Alexander Palace Forum

Discussions about the Imperial Family and European Royalty => Servants, Friends and Retainers => Topic started by: Helen_Azar on March 08, 2005, 01:31:24 PM

Title: The staff and friends of Grand Duke Mikhail Aleksandrovitch and his wife
Post by: Helen_Azar on March 08, 2005, 01:31:24 PM
I was always under the impression that Nicholas Johnson, GD Michael Alexandrovich's secretary who was killed along with him, was British. But I am reading Michael and Natasha and according to the author, despite his name, N.J. was Russian. Is this true? Was he a Russian with British or Scottish or Irish ancestry then? He had to be at least that, how else would he end up with a name like "Johnson"?  ???
Title: Re: The staff and friends of Grand Duke Mikhail Aleksandrovitch and his wife
Post by: felix on March 08, 2005, 01:48:14 PM
Helen,I have read that his mother was Russian, father English.  I may be wrong  but did they meet when Michael was in England?
Title: Re: The staff and friends of Grand Duke Mikhail Aleksandrovitch and his wife
Post by: Helen_Azar on March 08, 2005, 01:52:18 PM
Quote
Helen,I have read that his mother was Russian, father English.  


That would make sense, but in Michael and Natashathe author seemed very insistent that he was Russian...It was kind of puzzling.
Title: Re: The staff and friends of Grand Duke Mikhail Aleksandrovitch and his wife
Post by: hikaru on March 08, 2005, 02:21:23 PM
I have found in the Memories of the Countess Vorontsov-Dashkov, whose husband was close friend of Mikhael, that Johnson studied together with Mikhail in
Mikhailovskoe Artilleriyskoe Uchilische and they became very very good friends since there.
When Johnson became the officer, he did not go to the regiment , but he worked as the secretary of Mikhael.
Maybe, he was some kind of russian british.
(In soviet books  it is written that he was British)
Title: Re: The staff and friends of Grand Duke Mikhail Aleksandrovitch and his wife
Post by: Helen_Azar on March 08, 2005, 02:26:31 PM
Quote
(In soviet books  it is written that he was British)


Yes, in all the books I've read (not Soviet) they always say he was British too, "GD Michael's British secretary", except for this one (Michael and Natasha), where the authot specifically made a point to say that he was Russian despite his name. Strange...  ???
Title: Re: The staff and friends of Grand Duke Mikhail Aleksandrovitch and his wife
Post by: hikaru on March 08, 2005, 11:24:00 PM
In book of Sokolov about the murder of IF, it is written about Johnson as Nikolai Nikolaevich Johnson.
So it can be assumed that he had russian citizenship.
Title: Re: The staff and friends of Grand Duke Mikhail Aleksandrovitch and his wife
Post by: Belochka on March 09, 2005, 12:51:30 AM
Quote
In book of Sokolov about the murder of IF, it is written about Johnson as Nikolai Nikolaevich Johnson.
So it can be assumed that he had russian citizenship.


The historian, Paul Avrich (in Russian Review, Vol. 43, 1984) claimed that Nicholas Johnson was English.  ???

However Crawford (@ p 141) claimed that N. J. was Russian who spoke English with a heavy accent. His mother apparently was a music teacher in the Court.

Perhaps his father or grandfather was of British origin?
Title: Re: The staff and friends of Grand Duke Mikhail Aleksandrovitch and his wife
Post by: Sunny on March 09, 2005, 07:17:12 AM
Dear Helen,

From "Step Daughter of Imperial Russia" by Nathalie Majolier: " I must mention here Johnson, the secretary. In spite of his extremely English name, he was a complete Russian, in fact he spoke English rather badly and with a strong accent. His mother Madame Johnson, was in the old days a very famous teacher of singing, and taught all the Royal Families of Europe. Her room was cluttered up with coroneted photographs, and she had a tremendous correspondence, with all of her old pupils. She had a very old and asthmatic peke, which looked very much like her.
I liked her, she was always nice, and would always listen to anything one had to say
."

"Three days after my birthday arrived a telegram from the above mentioned friend in Perm: 'Our friend and Johnny have vanished without trace'"

"This enigmatic telegram had been couched in deliberately ambiguous terms, but it must be remembered that Uncle Misha's secretary, though Russian, rejoiced in the name Johnson---the nickname 'Johnny' gave the clue."

Sunny
Title: Re: The staff and friends of Grand Duke Mikhail Aleksandrovitch and his wife
Post by: Belochka on March 09, 2005, 06:30:52 PM
Thanks Sunny for supplying that particular exerpt. It is more detailed than the one provided by Crawford.  

However we still do not know whether N.J.'s father or paternal grandfather was English.

What is Step Daughter of Imperial Russia by Nathalie Majolier about? I am not familiar with this book at all.

Thanks,

Belochka  :)
Title: Re: The staff and friends of Grand Duke Mikhail Aleksandrovitch and his wife
Post by: Sunny on March 09, 2005, 07:46:15 PM
Dear Belochka,

"Step-Daughter of Imperial Russia", was written by the daughter of Natalia Sergievna Sheremetevskaya, the Countess Brassova, and her first husband.

It was published in 1940, well before her mother's death, and I obtained a reprint from Royalty Digest.

Her style is quite simple, but it is strong on the details of her youth, and relationship with "Uncle Misha". The telling of her detention by the Bolsheviks, and escape from Russia, plus the nightmare that was created when her mother attempted to sell Michael's awards and orders, so as not to starve, make it worth reading.

From the book:

"One asks oneself what is the use of honouring a man, if one is going to take away from his widow her last means of livelihood? As an honour, it seems rather empty.

I could cry when I think of my mother, of the hopes I raised and the sore disillusionment that followed. I feel somehow responsible.

Morganatic or not, Mamma still remains the widow of the unfortunate man they decorated, the Grand Duke Michael. She is without means. The Grand Duke was closely related by blood to the heads of many states that so honoured him.

After all they are named 'Orders of Chivalry."

*********************************************
Before even Nicholas and his children were murdered Uncle Misha had been shot secretly. Why? Shooting is usually a death reserved for cowards or heroes; he was neither. He was just a gentle, kindly, and simple man, hardly characteristics worthy of death.

Politics ? Can the man who, after he had been despoiled of position and wealth, writes as follows
be a political menace ?

"2nd September 1917. Woke this morning to hear the proclamation of Russia as a Democratic Republic. Is it not all the same, whatever the shape of the government, so long as there be order and justice for everybody."

This was the bloody tyrant that they murdered
."

Sunny


Title: Re: The staff and friends of Grand Duke Mikhail Aleksandrovitch and his wife
Post by: Belochka on March 09, 2005, 08:14:37 PM
Thanks Sunny for your prompt response and additional exerpts! :D

Hopefully this book will be still available for purchase somewhere ...

All the best,

Belochka  ;D

Title: Re: The staff and friends of Grand Duke Mikhail Aleksandrovitch and his wife
Post by: Belochka on March 11, 2005, 12:24:57 AM
Quote
Dear Belochka,

"Step-Daughter of Imperial Russia", was written by the daughter of Natalia Sergievna Sheremetevskaya, the Countess Brassova, and her first husband.

It was published in 1940, well before her mother's death, and I obtained a reprint from Royalty Digest.
Sunny



Hi Sunny,

I managed to purchase a copy of this book at Piccadily books in England yesterday. I never realized there were only 200 reprinted copies!

Now I have to wait patiently for the International snail mail.   :-/
Title: Re: The staff and friends of Grand Duke Mikhail Aleksandrovitch and his wife
Post by: Sunny on March 11, 2005, 05:02:33 AM
Quote


Hi Sunny,
 
I managed to purchase a copy of this book at Piccadily books in England yesterday. I never realized there were only 200 reprinted copies!
 
Now I have to wait patiently for the International snail mail.   :-/



Dear Belochka,

I'm glad that you were able to find the book, and hope that you are pleased with it. Piccadilly Books... puts me in mind of "84 Charing Cross Road".   :)

For quite some time, I've been trying to obtain a copy of Pauline Gray's "The Grand Duke's Woman", at a price remotely resembling reasonable.
The source for "Step-Daughter" is planning a re-print in six months...there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  

By the way, I read your recommendation for "Life on the Russian Country Estate: A social and Cultural History"
and ordered it.

Sunny
Title: Re: The staff and friends of Grand Duke Mikhail Aleksandrovitch and his wife
Post by: AGRBear on March 11, 2005, 04:38:27 PM
What is Royalty Digest?

AGRBear
Title: Re: The staff and friends of Grand Duke Mikhail Aleksandrovitch and his wife
Post by: Belochka on March 11, 2005, 05:07:28 PM
Quote
For quite some time, I've been trying to obtain a copy of Pauline Gray's "The Grand Duke's Woman", at a price remotely resembling reasonable.  
Sunny


Hi Sunny,

I have been searching for the same title as well for over a year. This title is very elusive. :(

Hopefully my previous recommendation will meet with your expectations. It is a very nice informative book. :D
Title: Re: The staff and friends of Grand Duke Mikhail Aleksandrovitch and his wife
Post by: Helen_Azar on March 12, 2005, 10:58:57 AM
Quote
 From "Step Daughter of Imperial Russia" by Nathalie Majolier: " I must mention here Johnson, the secretary. In spite of his extremely English name, he was a complete Russian, in fact he spoke English rather badly and with a strong accent.

Thanks, Sunny! This is exactly what the author of Michael and Natasha said.
Title: Re: The staff and friends of Grand Duke Mikhail Aleksandrovitch and his wife
Post by: AGRBear on March 16, 2005, 03:10:34 PM
Thanks Belochka.

AGRBear
Title: Re: The staff and friends of Grand Duke Mikhail Aleksandrovitch and his wife
Post by: dp5486 on March 20, 2006, 08:39:43 PM
I was reading through “Michael and Natasha” this weekend and I started to wonder what became of their loyal friends. The ones that immediately come to mind are Koka and Maggie Abakanovich, Prince Paul and Princess Olga Putyatin (I do know that they escaped via Malta and their only daughter Nathalie returned after she married and died there), the Schlieffers (Maria and daughters Tania and Marina), Prince Vladimir and Princess Vyazemsky, Alexei Matveev (Natasha’s brother-in-law), and Sergei and Olga Tupitsin (from Perm). Is anything else known about these people?

After Natasha’s escape from Russia, these people seem to fade away and you never hear about what happened to them.

Thanks!
Title: Re: The staff and friends of Grand Duke Mikhail Aleksandrovitch and his wife
Post by: lancashireladandre on March 21, 2006, 07:54:45 AM
I think the Viazemskys ended up in the south of France running a bistro/cafe.The disporsa scattered families to the 4 corners of the world.Prince Gorchakov ended up in Montevideo,his sister Madame Brianchaninova settled in Paris and her 2 married daughters by her marriage to Prince Kudashev settled in Beruit and Scotland !!!.Prince Michael Cantacuzene went to the USA with his american wife but his daughter Zenaida married an englishman while his mother settled with her daughter and family in Mozambique!!!!.Very sad how families are split up by war......
Title: Re: The staff and friends of Grand Duke Mikhail Aleksandrovitch and his wife
Post by: dp5486 on March 21, 2006, 02:46:05 PM
I assumed that being that they didn't come to Natasha's aid during her financial difficulties that they must have found themselves either still in Russia or somewhere else and out of reach. I am assuming that the Tupitsins and perhaps the Abakanovichs remained in Russia.
Title: Re: The staff and friends of Grand Duke Mikhail Aleksandrovitch and his wife
Post by: dp5486 on April 11, 2006, 10:12:07 AM
I also have an interest in the Lusitania sinking so I was surprised to come across mention of the Romanovs connected with one of the passengers.

I recently read that a first class passenger, George L. P. Vernon, was on his way to complete an arms deal with Grand Duke Michael. His wife Inez Jolivet Vernon was a highly accomplished violinist who had been decorated by both King Edward VII and Tsar Nicholas II and due to this fact she was a friend of the family (I am assuming with Grand Duke Michael only). The article also says that the deal was completed by Inez even after her husband was lost in the sinking of the Lusitania.

Has anyone else ever heard mention of this?
Title: Re: The staff and friends of Grand Duke Mikhail Aleksandrovitch and his wife
Post by: Amanda_Misha on March 10, 2007, 08:13:40 PM
It is Russian but he has last name British, poor man, he gives me sadness to think of the anguish of their family
 :'(
Title: Re: The staff and friends of Grand Duke Mikhail Aleksandrovitch and his wife
Post by: ashdean on March 12, 2007, 04:12:45 PM
Does anyone know of the fate of Mme Johnson ?...she was in the UK after the revolution.
Title: Re: The staff and friends of Grand Duke Mikhail Aleksandrovitch and his wife
Post by: dmitri on July 08, 2007, 11:56:32 AM
I always found his end and Grand Duke Michael's particularly sad. They were such close friends. It is a shame they couldn't escape. Natasha and her son George needed Michael so much.
Title: Re: The staff and friends of Grand Duke Mikhail Aleksandrovitch and his wife
Post by: Inok Nikolai on September 24, 2014, 11:42:25 AM
Paul Gilbert reports that the Russian government has officially cleared Johnson's name and "rehabilitated" him:
http://tinyurl.com/n83xfmj
Title: Re: The staff and friends of Grand Duke Mikhail Aleksandrovitch and his wife
Post by: Mikeg99 on April 15, 2015, 05:59:40 PM
Hello , just joined this forum as I have been researching a link with Michael and Natasha . This link relates to their friends ..maggie and Koka abakanovich. I am based in uk on a peninsula opposite liverpool called 'Wirral' . Well maggie abakanovich lived and died here !!!  Her and koka's son ...michael (named after the duke who was his god father) set up a carpet weaving business in the uk and married a woman who actually I know through my job (she was michaels second wife and married him when he was 56 and she was 28) . They never had children but michael had children from his first marriage. . I'm still finding out details after I only started reading about this in feb 2015 after a chance conversation with this lady after I had commented I had been to st Petersburg . The lady is in her 70's now ..but she is interested in getting the story told of her husband and mother in law maggie abakanovich . She said she will bring me some photos in. I will update any information I find out...it's very exciting and an honour .
Whilst I'm doing this ...does anyone know anything about jack hoth ...Maggie's brother?
And Also maybe what ' Koka' is short for?
Thank you..I'm very honoured to be researching this lady and happy that I found this forum!!
Title: Prince Mikhail Aleksandrovich Gorchakov and his wife Princess Olga Orlov
Post by: Wenzel on May 17, 2017, 03:13:52 AM
Prince Mikhail Gorchakov was born in Tsarskoe Selo, his wife Princess Olga Vladimirovna Orlova, was born in their family palace in Petersburg, both left with their parents Russia, as a consequence of the revolution and settled in Germany. When the Red Army was advancing in German territory, they reached Italia with their daughters Olga, future Madame Vassily Vyrubov or Wyruboff, Daria, Serge and two others. When they arrived to South America, they decided through relatives to live in Argentina. Daria moved to the USA when she was married, I must ask Olga who is her husband and Serge lives in Buenos Aires as well. Olga is 86 years old I know her well, she had three daughters from her marriage to Count Vasily Vyrubov or Wyrouboff, her husband who passed away 25 years ago, was the General Manager and CEO of the Bunge Group in Argentina and South America. They were lucky enough to enjoy an excellent standard of living, and are very distinguish and elegant people. Prince Mikhail and Princess Olga are buried in the British Cemetery of Buenos Aires, in the Russian sector, both passed away in the late 1990’s.  Princess Sophie Mikhailovna is actually very ill, nevertheless still enjoys a unique memory and she is magnificent great lady