Grand Duchesses Alice and Grand Duke Louis of Hesse, parents of Princess Alix of Hesse.
The Hessian Grand Ducal Tiara: worn by Alexandra Feodorovna’s mother Grand Duchess Alice, and her sister-in-laws Grand Duchess Victoria Melita (Ducky) and Grand Duchess Eleanor (Ernie’s second wife).
The Hesse Family, circa 1875.
From left: (standing) Grand Duke Ludwig IV (holding May), Grand Duchess Alice
Princess Elizabeth, Prince Ernst-Ludwig, Princess Alix (on her mother’s lap), Princess Irene, and Princess Victoria.
In 1878, the children came down with diphtheria. Alice nursed them herself. Little May died of the disease, and while telling the worried Prince Ernst-Ludwig that his sister had died, she thoughtlessly kissed him to comfort him. As a result, Alice contracted the disease herself and died soon after. Six-year-old Princess Alix never quite recovered from the early death of her beloved mother. Because of the early tragedies in her life, Alix later tried to make family life ideal for her husband and children.
Source: Victoria’s Daughters by Jerrold M. Packard and Born to Rule by Julia P. Gelardi