Grand Duchess Vera Konstantinovna (1854-1912)

On this day — 11th April (O.S. 29th March) 1912 — Grand Duchess Vera Konstantinovna, died in Stuttgart
Vera Konstantinovna was born in St. Petersburg on 16 (O.S. 4) February 1854, the third child and second daughter of the six children of Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolayevich (1827-1892) and his wife Grand Duchess Alexandra Iosifovna (born Princess Alexandra of Saxe-Altenburg).
In 1861, the family moved to Warsaw when her father was appointed Viceroy of Poland. Vera was a troubled child, prone to violent fits of anger, and suffered what was officially described as a «nervous condition». In 1863, she was given away to be raised by her childless uncle and aunt, King Karl and Queen Olga of Württemberg. Vera’s condition improved in their home and she outgrew her disruptive behaviour.
In 1871 she was legally adopted by Karl and Olga, who arranged her marriage in 1874 to Duke Eugen of Württemberg (1846–1877), a member of the Silesian ducal branch of the family. Vera was nineteen and Eugen twenty-eight. The wedding was celebrated with great pomp in Stuttgart on 4 May 1874 in the presence of Vera’s uncle, Emperor Alexander II, who arranged for Vera’s father to settle a million rubles on her as a dowry.
The couple settled in a large house, the Akademie in Stuttgart. The following year, Vera gave birth to a son, Karl Eugen, who died seven months later.
On 27 January 1877, her husband died suddenly. Rather than returning to her native Russia, the young widow decided to stay in Württemberg, the country she felt to be her own, where she had the protection of the King. Vera, only twenty-three years old, never remarried, dedicating herself to her twin daughters: Elsa and Olga.
At the death of King Karl in 1891, Vera inherited a considerable fortune, and when Queen Olga died a year later, she received Villa Berg in Stuttgart, where she lived in considerable style. She also wrote poetry, and her home was the scene of many cultural as well as family gatherings. She was a popular figure in Württemberg, notable for her charitable work.
She kept in touch with her Romanov relatives, visiting Russia many times, including Moscow with her daughters in May 1896 for the coronation ceremonies of Emperor Nicholas II.
After living in Württemberg for so long, she was at odds politically and religiously with her Russian relatives. Her political sympathies lay with Germany and she did not share the increasingly anti-German view of the Romanovs. Vera Konstantinovna was very religious, in 1909 abandoned her Orthodox faith and converted to Lutheranism, much to the consternation of the Romanov family. She then commissioned the building of a Protestant church on the grounds of Villa Berg.
Grand Duchess Vera Constantinovna suffered a stroke in October 1911. She had a slow recovery and she died in Stuttgart on 11 April 1912 of an acute renal failure, aged 58. She was deeply mourned as she was the most popular princess of the Royal house of Württemberg. She was buried alongside her husband, in the church in the Old Castle in Stuttgart.
Memory Eternal! Вечная Память!

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