Mother and daughter, Grand Duchess Alexandra Iosifovna, one of the grandest beauties of the Imperial family, and her daughter Olga, a gentle, lovable, smiling, and generous child destined to become a very popular Queen of Greece.
My great-grandmother, Grand Duchess Alexandra Iosifovna of Russia, born Princess of Saxe-Altenbourg, with her two eldest children, Olga, the future Queen of Greece, and Grand Duke Nicholas Constantinovitch, the eldest, and the black sheep of the family. He was scandalous, provocative, mysterious and scorned by his contemporaries, probably unjustly.
No great destiny was written for Princess Dagmar of Denmark. However, she experienced a prodigious rise, ultimately becoming Empress of Russia by marrying Alexander III. In this picture, she is only the heir Grand Duchess. She is holding her son, the presumptive heir and future, and tragic, Nicolas II.
Emperor Alexander III of Russia, Uncle Sacha for the family, with his wife, Empress Maria Feodorovna, Aunt Minnie, with their children, the future Nicholas II, Grand Duke Michael, Grand Duke George, and Grand Duchesses Xenia and Olga. A united, happy, straightforward family, that tragedy would topple and then destroy.
Maria Pavlovna, the wife of Grand Duke Vladimir of Russia, born Princess of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Aunt Mischen to the family, was beautiful, elegant, intelligent, and cultivated, a perfect hostess with a strong personality and a formidable and feared tongue. She kept the most frequented salon in Saint Petersburg, where countless intrigues were spawned and developed. She survived the revolution and died in exile in Evian, she remained unbroken to the end.
Heir and Grand Duke Nicholas Alexandrovitch was a timid and silent young man, very introverted, indecisive, rather weak, and likely suffered some hang-up relating to his father, Alexander III. He was the least prepared to become Emperor of Russia, a position to which he was destined and which brought about tragedy.