Antique photo of Princess Victoria Melita of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, later Grand Duchess Victoria Feodorovna of Russia (1876-1936), wearing pearls, pasted onto stiff brown card.
She was the third child and second daughter of Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia. She was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and Emperor Alexander II of Russia.
Born a British princess, Victoria spent her early life in England and lived in Malta for three years, where her father was serving in the Royal Navy. In 1889 the family moved to Coburg, where Victoria's father became the reigning duke in 1893. In her teens Victoria fell in love with her maternal first cousin Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich of Russia, but the disapprobation of marriage between first cousins of his faith, Orthodox Christianity, discouraged their romance. Bowing to family pressure, Victoria married her paternal first cousin, Ernest Louis, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine in 1894, following the wishes of their shared grandmother, Queen Victoria. Their marriage was a failure. Victoria scandalized the royal families of Europe when she divorced her husband in 1901. The couple's only child, Princess Elisabeth of Hesse and by Rhine, died of typhoid fever in 1903.
Victoria married Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich in 1905. They wed without the formal approval of Britain's King Edward VII, required by the Royal Marriages Act 1772, and in defiance of Tsar Nicholas II. In retaliation, the Tsar stripped Kirill of his offices and honours, also initially banishing the couple from Russia. They had two daughters and settled in Paris before being allowed to visit Russia in 1909. In 1910 they moved to Russia, where Nicholas recognized her as Grand Duchess Victoria Feodorovna. After the fall of the Russian monarchy in 1917, they escaped to Finland where she gave birth to her only son. In exile they lived for some years among her relatives in Germany, and from the late 1920s on an estate they bought in Saint-Briac. In 1926, Kirill proclaimed himself emperor in exile and Victoria supported her husband's claims. Victoria died after suffering a stroke while visiting her daughter Maria in Amorbach.
Size of Photo: 12.5 x 9 cm approx