The Tsar’s doctor: The selfless and devoted life of Dr Eugene Botkin

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Eugene Botkin was Nicholas II’s court physician from 1908 until the abolition of the monarchy. He accompanied the royal family into exile and shared their fate at Ekaterinburg in 1918. The son of a prominent St. Petersburg physician, he trained at the Universities of St. Petersburg, Berlin, and Heidelberg. As court physician, he participated in the management of the Tsarevich Alexei’s hemophilia, but most of his time was spent taking care of the Tsarina’s multiple psychosomatic ailments. A deep sense of duty, rendered him unable to part from the royal family during the difficult months of exile and imprisonment. During this period there were several episodes of imminent threat to his life, where despite having the opportunity to leave, he voluntarily decided to stay with the Romanovs. In up to three occasions he said his goodbyes to his children, only to find out the next day that the threat had been contained. Ironically, the last time he spoke to them he did not think they would be separated for long. In this study, we will analyze his life, in particular the events of his last days, and will explore the reasoning behind his selfless actions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-259
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of medical biography
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • Ekaterinburg massacre
  • Empress Alexandra
  • Eugene Botkin
  • Russian Revolution
  • Tsar Nicholas II
  • court physicians

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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