A series of photographs found in a remote museum in the Urals reveals the family of the last Russian Tsar, Nicholas II, in the year before they were slaughtered under the orders of Vladimir Lenin. One of the most exotic photographs in the collection shows the Tsar, the Crown Prince Alexei and the boy's tutor walking an elephant near their palace in Tsarskoye Selo in 1914. The event is recalled in the Tsar's journal: "Took the elephant to our pond with Alexei today and had fun watching him bath." The zoo on the estate was closed after the 1917 revolution.
This 1914 picture shows Crown prince Alexei Nicholas with sisters Olga, left, and Tatiana, right. The photo was taken four years before their execution and shows a surprisingly strong boy given his hemophiliac condition.
In this 1915 photo, Alexei, clad in a stripy bathing suit, plays with his father on the banks of the Dnieper River close to Mogilyov.
Nicholas' heir Alexander poses in winter 1916 on a tree with his beloved spaniel Joy.
Nicholas II and Alexei on a boat in Finland.
In one of the earlier pictures in the collection, Tsarina Alexandra is pictured in 1914 enjoying the royal yacht 'Standart' on the Black Sea.
In this 1916 picture, taken near Mogilyov, where the Russian military was headquartered during World War I, Nicholas II is portrayed with his generals inspecting and tasting a porridge.
With war breaking out in 1914, Alexei is pictured playing a war game with his tutor's two smaller children.