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Ian Roberts: The Relationship of Great Britain with Alexander II of Russia

Ian Roberts will give an account of Alexander’s life and include his relationship with Nicholas I, his father.  He will also refer to his first visit to Great Britain as a bachelor when he met Queen Victoria.  Also, his reforms will be discussed, which led to him being called ‘The Liberator’, as well as the marriage of the Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia, Alexander’s fifth child but only daughter, to Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, the second son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert: she was the first and only Romanov to marry into the British Royal family.

Ian Roberts studied German and Russian at Cambridge University in 1945, graduating with First Class honours, having also acquired a basic knowledge of Czech and Serbo-Croat.  After two years National Service as a Pilot Officer in the RAF, he joined the FCO in October 1951.  His postings abroad included Austria, Germany, Hungary, Rwanda and Burundi, Argentina and Norway.  After retirement in 1984, he was awarded a Leverhulme Trust Research Grant in order to write a book on the Russian intervention in Hungary in 1849 (McMillan, 1990).  This was followed by A History of SSEES, 1915-1990, published in 1991 to mark the School’s 75th anniversary.  A second, up-dated edition which included details of SSEES’s merger with UCL was published in 2009.

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