tsarevich nicholas alexandrovich


This was not just a man who has left us. This was youth, beauty, a first love, scarcely awakened… This was a young man who personified all the hopes which a million brave men place in the future. This was nobility, goodness, friendliness, the spirit of justice and fair-play. This was the symbol of all that is dear and sacred to us on earth.” Stassioulevitch

April 24, 1865 – Death of the Tsesarevich Nikolai Alexandrovich

On Easter Monday 18 April, the Tsesarevich was dressed and place in an armchair to receive communion. News of his illness had drawn specialists from all over Europe, and one Professor Rehrberg from Vienna produced the first accurate diagnosis: cerebro-spinal meningitis. It was too late. Within days Nikolai was slipping into periods of delirium, when he could recognize no one. On Thursday Grand Duke Alexander arrived. Nikolai was pleased to see the brother whose gifts were apparent to no one but himself. Dagmar reached Nice on Friday with her mother, and at 2:30pm the Tsar himself came to the Villa Bermond. The Tsaritsa woke her son to tell him that his father had come; he kissed her hand, taking each finger in turn, and asked what she would do without him. It was the first time he had mentionned death, and his father knelt by the bed in tears. 

Nikolai was sleeping more now, thought the slightest sound would wake him. On Saturday he was Dagmar come into the room and whispered to his mother, “isn’t she beautiful?” Dagmar spent a long time beside him that day, arranging his pillows and stroking his hand, talking softly all the while; for some time Alexander also stayed by the bed, holding his other hand. Later the legend grew that Nikolai had joined their hands and told them to marry after his death, but there is no suggestion of this in the early eyewitness accounts. The end came on the evening of Sunday 24 April. Outside, in the sunshine of early spring, French infantru and cavalry and Russian sailors mounted silent guard on the Villa Bermond, while the family, their suites and the doctors filled the Tsesarevich’s room, and the clergy chanted prayers for the dying. Nikolai was beyond speech now, but a single tear was seen on his cheek. The tragedy chaged the future for the whole dynasty. 

|The last century of Imperial Russia : Romanov Autumn by Charlotte Zeepvat |


“When, as Tsarevich, Nicholas came to London in 1893 for my father’s wedding, my father was mistaken for him by a well-intentioned diplomat who asked if he had come over especially for the Duke of York’s wedding. My father loved to relate the confusion that came over the embarrassed envoy when hereplied: “I am the Duke of York and it is important that I attend. my own wedding.”  – David (Duke of Windsor)


One of the favourite past times of the 19th century Russian nobility were amateur stage performances, often based on famous literary work, in which the members of the noble families would themselves participate. At one such occassion Tsarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich, future Tsar Nicholas II, played the lead role in an adaptation of Pushkin´s Eugene Onegin. The role of beautiful Tatiana was entrusted to his aunt by marriage, Grand Duchess Elizaveta Fyodorovna.

The Danish princess remained a prime candidate for a bride of Russia’s imperial family. In 1864, the Tsarevich Nicholas (“Nixa”) accordingly paid a visit to Denmark. Nixa promptly became infatuated with the comely princess. In reporting his impressions, Nixa wrote to his mother excitedly: “How can I describe her? She is so pretty, direct, intelligent, lively yet at the same time shy. She is even prettier in real life than in the portraits that we had seen so far. Her eyes speak for her: they are so kind, intelligent, animated.” Dagmar greatly appreciated the twenty-one-year-old tsarevich, a slightly built, intelligent young man who was popular with all who knew him. His teachers referred to the heir as “Russia’s hope” as well as “a brilliant young man.” Grand Duke Constantine was no less enthusiastic about his nephew, this future tsar, referring to Nixa as “the crown of perfection.”

From Splendor to Revolution - Julia P. Gelardi

A royal candid image

From left to right : Prince Valdemar of Denmark, Prince George of Great Britain (future King George V), Princess Marie of Greece, Tsar Alexander III of Russia, Tsaritsa Maria Feodorovna of Russia, Queen Olga of the Hellenes, Prince Nicolaos of Greece and cut in half, Tsarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich of Russia, future Tsar Nicholas II. Early 1890s.