Nicholas Alexandrovich, Tsarevich of Russia

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Nicholas Alexandrovich
Tsesarevich of Russia
Nicholas Alexandrovich, Tsarevich of Russia.JPG
Nicholas Alexandrovich c 1864
House House of Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov
Father Alexander II of Russia
Mother Marie of Hesse and by Rhine
Born (1843-09-20)20 September 1843
Alexander Palace, Tsarskoye Selo, Russian Empire
Died 24 April 1865(1865-04-24) (aged 21)
Nice, France

For the son of Alexander III, who succeeded his father on the throne in 1894, see Nicholas II of Russia.

Nicholas Alexandrovich Romanov (Russian: Цесаревич Николай Александрович Романов), full title: Heir, Tsesarevich and Grand Duke of Russia (Russian: Наследник-Цесаревич и Великий Князь) (20 September [O.S. 8 September] 1843 – 24 April [O.S. 12 April] 1865) was Tsesarevich (commonly confused with Tsarevich, a title that was abolished in 1721)—the heir apparent—of Imperial Russia from 2 March 1855 until his death in 1865.

Born at Tsarskoe Selo and nicknamed Nixa, he was the eldest son of Tsarevich Alexander Nikolaievich, himself the eldest son of Emperor Nicholas I of Russia, and Princess Marie of Hesse and by Rhine. In 1855, his paternal grandfather died, and his father succeeded to the throne as Emperor Alexander II. In 1864, Nicholas Alexandrovich became engaged to Princess Dagmar of Denmark but died of spinal meningitis a few months later. His early death at the age of twenty-one was a devastating blow to his mother.


Tsarevich Nicholas with Princess Dagmar of Denmark. Engagement photograph.

In the summer of 1864, Nicholas became engaged to Princess Dagmar of Denmark. She was the second daughter of King Christian IX of Denmark and Princess Louise of Hesse-Kassel and was a younger sister of Alexandra, Princess of Wales, wife of the heir-apparent to the British throne.


Until 1865, Nicholas was thought to have a strong constitution, but early in that year, during a tour in southern Europe, he contracted an ailment that was initially incorrectly diagnosed as rheumatism. Nicholas's symptoms at that time included back pain and a stiff neck, as well as sensitivity to noise and light. He thought little of his ailments, however, and continued his tour in Italy. His health rapidly worsened, and he was sent to Southern France, but this move brought him no improvement. It was eventually determined that he was suffering from cerebro-spinal meningitis, and it was speculated that this illness of his was caused by a previous accident in a wrestling match in which Nicholas participated and was thrown down.[1] In the spring of 1865, Nicholas continued to decline, and he died on 24 April 1865, in Nice, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur. It is believed that on his deathbed, Nicholas expressed the wish that his fiancée become the bride of his younger brother and successor as Tsesarevich, Alexander, and in 1866, the couple was married.[2]

Nicholas's death at the early age of 21 thoroughly devastated his mother, who was said to have pored obsessively over all aspects of Nicholas's life. Empress Marie never recovered from his death. In 1867, construction was begun on La Chapelle du tsarévitch in Nice, on the exact place where Nicholas was said to have died, and in 1868, the chapel was inaugurated, with his brother Alexander and his wife, the re-christened Maria Feodorovna, in attendance.



  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ "Med Guds Nåde WI ALEXANDER II". Finlands Allmänna Tidning (in Swedish) (Helsinki: Grand Duchy of Finland) (104): 1. 6 May 1865. Retrieved 10-02-2009.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)


Russian royalty
Preceded by
Alexander II of Russia
Heir-apparent to the Russian Throne
Succeeded by
Alexander III of Russia