- Birth Date:
- Death date:
- Extra names:
- Marija Alexandrowna Romanowa, Мария Александровна, Lielkņaze Marija Aleksandrovna;Великая Княжна Мария Александровна Герцогиня Эдинбургская и Герцогиня Саксен-Кобу
- Aristocrat, Duke, Knyaz (Prince, Duke)
- Sts Peter and Paul Cathedral
Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia (later Duchess of Edinburgh and Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha; 17 October 1853 – 24 October 1920) was a daughter of Alexander II of Russia and Empress Maria Alexandrovna. Maria became the wife of Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, the second son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
From 1893 until her death, she had the distinction of being a Russian grand duchess (by birth), a British princess and royal duchess (by marriage), and the consort (and later widow) of a German sovereign duke.
The Duchess was born at Tsarskoye Selo, Russia, the second and only surviving daughter of Alexander II, Emperor of Russia (who was assassinated in 1881) and his wife Princess Marie of Hesse and by Rhine, daughter of Ludwig II, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine. She was the aunt of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia who was murdered in 1918. Her brother, Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich of Russia was assassinated in Moscow in 1905, and another brother, Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich of Russia was shot in Saint Petersburg in 1919.
Grand Duchess Maria was introduced to Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, the second son of Queen Victoria, by the Princess of Wales and the Tsesarevna of Russia during a family holiday in Denmark in 1871. The Princess and Tsesarevna were sisters and Danish princesses. Maria and Alfred married on 23 January 1874 at the Winter Palace, St. Petersburg. The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh made their public entry into London on 12 March.
The marriage, however, was not to become a happy one, and the bride was thought haughty by London Society. Furthermore, Tsar Alexander II's insistence that his daughter be styled "Her Imperial Highness" and have precedence over the then Princess of Wales infuriated Queen Victoria. The Queen insisted that the style "Her Royal Highness" Maria Alexandrovna acquired upon marriage should always precede the style "Her Imperial Highness," which was hers by birth. For her part, the new Duchess of Edinburgh apparently resented the fact that the Princess of Wales, who was the daughter of the King of Denmark, took precedence over her, the daughter of the Emperor of Russia. After the marriage, Maria was varyingly referred to as Her Royal Highness, Her Royal & Imperial Highness, and Her Imperial & Royal Highness.
Queen Victoria granted her precedence immediately after the Princess of Wales. Her father gave her the then staggering sum of £100,000 as a dowry, plus an annual allowance of £28,000.
Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
On the death of his uncle, Ernst II, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, on 22 August 1893, the vacant duchy fell to the Duke of Edinburgh, since his elder brother the Prince of Wales had renounced his right to the succession. Upon her husband's ascension to the Ducal throne, the Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna became Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, in addition to being Duchess of Edinburgh. She thoroughly enjoyed being in Coburg, having yearned to leave England. As the consort of a sovereign German duke, she technically outranked her sisters-in-law at Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
The couple's only son, Hereditary Prince Alfred, became involved in a scandal involving his mistress and shot himself in January 1899, in the midst of his parents' twenty-fifth wedding anniversary celebrations. He survived, but his embarrassed parents sent him off to Meran to recover, where he died two weeks later, on 6 February. The Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha died of throat cancer on 30 July 1900 at The Rosenau in Coburg. The ducal throne passed to his nephew, Prince Charles Edward, Duke of Albany. The Dowager Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha continued to reside in Coburg.
She died in October 1920 in Zürich, Switzerland apparently after receiving a telegram addressed to her as "Frau Coburg"; she was buried in the Ducal Family's cemetery outside Coburg. Of her four daughters, the Queen of Romania was forbidden to attend or to travel to Germany to attend her funeral due to the recent war, in which Germany and Romania had fought on opposite sides.
Titles, styles, honours and armsTitles and styles
- 17 October 1853 – 23 January 1874: Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia
- 23 January 1874 – 22 August 1893: Her Imperial & Royal Highness The Duchess of Edinburgh
- 22 August 1893 – 11 October 1905: Her Imperial & Royal Highness The Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
- 11 October 1905 – 24 October 1920: Her Imperial & Royal Highness The Dowager Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
- Lady of the Royal Order of Victoria and Albert (first class) (British)
- Imperial Order of the Crown of India (British)
- Order of St. Catherine (Russian)
Alfred, Hereditary Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha Marie, Queen of Romania Victoria, Grand Duchess of Russia Alexandra, Princess of Hohenlohe-Langenburg Princess Beatrice, Duchess of Galliera
No events set