|Portrait of Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna
Oil on canvas
268 x 135 cm
Alexandra Fyodorovna, nee Princess Alice of Hessen-Darmstadt, was brought up at the court of her grandmother, the British Queen Victoria. The princess graduated from Heidelberg University with a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy. When the young princess first came to Russia to attend the wedding of her sister, Grand Duchess Yelizaveta Fyodorovna, she met the heir to the throne, Nikolay Alexandrovich, who fell deeply in love with her. Despite his parents' objections, he eventually received their permission to marry the German princess. In the autumn of 1894, Alexander III, Nikolay's father, died and Alice was summoned to Russia. The wedding was held on November 14, soon after Alexander's funeral, and 18 months later the royal couple was crowned. The princess converted to Russian Orthodoxy and was given the name Alexandra Fyodorovna. This great beauty was very reserved and austere and felt truly comfortable only when alone with her family, her husband, and their five children.