The regular exchange of letters came to a stop, and it was only after making enquiries that I learn of George’s death on 11th May 1993.

[2] During his investigation, Sokolov discovered a number of personal items at the Four Brothers Mine, which belonged to the Imperial Family, including a severed finger believed to be that of the Empress. Today, the box is stored in the Russian Orthodox Church of Saint Job in Uccle, Brussels.

[3] On a personal note, I am very grateful that I had an opportunity to visit Luton Hoo in the 1990s, and had an opportunity to see with my own eyes the Gibbes collection. I was delighted, yet again, to see the Murano glass chandelier on display at The Last Tsar: Blood and Revolution exhibition in September 208 at the Science Museum in London, England – PG.

© Paul Gilbert. 5 March 2023

SOVEREIGN to resume publication in 2023

After an absence of nearly four years, I am pleased to announce that my semi-annual periodical Sovereign: The Life and Reign of Emperor Nicholas II will resume publication next year. The next issue – the No. 12 issue – will be published later this year.

Between 2015 and 2019, I published a total of 11 issues of this unique publication, dedicated to the study of the life and reign of Russia’s last Tsar. The last issue, No. 11, was issued in February 2019, and the series was cancelled later that year.

Many readers could not understand, why I cancelled SOVEREIGN, so let me explain . . . I did not cancel the series because it was unpopular, on the contrary, I was forced to cancel the series due to the rising costs of printing this product here in Canada, in addition to Canada Post’s outrageous foreign shipping rates. For example, the rate to ship a single copy of SOVEREIGN to the United States was $12, while the rate to UK, Europe, and other international countries was a whopping $22!

Now, thanks to my publishing venture with AMAZON, I can resume publication, and make it available worldwide through AMAZON, while taking advantage of their much more affordable postage rates.

The No. 12 issue, which will be published in 2023, will feature the following 8 full-length articles – including new first-English translations of works by Russian historians:

[1] Nikolai Sokolov’s Official Report to Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna on the Investigation into the Deaths of Emperor Nicholas II and his Family

[2] Emperor Nicholas II and His Family Visit Novy Svet in Crimea, 1912

[3] Perceiving the Sanctity of Saints: The Spiritual World of Emperor Nicholas II and His Family

[4] Mikhail Rodzianko: Gravedigger of the Russian Empire by Andrei Ivanov

[5] Memorial Museums to Nicholas II in Post-Soviet Russia by Paul Gilbert

[6] They Were the Last to Help the Tsar’s Family in Ekaterinburg by Abbess Dominica (Korobeinikova)

[7] Loyal to Their Sovereign: Generals Who Did Not Betray Nicholas II in 1917 by Paul Gilbert

[8] Family Disloyalty: Nicholas II and the Vladimirovichi by Paul Gilbert

SOVEREIGN No. 12 will be issued in the same 8-1/2″ x 11″ paperback format, 130+ pages, English text and richly illustrated with black and white photographs. The price of each new issue will be $20 USD – a savings of $5 over previous issues.

It is important to note, that the revival of SOVEREIGN, is an integral tool in my personal commitment to help clear the name of Russia’s much slandered Tsar. Not only is the publication of this unique periodical, a project which is near and dear to my heart and soul, SOVEREIGN will continue to be a valuable resource for Western historians and researchers, and to those who share an interest in the life and reign of Russia’s last Tsar.

For those of you, who are unfamiliar with SOVEREIGN: each issue features first English translations of new works by a new generation of post-Soviet Russian historians. Since the opening of the Romanov archives in 1991, they have managed to unearth previously unknown historic diaries, letters and documents on the life and reign of Nicholas II. Their research is now helping to debunk the many popular held negative assessments of Nicholas II, which continue to endure in the West, more than a century after his death and martyrdom.

NOTE: the only remaining copies of back issues of SOVEREIGN, Nos. 1 to 11, can still be purchased from (United States) and Booksellers van Hoogstraten (The Hague, Netherlands).

© Paul Gilbert. 1 March 2023

New books on the Romanovs scheduled for 2023

In response to the numerous queries I have been receiving over the past few months with regards to the new book projects which I have been working on over the past year, I decided to provide the following update . . .

Many of you may recall that 2022 was not a good year for me due to health reasons. In April, I was diagnosed with Stage-2 cancer; in May, I had surgery to remove the tumour; in June, I was at home recovering; followed by six months of chemotherapy, which left me both weak and tired. Never, in my life have I ever felt so sick. As a result, my research and writing suffered, delaying publication of the titles pictured above by months.

My chemo ended on 11th January, however, I continue to endure side effects. According to my oncologist, it could take up to two months for my body to flush all the toxins, and any where from six to twelves months before I start to feel my old self again.

Despite that, I am now looking forward to returning to my two favourite passions in life: researching and writing about the life, reign and era of Russia’s much slandered tsar Nicholas II.

Below, is a short summary of each of the titles scheduled for publication this year:

Nicholas II. Photographs – will be my most ambitious publishing project to date, with 200+ pages and richly illustrated with more than 200 high-quality black and white photos of Nicholas II – most of them full-page!

My book will be divided into 12 parts + an interesting foreword on the many albums and individual photos held in archives and private collections; Nicholas’s own interest in photography; efforts to preserve and restore images currently held in Russian archives; and much more.

This beautiful album is a labour of love, and my personal tribute to the memory of Russia’s last emperor and tsar. I am so proud of this book, and trust that this book will one day become a much coveted and sought after collectors title.

The Lost World of Imperial Russia. Volume II – the second volume of my recently published book, which will feature MORE photographs of the the Russian Empire during the reign of Emperor Nicholas II, from 1894 to 1917.

The cover will feature a photo of Andrei Alexeevich Kudinov (1852–1915), who served as bodyguard to Grand Duke Alexander Alexandrovich (later Alexander III). In December 1878, he was assigned to Grand Duchess Maria Feodorovna; he stayed at this post when she became Empress in 1881 and continued until his death.

Volume II will be issued in hard cover and paperback editions, 240 pages, richly illustrated with more than 400 vintage black and white photos!

Sovereign No. 12 – After an absence of nearly four years, I am pleased to announce that my semi-annual periodical ‘Sovereign: The Life and Reign of Emperor Nicholas II’ will resume publication next year. The next issue – the No. 12 issue – will be published in January 2023.

This new issue will feature the following full-length articles – among others, that have yet to be announced:

[1] Mikhail Rodzianko: Gravedigger of the Russian Empire by Andrei Ivanov

[2] Nikolai Sokolov’s Report to Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna on the Investigation into the Deaths of Emperor Nicholas II and his Family

[3] Memorial Museums to Nicholas II in Post-Soviet Russia by Paul Gilbert

[4] They Were the Last to Help the Tsar’s Family in Ekaterinburg by Abbess Dominica (Korobeinikova)

[5] Loyal to Their Sovereign: Generals Who Did Not Betray Nicholas II in 1917 by Paul Gilbert

[6] Family Disloyalty: Nicholas II and the Vladimirovichi by Paul Gilbert

Olga: Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna – this book is a tribute to one of the most beloved and respected members of the Russian Imperial Family: Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna (1882-1960).

The first part explores her Russian, Danish and Canadian years respectively; the second part explores her love of painting – Olga painted more than 2,000 in her life; the third is about her work and dedication as a nurse during WWI; the fourth is an interview with her daughter-in-law Olga Kulikovsky-Romanoff (1926-2020), who shares her husband Tikhon’s anecdotes and details about his mother: the Grand Duchess of Russia.

Richly illustrated with more than 100 black and white photos. 

Anna: Anna Alexandrovna Taneeva-Vyrubova – Anna Alexandrovna Vyrubova (née Taneyeva), was born on 16th July 1884. She is most famous as the lady-in-waiting, the best friend and confidante of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna.

This new book features 7 chapters, including a synopsis of Vyrubova’s memoirs – published in the 1920s; her home in Tsarskoye Selo; an interview with Anna in 1917; her life in exile in Finland; efforts to have her canonized, among others.

Vyrubova died in exile on 20th July 1964, at the age of 80. She was buried in the Orthodox section of Hietaniemi cemetery in Helsinki.

Illustrated with more than 60 black and white photographs

The Imperial Train of Emperor Nicholas II – the first English language book about the Imperial Train will explore the Tsar’s luxurious mode of transport on rails. It will feature detailed descriptions – including vintage photos and floorplans – of the train’s interiors. It also tells about the fate of the Imperial Train, the Imperial Railway Pavilions constructed solely for the use of the Imperial Train, and much more.

Traitor to the Tsar! Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich and Nicholas II – is the first comprehensive study to thoroughly examine the relationship between Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich and his first cousin Tsar Nicholas II. It is based primarily on documents and letters retrieved from Russian archival and media sources, many of which will be new to the English reader.

Grand Duke Kirill, was clearly a man who lacked a moral compass. In this book I discuss his entering into an incestuous marriage with his paternal first cousin and a divorcee, Princess Victoria Melita of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1905, defying both Nicholas II by not obtaining his consent prior, and the Russian Orthodox Church.

Kirill’s act of treason during the February Revolution of 1917, is well known and for which he is most vilified. It was in Petrograd, that Kirill marched to the Tauride Palace at the head of the Garde Equipage (Marine Guard) to swear allegiance to the Russian Provisional Government, wearing a red band on his uniform. He then authorized the flying of a red flag over his palace on Glinka Street in Petrograd.

In June 1917, Grand Duke Kirill was the first Romanov to flee Russia. His departure was “illegal”, as Kirill was still in active duty as a rear admiral in active military service in a country at war, he had abandoned his honour and dignity in the process.

In 1922, Kirill declared himself “the guardian of the throne”, and in 1924, pompously proclaimed himself “Emperor-in-Exile”, creating a schism in monarchist circles of the Russian emigration.

I further explore Kirill and Victoria’s alleged Nazi affiliations during their years in exile, as well as Kirill’s shameful infidelity, of which his wife would never forgive him.

* * *

Please NOTE that I do not have publication dates, bindings (on some titles), page counts, and prices at this time. In addition, the book covers and titles shown are subject to change without notice. ALL of these titles will be made available on AMAZON. Each new publication will be announced here on my blog, my Facebook page and also via my bi-weekly news updates.

© Paul Gilbert. 1 February 2023

Paul Gilbert resumes sale of personal royal library

Now that my chemo is over and done with, I can now resume the sale of the remaining books from my personal library. I have about 300+ titles remaining in my collection on Russian, European and British royalty – some titles of which are very rare and/or in mint or very good condition.

In preparation for my planned move back to England in the summer of 2025, I have been forced to sell the bulk of my personal library, which originally consisted of more than 2,000 new, rare and second-hand titles on the royal houses of Russia, Europe and Britain.

The ONLY books that I will be taking with me to England, are my collection of titles on the life, reign and era of Nicholas II.

I have created a special online bookshop for the sale of my collection [see link below]. The titles listed are all one-of-a-kind, there are no duplicates! Books will be sold on a first come, first serve basis. The condition of each book varies and is noted with each listing. Titles are available in a variety of languages: English, French, German and Russian. Please check individual listings before ordering.

ALL prices are in US dollars! Payment can be made securely online with a credit card or PayPal. I will also accept payment by personal check or money order in USD. Shipping rates are for Canada and United States orders ONLY. ALL sales are FINAL!

Please take a moment to review my current catalogue, bearing in mind that I still have many additional titles on European and British royalty to add over the coming weeks ahead.

Additional titles will be added on a regular basis, so please bookmark or check back for new listings. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me by email –

© Paul Gilbert. 20 January 2023

Nicholas II: News from Russian Media & Archival Sources

*This title is available from AMAZON in the USA, UK, Canada, Australia,
France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and Japan


English. Large 8-1/2″ x 11″ format, 256 pages, 300+ black & white photos

In this book, you will find more than 130 articles and news stories about exhibitions, new monuments, portraits, polls on Nicholas II’s popularity in post-Soviet Russia, updates on the restoration of the Alexander Palace, events marking the 150th anniversary of the birth of Nicholas II and the 100th anniversary of his death and martyrdom, the Russian Orthodox Church and the Ekaterinburg remains and much more.

These articles and news stories were originally published in Sovereign (2015-2020) and Royal Russia (2011-2020). Both of these periodicals are no longer published, the back issues out of print, therefore, I am pleased to offer these important materials in one concise volume. They are complemented with more than 300 black and white photographs, many of which have never been published in any Western newspaper, magazine or book. Each article has been sourced from Russian media and archival sources, and translated into English.

While this collection of articles and news stories, may not appeal to every one, it will prove a valuable research tool for those studying the life and reign of Nicholas II, particularly as he is perceived in modern-day Russia.

Paul Gilbert’s Romanov Bookshop on AMAZON

I have published more than 30 titles to date through AMAZON – featuring one of the largest selections of books on Nicholas II, the Romanov dynasty and the history of Imperial Russia. These include both new titles and reprints of titles which have out of print for years.

Please CLICK on the BANNER or LINK above to review my current selection of titles in hardcover, paperback and ebook editions. Listings provide a full description for each title, pricing and a Look inside feature.

© Paul Gilbert. 7 November 2022

© Paul Gilbert. 2 December 2022

Archimandrite Tikhon (Zatekin) on the Ekaterinburg remains

PHOTO: Archimandrite Tikhon (Zatekin) at the tomb of Emperor Nicholas II and his family, located in St. Catherine’s Chapel – a side chapel in SS Peter and Paul Cathedral – St. Petersburg

Archimandrite Tikhon (Zatekin) is the abbot of the Pechersky Ascension Monastery, and deputy head of the Nizhny Novgorod branch of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society (IOPS). He is the author of a new Russian language book on the Ekaterinburg remains ‘Романовы: убийство, поиск, обретение’ [Romanovs: Murder, Search, Acquisition].

Earlier this year, Georgy Kamensky spoke with Archimandrite Tikhon (Zatekin) about the Ekaterinburg remains, published in the Russian language Orthodox site

Father Tikhon, what is your opinion on the remains found on the Koptyaki Road, near Ekaterinburg, in 1979 and 2007?

— I regard them as the remains of the last Russian Emperor Nicholas Alexandrovich, his August family and devoted servants.

You have finished writing your new book, dedicated to the search for the remains of the Imperial Family. What is it called?

— Indeed, I have finished the layout of my new book. Since 1985, I have been familiar with the researchers who discovered the remains of the Imperial Family – Geliy Trofimovich Ryabov (1932-2015) and Alexander Nikolaevich Avdonin (born 1932). The name of my book is Романовы: убийство, поиск, обретение’ [Romanovs: Murder, Search, Acquisition]. It will be a richly illustrated album, including documents, correspondence and photographs which have never been published anywhere before.

PHOTO: Archimandrite Tikhon (Zatekin) holding a copy of his new book ‘Романовы: убийство, поиск, обретение’ [Romanovs: murder, search, acquisition].

Is it true that Geliy Ryabov and Alexander Avdonin told you back in the 1980s that they had found the remains?

— Yes, for the first time these wonderful men confidentially revealed to me a secret which they swore not to disclose to anyone. In 1986, Geliy Ryabov and Alexander Avdonin took me to Ganina Yama, where they described in detail about the events that took place there in July 1918. In conversations with Geliy Ryabov, I saw how he grieved that no one could read or sing a Panikhida [memorial service for the dead] over the hidden remains of the Imperial Family.

But, it was generally assumed that that Ryabov was an unbeliever, is this true?

— Unfortunately, such assumptions have been made, but this is not true. I have known Geliy Trofimovich personally since the mid-1980s, he was a deeply religious person. Both he and Alexander Nikolaevich Avdonin are intellectuals of incredible erudition and decency. I remember how in 1985, I went with Geliy Trofimovich and his wife Olga Alexandrovna to pray at the Trinity-Sergius Lavra [near Moscow]. There were many pilgrims there that day. Having patiently stood in line, we venerated the holy relics of St. Sergius. It was very touching to see Geliy Trofimovich write a prayer note for “Nikolai, Alexandra, Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia and Alexei.” I placed the note in the hands of an old monk in the Assumption Church.

— In addition, have at my disposal the vast correspondence of Geliy Ryabov with various people, many of his letters reflect the deep, penetrating words of his faith.

There is a rumour that G. T. Ryabov and A. N. Avdonin “discovered” the remains on the instructions of the KGB, and they were planted once by employees of this very organization.

— This alleged report does not stand up to scrutiny. People who adhere to this “rumour”, apart from words, those who adhere to it have failed to produce a single shred of evidence to support such a claim. From the period of the history of “developed socialism” we know about the confrontation between the two giants of the Soviet era – the KGB and the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Ryabov was an adviser to the Minister of Internal Affairs N.A. Shchelokov, and not Yu.V. Andropov, who headed the State Security Committee.

— Moreover, the KGB, on the contrary, kept an eye on Ryabov and his activities, and Ryabov himself was well aware of this.

— The correspondence between Ryabov and Avdonin, during their search for the remains of the Imperial Family from 1976-1991, is published for the first time in my book. They had to encrypt their activities, just in case their letters were intercepted and read by the KGB. Therefore, the allegations that Geliy Ryabov and Alexander Avdonin were KGB officers have no basis.

PHOTO: Geliy Trofimovich Ryabov (1932-2015)

PHOTO: Alexander Nikolaevich Avdonin at the Romanov Memorial Hall, Museum of History and Archaeology of the Urals, Ekaterinburg

Can you recommend any books to those who want to learn the truth about the Ekaterinburg remains?

— The three-volume book “The Crime of the Century. Investigation Materials”, explores in detail the murder of the Imperial Family, and the investigation into their death, one which has lasted more than a century. I recommend that you take a look at this work. This is a serious long-term study of the first and second investigations. Experts were involved in this three-volume collection, each of whom performed their work at the highest professional level. These books contain undeniable evidence of the authenticity of the remains found in 1979 and 2007 at Porosenkov Log. In my opinion, the comparison of the documents of the investigation file of Nikolai Sokolov and his book “The Murder of the Royal Family” are of particular importance.

— Millions of people who read Sokolov’s book believe it to be the infallible evidence of the truth. However, one should not forget that a book is a book. Moreover, it was published after the books by Mikhail Diterikhs (1874-1937) and Robert Wilton (1868-1925), who, for some reason, without waiting for the end of the investigative process, hurried to release their books without Sokolov’s consent.

— Recently, a television documentary “The Romanov Case: Investigation has been Established” has also been released. Not everyone was able to read the book published on the website of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, but the documentary, I am sure, was watched by millions of Russians. The documentary was able to convey the conclusion that the tasks set by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Rus’ before the new investigation in 2015 were completed, and the last Holy Synod in 2021 came to the conclusion that the investigation left no doubts about the authenticity of the remains of Emperor Nicholas II and his family found near Yekaterinburg. For me, the most important thing is that since 2015, the Church has admitted to the investigative process, which had the opportunity to exercise full control over all research,

PHOTO: the three-volume set of books Crime of the Century has only been published in Russian

The book Crime of the Century you mentioned says that it was you who showed Mine No. 7 to Anatoly Verkhovsky. And yet, there are many who consider him the discoverer of Ganina Yama. What can you tell us about this?

— In 1989, Geliy Ryabov published an article about the discovery of the secret burial place of the Romanovs in the Moskovskiye Novosti newspaper, At the time, Anatoly Verkhovsky was working for me at the parish in the city of Artemovsky, Sverdlovsk Region. After the publication of the article, I told everyone who was present that day in the parish refectory about this secret and my participation in it. Verkhovsky was intrigued by my announcement. I presented him with a copy of Pavel Bykov’s book “The Last Days of the Romanovs“, and also showed him my albums with photographs of the Imperial Family. I also had one special album with photographs from Nikolai Sokolov‘s book The Murder of the Tsar’s Family, which contained a map of the area…

— Verkhovsky was literally shocked by my story that Ryabov and Avdonin had allegedly discovered the Tsar’s remains. It was I who took him to Ganina Yama, where I told him in detail everything that Geliy Ryabov had told me in 1986, and showed him Mine Number 7. Therefore, Anatoly Verkhovsky cannot be recognized as the discoverer of Ganina Yama, because it was Ryabov and Avdonin who discovered the place in 1977-1979, whereupon they created a large-scale map of the area. It is interesting to add, that by the time I showed the mine to Verkhovsky, the Archbishop of Yekaterinburg and Verkhoturye Melkhizedek (Lebedev) had already been made aware of the location of the remains of the Imperial Family by me, and with his blessing, we were making plans to rebury them under the throne of our church in Artyomovsk.

Some people continue to doubt the authenticity of the remains of the Imperial Family, claiming that these remains have not produced any miracles. How do you respond to their claims?

— Archpriest Alexander Shargunov has written about the miracles performed through the prayerful intercession of the Holy Royal Martyrs. The publishing house of the Nizhny Novgorod Caves Monastery is currently preparing the book “Holy Royal Relics. History, Signs, Miracles”, which will tell in detail about the miracles from the relics of the Imperial Family.

— When I visit St. Petersburg, I go to the Russian State Historical Archive (RGIA), where I carry out research for my books. I always stop by the Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral, where I pray near the tomb holding the relics of the Holy Royal Martyrs. There is a candlestick and an icon next to the tomb, but there is no way to approach the tomb: a red velvet rope barrier hangs in the doors leading to the chapel. Several times I asked the museum workers who were on duty there to let me in to pray, light a candle, put flowers, and I always receive a categorical refusal. Not only do they refuse me, a clergyman in a cassock and klobuk, but Orthodox pilgrims and tourists as well.

Those who dispute the authenticity of the Ekaterinburg Remains predict a new church schism, if they are recognized as Holy Relics by the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church. What are your thoughts on their claim?

— These people are also trying to find the truth, but the fact that some of them claim that they speak “on behalf of Orthodox people”, focusing on a “possible schism”, is truly terrible. By doing this, they have already separated themselves from the Holy Mother of the Church. Recently, some people have been holding their own conferences, at which they express their opinions and evidence “about the falsification of the Tsar’s remains”, and at the same time they report in the media that they are doing this allegedly “in pursuance of the decision of the Council of Bishops.” I doubt that they received an official blessing at these conferences from His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Rus’.

— I can tell you, that during the last two thousand years, the Holy Church has experienced numerous schisms and disorders, but one thing is unshakable – these are the words of Christ the Saviour spoken to the Apostle Peter: “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matt. 16:18). Saint Cyprian of Carthage said, accessible to the human mind and heart, very simple words: “He who does not have the church as his mother, does not have God as his father.”

— If the Council of Bishops recognizes the “Ekaterinburg remains” as those of the Holy Royal Martyrs, then the entire Plenitude of the Russian Orthodox Church should accept this holy news with reverence and joy. When the relics of the Holy Royal Martyrs are placed in shrines, and due honours are given to them, and numerous pilgrims and pilgrims come to them, then, by the inexpressible mercy of God, they will show us sinners their help, miracles and healings. And then Russia will shine in even greater glory.

‘Романовы: убийство, поиск, обретение’ [Romanovs: murder, search, acquisition]

A new historical work has recently been published Романовы: убийство, поиск, обретение, written by the by the abbot of the Pechersky Ascension Monastery, and deputy head of the Nizhny Novgorod branch of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society (IOPS), Archimandrite Tikhon (Zatekin).

The work of Archimandrite Tikhon is a colossal study of the murder of the Russian Imperial Family, and the century long investigation. It includes documents, letters and testimonies which have never been published anywhere before. The book is supplement with about 1,500 photographs, many of which are published for the first time.

The memories of all witnesses, as well as archival and photographic materials are placed in chronological order, which cover the entire history of searches and excavations at Porosenkov Log in 1979 and 2007. The author has used photographs, manuscripts, letters and documents from the archive of G. T. Ryabov, kept by his widow Olga Alexandrovna.

The unique correspondence between Ryabov and Avdonin in the 1970-1980s, which was previously completely inaccessible to historians and researchers, is interesting. The author presents evidence, which allows the reader to thoroughly understand how the search was carried out. This was not an easy task, it required courage, bold creative thinking, and analysis from Ryabov and Avdonin.


The number of new books published in Russia about Nicholas II and his family each year is simply staggering! Clearly there is a demand for such books, or publishers would not waste their resources on such projects. The fact that so many new titles are being published is a clear indication of public demand. It is encouraging that a new generation of Russian readers have taken an interest in learning about their country’s history, something denied to them during the Soviet years.

© Paul Gilbert. 28 November 2022

BOOK REVIEW: ‘The Lost World of Imperial Russia’

Book review by Mikhail Smirnov, published on Russian Faith

A Great Book for those Interested in Orthodox Culture

I had the opportunity to review the new book, The Lost World of Imperial Russia, by Russian historian, Paul Gilbert. This book is available at Amazon for a decent price and I do recommend it for your Orthodox library. There are indeed a number of illustrated books on Russia, but this one is from a purely Orthodox perspective, that captures key elements of the Orthodox empire of Russia. Saints such as John of Kronstadt, and many others, are displayed in the book. Many churches and ecclesial events are also displayed…pictures that are very hard to find and very helpful for those who research Russia and plan on visiting Russia. I intend to bring this book the next time I visit, primarily because, again, it is most purely Orthodox.

It’s certainly a good coffee table book, but the more I look at it the more I see it as a travel book. It’s approximately 8.5×11, so it’s not too big, and not very heavy. Most importantly it has the right stuff in it for those who really want to experience Russia in the way we believe it should be experienced.

On that note of experiencing Russia, I would like to add that what Paul reveals here is foundational for Orthodox Christians or those seeking Orthodoxy, but from my experience, the more miraculous experiences happen from how you “live and leave” these areas. Many of these places are holy sites, where saints dwelled and worked, and where angels still dwell and work. So, locating the right place, as you can find in this book, and then praying and maybe even spending time at these places will enable you to experience the grace of God when you need it in everyday life.

Get the book, not necessarily to see nice pics, but to begin your journey to Holy Russia. The war will clear soon and it will be relatively easy to travel there. Open the book, pray to God, and then go!

© Mikhail Smirnov. 16 November 2022