Saturday 23 September 2006

Reburial of Dagmar the Tsarina Maria Feodorovna

The Kaminsky portrait of Tsarina Maria Feodorovna, Dagmar Princess of Denmark

Today ceremonies begin to repatriate the remains of the Danish Princess Dagmar from Denmark to Russia. Dagmar married Tsar Alexander III in November 1866. Dagmar, or Maria Feodorovna as she was known in Russia, has been entombed in Roskilde Cathedral since her death in 1928 but it was her wish to lie with her husband in St Petersburg. It is said Alexander and Dagmar had a very happy union. The reburial arrangements have involved some very intricate negotiation between Russia, including President Putin, the Danish Government and the Danish Royal Family.

The ceremonies for the reburial actually began yesterday, September 22, on Danish ground with a Russian Orthodox ceremony in the crypt beneath the Cathedral of Roskilde, where the embalmed body of Tsarina Dagmar/Maria Feodorovna is at rest in a sarcophagus in a Royal Crypt. Today, September 23, a Danish memorial service will be conducted in Roskilde Cathedral, where the Danish Royal Family will be present. From Roskilde Cathedral the coffin will be driven to Christiansborg Slot in Copenhagen. There will be a procession carrying Dagmar's remains through Copenhagen to Langelinie where it will be transferred to a Danish Navy ship, the frigate Esbern Snare, which will then carry the coffin to St Petersburg, which will arrive September 26. In St Petersburg, the former imperial capital of Russia, the casket of the tsarina, as she was, will lay in a state of castrum doloris at the Alexander Nevsky Church in the park at Peterhof. Russian citizens will have the opportunity to pass by the coffin. The next day, on September 28, the Tsarina Maria Feodorovna will be taken to the Isaak Cathedral in the city. Later the same day the reburial will be performed in the St Peter and Paul Cathedral.

Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary will represent the Danish Royal House, Foreign Minister, Per Stig Møller will represent the Danish Government on 28 September when Empress Dagmar is reburied in St Petersburg. The Crown Prince Couple will arrive in St Petersburg on Wednesday September 27 and will take part in a number of Danish-Russian cultural arrangements in connection with the reburial.

Empress Dagmar was the daughter of King Christian IX and in 1866 she married the Russian Crown Prince, who later became Tsar Alexander III. During the revolution in 1917 the Dowager Empress' family was killed and she escaped to England and then later to Denmark in 1919. Dagmar died in 1928 and she stated before her death that she wished to be buried in Russia, when circumstances allowed it.

The Danish Navy ship Esbern Snare will sail from Langelinie on September 23 and will arrive in St Petersburg on Tuesday September 26. This date is significant as it is exactly 140 years to the day since Princess Dagmar first arrived in Russia. The coffin will be taken ashore and placed in the Alexander Nevski Chapel in the park at Peterhof.

The Twelve Monograms Fabergé Egg made by Michael Perchin and presented to Maria Feodorovna by her son Nicholas II. Check out Fabergé Eggs here and you can see the 1891 Danish Palaces egg by Michael Perchin which depicted the palaces Dagmar had lived in as a Danish princess, including two royal yachts. After the death of Alexander III in 1895 Fabergé had to rework the egg that had originally been planned for Maria prior to her husband's death. The Twelve Monograms egg (1895) was the first Fabergé egg given by Czar Nicholas to his mother. Featuring in diamonds the royal insignia of Czar Alexander III set against a deep blue enamel background, Fabergé's understated creation was a fitting tribute for the mourning Dowager Empress. Alexander III died at just 49 years old. See also Fabergé Eggs: Mementos of a Doomed Dynasty

There is lots to read! Check out the links - there is so much interesting history about Dagmar's life, the last Romanovs, their connections to other European royalty and the very interesting times of the last Romanovs in revolutionary Russia.

The Alexander Palace Time Machine - read the story of Dowager Empress Marie Feodorovna, Princess of Denmark

Alexander Palace Russian History websites

Last letter from Dowager Marie in exile to her son Nicholas II (Nicholas II was the last Tsar) from Alexander Palace Time Machine

Neva News Dagmar of Denmark

How did the Empress Dowager Maria Feodorovna escape from Russia?
Rescue of the Imperial Family from Yalta in 1919 HMS Marlborough Evacuates Members of the Imperial Family, Yalta, April, 1919 - Alexander Palace Time Machine

Alexander Palace Time Machine - Empress Marie Reburial

In 1866, when Princess Dagmar of Denmark was leaving for Russia, Hans Christian Andersen went to the Copenhagen quay to see her off. But not even the imagination of a fairytale writer could have foreseen the trials that befell his compatriot.

Reburial of Empress Maria Feodorovna September 2006 the official site in English by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark

Cultural Events in Connection with the Reburial Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark

Special Royal Copenhagen Exhibition at Peterhof There is ample evidence that the Empress Dagmar bought large amounts of porcelain made at the Royal Danish Porcelain Manufactory, and that Tsar Alexander III and their son Nicholas II were perhaps even more passionate collectors of the new, and at the time highly modern porcelain produced from the mid-1880s onward. See also Royal Copenhagen Porcelain Manufactury and Peterhof Click here (as in pic 1 below) for panaramic views of the fountain and gardens at Peterhof, the Summer Palace outside St Petersburg, where Maria Feodorovna will lie in castrum doloris and here (as in pic 2) for panoramic views of the Throne Room at the Summer Palace.

How is Maria Feodorovna connected? Check the link - daughter of King Christian IX of Denmark and Queen Louise, sister of King Frederik VIII (Denmark), sister of Queen Alexandra (Great Britain), sister of King George I (Greece). Married in 1866 to Alexander III (1845-1894) who was tsar of Russia from 1881-1894. They had five children: Nicolas II (1868-1918), George (1871-1899), Xenia (1875-1960), Michael (1878-1918) and Olga (1882-1960).

Portraits of Dagmar/Maria Feodorovna:

Maria Fyodorovna from

Maria Feodorovna picture gallery

The Tsar's Mother Marie Feodorovna (1847-1928) by Arturo Beéche on

The Moscow News (in English) 'Mother of Last Russian Tsar to Be Reburied' this is an interview with Prince Roman Petrovich Romanov, the tsar's godson about how the reburial came about. This interview is very interesting and reveals an Australian connection. Prince Mikhail Andreyevich, Maria Fedorovna's great grandson, is the oldest direct descendant of the czarina and has lived in Australia for the past 60 years.

Tsarina Maria Feodorovna of Russia and the Royal Guards Association, Copenhagen, Denmark

Neva News

Tsar's mother to make last journey home aboard Danish warship

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.14. 15. 16. 17.18. 19.

1) 1856 Dagmar and sisters Thyra (on pony) and Alexandra (later Queen of Great Britain), at 8, 3, and 11.
2) Dagmar and her sister Alexandra in 1847
3) The sisters Thyra (Duchess of Cumberland), Alexandra (Queen of Great Britian) and Dagmar
4) Empress Dagmar and sister Queen Alexandra walking with their father
Christian X in Ordrup, near Copenhagen.
5)and 6) and 7) and 8) Maria Feodorovna with husband Alexander
9) Maria Feodorovna with first born son Nikolas (the last tsar)
10) and 11) Maria Feodorovna, Alexander III and children
12) Alexander III and Nicholas II
13) the Russian Imperial Family visiting the Danish Royal Family
14) Dowager Empress Dagmar in Denmark towards the end of her life
15) Dagmar's cossack bodyguard Timofei Jaschik, who guarded her to the last. He stayed in Denmark, married a Dane and had a family
16) Dagmar's cossack bodyguards
17) castrum dolorus in 1928
18) Burial procession in 1928
19) Family portrait at Fredensborg Palace
20. Dagmar and Alexander just engaged

About Roskilde Cathedral and the Roskilde Cathedral website:

And for beautiful St Petersburg, one of the great cities of the world:
St Petersburg

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