Every day, the King is becoming more concerned about the question of the Emperor and Empress coming to this country.
His Majesty receives letters from people in all classes of life, known and unknown to him, saying how much the matter is being discussed, not only in clubs, but by working men, and that Labour Members in the House of Commons are expressing adverse opinions to the proposal. See more
As you know, from the first the King has thought the presence of the Imperial Family (especially the Empress) in this country would raise all sorts of difficulties, and I feel sure that you appreciate how awkward it will be for our Royal Family who are closely connected both with the Emperor and the Empress.
You probably also are aware that the subject has become more or less public property, and that people are either assuming that it has been initiated by the King, or deprecating the very unfair position in which His Majesty will be placed if the arrangement is carried out.
The King desires me to ask you whether after consulting the Prime Minister, Sir George Buchanan should not be communicated with, with a view to approaching the Russian Government to make some other plan for the future residence of their Imperial Majesties?
I think the King is placed in an awkward position.
If the Czar is to come here we are bound publicly to state that we (the Government) have invited him – and to add (for our own protection) that we did so on the initiative of the Russian Government (who will not like it).
I still think that we may have to suggest Spain or the South of France as a more suitable residence than England for the Czar.
Nothing has yet been decided about the Emperor’s journey to England. He is living with the Empress and his children at Tsarskoe under a strong guard, and is allowed to walk in the park but is always under observation. From a private and confidential source I heard he is perfectly happy and takes exercise by clearing the paths in the park of snow. He does not yet realise that he will not be allowed to go as he had hoped to Livadia, but the loss of his throne does not seem to have depressed him. The Empress, on the other hand, is said to feel the humiliation of her present position deeply. She is, I hear, averse to the idea of going to England. Some telegrams have just been published in the Press, which were sent by her to the Emperor before and after Rasputin’s murder, which show clearly that he did everything she told him to. There was also published a hysterical letter from the Empress to Rasputin, in which she wrote as if she were addressing a saint, saying that she only found comfort when leaning on his shoulder, and praying him to bless ‘thy child’. She has been the Emperor’s evil genius even since they married, and nobody pities her…
His Majesty’s Ministers quite realize the difficulties to which you refer in your letter, but they do not think, unless the position changes, that it is now possible to withdraw the invitation which has been sent, and they therefore trust that the King will consent to adhere to the original invitation, which was sent on the advice of His Majesty’s Ministers’.
Responding to the suggestion put forward by the Russian Government, His Majesty and the British Government are glad to invite the Czar and Czarina to take sanctuary in this country and to stay here for the duration of the War. In conveying this message to the Russian Government you are to make it clear that they must be responsible for providing for the maintenance of their Majesties here in a suitable manner.