Our World – Our World – In Search of a Lost Princess

It’s approaching midnight on July 16
1918 a truck is making its way along dirt track towards a mansion in
Siberia in the newly declared People’s Republic of the Soviet Union. Despite the
fact that truck is behind schedule it’s crawling along at a snail’s pace. At the
same time Tsar Nicholas the second, the deposed Russian monarchy. His wife
Alexandra, his son and heir Alexei, his four daughters the grand duchess Tatiana
the grand duchess Olga and the Grand Duchess is Maria and Anastasia and their
entourage are entering a dingy cellar in the same mansion. Their fate was sealed
they would leave the cellar victims of 12 cold-blooded assassins. A testimony to
the brutality of the Russian Revolution. Since that day a mystery has surrounded
one of the Czar’s daughters. Popular belief has it that it was the youngest
daughter Anastasia who survived the assassination. In 1992 when the bones of
the Tsar and his family were discovered in a forest in Siberia completeness was
added to that belief you see two bodies were missing that of the Tsar’s son and heir,
Alexei and one of his daughters. Since the assassination a number of women have
claimed to be Anastasia. These are the bones of one of those claimants but
there’s a difference during her lifetime she never actually claimed to be
Anastasia that claim comes from some of her grandchildren
today. They say that she lived her life under an assumed name but secretly and
privately she said she was the Grand Duchess of Russia the only surviving
daughter of the Tzar and again unlike other claimants who chased the throne of
Russia she lived her life in fear and in hiding until the day she died. Her family
sworn to secrecy never to reveal the truth until the time was right. They say
that time is now. Over the past three years we have spent thousands of dollars
investigating their claims. We’ve employed some of the world’s best
forensic scientists to discover whether these bones are in fact the last remains
of Anastasia Romanov the Grand Duchess of Russia but before we reveal our
findings it’s important to know what really happened on that night in 1918
when the Bolsheviks tried to snuff out the Russian Royal Family.
What you’re about to see is a reenactment. A reenactment of what was
reported to the Central Executive Committee by Yakov Yorovski. The man in
charge of the assassinations. According to Yorovski the Tsar and his family
were ushered in to the cellar under the pretext that fighting was breaking out
nearby and that the royal family had been taken into the cellar for their own
good. That was a lie. He then spun them another yarn. Telling
them that the people of Moscow feared that they were already dead. He told them
he was going to take their photograph and send it back to Moscow to prove they
were still alive. Yurovsky reported that the Tzarina Alexandra who had weak legs
asked for a chair for herself and her haemophelic son The plan to assassinate the Tzar and his
family didn’t go smoothly. As well as the truck being late
many of the guards were drunk. 12 men including 6 Latvians had been selected
to murder the Emperor and his family. Each of the 12 men had been given
specific targets. Several of the Latvians refused to kill
the young girl’s. Replacement killers were found. Inside the small cellar the
imperial family were being prepared for the bogus photographic session. Instead
of a photographer in marched Yorovski’s 12 gunmen. Yorovski drew a piece of paper from his pocket. It was their death sentence. He read “In view of the fact your
relatives are continuing their attack on Soviet Russia the Ural Executive
Committee has decided to execute you.” Those were the last words the Tzar heard. According to your Yorovski’s account the
shooting went on for so long, the small room became so thick with acrid gun
smoke a small single light in the center of the room is almost totally dimmed At last the firing ceased The assassins check the bodies to ensure
they had done their work thoroughly. Unbelievably some of the girls were
still alive The assassins finished the job or so they thought. Yorovski ordered the cellar doors opened to allow the smoke to clear. The gunmen again check their handiwork. Unbelievably, Yurovsky reports that for
the second time three of the girls sat-up screaming. With the doors open the
killers could not now shoot the survivors for fear of raising the alarm.
So they stabbed them with their bayonets. and bludgeon them with their rifle butts. The bodies were wrapped in the Royal
Family’s own bed linen and taken out to the truck for disposal. What was it that it caused the Tzar’s
children such vitality as Yorovski called it in his report. Why were they so
difficult to kill? Was it divine intervention? As some of the killer’s
feared. Not at all as it turned out the girls were wearing corsets lined with
diamonds and other jewels. So many they deflected the bayonets and bullets alike. So that was the official account of how
the Tzar and his family died. Not just Yorovski’s account but the account of as
many as six or seven other eyewitnesse. All sufficiently different and all
sufficiently the same to make it believable. Believable that is until it
comes to the burial of the royal family in the forest close to Ekaterinburg. As we have already said mysteriously the bodies of two of the Czar’s children were missing There is no doubt that Alexi was not buried with the rest of
the family but there is some doubt as to whether in fact it was Anastasia or
Maria’s body that was missing. Nevertheless popular belief has it that
it was Anastasia who somehow miraculously lived the onslaught of the
bullets and the bandits but how did they escape that slaughter in the cellar of the Ipatiev house. The House of Special Purpose as it was called. And after they had been wrapped in cloth and tossed presumed dead in the back of the truck.
As for Alexi the youngest of the royal family his fate is not for this program. With regard to Anastasia the tales are many and long. The most notorious being
that of Anna Anderson. For many years in fact for
nearly half a century this woman claimed to be Anastasia This story is well known.
But in the early 1990s DNA testing proved conclusively that she was not
Anastasia Romanov. So what happened for that missing girl
presumed to be Anastasia? How was she rescued? And what was the
eventual fate of that pretty teenager? who witnessed her whole family,
mercilessly, gunned down before her very eyes. Where did she escape to and how does she
live out her life? Could the answer be tied up with these two men? Could this be
Anastasia Romanov in her early 20s? Is this her husband? And are these her children? South Africa with all its wildlife and
scenery it’s one of those magic places. This is KwaZulu the heart of Zulu land.
This is where the Zulu nation defeated the British. It’s the last place you’d
expect to find the remains of Anastasia Romanov. The Russian Duchess who escaped
when her family was murdered by the Bolsheviks. The man on the left is Louis
Duval. At 57 he is a retired carpenter a Mauritian born in South Africa during
World War 2. Today he lives in Perth Australia. The other man with him is
Albert Antonovich his stepbrother. He is a South African. It is this woman his
grandmother and Louise step-grandmother they want us to believe was Anastasia
Romanov. She stood five feet, four inches tall and
went by the name of granny Alena. You know my grandmother’s always saying that
she was a duchess honestly and truly believed today that
she could be Anastasia the Grand Duchess of Russia For years the two men lived in a small
Township in Kwa Zulu-Natal They grew up in an area which is today
close to the region’s main Nature Reserve Every year thousands of tourists
stop to marvel at the wildlife, and the world-renowned Zulu dances. The two men
are stepbrothers because Louise mother and Albert’s father lived together until
Albert’s father died. Years later Louie and his mother emigrated to Australia
but in 1996 Louis returned to South Africa and was reunited with his
stepbrother. The pair had a quest to full fill. Their quest to gather evidence to prove
their belief that their grandmother was Anastasia Romanov the only surviving
Grand Duchess of Russia. There was a photograph of her that I can
remember I think it was her parents she did say that is my family with with a
lot of people but I can’t remember details. As the two men revisit their
childhood homes they remember what it was like back in the old days. Not the good old days because back then they lived in fear. In fear of the racist
apartheid system which said because their parents were different colors they
couldn’t be married. Therefore by living together they were
breaking the law. But they say their grandmother lived in fear of a different
kind. In fear of discovery. In fear of being kidnapped. In fear of assassination. But it’s all stories you know shhh don’t tell anybody you know. She lived in fear of
a forgotten princess in exile. The reason that she wanted to keep it a
secret Michael, first of all that she had said that she escaped from the
Revolution and she was always afraid of the KGB. You know she always used to say “But
Albert you know you must be careful the police you know. If they come they’re going to take me away and and and they
they’ll kill me. So you know you must keep quiet you know the the KGB these
people are terrible people the things they’ve done to to my family.” and she never told
you what she did you know. she she she never said you know they did this or
they did that but just that you could see that terrified look. If a
police van drove past then she she used to go into a room and then close the
curtains and stay in the room. If there were strangers coming to the house
exactly the same thing. She’d go into her room and close the room. She wouldn’t
come out. Well this is the house we sold in 64. You know before we moved to Red
Hill. This is our old place. Anyone at home Her memories flooded back
to Albert and Louie as they visited their old home. Mr Syphil. Do you remember me? Yes, It’s lovely to see you
again. This is Albert. Then of course where we’re
standing here was the entrance to our lounge. through the kitchen the kitchen
were just now converted into the bathroom. Do you remember that photo that
used to be on this wall here. That’s right. That’s when she was dressing it in the national uniform. Yes outfit of hers But that photograph is long ago these photographs are the only remaining
photos of Granny Alena. this is the only one of her as a young
woman with her family the rest according to Albert were destroyed in a flood her husband was known as Frank he used
to run a blacksmith shop with Louise maternal grandfather Frank died in 1945
and was buried here in in Pangani little is known of this man say that he
was 37 years older than his wife Alina a huge gap even by today’s liberal
standards it’s in another graveyard that Louise first came to know granny Alina
in 19 April of 1954 when my grandfather passed away in in Vera lung and Helene
Antonovich attended the the funeral she was all dressed up in black and that’s
the first time that I really had a direct contact with her because she had
our arms around me and consoling me the death of my grandfather Louise mother
had known Alina for some years and after the funeral renewed the acquaintance and
became friendly with Alina’s son it was after this that they moved in together. Louise, whose own father dies some years
before, now found himself with a new stepfather, step-grandmother and
step-brother called Albert Albert was a huge man towering more than six foot four
inches. A big lad to be the grandson of five foot three or four inch
grandparents. “Everything in the world was left to her grandchildren and they
weren’t allowed to sell the house or the farm or anything.” Perhaps a clue
to just what may have happened so many years earlier. Albert had leukemia and
died in 1997 Dining room you know you could for 26 people or something on the table it was fantastic atmosphere” Albert knew he was dying and was
grateful of the chance to revisit his childhood homes with Louie and to begin
the long road of trying to piece together their grandmother’s stories. The process to discover the truth, though he knew he’d never finish it. I feel it will bring the Russian Nation together. I could bring them together. And I feel
be given the the the recognition all these years that she was terrified of the KGB
or the Russian people coming to kill her and her grandchildren. Her
grandchildren with the most important things in their life. Everything she did
was for her grandchildren and she was terrified that they were the ones that
were going to be hurt because of her. And all this has stopped. The Russian people
are not against the Tsar and those type of people. If she went back now I feel it
would unite the Russian Nation which has been at war since then they’ve
never been peace of Russia and it could unite them. We would never ever take any
notice. … No no but now I recall that because it was the the father had the beard and the
mother was thick but it was an oval frame with the tortoise. Louie and his
mother Albert and his father and granny Alina lived together on and off for
almost ten years. It was during these years that Louie and Albert heard the
stories of how granny Alina escaped. If the police or anything stopped we used to run inside close the door closed the curtains and peek at the
people who’s out there. They say she never spoke about that dreadful night when the rest of her family were gunned down . But she freely told of her escape.
She told the boys that although her memory was dim she recalls that she was
in the back of a truck there was a lot of noise and faces. She remembered that
she and Alexei were rescued by a group of men and that she remembered seeing a ‘fat old lady’ in the headlights of the truck near
a railway crossing as they were carried off into the misty night. This is the most compelling piece of
anecdotal evidence you see it ties in perfectly with what yer Yorovski said in
his report about the assassination but the interesting thing is that that
report wasn’t published in Russia until the 1980s and in the West until 1993
that’s almost 40 years after granny Alina told the story to Louis and
Albert. Here then is the official account according to Yorovski, of what happened
after the assassination. After the murder. The man in charge of the truck Comrad
Ermicoff was so drunk Yorovski couldn’t trust him to dispose of the bodies. So he
went along with the burial detail. They had driven some 7 miles towards
the mine shaft that Ermicoff had earmarked as the burial site. But they became bogged and the trucks engine overheated. It was by a railway crossing
and the driver of the truck was sent to get help from the crossing attendant a ‘fat old lady’ While the driver was getting water for
the overheated engine Yurovski and the drunken Ermikoff off went off into the woods
to find the troops who were supposed to meet the death truck to help bury its
gross from cargo. It’s at this time according to the two
men that their princess was rescued. It was while the truck driver was walking
back from the railway crossing with the old woman and while you’re Yorovski and
her Ermicoff were in the woods searching for the rest of the burial detail; that
someone or a group of people took the opportunity to check the back of the
truck to see if anyone was still alive and if they were to rescue them. Who those people were we have no idea. But this is the exact
story that was told to Louie an element in the 1950s. So how did she escape therevolutionaries to make her way to South Africa? And how did she survive the
harsh political environment in South Africa and how did she become to be
buried in an unmarked grave in a Township in KwaZulu, just outside Durban
according to Louie and Albert she was passed along an escape route to St Petersburg. Then by boat to Poland she told them she was hidden inside a wooden
crate and she could hear fighting and gunfire nearby. she was actually a stowaway on on the
ship and as the ship was leaving the harbor they were fighting there’s
fighting on the ship and these peasants were being thrown overboard you know
trying to get to these the the royalty and of course the upper classes we
escaped in they they didn’t want anybody to escape. There are unconfirmed reports
from Poland of Anastasia’s nighttime arrival they say that she had a serious
head wound which had to be attended to. That upon her arrival she changed her
name and that she was immediately baptized into the Roman Catholic Church.
Louie and Albert’s say that she stayed in Poland for a number of years in
hiding and regaining her strength but where to from there? To Berlin but how
does she get from Berlin to South Africa? According to Albert
she had the help of a relative in Germany. A Baron. The identity of the
Baron is still a mystery but we mustn’t forget that Anastasia’s mother the
Tzarina Alexandra was in fact the granddaughter of Queen Victoria
therefore Anastasia would have had aunts and uncles in Germany who would have
doubtlessly jumped to her aid. so according to Albert Louie the Baron
arranged false identity for Anastasia. But the two men know nothing more
leaving many questions still unanswered. Was Frank really her husband? Or was this
all part of the ruse to aid her escape? Remember he was 37 years her senior.
Could he have been a Cossack bodyguard? Maybe even this man one of the Imperial
Guards And what of the two boys who were they
really the offspring of granny Alina and Frank as the family believes? Or were
they too part of an elaborate cover-up part of a made-up family again to aid
her escape? Unfortunately there are no reliable records available to prove this
theory one way or the other. Frank died in 1945 so did part of the
truth to this tale. Granny Alina while the Grand Duchess lived on and so did
her mystery. But the time has come to put these mens claim to the test which is
exactly what they want. London, England, the home of the world’s
oldest police force the Metropolitan Police Their headquarters New Scotland
Yard. Every year they investigate thousands of
mysteries, missing-persons, kidnappings, murders, their forensic detectives use a
number of scientists around Britain to help them solve their mysteries. They
recommended Manchester University’s Art in Medicine Department to help solve our
case. The department covers a wide range of areas we are most renowned for a
facial reconstruction and we also do a lot of work in quota comparison. The
department traditionally produced a lot of artwork for textbooks medical
textbooks and we also do quite a lot of work for the university. But more
recently and that we do a lot more photo comparison working with it constitutes
about 80% of our work. And the reconstructions we may have one or two
archeological reconstructions a year and maybe one forensic. ‘We could match data
to yeah yeah the angle is quite similar actually.’ The photographs of granny Alina,
our Anastasia and the real Anastasia were left with these scientists. Well thedifficulties that we find at this sort of work is is the differences in the
position of the person in the photograph and the different camera angles.
For example if the if the head is tilted or put in downwards it changes
all the the vertical dimensions of the face and it and if it’s tilted from side
to side it alters all the horizontal ones. But you can if you get photographs
from a similar sort of angle then you can still do the comparison as long as
everything isn’t too far out. In South Africa Albert decided he wanted to exhume the remains of his grandmother and with
Louis help take the remains back to Australia for DNA testing. arrangements
were made for the exhumation with a Durban Undertaker The mainland where granny Elena was
buried but there was a problem. As we have already said there are no records
of this woman’s existence in South Africa and that includes a death
certificate and burial records which meant permission to exhume the body was
going to be difficult to obtain. You know we haven’t really sort of ascertain
exactly where the place of burial is Yar, but he’s no according to that stone
like there’s been nothing added to that in you know the thought that they would
have added something to that. Yes All the two men knew for certain was the family
history that granny Alina’s body was collected from the hospital by her two
sons. She was buried at night and in secret either on top of or next to her
husband Frank. The Undertaker agreed to help Unfortunately the emotional strain was
proving too much for Albert. The leukemia took a turn for the worse and he had to
return to Johannesburg the medical treatment. That it was the last Louis saw of
his childhood friend Albert died a few months later. Louie was left to carry the flame alone. He and Albert had already identified the
gravesite and some days later Louie and some local council workers began the
gruesome task of exhuming their Anastasia’s remains. As well as speaking
of the secret burial of granny Alina in this plot, the family’s oral history
tells that Alina had been taken ill and was admitted to this hospital In her finally as she was suffering with diabetes. In 1968 she was brought here to
Grace Hospital in Pietermaritzburg where she died. But ironically the night before
she passed away she was full of life. Sitting up in bed singing Russian
lullabies. The next day she died of a heart attack. Again however there are no
records remaining of her admittance or of her death. At the gravesite the exhumation seemed
to be going well the family story tells even after her death the secrecy
continued. Family tradition says that the old lady was secretly buried in this
plot by her two sons. However local council records show that all that
is buried here, is her husband and a stillborn child. Standing by the
graveside it’s not difficult to imagine what it was like here in 1969 when in
the dead of night Alina’s two sons, believing their mother
to be the Grand Duchess of Russia and wanted by the KGB, secretly buried her
with Frank her husband and her bodyguard The exhumation continued but as the
diggers went deeper and deeper they soon became apparent that there was only one
body in the grave that of Frank there was no sign of Alina, their Anastasia. How many? Just one. Nothing else nothing? There’s only one? One, only one.You
wouldn’t know the difference. No. As we have already said no
historian has complicated someone by the fact that the local council has no
record whatsoever of the old lady’s burial. As we have already said the
records show that in the grave next to Frank were the remains of a stillborn
child. Apparently one of his grandchildren. And that presented a
serious problem Louis and Albert didn’t have permission to
exhume the grave of this stillborn child it looked impossible it looked as if
their quest was over. in Manchester the forensic artists have been looking at
the photographic evidence. Comparing the photographs of the real
Anastasia to those of granny Alina. One of the problems the scientists had to
overcome was the fact that the photographs of the real Anastasia and
those of granny Alina were taken at different angles and from different
distances. Making it very difficult to get a good match. I’m still a little bit
unsure about the nose does seem quite quite wide but she is, you know, a lot older so
better yeah definitely. When we first received the anastasiya photographs not
sure we studied studied all the photographs that were actually given to
us and tried to select photographs of Anastasia that matched the as close as
possible to the photographs of the young mother and the and the old lady so so if
we could do it a comparison of those two no thinking it’s a bit off but but those
two are good could match those yeah okay they do seem quite close and actually
I’ll just go and take them to grass and larger and I’m just super getting close
to match up the grants enlarger enables the
scientists to produce a simple outline of a face in our case they were able to increase
the size of the real anastasia’s face to make the face of granule enna but before
they did that they first compared the face of the young granny alina with that
of the old granny alina to make sure that they meshed and in fact they were
the same person you’ll put the photograph of one
underneath on the honda flatbed and then you you can take tracing of that that so
you have actually a permanent image of it on that and then you can replace that
image with the photograph as well as that we did it be at the young mother
and put the tracing over the top and we would you adjust to try and get them to
match as close as possible they matched and our forensic artists are happy that
both the old woman and the young woman with the children are one on the same
they were also confident that they had enough good matches between the
photographs of the real anastasia and granny alina to come up with the result and while the forensic artists at
Manchester University continued their scientific investigations back at the
graveside there were some good news as if by a miracle permission was given to
exhume the grave of the stillborn child next to Frank’s grave there was one very
strict condition if any remains of a child were found then the exhumation was
to cease immediately it was a tense time as the African diggers drove their
spades into the rich red earth it soon became apparent that the grave was a
full size grave it was
okay it was not a half-size grave as you’d expect if a child was buried there the diggers continued down and down they went deeper and
deeper no signs of a child’s remains they had reached the six-foot deep mark
and suddenly they found so it was the body of a now they carefully scraped
back the soil there before their very eyes totally against council records the
remains of a 5.3 inch warriors what is that a little bit yes that’s important complete with false teeth and part of a
burial gown great gravity are these the remains of
Anastasia Romanov any here no no after all these years could at last the
mystery be solved there was only one way to be sure and that was to get these
remains back to Australia and analyse this person’s DNA Oxford England one of
the world’s highest seats of learning the home of the Dark Blues Oxford
University and the big of a circle are more people are professor Brian Sykes is
a world leader in DNA research one of the world’s top DNA detectives of course
DNA in any individual is very personal there’s no one else in the world unless
you have an identical twin that has exactly the same genes but there are a
lot of genes in DNA but it’s not this person’s individual DNA that we’re going
to be looking for rather something called mitochondrial DNA but this gene
mitochondrial DNA as we call it which is concerned with energy production in the
cells a very important gene but it only comes from your mother so she gets it
from her mother and she gets it from her mother so there’s a a single line right
back into the deep past so any point in the past be it a hundred years ago a
thousand years ago ten thousand even a hundred thousand years ago there’s only
ever been one woman alive at the time whose parts this mitochondrial DNA down
to you so it’s a really very useful way of looking into the deep past
and that is what we’ll be trying to extract from these bones here is the
right feeling very good condition second cervical vertebra quite tiny back in
Australia granny Elena’s remains are delivered to
the Victorian Institute of Forensic Science attached to Monash University in
Melbourne professor david ransom is one of Australia’s chief DNA detectives a
forensic pathologist he and his team were more than keen to take a look at
these buzzers interesting erosion that one would expect their plan
was to extract mitochondrial material and compare it with Britain’s Prince
Philip the husband of the Queen of England he is the only living relative
who has the same maternal bloodline as Anastasia like Anastasia a direct
descendant of Queen Victoria therefore the two of them will share the same
maternal or mitochondrial DNA however despite the fact that bones were
in good condition professor Anson’s team were unable to extract any DNA material
in their report they say they were concerned about proceeding any further
concerned about contamination we just couldn’t extract sufficient DNA
to make a reliable test but certainly there is always a danger when you have a
specimen that hasn’t been well preserved of getting cross-contamination this was
a major blow to the family’s efforts to prove that their granny was in fact
Anastasia Romanov the grand duchess of russia what’s more at some time between
being sent to Monash University in Melbourne and the remains being returned
to Louie in Perth the skull of granny Elena had become severely damaged
undeterred and in keeping with his promise to his stepbrother Albert Louie
and his friends spent two years trying to raise enough money to send the bones
to Oxford University where Professor Brian Sykes had already agreed to try to
succeed where Monash had failed during those two years granny Elena’s remains
were in the keeping of an Undertaker’s into vales hometown as a mark of respect
for granny Elena who had been buried secretly in South Africa so many years
earlier Louie arranged for the blessing of a priest to send her on her way have
mercy on your servant Stacia godson Deema the local media looked on earlier
I think we need to us we need to actually see it forensic dentist dr.
Stephen knots and forensics Laurie Webb agreed to oversee the
packing of the remains for the trip to Oxford like his contemporaries in
Australia Professor Brian Sykes at Oxford is acutely aware of the same
pitfalls that plagued Monash University in Australia due the threat of
contamination well so DNA is a very stable chemical so we don’t have to
worry too much about being too careful about keeping things in the freezer and
fridge and so on what we first what we must avoid is getting any contamination
of the bone from the environment it’s not too easy to get to absolutely sure
that what you get out is what was in there in the first place it’s very easy
to contaminate the bones basically and so there’s been a lot of there’s a lot
of false optimism say for example people saying they can get DNA from dinosaur
bones it’s sixty five hundred and twenty million years old
and it turned out and then not to be ancient DNA at all that would be
something that’s contaminating coming in from the present day it’s because of the
threat of contamination the professor Sykes and his team takes
so much care that’s not too hot in here today is it they take the bones into a special
cleanroom I think we’ll well take a droning from here shall we
it was with the fear of contamination in mind that Professor Sykes and his team
began the delicate job of extracting the DNA materials quite colored isn’t it
really is amazing that it’s compared to some of the things we’ve seen the
thousands of years old and it’s only been in the ground for
thirty years and yet can you give me some a couple more way back captain
the process is quite straightforward yeah
first he places tape around the area he intends to drill right I’ll now start to
clean the area now then we’ll get too big a hole there because otherwise the
dust will fall into the marrow cavity can you smell that smell of burning there’s a slight smell of burning out
here it’s towards a good sign its life smells like when you burn your hair you
know and it’s it’s approaching so we’ve abrade the surface get rid of the
surface material and then work on the on the inside of the bone usually a femur
or something where there’s a lot of dense bone which seems to preserve it in
a best at all so we take that out and then we’ll get rid of the mineral and we
can see that it really is very fragile and this perhaps explains why it has
broken into many separate pieces while professor Sykes and his team begin the
delicate process of hopefully extracting some DNA material we have enlisted the
help of another forensic scientist here we have a small fragment of the pallets
the top of the professor Andrew Chamberlin professor Chamberlin is a
forensic anthropologist who specializes a key of a cranial vault it’s a piece of
the frontal you can just see the crest running up here forwards and think he
featured in the BBC TV series meet the ancestors
more specifically he helped identify the wolf destroyed process yeah because we
have some fresh breakage lines along here I’m hoping to identify the pieces
of bone which fit onto those and I’ll be able to attach them and hopefully build
the builder skull forward we’ve asked him to reconstruct the skull of granny
aleena put a face on her and determine whether it could be Anastasia Romanov
the techniques we’re going to use on this skull are having reconstructed the
face as best we can and having taken a photograph of that reconstruction I’m
then going to use forensic methods to indicate where the soft tissue features
of the face the eyes the nose and the mouth would have been positioned using
the skull as a or the image of the skull as a kind of
framework to place these soft tissue features back on – to a drawing off the
face Oh a lot of research has been done to
establish the the standard measurements that one can use to position the pupils
of the eyes that they are positioned not only in relation to the eye socket but
there are features of the the bony part of the face vertically under the the
pupil so we can align these structures with the other parts of the bony
skeleton of the face so we can get get them into position using the position of the eyes as a sort
of baseline we’re looking at the the distance from the level of the eyes to
the nose the size of the nose in relation to the rest of the face and
then moving downwards the position of the mouth in relation to the nose and to
the eyes this is the important region of the face as far as facial recognition is
concerned when we distinguish between people with different faces what we’re
talking about is to a large extent the relative positions of the eyes the
eyebrows above the eyes the nose and the mouth as I get towards the fence out
it’s becoming even softer now I’m just breaking into the into the marrow cavity
back in Oxford professor Sykes he’s making progress
I was quite optimistic having seen how good the bone was when I drilled into it
I didn’t like the look of it when I first saw it but when I drilled into the
bone it was clearly pretty solid okay so we I would say we’ve got about a hundred
milligrams so it may be a bit less but that should be enough it should be
enough it should be enough that’s good it’s good it’s good solid stuff it’s not
powdery really it’s good you can see it how it’s turning around
and it’s a nice powder it’s perfectly good to extract straight from that
without having to do any more now the material is placed in a sympathic
overnight meanwhile in Sheffield Andrew
Chamberlain has finished rebuilding the scalp what I want I’ll be doing is I’ll be
estimating on the skull where the eyes and the nose were located and I will
then mark in on an overlay on the computer screen the position of the eyes
and the the pupils at the center of the eyes the position of the nose and I will
then move that overlay on top of a similar overlay which are constructed on
the various photographs that we have and I’ll be able to move the the outline
drawing of the skull around to see which face if any it best matches we will
start by establishing a baseline by comparing the different pictures of
Anastasia with herself that gives us an idea of the amount of error that is just
in them in comparing two different photos of the same person will then make
the comparisons between the real anastasiya if you like and the person
who we think might have been Anastasia in later life so we’ll be able to
compare those different faces so you’ve got this angle of the jaw yeah which
seems quite similar and what about with this the older yes so now we have four
of the world’s top forensic detectives all trying to determine whether the
remains that were removed from an unmarked grave in South Africa are those
of Anastasia Romanov the grand duchess of russia if they are then one of the
20th century’s greatest mysteries will have been solved if they are not then
Louie and Albert’s quest will have been for naught but there is a surprise waiting a result
that could change the Romanoff myth completely there are some good news and some bad
news on the way from Manchester University after establishing that the
older woman and the woman with the young family are one in the same the team from
Manchester University began the painstaking task of comparing the
photographs with those of the real and statement in the year before the assassination of
the Czar and his family all the girls had measles and they had their head
shaven fortunately they were game enough to have their photographs taken with
their bald heads our forensic scientists use these photographs as their yardstick
this is the outline of anastasiya from the photograph of all the four daughters
together and then this is the outline of the lady from South Africa we
superimpose the two outlines so that the inner can thoroughly be in a corner of
the eyes are superimposed and matched at the same distance and when you do that
as you can see the rest of the face doesn’t correspond at all the length of
the nose is different the position of the mouth is different the chin is in
the completely different place and even accounting for age this this suggests
that it’s not the same person you can see it again on the another two outlines
of anastasiya from a different photograph and then the lady from South
Africa in a younger photograph when the inner comfier
matched up the as you can see the face is a completely different sizes which
suggests that Anastasia had a wider distance between Vienna cancer than the
woman in the photograph so if you P line up the in a comfortable distance and
superimpose the two outlines you can see that the two faces are completely
different sizes which suggests that that’s a different person bad news the Manchester scientists have
proven conclusively that the skull is not that of Anastasia Romanov a result
that was never looked for and the last thing that was expected if we were tell
yes if they were taken this if this was like a case that we taken on you know
for the police or something whatever and because we we find numerous differences
why it would the length of the nose and that we would usually exclude and today
that it’s unlikely to be the same person we don’t tend to give percentages so we
would just say state that it was unlikely to be the same person yeah all
the evidence would suggest they is not that she’s not Anastasia but then
another revelation and equally unexpected a whole new twist to the
story began to emerge again seems to be much stronger resemblance no suggestion
from the forensic artists of Manchester that the remains could in fact be those
of one of Anastasia’s sisters if this is true it will completely change the whole
Anastasia mystery definitely the face is kind of rounder it’s not quite as normal
they continued their investigations and I think what we should do is have a look
on the grants and see if there’s still there meanwhile totally unaware of the
new developments back in Sheffield Professor Andrew Chamberlain completed
his comparisons of the photos and the reconstructed skull but I’ve been doing
over the last few days is to use a computer scanner to scan in images and
what I found when I compared the face from the skull with that of princess
Anastasia was that with the eyes in the correct place Anastasius nose was much
too long for the face from the skull so they the nose and indeed the mouth the
region of the mouth below the nose could not be fitted onto this overlay if the
eyes were in the correct place equally if I put the nose and the mouth in the
place the our eyes were too low so professor Chamberlain came up with the
same result as the Manchester scientists the conclusion I come to from my work is
that this face is not the face of anastasiya using two different methods
and working totally independent of one another
Manchester University and Sheffield University came to the same conclusion
the remains are not those of Anastasia Romanov but again like Manchester
professor Chamberlain declares there is a strong family resemblance and suggests
that the remains could in fact be those of one of Anastasia’s sisters but which
sister there seems to be a much stronger resemblance and proportion-wise between
Maria and then within our Stasia ISM Anastasia was just 17 when the family
was murdered the sister closest to her age was Maria she was just 19 and there
were only three inches difference in the girl’s height yes I think the features
are a lot closer than Iceland seems a lot shorter on Maria and it doesn’t
Anastasia and the width of the face is with the face yeah it’s said you’ve got
this angle of the jaw yeah which seems quite similar since the discovery of
Azar’s bones in the forest near a Katrina Berg in the early 1990s the
Russians have insisted that it was Maria’s bones that were missing not
Anastasia in fact at their funeral in July 1998
the rational authorities said it was Olga Tatiana and Anastasia’s remains
that were buried along with his arms arena and not furious as we said right
at the beginning of this program Maroney Alena never claimed to be Anastasia she
just claimed to be the Grand Duchess it was because of popular belief that it
was Anastasia who escaped that Albert and Louie assumed their granny Alina was
Anastasia there’s a stronger similarity with the face shape the shape of the jaw
the shape of the eyebrows is more comfortable with Maria than again than
with Anastasia the nose length again fits in quite well so it was very long
on understating there’s no way that was actually ever going to to fit in but
it’s a lot more comfortable I think it’s much more likely to be Maria it is a
reasonably good fit certainly the nose and the eyes are in the correct position
the eyebrows are in approximately the right again using a totally different
technique patient and working totally independently professor Chamberlain
agrees I think I am surprised by the the fit between the face and that of Maria
every individuals face is different so on the law of averages we wouldn’t
expect two people taken at random due to different people to have the same face
so when you don’t do fine that a face matches that of another individual yes
it is surprising and it’s it is often significant so we we have two people or
possibly the one person whose faces are similar and that is a significant
finding to be safe professor Chamberlain then compared Maria’s face with the
computer-generated Miss average a face which he uses as a yardstick it is the
average white female the most common European fascia
tells what when I’m able to infer from that is in what way does the skull and
the face that goes on the skull depart from the average face in other words is
it longer or shorter is it broader or narrower the conclusion is that the face
of Maria and of Elena are both substantially different from the common
face both are shorter in fact both Maria and Alina have unusual facial
characteristics and both they’re unusual facial characteristics are the same I’ve
already established that it’s it’s not an average face it is a distinctive face
and its distinctive in being shortened in the lower region we know that Elena
has that face and we know that Maria has that face can we therefore say that
Alena and Maria are one in the same person the answer seems to be yes so
there is nothing in the face which says it cannot be the same person it doesn’t
appear to be anything that would exclude them from being the same person and so
she could be Maria perhaps it is reassuring that independently we have
come up with the same result in other words I don’t think this is a this
result is a random finding or coincidence or indeed in an artifact of
perhaps my subconsciously wanting the face to look like one person or like
another person when I started doing this facial reconstruction I hadn’t thought
of the possibility that the face might belong to someone other than Anastasia
but the the face that has emerged from this work has ended up looking like not
like Anastasia but very like one of her sisters that’s that is a surprising
finding and possibly a significant one these pictures then show there’s little
doubt that granny Elena is in fact Maria Romanov the Grand Duchess of Russia
that these two people are one and the same that it was not Anastasia who
survived as was believed but it was Maria who has been the lost princess but
we still have the DNA results to consider while they confirm this
remarkable finding will the DNA evidence substantiate this new claim that granny
Alina is Maria Romanov it took just two weeks for the results to come back from
Oxford University over here I have the sequence as it came back from the
machine at the position 111 preliminary results unfortunately are not what we
want to hear in the reference sequence it’s a C in the bone it’s also a see if
it had been a Romanov those would have been T’s and Nazis so the conclusion is
that this bone did not come from one of the Czarina’s children sad news we are
all very excited the DNA looked very good the circumstantial evidence looked
very good these results from the femur suggest that the bone comes from a
person with a most common European DNA therefore not Anastasia Romanov or any
other Romanov for that matter we can fit in this person into this scheme which you’ve seen
before which sort of links all the mitochondrial DNA that we find in Europe
it is the European you could be glad to know that and you probably knew that
anyway it’s not a South African you can be sure at least not a native South
African and the sequence is right bang in the middle of this sequence here the
and romanov sequence would have been about here and not very far away but not
close enough I’m afraid however on hearing that the skull
strongly appears to be that of Maria professor Sykes agrees to test the other
femur and to try and extract DNA from the skull because it’s that it’s the
skull that was used as the basis of circumstantial evidence for the facial
reconstructions and that’s what we’ll try and do I mean we don’t we’ve we’ve
done skull a few times but it’s not something that curators like to let us
get our hands on to be honest and it’s not so good as the femur but if the
femurs from another body then we’ll do it on the scalp the results from those
tests are as astonishing as the suggestion that the skull is that of
Maria Romanov the DNA analysis says the skull has a totally different DNA to
that of the rest of the bones so what is going on we have one set of
bones with two DNA sequences neither of which are Romanoff there are a number of
reasons why there are two different mitochondrial DNA sequences from the
same skeleton the first and most obvious is that there are two white women of the
same age and the same height in the same grave the video evidence speaks for
itself there was only one body in the grave the
next possibility is that one body was made up of two different women the top
half different from the bottom half something very suspicious must have gone
on for that to be the case especially as both women were the same age the same
height and both European especially in a predominantly black area of South Africa the next explanation is that the
Undertaker’s in South Africa mixed up the bones again very unlikely as it
caused a longbow to believe that the remains of two white women of the same
age and same height that had been in the ground for the same length of time would
have been exhumed and on the Undertaker’s slapped together likewise in Melbourne at the state
morgue under the control of Monash University it would be too much of a
coincidence to believe that two white women of the same age and the height
that had been in the ground for the same period of time would be on the mortician
slab next to one another stores that then leaves us with Oxford
University again the video evidence testifies to the fact that there was no
mix-up of bones and that every precaution against modern contamination
was taken by Oxford so what is the reason for there being two mitochondrial
results from the same body was it some form of contamination or was there a
mix-up of bones somewhere along the way the most likely
cause the one thing all the DNA detectives feared contamination I think
once you demonstrate there is a mixed result it puts everything into doubt
because once you’ve got an apparent intact skeleton with all the body parts
or the bony parts in the correct sequence therefore to all intents and
purposes one individual unless you’re going to postulate that something very
unusual and potentially suspicious has occurred like a head has been
transplanted or something like that then the finding of two different DNA types
from that one individual raises the possibility of cross-contamination
at some point now if you’ve got cross-contamination at one point you
could have cross contamination at a number of points and therefore you
didn’t need to know well if your DNA from your leg bone is of one type and
your DNA from the skull or the contents of the skull is another type it could
either of them could be correct of course there’s another possibility
that is that neither are correct and they are all relate to cross
contamination that cross contamination could be explained by the fact that the
bones had laid in that damp South African grave for almost 30 years
both professor Sykes and professor Ranson suggest that during that time the
original DNA could have leached away and being replaced by another DNA that had
least in from a neighboring grave in that case we have no alternative but to
discount the DNA results given to us by Oxford University and rely more on the
results given to us by Sheffield and Manchester universities coupled these
results to the stories told by a granny Alina to Louie and Albert about her
rescued from the back of that truck told 30 years before any publication of the
official account of what happened and you are left with just one conclusion
that it was Anastasia who died in the hail of bullets along with the rest of
the imperial family and that in fact it was Maria Ralph who survived and escaped
thereby totally changing history and the entire myth surrounding the riddle of
Anastasia Oh

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