Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia

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Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia, the last Empress, was born on this day in 1872. The daughter of Grand Duke Ludwig IV of Hesse and by Rhine and Princess Alice of the United Kingdom, she was the younger sister of (among others) Victoria, Marchioness of Milford Haven, Grand Duchess Elisabeth Feodorovna, and Grand Duke Ernest. In 1878, the family fell ill with diphtheria, which claimed the life of her youngest sister and mother. Afterwards, Princess Alix and her siblings were raised by her maternal grandmother, Queen Victoria. In 1894, she married Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, a few weeks after the death of his father and his accession. The couple had five children, four daughters and the long awaited heir, and were crowned in 1896. To cure her son’s, Alexei, hemophilia, the Tsarina turned to the mystic Grigori Rasputin. Her growing reliance on Rasputin, combined with the Tsar’s lack of skill in government led to their fall in popularity, and to his Abdication in 1917, during WWI. The couple and their family were first imprisoned at the Alexander Palace, then Tobolsk, Siberia, and finally at the Ipatiev House in Yekaterinburg, where on the morning of July 18, 1918, the family and some servants was herded into the basement and assassinated. Their bodies were buried down a mineshaft and then disappeared until being found in 1991 and 2007. They are now buried at Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral in Saint Petersburg.

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