grandmother of Anastasia and her four siblings, mother of Tsar Nicholas II, both mother-in-law and predecessor of Czarina Alexandra as Empress consort of Russia, and the widow of Tsar Alexander III. Angela Lansbury provided both her singing and speaking voice.
Marie was the narrator of the prologue of the movie.
Every once in a while, Marie would visit St. Petersburg to spend time with her beloved family, especially her favourite granddaughter, Anastasia.
Before she became the wife of Alexander III, Marie was formally known as Princess Dagmar of Denmark. She was the second youngest daughter of King Christian IX and Queen Louise of Denmark and the sister of Princess Alexandra who later became Queen Alexandra of the the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the wife of King Edward VII.
The revolution began and Anastasia was with her grandmother, Dowager Empress Marie, during the execution, calling out for her father, and Nicholas tells his children to hurry. Everyone else, was fleeing from the palace for their lives.
Anastasia leaves her grandmother's side when she forgets the music box that she gave her on the night of the 300th anniversary and she follows her. Anastasia runs into her bedroom and grabs her music box, but are now trapped in the midst of the chaos.
Soon, Dimirti crawls through a secret passageway in Anastasia's room and bravely risked his life to save them by sending them through the servant's quarters and out into safety.
After escaping the execution, Anastasia and Marie are running across a frozen river and under the bridge where Rasputin is plotting his attack; as he is attempting to kill Anastasia himself. Marie helplessly watches as the evil man falls from the bridge with a terrifying yell on top of the young Romanov, clutching her foot between his bony hands, causing the girl lose ahold of her grandmother's hand and land on her stomach. Marie, frozen in fear, screams "Rasputin!" as he begins dragging the girl close. The Empress hurries to her granddaugher's side, grabbing her arms and trying desperately to pull her to away. Rasputin tugs on the frightened Duchess's soaking wet foot and vows the young girl will never escape his clutches and she will die at his wrath. Just as all faith seems lost for the two Romanovs, the ice cracks admist the thrashing. Taking one hand off Anastasia's ankle and flailing his arm about, Rasputin tries crawling out, but before he could bring her down with him, the girl wretches herself free and Marie hurries her away from the river. Marie looks back as Rasputin's hand fails at reaching his reliquary and slowly drowns, leaving them to escape once more.
However, after narrowly escaping Rasputin's vicious rampage, she and Anastasia get separated at the busy train station, and never see each other again.
Ten years later, living in exile in Paris, France an elderly Marie files a reward of ten million rubles for the return of her granddaughter in hopes of being reunited with her. However, she is suddenly overwhelmed by and fed up with the amount of Anastasia dopplegangers and look-alikes she was forced to interview, and nearly blows off her one chance to reunite with the real Anastasia. But, thanks to the growing persistence of Dimitri, Empress Marie reluctantly agrees to speak with Anya, and soon realizes that she is indeed her long-lost granddaughter.
Empress Marie is first seen as a middle-aged woman with long, brown hair tied up in a bun, and light blue eyes. However, one decade later, she aged considerably into an elderly woman with white hair. However, her physical facial features and hairstyle remain generally the same. She looks somewhat like an older version of her granddaughter, Anastasia.
Empress Marie is a generally kind and pleasant woman with an automatic regal and presence, but she can also be stubborn and outspoken, personality traits she shares with her youngest granddaughter. Although she can appear marginally stingy at times, she is in no way selfish not ungenerous at all, considering the fact that she is more than willing to reward 10 million roubles to whoever returned her granddaughter to her.
Following the brutal execution of her son's family, the massacre of many Romanov members, and the banishment of the surviving Romanov family including herself Marie initially comes off as a rather cold-hearted old woman, although it is later revealed that she is simply sad and heartbroken by the lose of her family.
Empress Marie is hard to fool, as well as hard to please. She was able to recognise the faults in the hundreds of fake Anastasia's she was forced to audition, to the point of which it was beginning to take an emotional toll on her. However, impressed by Dimitri's persistence and Anya's honesty, she soon realised that Anya is, in fact, her long-lost granddaughter, Anastasia.