Tsar Nicholas II of Russia.
Princess Alice of the United Kingdom.
Romanov Birthdays → Grand Duchess Anna Pavlovna of Russia, January 18
Anna Paulowna, the Queen Consort of the Netherlands, was once a Russian Grand Duchess. She was born the eighth child and sixth daughter of Tsar Paul I and his wife, Empress Maria Feodorovna. In the Netherlands, due to nineteenth century Dutch transliteration conventions, she is better known as Anna Paulowna.
On 21 February 1816 at the Chapel of the Winter Palace in St Petersburg, she married the Prince of Orange, who would later become King William II of the Netherlands. The marriage had been suggested by her brother the Tsar Alexander I in 1815, as a symbol of the alliance created after the Congress of Vienna. As it had been decided that no member of the Romanov family should be forced to marry against their will, William was invited to Russia before the wedding so that Anna could get to know him and consent to marry him, which she did. She kept her own religion after the marriage. The couple remained in Russia for one year.
Anna Pavlovna was shocked over the differences between Russia and her new home country, especially when it came to the class system and the separation between the classes, which was much less strict in the Netherlands, where the distance between royalty and the public was not as great as in Russia, and she had difficulties adjusting herself to this. The couple lived in Brussels until the Belgian revolution forced them to leave in 1830. Anna liked Brussels much more than the North, as it reminded her more of her native country.
She was not politically active, despite her strong political convictions. As a person, she was described as intelligent, sensitive, loyal to her family and with a violent temperament. Her marriage was stormy. From the beginning, Anna considered herself superior in rank to William. In 1829, several pieces of her jewellery were stolen, and she suspected her spouse of stealing them, as he was at the time in debt and mixing with people she considered to be questionable.
On 7 October 1840, on the abdication of her father-in-law, William I of the Netherlands, she became Queen Consort of the Netherlands. As a Queen, Anna is described as dignified, arrogant and distant towards the public. She did in fact learn to speak better Dutch than her often French-speaking spouse, but she upheld a strict etiquette and never became very popular as queen. She valued pomp, etiquette and formal ceremonies and rituals. Anna Pavlovna corresponded with her mother and brothers in Russia and treasured the memory of her birth country: she founded a Russian boy’s choir, where the members were to be dressed in traditional Russian costume, and it has been said of her that she remained a Russian Grand Duchess more than she ever became Queen of the Netherlands.
As a queen dowager, she left the royal palace, retired from court life and lived a discreet life. She did not get along with her daughter-in-law and had plans to return to Russia after a conflict with her son, King William III, in 1855, but in the end, she did not. Anna Pavlovna died on 1 March 1865 at the age of 70.
Portrait of Emily Warren Roebling by Charles August Émile Durand
This painting shows Emily Roebling in the court dress she wore for her formal presentation to Queen Victoria as well as to the coronation of Tsar Nicholas II in 1896.
Princess Alice of the United Kingdom.
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A rare voice recording of the Emperor Nicholas II, during the parade of His Imperial Majesty’s Grenadier Corps in honour of the birthday of the Sovereign, 1910.
Brothers! Thank you for the full parade! Thank you, brothers, for an excellent apprenticeship! - Tsar Nicholas II
Grand Duchess Elisabeth Feodorovna
The Children of King Christian IX and Queen Consort Louise of Denmark
King Christian IX and Queen Consort Louise of Denmark are known as Europe’s mother- and father-in-law due to their children’s marriages into prominent European monarchies.
→ King Frederik VIII of Denmark, married Princess Louise of Sweden
→ Queen Consort Alexandra of the United Kingdom, married Prince Albert of Wales
→ King George I of Greece, married Grand Duchess Olga of Russia
→ Empress Consort Maria Feodorovna of Russia, married tsarevich Alexander of Russia
→ Crown Princess Thyra of Hanover, married Crown Prince Ernst Augusts of Hanover
→ Prince Valdemar of Denmark, married Princess Marie of Orléans
Alexei Petrovich Antropov’s portrait of Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia.
Romanov Birthdays → Empress Elizabeth of Russia, December 29
Elizabeth was born on 29 December 1709, the second-surviving daughter of Peter the Great and his wife, Empress Catherine I. As her parents were not publicly acknowledged as being married at the time of her birth, Elizabeth’s ‘illegitimacy’ would be used by political opponents to challenge her right to the throne. On 6 March 1711, she was proclaimed a Tsarevna, and on 23 December 1721, a Tsesarevna. She led the country into the two major European conflicts of her time: the War of Austrian Succession and the Seven Years’ War. She remains one of the most popular Russian monarchs due to her strong opposition to Prussian policies and her abstinence from executing a single person during her reign.
As a child, Elizabeth was bright, if not brilliant, but her formal education was both imperfect and desultory. Her father adored her. Elizabeth was his daughter and in many ways resembled him as a feminine replica, both physically and temperamentally. She was also an excellent dancer and rider. From her earliest years, she delighted everyone with her extraordinary beauty and vivacity. She was commonly known as the leading beauty of the Russian Empire. Under the reign of Elizabeth, the Russian court was one of the most splendid in all Europe. Foreigners were amazed at the sheer luxury of the sumptuous balls and masquerades. Russian court had steadily increased in importance throughout the 18th century and came to hold more cultural significance than many of its Western counterparts due its inclusive nature.
After the death of Empress Anna, the regency of Anna Leopoldovna with infant Ivan VI was marked by high taxes and economic problems. Elizabeth, being the daughter of Peter the Great, enjoyed much support from the Russian guards regiments. Elizabeth often visited the regiments, marking special events with the officers and acting as godmother to their children. The guards repaid her kindness when on the night of 25 November 1741, Elizabeth seized power with the help of the Preobrazhensky Regiment. After winning the regiment over, the troops marched to the Winter Palace where they arrested the infant Emperor, his parents, and their own lieutenant-colonel. It was a daring coup and passed without bloodshed. Elizabeth had vowed that if she became Empress that she would not sign a single death sentence, an unusual promise that she—notably—kept to throughout her life.
Elizabeth was only too aware that the deposed Ivan VI, whom she had imprisoned in the Schlusselburg Fortress and placed in solitary confinement, was a threat to her throne. Elizabeth feared a coup in his favour and set about destroying all papers, coins or anything else depicting or mentioning Ivan. Elizabeth had issued an order that, should any attempt be made for him to escape, he was to be eliminated. Catherine II upheld the order and when an attempt was made he was killed and secretly buried within the fortress.
In the late 1750s, Elizabeth’s health started to decline. She began to suffer a series of dizzy spells and refused to take the prescribed medicines. She forbade the word “death” in her presence. Knowing she was dying, Elizabeth used her last remaining strength to make her confession, to recite with her confessor the prayer for the dying and to say good-bye to those few people who wished to be with her including Peter and Catherine. Finally on 25 December 1761, the Empress died. She was buried in the Peter and Paul Cathedral in Saint Petersburg on 3 February 1762, after six weeks lying in state. Peter III, Elizabeth’s nephew, succeeded her.
The future Tsar Alexander II with his sister Maria Nikolaevna.