Letter: Last supper at the Hermitage

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The Independent Online
Sir: Geraldine Norman reports from St Petersburg (18 February) that an official supper was given a few days ago in the foyer of the Hermitage Theatre for the first time since the 1917 revolution. Research, says Mrs Norman, has not revealed the date of the last 'banquet' held before then. According to the director of the Hermitage, this is likely to have been 'well before the First World War'.

In fact, as the Hermitage archives must surely show, it took place in 1914, very shortly before the First World War, following a play performed in the Hermitage Theatre to mark the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the Hermitage. The play was called The King of the Jews, written by the Emperor Nicholas II's cousin, the poet Grand Duke Constantine. It was attended, as was the supper in the Hermitage afterwards, by the Imperial family and its guests.

Yours faithfully,

KYRIL ZINOVIEFF

London, W4

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