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Russian Roulette

Did you know that some of the Russian Royalty resided at the Imperial Hotel? Read more here.

Several members of the Russian Imperial family resided at the Imperial to escape persecution in Russia.

On 11 April 1919, less than a year after the assassination of the head of the Romanov Imperial family, 17 exiled Russian royalty, including the Tsar’s mother, the Dowager

The crown colony of Malta received the refugees with no fanfare, as they did not want to attract unwanted attention. The colonial government made sure their arrival was neither publicised nor mentioned in the daily chronicles.
Empress Marie, Prince Felix Youssoupov, and the former Commander-in-Chief of the Russian armies Grand Duke Nicholas, boarded the Marlborough to escape Russia, which was experiencing the Bolshevic revolution.

One of the stops was Malta, were author Frances Welch describes how the Dolgororoukys, Baroness Olga, Princess Sofka and Prince Vassily and their English Nanny Miss King, lodged at a Hotel in Sliema. Ms Welch describes how ‘The Manager seemed to know very little about his guests. He was expecting them to be penniless.’’

The Hotel Manager screened off part of the dining-room so as not to embarrass the poor refugees (the Dolgorukys), only to find his indifferent guests coming down in ‘full, albeit old-fashioned, evening dress and glittering with jewels.’

The Imperial family was said to find peace in Malta and a return to niceties which they missed on the Marlborough. With morning walks and friendly visits to one another – they seemed to have put all their travels and turbulence far behind.

The departure of the Russian family from Yalta took away the survived members of the Romanov Imperial family away from Russia into indefinite exile. Their stay at the Imperial is a fascinating example of how the Imperial is entwined in some of the most interesting and lesser known historical stories about  Malta.