Saturday 23 September 2006

Memorial service for Dagmar in Roskilde Cathedral

Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary arrive at the cathedral.

The commemoration and farewell from Denmark of Tsarina Dagmar has taken place today at Roskilde Cathedral.

After the service the casket was carried through Copenhagen to Langelinie. The Royal Family marked the passing procession on the balcony of Amalienborg Palace.

At Copenhagen Harbour, where the coffin of Maria Fedorovna was transferred to the Danish navy vessel Esbern Snare

The service at the cathedral on the website of The Danish Monarchy Divine Service for Empress Maria Fedorovna

The guest list published on The Danish Monarchy site.

Added: for more photos of the farewell and transfer of the coffin after the service in Roskilde Cathedral go to Madeleine Glindorf and select 'photography'. Thanks for the great photos Madeleine!

Mother of tsar makes last voyage BBC News Europe
Denmark releases Czarina's body to rest in Russia Monterey County Herald (thanks mayflower)

Tragic Empress of Russia comes home to find the peace that eluded her in life
By Michael Binyon

The interment of Empress Feodorovna in the Peter and Paul Fortress represents Russia's final atonement to its last tsar.

WITH royal ceremony and imperial pomp, Denmark will say farewell tomorrow to one of the most tragic figures in its royal history.
Princess Dagmar, who became Empress of Russia and mother of the last tsar, died in exile in her native land 78 years ago. Now, following her last wishes, her remains are to be reinterred in a vault in St Petersburg beside her husband, Tsar Alexander III, who died in 1894. The ceremony in Roskilde Cathedral, 18 miles west of Copenhagen, will be attended by Queen Margarethe II of Denmark and her family, as well as officials from the Danish and Russian Governments and members of the Romanov family.
The remains of the dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna — as she is known in Russia — will then be taken by a Danish warship to St Petersburg where they will lie in state. A service will be held in St Isaac’s Cathedral on Thursday and she will be interred the next day in the vault of the Peter and Paul Fortress, where all the Romanov tsars are buried and where the bones of the murdered Nicholas II and his family were interred in 1998. It will be the culmination of Russia’s atonement to its last tsar.
Dagmar’s story is extraordinary. She and her sister, Alexandra, daughters of King Christian IX, were two of the most eligible princesses in Europe and were to marry into the world’s greatest empires. Alexandra became the wife of Edward VII, while Dagmar sailed for the court in St Petersburg, converted to Russian Orthodoxy and was betrothed to Crown Prince Nicholas. He died months before the wedding and instead she married his brother.
Plunged into the fin de siècle turmoil of imperial Russia, she was a helpless witness to the hedonism, plotting and misrule at court. The sisters were almost identical; little wonder that their eldest sons looked so alike. But when the Revolution came, George V, fearful of public opinion in Britain, refused to save his cousin Nicholas II. It was only after his murder that he sent a warship to the Crimea to rescue Dagmar and her daughter, Grand Duchess Olga, in April 1919.
The evacuation is described in a new biography of Dagmar by Coryne Hall, who has been invited to the ceremonies in Denmark and St Petersburg.
As the Reds closed in, Captain Johnson, of HMS Marlborough, tried to hurry the royal refugees aboard. But the indomitable empress dallied. Her servants were loading 200 tons of luggage, box after box, and she headed for a chapel to pray.
Finally persuaded to return to the improvised pier, she embarked, along with dozens of desperate servants. They sailed for Yalta en route to Istanbul and passed Livadia Palace, the tsar’s summer residence. As she stood beneath the White Ensign, tears streaming down her face, a troopship carrying the Imperial Guard on the way to fight the Bolsheviks passed by. The men burst out with the Russian imperial anthem.
Stopping briefly in Malta, Dagmar finally arrived in Portsmouth and was taken to Marlborough House. But her time in London was not happy; she resented the loss of power, Britain’s indifference to Russian refugees and the lapses of protocol among the exiles.
Fussy, difficult and wildly extravagant, “Aunt Minny” antagonised her British relations and soon left for Denmark, where she grieved over her lost family and empire, refusing to believe Nicholas was dead or the claim by a notorious pretender that she was Anastasia, the Tsar’s daughter and only survivor of the royal massacre.
For three generations, Russia ignored her fate. But the mood is changing as the Government tries to heal the wounds of history, so that now Dagmar is going home at last.

The International Herald Tribune:
Family, officials bid farewell to Danish-born czarina as final journey to Russia begins

The Associated Press
Published: September 23, 2006

COPENHAGEN, Denmark Czarina Maria Feodorovna's descendants joined Danish royals, officials and dignitaries Saturday to bid farewell to the remains of the mother of Russia's last emperor, 78 years after she died in exile in Denmark.
The casket of the Danish-born Feodorovna — who was Princess Dagmar before marrying Czar Alexander III — will be put aboard a ship that will sail to St. Petersburg later Saturday. The casket will be buried alongside relatives' remains at the Peter and Paul Cathedral in the former Russian imperial capital, where a ceremony is planned for next week.
"Empress Dagmar now will be begin her final journey to the country she loved so much," Paul Kulikovsky said about his great-great-grandmother during the solemn ceremony at the Roskilde Cathedral, west of Copenhagen. Feodorovna is known in Denmark as Empress Dagmar.
Her descendants, including members from the Kulikovsky and Romanov families, sat on the right side of the coffin draped in a yellow Russian imperial flag inside the cathedral. On the left sat Denmark's Queen Margrethe, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary, among other members of the royal family.
A Russian government delegation, headed by Culture Minister Alexander Sokolov and deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov, also attended the ceremony in the 12th century red-brick cathedral.
To end the 50-minute Lutheran service, Royal Chaplain Christian Thodberg asked for "peace to shine over Empress Dagmar."
Ten officers from Denmark's Royal Life Guard and the Russian Presidential Guard then carried the coffin out of the cathedral, 40 kilometers (25 miles) west of Copenhagen, where Maria Feodorovna's casket has been resting alongside Danish kings and queens since her death in 1928.
After the ceremony, a motorcade including the hearse headed toward to Copenhagen, where a mounted army regiment will join the procession through the city and to the harbor.
The coffin will be put aboard a Danish navy support ship, Esbern Snare, which is due to arrive in St. Petersburg on Sept. 26.
Since the end of the Cold War, the Romanov family have been working for the remains of Maria Feodorovna to be sent to Russia.
Born in 1847 as Princess Dagmar, the daughter of Denmark's King Christian IX and Queen Louise, she converted from the Lutheran Church to the Russian Orthodox faith when she married Alexander. The couple had six children, including Nicholas II, who became czar in 1894 and was executed a year after the Bolshevik revolution.
Nicholas II and his family were killed in 1918, 16 months after he abdicated the throne. His remains were ceremoniously buried in 1998 in St. Petersburg.
Feodorovna fled St. Petersburg in 1917 and reached Copenhagen through the Crimean Peninsula and London.
The International Herald Tribune

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