Royal Holiday at Balmoral, 1896

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Queen Victoria and the extended British Royal Family welcomed Tsar Nicholas II, her granddaughter, Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna, and great-granddaughter, Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna of Russia, for a Royal Holiday at Balmoral Castle on this day in 1896, which was the last meeting between Queen Victoria and her Russian Grandchildren. From ‘Russia, Royalty & the Romanovs‘:

The last Emperor of Russia, Nicholas II, and his wife, Alexandra, visited Queen Victoria at Balmoral Castle, her Scottish home, in 1896. They arrived by imperial yacht at Leith on 22 September, and then travelled to Balmoral, where they stayed until 3 October. The Empress Alexandra was the queen’s granddaughter (Alexandra was the daughter of Victoria and Albert’s third child Princess Alice and her husband Louis, Grand Duke of Hesse). The young Russian Imperial couple brought their 10-month-old daughter, Olga, with them to meet her great-grandmother. The visit was principally a family reunion, with many of Queen Victoria’s children and grandchildren travelling to Balmoral to greet the couple. The stay was also punctuated with discussions about international relations relating to Russia and Britain. Queen Victoria spoke to Nicholas regarding the Eastern Question, and the prime minister and Foreign Secretary, Lord Salisbury, gained assurances about Russia’s intentions towards India.

As the Tsar, Empress, and Grand Duchess left, Queen Victoria recorded in her diary:

 ‘At 10 dear Nicky & Alicky left to my regret, as I am fond of them both […] Went to the door to see our dear visitors leave. There were again the Highlanders bearing torches, but no pipes’.

Interestingly, on September 23, 1896, Queen Victoria surpassed King George III as Britain’s longest-reigning monarch to date, but she had requested that celebrations of the milestone be delayed until June 1897, the 60th Anniversary of her accession to the throne.

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