Mathilde Kchessinska

Russian ballet dancer and princess

Mathilde Marie Feliksovna Kschessinskaya (31 August [O.S. 19 August] 1872–6 December 1971 (also known as Her Serene Highness Princess Romanova-Krasinskaya from 1921) was a Russian ballerina from a family of Polish origin. She was known in the West as Mathilde Kschessinska or Matilda Kshesinskaya.[1]

Mathilde Kchessinska
Mathilde Kschessinskaya costumed for the title role in La Camargo, circa 1902
Born(1872-08-31)31 August 1872
Died6 December 1971(1971-12-06) (aged 99)

Her father Feliks Krzesiński and her brother both danced in St. Petersburg. She eventually attained the highest rank, that of prima ballerina assoluta.[2]

Kschessinskaya was also a mistress of the future Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. She had been involved with Nicholas, from 1890, when he was a grand duke and she was just seventeen. She met him with his family after her graduation performance. They stayed lovers for three years, until Nicholas married Princess Alix of Hesse-Darmstadt—the future Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna—in 1894, shortly after the death of his father, Tsar Alexander III.[3]


  1. The latter is Beaumont's version, The Diaghilev Ballet in London, 1940.
  2. Mary Clarke and David Vaughan (eds) 1977. The encyclopedia of dance & ballet. Pitmans, London. p. 201
  3. Kshessinska 1960. Dancing in Petersburg. London, transl Haskell.

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