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Czar Nicholas II and Alexandra Federovna

Quick Facts

Him: Czar Nicholas Romanov II, king of Russia

Her: Alix von Hessen, German princess and granddaughter of Queen Victoria

Setting: Russia, early 20th century

 


Background:

Married soon Nicholas’ his ascent to the throne after the death of his father, the Russian people believed a bad omen to have fallen upon the the marriage of Czar Nicholas II and Alexandra Federovna – tragically, they were right. They would meet a gruesome end at the hand of revolutionaries, but not before having one of the most impassioned love affairs in history, royal or otherwise.

 


Story

Grand Duke Nicholas and princess Alix von Hesse first met as adolescents in 1884, only to have their love blossom after she visited for six weeks in 1889. From the beginning, both had a deep passion for the other, with Nicholas even going so far as declaring “It is my dream to one day marry Alix H. I have loved her for a long time” in his diary. Despite this intense desire toS wed, Nicholas’ father would have nothing of the sort.

Czar Alexander III, attempting to find a woman of higher rank for his son, ignored Nicholas’ requests to set up a matrimonial relationship with princess Alix, the czar’s own goddaughter. After two failed attempts to match Nicholas with others – and on account of his deteriorating health – Alexander relented. The two were married in 1894, just three weeks after Alexander’s death. The Russian people, wary of the proximity between the two events, were reluctant to accept her coronation as Alexandra Federovna, often calling her Nicholas’ “German woman.”

For his part, the young czar was fairly immune to it all. His focus was on the happiness he and Alexandra had in marrying each other, often deflecting protests from the Russian court about the perceived distaste she had for Russian culture with a polite smile. (Alexandra was, in fact, painfully shy.) The two frequently exchanged love letters, regardless of whether they were together or apart, always expressing the deepest of affection.

Together, Czar Nicholas II and Alexandra Federovna would have four daughters and a son – reasons she found to step even further into the shadows of Russian culture. Being a mother was, apart from interacting with a few close friends, her day to day obsession, particularly with the young boy diagnosed with a bleeding disorder. The people, already dissatisfied with Alexandra, found her attention to her son and relationship with the mystic Grigori Rasputin tiresome, but the family was by all indications close-knit and happy – driven in no small part by the devotion shared between the father and mother (or “the Emperor and Empress,” as the older girls liked to call them).

The events of history would conspire to bring this famous love story to an end. Bogged down by World War I and the cost of defending its massive territory, the Russian government and economy collapsed. Hungry revolutionaries, having little food or money, eventually staged a coup and dragged the royal family to a cellar in Ekaterinburg, where all seven members were executed in July 1918.

 


Reputation

What makes this pairing so dramatic is, obviously, the way their relationship is brought to an end in front of a firing squad. Despite poor decisions as a governing couple, the radiance of their love and tragedy of their death is what leaves most looking to this romance as one for the ages. But for their execution, they might have gone on to be the most revered royal couple ever.



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