The Emperor Nicholas I in England

W. Bruce Lincoln finds that, though at first extremely against the visits, Queen Victoria was much impressed by the Russian Emperor’s dignity, civility and grace.

On May 24th, 1844,1 the Russian Chancellor and Foreign Minister, Count Karl Nesselrode, informed Britain’s Ambassador to St Petersburg, T. A. D. Bloomfield, that Emperor Nicholas I had left Russia’s capital some twelve hours earlier and was en route to London.

Although the Emperor’s sudden departure caught Ambassador Bloomfield by surprise, his visit to England was not unexpected, for it marked the culmination of several months’ negotiations between Russian diplomats, who desired closer ties with Great Britain, and Queen Victoria’s Ministers.

We do not know for certain whether it was the Russians or the British who took the initiative in proposing that Nicholas visit England in 1844. If we accept the accounts of both Ambassador Bloomfield and the Russian Ambassador to the Court of St James, Baron Brunnow, we encounter the remarkable coincidence that overtures for the visit were made simultaneously, and somewhat casually, in both capitals on January 23rd, 1844.

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