Tsarskoye Selo will take part in the joint exhibition Sovereign Knights: Foreign Orders of Russian Emperors at the Moscow Kremlin Museum during October 26, 2010 to March 10, 2011.
The display will present the foreign orders bestowed on Russian emperors and empresses, the charters of European and Asian monarchs granting their states’ top orders to tsars and tsarinas of Russia, the works of applied art related to the awards, the portraits and photographs of the honoured Russian monarchs, the orders’ statutes and documents, as well as vestments and accoutrements of the order recipients.
The exhibits, many of great artistic value, will introduce visitors to an important diplomatic tradition of award exchange between state leaders, which the Russian Empire followed since the eighteenth century when Peter the Great sought allies against Sweden. The display will tell about main foreign contacts of the Russian monarchy and the mood of high-level intergovernmental relations in times when military orders had a diplomatic value and served as a confirmation of friendship and its further development between two states.
The items from the Tsarskoye Selo collection are of great interest at the exhibition. Visitors will see the 2nd Dragoon Regiment Colonel’s parade uniform (see below) presented to Grand Duke Nikolay Alexandrovich, later Emperor Nicholas II, by Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom on the occasion of his marriage with her granddaughter Alix of Hesse, and the tailcoat and waistcoat of a recipient of the British Order of the Garter bestowed on Nicholas in 1893.
Another item is Emperor Alexander II’s frock coat (below), with a rosette in a buttonhole made from insignia ribbons of the three awards – the Order of St George (Russian), the Pour le Mérite (Prussian) and the Order of Maria Theresia (Austrian) – which is notable as one of a few extant examples of civil clothing of Russian emperors.