The Linton & District History Society delves into the tumultuous reign of Tsar Nicholas II, highlighting the ill-fated decisions that led to his downfall. The discussion comes as a precursor to tonight's meeting about William Cavendish, 1st Duke of Devonshire.

Nicholas II ascended to the throne in 1894 at the age of 26, following the death of his father, Tsar Alexander III. With little preparation, Nicholas' early decisions set the stage for long-term consequences. One such decision was to expedite his marriage to his German fiancée, Princess Alix of Hesse, despite the nation still mourning his father. This act was considered a bad omen by superstitious Russians.

Nicholas II was often compared to Charles I for his weak character and belief in his divine right to rule. He was profoundly influenced by his wife, Alexandra, who was unpopular due to her poor grasp of Russian and French, the Court language. The couple faced further tragedy when their long-awaited heir was born with haemophilia in 1904. This led them to seek the guidance of faith healers, most notably Grigory Rasputin, a Siberian peasant and self-styled "holy man." Rasputin's malign influence over the royal family further exacerbated their downfall.

The Linton & District History Society is holding a meeting tonight, 1st November, at the Linton Village Hall. The focus of the meeting will be the life of William Cavendish, 1st Duke of Devonshire. Doors open at 7 p.m. for a 7:30 start, and all are welcome with a visitor's fee of £5.