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Why King George V of Great Britain refused to save his cousin Nicholas II
Why King George V of Great Britain refused to save his cousin Nicholas II

Even after the February Revolution, it was clear that the family of the Russian Emperor Nicholas II was in danger and had to be saved somehow. At that time, in many royal houses, the question of removing the king and his loved ones from the country was discussed, but at the same time no one took the liberty of sheltering the monarch, who was forced to abdicate. Only the British agreed to provide shelter to the Romanovs, but later withdrew their invitation. The fatal role in this was played by the cousin of Nicholas II George V.

Family ties

Nicholas II and George V with heirs: Prince of Wales Edward and Tsarevich Alexei

Queen Victoria was known to be the mother of nine children, and virtually all European monarchs were, to one degree or another, related to British monarchs. True, this did not at all mean that they all treated each other with respect, and there was no need to talk about great love at all.

But the future monarchs of Great Britain and Russia maintained rather warm relations. Their mothers were sisters, and often together with their children visited the house of their parents - Danish King Christian and his wife Louise, where Nikolai and Georg became friends. The boys, being very similar in appearance, found similar interests and began to relate to each other with obvious sympathy.

Nicholas II and George V

Queen Victoria did not approve of this friendship, since the Crimean War she believed that a hostile force emanated from the Russians. But later, even her heart thawed, and the wedding of Nikolai with Alice Gessen helped to normalize Russia's relations with Europe.

The cousins ​​corresponded over the years, calling each other "sweet Georgie" and "old Nicky." When the revolution broke out in Russia, George V was worried about the fate of his cousin, about which he wrote to him, assuring him of eternal friendship and loyalty. Unfortunately, these words were forgotten, and the mortal danger hanging over the family of Nicholas II did not make the British king remember his own words about loyalty, devotion and old friendship.

From renunciation to death

The royal family

From the moment of the abdication of Nicholas II from the throne and to the execution of the royal family in the basement of the Ipatiev house, 15 long months passed. And all this time, the fate of the Russian emperor was the subject of discussion in many royal houses and governments of Europe. The provisional government initially considered the possibility of expelling the entire family from the country, so that the supporters of the monarchy would not try to return the king to the throne. But deportation required the consent of any country to grant asylum to the ousted monarch, his wife and children. But not a single government, and not a single monarchy has ever dared to take on such a colossal responsibility.

The royal family

At that time, one had to choose between possible risks and ephemeral positive consequences. It should be understood that even then the Europeans were already categorically opposed to the Romanov family, considering Nicholas II a real tyrant, whose hands were soiled with the blood of ordinary people. Therefore, the granting of asylum could force the people to go out into the streets with protests, and no one in this case could give a guarantee of the preservation of the monarchy in any of the European countries.

The positive consequences of such a step seemed very vague.Helping the Romanovs could, to some extent, play into the hands of the monarchy, because noble gestures have always been valued in society. But the prospects for the growth of revolutionary sentiments seemed much more real.

Nicholas II and George V

However, the British government still decided to take the risk and provide shelter to the Romanovs, which it even officially announced. But less than a week after this statement, the king hesitated and began to literally insist on changing his position on this issue. As a result, the Foreign Ministry refused the invitation, recommending instead the leadership of the ministry to advise the Russian government to resolve this issue on its own.

Attempts to persuade George V failed, and he openly turned to the Foreign Office leadership, saying that Britain should withdraw its invitation. In fact, he turned away indifferently from "old Nicky" when the guns were already pointed at him.

Nicholas II and George V

The king of Great Britain was simply afraid of revolutionary sentiments in the country and decided to sacrifice his friendship with Nicholas II and the life of his cousin. The interests of the monarchy were much higher than family ties and youthful friendship. The reports that George V received on the mood in society also played a role in this. He knew how negatively his subjects were against the Romanov family, and how rapidly against this background the English monarchy was losing its authority.

Historians believe that the failure to save the Romanovs allowed the Windsors to survive. However, in any case, the fatal shot in the basement of the Ipatiev house was not fired by George V. And can he be judged for the fact that in a dangerous situation he saved not his cousin's family, but the British royal family?

More than a hundred years have passed since those bloody events, but the controversy continues to this day. Who gave the order, did Lenin know about the destruction of the royal family, what happened to the executors of the sentence? These questions have not yet been answered unequivocally. The investigation of the ashes of the inmates of the Ipatiev House has not yet been completed. They are numbered among the Saints of the Russian Orthodox Church. But did those who committed this terrible crime pay, and what kind of life did they live?

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