100th Anniversary of the Historical Meeting of Nicholas II and Edward VII
Today is the 100th anniversary of the historical meeting between Emperor Nicholas II of Russia and King Edward VII of the United Kingdom. The meeting significantly improved the relationships between the two countries.
The Russian Emperor, accompanied by his wife and all 5 children, arrived at the Isle of Wight on the Imperial Yacht Standart, which was escorted by Russian Cruisers and Destroyers. King Edward VII prepared a no-less impressive welcoming ceremony, which culminated in a spectacular review of the British Royal Navy in all of its awe-inspiring might. The actual meeting of the two mighty Monarchs was an impressive sight all in itself: under the thundering accompaniment of cannons, bands, cheering sailors and crowd on the shore, the British Royal Yacht Victoria and Albert maneuvered between the lines of warships and approached Standart. The two Monarchs stood on their yachts’ decks and saluted each other: Emperor Nicholas was in the uniform of a British Admiral.
Later in the day, King Edward hosted a dinner in honour of the Emperor and his family aboard Victoria and Albert. Nicholas II, in turn, received King Edward, Prince Minister Asquith and Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey on the board of Standart, where diplomacy and hospitality were mixed in best of Russian traditions.
The visit is widely regarded as a turning point in improving the previously strained relationships between the two great countries. It was also an opportunity for a little family get-together: the British and Russian Royal Houses were related to each other in more than one way. Emperor Nicholas was a first cousin to George V, and a nephew to King Edward’s wife, Queen Alexandra; while Nicholas’ Consort, Empress Alexandra, was Queen Victoria’s granddaughter and King Edward’s godchild. Empress Alexandra had spent some time in the British court and had fond memories of England and her Godfather.
The meeting was also a chance for the younger generation to get to know each other: the only one who was “left out” was Bertie who had developed a whooping cough shortly before the visit and was not allowed near his Russian cousins, to avoid the risk of infecting the fragile Tsarevich. David, on the other hand, was absolutely delighted to show his Uncle Nicky around the naval college at Osborne, where Bertie and he were cadets at the time.
It was also one of the last occasions when Prince John, the epileptic youngest son of the Prince and Princess of Wales, was seen in public. He was said to become very attached to his charming Russian cousins and developed an especially close bond with Grand Duchesses Maria and Anastasia.
Although the visit lasted only 4 days, both parties had very fond memories of for years to come.Filed under British Royals, Historical Royals, Russian Royals
Tagged Anniversary, Edward VII, Isle of Wight, Nicholas II, Standart, Victoria and Albert III.
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