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Consort of Nicholas II, the last tsar of Russia. Her influence played a fatal part in the overthrow of the Russian monarchy.

Alexandra, a grand-daughter of the British Queen Victoria, was the daughter of Louis XIV, Duke of Hesse-Darmstadt in Germany. Her marriage to Nicholas was arranged in 1894. Her dominance over her husband made her intensely disliked at court, and she became almost fanatically involved in the Orthodox religion. After her son was found to be a victim of haemophilia, she turned for help to a ‘holy man’, Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin. His influence on her and, after the tsar's departure for the Russian front in World War I, on the government was notoriously corrupt and Alexandra was, erroneously, believed to be a German agent. Nicholas returned too late to salvage the situation and, after the October Revolution in 1917, the royal family was arrested and shot at Ekaterinburg. Her remains, together with those of Nicholas and three of their children, were located and identified in 1991 and buried with due ceremony in St Petersburg in 1998.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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