“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.”
Sapphire and diamond tiara given to Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna by her father, Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich, as part of a magnificent Cartier parure on the occasion of her marriage to Prince Wilhelm of Sweden in 1908. Fate unknown, probably sold by the grand duchess to support herself in exile.
Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna descending the Red Staircase on their coronation day, May 26, 1896, Nicholas’ uncles are escorting them Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich and Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich on their right, Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich on their left,.
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.
from the left to rigth: Princess Olga Paley, her eldest son Alexander Erikovich, Olga Erikovna,Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich of Russia,Princess Irina Paley,Princess Natalia Paley, Prince Vladimir Paley and Marianne Pistohlkors.
Portrait of Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich, Valentin Serov, 1897.
The Grand Duke Paul was the youngest son of Tsar Alexander II and thus uncle to Nicholas II. He and his son, Vladimir, were both murdered by the Bolsheviks during the Revolution. Vladimir died alongside the Grand Duchess St Elizabeth Feodorovna and other relatives in a mineshaft outside Alapayevsk; Paul was shot in the Peter and Paul Fortress not long after.
According to her diaries, Princess Tatiana was in love with Grand Duke Paul Alexanderovitch. In her diaries she writes of her excitement at the prospect of seeing him, and her grief over the idea of him marrying someone other than her. It appears to have been a one sided attraction as the Grand Duke began to withdraw after Tatiana declared her affections leaving her crushed. “It is absolutely impossible now to be happy, no matter what happens.
Friendship. The purest blessing of God, but I have not managed to preserve this treasure…”