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Friday, 17 July, 1998, 14:51 GMT 15:51 UK
Romanovs laid to rest
Coffins interned
Nicholas II, his wife, and three of his children, are reburied
The last Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II, and his family have been buried in St Petersburg's St Peter and Paul Cathedral, exactly 80 years after their execution by Bolshevik revolutionaries.

coffins carried
The coffins were taken to St Catherine Chapel
The nine coffins bearing the remains of Nicholas II, his wife, three of his children and four loyal staff were interred in the crypt of the cathedral's St Catherine Chapel, the resting place of Russian emperors since the reign of Peter the Great.

Addressing the funeral ceremony, President Boris Yeltsin described the murder of the Russian royal family as one of the most shameful pages in Russian history, and urged Russians to close a "bloody century" with repentance.

Yeltsin: asks for repentence
He said: "Today is a historic day for Russia. For many years, we kept quiet about this monstrous crime, but the truth has to be spoken."

Mr Yeltsin said he had no choice but to attend this funeral in consideration of the fact that the funeral presented a historical chance for the Russian people to exculpate themselves from the sins of their fathers, and the sins of the murder of their Romanov family.

The tsar and his family died in Yekaterinburg
On behalf of the Romanov family, Prince Nikolay Romanov, expressed delight at the Russian president's decision to attend the funeral.

"We understand that he is a very busy person and has many other issues he has to deal with in the interests of and for the good of Russia but, even so, he has found the time to come," the prince told a Russian news agency.

Outside of church
The funeral takes place after 80 years
Dozens of the Tsar's relatives and diplomats from more than 50 countries watched the Tsar's coffin being laid to rest as cathedral bells tolled and soldiers gave a 19-gun salute.

The burial was the final stage of a three-day ceremony which has run into deep controversy: the Orthodox Church have disputed the authenticity of the remains, while some Russians felt the proceedings were not grand enough.

President Yeltsin initially refused to attend the burial ceremony out of respect to the Russian Orthodox Church but then announced he would be attending the burial after all.

He said he had changed his mind so that the current generation of Russians could atone for the sins of their ancestors.

The ceremony in Russia's old imperial capital, was intended to be a gesture of national reconciliation and atonement for the country's violent past.

Instead, the event caused sharp divisions.

Authenticity of Tsar Nicholas II's remains is disputed
Scientists say the bones are 97% likely to be those of Tsar Nicholas II and other members of the Romanov family shot by a Bolshevik firing squad.

But the Patriarch of the Orthodox Church in Russia, Alexei II, has disputed the authenticity of the findings and refused to officiate at the burial.

As a result, bishops were banned from taking part in the funeral ceremony and only junior clerics were allowed to participate.

Patriarch Alexei conducted an alternative memorial service outside Moscow after a rival branch of the Romanov family complained that the official burial was not grand enough.

There was also a dispute over which city should become their final resting place: Yekaterinburg where the remains were found seven years ago, Moscow, as the present Russian capital, or St Petersburg, the location of the burial grounds of the Tsars.

BBC News
The BBC's Stephen Dalziel: "It's caused the most almighty row"
BBC News
Andrew Harding reports on the controversy surrounding the tsar's burial
BBC News
The BBC's Malcolm Haslett: "The scientists are convinced"
BBC News
The BBC's Alan Little: 'The service will not even mention the names of the royal family'
BBC News
BBC's Jim Fish reports from St.Petersburg
BBC News
The BBC's Andrew Harding reports on the final stages of the burial ceremony
BBC News
Listen to the songs of remembrance inside the cathedral
See also:

15 Jul 98 | Romanov
15 Jul 98 | Romanov
15 Jul 98 | Romanov
17 Jul 98 | Europe
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