Who Was Princess Elisabeth Of Hesse And By Rhine?

Princess Elisabeth of Hesse and by Rhine was born in Hess on November 1, 1864. She was the second child of Princess Alice of the United Kingdom and Louis IV of Hess, future Grand Duke. She had one older sister, three younger sisters, and two younger brothers. The young Elisabeth was fondly called “Ella” by her family.  They lived in Darmstadt and just like the rest of Queen Victoria’s grandchildren, they were raised the English way.

The Childhood Years Of Princess Elisabeth Of Hesse And By Rhine

A tragedy marred the childhood of Princess Elisabeth. Friedrich, her youngest brother, died in 1873 after falling out of a window in the bedroom of their mother. After 5 years, at the age of 14, the princess lost her mother and youngest sister when a spread of diphtheria occurred all over New Palace in Darmstadt that affected all family members except for Princess Elisabeth herself who was staying with Grand Duchess Elizabeth, their grandmother, during that time.

Who Was Princess Elisabeth Of Hesse And By Rhine
The Hessian grand ducal family in May 1875

The family’s dynamic changed with the death of their mother. Their father deeply mourned the death of his wife and Queen Victoria had a stronger influence on raising her Hessian grandchildren, making sure that Princess Elisabeth and her siblings stayed with her in England.

The Married Life Of Princess Elisabeth Of Hesse And By Rhine

When Princess Elisabeth reached her late teens and early 20s, she became popular as one of Europe’s most beautiful women, with her beauty capturing the admiration and attention of Princess Marie of Edinburgh, her first cousin. Princess Elisabeth also caught the eyes of Frederick II, the future Grand Duke of Baden, and her maternal first cousin, Wilhelm II, the future Emperor of Germany.

However, the princess’ hand was finally won over by Sergei Alexandrovich, the Russian Grand Duke, after the two of them got to know each other while visiting Heiligenberg. The Russian Grand Duke proposed marriage to Princess Elisabeth twice and she only accepted on the second time after seeing him grieving after his parents’ death the same way she did with the death of her own mother 10 years ago.

Who Was Princess Elisabeth Of Hesse And By Rhine
Elisabeth and her husband Sergei

Sergeir and Princess Elisabeth tied the knot in a Protestant ceremony and a Russian Orthodox ceremony at St Petersburg’s Winter Palace on June 15, 1844, and resided in Beloselsky-Belozersky Palace. Named as the Grand Duchess Elizaveta Feodorovna, Princess Elisabeth rose to popularity in Russian society because of her beauty and charity work. She was also acclaimed for converting to Russian Orthodoxy, with her efforts pleasing her Russian in-laws.

During two decades of being married, Sergei and Princes Elisabeth didn’t have their own biological children, acting only as carers of Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich and Grand Duchess Marie Pavlovich,  the children of Paul, Sergei’s brother.

The Death Of Princess Elisabeth Of Hesse And By Rhine

After her husband’s assassination by the revolutionary Ivan Kalyayev in February 1905, Princess Elisabeth worked in her convent as a nun, establishing an orphanage and a hospital on the grounds to help the poor and sick people.

Similar to other members of the Romanov family, World War I marked the start of the final days of the Imperial House of Romanov and the life of Princess Elisabeth herself. An order was given to kill her and her party on July 17 and they were beaten then thrown down the mineshaft the next day. Princess Elisabeth of Hesse and by Rhine was canonized by the Moscow Patriarchate as the New Martyr Elizabeth after Communist Russia’s fall in 1992.

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