Empress Marie (1847-1928), born Princess Dagmar, was the daughter of King Christian IX of Denmark and sister of Queen Alexandra of Great Britain, Edward VII’s wife. She was betrothed to Tsarevitch Nicholas of Russia, a love match on both sides, but tragically he died months before the wedding. A year later, out of duty she married his brother the new Tsarevich and sailed for Russia in 1866. There she soon adapted to the requirements of the imperial court and the marriage turned out a success. She raised a large family – her oldest son was the ill-fated Nicholas II.
The assassination of her father-in-law Alexander II cast a shadow over her husband’s accession to the throne, and the reaction against reform that set in created tensions during Alexander III’s reign. As Empress she intervened on behalf of the Finns and exercised an important anti-German influence on her husband’s foreign policy. His premature death led to an early widowhood and two of her sons died young.
As her influence over her eldest son Nicholas II waned, she watched helplessly as the country she had come to love suffered misrule under the influence of Empress Alexandra and Rasputin until it was engulfed in Revolution.
Rescued from the advancing Bolsheviks by a British battleship, she was brought to England where her nephew, George V, was king. The most senior member of Romanov dynasty to survive the revolution, her influence was paramount till her death in Denmark in 1928. Her reburial beside her husband in St Petersburg in September this year will be a dignified event attended by the Queen of Denmark and President Putin, attracting major media coverage.
This is the first major work in English, using previously unpublished material from the Royal Archives and information in Russian, Danish and Finnish not previously available in English.
Coryne Hall’s fascination for imperial Russia began in childhood when she learnt that her great-grandmother was born in St Petersburg, an almost exact contemporary of Nicholas II. Her seven books include Imperial Dancer: Mathilde Kschessinska and the Romanovs, Princesses on the Wards: Royal Women in Nursing Through Wars & Revolutions and Once a Grand Duchess: Xenia, Sister of Nicholas II. She is a regular contributor to Majesty, Royalty Digest Quarterly, Sovereign, Royal Russia and the European Royal History Journal. She also acted as consultant on the Danish-made television documentaries The Royal Jewels and A Royal Family, about the descendants of Christian IX.
Her media appearances include Woman’s Hour, the documentary Russia’s Lost Princesses, and co-hosting live coverage of Charles and Camilla’s wedding and live coverage of Prince William’s wedding for Canadian television and radio.
Visit Coryne’s website www.CoryneHall.com
Find out more on Coryne’s author page.
Keywords: Politics, Russia, Monarchy