Christian IX's rights to the whole territory of the Danish Kingdom. Despite that fact Prussia and Austria-Hungary, guided by the unbending will of Chancellor Bismarck, attacked Denmark with all their military might, vindicating this assail with the allegations of "protecting the rights" of the southern duchies Schleswig and Holstein.
At the commencement of the war Denmark achieved a stunning victory by the Island of Helgoland. Admiral Suenson burned down Schwarzenberg - a beauty of a ship and the pride of the Austrian fleet. The battle resulted in driving dozens of ships of the allied forces into the neutral waters, whereat those ships were interned.
The joint Prussian-Austrian-Hungarian offensive inland had been initially impeded at the ground flank Dubbol, but with its downfall the enemy managed to take over the whole of Jutland. At that point the war, whilst dragging on for about half a year more, was practically lost.
The peace treaty signed in Vein bereft Denmark of the duchies Schleswig and Holstein.
Russia tolerated the defeat of Denmark partly due to the fact that only ten years before, - in the course of the Crimean War, - Denmark had allowed the British fleet enter the Baltic Sea. Nevertheless, right after Denmark's defeat Russia considered it desirable to uphold and validate the new Danish dynasty through marrying the young Princess Dagmar of Denmark to the Russian Tsesarevich - the eldest son of the Tsar Liberator (so called for freeing Russian praedial serfs, and later liberating the Balkans). Unfortunately Tsesarevich was struck with consumption - back then an incurable disease. On his deathbed Tsesarevich joined the hands of his bride and his brother - the future Emperor Alexander III, expressing a wish that he would marry the young Danish princess. The wedding took place on November 9, 1866.
The newlyweds took up their residence in the Anichkov Palace, - their home for the next 15 years, until Alexander ascended the throne. Such a development proved to be quite providential, as the petite Maria, - who seemed even tinier next to the herculean frame of Alexander, - used those 15 years to thoroughly accustom herself to her new homeland, its new ways and conventions.
Maria Feodorovna'a lively and cheerful disposition won her life-long friends and admirers. She loved beauty and luxury, sumptuous dresses and balls, - and after the necessitous Denmark she reveled in the magnificent life of the Russian court. Later on, when her husband became Emperor Alexander III, she inculcated her consort's court with additional splendor and festivity.
They complemented each other perfectly. He was to the core a man of duty, straightforward and dedicated to orderliness, austerity and humbleness. But never was he a "hard-headed dummy" as several modern amateurish historians tend to represent him. It is worthwhile to note that he was very buoyant and amicable with children. He possessed a well-developed and delicate sense of humor. Here's an instance: he was not a big fan of ball dances, but Maria Feodorovna could dance the whole night through! Naturally, while the Empress was still dancing the ball could not be over… And then the Emperor would employ a certain witty approach: when walking by the orchestra he - as if in passing - excused one musician after another, until there was none left but a single trumpet player who at the top of his lungs blew his lonely "whoom-pa-pa, whoom-pa-pa". Willy-nilly, it was the time for the dances to cease.
Alexander and Maria had 5 children:
The future Emperor Nikolas II - born in 1868;
Grand Duke Alexander (died in infancy) - born in 1869;
Grand Duke George (died of consumption in his young years in Abastuman) - born in 1871;
Grand Duchess Xenia - born in 1875;
Grand Duke Michael - born in 1878;