At the end of June 1884, a ball was held at the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg on the occasion of the marriage of the Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich. His bride, Elizabeth of Hesse, arrived in St. Petersburg with her younger sister, twelve-year-old Alix. At that memorable ball, a meeting of the young princess of Hesse with the heir to the Russian throne, sixteen-year-old Tsarevich Nikolai took place in the Malachite Hall.
No one, of course, thought it was seriously. Meanwhile, it was precisely in those June days that the tragic knot was tied not only in the fate of the royal family, but in the whole future history of Russia. The Queen from the Hesse-Darmstadt House will be remembered for a long time in Russia.
Niki fell in love with golden-haired and blue-eyed Alix immediately – and for the rest of his life!