Person:Marie of Hesse (1)

Facts and Events
Name Maria Alexandrovna
Gender Female
Birth[1] 8 Aug 1824 Darmstadt, Darmstadt, Hessen, Germany
Death[1] 8 Jun 1880 Saint Petersburg, Saint Petersburg, Saint Petersburg, Russia
Reference Number? Q155585?


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Maria Alexandrovna, born Princess Marie of Hesse and by Rhine (8 August 1824 – 3 June 1880) was Empress of Russia as the first wife of Emperor Alexander II. She was the mother of Emperor Alexander III.

She was a daughter of Ludwig II, Grand Duke of Hesse, and Princess Wilhelmine of Baden. Marie was raised in austerity but was well educated by her mother, who took personal charge of her education but died when Marie was still very young. She was only fourteen years old when the Tsarevich Alexander Nikolaevich, later Tsar Alexander II of Russia, fell in love with her while he was traveling to Western Europe. She arrived in Russia in September 1840, converted to the Orthodox Church, took the title of Grand Duchess of Russia and traded the name Marie for Maria Alexandrovna. She married Alexander on 16 April 1841. The couple had eight children: two daughters and six sons. For fourteen years (1840–1855), she was Tsarevna, the wife of the heir of the Russian throne. She became the Russian Empress consort after the death of her father-in-law, Tsar Nicholas I.

Maria Alexandrovna learned the Russian language quickly; she was pious and identified with her adopted country. She did not enjoy court life of the duties of representation as she was shy and of a withdrawn nature. As a consequence she was not popular. She took a more focused interest in charitable activities after the death of her mother-in-law the Dowager Empress Alexandra Feodorovna in 1860. Maria Alexandrovna was particularly active in the field of female education, establishing Russia's first all female schools. She organized the Russian Red Cross and expanded its activities during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78.

She was deeply affected by the death of her eldest son the Tsarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich in 1865. By then, her fragile constitution was undermined by her numerous pregnancies and by tuberculosis which afflicted her since 1863. To avoid the harsh Russian winters, she spent long sojourns in the Crimea and in southern Europe. During many summers she visited her family in Jugenheim, where she had spent her childhood. Her marriage to Tsar Alexander II started as a love match and it was happy for some years, but Alexander II had many affairs and in 1866 he fell in love with Catherine Dolgorukova and had four children with his mistress. Maria Alexandrovna was treated with respect by her philanderer husband and she was much loved by her surviving children. After a long illness, she died in 1880. The Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg, the city of Mariinsk in Kemerovo Oblast, and the city of Mariehamn in Åland are named after her.

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References
  1. 1.0 1.1 Maria Alexandrovna (Marie of Hesse), in Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia.