The Catherine Palace was the (occasional) home and one of the multiple palaces of the Romanov family prior to the Russian Revolution.
In 1916, Nicholas II hosted a grand ball at the Catherine Palace to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Romanov rule; however, the ball was interrupted by the treacherous Grigori Rasputin, who vowed to Nicholas that he would never rest as long as a member of the Imperial family lived. True to his word, Rasputin sold his soul for the power to spark the unhappiness of the Russian people into the flames of revolution, and they invaded the Catherine Palace with the intent to kill the Imperial family. The people were for the most part able to achieve their goal, though the Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna and the Dowager Empress Marie Feodorovna escaped due to the knowledge that a young kitchen boy named Dimitri possessed of the palace's secret passageways.
By 1926, the abandoned Catherine Palace was deteriorating at a rapid rate, with many of its rooms run-down from years of neglect and its articles either looted for sale in the black market or destroyed.
- The Catherine Palace was named for Empress Catherine I Alexeyevna, wife of Tsar Peter the Great by her daughter in law Elizabeth I (Peter was one of only two Romanov monarchs to have been giving the title of "The Great"). After Peter died from gangrene of the bladder the Empress was crowned as the 2nd female to sit on the Russian throne under the Romanov dynastic line (there would be 5 female Tsarina's on the throne (listed in order, 1. Sofia I, 2. Catherine I, 3. Anna I, 4. Elizabeth I, 5. Catherine II). After Catherine II died her son Paul I Pavlovich changed the law so that no female could ever sit on the Russian throne again.
- The Catherine Palace was usually regarded as the Romanov summer palace.
- After the October Revolution in 1917 the Catherine Palace was restored by order of the Soviet government which preserved such landmarks for museum purposes.
- During WWII the Waffen SS occupied the palace and looted it of all it's treasures (including one room called the Amber Room which was covered in walls made of amber, gold, silver, bronze, and engraved with rare and expensive gems in between). After the war the place was restored over several decades due to financial problems. Finally in the late 90's the restoration work was finally completed and the palace was opened to the people in it's entirety. To this day the Amber Room has not been located in it's entirety, but unconfirmed pieces of it have been found.
- In real life, the Catherine Palace was not home to the last Romanov family. Instead, their home was the much smaller Alexander Palace. They sometimes stayed in the Catherine but because Anastasia and her older sister Tatiana became sick every time because of how big it was they never lived there for long periods of time. Instead they switched with the Alexander, their main home, Peterhof (the birthplace of Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia and Alexei stated in the film and in real life) and later in life, during holidays, the Livadia Palace in the Crimea when it was once part of Imperial Russia.