Not every Romanov Nicholas got to be a Tsar. In the latter part of the 19th and early 20th century, the grandson of Nicholas I, Grand Duke Nicholas Konstantinovich, drove his royal family absolutely batty. The first in his family to go to college (as we would put it today), the dapper military hero scandalized St. Petersburg with his affair with an American woman and his theft – for money – of a valuable religious icon from his mother.
He was banished repeatedly; first to Tashkent, in Uzbekistan; later to Crimea, and eventually found his way back to Tashkent, where he was instrumental in developing canals, art museums, and irrigation projects. His death in Tashkent in January 1918 was certainly set against the backdrop of the revolution in Russia that swept his family from the throne; his relatives back in St. Petersburg were murdered by the Bolsheviks six months later.