It was on 1 November (20 October O.S.) 1894 that the accession of Nicholas II took place in Russia upon the death of his 49-year-old father, Tsar Alexander III from kidney disease. Nicholas became Emperor of Russia at just 26-years-old.
Nicholas was consecrated by the Russian Orthodox priest of his father on the evening of his father’s death and later appeared to be apprehensive about his new status and under-prepared. The new Tsar asked his cousin, Grand Duke Alexander, “What is going to happen to me and all of Russia?” Of course, he had no idea of the tragedy and suffering that would befall Russia and his family some years later under Bolshevik rule.
Nicholas was not thrilled with his new position as his father did not thoroughly prepare him for what was to come, especially in matters of the state. And Russia’s state of affairs at the time of his accession was not great. One example was the inadequate output by the agriculture sector. This problem and more would lead to his eventual abdication and the rise of the Bolsheviks with deadly consequences.
The Tsar would also later tell a friend, “I am not prepared to be a tsar. I never wanted to become one. I know nothing of the business of ruling.”
The accession of Nicholas II was shortly before he wed the former Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine (Alexandra at the time of the wedding) on 26 November (14 November O.S.) 1894. Nicholas wanted the nuptials moved up knowing all too well that now that he was on the throne, he would need to secure an heir to the Romanov dynasty. The country and Royal Court were still in mourning at the time of the wedding – meaning the couple had no reception and took no honeymoon.
Tsar Nicholas II’s coronation would not take place for roughly two years due to the mourning period. It took place in the Cathedral of the Dormition inside the Moscow Kremlin on 26 May (14 May O.S.) 1896.