Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia


Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia
Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna
Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Duchess of Edinburgh
by Sergei Lvovich Levitsky.(1870) The Di Rocco Wieler Private Collection, Toronto, Canada)
Spouse Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Issue
Alfred, Hereditary Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Marie, Queen of Romania
Victoria, Grand Duchess of Russia
Alexandra, Princess of Hohenlohe-Langenburg
Princess Beatrice, Duchess of Galliera
House House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
House of Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov
Father Alexander II of Russia
Mother Marie of Hesse and by Rhine
Born 17 October 1853(1853-10-17)
Tsarskoye Selo, Russian Empire
Died 24 October 1920(1920-10-24) (aged 67)
Zürich, Switzerland

Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia (later Duchess of Edinburgh and Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha; 17 October 1853 – 24 October 1920) was a daughter of Alexander II of Russia and Empress Maria Alexandrovna. Maria became the wife of Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, the second son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

From 1893 until her death, she had the distinction of being a Russian grand duchess (by birth), a British princess and royal duchess (by marriage), and the consort (and later widow) of a German sovereign duke.

Contents

Early life

The Duchess was born at Tsarskoye Selo, Russia, the second and only surviving daughter of Alexander II, Emperor of Russia (who was assassinated in 1881) and his wife Princess Marie of Hesse and by Rhine, daughter of Ludwig II, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine.. She was the aunt of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia who was murdered in 1918. Her brother, Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich of Russia was assassinated in Moscow in 1905, and another brother, Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich of Russia was shot in Saint Petersburg in 1919.

Marriage

Grand Duchess Marie was introduced to Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, the second son of Queen Victoria, by the Princess of Wales and the Empress of Russia during a family holiday in Denmark in 1871.[1] The Princess and Empress were sisters and Danish princesses. Marie and Alfred married on 23 January 1874 at the Winter Palace, St. Petersburg.[1] The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh made their public entry into London on 12 March.

The marriage, however, was not to become a happy one, and the bride was thought haughty by London Society.[2] Furthermore, Tsar Alexander II's insistence that his daughter be styled "Her Imperial Highness" and have precedence over the then Princess of Wales infuriated Queen Victoria. The Queen insisted that the style "Her Royal Highness" Marie Alexandrovna acquired upon marriage should always precede the style "Her Imperial Highness," which was hers by birth. For her part, the new Duchess of Edinburgh apparently resented the fact that the Princess of Wales, who was the daughter of the King of Denmark, took precedence over her, the daughter of the Emperor of Russia. After the marriage, Marie was varyingly referred to as Her Royal Highness, Her Royal & Imperial Highness, and Her Imperial & Royal Highness.

Queen Victoria granted her precedence immediately after the Princess of Wales. Her father gave her the then staggering sum of £100,000 as a dowry, plus an annual allowance of £28,000.[citation needed]

Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

On the death of his uncle, Ernst II, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, on 22 August 1893, the vacant duchy fell to the Duke of Edinburgh, since his elder brother the Prince of Wales had renounced his right to the succession. Upon her husband's ascension to the Ducal throne, the Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna became Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, in addition to being Duchess of Edinburgh. She thoroughly enjoyed being in Coburg, having yearned to leave England.[3] As the consort of a sovereign German duke, she technically outranked her sisters-in-law at Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

The couple's only son, Hereditary Prince Alfred, became involved in a scandal involving his mistress and shot himself in January 1899, in the midst of his parents' twenty-fifth wedding anniversary celebrations. He survived, but his embarrassed parents sent him off to Meran to recover, where he died two weeks later, on 6 February.[4][5] The Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha died of throat cancer on 30 July 1900 at The Rosenau in Coburg.[4] The ducal throne passed to his nephew, Prince Charles Edward, Duke of Albany. The Dowager Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha continued to reside in Coburg.

Royal styles of
Maria Alexandrovna
Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Arms of the United Kingdom.svg
Reference style Her Imperial & Royal Highness
Spoken style Your Imperial & Royal Highness
Alternative style Ma'am

Later life

She died in October 1920 in Zürich, Switzerland apparently after receiving a telegram addressed to her as "Frau Coburg";[citation needed] she was buried in the Ducal Family's cemetery outside Coburg. Of her four daughters, the Queen of Romania was forbidden to attend or to travel to Germany due to the recent war, in which Germany and Romania had fought on opposite sides.

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

  • 17 October 1853 – 23 January 1874: Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia
  • 23 January 1874 – 22 August 1893: Her Imperial & Royal Highness The Duchess of Edinburgh
  • 22 August 1893 – 11 October 1905: Her Imperial & Royal Highness The Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
  • 11 October 1905 – 24 October 1920: Her Imperial & Royal Highness The Dowager Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

Honours

Issue


Image Name Birth Death Notes
Erbprinz-alfred-von-sachsen-coburg-gotha.jpg Prince Alfred
("Young Affie")
15 October 1874 6 February 1899 Hereditary Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha from 22 August 1893
MarieRoumanie.jpg Princess Marie
("Missy")
29 October 1875 18 July 1938 married, 10 January 1893, King Ferdinand I of Romania (1865–1927); had issue
Vitoria Melita.JPG Princess Victoria Melita
("Ducky")
25 November 1876 2 March 1936 married (1), 19 April 1894, Ernst Ludwig, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine; had issue; divorced 21 December 1901

(2) 8 October 1905, the Grand Duke Cyril Vladimirovich of Russia; had issue

Alexandrabritain1878.jpeg Princess Alexandra
("Sandra")
1 September 1878 16 April 1942 married, 20 April 1896, Ernst II, Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg; had issue
Arms of Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh.svg Stillborn son 13 October 1879 13 October 1879
Beatriceedinburgh1884.jpg Princess Beatrice
("Baby Bee")
20 April 1884 13 July 1966 married, 15 July 1909, Don Alfonso, Infante of Spain, 3rd Duke of Galliera; had issue

Ancestry

Notes

  1. ^ a b Clay, p. 65
  2. ^ Gelardi, p. 6
  3. ^ Gelardi, p. 14
  4. ^ a b Gelardi, p. 89
  5. ^ Sandner, pp. 155-156

References

  • Clay, Catrine (2006). King, Kaiser, Tsar: Three Royal Cousins Who Led the World to War. New York: Walker & Company. ISBN 0-8027-1623-7. 
  • Gelari, Julia P. (2005). Born to Rule: Five Reigning Consorts, Granddaughters of Queen Victoria. New York: St. Martin's Griffin. ISBN 0-312-32424-5. 
  • Sandner, Harold (2004) (in German). Das Haus von Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha 1826 bis 2001. Andreas, Prinz von Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha (preface). 96450 Coburg: Neue Presse GmbH. ISBN 3000085254. 
Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia
Cadet branch of the House of Oldenburg
Born: 17 October 1853 Died: 24 October 1920
German nobility
Preceded by
Alexandrine of Baden
Duchess consort of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
22 August 1893 – 30 July 1900
Vacant
Title next held by
Victoria Adelaide of Schleswig-Holstein

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