Was George V indirectly to blame for the murder of his Romanov cousins?
Did he fear his own English crown would be jeopardized if he gave asylum to the Russian tsar and his family?
There is evidence that the English royals were worried. They had good reason to be. The costs of the Great War were already much greater than anyone had imagined. Scarcely a single family had been spared, and the end still was not in sight. In a show of loyalty to the Allies, the family renounced their German titles. Their surname was changed from the Germanic-sounding Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor.
And now the dilemma came. The horizon upon which Russia lay was darkening, and the signs were ominous for George V’s lookalike cousin, Nicholas and his family.
The King of England and the Tsar of Russia were first cousins. They were the same age, they had grown up together. And now as the revolution raged in Russia, the Bolsheviks circled Nicholas and his family like buzzards, waiting.
It seemed an easy choice. But George had no foresight into how the war would end. The German victories in the early days of the war were shocking and many believed England would be defeated eventually. And, with revolution brewing on the Continent and increasingly in his own kingdom, the English King hesitated.
Casualties from the German war were appalling and it was hardly a secret that the Empress Alexandra was a German. Her presence in England would likely call additional attention to another problematic cousin of the King’s: Kaiser Wilhelm. Rumors of improper influence wielded by the mad monk Rasputin may have also been a factor. Would it aggravate matters to give the Romanovs asylum in his own kingdom?
Did George decide not to offer his cousin asylum, or did he just continue to hesitate? However it happened, no offer was made and the window of opportunity closed. The Romanovs were soon beyond George’s help.