Alexander used the palace as a summer residence through the remainder of his grandmother's and his father, Paul's, reign. When he became emperor, however, he chose to reside in the much larger nearby Catherine Palace.
Under Nicholas I[edit source | edit]
Tsar Nicholas I
The Dowager Empress Alexandra Feodorovna in 1860, the year of her death
Alexander I gave the palace to his brother, the future Nicholas I, for summer usage. From that time on, it was the summer residence of the heir to the throne. From 1830–1850, extensive redecoration was carried out according to designs by D.Cerfolio, A.Thon, D.Yefimov, A.Stakenschneider and others in keeping with rapidly changing tastes. The appearance of the formal and private rooms of the palace during Nicholas' reign can be seen in exquisite watercolors by E. Hau, I. Premazzi and I. Volsky from 1840-1860. The famous Mountain Hall which had a large slide built in for the children of Nicholas I was built during this time. Nicholas I and his family lived in the palace from the early spring till the end of May and after a short period at Krasnoye Selo during manoeuvres returned to the palace to spend their time there until the late autumn. In 1842, the Imperial couple celebrated their silver wedding anniversary with a series of galas including a medieval jousting tournament. Two years later, the family mourned the death of Nicholas's daughter Grand Duchess Alexandra (1825–1844), who was born at the palace and lived the last few months of her life there. On October 19, 1860, the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna also died at the palace.
Under Alexander III and Maria Feodorovna[edit source | edit]
Alexander and his wife Empress Maria Fyodorovna on holiday in Copenhagen in 1893.
Alexander III and his Danish born wife Maria Feodorovna had their apartments in the right-hand or western wing of the palace near the gardens. Before their accession to the imperial throne, Maria gave birth to their eldest child, the future Nicholas II, at the Alexander Palace. In his diary, the then Tsarevich Alexander recorded the momentous event of the birth of his first child,
Around 12.30 my wife came to the bedroom and lay down on a couch where everything was prepared. The pains became stronger and stronger, and Minny suffered very much. Papa ... helped me hold my darling the whole time. Finally, at 2.30, the last minute came and suddenly all her suffering stopped. God sent us a son whom we named Nicholas. What a joy it was! It is impossible to imagine. I sprang to embrace my darling wife, and she instantly became cheerful and was terribly happy. I had been weeping like a child but suddenly my heart became light and cheerful.