Why didn’t Tsar Nicolas II just name one of his daughters as the heir to the throne

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It would have contradicted the semi-Salic order of succession instituted by the 1797 Act of Succession, which was part of the Fundamental Laws of the Empire. While it’s true that Russia had empresses in the 18th century, their rights to the throne were based on the previous Petrine law (Statute of 1722), which allowed a reigning monarch to designate any person as their successor. In practice, arbitrary succession had led to much political instability, with almost every reign beginning with a coup d’état, so that the monarchs’ power became too dependent on the support of the guard units quartered in the capital. Even after Paul I introduced the new succession law, he was deposed and killed by conspirators from among the guards; and another attempt at a coup was made in 1825 after the death of Alexander I, but it was ill-conceived, and Alexander’s successor managed to quell it. Thus, the subsequent emperors, and Nicholas II in particular, had good reasons to regard the Pauline law of succession as a cornerstone of stability.


They loved their son and didn’t want him to die from hemophilia. They had the means as the rulers of the country, but still couldn’t protect their child. So they turned to a fraud offering salvation.


the succession laws (known as the pauline laws) for the russian throne were extremely strict and said that no woman could inherit unless every male of the line was dead. and there were a *lot* of male romanovs. so, if alexei had died, it wouldn’t have gone to nicholas’s oldest daughter, but his brother, then his cousins, and so on. aside from the question of succession, nicholas and alexandra adored their son. rasputin had them convinced that if they sent him away, alexei would die. they couldn’t do it. the last tsars on netflix leaves out a *lot* of a really interesting story. if you’d like to find out more, i highly, highly recommend picking up nicholas and alexandra by robert massie. some of the information is slightly outdated now but it’s a wonderful read and a great starting point for learning more about nicholas and his family. if you want to watch another movie, try the romanovs: an imperial family (2000) which is probably the most accurate. it’s in russian but you can find it on youtube with english subtitles.


They did not want another Catharine the Great aka another woman in charge. Her son, emperor Paul changed the line of succession to be men only so it was more likely they’d try to pass it on to a male member of the family. Tsar Nicholas II did eventually think about abdicating to his brother. I believe there isn’t any hard proof that he considered one of the daughters but that it was a possibility he thought about it before Alexei’s birth or when Alexei was close to death. Either way, basically all legitimate male relatives would have to die or refuse before a daughter would be considered Tl;dr: Pauline Laws set forth by Emperor Paul, Catherine the Great’s son, made the line of succession male only. They’d pass it onto a male relative before a daughter of the Tsar.


Tsar Pavel I had changed Russia’s succession laws so that women could only inherit the throne if all the male claimants were dead. Nicholas had a small army of male relatives (his father had been one of no less than *five* surviving brothers, all of whom but one had children of their own) and his uncles and cousins likely would have protested changing the succession laws again so women could inherit because that would put them further back in the line of succession. (Because, in addition to four daughters, Nicholas also had two younger sisters, Kseniya and Olga.) Succession issues aside, Nicholas and Alexandra were, by all accounts, completely devoted parents who genuinely loved their children and were desperate to find something that could help their only son. Remember: many ordinary parents of ill or disabled children have also fallen prey to self-seekers and frauds who promise miracle cures, even though they don’t have succession to think about.