Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna of Russia was known for being the elder sister of the last Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia. Elizabeth was born as Princess Elisabeth ‘Ella’ of Hesse on November 1, 1864 to parents, Grand Duke Louis IV of Hesse and Princess Alice of the United Kingdom.
Though she came from one of the oldest and noblest houses in Germany, Elizabeth and her family lived a rather modest life by Royal standards. Elizabeth’s young years were very difficult. In autumn of 1878 when she was fourteen, her entire family of the Hesse House was plagued with diphtheria. Unaffected Elizabeth was sent to England to her grandmother, the Queen Victoria, because it was too dangerous for her to stay. Her mother and youngest sister died as the result of the disease.
The princess became Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna of Russia upon the marriage to Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich of Russia, the fifth son of Tsar Alexander II. Elizabeth became famous in Russian society for her beauty and charitable work among the poor. In 1905, the marriage became childless when her husband was brutally murdered by a revolutionary bomb. Elizabeth eventually found forgiveness for Sergei’s killer. Just like her sister, Elizabeth was highly religious and became a nun after leaving the Imperial court.
Elizabeth was unfortunately among those of the Romanov family who was arrested and killed after the collapse of the dynasty. On July 18, 1918, Elizabeth and other Romanov princes were still alive when they were thrown in a mine. The Bolsheviks claimed that the victims sang an Orthodox hymn at the bottom of the shaft before they succumbed to their injuries. Elizabeth was eventually canonized as saint by the Orthodox church.