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Saturday, 28 September 2013
A Russian Moment 17 - Grand Duchess Alexandra Nicholayevna Memorial, Peterhof
Topic: Alexandra Nicholayevna, GD


The beautiful memorial bench and bust of Grand Duchess Alexandra Nicholayevna was created in 1844-47 (restored in 2000) in the Lower Park, Peterhof
 
One of the most tragic figures among the Romanov grand duchesses has to be the Grand Duchess Alexandra Nicholayevna of Russia. Born on 24 June, 1825, she was the youngest daughter of Emperor Nicholas I and his wife, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna (née Princess Charlotte of Prussia).

In the family she was known as "Adini," and she was reportedly her father's favourite child; according to her sister Olga's memoirs, he maintained that she alone among his children had inherited her mother's "Prussian look". It was also said that she resembled her grandmother, Queen Louise of Prussia. Nicholas affectionately spoke of Adini as "... a little moppet, but very sweet".  

Alexandra was famous in Saint Petersburg society for both her beauty and her lively personality. She was also the musician in the family. A serious student of vocal music, she was talented enough to qualify for lessons from the famous soprano Henriette Sontag.

On 28 January 1844, Alexandra married Prince Frederick William of Hesse (1820–1884) in St. Petersburg. Alexandra became acutely ill with tuberculosis shortly before her wedding, and this complicated the pregnancy which soon followed. She was never well enough to travel to Hesse and take up her new position with her husband. They stayed in St. Petersburg, where her health rapidly declined.

She went into labour prematurely, three months before the child was due, and gave birth to a son on 10 August, 1844, Wilhelm. The infant died shortly after he was born, and Alexandra died later the same day, she was only 19 years of age. Her parents were devastated and their grief would last until the end of their lives. She was buried with her baby son in her arms on 4 August, 1844, at the Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg. Her remains were later transferred to the Grand Ducal Burial Chapel between 23-28 September, 1911.

Between 1844-47, a memorial bench with a small sculpture bust of the Grand Duchess Alexandra Feodorovna was created in the gardens of the Lower Park at Peterhof. It was restored in 2000. Her rooms in the Cottage Palace have been preserved just as they were at the time of her death. 
 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 27 September, 2013
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:09 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 28 September 2013 10:49 AM EDT
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