Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich of Russia
|Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich|
|Spouse||Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna of Russia|
|Issue||Princess Irina Alexandrovna
Prince Andrei Alexandrovich
Prince Feodor Alexandrovich
Prince Nikita Alexandrovich
Prince Dmitri Alexandrovich
Prince Rostislav Alexandrovich
Prince Vasili Alexandrovich
|House||House of Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov|
|Father||Grand Duke Michael Nikolaevich of Russia|
|Mother||Princess Cecilie of Baden|
13 April 1866|
|Died||26 February 1933
Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich of Russia (Russian: Александр Михайлович Aleksandr Mikhailovich; 13 April 1866 – 26 February 1933) was a dynast of the Russian Empire, a naval officer, an author, explorer, the brother-in-law of Emperor Nicholas II and advisor to him.
Alexander was born in Tbilisi, Georgia, the son of Grand Duke Michael Nicolaievich of Russia, the youngest son of Nicholas I of Russia, and Grand Duchess Olga Feodorovna (Cecily of Baden). He was mostly known as "Sandro".
Grand Duke Alexander was a naval officer. In his youth, he made a good-will visit to Japan on behalf of the Russian Empire, as well as to the Brazilian Empire. He married his first cousin's daughter, Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna, the eldest daughter of Alexander III on the 6 August [O.S. 25 July] 1894 and was thus a brother-in-law of the last Tsar Nicholas II, and was one of Tsar Nicholas's close advisors. His impact on the Tsar has been both criticized and appreciated: His memoirs document that he openly challenged the Tsaritsa Alexandra's political influence on her husband, but regretted that Nicholas did not use troops to resist the Russian revolution and admitted that he had been brought up to share the anti-Semitic views he claimed were prevalent in Russia prior to the revolution. His appeal to the Tsar, as his children approached adulthood, to relax the requirement for equal marriage for Romanov dynasts was rejected, and all seven of his children married titled but non-royal Russian aristocrats, although only his daughter obtained permission of the head of the dynasty to do so.
He left the Crimea with his eldest son, Prince Andrei Alexandrovich and his new bride, Elisabetta Ruffo Di Saint Antimo, who was pregnant, in December 1918. His wife and mother-in-law, the Dowager Empress Maria Fyodorovna and his sons plus other Romanovs, were rescued from the Crimea by the British battleship HMS Marlborough in 1919.
Alexander lived in Paris and wrote his memoirs. Once a Grand Duke (Farrar & Rinehart 1933) is a source of dynastical and court life in Imperial Russia's last half century. He also spent a time as guest of the future Abyssinian Emperor Ras Tafari. He talks about why he was invited to Ethiopia, in his continuation of his biography Always a Grand Duke. He died in 26 February 1933 in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin in the south of France. He was buried on 1 March in Roquebrune. His wife Xenia died in Hampton Court Palace in 1960.
Together Alexander and Xenia had seven children:
- Princess Irina Alexandrovna (1895–1970)
- Prince Andrei Alexandrovich (1897–1981)
- Prince Feodor Alexandrovich (1898–1968)
- Prince Nikita Alexandrovich (1900–1974)
- Prince Dmitri Alexandrovich (1901–1980)
- Prince Rostislav Alexandrovich (1902–1978)
- Prince Vasili Alexandrovich (1907–1989)
In 1885, Alexander graduated from the Naval College at the rank of midshipman; he later served in the Navy and participated in the voyages. Since 1891, he was the initiator and founder of the first edition of the Russian annual directory of "Military Fleets", and was its editor until 1906. In 1895, he developed a program of strengthening the Russian Navy in the Pacific. Starting 1896, he taught the Naval Game at the Naval Science Classes in the Naval Academy. Between 1901 and 1902, he acted as the commander of the Black Sea battleship Rostislav, and in 1903 he was appointed a junior flag officer of the Black Sea Fleet. In parallel, between 1901 and 1905 he acted as a chief superintendent and the chairman of several councils related to merchant shipping and ports. At these positions, he contributed to the development of commercial shipping, construction and equipment of new ports, training merchant mariners, creation of long-distance shipping lines and improvement of maritime trade legislation. During the Russian-Japanese war of 1904–1905, he oversaw the auxiliary cruisers of the Volunteer Fleet. Alexander took part in the development of programs aimed at rebuilding the fleet, brought them to the attention of governments and the public, and was an avid supporter of the construction of new battleships. In 1909, he was promoted to the rank of vice admiral.
While in exile after 1917, he became fascinated with archaeology and conducted a number of successful expeditions.
- N. Berezovsky, VD Dotsenko, VP Tyurin. Russian Imperial Navy. 1696–1917. Moscow, 1996. (in Russian)