Wedding of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine, 1894

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Tsar Nicholas II of Russia married Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine at the Grand Church of the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg on this day in 1894. Coming less than a month after the death of his father, and the Tsar’s accession to the throne, the wedding went ahead earlier than planned because he was unwilling to wait until the end of official mourning to marry. However, court mourning was left aside for the day, and the wedding was celebrated lavishly but without the public spectacle.

The Tsar described his wedding day in his diary as:

The day of my wedding! Everyone had coffee together, and then went off to dress: I put on the Hussar uniform and at 11.30 drove with Misha to the Winter Palace. The whole Nevsky was lined with troops waiting for Mama to drive past with Alix. While she was being dressed in the Malachite hall, we all waited in the Arabian room. At ten to one the procession set off for the big church, from where I returned a married man! … In the Malachite hall, we were presented with a huge silver swan from the family. After changing, Alix sat with me in a carriage harnessed in the Russian manner with a postilion, and we rose to the Kazan cathedral. There were so many people on the streets, it was almost impossible to pass! On our arrival at the Anichkov we were met by a guard of honour. Mama was waiting for us in our rooms with the bread and salt. We sat the whole evening answering telegrams. We dined at 8 o’clock and went to bed early as she had a bad headache!‘

The royal guests, almost all family members in Russia for the Funeral of the late Tsar, included King Christian IX of Denmark (the Tsar’s maternal grandfather), King George I and Queen Olga of Greece (uncle and aunt of the groom), the Prince and Princess of Wales (later King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra, uncle and aunt to both bride and groom), the Duke of York (later King George V, cousin of the bride and groom), and the Duke and Duchess of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (uncle and aunt of both the bride and groom)

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