Alix of Hesse and by Rhine, later Alexandra Feodorovna (6 June 1872 – 17 July 1918), was Empress consort of Russia as spouse of Nicholas II, the last Emperor of the Russian Empire. Born a granddaughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, she was given the name Alexandra Feodorovna upon being received into the Russian Orthodox Church.
Alexandra was born on 6 June 1872 at the New Palace in Darmstadt as Her Grand Ducal Highness Princess Viktoria Alix Helena Louise Beatrice of Hesse and by Rhine, a Grand Duchy that was then part of the German Empire.
Nicholas II of Russia and Alix had first met in 1884 at the wedding of Nicholas’s Uncle Grand Duke Sergei to Alix’s sister, Elizabeth, in St. Petersburg. When Alix returned to Russia in 1889 they fell in love. Alexandra and Nicholas were wed in the Grand Church of the Winter Palace of St Petersburg on 26 November 1894. The marriage that began that night remained exceptionally close until the pair was assassinated simultaneously in 1918. The marriage was outwardly serene and proper but based on intensely passionate physical love.
World War I put what proved to be unbearable burden on Imperial Russia’s government and economy, both of which were dangerously weak. By March 1917, conditions had worsened even more. The Provisional Government formed after the revolution kept Nicholas, Alexandra, and their children confined in their primary residence, the Alexander Palace at Tsarskoye Selo, until they were moved to Tobolsk in Siberia in August 1917.
The former tsar and tsaritsa and all of their family, including the gravely ill Alexei, along with several family servants, were executed by firing squad and bayonets in the basement of the Ipatiev House, where they had been imprisoned, early in the morning of 17 July 1918. Alexandra watched the murder of her husband and two menservants before military commissar Peter Ermakov took aim at her. She instinctively turned away from him and began to make the sign of the cross, but before she could finish the gesture, Ermakov killed her with a gunshot.
War! […] This is the end of everything.