Alexander II had died, and Alexander III was now the tsar. He was only the ruler of Russia for 13 years, but in that time he was a very cruel and harsh ruler. He did nothing to prepare his son (Nicholas) for the Russian throne. Then he met Alexandra in 1884, when he was 16 and she was twelve years old. Over time, they fell in love. Ten years later, Alexander III had been diagnosed with a kidney disease and died. Alexandra and Nicholas’s wedding was not postponed because of the death, but because of Alexandra’s faith. She needed to switch to the Russian Orthodox Church, so she did. Four weeks later, the couple married. Nicholas was now the tsar of Russia. The Beginning of the Romanovs, 1894-1904 The public was not fond of Alexandra, and Alexandra didn’t like them either. She begged Nicholas to move to the Imperial Park at Tsarskoe Selo, in the countryside. He agreed. Inside the park, there were two palaces. The Catherine Palace and the Alexander Palace. Alexandra chose the simpler and comfier one. The Alexander Palace. She redecorated and made it her own, but everyone gossiped about the lilac drawing room. Everything in it was purple, Alexandra’s favorite color. This was her safe space room. In 1895, NIcholas and Alexadnra were expecting their first baby. Multiple nurseries and play rooms were built. They were both hoping for a boy because a male child had to inherit the throne. If they had all girls, the throne would be passed onto Nicholas’s brother and his son. On November 16th, 1895, the Grand Duchess, Olga was born. Artillerymen shot cannons 101 times if it was a girl and 300 times if it was a boy. Russians heard the cannons 101 times, and some were disappointed. Not Nicholas and Alexandra. They were overjoyed with their newborn baby. Usually the nurses take care of the children, but Alexandra took care of Olga herself. In May 1896, the family left for Moscow. The twelve-month mourning period was over, so it was time for the new tsar to be crowned. After Nicholas was crowned, he crowned Alexandra. Nicholas sat on the Diamond Throne and Alexandra sat on the Ivory Throne. Many peasants came to see their new ruler and they came for the feast. Many peasants barely ever got more than a loaf of bread in a week, so there were many people. There was a rumor that there wasn’t enough food. The crowd was eager to get their part. Some wooden planks that covered several deep ditches gave way. People tripped and fell. They couldn’t get up because of the crowd above them. The people underneath were trampled, crushed, and suffocated to death. When it was over around 1400 people were dead. When Nicholas heard, he was devastated. He wanted to cancel the evening events, but wouldn’t because if he didn’t show up the French ambassadors would be offended. The next day, Alexandra and Nicholsas tried to make it right. They visited hospitals and paid for funerals. They gave 1,000 rubles ($15.41, which was a huge amount to the peasants) to each of the victims’ families. It wasn’t enough. The first impression of the couple was horrible, lasting one. Then, Alexandra was pregnant again. She was so sick she was put on bed rest for seven weeks. This time she had to have a son, but on June 10th, 1897 she gave birth to the Grand Duchess, Tatinana. All around, people hear the cannons boom 101 times. The people were disappointed and Alexandra was worried. Nicholas and Alexandra still loved their baby more than anything. And soon they tried again. On June 26th, 1899, Alexandra had yet another girl. The pregnancies were getting harder every time too. Then Nicholases cousins came for tea. They told Alexandra about Dr. Philippe. He said if she followed his instructions she would give birth to a boy, but on June 18, 1901, 101 cannons were shot. It was another girl. What would they do? Alexandra wanted to try once more, and on August 12th, 1904, Alexandra finally gave birth to a son! He looked like a very healthy baby, but six weeks after his birth, he started bleeding from his belly-button. The doctors diagnosed it to be hemophilia. Alexandra thought it was her fault because her family has many members with the condition. Nicholas and Alexandra were devastated and chose to keep it a family secret. The Start of a Rebellion 1905-19something The working class had begun to envision a better government. They went on strike. They wanted a living wage, an eight hour work day, affordable housing, and public education. They decided to march to the Winter Palace for a petition. When Nicholas heard about the event, he ordered soldiers to protect the palace. When the soldiers stopped the workers, they were confused and kept going forward. The soldiers shot. When the shooting stopped, around 200 people were dead and 800 wounded.