Watercolours of Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna of Russia

I read about an absolutely amazing person and would like to share it with you.

Grand Duchess Olga was the youngest sister of the last Russian  Emperor Nicholas II (who was tragically shot together with all his family after the Revolution in 1918). She was born in 1882 in Saint Petersburg and enjoyed all the privileges of being a Princess. She was very modest and democratic,  didn’t like to dress up or wear jewelry and her mother, the Empress constantly berated her for that demanding her to look and behave as a Princess.

Portrait of Grand Duchess Olga by V.Serov

When she was 12 years old, her father Alexander III with whom she was very close, died and her brother Nicholas became Emperor.


At 19 she married  the Duke Peter of Oldenburg. He was 14 years her older, he was gay and he was a gambler. Once he gambled away a million roubles (huge money!) of Olga’s inheritance. Needless to say she was very unhappy.

Olga with her first husband Duke of Oldenburg

Olga was always talented, all the children in her family were taught art and she’d been painting from the early childhood. She was very unhappy and lonely and she threw herself into painting.

Olga painting

She met a cavalry officer Nicholai Kulikovsky and fell in love with him.

But her husband being a mean and horrible person and enjoying his position of the Grand Duchess’s husband too much, wouldn’t give her a divorce.

Eventually their marriage was annulled by Nicholas II and sge married Nikolai in 1916. They were very happy together and had two sons.

Her second marriage to Nikolai Kulikovsky was a happy one

During the First World War her husband was fighting at the front and Olga and her Mother organised an army hospital in Kiev and she served there as an army nurse. She was awarded a medal for personal gallantry. Did you hear about lots of Royals who would do that?!

Olga as an army nurse in the Kiev hospital

In the war hospital. Emperor Nicholas II is looking at the soldiers.

At the downfall of the Romahovs during the Russian Revolution of 1917, she fled to the Crimea at the Black sea with her husband and children, where they lived under constant threat of assassination.

Olga escaped revolutionary Russia with her  husband and their two sons in February 1920.

Olga and her family

They joined her mother, the Dowager Empress, in Denmark (the Empress’ motherland). In exile, Olga acted as companion and secretary to her mother. After the Dowager Empress’s death in 1928, Olga and her husband bought a dairy farm. She led a simple life: raising her two sons, working on the farm and painting. During her lifetime, she painted over 2,000 works of art, which provided extra income for both her family and the charitable causes she supported.

Going to Canada

After the Second world War Olga was wanted by the Stalin’s regime as she had been helping the Russian emigrants. In 1948 Olga emigrated with her immediate family to a farm in Ontario, Canada. By that time her sons were grown up, married and had their own children.

With her two sons

With advancing age, Olga and her husband moved to a  little bungalow. Colonel Kulikovsky died there in 1958. Two years later Olga died aged 78.  At the end of her life and afterwards, Olga was widely known as the last Grand Duchess of Imperial Russia.

Here are some of her paintings for you to admire:

little cows

Little calves





Portrait of N.Kulikovsky, Olga’s 2nd husband




two sons





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