*** boys clothing: Russian royalty -- Tsar Alexander III Tsarina Dagmar children

Russian Royalty: Tsar Alexander III and Tsarina Dagmar--The Children

Alexander III family
Figure 1.--This family portrait shows Tsar Alexander III and the Tsarina with their five children were photographed in 1890. In front are Michael, Olga, and Georg. In the back are Nicloi and Xenia. The Tsar died only a few years later.

Tsar Alexander III and Tsaeina Dagmar had six children, five of whom survived into adulthood. After the birth of Nicholas, the Imperial family grew rapidly in size. The next baby, Alexander, born in 1869, unfortunaltely died before he was 12 months old. Then George was born, in 1871, followed by Xenia, in 1875, Michael, in 1878, and finally Olga, in 1882. George and Xenia became Nicholas's playmates in childhood games. The family would be ravished by the Bolshevicks after the overthrow of the monarchy. The eldest son succeded his father as Tsar Nicholas II. Both he and his father felt that he was unprepared to be Tsar. History proved them to be correct. Alexander could not have imagined what would happen to Russia nor could he understand how responsible he was. Neither understood the modern world and how to move Russi into it. Their youngest boy Michael was Tsar for a day but renounced the crown seeing that the monarchy was untenable. He was also shot by the Bolshevicks. Only Xenia and Olga escaped Russia after the Revolution.

Nicholas II (1868-1918)

Nicholas II, the last Russian Emperor, was the eldest son of Alexander III and was born on May 6, 1868. Nicholas was born on the Alexander Palace, as the first born child of Tsar Alexander III and Tsarina Maria Feodorovna, of the House of Romanov-Holstein-Gottorp, in the small town of Tsarskoe Selo ("The Tsar's Village" in Russian), near St. Petersburg. A good-hearted man, he was not capable of guiding his huge empire into the modern world and the disaster of World War I. His father's conservative, autocratic outlook, meant that Nicholas was not educated to understand or to address the changes that were sweeping Russia. His father had used repression. Nicholas did not have an understanding of his country that could have redirected Government policy.

Alexander Alexandrovich (1869-1870)

The Tsar and Tasrina's first child Alexander died as a baby in 1870. Alexander died of meningitis in 1870. His parents had him posthumously photographed and sketched to remember him, therefore it seems likely that the only existing photograph of Grand Duke Alexander is of the infant in his coffin surrounded by flowers.

George Alexandrovich (1871-1899)

George was made Grand Duke Thronfolger. He was from an early age rather unkindly called Weeping Willow within the family. It was apparently because of his sad personality, perhaps a result of health problems. As an infant, George was stronger and healthier than his older brother Nicholas. As an older child, however, George was often ill especially with respiratory problems. George is the older boy here on the right wearing a sailor suit (figure 1). Note that the two younger boys both wear sailor suits, but with different dickies. We are not sure if there was any reason for this. George accompanied his elder brother, the Tsarevich Nicholas on a world tour (1891). Health problems made it difficult for him to keep up with the tour. He was forced to return home, much to his displeasure. He was separated from the family for health reasons and relocated to Abbas-Tuman which had a warmer climate than St. Petersburg. It was a climatic spa in Georgia. George died at age 27 years of tuberculosis (1899)

Xenia Alexandrovna (1875-1960)

Grand Duchess Xenia was the fourth child and first daughter. She was born at the Anichkov Palace in St Petersburg (1875). The Tsar wrote to his father-in-law, King Christian IX of Denmark, "The infant was born at exactly four in the morning, on the day of the celebration of the Annunciation. Nicky and George are delighted with their younger sister. It was a great delight for them to be present at her first bath." Growing up with brothers, Xenia was reportedly a tomboy and rather shy. Like her siblings, Xenia was raised in a rather simple manner given her status. She slept in a cot, was cwoken 6:00 AM, took cold baths, ate simple, plain meals, and her rooms were furnished with basic furniture--not like what one would imaginr for a princess. As with her siblings, Xenia was educated by private tutors. She learned English, French, and German but unlike her elder brothers, she never learned to speak Danish, her mother’s native language. She developed a talent for drawing and also learned gymnastics, dancing, and how to play the piano. Like quite a number of royal children, Xenia kept a diary which she upfated faily. Nicholas and George’s English tutor was a favorite with the Imperial children. He taught them how to fish and play games. Xenia married her third cousin, Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich (1866-1933), at Peterhof Palace (1894). They had seven children, mostly boys who were commonly dressed in sailor suits. This was common with Russian and German royalty. Xenia was the mother-in-law of Felix Yusupov and a cousin of Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich of Russia who plotted the murder of Grigori Rasputin. During the Russian Civil War, the Bolshevilks began killing Romanovs, including the royal family. Grand Duchesses Xenia and Olga were very lucky Romanovs. They were among the surviving Romanovs to escape from Russia with their mother and mist most of the childrem on board the British battleship HMS Marlborough (April 1919). They brought with them jewels which helped finance their life in exile. They left from Yalta in the Crimea. Her husband had already reached safety in the West. Grand Duchess Xenia died at Wilderness House on the grounds of Hampton Court Palace in England (1960).

Michael 'Mischa' Alexandrovich (1878-1918)

Michael was made Grand Duke Thronfolger. He is the little boy in the sailor suit here (figure 1). Notice how his mother tenderly has her hand on his shoulder. Michael caused a scandal at the imperial court when he took Natalia Sergeyevna Wulfert, a married woman, as a lover. Nicholas sent Michael to Orel to be out of sight. Michael was not to be so easily delt with. He travelled frequently back to St. Petersburg to see his mistress. The couple's only child, George, was born (1910). Michael brought Natalia back to St. Petersburg, but she was shunned by polite society. Michael without approval shocked Nicholas by marrying Natalia. He hoped to be removed from the line of succession. Probab;y the Tsareivitch hemophilia prevented Nicholas from doing this. Michael and Natalia left Russia to live in out of sight exile abroad in France, Switzerland and England. With the outbreak of World War I, Michael returned to Russia. He assumed command of a cavalry regiment. Michael is sometimes considered 'Tsar for a day', as Nicholas abdicated in his favor in 1917. Nicholas' son Alexis, who suffered from haemophilia was not expected to live. Michael, however, deferred acceptance of the throne until ratification by a legally elected assembly. Kerensyky ordered guards to surrounded the villa on Nikolaevskaya street where Michael was living with Natalia (August 1917). The Bolsheviks murdered Michael 6 days before Nicholas and his family were killed (July 1918).

Olga Alexandrovna (1882-1952)

Olga was made a Grand Duchess. Tsar Alexander was a bear of a man, but he could be tender toward his children--especially the girls. Note here how he is holding Princess Olga. She married Prince Peter of Oldenburg when she was 19 years old. They did not, however, get along and there were no children. She met and fell in love with a military officer, captain Kulikovsky (1903). They were unble to actually marry because of the conservative Tsarist regime. Finally with the War and softenting inhibitions the two married (1916). There were two sons. Olga during the War worked as an army nurse. Xenia and Olga were able to escape Russia along with their mother during the Revolution. She lived in Denmark with her mother who was a Danish Princess (1919-1948). She then moved to Canad where she lived on her farm (1948-60).


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Created: 4:15 AM 9/7/2004
Last updated: 6:11 PM 4/29/2020