Grand Duchess Xenia of Russia
– April 20
) was a member of the Russian Imperial Family
. She was the eldest daughter of Alexander III of Russia
and Dagmar of Denmark
. She was a sister of Nicholas II of Russia
, Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich of Russia
, Grand Duke George Alexandrovich of Russia
, Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna of Russia
and the infant Grand Duke Alexander Alexandrovich of Russia
. She married Grand Duke Alexander Mikailovich of Russia
, with whom she had seven children.
Xenia’s name was Ксения Александровна Романова (Kseniya Aleksandrovna Romanova) in Russian, which is translated as Xenia Alexandrovna Romanova in English. It was both her maiden and married names, as she wedded another Romanov. Her maiden style was Ея Императорское Высочество Великая Княжна Российская Ксения Александровна (Yeya Impyeratorskoye Visochyestvo Vyelikaya Knyazhna Rossiyskaya Kseniya Alyeksandrovna), while her married style was Ея Императорское Высочество Великая Княгиня Российская Ксения Александровна (Yeya Impyeratorskoye Visochyestvo Vyelikaya Knyaginya Rossiyskaya Kseniya Alyeksandrovna). Both are translated as Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna of Russia.
Grand Duchess Xenia of Russia was born at four am on the morning of April 6
at Anichkov Palace
in St. Petersburg
. Her father was Emperor Alexander III of Russia
, the son of Emperor Alexander II of Russia
and Empress Maria Alexandrovna of Russia (née Princess Marie of Hesse and by Rhine)
. Her mother was Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia (née Princess Dagmar of Denmark)
, the daughter of King Christian IX of Denmark
and Queen Louise of Denmark (née Princess Louise of Hesse-Kassel
Her paternal grandfather, Emperor Alexander II of Russia was delighted by the birth of his new granddaughter, Xenia. This was displayed in the wording of his manifesto announcing her birth, "On 25th day of the present month of March our well-beloved daughter-in-law H.I.H. the Czarevna… wife of H.I.H. the Czarevitch… brought into this world a daughter… who has received the name of Xenia,… We welcome this increase in our Imperial Family as a new grace of Providence…" The baby Xenia was christened on her grandfather's birthday on April 17, 1875 in the chapel of the Winter Palace in the heart of Saint Petersburg. The little Grand Duchess wore a christening gown made by her mother from cotton and lace. It had a detachable bib embroidered with the Romanov double headed eagle and an imperial crown. Xenia's godparents were her paternal grandmother, Empress Maria Alexandrovna of Russia, her maternal grandfather, King Christian IX of Denmark, her father's brother, Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich and her mother's younger sister, Princess Thyra of Denmark (later Duchess of Cumberland). Xenia's Aunt, Alexandra, Princess of Wales (later Queen Alexandra) wrote to the baby's mother, her sister, "…thank God that it is all over and you got through it well and that you have a little girl!!! …did you suffer much? My poor little Minny – or did you have a little chloroform this time? You did promise me that you would… Xenia or something like that the little child is called, yes that is a beautiful name, who thought of it?" Xenia's Aunt Alexandra would continue to take a special interest in her niece as she was born on the same date as Alexandra's son, Prince John, who had died within twenty-four hours. Evidence of this love can be found on the continued little presents she sent her niece from England. Alexandra called her niece, "Xenie."
Xenia had three elder siblings: Emperor Nicholas II of Russia, Grand Duke Alexander of Russia (who died in infancy) and Grand Duke George of Russia. She had also two younger siblings: Grand Duke Michael of Russia (briefly Emperor Michael II of Russia) and Grand Duchess Olga of Russia. Xenia and her siblings were raised simply, mostly at Gatchina Palace. As a child, Xenia was a tomboy and was very shy.
In February 1880, nihilists were able to gain access to the Winter Palace and planted a bomb in the family dining room. The bomb went off and caused considerable damage. Fortunately the family were saved as they were delayed for dinner. Xenia's father moved her and her siblings away from immediate danger to the Yelagin Palace. Xenia's mother wrote to her mother in Denmark, "The poor children… are happy to be out of the city and enjoy this dearest place immensely." Tragically, on March 13, 1881, when she was 6, Xenia witnessed the death of her grandfather Alexander II who was murdered by a revolutionary in a bomb explosion. Her father then ascended the throne and became Tsar as Alexander III. The new tsar wasted no time in moving his family away from the dangerous city of St. Petersburg to the safety of the countryside, easily secured, Gatchina Palace. Gatchina is a vast Palace with towers, battlements and high walls lying to the south west of St. Petersburg. Prior to becoming the home of Alexander III and his family, it had been belonged to Tsar Paul I.
Alexander and his family chose to live in one wing of the vast palace, occupying the mezzanine floor. Sadly their rooms were destroyed during the Nazi German invasion of Russia during the second world war. Xenia's bedroom was like that of her brothers. It was simply furnished and she slept on a hard camp bed. She did have some comforts with a dressing-table with a frilly valance and some comfortable chairs.
Education and Childhood
Xenia, like her brothers, received a good education from private tutors. A special emphasis was laid on the study of foreign languages.
Apart from her native Russian, Xenia learnt English, French and German. Surprisingly, Xenia never knew any of her mother's native language, Danish. Her parents were firm believers in using spare time constructively. Xenia had fun as a child learning cookery, joinery and how to make puppets for their theatre, including the clothes. She also liked playing games with her brothers as well as riding and fishing in the nearby river on the Gatchina estate and elsewhere. Xenia wrote, "Mama and I went to the Admiralty where we were feeding the ducks and then, taking a sailor and fishing rods with us, started in the Moya to the large bridge near the Menagerie, where we went ashore and began angling. It was very exciting!" Apart from this she enjoyed drawing, gymnastics, dancing and playing the piano. Religion was also very important. Xenia undertook her first communion in 1883. Her mother wrote of the occasion, "She was very serious the whole Friday… and one could see her thinking properly over it." Later the same year, Xenia attended her parents coronation in the Kremlin
. Her mother asked her daughter about the experience after the event, "she really didn't know - that she didn't speak but looked at everything and bowed to all the people exactly as she did." Later that year, Xenia accompanied her parents to Copenhagen for the consecration of the new Russian Orthodox Church in Bredgade.
Xenia, like the rest of her family, thoroughly enjoyed family holidays "out of prison" in Russia to the land of her mother, Denmark. The family reunions at the home of her Danish maternal grandparents, Fredensborg Castle, were enjoyable and noisy affairs. Often she would join her young cousins on rollerskates in the large Cupola Hall.It was on such a visit that she met her cousin and lifelong friend, Princess Marie of Greece, daughter of King George I of Greece and his Russian born wife, Queen Olga. Xenia's father loved Fredensborg so much that he bought a modest house just outside the castle gates in 1885. Xenia was well-known in Denmark. The Danish composer, Valdemar Vater paid tribute to her by writing the 'Xenia Polka Mazurka'. Apart from family visits to Denmark, Xenia's family loved to escape on their yacht into the Finnish Archipeligo. In 1889, the Finnish government presented the Tsar with a lodge called Langinkoski. Here they fished for salmon in the River Kymi while their mother cooked salmon soup in the kitchen.
In 1884, Grand Duke Ludwig IV of Hesse arrived at Peterhof Palace with his family for the wedding of his second daughter Ella to the brother of Xenia's father, Grand Duke Serge Alexandrovich of Russia. This was the first occasion that Xenia had of meeting her future sister-in-law, then aged twelve, Alexandra Feodorovna, known in the family as 'Alix'. They played together happily. Her new Aunt Ella became especially fond of Xenia and her brother, Nicholas. In 1888, Xenia and Alix started writing to one another; Xenia was 'chicken' and Alix was 'the old hen'.
Ever present terrorist threats
Xenia and her family lived with the constant fear of death at the hands of terrorists. In 1887 as the family were about to take the train back to Gatchina from St.Petersburg, her father was informed that several students had been detained carrying books containing bombs they had intended to throw at the imperial family. One of the five terrorists hanged as a result was Alexander Illyich Ulyanov, brother of Vladimir, more commonly known as Lenin
. In October 1888, the family were travelling from the Caucasus
when suddenly the train derailed. Xenia was the first to appear from the wreckage. Her father had managed to keep the roof of their carriage high enough for all of them to crawl out. Although the official report stated that the blame for the accident lay with technical factors, it was never ruled out that a bomb had not been smuggled onboard the train.
Marriage, Honeymoon and death of Alexander III
Xenia and her first cousin once removed, Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich of Russia, played together in the 1880s. They began as friends. As a teenager, Xenia fell in love with her 9-years-older distant cousin. Alexander was also a friend of her brother Nicholas. In 1886, twenty year old Alexander was serving in the navy. Eleven year old Xenia sent him a card when his ship was in Brazil, "Best wishes and speedy return! Your sailor Xenia". In 1889, Alexander wrote of Xenia, "She is fourteen. I think she likes me." Xenia and Alexander wanted to marry since Xenia was 15. It was an attraction that her parents were not inclined to trust because Xenia was too young and they were unsure of Alexander's character. Finally, on January, 1894, Xenia’s parents accepted the engagement after Alexander's father, Grand Duke Michael Nikolaievich of Russia intervened. The Tsarina Maria Feodorovna had complained of Alexander's arrogance and rudeness. The couple finally wedded on August 6, 1894 at Peterhof Palace. Her cousin Maud, later Queen Maud of Norway commented on the occasion, "Dear little Xenia looked sweet as a bride, it was a dreadful day for her, fancy she had to have a crown & tiara put on before us all… the heat was too awful in Church as they have heaps of candles & heaps of people & very little room, you can imagine how pleasant it was - the service lasted nearly two hours." Xenia's younger sister, Olga, wrote about the joy of her the wedding, "The Emperor was so happy. It was the last time I ever saw him like that." They spent their wedding night at Ropsha Palace, and their honeymoon at Ai-Todor (Alexander’s estate in Crimea). During the honeymoon, Xenia’s father Alexander III became ill and died on November 1, 1894. Xenia wrote of the sad loss of her father, "Oh! I cannot believe it yet, it seems impossible that our beloved Angel is gone, and has left his poor, miserable, heart-broken, family to weep and mourn him! But he is happy now; God did not want him to suffer any longer…" Her eldest brother on the death of her father had inherited the crown and became the new Tsar Nicholas II.
Her own family
Xenia and Alexander had seven children together, one daughter followed by six sons:
The children were grandchildren of a tsar (Alexander III) through their mother (female-line), but only great-grandchildren of a tsar (Nicholas I) through their father (male-line). So they were not titled Grand Dukes or Grand Duchesses of Russia, but Princes and Princesses of Russia, and were not styled “Imperial Highness”, but just “Highness”.
One of Xenia's descendants would currently be the Head of the Imperial House of Russia, but all of her children are regarded to have married morganatically; therefore, none of them currently holds that position in an uncontested accordance with old succession laws of Russia.
In 1913, Xenia and Sandro's daughter Irina expressed her intention of marrying Prince Felix Yussupov. He was heir to the largest private fortune in Russia. Felix had decided that Irina would make the perfect wife. Xenia was not happy at the prospect of giving approval to such a marriage as Felix had a notorious reputation. It was rumoured he had had an affair with Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich of Russia. The Dowager Empress had heard of the rumours and summoned Felix to meet with her. Felix used all his charms on her. The Dowager Empress had been won over. She stated, "Do not worry, I will do all that I can for your happiness." Xenia's only daughter was married on February 9, 1914 in the presence of the Tsar who gave her away. Xenia walked behind with Sandro and her mother.
Sadly the romantic attraction between Xenia and her husband Alexander did not last. During Xenia’s last pregnancy
in 1907, Alexander had an affair with a woman identified only as 'Maria Ivanovna' in Biarritz
. One year after, Xenia also began to have an affair, with an Englishman named 'Fane.' Xenia referred to him as simply "F." in her diaries. They corresponded with one another as late as the first world war. After Xenia and Alexander admitted the affairs to each other, their marriage began to fall apart. Though still in love with each other, they began sleeping in separate rooms and went their different ways. Their sister-in-law, the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia
commented on Xenia, "Poor little Xenia, with such boys and her daughter married into that wicked family - and with such a false husband." Prior to the revolution, Alexander had become disenchanted with the course of events in Russia and the court life. Both he and Xenia spent considerable periods of time outside of Russia. Both returned before the start of the first world war. Following the Revolution
, they separated and managed to escape Russia.
Relationship with her brother Nicholas and his wife Alexandra
As can be seen earlier, Xenia had a close relationship with both her brother and his wife before they married. When Nicholas and Alexandra moved into the Winter Palace after their own marriage, Xenia and Alexander (known in the family as 'Sandro') spent the evenings together in the new billiard room. Alexandra was isolated within the Romanov family and apart from her two sisters-in-law, Xenia and Olga, only Queen Olga of Greece
tried to understand her. A source of gradual resentment grew up between Xenia and Alexandra due to the fact that Xenia apart from her one daughter, Irina, gave birth to healthy sons. Alexandra by contrast had four daughters in quick succession and no male heir. Alexandra wrote, "Poor little Xenia, with such boys and her daughter…" In 1902, the whole Russian Empire was desperately awaiting the birth of an heir. Xenia wrote of what happened, "a minor miscarriage - if it could be called a miscarriage at all! That is to say a tiny ovule came out!" Alexandra had believed she was pregnant due to the malign influence of a French charlatan, Philippe Nizier-Vachot. Vachot had convinced the impressionable and desperate Tsarina that she was carrying a son. Xenia was concerned and told her mother's lady-in-waiting, "…no nearer finding out anything about the origins of the mysterious, if not bogus, Philippe." Finally in late July 1904, Alix gave birth to a son, Alexei Nikolaievich
. Joy soon turned to uneasiness as in September the new Tsarevitch haemorrhaged from the navel. A few months later it was confirmed that he had haemophilia
. Alix's sick son and Xenia's healthy boys were a constant source of antagonism in the mind of Alexandra. Xenia never knew the truth about Alexis for years. She was locked out. Sadly the birth of Alexis had led to Alexandra obtaining total control over her husband. The arrival of Rasputin
also caused tensions. Like all her family, Xiena was highly sceptical of "that sinister Grigory". By 1911, much to Xenia's dismay, Alexandra was now asking Rasputin to evaluate potential ministers. Over dinner with her mother, Rasputin was the only topic of conversation. The Dowager Empress had gone to see her son about Rasputin. Ella had also written about her concerns to him. She wrote despairingly to Xiena, "…now does not one feel a devilish atmosphere of spite and filth and intrigue which like a black wave is now being over all washed by different passions the false prophet 'a wolf in sheep's skin' has awakened. May God help and hear our prayers… Now they are bitter and unjust and poor things that nasty little circle of flatterers who stick to them and keep up their unbelief in all who are true to them, is working hard to 'break our necks'…" It was only in 1912 that Xenia learnt from her sister Olga that Alix had admitted that Alexis had haemophilia. Relations were sadly strained. Xenia did remain close to her brother. He often visited her regularly when he was in the Crimea, walking over with her nieces Olga and Tatiana. Her sister-in-law visited rarely.
Relationship between Xenia and her brothers George and Michael
Apart from Nicholas, Xenia was devoted to her other two brothers, Grand Duke George Alexandrovich of Russia
and Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich
. Both were destined to die before her tragically. George died from tuberculosis
in 1899 and Michael was brutally shot to death outside of Perm
with his secretary and companion, Johnson, in 1918. George's death, although expected, was traumatic as it now meant that her younger brother Michael was heir. With no male heir from Nicholas and Alexandra, if both Nicholas and Michael died, the throne would pass to Xenia's Uncle, Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovitch of Russia
as no women were allowed to inheirit the throne unless all male dynasts had died out. This meant that none of Nicholas II's daughters could inheirit and neither could any of Xenia's sons. Xenia had hoped that Michael would marry and shared his sadness when a proposed marriage between him and Princess Beatrice of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
was forbidden by the Church. The birth of a son to Nicholas and Alexandra brought relief to both Xenia and Michael. Not being able to marry the Princess he wished, and now no longer being Tsarevitch, Michael wanted to have a happy relationship himself. This led to his estrangement from his family when he married without the permission of the Tsar, Natasha Sergeyevna Wulffert
. The couple were exiled as punishment. Xenia was not responsible and wanted to let bygones be bygones. Her own marital problems had made her more understanding. She received both Michael and Natasha in 1913 in Cannes
in France. Xenia tried to talk to her brother Nicholas about Michael and was told that he could return to Russia at any time but that Natasha could not. Xenia had calmed the waters with her mother and finally in July of the same year, Michael and his mother were reunited. The Dowager Empress even received Natasha.
Xenia's thoughts on war in 1904 and revolution in 1905
Like other members of her family, Xenia had been thankful to her father for keeping Russia out of wars. On January 25
, Xenia recorded in her diary, "War has been declared! May the Lord help us!!" Russia was now at war with Japan. The previous December, Xenia had mentioned to the War Minister, Kuropatkin
that there would be no war and that her brother did not want war. She stated, "…that there was no need to fight Japan and that Russia did not need Korea". The War Minister sadly confessed the whole matter that Russia might not be able to control the situation. As a result of difficulties in the conduct of the war, unrest broke out in Russia. On a cold Sunday in January 1905, over 150,000 peaceful people approached the Winter Palace
under the leadership of Father Gapon
. The St.Petersburg Police had asked for help in dealing with the situation from the army. The people wanted to present the Tsar with a petition. Instead the army fired into the crowd with 2,000 killed or wounded. The day would be known as Bloody Sunday
and mark a turning point in the relationship between Tsar and people. In February, Xenia's Uncle Grand Duke Serge
was blown up by a bomb in Moscow. She had wanted to rush to Ella's side but was told the situation was too dangerous. Hearing of the military defeat in Korea she wrote, "How terrible, what a nightmare! …Why, why are we being punished by God?! I am walking as if in a dream, unable to understand anything!" Xenia had been angry about the start of the war and recorded her thoughts on the end, "and ended even more stupidly!" With her husband and children, Xenia was in the Crimea
at their home at Ai-Todor. News reached them of the mutiny of the Black Sea fleet. She was terrified. Ten thousand soldiers arrived to protect her. The situation calmed closer to her. In October, her brother was forced to agree to the establishment of a Duma
as a concession to the people. Some of Xenia's family saw it as "the end of Russian autocracy". Her husband Sandro had resigned his position at the Ministry of Merchant Marine. Xenia and her family spent Christmas at Ai-Todor as it was not safe to travel north, or from their estate. Christmas service was even held in the house with the priest being driven there and back "in a closed landau under an escort of cavalry posse".
Xenia was heavily involved in charitable works. She was a member of the Women's Patriotic Association. From 1903 Xenia was patron of the Creche Society which looked after poor working class children while their families were at work in St.Petersburg. She took a particular interest in hospitals for patients suffering from tuberculosis in the Crimea. This could be due to the death of her dear brother from the disease in 1899. She was also patron of the Maritime Naval Welfare Association which took care of widows and children of naval personnel. Xenia also founded the Xenia Association for the Welfare of Children of Workers and Airmen. In addition she was patron of the Xenia Institute
, a St. Petersburg
boarding school for 350 students.
World War One and the collapse of Tsardom
The outbreak of war caught Xenia and her mother unaware. Xenia was in France while the Dowager Empress was in London. They arranged to meet in Calais where the private train of the Dowager Empress was waiting to take them to Russia. They had been confident the Kaiser would let them through. Arriving in Berlin they found the line to Russia had been closed. Hearing that the Youssoupovs were also in Berlin the Dowager Empress ordered that they join the train. An ugly situation occurred in Berlin and finally the train was allowed to travel to Denmark. Xenia and her mother travelled home via Finland. Arriving back in Russia, Xenia, Sandro and her mother lived in the Yelagin Palace. Michael had been permitted to return also and was reunited with his family on August 11
. Xenia and her mother knew Russia was in no state to fight a modern war. Xenia threw herself into war work. She provided her own hospital train and opened a large hospital for the wounded. She also chaired the Xenia Institute which provided artificial limbs for the maimed. In 1915, Xenia and the Dowager Empress were horrified to learn that Nicholas intended to take command of the armed forces. She accompanied her mother to Tsarskoe Selo in an attempt to dissuade him. As the Dowager Empress recorded in her diary, "to try my luck,". To their frustration the conversation had no effect. Xenia returned disheartened to the Yelagin Palace. In February 1916, Xenia travelled to Kiev
after an illness to see her mother and sister. Olga finally had her shell of a first marriage dissolved by the Tsar and was married in November 1916 in the presence of the Dowager Empress in Kiev to Nikolai Kulikovsky. Xenia was not present but heard about the wedding from her mother. On October 28
, increasingly depressed by Russia's predicament, Xenia wrote to her the Dowager Empress, "What would have happened if dear Papa were still alive? …Would there have been a war - disorder, intellectual ferment, dissents - in a word, everything that is happening, or not - I think not - at least much of it would not be taking place, and that we can say with certainty." Xenia, her mother, and her sister Olga urged Grand Duke Nicholas Mikhailovich of Russia
to write to the Tsar warning him about the influence of the Tsarina in government affairs. Nicholas did not even open the envelope. She read it and accused the Grand Duke of "crawling behind your mother and sisters". Realising the danger, Xenia and her family moved to Ai-Todor in the Crimea. From there they heard little news. Xenia heard of Rasputin's murder and was embarrassed by the episode. She wrote to her mother in Kiev, "Sleep little. There is rumour that Rasputin is murdered!" Xenia's son-in-law had been one of the murderers. At the beginning of 1917, Xenia hoped her mother could make her brother see sense about the collapsing situation in Russia. She wrote in despair, "If you could speak you must and shall be listened to. …if things don't change it will be the end of everything. People seem to have put their last hope in you and if that fails - it may only be fatal." Her mother felt she could not do anything and that she had no intention of returning to St.Petersburg from Kiev. On February 19
, Xenia was back in St.Petersburg at her Palace. On February 25
, she wrote in her diary, "There are disturbances in the city, there was even shooting into the crowd, [they] say, but everything is quiet on the Nevsky. They are asking for bread and the factories are on strike." On March 1
she wrote, "There is no end of the nightmare and there are such rumours going around. …There is talk that Nicky's train has been stopped… he has been forced to abdicate!!". She wrote later, "…Unfortunately Nicky could not understand the danger… If Nicholas had reacted sooner and granted the concessions requested by the Duma he could have saved his throne. These hours made all the difference!" The Dowager Empress wrote to her about her meeting with Nicholas in Mogiliev, "I still can't believe that this dreadful nightmare is real!" Later she also wrote, "I hear nothing from poor Nicky, for which I suffer horribly…" Xenia tried to see her brother but was refused permission by the Provisional government
. Seeing no future where she was in St.Petersburg, Xenia left for Ai-Todor on March 25
, her forty-second birthday.
Exile from Russia
Xenia arrived at Ai-Todor where she joined her mother, husband and sister on March 28
. At the end of November, Xenia wrote to her brother Nicholas in Tobolsk in Siberia, "The heart bleeds at the thought of what you have gone through, what you have lived and what you are still living! At every step undeserved horrors and humiliations. But fear not, the Lord sees all. As long as you are healthy and well. Sometimes it seems like a terrible nightmare, and that I will wake up and it will all be gone! Poor Russia! What will happen to her?" In 1918, while in Crimea, Xenia learnt that her brother Nicholas II, his wife and his children had been murdered by the Bolsheviks
. While the Red Army
was coming closer toward Crimea, Xenia and her mother Dowager Empress Maria escaped from Russia on April 11
with the help of Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom (née Princess Alexandra of Denmark)
, Dowager Empress Maria’s sister. King George V of the United Kingdom
sent the British warship HMS Marlborough
which brought them and other Romanovs from the Crimea over the Black Sea
and then to England
. Xenia and her mother were later joined by Xenia’s sister Olga. Xenia remained in Great Britain
, while Dowager Empress Maria, after a stay in England, went with Olga to Denmark
Death of an Empress
Xenia visited her mother in Denmark when she could. Her mother was living in the Hvidovre
Villa that she and her sister Alexandra had built on the Danish coast north of Copenhagen. In October 1928, Xenia's mother, the Dowager Empress, fell seriously ill. During this time both daughters were constantly at her bedside. On October 13
their mother breathed her last at her home in exile, Hvidovre. The Danish newspaper, Nationaltidende
wrote of the passing, "Denmark mourns her wise and courageous daughter".
On May 17
, Xenia had been granted Letters of Administration
as eldest sister and heir to her brother Nicholas's estate in England. The gross value of the estate was five hundred British pounds sterling. Her husband Sandro was living at this time in Paris. By 1925, Xenia's financial situation had become desperate. Her first cousin, King George V
allowed her to settle in Frogmore Cottage
, a grace and favour house, in Windsor Great Park. She wrote to the King, "Really Georgie, it is too good & kind of you. …I would stand anything rather than being a burden to others… words fail me to express all I feel…" Later she had to deal with the fraudulent claims of Anna Anderson
to be her niece, the brutally murdered Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia
. Her sister Olga had pointed out if there had been any Romanov monies left then the Dowager Empress would not be receiving a pension from the British King. In July, 1928, ten years after the death of Nicholas and Alexandra, his family were now presumed dead. Xenia and her family had hoped to take possession of the Langinoski estate in Finland. This however came to nothing. After the death of her mother, the sale of the Hvidore estate and the jewels of the Dowager Empress brought in some income. No sooner had the Dowager Empress died, Xenia received a vile letter from Gleb Botkin, son of her late brother's doctor, claiming that she was trying to steal from her niece, Anastasia. Her husband made no secrets of his feelings about Botkin in a letter to her, "Thank you for your letter,… Also for the vileness of Botkin, what a character. I am ashamed for the Russian person. I will take advice from an American lawyer but in my opinion it is better not to do anything and wait for their attack." On February 26
, Xenia's husband Sandro died. on March 1
, Sandro was buried in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin
in the south of France. Xenia and her sons were present. By 1934, Frogmore Cottage was too small for Xenia and her family. The King added a small wing to the original house. By March 1937, Xenia had moved from Frogmore House
in Windsor Great Park
to Wilderness House
in the grounds of Hampton Court Palace
. Xenia continued to live there until she died on April 20
. Despite reduced circumstances during her lifetime, Xenia left a small estate to her remaining relatives.