December 4, 1878 – Birth of Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich of Russia, son of Alexander III, Emperor of All Russia, at the Anichkov Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia
Michael was the youngest son and fifth child of Alexander III of Russia and Marie Feodorovna, (Princess Dagmar of Denmark); youngest brother of Nicholas II. After the death of his brother, George in 1899 and until the birth of Nicholas’s son, Alexei in 1904, Michael was the heir presumptive. He was raised in the company of his younger sister, Olga and both were closed to their father. Like most male members of his family, Michael was enrolled in the military. He completed training at a gunnery school and joined the Horse Guards Artillery.
Michael was perceived as unremarkable, quiet and good-natured. He performed the usual public duties expected of an heir to the throne. After the birth of the Tsarevich Alexei, Michael became second-in-line to the throne, but was named as co-regent for the boy, along with Alexandra, in the event of Nicholas's death.
In 1902, Michael met Princess Beatrice of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. They fell in love and began to correspond in her native English. At first it seemed they would marry; however, the Orthodox Church prohibited the marriage of first cousins, and Michael's father and Beatrice's mother were siblings. Nicholas refused to permit the marriage and, to Michael's and Beatrice's mutual dismay, their romance ended. After a romance with a lady-in-waiting to his sister Olga, there were rumors that his mother was trying to married to Princess Patricia of Connaught, but neither he nor Patricia knew anything about it. Nevertheless, two years later, in October 1908, Michael visited London, and he and Patricia were "paired" at social engagements but nothing came of it.
In early December 1907, Michael was introduced to Natalia Sergeyevna Wulfert, the wife of a fellow officer, and from 1908 they began a deep friendship. However by August 1909, they were lovers. Nicholas sent Michael to Orel to avoid scandal but this did not deter Michael, who travelled frequently to see his mistress. Continued ➡️➡️➡️