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The Gilded Cage

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The story of Tsar Nicholas II's four daughters. As they grew up, the sisters attracted frenzied press attention and grew close to their parents' advisor Rasputin.

Interviews with leading historians, archive footage and dramatic reconstruction reveal the childhoods of Tsar Nicholas II's four daughters - Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia - and the truth behind the fairy-tale images. The sisters were the most photographed princesses of their day, attracting the same frenzied press attention as Princess Diana later would, but their public profile masked the reality of their strange and very isolated upbringing.

The sisters' lives changed forever after the birth of their little brother Alexei, whose life-threatening haemophilia meant that he became the main focus of their mother Alexandra's love and attention. Alexandra was obsessed with keeping Alexei's illness an absolute secret, so the family lived in a gilded cage - the girls seldom left the confines of their palace, had few friends and knew almost nothing of the outside world. One of the few outsiders to whom the four sisters became genuinely close was their parents' controversial spiritual advisor Rasputin, the only person who seemed able to alleviate Alexei's suffering.

As adolescents, the girls grew even closer to Rasputin. Because their mother was often unwell, frequently locked herself away and refused to see her daughters, they turned instead to Rasputin for advice on all their teenage problems. Rasputin was notorious for his debauchery, so his relationship with Alexandra and the sisters was cause for mounting concern amongst the extended Romanov family, and it wasn't long before shocking rumours started to circulate about what exactly was going on amidst the seclusion of the Alexander Palace.

1 hour

Last on

Mon 14 Jan 2019 22:00

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Role Contributor
Producer Eleanor Scoones
Director Eleanor Scoones
Executive Producer Emma Hindley


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