Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria through her daughter Alice, who would tragically die young. Queen Victoria would always be especially close to Alice’s children, and they often visited her in England.
Empress Alexandra: The Special Relationship Between Russia’s Last Tsarina and Queen Victoria actually begins with the birth of Princess Alice. I thought this was a bit much and irrelevant to the story, even though the author explains her reasoning behind this in the book. Alexandra (Alix) isn’t even born until a third of the book later, and we finally get to the point. Queen Victoria was known to be quite present, and while this may have been seen as an honour from the matriarch of the family, experiencing it could be very stifling. As she watched her beautiful granddaughter grow into a young family, Alexandra kept her budding romance with the future Nicholas II of Russia under wraps as she had seen the distrust Queen Victoria had shown towards Russia when her sister Elisabeth married Grand Duke Sergei.
Despite her grandmother’s protests, Alexandra became Empress of Russia as Nicolas’s wife, and letters between Russia and England went back and forth as Alexandra embarked on motherhood. Unfortunately, much of the surviving correspondence is one-sided, and we don’t read much from Alexandra’s point of view. Queen Victoria’s death in 1901 is the natural stopping point of this book.
Overall, I enjoyed the book, though I could have done without the first third of the book. Also, grab Coryne Hall’s Queen Victoria and The Romanovs: Sixty Years of Mutual Distrust (UK & US) for a broader overview.