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Why Alexander II did not marry the English queen he loved
Why Alexander II did not marry the English queen he loved

This romance began suddenly and nearly ruined the plans of the two powers. This story clearly demonstrates how monarchs had to sacrifice real feelings for the sake of state interests. In 1839, the young Queen Victoria ruled in England. At the same time, Tsarevich Alexander was in Europe in search of a bride and even had already looked for a suitable candidate for himself. No one thought that representatives of the royal dynasties would fall in love with each other. However, this is exactly what happened.

The journey of the crown prince, which did not go according to plan

Princess Maximiliana Wilhelmina of Hesse

The eldest son of Nicholas I was an amorous young man and knew how to make a pleasant impression on young ladies. Moreover, most often he chose simple young ladies, far from blue blood. Among the objects of his love were mainly the ladies-in-waiting of the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. For the sake of one of them, Olga Kalinovskaya, the Tsarevich was even ready to renounce the throne. Not a joke, worried Nicholas I insisted on ending this relationship and sent his son on a long journey across Europe, having previously compiled a list of suitable brides for him.

Abroad, the heir to the throne plunged headlong into new acquaintances, balls and receptions and stopped missing his beloved. At the beginning of the journey, the young man visited Prussia, Vienna and Italy. But not a single European princess from the list of those recommended by the emperor could conquer his heart. Finally, in the small German duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt, the Tsarevich met 15-year-old Maximiliana Wilhelmina, for whom he immediately felt sincere sympathy. Parents were not happy with the choice of their son, they were embarrassed by rumors that the princess was allegedly the step-daughter of the Duke of Hesse. The discontent of his father and mother did not bother Alexander, he made a firm decision to link his fate with Maximiliana. Great Britain was the final destination on the heir's European journey. He went there solely in order to comply with the formalities and show respect for the Queen of England.

The most enviable bride in Europe and her acquaintance with the Tsarevich

Queen Victoria in her youth

Victoria inherited the English throne in 1837, and at the time of the visit of the great Russian prince she was 20 years old. She was smart, educated, beautiful and did not complain about the lack of suitors.

At that time, a groom was already selected for her - the son of the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Prince Albert. But young Victoria was embarrassed by his excessive shyness and slender appearance. They met back in 1836, but even after receiving the crown, the girl was in no hurry to tie the knot with him and asked her relatives to postpone the wedding.

The twenty-year-old ruler for the first time received a foreign representative of the royal dynasty and looked forward to meeting with Alexander Nikolaevich with special trepidation. When they finally met, it became clear to those around them that Victoria really liked the Tsarevich. The queen, who for several years unsuccessfully tried to marry different European princes, did not even try to hide her sympathy. In her diary, the monarch wrote that she was madly in love with the Grand Duke.This was followed by more frank recordings in which the girl confessed that she was in love with a "charming young man" and that she had never experienced such feelings before.

Victoria's feelings were mutual. Colonel Semyon Yuryevich, who accompanied Alexander Nikolaevich on the trip, wrote in his diary that after the ball all the tsarevich's conversations were true only about the young queen.

Young people often met, and it was obvious to everyone that the visit of Alexander Nikolaevich had already ceased to be official. It was difficult for lovers to observe the norms of etiquette accepted in high society, and they often shocked others with their behavior. Once the queen invited her guest to the theater, and instead of sitting in different boxes, they were next to each other, chatting sweetly behind the closed one.

Why the Russian Tsarevich and the English Queen were forced to part

Alexander II with his wife Maria Alexandrovna (Princess of Hesse)

While the feelings of the young people were rapidly developing, the concerned companions of the Tsarevich sent dispatches to Nicholas I, in which they reported that a romance had begun between Alexander and Victoria, and if the first made an offer, the second would accept it without hesitation. If the matter ended in marriage, then the son of Nicholas I would most likely have to remain a prince-consort with his wife-queen. This outcome did not suit the current emperor, since the role of Alexander Nikolaevich had already been determined. This union also did not correspond to the plans of the British government. In no case would they have let their queen go to Russia as the future Russian empress. And she herself would hardly have agreed to sacrifice her crown. In short, the romance of Alexander and Victoria was doomed from the very beginning.

The first to recognize the seriousness of the situation in London and sent the queen to Windsor Castle to stop her communication with the crown prince. The Russian emperor also reacted instantly and sent his son a letter in which he reminded him that he already had a bride and he must urgently go to Darmstadt. The princess of Hesse, about her origin and whom there were dubious rumors, seemed to Nicholas I not such a bad candidate. The Grand Duke asked his father for permission to stay for a few more days, but he refused.

Farewell and further fate of lovers

Wedding of Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha

In May 1839, Alexander, obeying the will of his father, left Great Britain. The last evening on the eve of his departure, he spent with his beloved. At the end of the ball, they retired to say goodbye. The young people promised each other to meet again and from now on they will do everything possible to strengthen relations between their states. These promises turned out to be empty words - in the second half of the 19th century, Russia and Great Britain had tensions, and the participation of the second in the Crimean War on the side of Turkey made them enemies at all.

It is difficult to imagine that three decades later, already being emperor, Alexander II would call Victoria "a stubborn English old woman." But in May 1839, they could not imagine this and enjoyed very different feelings.

In the morning after the farewell ball the adjutant S. Yuryevich wrote: "When the Tsarevich was left alone with me, he threw himself into my arms, we both cried." It was obvious that Alexander Nikolaevich was going through a serious personal drama.

After leaving Great Britain, the heir to the throne returned to his princess Maximilian, and in 1841 he married her.

Victoria married the same Prince Albert and lived with him in a long and happy marriage, giving birth to nine heirs. After the death of her husband, the queen put on mourning clothes and wore them until the very last day of her life.

How Alexander II and Queen Victoria became related through children and grandchildren

Queen Victoria with her husband, granddaughter Alexandra Feodorovna, Russian Emperor Nicholas II and their daughter Olga

Ironically, Alexander II and Victoria were still destined to become related, and more than once. In 1874, the son of the Queen of England, Prince Alfred, married the daughter of the Russian emperor, Maria Alexandrovna.The ruler of Great Britain disliked her daughter-in-law, especially after her former lover asked to call her daughter nothing more than "Your Imperial Highness." A couple of decades later, the grandchildren of the monarchs were united by marriage - the last Russian autocrat, Nikolai Alexandrovich, married Alisa of Hesse-Darmstadt, the future Empress Alexandra Feodorovna.

And another Russian emperor even created his own musical group and gave concerts.

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