Then & Now: Bones to pick

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16 July, 1918: Pavel Medvedev, a soldier on duty, records what he saw on the night Tsar Nicholas II and his family were shot:

'At about 10 o'clock in the evening I informed the guards not to be alarmed if they should hear firing . . . Shortly after one in the morning the Tsar, the Tsaritsa, their four daughters, the maid, the doctor, the cook and the waiter left their rooms. The Tsar carried the heir in his arms . . . The maid carried a pillow. The Tsar's daughters also brought small pillows with them. One pillow was put on the Empress's chair; another on the heir's chair. It seemed as if all of them guessed their fate, but not one of them uttered a single sound . . .

Yurovsky ordered me to leave saying: 'Go on to the street, see if there is anybody there, and wait to see whether the shots have been heard.' I went out to the court, but before I got to the street I heard the firing. I returned to the house immediately (only two or three minutes having elapsed) and upon entering the room where the execution had taken place, I saw that all the members of the Tsar's family were lying on the floor with many wounds in their bodies. The blood was running in streams. The doctor, the maid and two waiters had also been shot. When I entered the heir was still alive and moaned a little. Yurovsky went up and fired two or three more times at him. Then the heir was still.

17 September, 1992: Forensic tests began at Aldermaston to determine whether bones unearthed in July last year near Ekaterinburg, Russia, are the remains of Tsar Nicholas and his family. Descendants of the Romanovs, including the British Royal Family, have supplied strands of hair for DNA comparison.