Young Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna, nee Princess Alix of Hesse, in a formal portrait from 1895. The photograph was given to her grandmother Queen Victoria, who was openly unhappy about her “Alicky” going to Russia, as seen in one of her letter to Princess Victoria, elder sister of the bride:

“…the more I think of sweet Alicky’s marriage the more unhappy I am. Not as to the personality, for I like him very much, but on account of the Country, the Policy and the differences with us and the awful insecurity to which that sweet Child will be exposed…But I will try and bear it and make the best of it. Still, the feeling that I had laboured so hard to prevent it and that I felt there was no longer any danger and all in one night – everything was changed. Ella should never have encouraged it originally as she did… All my fears about her future marriage now show themselves so strongly and my blood runs cold when I think of her so young most likely placed on that very unsafe throne, her dear life and above all her Husband’s constantly threatened and unable to see her but rarely; it is a great additional anxiety in my declining years. Oh! How I wish it was not to be that I should loose my sweet Alicky. All I most earnestly ask now is that nothing should be settled for her without my being told before. She had no parents and I am her only Grandparent and feel I have a claim on her. She is like my own Child as you all are my dear Children but she and he are orphans. …I feel as it she was being carried off already.”

Originally black and white image coloured by me.

Callista Talks About Emily
  • Callista Talks About Emily
  • Callista Curnow
  • Audiograph

Yes, yes, I tell her, you will still need to study! And as Empress you’ll have proper tutors, one for each subject. And many personal servants. She asks if she’ll have spies. Yes, I tell her, I suppose you will. And advisors. So many advisors, your head will spin. She wants a cake maker! Well, I tell her, you’ll have a whole kitchen staff, with an army of chefs. And of course she asks if she can have cake every day. And I say, if that is your wish, my young Empress, which always makes her giggle. 

Sometimes she gets so sad, remembering these things. They remind her of her poor mother. It’s been six months and Emily is resilient, but sometimes I can hear her crying when she thinks I’m asleep.



“Sissi is a 1955 Austrian film directed by Ernst Marischka and starring Romy Schneider, Karlheinz Böhm, Magda Schneider, Uta Franz, Gustav Knuth, Vilma Degischer and Josef Meinrad. The film is based on the play Sissys Brautfahrt (Sissy’s Bridal Journey) by Ernst Décsey and Gustav Holm. Sissi is the first installment in the trilogy of films about Empress Elisabeth of Austria, who was known to her family as “Sissi”. It was followed by The Young Empress and Fateful Years of an Empress.“ (With English subtitles of course!)

Young Moon Geun-Young as the young Empress Myeongseong (Also known as Empress Min or Queen Min) in the 2001 Sageuk: Empress Myeongseong
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