Grand Duchess Alexandra Georgievna of Russia (Russian: Алекса́ндра Гео́ргиевна), née Princess Alexandra of Greece (Greek: Πριγκίπισσα Αλεξάνδρα της Ελλάδας) (30 August 1870 – 24 September 1891) was the third child and firstborn daughter of King George I and Queen Olga of Greece, who herself was a daughter of a Russian grand duke, and was also a grandchild of Denmark's King Christian IX and Queen Louise. She was a sister to Constantine I of Greece, and thus aunt of three kings and two queens, Constantine's three sons, who all became kings of Greece, and two of his daughters, who were queens, in name, of Romania and Croatia, respectively. She was also a paternal aunt of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
Marriage and children
Alexandra, whose nicknames were "Greek Alix" or "Aline", was well-loved by her family. "She had one of those sweet and lovable natures that endeared her to everybody who came in touch with her," recalled her brother Prince Nicholas of Greece. "She looked young and beautiful, and ever since she was a child, life looked as it had nothing but joy and happiness in store for her." She had close ties to the Russian imperial family, being, through her mother, a granddaughter of Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolayevich of Russia, and through her father, a niece of Empress Maria Feodorovna, wife of Tsar Alexander III.
When she was eighteen years old, she was married to Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich of Russia, her maternal first cousin once removed and the youngest child and sixth son of Emperor Alexander II and his first wife Princess Marie of Hesse and by Rhine. They had become close when Grand Duke Paul spent winters in Greece due to his frequent respiratory illnesses. The Greek royal family also frequently spent holidays with the Romanov family on visits to Russia or Denmark.
They had two children:
- Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna
- Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich
Seven months into her second pregnancy, Alexandra took a walk with her friends on the bank of the Moskva River and jumped directly into a boat that was permanently moored there, but fell as she got in. The next day, she collapsed in the middle of a ball from violent labour pains. She gave birth to her son, Dmitri, lapsed into a fatal coma, and she died six days later in the Romanovs' estate Ilyinskoe near Moscow. The Grand Duchess was buried in the Peter and Paul Cathedral, St. Petersburg. Her grieving husband had to be restrained from throwing himself into the grave with her.
Her husband later morganatically remarried Olga Karnovich, and her son would be involved in the murder of Grigori Rasputin, a favorite of Tsarina Alexandra Feodorvna, in 1916.
In 1939 when Alexandra's nephew George II of Greece was reigning, the Greek government obtained a permission from the Soviet government under Joseph Stalin to rebury Princess Alexandra in Greece. Her body was removed from the vault in Leningrad and transferred by a Greek ship to Athens. It was finally laid to rest near the Tatoi Palace. Alexandra's marble tombstone over an empty tomb is still in its place in the Peter and Paul Cathedral.
The "Alexandra Maternity Hospital" (now "Alexandra General Hospital") in Athens was later named in her memory by another nephew, King Paul; it was affiliated with the University of Athens with a special remit to research and combat postpartum maternal mortality. Alexandras Avenue in Athens was also named after her.
Titles, styles, honours, and armsTitles and styles
- 30 August 1870 – 17 June 1889: Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra of Greece and Denmark
- 17 June 1889 – 24 September 1891: Her Imperial and Royal Highness Grand Duchess Alexandra Georgievna of Russia
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