Bulgarian scientists have opened a grave that may contain the bones of Anastasia, daughter of Russia's assassinated last tsar, and will send them to Britain for DNA tests, one said Wednesday.
Bones taken from the grave are thought to belong to a woman called Eleonora Albertova, a secretive and refined Russian emigree who local people are convinced was really the missing youngest daughter of the tsar killed by Bolsheviks, professor Yordan Yordanov told Reuters.The scientists intend to open another grave in the vicinity believed by local people to hold the remains of her brother, Crown Prince Alexei, Tsar Nicholas II's heir-apparent before the family was deposed.
"We hope to unearth the second grave by the end of this month," said Yordanov, who is director of the Anthropology Institute at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.
The bones will be sent to Britain for DNA tests to ascertain whether they are those of the tsar's two youngest children, whose remains have never been discovered.
British forensic tests last year showed the late Anna Anderson, a naturalized American woman who had claimed to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia, was a fraud. The tests used blood donated by Queen Elizabeth's husband Prince Philip, a closer relation of the doomed Romanov family than the queen.
DNA tests were used to identify the remains of Nicholas, his wife Alexandra and three of their daughters found in eastern Russia in 1991. They were shot by the Bolsheviks in 1918.
In 1922 Albertova and her brother, known as George Zhudin, settled in the village of Gabarevo, some 140 miles east of Sofia, after escaping from communist Russia.
The two never claimed any link with Russia's Romanov dynasty.