Sunday, 3 July 2016

Alexandra's Bedroom – November 14th, 1894

Alexandra saw the bedroom in the Winter Palace that would be hers for the next ten years on the day of her wedding. The Emperor’s page described the day in his memoir.

The pages waited in the morning at the Saltykov entrance for the arrival of Alexandra. They then escorted her to the elevator and then ran up the stairs to the 2nd floor to meet her.
Alexandra changed into her wedding gown in the bedroom and then went to the Malachite for the traditional bridal toilette.

A funny thing happened while the pages waited in the Moorish Hall #155 for the beginning of the procession. “…  Despite the fact that … the Sovereign was not in the room, and chairs were along the walls, all present stood. No one was smoking. The wait was long and tedious. Grand Dukes were talking to each other quietly … the atmosphere was tense, and it was evident that those who are older, do not have the courage to sit down and younger people – dreaming of a cigarette. Finally, the oldest, but not too old Grand Duke Mikhail Nikolaevich … decided to use a page as a screen to do both; to sit down and drag on his cigarette …”

After the wedding ceremony, the pages, carrying the train, led Alexandra back to the bedroom, describing it as “… close to the wall and windows stood a toilet with a mirror. In the back – the big bed …”
They laid the train on the carpet, carefully spreading it, bowed and left. “… It seemed that the Empress remained in the half-empty and gloomy room all alone! …”

They then waited in the small hallway. After a long time they escorted Alexandra, now in “ordinary clothes and a hat” to the Saltykov elevator, quickly ran down the stairs, and to the carriage.
Hau’s 1870 watercolor is how Alexandra would have seen the bedroom that November day, later renovated in 1895. It was her namesake’s during the 1840’s-50s, redecorated in the 1860s, and used by Marie F. prior to her wedding in 1866 and by her and Alexander III during their periodic stays in the Winter Palace.

3 comments:

  1. You are an awesome person to be sharing this treasure on your blog!!! A million thank you to you :)

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  2. Do you know what kind of access behind the column screen communicated with service rooms and the bath? Looks like there is a door on the right of the bed in the watercolor, but I thought there was a door on the left? Maybe there were doors on both sides?

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  3. There were two doors from 1840s. In 1895 after renovation there was only one door on the left which was a hallway to the inner courtyard stairs and rooms. I will be writing more on this topic describing these areas.

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