Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna of Russia

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Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna of Russia (Russian: Ксения Александровна Романова; 6 April 1875 – 20 April 1960) was a daughter of Tsar Alexander III of Russia and the eldest of Czar Nicholas II two sisters. She married her cousin Grand Duke Alexander Mikailovich of Russia and had seven children. During her brother's reign, she lived a private life. However, when monarchy fell, she escaped Russia and lived in England.

Early life[change | change source]

Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna was born on 6 April 1875 at Anichkov Palace in St. Petersburg.[1] Her mother was Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia.

Xenia between her parents. On the left her bother Nicholas. On the right George.

After her grandfather died, her father became the Russian king. At this time, Xenia was six years old. It was difficult political time because of terrorist threats. Alexander III moved with his family from the Winter Palace to the Gatchina Palace to protect his family.[2]

Xenia, like her brothers, was educated by private tutors. She studied foreign languages very much.[3] Apart from her native Russian, Xenia studied English, French, and German. Xenia also learnt how to cook and make puppets and clothes. She liked to ride, fish,[4] draw, play gymnastics, dance, and perform the piano.[4]

Marriage[change | change source]

Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna with her husband.

Xenia and her first cousin once removed, Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich of Russia, who would also be her husband, used to play together as friends in the 1880s.[5] Alexander was also a friend of her brother Nicholas. In 1886, twenty year old Alexander was in the navy. Eleven year old Xenia sent him a card when his ship was in Brazil, "Best wishes and speedy return! Your sailor Xenia".[6] In 1889, Alexander wrote of Xenia, "She is fourteen. I think she likes me."[7]

At age 15, though Xenia and Alexander wanted to marry, her parents did not want to allow them because Xenia was too young. They were also unsure if Alexander was really very nice. The Tsarina Maria Feodorovna complained that Alexander was too proud and rude. It was not until January 1894 that Xenia's parents allowed them to engage. The couple finally wed on 6 August 1894 at Peterhof Palace.[8] Xenia's younger sister, Olga, wrote about the joy of her the wedding, "The Emperor was so happy. It was the last time I ever saw him like that."

References[change | change source]

  1. Van der Kiste and Hall, p.4
  2. Van der Kiste and Hall, p.11
  3. Van der Kiste and Hall, p.12
  4. 4.0 4.1 Van der Kiste and Hall, p.18
  5. Zeepvat, Charlotte (2004). The camera and the Tsars: the Romanov family in photographs. Stroud: Sutton. p. 98. ISBN 0-7509-3049-7 . OCLC 55942331 .
  6. Alexander, Grand Duke (1932). Once a grand duke. Garden City, NY: Garden City. p. 94.
  7. Alexander, Grand Duke (1932). Once a grand duke. Garden City, NY: Garden City. p. 116.
  8. Van der Kiste and Hall, p.37