Alexander III, the Emperor of Russia's family portrait
Александр III, император России (1845-1894). 1873 Альбом Российской Императорской семьи, императорского двора и государственных деятелей, 1865-1875 Alexander III, the Emperor of Russia (1845-1894). 1873 Album of the Russian Imperial Family, the Imperial Court and statesmen, 1865-1875
Alexander III was the second son of Alexander II and of Maria Aleksandrovna (Marie of Hesse-Darmstadt). During the first 20 years of his life, Alexander had no prospect of succeeding to the throne. His training and acquaintance was with French, English, and German, and military drill. When he became heir apparent on the death of his elder brother Nikolay in 1865, he began to study the principles of law and administration under the jurist and conservative philosopher K.P. Pobedonostsev. The tsesarevich Nikolay, on his deathbed, had expressed a wish that his fiancée, Princess Dagmar of Denmark, known as Maria Fyodorovna, should marry his successor. The marriage proved a happiest one. On March 13 (March 1, O.S.), 1881, Alexander II was assassinated, and the following day autocratic power passed to his son. Alexander III political ideal was a nation with one language, one religion, and one form of administration, he sought to strengthen and centralize the imperial administration.