The final painted image yesterday portrayed the wedding in 1862 of Queen Victoria's daughter, Princess Alice, to Prince Louis of Hesse. Their daughter Alix (above, with her nurse) became one of Victoria's favorite grandchildren, especially after the premature death of Princess Alice in 1878.
Victoria holds hands with Alix in the photograph above, while the child's older sisters look on. They all wear mourning for their mother.
Above, Alix as an adolescent (still in short skirts, but already corsetted) posing with one of her sisters. The photograph would be sent to the Queen in England, as would the portrait of Alix with her father, Prince Louis, a few years later.
By 1894 Alix had become a genuine Belle Epoque beauty. This was the year her English grandmother negotiated her engagement to the Russian Tsarevich, Nicholas. After that, history would forget about Alix, remembering her instead as the Empress Alexandra, mother of the fragile hemophiliac heir-to-the-throne and desperate patroness of Rasputin.
From Russia in 1898 she sent her grandmother a photograph of her first two babies, the Grand Duchesses Olga and Tatiana. It is, of course, impossible now to look at these pictures without the knowledge that the entire family would be killed in 1917 by the Bolsheviks.