Russian Imperial Palaces → The Pavlovsk Palace

Pavlovsk Palace is an 18th-century Russian Imperial residence built by Paul I of Russia in Pavlovsk, near Saint Petersburg. In 1777 The Empress Catherine II of Russia gave a parcel of a thousand hectares of forest along the winding Slavyanka River, four kilometers from her residence at Tsarskoye Selo, to her son and heir Paul I and his wife Maria Feodorovna, to celebrate the birth of their first son, the future Alexander I of Russia.

In September 1781, as construction of the Pavlovsk Palace began, Paul and Maria set off on a journey to Austria, Italy, France and Germany. Paul and Maria Feodorovna returned in November 1782, and they continued to fill Pavlovsk with art objects. The decoration of the palace was inspired by Roman models discovered at Pompeii and Herculaneum; Roman-style lamps, furniture, Roman couches, and chairs copied after those of Roman senators. Following the French taste of the time for Egyptian art, black Egyptian statues were added in the entry vestibule of the Palace.

An unpopular tsar, Paul was assassinated by conspirators in 1801. After his son’s accession to the throne, Paul’s wife made the Pavlovsk Palace her permanent home. At the time of the Russian Revolution in 1917, the eldest son of Constantine Constantinovich and his relatives were living in one of the wings of Pavlovsk. As the political situation deteriorated, they left, and the house was left to the care of Alexander Polovotsoff, director of the Art Institute and the Museum of Applied Arts in Saint Petersburg. The palace was damaged in World War II and there has been successful restoration attempts ever since, opening the new restored palace to the public today.


I can’t help but notice the few uncanny similarities between Russian Emperors Nicholas II’s daughters and Paul I’s four eldest daughters. The eldest daughters of both Emperors had musical talents, spoke a several languages, and learned quite easily. They were the most thoughtful of the sisters and the most religious. The second daughters were both considered to be the most beautiful of all their sisters and also shared a special bond to their elder sister. They were both sensitive to anything beautiful.

The third daughters, sharing the same given name, were considered to be the most simple and ordinary of all but most skilled in art and painting. They were both called “the Angel” for their selfless nature and strong desire to help others. Unlike their elder sisters, the two Maria’s were uninterested in fashion and was somewhat a tomboy (though Anastasia was the true tomboy). The fourth daughters were both very lively and vivacious. They had fiery personalities. They both had a close bond to their brothers, who were both heirs to the throne.


During the wedding ceremony of her sister Ella in the chapel of the Winter Palace, twelve-year-old Alix stood to one side, wearing a white muslin dress, with roses in her hair. Between listening to the long, incomprehensible chant of the litany and smelling the sweet incense which filled the air, she stole side glances at sixteen-year-old Tsarevich Nicholas. Nicholas responded and one day presented her with a small brooch. Overwhelmed, she accepted, but then shyly pressed it back into his hand during the excitement of a children’s party. Nicholas was offended and gave the brooch to his sister Xenia, who, not knowing its history, accepted it cheerfully.”

Robert K. Massie, Nicholas & Alexandra


Get to Know Me Meme || [1/15] royals in general

Grand Duchess Alexandra Pavlovna of Russia

At 14, she was already tall and womanly; her figure was noble and majestic, softened by all graces of her gender and age. Her features were regular, and her complexion fair as alabaster. Innocence, candour, and serenity stamped their divine impressions on her brow; and light flaxen hair…fell in ringlets on her well-turned neck. Her heart, her talents, and her intellect were in unison with her exterior appearance.”

Alexandra saw a miniature of her future husband and convinced herself to be in love with him and that she will be happy ‘forever’. This, of course, never fully came true. The Austrian Empress, her husband’s sister-in-law, rendered Alexandra’s life so intolerable out of pure jealousy that when Emperor Paul learned how his favorite child had been treated, “he flew into a rage, demanded that she should be sent back to St. Petersburg, and even threatened war.

The couple settled in a different castle and was extremely happy. However, this happiness turned out to be temporary as Alexandra died after giving birth at the age of seventeen. Her death was inevitable as the pregnancy and childbirth had greatly weakened her. The baby, a girl, was a stillborn. The young husband was grief-stricken and cried for a very long time. Her death occurred during the same week as her father’s murder. Both were terrible blows for the Romanov family.

For many years, Alexandra’s tomb was carefully maintained by the Orthodox Church in Russia. But after the Revolution, everything changed. Her coffin was exhumed and the jewels on Alexandra’s corpse were robbed. In the end, her remains were reburied to the family vault of the Hapsburgs. [Source]

The Family of Russian Emperor Alexander II, early 1870s.

From left to right are: Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich, Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich, Alexander II, Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna, Grand Duke Alexei Alexandrovich, little Grand Duke Nicholas Alexandrovich (the future Nicholas II), Tsarevna Maria Feodorovna, Tsarevich Alexander Alexandrovich (the future Alexander III), Empress Marie Alexandrovna, and Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich of Russia.

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.

Grand Duchess Anna Pavlovna of Russia, the youngest daughter of Tsar Paul of Russia. This portrait of young Anna Pavlovna, done in 1816 by Jean Desire Muneret, shows Muneret bringing Isabey style portraiture with swirling scarves east to Russia. The Grand Duchess would later become Queen Consort Anna Paulowna of the Netherlands and is a direct ancestor of the current Dutch king, Willem-Alexander.

Romanov Birthdays Empress Marie Alexandrovna, August 8

Marie was born on 8 August 1824, the youngest of seven children born to the Grand Duchess Wilhelmine of Hesse, who was the youngest sister of the Russian Empress Elizabeth Alexeievna. The younger four were likely the biological children of Baron August von Senarclens de Grancy, but to avoid a scandal, Ludwig II, Grand Duke of Hesse acknowledged Alexander and Marie as his own children; the other two had died young. When in 1838, the Tsarevich Alexander Nikolaevich toured Europe to find a wife, he fell in love with the 14-year-old Marie. He married her on 16 April 1841, even though he was well aware of the “irregularity” of her birth. His mother Empress Alexandra Feodorovna objected, but Alexander insisted. In 1865, the death of her eldest and favourite son, the Tsarevich Nicholas, was a great blow.

As she was very shy, she was regarded as stiff, austere, and with no taste in dress, no conversation, no charm. The damp climate of St. Petersburg did not agree with the delicate chest Marie had inherited from her mother, so that she had a racking cough and recurring fever. Nevertheless, she became the mother of eight children. These pregnancies together with ill health kept her away from many Court festivities, which brought temptations to her husband. Although he always treated her well, Marie knew Alexander was unfaithful and had many lovers. He already had three children with his favourite mistress, Princess Catherine Dolgoruki, when he moved her and their children into the Imperial Palace. They entered into a morganatic marriage on 6 July 1880, less than a month after Marie’s death. In later years Nicholas II’s eldest daughter, the Grand Duchess Olga, claimed to have seen the ghost of her ancestor, the Empress Maria Alexandrovna as a small child, according to her nanny, Miss Margaretta Eagar.

Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine, the future Empress Alexandra Feodorovna Romanova of Russia, with her maternal uncle, Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany. Leopold, the youngest son of Queen Victoria, was a hemophiliac and died when Alix was 11 years old. It was a crushing blow for Alix to discover that her first and only son also inherited the disease that killed her uncle twenty years earlier. The knowledge that only one of Queen Victoria’s four sons was affected by this genetic disease anguished Alix and she blamed herself for passing on the disease.