Do you believe in fairies? Admit it, you don't, but you want to, don't you? When that moment comes in 'Peter Pan,' you want to shout out, 'Yes, I believe in fairies.'
How many of us are so egalitarian we cannot imagine being a prince and princess, served on silver platters in gilded rooms by elaborately decked-out servants, the envy and admiration of all?
But what if finding ourselves in such a situation entailed real responsibilities: The feeding of the starving and homeless, the wisdom of a Nobel-recognized economist, the humanitarianism of a saint, the PR tactics of a business entrepreneur. Wouldn't gaining all these skills be a little imposing, boring, tendentious … beyond our grasp?
What if we could just be Emperor and Empress and sit on our yacht, and have our swimming pools filled with tepid sea-water several times a day, and wear the latest fashions garlanded by cascades of jewelry every hour as our entire world admired our children and the way we conducted our lives?
These are the pressures on royalty, and every imperial personage will inevitable fall short, but how short is too short?
Robert K. Massie considered the story of Nicholas and Alexandra to be a tragic case of good people impaled on pins designed for butterflies. What responsibility the butterflies for being so impaled?
It is kind of unfair to expect human beings to be gods, to be immaculate and omniscient, impeccable. That is the tragedy ultimately of Nicholas and Alexandra, that they weren't perfect, that they didn't even have the wit of Witte, or the wit to realize that people like Count Witte, or Stolypin, could have saved them.
What happens when you place on the throne of a god a complete and utter idiot?
These were not Robert K. Massie's thoughts. He peered deeply into their humanity and fascinated us all with his storytelling. But sagas are centered on people with superhuman strength and wisdom and judgment.
Oh dear, pity Nicholas and Alexandra. They had nothing of that save the aspiration of it. And aspirations dissolve horribly when confronted with bullets and bayonets.