Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna, Wife of Emperor Nicholas I


This black-and-white photograph portrait of Alexandra, Empress of Russia (1798–1860), is from the Personal Album of Alexander II (1860-1870), which is preserved in the Russian State Archive of Film and Photo Documents, Moscow. It shows the empress in a full-length portrait in right profile. She was born Princess Charlotte of Prussia and grew up in Berlin and Memel (present-day Klaipeda, Lithuania). She took the name Alexandra in 1817 on her conversion to Russian Orthodoxy and marriage to Emperor Nicholas I (1796–1855). During his reign from 1825 to 1855, Nicholas engaged in wars with Persia and the Ottoman Empire, suppressed a nationalist uprising in Poland, and helped to quell the 1848‒49 Hungarian insurrection. Domestically, he was known as an autocrat who opposed reforms and sought to Russianize all parts of the ethnically diverse empire. He died during the Crimean War, in which Russia fought an alliance consisting primarily of Great Britain, France, and the Ottoman Empire. He was succeeded by his son, Alexander II (1818‒81, reigned 1855‒81), the owner of the album in which this photograph is found.

Last updated: May 31, 2016