One hundred years ago this week, the Russian royal family and their servants were murdered. The abdicated tsar, his wife and their five children had hoped to flee to exile in Britain but were shot dead by the Bolsheviks on the night of 16–17 July 1918.

The Russian Orthodox Church had expressed doubts over earlier DNA tests – in part conducted in Britain – which purported to prove that the bones found in the Ural Mountains were those of Tsar Nicholas II and his family. In 1993, 2 years after the bodies were found, Prince Philip had provided a DNA sample to help identify the bodies. The Duke is the great nephew of Empress Alexandra, Tsar Nicholas’s wife. His DNA was matched with samples taken from the skeletons of the Tsarina and her four daughters.

New comprehensive DNA testing has now concluded that the remains are genuine, says the Russian Investigative Committee.

“The findings of the complex expert molecular genetic examinations have proved that the found remains belong to former Emperor Nicholas II, his family members and entourage”, said the committee.

The DNA tests took samples from the grave of the last tsar’s father Alexander III to establish a match with Nicholas II. Genetic material was also taken from blood on a shirt worn by Nicholas II during an attempt on his life in Japan in 1891.

The church has so far not commented on the new findings.

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