Nicholas and his family, along with several faithful servants, were executed by the Bolsheviks in the town of Yekaterinburg on July 17th, 1918, a little over a year after his abdication from the throne. Rumors and legend have persisted over the decades that at least one of the Romanov children survived the slaughter. Most fancifully, it's been suggested that Nicholas' only son Alexei and youngest daughter Anastasia had somehow been secretly spared.
In 1991, as the Soviet Union was collapsing, the remains of Nicholas II and most of the Romanov family were found. After exhaustive research it was discovered that two of his children were still missing: at least one daughter, and Alexei. The Romanov enigma would endure for nearly another two decades.
And then in the summer of 2007 the remains of two children were found in the area of the Romanov execution. They matched a report by the Romanovs' executioner, who said that two of the bodies had been burned and buried separately from those of the family. For the past several months the remains have been undergoing DNA analysis.
And now we know for certain: none of the Romanovs escaped execution. It has been confirmed that the remains are those of Alexei and his sister Maria, the third oldest of Nicholas II's daughters.
I'll admit: I was one of those who ever since first reading about the Romanovs had secretly hoped that at least one of them had yet survived. And it would have been neat for there to have been this one great mystery of the previous century left unsolved, which would have always left a little room to have a glimmer of hope.
There is no hope now. Nicholas, his wife and all their issue were massacred, leaving no survivors.
But at least now, with no more doubt, they will soon be together as a family again: on Earth as they are in Heaven. As it should be.