Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich
- Birth Date:
- Death date:
- Person's maiden name:
- Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich of Russia
- Extra names:
- Великий князь Александр Михайлович, Сандро, Sandro
- Admiral, Aristocrat, Military person, Pilot, Statesman
- Set cemetery
Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich of Russia (Russian: Александр Михайлович Aleksandr Mihailovich; 13 April 1866 – 26 February 1933) was adynast of the Russian Empire, a naval officer, an author, explorer, the brother-in-law of Emperor Nicholas II and advisor to him.
Alexander was born the son of Grand Duke Michael Nicolaievich of Russia, the youngest son of Nicholas I of Russia, and Grand Duchess Olga Feodorovna (Cecily of Baden). Through his mother, Grand Duke Alexander was a great-grandson of the reputedly imbalanced king Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden, the last Swedish Grand Duke of Finland (at the time of Alexander's life, Finland belonged to Alexander's agnatic house and its ruler was head of its senior branch, making Alexander entitled to eventual succession to the Finnish Throne and also one of the "Princes of Finland"). He was mostly known as "Sandro"
He was born in Tbilisi, Georgia. Grand Duke Alexander was a naval officer. In his youth, he made a good-will visit to developing Japan on behalf of the Russian Empire, as well as to the Brazilian Empire. He married his first cousin's daughter, Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna, the eldest daughter of Alexander III on the 6 August [O.S. 25 July] 1894 and was thus a brother-in-law of the last Tsar Nicholas II, to whose close advisors he belonged. His impact on the Tsar has been both criticized and appreciated. He and his family, together with his mother-in-law, the Dowager Empress Maria Fyodorovna (Dagmar of Denmark), were rescued from theCrimea by British battleship HMS Marlborough in the quagmire of the 1917 Revolution, and thus they survived.
Alexander lived in Paris and wrote his memoirs. Once a Grand Duke (Farrar & Rinehart 1933) is a source of dynastical and court life in Imperial Russia's last half-century. He also spent a time as guest of the future Abyssinian Emperor Ras Tafari. He talks about why he was invited to Ethiopia, in his continuation of his biography "Always a Grand Duke". He died in 26 February 1933 in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin in the south of France. He was buried on 1 March in Roquebrune. His wife Xenia died inHampton Court Palace in 1960.
Together Alexander and Xenia had seven children:
- Princess Irina Alexandrovna (1895–1970)
- Prince Andrei Alexandrovich (1897–1981)
- Prince Feodor Alexandrovich (1898–1968)
- Prince Nikita Alexandrovich (1900–1974)
- Prince Dmitri Alexandrovich (1901–1980)
- Prince Rostislav Alexandrovich (1902–1978)
- Prince Vasili Alexandrovich (1907–1989)
In 1885, Alexander graduated from the Naval College at the rank of midshipman; he later served in the Navy and participated in the voyages. Since 1891, he was the initiator and founder of the first edition of the Russian annual directory of "Military Fleets", and was its editor until 1906. In 1895, he developed a program of strengthening the Russian Navy in the Pacific. Starting 1896, he taught the Naval Game at the Naval Science Classes in the Naval Academy.
Between 1901 and 1902, he acted as the commander of the Black Sea battleship Rostislav, and in 1903 he was appointed a junior flag officer of the Black Sea Fleet. In parallel, between 1901 and 1905 he acted as a chief superintendent and the chairman of several councils related to merchant shipping and ports. At these positions, he contributed to the development of commercial shipping, construction and equipment of new ports, training merchant mariners, creation of long-distance shipping lines and improvement of maritime trade legislation. During the Russian-Japanese war of 1904–1905, he oversaw the auxiliary cruisers of the Volunteer Fleet. Alexander took part in the development of programs aimed at rebuilding the fleet, brought them to the attention of governments and the public, and was an avid supporter of the construction of new battleships. In 1909, he was promoted to the rank of vice admiral.
While in exile after 1917, he became fascinated with archaeology and conducted a number of successful expeditions.