Maria Alexandrovna, Duchess of Edinburgh and Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was born October 17, 1853, in the Alexander Palace, St. Petersburg, Russian Empire. She was the daughter of Emperor Alexander II and Empress Maria Alexandrovna of Russia. In August 1867, while the Imperial family was at Livadia Palace Mark Twain met Maria Alexandrovna and her parents. The American writer described her as "blue-eyed, unassuming, and pretty". Maria Alexandrovna married Prince Alfred, son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of the United Kingdom at the Grand Church of the Winter Palace on January 23, 1874. She died October 24, 1920 in Zürich, Switzerland.