Who Was Princess Alix of Hesse

by | Sep 12, 2023 | Aristocracy, Germany, Kingdoms, Noble Titles, Queens

The royal princesses of Europe are a captivating cast of notable women, historic characters and fascinating personalities. 

Even though all of history’s princesses have left their mark in some way, there are some who make a bigger impression on the world stage during their lifetime. Some even play such a vital role in world events that their story becomes a lasting legacy that impacts the lives of millions around the world and lasts for many generations. 

Princess Alix of Hesse was one such princess. Her story, her rise to imperial power and her pivotal role in the politics and revolutions of Russia in the early 20th century make her one of modern history’s most important and memorable royal figures.

Yet there are many who aren’t aware of this powerful and tragic princess and her incredible story. So here are some insights and interesting facts about the princess who became an Empress – Princess Alix of Hesse. 

Granddaughter Of Queen Victoria

In her early life, perhaps the most notable fact about Princess Alix of Hesse was her famous grandmother, Queen Victoria of England. 

Princess Alix was the daughter of Princess Alice, who was the third child of Queen Victoria and her beloved husband, Prince Albert. Princess Alice moved from the royal court of Britain to the Grand Duchy of Hesse and by Rhine in Germany, when she married the Grand Duke of Hesse, Louis IV, in 1862. 

Although Princess Alix was the granddaughter of the famous English queen, and a close member of the British Royal Family, she was born in Germany, as a result of her mother’s marriage and new life in the Grand Duchy of Hesse. 

Even though Princess Alix was born in Germany and raised as a German princess, she remained close to her Royal relatives in England throughout her life. It’s well-documented that she was one of Queen Victoria’s favourite grandchildren. 

One Of The Hesse Sisters

Princess Alix of Hesse was also known throughout Europe in the late 19th and early 20th century as one of the Hesse sisters. 

Four of the Hesse sisters: (left to right) Irene, Victoria, Elisabeth, and Alix, 1885

Daughters of Louis IV, Grand Duke of Hesse and Princess Alice of the United Kingdom: Princess Irene, Princess Victoria, Princess Elisabeth and Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine – Carl Backofen, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Alix and her 3 sisters – Princess Irene, Princess Victoria, and Princess Elisabeth – became known as the favourites of their famous grandmother. Queen Victoria. The 4 sisters, renowned for their beauty and charm as well as their royal connections, came to be known by some as The Four Graces. 

While the Hesse sisters were prominent royals and notable historic characters in their own right, they perhaps play a larger role in the history of the early 20th century because of their high-profile marriages. 

All four of the famous Hesse sisters went on to marry into powerful and controversial families within Europe. The eldest sister, Princess Victoria, married an English Prince and established the royal House of Mountbatten, which went on to include one of the most famous royals of modern times, Prince Philip.

Another of Alix’s sisters married into the powerful Romanov family – the famous imperial family of Russia. Princess Elisabeth married Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich of Russia, who was the seventh child of the Russian Tsar, Alexander II. 

Princess Irene went on to marry the son of the German Emperor, Frederick III, and she became the wife of Prince Henry of Prussia. Her place within German royalty was secured when her husband’s brother (who was also her cousin through the British family line) went on to become the German Emperor, Willhelm II – known within her childhood family gatherings as Cousin Willy. 

Russian Empress

While all of the famous Hesse sisters married into prominent royal dynasties throughout Europe, Princess Alix of Hesse was the one to achieve the most impressive marital match. 

In 1894, the charming German princess became the second Hesse sister to marry into the mighty Romanov Family of Russia. With her marriage, Princess Alix ultimately became the Empress of Russia, and adopted the name of Alexandra Feodorovna Romanova. 

This rise to the head of one of the most powerful imperial families of Europe placed Princess Alix in one of the most influential roles of world history – at the head of the Russian Imperial Family. 

This role became even more pivotal during the course of her marriage as the new Russian Empress became more actively involved in the politics and governance of her adopted nation. Some of the events that followed her marriage are widely regarded to have been a result of her direct influence and decisions from her position of power within the Russian Imperial Family. 

A number of these acts as Empress resulted in significant unrest within the Russian people and fuelled the feeling of revolution and rebellion that would ultimately destroy the Romanov dynasty and their imperial rule. 

The Last Tsarina

Princess Alix became the Russian Empress at one of the most dramatic periods of Russian history. After centuries of imperial rule, the ancient House of Romanov was facing unprecedented unrest among its people. 

As a result of the Russian Revolution in 1917, the Tsar and Tsarina faced a dramatic and historic twist in their story when they were forced to abdicate their power. This was the beginning of the end for the Imperial Royal Family, not only in terms of their rank and power within the Russian Empire, but also for their very lives. 

Initially, the family were placed under house arrest within their imperial palace, but within a matter of months, their fate was sealed when Bolshevik revolutionaries carried out a mass execution that included the Tsar, Nicholas II, his wife, Alix, their children and some of their close courtiers.

The tragic story of Princess Alix of Hesse came to a brutal conclusion that sent shockwaves through Europe. The events leading up to the massacre of the Romanovs, as well as the dramatic fallout, were to have considerable consequences far beyond Russia, that would impact people around the world for generations. 

Her rise from charming German princess, beloved granddaughter of Queen Victoria, and eminent member of the Hesse sisters to the pivotal position of power as Empress Consort of the great Russian Empire and her ultimate assassination secured her place as one of the most influential and notable of history’s princesses.

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