He would go on to spend a further thirteen years in the close company of the Romanov family.
Within that time he would be a witness to one of the most remarkable and tragic events of modern history as a close-knit family was torn apart and executed in the midst of the Revolution.
But this book is more than simply an eyewitness account of the Revolution.
As one of the books early reviews notes, Gilliard ‘had unusual opportunities of knowing their simple domestic life, and when the tragedy that had befallen the Royal house inevitably drew its members, and the few of their attendants who were left to them, more closely together, he was able to learn more and more intimately the ties that bound them together and the difficulties that had brought them to such a doom.’ The Tablet
Throughout the account there are extremely personal notes interspersed with humour which provide a humanising view of the Romanov family, including the moment when Gilliard forgets to censor some of the language in Les Miserables to which Tsar Nicholas II teases with him: “You are teaching my daughters a very curious vocabulary, monsieur…”
Pierre Gilliard’s remarkable and tragic account of the last years of the Romanov dynasty was first published in 1921. He later became a French professor at the University of Lausanne and died in 1962.