On this day — 6th June 1872 — Princess Alix Viktoria Helene Luise Beatrix of Hesse and by Rhine [future Empress Alexandra Feodorovna] was born at the New Palace in Darmstadt, a Grand Duchy then part of the German Empire.
She was the sixth child and fourth daughter among the seven children of Louis IV, Grand Duke of Hesse, and his first wife, Princess Alice of the United Kingdom, the second daughter of Queen Victoria and her husband Albert, Prince Consort.
On 14th August 1872, her mother wrote: “The baby looks like Ella, only her features are smaller. Eyes still dark, pubescent with very black eyelashes; hair is more of a chestnut colour. She has a wonderful and cheerful little personality, inexorable laughter and with a dimple on one cheek — just like Ernie’s.”
Alix was baptized on 1st July 1872 (her parents’ tenth wedding anniversary) in the Protestant Lutheran Church.
As an infant, she was noted to be very pretty. Her mother gave her the nickname of «Sunny», due to her cheerful disposition, a name adopted later by her husband.
Upon her marriage to Emperor Nicholas II on 26th November [O.S. 14th November] 1894 at the Grand Church of the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, she was given the name and patronymic Alexandra Feodorovna when she converted and was received into the Russian Orthodox Church.