The Alexandra Curse
Russia’s Alexandra’s had a tendency to be tragic. Of the eight Alexandra’s in the Romanov family five of them died young and in tragic circumstances. The other three weren’t ‘tragic’ in the classical sense but still had plenty of reasons to be unhappy.
Alexandra Pavlovna (1783-1801) was the eldest daughter of Tsar Paul I. Alexandra married Archduke Joseph of Austria on October 30, 1799. It was a political marriage and Alexandra was unhappy in Austria. She had also kept her orthodox faith which put her at odds with her Catholic in-laws. Alexandra died shortly after giving birth to a stillborn daughter on March 16, 1801. She was only 17. To add to her family’s grief Paul I was assassinated only days after her death.
Alexandra Nikolaevna (1825-1844) was the daughter of Nicholas I of Russia and the niece of Alexandra Pavlovna. She was known as “Adini” within her family. Alexandra had delicate health and suffered from tuberculosis. She married Frederick William of Hesse on January 28, 1844. The couple were happy together but their marriage was cut short when Alexandra died in childbirth later the same year. Her son, William, died shortly after birth. Alexandra was much grieved by her husband and parents and her rooms were left untouched after her death.
Alexandra Alexandrovna (1842-1849) was the eldest child of Alexander II. She died when she was only six-years-old from meningitis. Alexandra’s mother Marie of Hesse would still be brought to tears years later whenever Alexandra was mentioned. Eerily it is alleged that Alexandra’s ghost was summoned during a seance held at the Russian court many years after her death.
Alexandra Grigorievna (1870-1891) was born Princess Alexandra of Greece the daughter of George I of Greece and Olga Constantinovna of Russia. Alexandra married her second cousin Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovitch, brother of Alexandra Alexandrovna, on June 17, 1889. She died in 1829 from complications from the premature birth of her second child.
Alexandra Feodorovna (1872-1918) was born Princess Alix of Hesse. This princess was nicknamed ‘Sunny’ by her parents for her cheery personality. Sadly Alix’s life turned tragic very quickly. First Alix’s mother and youngest sister died of diptheria in 1878 when Alix was only six. She married Nicholas II of Russia on November 26, 1894. Alexandra was not popular in Russia and had difficulties with her husband’s family. Her only son suffered from the genetic bleeding disease hemophilia, and as a result Alexandra came to rely on the widely reviled Rasputin to treat him. In 1917 the Romanov family was toppled in the Russian Revolution and Alexandra and her family were placed in captivity. On July 17, 1918 Alexandra along with her husband and five children were murdered in the basement of Ipatiev House by the Bolsheviks.
Alexandra Petrovna(1838-1900) was married to Grand Duke Nicholas Nicolaevich in 1855. Nicholas was not faithful to Alexandra and soon became involved with a dancer named Catherine Chislova. Nicholas didn’t even try to hide the affair from Alexandra and later tried to divorce her. Alexandra refused the divorce and Chislova died in 1889. When Nicholas died in 1891, Alexandra didn’t attend his funeral. She later became a nun and died in 1900.
Alexandra Iosifovna (1830-1911) was born Princess Alexandra of Saxe-Altenburg. In 1848 she married Grand Duke Konstantine Nikolaevich of Russia. The couple’s marriage was happy at first and the couple had six children. By 1867 though things had began to go stale, Konstantine spent more time with mistresses and ignored Alexandra, who he referred to as his “government issue wife”. In 1874 Alexandra’s eldest son, Nicholas, was banished for life from the Russian court for stealing his mother’s diamonds. Another son, Vyacheslav, died suddenly in 1879 from a brain aneurysm at age sixteen. Alexandra also lost her granddaughter, Alexandra Grigorievna, in 1890. Konstantine suffered a debilitating stroke in 1889, and Alexandra took control of his affairs. In revenge she barred his mistresses and illegitimate children from visiting him. Konstantine died in 1892. Alexandra outlive him by nearly 20 years dying in 1911.
Alexandra Feodorovna (1798-1860) was born Charlotte of Prussia. She took the name Alexandra Feodorovna when she converted to the Orthodoxy. Alexandra married Nicholas I of Russia in 1817. The couple was very much in love and had ten children of whom seven reached adulthood. Alexandra however was frequently unwell and found the Russian climate disagreed with her. Nicholas took a mistress, Varvara Nelidova, after Alexandra was advised against sexual relations due to a heart condition. Alexandra tolerated Nelidova and eventually became friends with her. Nicholas died in 1855 following the disastrous Crimean War. Alexandra lived out the remaining five years of her life in poor health, often having to travel abroad during the winter.