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A secondary character in my historical fiction novel is a Russian concert pianist who married into a 19th century noble family. For various reasons I would very much like to make her the daughter of Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich who was a son of Emperor Alexander II of Russia.

In real life the Grand Duke had only one daughter. Is it "permissable", for purposes of my novel, to create a second daughter? Perhaps even a daughter who was exiled from the family for some reason?

  • Yes, of course you can. But you need to find a balance with your target audience. Too much creativity will attract fiction-lovers, but would make some history buffs frowning. – Alexander Dec 3 at 20:51
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Is it "permissable", for purposes of my novel, to create a second daughter?

Yes, that is called historical fiction.

Given the time, the daughter could be an illegitimate child of Grand Duke Vladimir; it was not unusual in the 1870-ish time frame for royalty to have affairs with multiple women, including servants of their own house or in the houses they might visit, and I notice that Vladimir did not marry until he was 24 and met a royal to whom he was attracted (a 17 year old). With money, titles and a good degree of autonomy, it is highly doubtful he was still a virgin at 24.

  • Actually I'm still toying with the possibility of making his first child/daughter legitimate or otherwise. Just to be clear, are you saying that I could also create another legitimate child for the Grand Duke, even though he was a well-known historical figure? – Suttroper Dec 2 at 21:46
  • Yes, you can, he is long dead. You are writing fiction, "Alternate History" is a well established sub-genre of "Fantasy". Changing history is done all the time in fiction, just like Dan Brown can give Jesus Christ offspring through Mary Magdalene, or stories can be written in which Hitler prevailed, or the Confederacy prevailed. Go for it, give him another daughter. By the same wife, or you could even give him another wife, that died in childbirth of your character, or anything else like that. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternate_history – Amadeus-Reinstate-Monica Dec 2 at 21:56
  • Thanks for clarifying all that, Amadeus! – Suttroper Dec 2 at 22:36
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    Having had a penchant for the Romanov dynasty as a historical interest on my own, I can certainly say that a bastard daughter with a servant is certainly not the craziest thing done by a member of the royal family. It's actually rather tame considering other scandals at the time. – hszmv Dec 3 at 15:18

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