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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 September 2006, 12:46 GMT 13:46 UK
Tsar's mother reburied in Russia
A woman bows as she mourns near the coffin containing the remains Empress Maria Fyodorovna in Peterhof, outside St Petersburg
The empress's coffin arrived from Denmark on Tuesday
The reburial of empress Maria Fyodorovna, the mother of Russia's last tsar, has taken place in St Petersburg in accordance with her wishes.

The Danish-born empress was exiled after the communist revolution and died in the country of her birth in 1928.

Her son, Nicholas II, abdicated in 1917 and was executed by the Bolsheviks, along with much of his family.

Members of several European royal families attended the reburial ceremony at St Isaac's Cathedral.

Among them were Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and the UK's Prince Michael of Kent, a distant relative of Maria Fyodorovna.

Her soul ached for Russia
Orthodox Patriarch Alexiy II

Maria Fyodorovna's coffin was lowered into the imperial crypt in the Peter and Paul Fortress, the resting place of Russian tsars. The final resting place is beside the graves of her husband and son.

Guests filed past, sprinkling earth onto the coffin. Flags flew at half-mast around the city and artillery fired a salute.

Orthodox Patriarch Alexiy II, who led a mourning ceremony ahead of the burial, said: "This will be another sign that Russia is overcoming the enmity and divisions brought by the revolution and civil war."

He said: "Having fallen deeply in love with the Russian people, the empress devoted a great deal of effort for the benefit of the Russian fatherland. Her soul ached for Russia."

A picture taken in 1866 shows Danish Princess Dagmar at her wedding with Tsar Alexander III in St Petersburg
Princess Dagmar married Tsar Alexander III in 1866

Maria Fyodorovna was born Princess Dagmar in 1847, changing her name and converting to the Russian Orthodox faith when she married as a teenager.

Her husband was the heir to Russia's imperial throne, the man who went on to become Tsar Alexander III.

The tsarina had six children, including Russia's last tsar, Nicholas II.

She returned to Denmark after the Bolshevik Revolution and died there, never having accepted that her son and his family had been killed.

Her coffin had been lying in state in Peterhof, outside St Petersburg, since its arrival on a Danish ship on Tuesday.

Lengthy negotiations preceded its transfer, a project championed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has tried to rehabilitate some of the icons of the imperial past.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Relatives watch as Empress Feodorovna is reburied



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