Miniatures of the children of Emperor Nicholas I of Russia: Tsarevich Alexander Nikolaevich, Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna, Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna, Grand Duchess Alexandra Nikolaevna, Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolaevich, Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich, and Grand Duke Mikhail Nikolaevich.
With the exception of the youngest daughter Elizabeth (not pictured), who died when she was about three years old in 1829, these are the years Tsar Nicholas I of Russia and his immediate family turned thirteen years old, their first year as a teenager.
When Emperor Nicholas I of Russia was 13 year old in 1809, his education began becoming more advanced and the boy was being trained almost as if he was the heir, even though he was the third son. His upbringing was strict, flogging was common and few efforts were made to motivate the young student, all of which triggered the boy to hate learning. As a boy, Nicholas was rude and mischievous. The only member of the family that he would listen to was his mother, to whom he was very close.
By the time Alexandra Feodorovna became 13 years old in July 1811, her young life was marked by the Napoleonic Wars and mourned her mother, who died in the previous year. Alexandra was originally Charlotte, Princess of Prussia, who was an avid reader and enjoyed music. Young Charlotte was a delicate creature full with kindness and preferred privacy which made her adjustment to the excessively ornate society of St. Petersburg very difficult.
Nicholas and Charlotte were warm and affectionate parents, but avoided overindulging their children. The girls, Grand Duchesses Maria, Olga and Alexandra, were raised in the company of each other. At 13, all of the girls were artistically gifted and very lively, sweet and generous and the three younger boys Konstantin, Nicholas and Michael were being trained for the military. Konstantin shared his sisters’ personality but Nicholas was almost the complete opposite. He was less intelligent and later became a true womanizer and loved hunting. His reputation was very low by the time of his death. Little was known of the youngest boy, Michael’s teenage years.