- Duchess Alexandra Petrovna of Oldenburg
Duchess Alexandra Grand Duchess Alexandra Petrovna of Russia Spouse Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaievich Issue Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich
Grand Duke Peter Nikolaevich
House House of Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov
House of Holstein-Gottorp
Father Duke Peter Georgievich of Oldenburg Mother Princess Therese of Nassau-Weilburg Born 2 June 1838
Died 25 April 1900(aged 61)
Religion Lutheran upon marriage Eastern Orthodox
Grand Duchess Alexandra Petrovna of Russia (Russian: Александра Петровна; 2 June 1838 – 25 April 1900) was a daughter of Duke Peter Georgievich of Oldenburg and a great granddaughter of Emperor Paul I of Russia. She married Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich of Russia (1831–1891), the elder, and was the mother of Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich of Russia (1856–1929), the younger. After the breakup of her marriage, she retired from court life and eventually became a nun.
Alexandra Petrovna was born on 2 June 1838, in St. Petersburg as Duchess Alexandra Frederika Wilhelmina of Oldenburg. She was the eldest of the eight children of Duke Peter Georgievich of Oldenburg and his wife Princess Therese of Nassau-Weilburg, half-sister of Sofia of Nassau, queen consort of Oscar II of Sweden. Alexandra belonged to a German family but grew up in Russia, where her family was closely related to the Romanov dynasty.
Duke Peter Georgievich of Oldenburg, Alexandra’s father, was the only surviving son of Grand Duchess Catherine Pavlovna, the fourth daughter of Tsar Paul I of Russia. Peter of Oldenburg followed a military career in the Imperial Russian Army and was also a scholar and philanthropist. Alexandra Petrovna grew up in the happy Oldenburg family. Peter Georgievich and his wife led an exemplary family life, and looked carefully after the education of their children. The family spent the winter months in Peterhof and moved for the summer to their other residence Kamenoi-Ostroff. Alexandra’s education awoke in her an interest in medicine and in solving social problems of the poor.
Alexandra’s parents arranged a high-status marriage for her. On 25 October 1855, she was engaged to Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich, the third son of Tsar Nicholas I and her first cousin once removed. Alexandra, who had been raised in the Lutheran church, converted to the Orthodox faith on 7 January 1856, and was styled as: HIH Alexandra Petrovna Grand Duchess of Russia. The wedding took place on 6 February 1856, in Peterhof. Her first son was born nine months later in their ground floor apartment of the Winter Palace. In December 1861, the couple moved to their newly built Nicholas Palace on Annunciation Square where, in 1864, Alexandra gave birth to a second son and last child. By then her marriage had started to fall apart.
Alexandra was plain and unsophisticated. She liked simplicity and preferred to dress modestly, avoiding public life. She dedicated her time to religion and to her consuming interest in medicine. She was also a gifted painter. Alexandra was not beautiful, but her sincerity and pleasant manners made her win many sympathies. She was well liked by her two sisters-in-law Maria Alexandrovna and Alexandra Iosifovna. At first, her husband took her ideas seriously and financed a hospital in the city where Alexandra’s theories could be developed and put into practice and poor patients received care without charge. Sometimes she nursed them herself. Eventually, she founded a training institute for nurses in St Petersburg.
By the late 1860s, their marriage was in trouble. The couple had found out that they had little in common. Lacking in looks and social graces, she preferred to stay away from Court functions. This annoyed her husband, who also complained of her plainness and the modesty of her dress. Converted to the Russian Orthodox church when she married, she became extremely pious. Alexandra was a serious woman whose passions were religion and medicine.
The couple’s palace in St. Petersburg was so large that they did not have to see each other. They appeared together only in official ceremonies. Eventually Nicholas Nikolaevich developed a permanent relationship with Catherine Chislova, a dancer from the Krasnoye Selo Theater. The Grand Duke did not attempt to hide his affair. In 1868, Catherine Chislova gave birth to the first of the couple’s five illegitimate children.
By 1870, nothing was left of her marriage except the bitterness. Resentment was the only response she could offer to her husband's unfaithfulness. Alexandra spent longer and longer periods in Kiev while her husband divided his time between his children with Alexandra and his second family. When the Grand Duke arranged a change of class into the gentry for his mistress and the couple’s illegitimate children, Alexandra Petrovna appealed to Alexander II to intervene, but she found her brother-in-law less than sympathetic. "You see," he bluntly told her, "your husband is in the prime of his life, and he needs a woman with whom he can be in love. And look at yourself! See even how you dress! No man would be attracted". After this encounter, however, Alexander did advise the Grand Duke to be more discreet and exiled Catherine Chislova to Wenden, near Riga.
According to some sources, Alexandra Petrovna retaliated against her husband's infidelity by taking a lover and, in 1868, gave birth to an illegitimate son. However, no sound information has surfaced to corroborate these claims. The story of the illegitimate child seems unlikely.
In 1880, Alexandra left St Petersburg for good to start a new life in Kiev. Initially, she lived at the Mariyinsky Palace, the Emperor's residence in Kiev, but retired later to a convent. However, she refused to grant her husband the divorce he would have wanted. Grand Duke Nicholas Nicolaievich hoped to survive his wife, as had been the case of his brother Alexander II who once a widower married his mistress. Alexandra, although not in good health, outlived both her husband and her husband’s mistress. Catherine Chislova died in 1889, and Grand Duke Nicholas survived his lover for only two years. When he died in the Crimea in 1891, Alexandra Petrovna refused to attend the funeral. Even then, she did not forgive him. She also refused to pay homage to her death husband when the funeral catafalque, taking his body for burial in the St Peter and St Paul Cathedral in St Petersburg, came by train via Kiev on its route from the south.
Alexandra became a nun as 'Sister Anastasia' taking Holy Orders on 3 November 1889 in Kiev, while her husband was still alive. She founded a convent of nursing nuns with its own hospitals, asylums and dispensary to provide free treatment for the poor. She dedicated her life to the work, which had always been her priority. She remained close to her sons, who had taken her side in the family break up. She was in the Crimea in 1898 when her daughter-in-law, Grand Duchess Militsa, gave birth to twin daughters, one of which died shortly after birth. Alexandra took her granddaughter’s remains with her and buried the coffin in the convent cemetery in Kiev. Afflicted with stomach cancer, Alexandra Petrovna died at Kievo Pechersky Monastery in Kiev on 25 April 1900 , when she was 61. Today her grave in the convent garden is again tended by nuns and her works continues.
Alexandra Petrovna was survived by her two sons:
- Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich of Russia the Younger (1856–1929)
- Grand Duke Peter Nikolaevich of Russia (1864–1931)
Titles and styles
- 2 June 1838 - 7 January 1856 Her Imperial Highness Duchess Alexandra Petrovna of Oldenburg (Princess Alexandra Petrovna Oldenburgskaya)
- 7 January 1856 - 25 April 1900: Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Alexandra Petrovna of Russia
Ancestors of Duchess Alexandra Petrovna of Oldenburg 16. Prince Georg Ludwig of Holstein-Gottorp 8. Peter I, Grand Duke of Oldenburg 17. Sophie Charlotte of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck 4. Duke George of Oldenburg 18. Frederick II Eugene, Duke of Württemberg 9. Frederica of Württemberg 19. Friederike Dorothea of Brandenburg-Schwedt 2. Duke Peter of Oldenburg 20. Peter III of Russia 10. Paul I of Russia 21. Catherine II of Russia 5. Catherine Pavlovna of Russia 22. Frederick II Eugene, Duke of Württemberg 11. Sophie Dorothea of Württemberg 23. Friederike Dorothea of Brandenburg-Schwedt 1. Duchess Alexandra of Oldenburg 24. Charles Christian, Prince of Nassau-Weilburg 12. Frederick William, Prince of Nassau-Weilburg 25. Carolina of Orange-Nassau 6. William, Duke of Nassau 26. Wilhelm Georg, Count of Sayn-Hachenburg, Burgrave of Kirchberg 13. Louise Isabelle of Kirchberg 27. Isabella Auguste Reuss of Greiz 3. Princess Therese of Nassau-Weilburg 28. Ernest Frederick III, Duke of Saxe-Hildburghausen 14. Frederick, Duke of Saxe-Altenburg 29. Ernestine of Saxe-Weimar 7. Princess Louise of Saxe-Hildburghausen 30. Charles II, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg 15. Charlotte Georgine of Mecklenburg-Strelitz 31. Friederike of Hesse-Darmstadt
- ^ a b “ The Camera and the Tsars”, Charlotte Zeepvat, pg. 43
- ^ “The Russian Oldenburgs”: David McIntosh, p. 372
- ^ a b “Patriots and Just Men”: Charlotte Zeepvat, p. 66
- ^ a b “ Djulber”, Charlotte Zeepvat, pg. 66
- ^ “ The Camera and the Tsars”, Charlotte Zeepvat, pg. 66
- ^ “Gilded Prism”: Greg King & Penny Wilson, p 40
- ^ “The Romanov Legacy : The Palaces of St. Petersburg”: Zoia Belyakova, p.153
- ^ “The Romanov Legacy : The Palaces of St. Petersburg”: Zoia Belyakova, p.140
- ^ “ Djulber”, Charlotte Zeepvat, pg. 68
- Belyakova, Zoia, The Romanov Legacy : The Palaces of St. Petersburg, Hazar Publishing, 1994, ISBN 1874371274.
- King, Greg & Penny Wilson Gilded Prism, Eurohistory, 2006, ISBN
- McIntosh, David, The Russian Oldenburgs, in Royalty History Digest.
- Zeepvat, Charlotte, Patriots and just Men, in Royalty History Digest.
- Zeepvat, Charlotte, Djulber, in Royalty History Digest.
- Zeepvat, Charlotte, The Camera and the Tsars, Sutton Publishing, 2004, ISBN 0-7509-3049-7.
The generations are numbered from the ascension of Frederick August I as Duke of Oldenburg in 1774 and remain unchanged even when its ruler became Grand Dukes. 1st GenerationDuchess Louise · Charlotte, Queen of Sweden and Norway 2nd Generationnone 3rd GenerationAmalia, Queen of Greece · Duchess Frederica, Baroness von Washington 4th GenerationGrand Duchess Alexandra Petrovna of Russia · Duchess Cecile Petrovna · Duchess Katherine Petrovna · Therese Petrovna, Duchess of Leuchtenberg 5th GenerationSophia Charlotte, Princess Eitel Friedrich of Prussia · Duchess Margarete · Duchess Alexandrine · Ingeborg Alix, Princess Stephan of Schaumburg-Lippe · Altburg, Hereditary Princess of Waldeck and Pyrmont 6th GenerationDuchess Rixa · Eilika, Dowager Princess of Leiningen · Altburg, Baroness von Erffa 7th GenerationDuchess Helene · Margarete, Princess Philipp of Croy · Duchess Rixa · Duchess Beatrix · Duchess Sophie, Mrs. von Radowitz · Duchess Rixa · Archduchess Eilika of Austria · Duchess Bibiane, Mrs. Dorner · Duchess Tatjana 8th GenerationDuchess Anastasia · Duchess Alice · Duchess Cara · Duchess Katharina · Duchess Maria Assunta all Duchesses were also by right Princess of Holstein-Gottorp Grand Duchesses of Russia by marriage 1st generation 2nd generationnone 3rd generation 4th generation 5th generation 6th generation 7th generation
- Maria Feodorovna (Dagmar of Denmark)
- Maria Pavlovna of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
- Anastasia Nikolaevna of Montenegro
- Elizabeth Feodorovna of Hesse and by Rhine
- Elizaveta Mavrikievna of Saxe-Altenburg
- Alexandra Georgievna of Greece and Denmark
- Maria Georgievna of Greece and Denmark
- Militza Nikolaevna of Montenegro
- Xenia Alexandrovna of Russia**
8th generation 9th generationLeonida Georgievna Bagration of Mukhrani***
- *never converted to Orthodoxy
- **also a Grand Duchess of Russia by birth
- ***title granted by Grand Duke Vladimir Cyrillovich
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Duchess Therese Petrovna of Oldenburg — Princess Therese Petrovna of Leuchtenberg Spouse George Maximilianovich, 6th Duke of Leuchtenberg Issue Alexander, 7th Duke of Leuchtenberg Fu … Wikipedia
Grand Duchess Alexandra Petrovna of Russia — Infobox Person name = Grand Duchess Alexandra Petrovna of Russia caption = image size = 180px birth date = birth date|1838|06|2 birth place = St. Petersburg death date = death date and age|1900|04|25|1838|06|2 death place = Kiev parents = Duke… … Wikipedia
Duchess Sophia Charlotte of Oldenburg — Princess Eitel Friedrich of Prussia A photograph of Sophia Charlotte, 1913. Spouse Prince Eitel Friedrich of Prussia Harald van Hedemann … Wikipedia
Alexandra Petrovna d'Oldenbourg — Grande duchesse Alexandra Petrovna d Oldenbourg, portrait de Carl Timoleon von Neff Alexandra Petrovna d Oldenbourg, en russe : Александра Петровна Ольденбургский, née le 2 juin 1838 à Saint Pétersbourg, décédée le 26 avril 1900 à Kiev. Elle … Wikipédia en Français
Duchess Eilika of Oldenburg — Archduchess Georg of Austria Princess Georg of Austria and Hungary Spouse Georg von Habsburg Issue Archduchess Zsófia Archduchess Ildikó Archduke Károly Konstantin Full name German: Eilika Helene Jutta Clementine … Wikipedia
Duchess Altburg of Oldenburg — Hereditary Princess of Waldeck and Pyrmont Duchess Altburg of Oldenburg in 1907 Spouse Josias, Hereditary Prince of Waldeck and Pyrmont Issue … Wikipedia
Alexandra Romanova — may refer to:*Alexandra Fedorovna of Prussia (1798 1860), empress consort of Nicholas I of Russia *Alexandra Fedorovna of Hesse (1872 1918), empress consort of Nicholas II of Russia *Alexandra Iosifovna of Saxe Altenburg (1830 1911), wife of… … Wikipedia
Alexandra Feodorovna (Charlotte of Prussia) — For other uses, see Alexandra of Russia. Alexandra Feodorovna Empress Alexandra Feodorovna portrait by A. Maliukov, 1836, Hermitage Museum E … Wikipedia
Duchess Marie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin — For other people named Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, see Grand Duchess Maria of Russia. Marie of Mecklenburg Schwerin Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna wearing the famous Vladimir Tiara … Wikipedia
Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna of Russia (1819–1876) — For other uses, see Grand Duchess Maria of Russia. Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaievna Duchess of Leuchtenberg Spouse Maximilian, Duke of Leuchtenberg Count Grigori Stroganov Issue … Wikipedia