Prince Konstantin Konstantinovich the younger and the Kunstkamera



Prince Konstantin Konstantinovich the younger, 1 January 1891–18 July 1918

Prince Konstantin was the fourth child and third son of Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich the elder and Grand Duchess Yelizaveta Mavrikiyevna (née Princess Elisabeth Auguste Marie Agnes of Saxe–Altenburg). The family eventually grew to nine children, of whom eight survived into adulthood. They were among the few branches of the extended family tree to have a fairly close relationship with Nicholas II’s family, since they were so normal and moral in comparison to many of their other relatives.

konstantin as the sun

Dressed as the Sun, in a play put on for his parents on their 25th anniversary

Like just about all Romanov males, Konstantin, called Kostya, attended the Corps des Pages military academy from a young age. He was also taught at home by tutors, though the most brilliant member of the family was his younger brother Oleg. Konstantin had crushes on Grand Duchess Olga Nikolayevna and Princess Elisabeta of Romania, and was so eager to start his own family after seeing the happiness of his oldest brother, Ioann, and his older sister Tatyana. He was described as a sweet, shy, silent person.


Prince Konstantin, right, with his younger brother Prince Igor

Konstantin, along with his brothers Ioann, Gavriil, Oleg, and Igor, served in the Izmaylovskiy Guards Regiment during the Great War. They all became decorated war heroes, risking their lives in the front-line trenches along with everyone else, and were well-liked by their fellow soldiers. Sadly, Oleg was killed in action in 1914, though that probably spared him the fate of Ioann, Igor, and Konstantin.


The eight surviving siblings circa 1907; I’m at least 90% sure Konstantin is third from the left in the front row

In April 1918, Konstantin, Igor, and Ioann fell into Bolshevik hands and were taken to the Urals. They initially were held in Yekaterinburg, and then taken to nearby Alapayevsk. Also with them were Prince Vladimir Pavlovich Paley, Grand Duke Sergey Mikhaylovich and his secretary, and the Tsaritsa’s sister Ella and one of her nuns.

On 18 July 1918, the day after the Imperial Family were murdered, the Alapayevsk prisoners were blindfolded, had their hands bound, and were taken by wagons to an abandoned mineshaft. Only Grand Duke Sergey knew they were being taken to be murdered, and tried to resist several times. The prisoners were beaten and thrown alive into the water-filled mineshaft, with grenades thrown in after them. Some of them took several days to die. When the White Army found the bodies, they saw Konstantin’s mouth and stomach stuffed with dirt, a desperate attempt to quench his hunger and thirst.


Ikon of the Alapayevsk martyrs; I can discern just enough Church Slavonic to understand Konstantin is on the far left in the group on the right

In my alternative history, Konstantin is rescued, and becomes the husband of Grand Duchess Olga, one of the women he had a crush on. Sadly, in real life, this sweet, shy prince never found the marriage and family he longed for so badly.

View of the Kunstkamera from across the Neva River, Copyright FlorsteinCreative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported2.5 Generic2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license

The Kunstkamera is a largely ethnographic and anthropological museum, which I’d best compare to Philadelphia’s creepy Mütter Museum. Basically, it’s full of medical curiosities like deformed skeletons and human remains. Established in 1727 by Peter the Great, it holds the distinction of being Russia’s very first museum. In addition to its massive cabinet of curiosities, it also has a large mineralogical collection, the first 1,195 of which came from Peter the Great himself. Sadly, some of the objects were lost to a 1747 fire.

Copyright Витольд Муратов (Vitold Muratov), Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

4 thoughts on “Prince Konstantin Konstantinovich the younger and the Kunstkamera

  1. This is a great post. I love all the images you found and the level of research you did is amazing. Russian history is filled with so many of these tragic lives. I’m glad you’re giving one of them a happy ending. Alternative history is so good for that, righting all of real history saddest stories.
    Robin from Write On Sisters


  2. Pingback: A to Z Reflections 2016 | Welcome to My Magick Theatre

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