alexandra alexandrovna

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The Romanov women who were celebrated as great beauties in their day:

Empress Elizaveta I Petrovna (1709-1762)

“She is a beauty the like of which I have never seen … an amazing complexion, glowing eyes, a perfect mouth, a throat and bosom of rare whiteness. She is tall in stature, and her temperament is very lively. One senses in her a great deal of intelligence and affability, but also a certain ambition.”


Empress Elizaveta Alexeievna (1779-1826)

“Her features were fine and even, and her face a perfect oval; her beautiful complexion was not high in colour but its delicacy was totally in keeping with her expression, one of angelic sweetness. Her fair ash coloured hair floated about her neck and forehead. She was dressed in a simple white tunic, gathered by a belt knotted simply around a waist slender as a nymph´s. This young woman appeared exactly as I have described her, standing against the backdrop of an appartment ornamented with classical columns and draped in pink and silver gauze; she looked so ravishing I cried out, “Psyche!” It was in fact Princess Elisabeth, wife of Alexander.” 


Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna (1798-1860)

“The Empress is a tall graceful figure … her little head beautifully set and her expression pleasing and features regular, her hands and arms beautifully shaped and an air of imperial dignity and grace I never saw before. Her dress was perfect - simple and of dazzling whiteness, with a necklace, fringe, drops, etc. that I can only compare to dark blue glass eggs for never did I see their like.”


Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna (1822-1892)

“The Grand Duchess Olga, the second of the emperor´s daughter, has no rival in beauty among the Princesses of Europe, an in this instance, flattery, in asserting her to be the loveliest girl in her father´s dominion, scarcely outstrips the truth.”

Grand Duchess Alexandra Iosifovna (1830-1911)

[Alexandra] loved the Russian extravangance and magnificence, which was entirely in keeping with her extraordinary beauty, her marvelous hair in particular. A few considred that she resembled Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, whose style of dress Sanny copied. All of Europe spoke of her astonishing jewels, of her pearl necklace, in which each pearl was the size of a nut. … [She] always took a passionate interest in anything which related to the beauty of other women. With typical feminine jealousy she would ask: “Who is the more beautiful, the Empress of Austria or I?” The Empress´s beauty was much praised, and the Grand Duchess Konstantin worried: “Is my hair as fine as the Empress´s? Don´t you think we have the same figure?”


Grand Duchess Elizaveta Fyodorovna (1864-1918)

“I like Ella very, very much. She is so feminine; her beauty is something I will never tire of. Her eyes are extraordinarily beautifully defined and her look is so calm and gentle. Despite her gentle nature and her shyness, one sense in her a certain self-assurance, a recognition of her own strength … [Her husband] was talking to me about his wife and he was enraptured by her, full of her praises.”

Princess Irina Alexandrovna (1895-1970):

“One day when I was out riding I met a very beautiful girl accompanied by an elderly lady. Our eyes met and she made such an impression on me that I reined in my horse to gaze at her as she walked on … [Another time] I had plenty of time to admire the wondrous beauty of the girl who was eventually to become my wife and lifelong companion. She had beautiful features, clear-cut as a cameo, and looked very like her father." 


Grand Duchess Tatiana Nikolaevna (1897-1918)

“She’s a grand princess from head to toe, so aristocratic and regal. Her face is pale matte, only the cheeks are slightly rosy, as if pink satin is trying to escape from just under her thin skin. Her profile is flawlessly beautiful, as if cut from marble by a great artist.  The widely set eyes provide uniqueness and originality to her face.”


Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna (1899-1918)

“Maria Nikolaevna can easily be called a Russian beauty. Tall, healthy, with sable eyebrows and a bright blush on her open Russian face, she is especially lovely to a Russian heart. You look at her and involuntarily imagine her dressed in the Russian boyar’s sarafan; snowy muslin sleeves around her hands; on the highly decorated bodice semi-precious stone; and above her white brow, a kokoshnik with the traditional pearls. Her eyes illuminate her entire face by a unique, radiant luster; they sometimes seem black as long eyelashes throw shadows over the bright blush of her soft cheeks.”

Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia with Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich, Grand Duchess Alexandra of Mecklenburg Schwerin, Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna,Crown Prince Christian of Denmark and Crown Princess Alexandrine . 1900s

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Granddaughters of Alexander II of Russia:

  • Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna of Russia, born on 6th April 1875, was the elder daughter and fourth child of Alexander III of Russia (1845-1894), the second son of Alexander II, who wasn’t expected to be Emperor until his older brother died. She was also the sister of Nicholas II (1868-1918), the last Emperor of Russia. She married her cousin, Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich of Russia; they had seven children. After the fall of the Russian monarchy in February 1917, she fled from Russia and eventually settling in United Kingdom. She died on 20th April 1960.
  • Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna of Russia, born on 13th June 1882, as the younger daughter of Alexander III of Russia, and sister of the last Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II. She married twice, first to her cousin, Duke Peter of Oldenburg, who in private was believed by family and friends as homosexual henceforth their marriage remained unconsummated. Their marriage was annulled in 1916, and the following month after her annulment to her first husband, she married secondly to a cavalry officer, Nikolai Kulikovsky (whom she had fallen in love years before), with whom she had two sons. After the downfall of the monarchy in February 1917, she fled to Crimea, then later to Denmark with her husband and children, accompanying her mother, Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna (1847-1928). Although in 1948, she and her family, migrated to Canada. Where she died, seven months after her sister, on 24th November 1960. After her death, she was widely recognised as the last Grand Duchess of Imperial Russia.
  • Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna of Russia, was born on 17th January 1882, as the youngest child and only daughter of Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich (1847-1909), the third son of Alexander II. She married her second cousin, Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark on 1902, with whom she had three daughters, including Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent. She and her family lived in France for a time, after the turmoil of the Russian Revolution of 1917, and the turmoil in Greece. Though eventually going back to Greece, where she died as a widow in Athens on 13th March 1957.
  • Princess Marie Alexandra Victoria of Edinburgh, Princess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, better known as Marie of Romania, born on 29th October 1875, as the second child and eldest daughter of Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna (1853-1920), the only surviving daughter of Alexander II. She was also a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, through her father, Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh (later, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha) (1844-1900), the second son of Victoria. On 1893, she married Crown Prince Ferdinand of Romania, with whom she had six children, including Carol II of Romania. She later became the Queen consort of Romania in 1914, and was popular with the Romanian people. During the First World War, she like many of her female relatives including her cousin, Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna (1872-1918), volunteered as Red Cross nurse, aiding the sick and the wounded. She died on 18th July 1938.
  • Princess Victoria Melita of Edinburgh, Princess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, born on 25th November 1876, as the second daughter of Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna. Also a granddaughter of Queen Victoria. She married twice, firstly to her first cousin through her father, Ernst Louis, Grand Duke of Hesse (who was the sister of her cousin through her father, Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna, in turn wife of Nicholas II of Russia, who was also her cousin through her mother), thus becoming Grand Duchess of Hesse. They had one daughter, who died at the age of eight in 1903, of typhoid fever. Their marriage was a failure, as they divorced on 1901. Victoria Melita later remarried, to her first cousin through her mother, Grand Duke Cyril Vladimirovich (brother of Elena Vladmirovna) on 1905. They had three children. Due to the shock of her second marriage, Tsar Nicholas stripped Grand Duke Cyril of his offices and honors, initially banishing him and Victoria from Russia - settling in Paris. Though in 1910, they eventually moved to Russia. After the downfall of the monarchy, Victoria and her family fled to Finland. Victoria died from suffering a stroke on 2nd March 1936.
  • Princess Alexandra Louise Olga Victoria of Edinburgh, Princess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, was born on 1st September 1878, as the fourth child and third daughter of Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna. She was also a granddaughter of Queen Victoria. She married Ernst II, Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, despite of her father’s objection; they had five children. She lived in Germany for the rest of her life, and served as a Red Cross nurse (like her older sister, Marie of Romania). She died on 16th April 1942.
  • Princess Beatrice Leopoldine Victoria of Edinburgh, Princess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, born on 20th April 1884, the youngest child and fourth daughter of Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna. She was also a granddaughter of Queen Victoria. She married into the Spanish Royal Family, to Infante Alfonso, Duke of Galleria, thus becoming Duchess of Galleria; together, they had three children. She died on 16th July 1966.
  • Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia, also known as Maria Pavlovna the Younger (to distinguish her from her aunt-by-marriage, Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna, the Elder, the mother of Elena Vladimirovna). She was born on 18th April 1890, as the elder child and only daughter of Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich (1860-1918), the youngest son of Alexander II, from his first marriage. Her mother died when she was not yet two from complications after giving birth to Maria’s younger brother, Grand Duke Dmitri. In result to her mother’s death, her father was so distraught and neglected his two children, leaving them in the care of their uncle and aunt-by-marriage, Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich and Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna, who had no children in their own. And was left to be raised by them, as their father was banished from Russia for marrying a commoner in 1902. Maria was married off to Prince Wilhelm of Sweden, Duke of Södermanland, thus she became Duchess of Södermanland. They had one son. Their marriage was unhappy and ended in divorce in 1914. She served as a nurse during World War I, until the fall of the monarchy in February 1917. She later remarried during the provisional government, to Prince Roman Mikhailovich Putyatin, whom she had one son with but died in infancy. The couple fled to Ukraine in 1918, eventually divorcing in 1923 whilst still in exile. She died on 13th December 1958.
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Five last Russian Empresses and their nicknames

  • Empress Elizaveta Alexeievna, consort of Alexander I - “Elise”
  • Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna, consort of Nicholas I - “Mouffy”
  • Empress Maria Alexandrovna, consort of Alexander II - “Masha”
  • Empress Maria Fyodorovna, consort of Alexander III - “Minnie”
  • Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna, consort of Nicholas II - “Sunny”

Princess Alexandra of Weles (later Queen of England), Prince George (later King George V), Grand Duchess Xenia, Prince Waldemar of Denmark with his wife, Princess Marie d'Orléans, Prince George of Greece (I think), Princess Marie of Greece and Tsarevich Nicholas (late Tsar Nicholas II).

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The “Alexandra Curse” of the Romanov Family

For the British Royal Family, the name “John” brings ill-luck and the family has since evaded from naming any of the royal sons John. This was largely due to King George V’s son, Prince John of the United Kingdom, who was hidden from public view and died at the age of 13. The female name of “Alexandra” was the naming taboo to the Romanov family for similar reasons.

Ever since Grand Duchess Alexandra Alexandrovna’s premature death at the age of six in 1849 and the other two Russian-born Alexandras before her, Imperial couples had avoided naming their daughters Alexandra. This alleged curse was the reason Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia (d. 1918) chose not to give her name to any of her daughters.

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THE YEARS THE ROMANOV FAMILY TURNED THIRTEEN YEARS OLD - EDITION #3

With the exception of Grand Duchess Alexandra Alexandrovna, the eldest child, who died of infant meningitis at age 6, these are the years Tsar Alexander II and his immediate family turned thirteen years old, their first year of being a teenager.

When Alexander II was 13, few imagined that he would be known to posterity as a leader able to implement the most challenging reforms undertaken in Russia since the reign of Peter the Great. The boy’s moral and intellectual development was entrusted to the poet Vasily Zhukovsky, a humanitarian liberal and romantic. Even from an early age, he traveled widely across Russia.

In 1837, 13-year-old Marie Alexandrovna was a skinny Hessian princess living in Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany. Marie was a year shy of meeting her future husband, Tsarevich Alexander. During Alexander’s tour through Europe in 1838, he met the teenage Marie and unexpectedly fell in love. The two married in April 1841. Marie was 16 and Alexander 23.

When Alexander and Marie’s eldest surviving child, Tsarevich Nicholas, was 13 years old in 1856, he was already the heir of the Russian throne and witnessed the end of the Crimean War and his parents’ luxurious coronation. Nicholas only had nine years of life left before tragically dying of meningitis. This was the same type of disease that claimed the life of his elder sister Alexandra sixteen years earlier.

When the rest of the boys Alexander, Vladimir, Alexei, Sergei and Paul were 13, they were receiving military training as expected for their titles of Grand Duke. However, the youngest two brothers were more interested into the arts than the military. The boys’ linguistic, artistic and musical abilities were encouraged by tutors.

The remaining sibling, Maria, became thirteen years old in October 1866 and she was the only girl in the family full with boys, causing her to grow up as a tomboy. Standing out in a crowd of boys, Maria was often in the center of attention and had a great influence over her father, who became deeply attached to her after the death of little Alexandra. Mark Twain, the famous American author, met Maria in August 1867 while visiting the imperial family in Livadia and thought her to be very pretty and noticed the influence the girl had on her father.

Maria was the first Russian grand duchess to be raised by English nannies and to speak fluent English. This eventually enabled her to meet and become engaged to Prince Alfred of the United Kingdom, the second son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. She was the only Romanov in the British Royal Family.