Amalienborg Palace

King Christian IX´ residence, the temporary residence of Maria Feodorovna and her former Imperial court 1920-23

In November 1920, Maria Feodorovna moved in at her parents´former home, the Christian IX´s Palace at the Old Amalienborg. The Dowager kept an apartment on the first floor. Every day, when the Danish King – her nephew – was in residence, the Changing of the Guard took place at the Palace square. The officers always turned their heads, and looked to see whether the Empress was standing by her window, so they could salute her with their sabres.

The Danish government did not want to put the Dowager Empress on the Civil List and she was forced to depend on the generosity of her relations. Despite the help of wealthy Danish friends the problem of money was very real. Her secretary, ladies-in-waiting, Cossack bodyguards and other servants all had to be paid. In 1919, H.N. Andersen, the head of the East Asiatic Company, had opened her a special credit at a London Bank, later giving her an allowance, received in monthly installments.

The Empress had attracted a substantial following; destitute émigrées and members of the nobility who had served at Court were flooding into Denmark, registered in the police registry with names, present address, relations, date of birth and present or former occupation, including titles. By 1921 there were more than 2.000 Russian émigrées in Copenhagen alone, and many turned to the Dowager Empress for help. The Kings own private secretary would help the Empress´secretary Prince Dolgoruky answering petitions concerning economic support and presents. The Danish commander, later vice-admiral Georg Amdrup, was appointed to oversee the Empress´finances and later received the post as head of the Dowagers´household.

Between 1920- 23, the Empress would travel regularly to see her sister Queen Alexandra and participate in courtly life, her residence being Amalienborg in the winter. From august 1923, after a prolonged journey due to illness, she returned to live permanently at Hvidøre, moving to Amalienborg only in the coldest winter, her residential address at Hvidøre being officially noted by the 1925 public Census, including that of her loyal servants and courtiers

Empress Maria Feodorovna in her study at Fredensborg, reading a newspaper with her sister Alexandra (princess of Wales), the Russian Emperor Aleksander III on a couch at the back. In fact, the sisters Dagmar, Alexandra end Thyra made frequent travels to Denmark. According to the Civil list and the Royal Archives, special attention were made as to traveling and other expenses being paid by the sister´s private purse, Maria Feodorovnas special accounting control book is kept at the State Archives © Det Kongelige Bibliotek/ Royal Library, creative commons

According to the Police Registry 1920-22 (right), at least ten people were moving in at the Palace with the Dowager Empress, or at least had their official address stated as the Amalienborg – Christian IX´s palæ. They were almost all part of the former Imperial household, and now took up their duties. The lady-in-waiting Zinaida Mengden naturally brought her own maid Marta Ozer, the rest of the company were waiting on the Dowager

Included in the household were in 1922 Nicolai Kulikovsky and a visit from the Prince Vassily Alexandrovich, born in 1907 and the Dowagers actual grandson, followed by his tutor, the teacher Dmitry Palgin and the maids Anna Soboleva and Maria Ivannovna

If possible, several of the household also had brought with them family and other relations. That included Zianida Mengden, whose brothers and sister-in-laws lived in Copenhagen, a total of six; The prince Vyazemsky who bought his wife Marguerite Bourdais; And Sergei Dolgoruky who also brought prince Alexander Nicolaievich Dolgoruky, his wife Sofie and their twenty year old daughter Marie Dolgoruky. Royalty were also at times requested to register and were entried in the Police Registry, including princess Helena von Altenburg, who stayed at various adresses in Copenhagen from November 1921 to May 1923.

The Russian millieu surrounding the Dowager in these days also counted the baroness Sofie von Korff (Friend of the Empress); Marie Leonidovna Wachtine and her family (Friend of the Empress); the Prince Peter Myschetzky (and family); Countess Anna Tolstoi (friend of the Mengdens); Princesses Livov; Prince and princess Shakovsky; Count Pavel Firgang and his wife Antonina (née princess Dolgoruky)

Included were also former employees of the Imperial Legation, prince and general Sergei and Sophie Pototzky and the count and countess Witte; Not to mention several high-ranking officers, namely in the former Imperial Fleet, as the counter-admiral Michael Rimsky-Korsakov and family; General Vassily Simakov and his wife Anna; General Michail Lazarev and his wife Vera; Commodore Aleksander von Tranzé and wife Maria; And general-major Ivan Nicolaievich Kharine

Colonel Nicolai Kulikovsky moving in, May 1922

Around 1920, Copenhagen was thronged with survivors from the Russian revolution and refugees from the recent world war. Many thousands from the former Russian Empire, many of them just passing through on their way to other European capitals. Most of these people fleing from the new Soviet government were not at all either nobility or army, but ordinary people following the Empress into safety. In the Police Registry, hundreds and hundreds of anonymous persons, some alone, some with families or other relations from the former Empire, be it Russia, The Baltics, Georgia, Ukraine or other former Imperial states, are listed with their names and dates of birth, adresses and occupation: Tailors, seemstresses, needlemakers, carpenters, shoemakers, plumbers, bookbinders, rubberworkers, stonemasons, secretaries. Many had to find other ways of living