The granddaughter of Queen Victoria of Great Britain and the Empress consort of Russia, Alexandra Feodorovna was as the wife of Nicholas II and the last Tsaritsa of the Russian empire. Alexandra was a maternal great-aunt of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and first cousin to his wife Queen Elizabeth II. She became a faithful convert of the Russian Orthodox Church and was later consecrated as Saint Alexandra the Passion Bearer. She is known in history as one of the bearers of the fatal disease, Hemophilia; a fact which came into the public eye when it was found that her son and the heir apparent to the Russian throne suffered from the disease. She is also known for her liaisons with Gregori Rasputin, the mystic healer. She also bore four daughters and is remembered as a loving and caring mother. By the time the first world war had started, she became very unpopular with the common people of Russia as not only was Germany her place of birth but the contemporary German emperor was her cousin. She and her family were imprisoned during the Russian civil war or the February Revolution and were shot to death by Bolsheviks at the Ipatiev House
- Alexandra Frodorovna was born on June 6, 1872 at the New Palace in Darmstadt, and was the sixth child and fourth daughter of Grand Duke Louis IV of Hesse and Princess Alice of the United Kingdom. She was nicknamed Princess Alix by her family.On 1st July, 1872, she was baptised in accordance to the rituals of the Lutheran Church. The Prince and princess of Wales were chosen as her Godparents among many others.On 14th December, 1878, when she was six years old, Alix’s mother died of a diphtheria epidemic. Alix and her three other siblings survived the disease but her youngest sister Princess Marie succumbed to it.The notorious disease Hemophilia ran in the family. Alix’s older brother, Prince Friedrich of Hesse and by Rhine, died of the disease in May 1873.Empress of Russia
- Alix first met her future husband, Nicholas II, the heir to the throne of Russia in 1884 at the wedding of the latter’s uncle Sergei with Alix’s sister, Elizabeth at St. Petersburg. But the match was a problematic one for various reasons.The match was disapproved by Nicholas’s father, Alexander III, an anti- German ruler, who wanted his son to marry the daughter of Phillipe, comte de Paris, the heir to the throne of France. Queen Victoria herself was against the match. However, she relented and let Alexandra have her way.Alexandra herself had her share of doubts because the marriage would require her to convert into the Orthodox religion that’s why she turned down the first proposal of Nicholas. However, she accepted his second proposal.The marriage took place after the death of Alexander III on 1st November, 1894. Tsarevich Nicholas II became the new Tsar of Russia, who wed Alexandra in the Grand Church of the Winter Palace of St. Petersburg, on 26th November, 1894.The coronation of Alexandra Feodorovna and Nicholas II happened on the 14th of May, 1896 at Kremlin, in Moscow.Unfortunately, she was unable to form a favourable impression of herself among the courtiers, the common people and even her family. She was perceived as very cold and haughty, although it was probably her quiet and shy side. It is said that her relationship with her mother in law, Marie Feodorovna was very troubled too.Rejection by the People
- During the outbreak of the First World War, Tsar Nicholas had to travel to the Frontline so he appointed Alexandra as the Regent in the capital, in 1915. However, she was inexperienced and under her governance, the wartime miserable situation of Russia worsened.Her German origin infuriated the common people, as did her increasing closeness with Gregori Rasputin. All of these, culminated in the intense hatred towards the tsarina in the hearts of Russian people.Personal Life and Legacy
- Alexandra bore four daughters - Olga, Tatania, Maria and Anastasia. By this time, people inside and outside the family had started despising her because of her inability to conceive a male child.Finally, on 12th August, 1904, she gave birth to the first male child and the successor to the Russian throne, Alexei Nikolaevich. But, unfortunately the royal heir had inherited the hereditary disease of Haemophilia.It is during her pursuit of healing her son that Alexandra came in contact with the mystic Gregori Rasputin. She started relying on him blindly and in his capability of reducing Alexei’s pain.This relationship seemed to increase Rasputin’s political powers during the absence of the Tsar, in the year 1915 and turned the majority of the aristocracy against Alexandra.The February Revolution brought in its stead the Provisional Government. The government, which was led by Alexander Kerensky imprisoned the former Tsar along with his wife and children in the Alexander Palace from which they were removed to the Ipatiev House, on 30th April, 1918.Early in the morning of 17th July, 1918, Alexandra, along with her family members and servants was assassinated by a firing squad in the basement of the house. The execution was led by Yakov Yurovsky.Alexandra had to witness the murder of her husband (Tsar Nicholas II) in front of her eyes before she was shot by the military commissioner Peter Ermakov. The gunshot entered just above her left ear.Trivia
- Alexandra was canonised as Saint Alexandra, the passion bearer by the Russian Orthodox Church along with her husband and children, in 2000. She was also reinterred in the year 1998 in the Peter and Paul Cathedral.
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