After years of uncertainty, new DNA tests have authenticated bones unearthed decades ago as those of the last Russian tsar and his family. Per Phys.org, the analysis ordered by the Russian Orthodox Church could eventually mean the remains of Nicholas II and his family will finally be given their full rites 100 years after they were murdered by the Bolsheviks in 1918. The Church Investigative Committee wrote in its findings that "the remains found belonged to the former Emperor Nicholas II, his family members, and members of their entourage." In order to come to the conclusion, investigators reportedly had to first exhume the remains of Nicholas' father and test his DNA in order to prove the familial link. The investigation concluded that the bones believed to be those of Nicholas II were, indeed, those of the son of Alexander III.
The Orthodox Church has expressed satisfaction with how the investigation has been conducted and church authorities say they'll take the findings into consideration. As the Week notes, the remains of Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra, and three of their children have been interred in the family crypt in St. Petersburg since 1998. The bones of his children Alexei and Maria were not discovered until 2007 and remain apart from the rest of the family pending verification, which has also been ordered by the church. The family was rounded up on the night of July 16, 1918, in the home where they were imprisoned by Bolshevik revolutionaries after Vladimir Lenin seized power that same year, ending the 300-year Romanov dynasty to which Nicholas and his family belonged. As the story goes, they were mercilessly shot execution-style before their bodies were hastily buried outside of town. (Read more Russia stories.)