Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolaevich, Son of Emperor Nicholas I


This black-and-white photograph portrait of Konstantin Nikolaevich, Grand Duke of Russia (1827–92), taken in the 1860s, 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 grand duke leaning against a richly covered table. He wears a fur-trimmed jacket embellished with gold braid and holds a cigarette in his right hand. Konstantin was the second son of Emperor Nicholas I (1796–1855) and Empress Alexandra (1798–1860). Trained in naval sciences, languages, mathematics, and navigation by Count Fedor Petrovich Litke (1797–1882), a navigator, geographer, and Arctic explorer, Konstantin was appointed to the State Council in 1850. In 1853 he was promoted to admiral and made head of the naval department. In that capacity he presided over the disastrous Russian naval operations in the Crimean War, after which he oversaw the modernization of the navy, its education system, and its bureaucracy. Konstantin was involved in the emancipation of the serfs in Russia in 1861. From 1862 to 1864, he served as viceroy of Poland, where he survived an assassination attempt on his second day in office. Back in Saint Petersburg, he chaired the State Council for 16 years. His wife was born Princess Alexandra of Saxe-Altenburg; in 1848 upon her conversion to Russian Orthodoxy and marriage to Konstantin, she became Grand Duchess Alexandra Iosifovna.

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Title in Original Language

Великий князь Константин Николаевич

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1 photograph : black-and-white


  1. Timothy C. Dowling, editor “Konstantin Nikolaevich, Grand Duke (1827–1892),” in Russia at War: From the Mongol Conquest to Afghanistan, Chechnya, and Beyond (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2015).

Last updated: December 7, 2016