What is a Doll?

How long have we had this love affair with Dolls?

Pearls of Wisdom:

New World Dictionary describes a doll as - "a child's toy, puppet, marionette, etc. made to resemble a human being."

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Dagmar: Princess of Denmark and Empress of Russia

Dagmar / Maria Feydorovna by Kramskoj
(26 November 1847 – 13 October 1928)

Princesses Alix and Dagmar of Denmark.

"Young Dagmar"

One of the most tragic figures of European royalty is the Empress Maria-Feodorovna, widow of Alexander III, and mother of Nicholas II of Russia. She was born to be Princess Dagmar of Denmark and later became Empress consort of Russia spouse of Emperor Alexander III.

" Countess Dagmar" exquisite Kister parian doll.

Charcoal sketch ca. 1880

Born in Copenhagen she was baptized into the Lutheran faith. Her father became King of Denmark in 1863 on the death of King Frederik VII.
Dagmar and her siblings, including Alexandra, became consorts to royal houses throughout Europe and Russia and this formed the basis of alliances for culture, industry and war throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Alexandra married Edward, the Prince of Wales, while Dagmar attracted the attention of her Russian cousin resulting in her marriage to the Grand Duke Alexander Alexandrovich of the Romanov family in Russia.

Dagmar and her sister Alexandra.

St. Petersburg ca.1879

Conta Boehme shoulderhead.

These alliances caused shudders Germany, and soon after, war was orchestrated against Denmark developing an unending hatred of a very powerful family and its children and grandchildren including the leaders of England (George V) and Russia (Tsar Nicholas II).

Young Maria, and the later fateful Tsar Nicholas II.

Maria Fyodorovna Empress of Russia.

Alexander III

Following Romanov court custom, Dagmar adopted the Orthodox religion under the name of Maria-Fyodorovna, after which Alexander and the newly baptized Maria were married in a sumptuous ceremony in St. Petersburg.

"Minnie" as Maria was affectionately known as, with her children.

Possibly "Conta Boehme" china.

Young Empress Dowager.

Family portrait.

"The Empress Dowager"

She was pretty and popular. Preferring the more social side of her position, she brought an enormous degree of elegance to the Russian court.
Maria-Fyodorovna was a devoted, doting mother who spoiled her children. She refused to let her five surviving children to grow, particularly her eldest son, the future Nicholas II. Consequently, the imperial children were completely unprepared for the role history had in store for them. Tsarevich Nicholas was most unsuited for the role of Tsar of Russia, a reality expressed by Nicholas himself soon after his father's death when he lamented "what is going to happen to Russia?....I am not prepared...I know nothing of the business of ruling."

"Countess Dagmar" Kister china shoulderhead ca. 1870

Beautiful Conte Boehme "Countess Dagmar" ca. 1870

Emperor Alexander, and Empress Dowager Maria Fyodorovna.

Coronation at the Kremlin in Moscow ca. 1883

Gatchina Palace

Alexander and Maria were crowned at the Kremlin in Moscow on 27 May 1883. Just before the coronation, a major conspiracy had been uncovered, which cast a pall over the celebration. Because of the many threats against Maria and Alexander III, they were urged to relocate to Gatchina Palace, a more secure location, 50 kilometres outside St.Petersburg. Their reign came to an abrupt end when the Tsar suffering from a debilitating disease, was unable to fight it and succumbed to his death on November 1 1894. It was then that his reign ended and Nicholas’ began.
The Imperial court was still in mourning for the death of Tsar Alexander III. It was not an auspicious beginning for the new reign.

Princess Victoria, Queen Alexandra, and Empress Maria Fyodorovna.

Alexandra, and Dagmar / Maria Fyodorovna ca. 1903

Countess Dagmar parian doll.

Maria Fyodorovna and her son Nikolai on happier days.

Nicholas II married Alix of Hesse and by Rhine (Queen Victoria of England granddaughter) later to be Alexandra. Alix carried the gene for the "royal disease" (hemophilia), which their only son and heir was born with. This brought Nicholas and Alexandra closer to each other, but separated them from the Russian people and the Imperial family, including her powerful mother-in-law The Empress Dowager Maria Feodorovna.
Ultimately, this seclusion resulted in rumors and discontent grew in the country ending with the assassination of the royal family during the Bolshevik revolution.

Maria received reports that her sons, her daughter-in-law and her grandchildren had been murdered. In her diary she comforted herself: "I am sure they all got out of Russia and now the Bolsheviks are trying to hide the truth." She firmly held on to this conviction until her death.

After a brief stay in the British base in Malta and later London, she returned to her native Denmark, where she died at age 80 in 1928.


  1. Not sure how comfortable the clothes would have been but just love the style. Alexander had more my build (lol)

  2. This was a most interesting post as my Family is from those regions of Russia and Ukraine. I always loved the History there.
    I loved the Conta Boehme china doll, very pretty colour. Thank you for the history and beautiful pictures, I really enjoy looking at them. Just glad I don't have to wear any of those dresses, they sure don't look very comfortable.
    have a great day!

  3. Thank you Erica and Hermes...I agree about the clothes. I don't know how they could move with those garments!
    I love the history of Europe, and the turn of the century was a time of tumultuos events indeed. The Romanovs story was one of those very sad moments.
    I am glad you enjoyed this post.

  4. Очень интересная информация! Спасибо большое. Красавицей в современном понимании назвать нельзя, но что-то такое притягивающее есть во взгляде, в выражении лица. А куклы просто великолепны!

  5. Спасибо Tamravvo! Я рад, что вам нравится этот пост. Романовых была такая печальная история неправильно. Трагедия, с ужасной смертью семьи всегда пострадавших меня. Особенно молодых девушек и их сладкий брат.Благодарю вас за после моего блога.

  6. Haces que la Historia parezca fácil. ¡Yo siempre he sido un negado! Con tus posts, resulta muy agradable enterarse de estas historias, siempre muy dramáticas. Me ha gustado muchísimo la Kister Parian doll. El vestido es una joya.

    Y todos los retratos de estos personajes, son increíblemente bonitos.

    Muchas gracias por instruirme.

    Un beso.

  7. Albero....

    Me facina la historia...Siempre temo aburrir a mis seguidores que solos estan interesados en munecas, aunque solo escribo de personajes que han afectado de tal manera la historia, que se crearon munecas en sus imagenes. Espero que comprendan mis motivos en documentar una fraccion de sus vidas tan increibles.