Jewels of the Romanovs

Treasures of the Tsars

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Alexander II Portrait of Alexader II
Nicholas Andreevitch Lavrov, 1860
Oil on Canvas
Tsarskoe Selo Museum-Preserve
Inv. No. ED-639-X,

Alexander II was to reign as one of the most enlightened Russian Emperors. In striking contrast to his miltaristic and repressive reign of his father, Nicholas I, Alexander was responsible for many social reforms, the most resounding being the liberation of the serfs in 1861. Alexander was married to Empress Maria Alexandrovna, a former Princess of Hesse-Darmstadt, but had an ongoing and highly important relationship with Catherine Dolgorukaya, a descendant of Prince Yuri Dolgoruky, Prince of Kiev. Though Catherine was beneath his rank, and could not be proclaimed Empress, Alexander married her against Dynastic law, and created for her the title of Princess Yurievskaya.

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