Thursday, August 23, 2007

Remains of Russian Czar Nicholas II son and heir possibly found

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Russian Czar Nicholas II hemophiliac son and heir, Prince Alexei, is seen in this undated file photo. The remains of the last czar's son and heir to the Russian throne, missing since the royal family was gunned down nine decades by Bolsheviks in a basement room, may have been found, an archaeologist said Thursday.

Bones found in the remnants of a bonfire near Yekaterinburg, the city where Czar Nicholas II and his wife and children were held prisoner and then shot in 1918, belong to a boy and a young woman roughly the ages of the czar's son Alexei and a sister whose remains have also never been found, a top local archaelogist said.

If confirmed, the finding would solve a persistent mystery and fill in a missing chapter in the story of the doomed family.

It comes almost a decade after remains identified as those of Nicholas, his wife and three of his daughters were reburied in a ceremony made possible by the Soviet collapse but shadowed by statements of doubt — including from within the Russian Orthodox Church — about their authenticity.

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