It is one of the supreme ironies of history that the blessed birth of an only son should have proved the mortal blow. Even as the saluting cannons boomed and the flags waved, Fate had prepared a terrible story. Along with the lost battles and sunken ships, the bombs, the revolutionaries and their plots, the strikes and revolts, Imperial Russia was toppled by a tiny defect in the body of a little boy.
I wish I wasn't an imperial highness or an ex-grand duchess. I'm sick of people doing things to me because of what I am. Girl-in-white-dress. Short-one-with-fringe. Daughter-of-the-tsar. Child-of-the-ex-tyrant. I want people to look and see me, Anastasia Nikolaevna Romanova, not the caboose on a train of grand duchesses. Someday, I promise myself, no one will be able to hear my name or look at my picture and suppose they know all about me. Someday I will do something bigger than what I am.