The year was 1745

Sophie von Anhalt-Zerbst was supposed to change her language, her religion, and even her first name to be suitable for her prospective husband’s family. While he stayed in his rooms playing with his massive collection of tin soldier armies, Sophie, alone and friendless in her new country, was studying, often pacing her suite of rooms…

The year was 1581

Okay, one of the Ivans was truly terrible. But he had a pretty authentic reason to be. When Ivan, the Grand Duke of Moscow, was three and his little brother Yuri, a deaf mute, was two, their father, Czar Vasily III, died. Their mother acted as regent for the babies, but when Ivan was seven,…

The year was 1904

What Czar Nicholas desperately needed was a son. Czarina Alexandra quickly gave birth to five daughters, all healthy. Finally, on Aug. 12, 1904, a son arrived. Baby Alexei seemed healthy, but when he was six weeks old, he began bleeding through his naval. The blood could not be stopped. The horrible truth – hemophilia! This…