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Mother of Tsar makes her last Voyage on board the

The remains of the Danish born mother of Russia's last tsar was sailed from Copenhagen to St. Petersburg, exactly 140 years after she first arrived in Russia

The empress' coffin arrives at Langelinie

The empress' coffin arrives at Langelinie where it will be taken on board the command and support ship ESBERN SNARE.
(Photo: Johnny E. Balsved)

By Johnny E. Balsved

On Saturday, September 23, the coffin with the remains of Danish born princess Dagmar, the later Russian empress Maria Fyodorovna, was taken on board the RDN ESBERN SNARE to be brought back to Russia.

The empress' last wish was to be buried in St. Petersburg next to her husband, Tsar Alexander III.

This last wish came through after lengthy negotiations on the terms of the transfer, a project championed by the Russian President Putin, who has tried to rehabilitate some of the icons of the imperial past.

Memorial Service

A private ceremony for the Danish born pricess was held in Roskilde Cathedral on Friday, followed the next day by an official memorial service also in the cathedral attended by HM The Queen and most of the Danish Royal family.

The coffin was later brought to Copenhagen, where a horse carriage escorted by the Danish Royal Horse Guard waited to bring the coffin through the streets of Copenhagen to the Langelinie pier.

On Langelinie waited the Royal family and the ESBERN SNARE, and a Guard of Honor, 5 officers from the Danish Royal Guard and 5 officers from the Russian Presidential Guard lifted the coffin on board the ship to start her last voyage.

Danish Princess

Dagmar was born into the Danish Royal Household in Copenhagen in 1847, as the daughter of the later Danish King Christian IX.

In 1866 she, as a teenager,  married the heir to the Russian throne, the man who went on to become Tsar Aleander III. Upon her marriage she changed her name to Maria Fyodorovna and converted to the Russian Ortthodox faith.

The tsarina had six children, including Russia's last tsar, Nicholas III, who abdicated in 1917 during the Russian revolution.

Months later the tsar and his family were executed by Bolsheviks, but the empress was allowed to take refuge at the Crimea unitl she in 1919 left Russia on board the HMS MARLBOROUGH for Great Britain.

She later returned to Denmark where she died on October 13, 1928.

Empress Maria Fyodorovna

Empress Maria Fyodorovna,
in Denmark better known under her maiden name Dagm
(Photo from The Royal Library)

Her coffin is due to be reburried in the Peter and Paul Catheral in St. Petersburg on Thursday.

Joint Exercise

On the tour to St. Peterburg the ESBERN SNARE will pass through Finnish water, where a Finnish naval vessel will pay a last tribute to the late empress, who had fine relations to the Finnish people.

As soon as the official part of the reburial is well done, the command and support ESBERN SNARE ship will participate in a planned naval exercise with the Russian Navy in the area.

The command and support ship ESBERN SNARE departs Copenhagen

The command and support ship ESBERN SNARE departs Copenhagen
en route to St. Petersburg.
(Photo: Johnny E. Balsved)

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 Related stories:

4Fotoserie ABSALON launched ESSM (2008) - 06/15/2008

4CIWS fired for the first time - 11/16/2007

4ABSALON's First MU90 Topedo Shot - 08/21/2007

4ABSALON finally at sea - 08/18/2007

4ABSALON's completed profile - 07/12/2007

4Back to Russia - 09/24/2006

4ESBERN SNARE commissioned - 04/18/2005

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Søværnets operative Kommando, (Admiral Danish Fleet) Aarhus.


Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, Copenhagen.

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This page was first published: September 24, 2006

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