On this day in 1894: Nicholas II ascended the throne

PHOTO: Tsesarevich and Grand Duke Nicholas Alexandrovich. 1894

On this day – 2nd November [O.S. 20th October] 1894, Tsesarevich and Grand Duke Nicholas Alexandrovich ascended the throne as Russia’s last emperor and tsar.

Nicholas was only 26 years old when his father, Alexander III, died suddenly after a long and serious illness, at the age of 49.

It was on this historic day, that Nicholas Alexandrovich inherited the throne. Government officials, courtiers and troops of the Imperial Russian Army, among others, all took the oath of allegiance to their new emperor.

In the Church of the Exaltation of the Cross [adjacent to Livadia Palace], Nicholas pledged his oath of allegiance to Russia solemnly promising to protect the autocracy firmly and unswervingly, like his late father.

NOTE: The Church of the Exaltation of the Cross has survived to this day – PG

PHOTO: the Church of the Exaltation of the Cross [adjacent to Livadia Palace]

In the same year, 1894, Nicholas Alexandrovich married Princess Alice of Hesse-Darmstadt (Empress Alexandra Fedorovna) in St. Petersburg.

During the reign of Nicholas II, the Russian Empire reached an unprecedented level of economic development. However, this time was also marked by the growth of revolutionary sentiments.

His Imperial Majesty Sovereign Emperor Nicholas II reigned over the Russian Empire for more than 22 years. He abdicated on 15th March 1917 (O.S. 2nd March) 1917.

Some historians argue that the act of abdication was invalid for two reasons: one, because it was signed in pencil, violating all the necessary legal and procedural methods and format, and thus had no legal force; and two, because the instrument of abdication was never officially published by the Imperial Senate.

Regardless, as God’s Anointed, Nicholas II could not be displaced during his lifetime. Since the will of God was nowhere manifest, neither in the naming of his brother Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich to the throne, nor in the Tsar’s signing of the instrument of abdication, his status as Tsar remained inviolate and unassailable. He remained Emperor until the day of his death and martyrdom on 17th July 1918.

In 2018, a commemorative medal was issued, marking the 124th anniversary of Nicholas II’s ascension to the throne in 1894. The medal was the first of The Romanovs. Golden Collection to be minted by the Imperial Mint in Moscow.

© Paul Gilbert. 2 November 2021