On this day in 1896, Nicholas Romanov was crowned Tsar Nicholas II. He had reigned since the death of his father, Tsar Alexander III, in 1894 and would rule until his abdication following the February Revolution in 1917. Tsar Alexander did not have a high opinion of his son’s abilities as a ruler and kept him away from state business, so when Alexander died unexpectedly and Nicholas had to take the throne, he was woefully unprepared in almost every way.
Although he was an ineffective ruler, Nicholas was devoted to his family, a loving husband and father. His mother, the Tsarina Maria Feodorovna, was a Danish princess and the sister of Queen Alexandra of Great Britain, and the family resemblence between Nicholas and his cousin King George V was striking. Nicholas’s wife Alexandra was also a cousin of George V and was said to have been Queen Victoria’s favourite grandchild.