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Originally Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine at birth, she was given the name and patronymic Alexandra Feodorovna when she converted and was received into the Russian Orthodox Church. She and her immediate family were all killed while in Bolshevik captivity in 1918, during the Russian Revolution.
- Who Was Alexandra Feodorovna?
- Background and Early Years
- Marriage and Family
- Meeting Rasputin
- WWI and Revolution
- Final Days and Death
Alexandra Feodorovna (also known as Alix of Hesse, or Aleksandra Fyodorovna Romanova, among other monikers) was born on June 6, 1872, in Darmstadt, Germany. She married Russian tzar Nicholas II in 1894. Unpopular at court, she turned to mystic Grigori Rasputinfor counsel after her son developed hemophilia. When Nicholas left for the WWI front, Feodorovna replaced her ministers with those favored by Rasputin. After the October Revolution in 1917, she was imprisoned and shot to death, along with her family, on the night of July 16-17, 1918. Feodorovna's rule precipitated the collapse of Russia's imperial government.
Alexandra Feodorovna was born Victoria Alix Helena Louise Beatrice on June 6, 1872, in the Grand Duchy of Hesse, in the German Empire. The sixth child of Grand Duke Louis IV and Princess Alice of the United Kingdom, she was called Alix by her family. Her mother died when she was six and she spent most of her holidays with her British cousins. She was educated by her grandmother, Queen Victoria, and later studied philosophy at Heidelberg University. Alix met Grand Duke Nicholas Romanov, heir to the Russian throne, when she was twelve. Over the years, the acquaintance blossomed into a romance. At first, the prospect of marriage didn’t seem very promising. Nicholas’s father, Alexander III, was anti-German and Alix’s family expressed open disdain for the Russian people. Further, it was suspected she carried the hereditary disease of hemophilia, considered fatal at the time. But they were deeply in love and on November 26, 1894, the couple wed. Alix took the name Alexandra Feodorovnawhen...
On the surface, the two enjoyed a warm and passionate marriage, living at Tsarskoe Selo, the private residence of the royal family. However, this tranquil life was about to be shattered by personal tragedy and cataclysmic world events. By 1901, Alexandra’s and Nicholas’s first four children were all girls. The Romanov family needed a male heir and Alexandra desperately wanted to provide her husband a son. She turned to mystics in hopes of conceiving a boy, but to no avail. Alexandra had become so frantic that in 1903 she experienced pseudocyesis, a false pregnancy. Finally, in 1904, she gave birth to a son they named Alexei. Her joy was short-lived however as it was discovered he suffered from hemophilia.
Alexandra’s association with mysticism put her in contact with the notorious mystic and faith healer Grigori Rasputin in 1908. He quickly gained her confidence by seemingly “curing” the boy of hemophilia through what was believed to be a form of hypnosis. To Alexandra, Rasputin was her son’s savior, but to the Russian public he was a debauched charlatan, bringing shame to the crown and royal family. As the saga around Alexei’s health continued, harbingers of calamity at home and abroad were also emerging. Alexandra was not warmly received by the Russian people nor the royal court, though she continued to involve herself in affairs of state. She and Nicholas were incapable of dealing with the turmoil brewing in and out of Russia.
At the outbreak of World War I, Russia was pitted against Germany. Nicholas left for the front, taking personal command of the armed forces against the counsel of his military advisors. Alexandra, as regent, oversaw operation of the government. With Rasputin often serving as advisor, she proceeded to arbitrarily dismiss capable ministers for incompetent ones. The poor performance by the Russian military on the battle field led to unfounded rumors that Alexandra was a German collaborator, further deepening her unpopularity with the Russian people. On December 16, 1916, Rasputin was assassinated by conspirators from the royal court. With her husband away at the front and her chief advisor murdered, Alexandra’s behavior became even more erratic. By February 1917, poor management of the government led to food shortages and famine gripped the cities. Industrial workers went on strike and people began rioting in the streets of St. Petersburg. Nicholas feared all was lost and abdicated the...
Alexandra and her children were eventually reunited with her husband and all were placed under house arrest in the Bolshevik controlled city of Yekaterinburg, at the Ipatiev House in April 1918. The family endured a nightmare of uncertainty and fear, never knowing if they would remain there, be separated or killed. During the night of July 16-17, 1918, Alexandra and her family were escorted to the basement of Ipatiev House, where they were executed by Bolsheviks, bringing an end to more than three centuries of the Romanov rule.
Jan 19, 2020 · Originally Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine at birth, she was given the name and patronymic Alexandra Feodorovna upon being received into the Russian Orthodox Church and—having been killed along with her immediate family while in Bolshevik captivity in 1918—was canonized in 2000 as Saint Alexandra the Passion Bearer.
- Early Life
- Empress of Russia
- Identification of Remains
- Burial and Sainthood
- Titles and Styles
Alexandra was born on 6 June 1872 at the New Palace in Darmstadt as Princess Viktoria Alix Helena Luise Beatrice of Hesse and by Rhine, a Grand Duchy that was then part of the German Empire. She was the sixth child among the seven children of Grand Duke Louis IV of Hesse and by Rhine, and Princess Alice of the United Kingdom, the second daughter of Queen Victoria and Albert, Prince Consort Alix was baptized on 1 July 1872 according to the rites of the Lutheran Church and given the names of her mother and each of her mother's four sisters, some of which were transliterated into German. Her godparents .were the Prince of Wales, the Princess of Wales, the Tsarevich of Russia, the Tsarevna of Russia, Princess Beatrice of the United Kingdom, the Duchess of Cambridge and Anna of Prussia. In December, 1878, diphtheria swept through the grandducal house of Hesse. Alix, her three sisters and her brother Ernst fell ill. Elizabeth, Alix's older sister had been sent to visit her paternal grandm...
Alix was married relatively late for her rank in her era, having refused a proposal from Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence (the eldest son of the Prince of Wales) despite strong familial pressure. It is said that Queen Victoria had wanted her two grandchildren to marry, but because she was very fond of Alix she accepted that she did not want to marry him; The Queen even went on to say that she was proud of Alix for standing up to her, something many people, including her own son the Prince of Wales did not do. Alix however, had already met and fallen in love with the Tsarevich of Russia, whose mother was the sister-in-law of Alix's uncle, the Prince of Wales and whose uncle Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich was married to Alix's sister Elizabeth. They were also second cousins as they were both great-grandchildren of Princess Wilhelmina of Baden. Nicholas and Alix had first met in 1884 and when Alix returned to Russia in 1889 they fell in love. "It is my dream to one day marry Ali...
Alexander III died on 1 November 1894 and Nicholasbecame Emperor of all the Russias at the age of twenty-six. The marriage was not delayed. Alexandra and Nicholas were married in the Chapel of the Winter Palace of Saint Petersburg on 14–26 November 1894. The marriage that began that night remained unflawed for the rest of their lives. It was a Victorian marriage, outwardly serene and proper, but based on intensely passionate physical love. Her older sister Ella was not only her sister, but her aunt by marriage. In fact, she, like Nicholas was a first cousin to Britain's King George V; Nicholas was a first cousin to three other kings as well: Christian X of Denmark, Constantine I of Greece, and Haakon VII of Norway. Alix of Hesse accompanied the Imperial family as they returned to Saint Petersburg with the body of the Tsar, and it is said that the people greeted their new Empress-to-be with ominous whispers of "She comes to us behind a coffin."
World War I put what proved to be unbearable burden on Imperial Russia's government and economy, both of which were dangerously weak. Mass shortages and hunger became the daily situation for tens of millions of Russians due to the disruptions of the war economy. Fifteen million men were diverted from agricultural production to fight in the war, and the transportation infrastructure (primarily railroads) were diverted towards war use, exacerbating food shortages in the cities as available agricultural products could not be brought to urban areas. Inflation was rampant which, combined with the food shortages and the poor performance by the Russian military in the war, generated a great deal of anger and unrest among the people in Saint Petersburg and other cities. The decision of the Tsar to take personal command of the military against advice was disastrous as he was directly blamed for all losses. His relocation to the front, leaving the Tsarina in charge of the government, helped u...
The Provisional Government formed after the revolution kept Nicholas, Alexandra, and their children confined in their primary residence, the Alexander Palace at Tsarskoye Selo, until they were moved to Tobolsk in Siberia in August 1917, a step by the Kerensky government designed to remove them from the capital and possible harm. From Tobolsk, Alexandra managed to send a letter to sister-in-law, Xenia Alexandrovna, in the Crimea, "My darling Xenia,My thoughts are with you, how magically good and beautiful everything must be with you – you are the flowers. But it is indescribably painful for the kind motherland, I cannot explain. I am glad for you that you are finally with all your family as you have been apart. I would like to see Olga in all her new big happiness. Everybody is healthy, but myself, during the last 6 weeks I experience nerve pains in my face with toothache. Very tormenting ... We live quietly, have established ourselves well [in Tobolsk] although it is far, far away f...
Tuesday, 16 July 1918 dawned hot and dusty in Ekaterinburg. The day passed normally for the former imperial family. At four o'clock in the afternoon, Nicholasand his daughters took their usual walk in the small garden. Early in the evening Yurovsky sent away the fifteen year old kitchen boy Leonid Sedinev, saying that his uncle wished to see him. At 7pm, Yurovsky summoned all the Cheka men into his room and ordered them to collect all the revolvers from the outside guards. With twelve heavy military revolvers lying before him on the table he said, "Tonight, we shoot the entire family, everybody." Upstairs Nicholas and Alexandra passed the evening playing bezique; at ten thirty, they went to bed. The former Tsar and Tsaritsa and all of their family, including the gravely ill Alexei, along with several family servants, were executed by firing squad and bayonets in the basement of the Ipatiev House, where they had been imprisoned, early in the morning of 17 July 1918, by a detachment o...
After the execution of the Romanov family in the Ipatiev House, Alexandra's body, along with Nicholas, their children and some faithful retainers who died with them, was stripped and the clothing burnt according to the Yurovsky Note. Initially the bodies were thrown down a disused mine-shaft at Ganina Yama, 12 miles (19 km) north of Yekaterinburg. A short time later they were retrieved, their faces were smashed and the bodies dismembered and disfigured with sulphuric acid were hurriedly buried under railway sleepers with the exception of two of the children whose bodies were not discovered until 2007. In 2007, the bodies missing were those of a daughter—Maria or Anastasia—and Alexei. In the early 1990s, following the fall of the Soviet Union, the bodies of the majority of the Romanovs were located along with their loyal servants, exhumed and formally identified. A secret report by Yurovsky, which came to light in the late 1970s, but did not become public knowledge until the 1990s, h...
Alexandra, Nicholas and three daughters were reinterred in the St.Catherine Chapel of the Peter and Paul Cathedralat the Fortress of St.Peter and St.Paul in St.Petersburg in 1998, with much ceremony, on the eightieth anniversary of the execution. In 2000 Alexandra was canonised by the Russian Orthodox Church together with her husband Nicholas II, their children and others including her sister Grand Duchess Elizabeth and her fellow nunVarvara.A rather romanticised version of Alexandra's life was dramatised in the 1971 movie Nicholas and Alexandra, based on the book by the same title written by Robert Massie, in which the tsaritsa was pl...Rasputin and the Empress (1932), an MGM film that is less famous than the lawsuit it spawned. Alexandra was portrayed by Ethel Barrymore.The highly fictionalized 1966 film Rasputin, the Mad Monk, in which Renee Asherson portrayed the empress.1974's Fall of Eagles, a BBC series dramatizing the demise of Europe's ruling families. Alexandra, portrayed by Gayle Hunnicutt, is a prominent character in the series.Her Grand Ducal HighnessPrincess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine (1872–1894)Her Imperial HighnessGrand Duchess Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia (created in 1894 by Alexander III prior to her marriage)Her Imperial MajestyThe Empress of all the Russias (1894 – February 1917) – title lost at the time of the abdication of her husband.
- Early Life
- Fall of Rasputin
- Russian Revolution
Alexandra von Hesse-Darmstadt was born in Darmstadt, Grand Duchy of Hesse, Germany on 6 June 1872, the daughter of Grand Duke Louis IV of Hesse and Princess Alice of the United Kingdom and the sister of Elisabeth; she was the granddaughter of Queen Victoria and inherited hemophilia from her, becoming a carrier of the disease. Her mother and one of her other sisters died during a diphtheria outbreak in 1878, while her sister Elisabeth married Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich of Russiain 1884.
In 1894, Alix married the recently-crowned Czar Nicholas II of Russia in what was widely seen as a love marriage, and she bore him four daughters (Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia) and one son (Alexei Nikolaevich). Alix was unpopular among the people for disliking Russian food and culture (despite converting to Orthodoxy and assuming the Russian name "Alexandra"), her initial inability to produce a son, and her apparently cold demeanor (those close to her merely insisted that she was shy). Alexandra was said to domineer over hre husband and hate everyone but her immediate family, and she became a barbiturate addict and sought the counsel of several charlatans. In 1912, the healer Grigori Rasputincame to her court and apparently healed her hemorrhaging son, and Alexandra came to have faith that Rasputin could help her son through his infirmities. He became so close a confidant to Czarina Alexandra that it was rumored that the two had become lovers; soon, opponents of the monarchy...
Rasputin's growing influence at court, as well as the start of the Great War with the German Empire in 1914, undermined the Russian public's support for their German czarina. In 1915, she was made Regent as her husband went to the front lines to assume personal command of the Imperial Russian Army, and Alix - dominated by Rasputin - constantly appointed and re-appointed incompetent ministers in her husband's absence. On 20 December 1916, Prince Filip Yusupovand a cabal of other influential nobles lured Rasputin to a dinner and shot him dead, ending his corrupting influence over the Czarina.
However, the Russian people had already lost their faith in the monarchy due to the military's many defeats under Nicholas' leadership, and, in March of 1917, after soldiers and workers rose up in the Russian capital of Petrograd and established the Petrograd Soviet, the State Duma urged the Czar to abdicate; meanwhile, the Duma had set up a provisional government under Alexander Kerensky. At Pskov, Nicholas met with his generals and was persuaded to abdicate, and he and his family were kept under house arrest at Tsarskoye Selo. In August 1917, they were moved to Tobolsk in Siberia, and, in 1918, amid the Russian Civil War, the Bolsheviksmoved them to the Ipatiev Houes at Yekaterinburg.
The Romanov royals were kept under house arrest from April to July 1918, when Vladimir Lenin decided to execute the royal family to deprive the White movement of its figureheads. On 17 July 1918, the royals were taken to the building's basement and shot dead by local Cheka chief Yakov Yurovskyand his firing squad. Their bodies were dismembered and disfigured with sulphuric acid and thrown down a mineshaft, and they were reinterred at the Peter and Paul Cathedral in 1998, exactly eighty years later.
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Jun 06, 2018 · Alexandra, also known as Alix, was born in 1872, the daughter of Louis IV, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine, and Princess Alice, a daughter of Queen Victoria. When she was six years old, tragedy struck the family in the form of diphtheria.
Sep 01, 2018 · This meant that the new couple had little time to settle into married life as they had become the Emperor and Empress of Russia. Alix was known as Alexandra Feodorovna from this point on. Alexandra was loved deeply by her husband from the start of their marriage up until the very end, but unfortunately, her subjects did not share his love.