Representatives from Europe’s royal families were in St Petersburg’s largest cathedral, attending the re-burial service for Empress Maria Feodorovna. Her coffin was carried by a guard of honour on her return to the ancient imperial capital 87 years after she left.
Born in Denmark, Maria Feodorovna was the wife of Tsar Alexander III and the mother of Russia’s last emperor Nicholas II. She fled the country during the revolution, after her son was shot by a Bolshevik firing squad. She died and was buried in Denmark, at the age of 80.
The Patriach of the Russian Orthodox Church has described the return of her remains as an act of repentance for the state and a historic and spiritual event for Russia. Maria Feodorovna will be laid to rest in the imperial crypt at the cemetery of the Peter and Paul Fortress, alongside her husband and son. She is the only ruler from the Romanov dynasty not buried there, and now she will probably be the last. Relatives say it was her dying wish to be buried with her family.