Wednesday, November 27, 2013

First Ever "Selfie"? Grand Duchess Anastasia Photographed Herself in Mirror in 1914

Could  the 21st century trend of "selfies" (self-photographs taken with a smart phone and a mirror) have been invented almost a hundred years ago by a young member of Russian royalty?

A century before Instagram and Snap Chat became the normal way of sharing photographs to the world at large, the young, enigmatic Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia, the youngest daughter of Tsar Nicholas II, the last sovereign of Imperial Russia, took a lovely "selfie" of herself using a Kodak Brownie camera, manufactured in 1900, to send to a friend of the family.

Seeing that the teen lived in the magnificently opulent Alexander Palace in Tsarskoe, Russia, (pictured below) at the time,  it is easy to see how she could have been bored! In a letter that accompanied the photograph that was dated October 28, 1914, the young Anastasia wrote, "I took this picture of myself looking at the mirror. It was very hard as my hands were trembling."

Unfortunately, life did not turn out so well for Anastasia: She was murdered along with her entire family by the Bolshevik secret police during the Russian revolution on July 17, 1918, at the young age of 18. Rumors that she had escaped the assassination persisted throughout Europe for years, until the actual location of where her body had been buried was discovered in 2007.

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