It's sad that Nicholas' choice to marry Alix was the best decision of his life on a personal level, but probably the worst one politically. Though i don't think that Helene of Orleans (a candidate championed by his mother) would have made a good match either. I don't think she was politically savvy enough to help Nicholas make a succes of his reign.
Had Alexei been a little grand duchess Alexandra Nicholas would probably have altered the line of succession in favour of Olga. Had he still abdicated she might have accepted the throne in 1917 but im not sure if the outcome would have been very different constitutionally. The family might however have won enough time to be able to escape instead of ending up in that basement.
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