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.
“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.”
Grand Duke Serge, Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna, Grand Duchess Elizabeth and Grand Duke Paul at the Youssoupoff’s Arkhangelskoe estate. The Youssoupoff’s often hosted various members of royalty, however Grand Duke Serge and his wife Elizabeth, were not only neighbors but close friends.
Princess Nina spent the first years of her life in apartments at the Mikhailovsky Palace outsideSt. Petersburg, the residence of her paternal grandfather Grand Duke Michael Nicolaievich of Russia. In 1905, the family moved to a newly built small palace in the Crimea. Constructed in English style, they gave the property a Greek name, “Harax”. For nine years the family led a quiet life. A contemporary of Tsar Nicholas II two youngest daughters, Princess Nina and her only sibling Princess Xenia, played sometimes with them, while they were in the Imperial capital.
The marriage of Nina’s parents was unhappy. Grand Duke George was a devoted father, and the two sisters were close to him, but Grand Duchess Maria Georgievna never liked Russia and eventually became estranged from her husband. In June 1914, Maria took her two daughters to England on the pretext of improving their health; in reality, she wanted to be separated from her husband. When the war broke out a month after her arrival, the Grand Duchess did not rush back to Russia and later it was too dangerous to attempt a return.Princess Nina and her sister never saw their father again. He was killed during the Russian Revolution. Imprisoned by the Bolsheviks, he was shot by a firing squad, along with other Romanov relatives in January 1919. During the turbulent years of World War I and the Russian Revolution, Princess Nina remained living safely in London with her mother and her sister. Both sisters treasured their father’s memory and resented their mother. In part to escape her control they both married very young.
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.
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.
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.
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…”
24 September 1891 - Death of Grand Duchess Alexandra Georgievna at the age of 21.
During the autumn of 1891 Alexandra was expecting her second child. With her husband Paul, they were staying at Ilinskoe, Sergei and Ella’s retreat house and it is there that the tragedy happened, Alexei Volkov wrote : “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. ”
The pain that followed Alexandra’s death at the age of 21 was a terrible blow for her family and close friends. Especially for Paul, his brother Sergei had to restrain him when her body was lowered into the tomb, Volkov watched his health and spirits sink as the weeks passed : “ The doctors who cared for him…decided that the Grand Duke must go abroad to improve his physical health and restore the balance of mind and spirit.” The Camera and the Tsars
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.
WhenAlexander 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.
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.
Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich of Russia and his younger brother Paul Alexandrovich, the youngest of six sons of Emperor Alexander II of Russia. The brothers were inseparable and they were known for their gentle nature, shyness, and strong devotion to religion. Both would eventually be killed by revolutionaries, Sergei by a terrorist bomb in 1905 and Paul by a Bolshevik firing squad in 1919.