Princess Victoria Melita of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

Noble person

1876 – 1936


Who was Princess Victoria Melita of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha?

Princess Victoria Melita of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, 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 as well as of Tsar Alexander II of Russia.

Born a British Princess, Victoria spent her early life in England and for three years in Malta, 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 they could not marry because the Orthodox Christian religion forbids the marriage between first cousins. Instead, bowing to family pressure, Victoria married in 1894 a paternal first cousin, Ernest Louis, Grand Duke of Hesse, 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 daughter died of typhoid fever in 1903.

Victoria married Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich in 1905. They wed without the necessary approval of the Tsar. In retaliation, Nicholas II stripped Kirill of his offices and honors and Victoria and Kirill were initially banished from living in Russia. They had two daughters and settled in Paris before they were allowed to return in 1909. In 1910 they moved to Russia where she was known as Grand Duchess Viktoria 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 in Germany and from the late 1920s 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.

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