Mother of last czar to brought from Denmark, reburied in St. Petersburg

The remains of the mother of Russia's last czar will be brought from Denmark to St. Petersburg in September for reburial, Russian officials said Tuesday.

Russian heritage council spokesman Georgy Vilinbakhov said saying that Empress Maria Feodorovna would be brought to Russia's imperial capital on Sept. 26, and a burial ceremony would take place two days later in her family's vault in the Peter and Paul Fortress.

The Danish Foreign Ministry said last month that Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary would attend the reburial. Culture Minister Alexander Sokolov said President Vladimir Putin or other top Russian officials might also participate.

"First and foremost, we are fulfilling the wishes of Alexander, because there is an empty place next to his grave for his spouse," Sokolov said in televised comments.

Maria, the mother of Czar Nicholas II, was buried in 1928 in her native Denmark, where she lived after emigrating from Russia during the Revolution.

Born in 1847, Maria was the Danish Princess Dagmar before marrying Russian Czar Alexander III.

Nicholas II and his family were killed on July 17, 1918, some 16 months after he abdicated the throne. Nicholas' remains were ceremoniously buried in 1998 in the St. Petersburg fortress and he was canonized by the Orthodox Church in 2000.

President Vladimir Putin formally asked Denmark's Queen Margrethe four years ago for the body to be returned, but talks briefly stalled after Danish courts refused to extradite Chechen rebel envoy Akhmed Zakayev to Russia and Putin canceled a planned state visit to Denmark.

Maria was also the sister of King Frederik VIII of Denmark, Britain's Queen Alexandra and King George I of Greece, reports AP.


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