25.04.

1843: How did Hemophilia Come into the Russian Royal Family?

1843: How did Hemophilia Come into the Russian Royal Family?
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons/ Princesses Alice, Victoria, Louise and Helena by Franz Xaver Winterhalter, 1849

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 25 April 1843
  • Alice was the daughter of the famous Queen Victoria, and she passed on Victoria’s gene for hemophilia to her daughter, who became Russian Empress Alexandra.

Princess Alice of Great Britain was born on this day. It is she who passed on hemophilia to the Russian imperial family.

Namely, Alice was the daughter of the famous Queen Victoria, and she passed on Victoria’s gene for hemophilia to her daughter, who became Russian Empress Alexandra.

Princess Alice was born to Queen Victoria and her beloved husband, Prince Albert. She was one of nine children, and her mother relied on her a lot. When Prince Albert tragically died, Queen Victoria and her family were devastated. In these difficult times, 18-year-old Princess Alice even acted as her mother’s secretary.

Still in mourning, the princess married German Prince Ludwig of Hesse, who later inherited the title “Grand Duke of Hesse and Rhineland” (Grossherzog von Hessen und bei Rhein). This wedding was performed in a modest way in the private home of Queen Victoria of England. The queen has reportedly described the occasion as “more of a funeral than a wedding”.

Alice, therefore, became the Grand Duchess of Hesse and lived mostly in Germany. She had as many as seven children, of whom one son had hemophilia. Alice passed on the gene for hemophilia from her mother Queen Victoria to said son, and her two daughters, but it not manifest in her daughters. The younger of the two daughters was Alix, who later became the wife of Russian Tsar Nicholas II, and was executed along with him by the Bolsheviks.

Alix became “Empress Alexandra Feodorovna” and she passed on the gene for hemophilia to her son Alexei – the Russian tsarevich (prince). He was seriously ill and that is why the empress hired the famous monk Rasputin to help the child. After the October Revolution the whole family (emperor, empress, the little prince and his four sisters) was murdered by the Bolsheviks.

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