#Romanovs100 reveals rare artistic photos of Nicholas II in perfect physical shape
Exercising was an essential part of Nicholas II’s life: he enjoyed a great variety of activities and did his best to share his interest with his five children and entourage. From a young age to his last days in captivity (aged 50), Nicholas II found ways to keep his body in fantastic shape.
Horse-riding, fencing and shooting were all a part of the young tsarevich’s curriculum – a must for the ruling elite. Over the years, Nicholas II developed an affection for other disciplines like badminton, kayaking and swimming; but his biggest passion was lawn tennis.
Summer games would often end with a skinny dip in the sea. Bathing suits were already in use but were still clumsy and more often men and women swam separately in specially equipped bathhouses.
Nicholas II had a swimming pool built for him in his wing of the Alexander Palace. It was a beautiful space adorned by Moroccan lamps and wooden panels, complete with a private gym. Even on his train, for lengthy trips when he was forced to live on the road, he built a trapeze.
Another sport that travelled with the Tsar was kayaking: he loved rowing on still water and at sea, so a kayak would always go with him during trips on the royal yacht ‘Standart.’ His children were fond of rowing as well.
Nicholas II with his children in 1907 in Krasnoye Selo - the great military camp outside St Petersburg used by the regiments of the Imperial Guard for summer manoeuvres. Back in Summer 1890 this is where young Nicholas II met dancer Mathilde Kschessinska and romance blossomed: "After lunch, went for the last time to the dear little theatre at Krasnoe Selo. Said goodbye to Kschessinska." He wrote in his diary. #nicholasii #alexeiromanov #anastasianikolaevna #romanovs100
The Tsar was known for his love of long walks: his own diaries mention these treks almost on a daily basis. His contemporaries would later recall how it was near to impossible to keep up with his pace and endurance.
After Nicholas II abdicated the throne and, together with his family and closest staff, was put under arrest in Tsarskoye Selo with limited access to the park, he took up chopping wood and gardening. Not only did it provide much-needed exercise, but also kept his children entertained. It was here that he took his final bike-ride in 1917 before moving to stricter confinement in Siberia.