empress-maria-alexandrovna

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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”
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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.”

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Empress Maria Alexandrovna of Russia, spouse of Alexander II, portraited by Franz Xavier Winterhalter

“The Empress undoubtedly has great accumen; her mind is very subtle, very sensitive, very astute, but … She is much more suited to the life of the heart and mind than for active work and external manifestations. She turns her ambition not to the attainment of power or political influence, but to the development of her inner being.”

Anna Tyutcheva

A l e x a n d e r  &  M a r i e

Marie of Hesse-Darmstadt was fourteen with the long, loose hair of childhood when she first met the future Alexander II. She was eating cherries when she was ushered forward and had to spit the stones into her hand before she could speak to him. ’This was Marie, our beloved Marie, who became Sasha’s happiness’, his sister Olga remembered. ’ From the first word she spoke his feelings were aroused. She was no doll like the others, there was no coyness about her and she expected nothing from their meeting.’ The engagement was approved and they married three years later. [The Camera and the Tsars]

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