grand duke serge alexandrovich

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Romanov Ladies wearing kokoshnik (or tiara style kokoshnik):

1) Catherine the Great

2) Marie Feodorovna (wife of Paul I)

3) Grand Duchess Alexandra Pavlovna

4) Alexandra Feodorovna (wife of Nicholas I)

5) Grand Duchess Alexandra Petrovna (wife of Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich)

6) Maria Alexandrovna (wife of Alexander II)

7) Marie Feodorovna (wife of Alexander III)

8) Grand Duchess Elisabeth Feodorovna (wife of Grand Duke Serge Alexandrovich).

9) Grand Duchess Marie Pavlovna the Elder (wife of Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich)

10) Alexandra Feodorovna (wife of Nicholas II)

Grand Duke Pavel Alexandrovich and his wife Grand Duchess Alexandra Georgievna

Up until his marriage, which had taken place during the summer of 1889, Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich lived in the Winter Palace, always keeping the same retiring lifestyle. At the beginning of Spring that year, the Grand Duke left for the second timne to go to Greece, to revisit his fiancée, Alexandra Georgievna. This time, I accompanied him.

When we left Petersburg, the sheets of ice were still in place. By and by, though, as we approached the Midi, the beautiful Spring came upon us and warmed things up more and more. All of this was, to me, a man of the North, something quite new. This voyage gave me a brilliant dream of light and color. After staying six weeks as guests of the court in Athens, we returned to Petersburg, followed by Princess Alexandra of Greece, where the marriage took place in June 1889.

The newlyweds were installed in their palace, on the Neva quay, behind the Church of the Annunciation, facing the Naval Corps.

Their family life flowed there; peacefully and serenely. A first child was born, Grand Duchess Marie Pavlovna. The people most close and dear to him during this time were Grand Duke Serge Alexandrovich and his wife Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna. Unfortunately, this idyllic family would not last long. Grand Duke Serge Alexandrovich was named to be Governor General of Moscow. He practiced the greatest hospitality, in general, and above all his pleasure was great whenever he had his parents as guests. Grand Duke Paul and Grand Duchess Alexandra frequently saw them at their homes in Moscow and at Ilynskoe. At those times there would be balls in their honor, all very lively, and picnics and receptions without end. It was in Ilynskoe, Moscow Government, than an unexpected and fatal event took place for the Grand Ducal couple. The Grand Duchess, who was awaiting the birth of a second child, fainted one day during a ball, and was stricken with violent pains of premature childbirth. She was immediately taken to her apartments. This sad accident was the result of some imprudence on the part of the Grand Duchess the day before. At the estate at Ilynskoe, on the bank of the Moscow River, a dingy was permanently moored. The Grand Duchess took frequent walks there with her friends. She would not take the small path that led down to where the dingy was moored, but instead always jumped from a small ledge down directly into the dingy. That day, she did that again, despite her advanced pregnancy. This accident of which I speak and the resulting premature birth of the child - later the Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich- were the result. Everything was done to save the Grand Duchess. The efforts of doctors, the ultimate in their science, were all in vain. Grand Duchess Alexandra Georgievna died after two days of terrible suffering. It is quite impossible for me to describe the despair of Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich.

Alexei Volkov: Memories

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“The air,” recalled Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich, “was heavy with incense, the Cathedral resplendent with the flash of golden vestments and the sparkling of precious stones.” 

Metropolitan Palladi approached the emperor, bowed, and invited him to make his confession. Nicholas stood and confessed, after which he received absolution and recited the Nicene Creed. Assisted by his uncles Vladimir, Serge, and Paul Alexandrovich and his brother Michael Alexandrovich, Nicholas removed the small collar of the Order of St. Andrei from around his neck. The three metropolitans stepped forward, followed by general-adjutants holding the cushions on which rested the Imperial Regalia. They placed the Imperial Mantle of cloth-of-gold, lined and edged with ermine and embroidred with double-headed eagles, around Nicholas’s shoulders, fastening its diamond claspsover his collar and draping the Dimaond Chain of the Order of St. Andrei round his neck. 

Nicholas then knelt before Metropolitan Palladi, who prayed for his health and for divine inspiration. His face, recalled Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich, “had an expression of piety and supplication; his whole countenance emanated majesty.” 

{The Court of the Last Tsar, Greg King}

Princess Henry of Prussia née Princess Irene of Hesse, her son in the center Prince Waldemar. Her sisters Princess Alix of Hesse and Grand Duchess Elisabeth Feodorovna and brother Ernest Louis, Grand Duke of Hesse. Ella’s husband Grand Duke Serge Alexandrovich, and his brother Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich, 1894.

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              // Queen Victoria & Emperor Alexander II //

It’s on his tour of Europe in 1839 that the young heir to the Russian throne met Queen Victoria. Beforehead he stopped at Darmastadt where he fall for the young Princess Marie of Hesse.  That night he wrote to his father,“I liked her terribly at first sight. If you permit it, dear father, I will come back to Darmstadt after England.”

It turned out that leaving England would be difficult. It was the fault of Queen Victoria. She was twenty years old and she, too, had gorgeous blue eyes. Soon Victoria wrote in her diary, “I like the Grand Duke extremely; he is so natural and gay and so easy to get on with.” The next day Victoria and the Russian heir were at the Royal theater in separate boxes. In the intermission Alexander entered the queen’s box and spent close to half hour alone with her behind the velvet curtains. Dispatches flew to St. Petersburg:“The queen is clearly enjoying the society of His Imperial Majesty. Everyone is saying they are an ideal couple. Were the Grand Duke to make a proposal to the queen, it would be accepted without hesitation.”

Victoria described the history of their brief romance in her diary Monday, 27th May 1839. Windsor. At ¼ to 8 we dined in St. George’s Hall, which looked beautiful. The Grand Duke led me in and I sat between him and Prince Henry of Holland. I really am quite in love with the Grand Duke; he is a dear, delightful young man… I danced Ist a quadrille with the Grand Duke, then followed a Valse, during which time I sat down, then another quadrille… This was followed again by a Valse (of course I and also the Grand Duke sitting down during the Valse)… After super at 12 they danced a Mazurka… The Grand Duke asked me to take a turn; the Grand Duke is so very strong, that in running round, you must follow quickly and after that you are whisked round like in a Valse, which is very pleasant… This concludes our little ball at near 2 o'clock. I never enjoyed myself more. We were all so merry; I got to be by a ¼ to 3, but could not sleep till 5.“ 

But it was vain. His father’s letter was delivered to him. His father’s orders were “Back to Darmstadt!” Russia needed an heir to the throne, not a pathetic husband of the English queen. “Don’t be a milksop!” The sight of the grand duke made everything clear to Victoria. After the last dance on May 28, “which was over at 20m to 3, I went to the little blue room next to my Dressing-room, where Lord Palmerston brought in the Grand-Duke to take leave. The Grand Duke took my hand and pressed it warmly; he looked pale and his voice faltered, as he said, “Les paroles me manquent pour exprimer tour ce que je sens” [I lack the words to express what I feel]; and he mentioned how deeply grateful he felt for all the kindness he met with, that he hoped to return again… He then pressed and kissed my hand, and I kissed his cheek; upon which he kissed mine (cheek) in a very warm affectionate manner, and we again warmly shook hands. I really felt more ad if I was taking leave of relation than of a stranger, I felt so sad to take leave of this dear amiable young man, whom I really think (talking jokingly) I was little in love with, and certainly attached to; he is so frank, so really young and merry, has such a nice open countenance with a sweet smile, and such a manly fine figure and appearance.“  

As a farewell gift, Alexander gave the queen his favorite dog, Kazbek. She kept it with her until it died. {Alexander II: The Last Great Tsar by Edvard Radzinsky,Antonina Bouis}

Following the Crimean War Queen Victoria would bore anti-Russian sentiments. Nevertheless in 1874 her second son Prince Alfred married the daughter of Alexander II, Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna. Few years later her granddaughter Princess Elizabeth married Grand Duke Serge Alexandrovich, followed by Princess Alix, who married Nicholas II. Queen Victoria and Emperor Alexander II became the great grandparents of the last children of the Imperial Family : Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia and Alexei.

Louis IV Grand Duke of Hesse with his two eldest daughters, Princess Victoria with her husband Prince Louis of Battenberg and Princess Elisabeth of Hesse with her future husband Grand Duke Serge Alexandrovich, March 1884, three months before their wedding.

Princess Henry of Prussia with her son in the center Prince Waldemar, her sisters Princess Alix of Hesse and Grand Duchess Elisabeth Feodorovna. Ella’s husband Grand Duke Serge Alexandrovich, his brother-in-law Ernest Louis, Grand Duke of Hesse and Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich, his younger brother, 1894.