Alexander Palace Forum

Discussions about the Imperial Family and European Royalty => Marie Feodorovna => Topic started by: mariefeodorovna on May 03, 2005, 08:26:14 AM

Title: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: mariefeodorovna on May 03, 2005, 08:26:14 AM
Hello,

What's your opinion of Marie Feodorovna, the Dowager Empress?  Especially her relationship with Alix, her opinions?  Was she liked during her lifetime? Do you like her or is ther something you dont like? Do you think she infuenced her husband or Nicky at all?

Thanks!  It would be really interesting if you could take part!

MF :)
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: otmafan on May 03, 2005, 08:30:29 AM
I personally think Maria Feodorovna was wrong when she was mean to Alix (of course, I am not saying Alix was always right). She was not loving to her and didn't make her feel welcome in her new country. I think she could have be a little nicer.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: mariefeodorovna on May 03, 2005, 08:42:53 AM
In what ways was Marie 'mean' to Alix?

MF :)
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Laura Mabee on May 03, 2005, 09:08:10 AM
Hiya Mariefeodorovna!
What an interesting question. I know it's been touched upon in many threads. I personally feel sympathy for Maria Feodorovna, however, I do believe her actions were unjust to Alix.

Here (http://hydrogen.pallasweb.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=alix;action=display;num=1102892016) is the thread that might interest you!
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Lass on May 03, 2005, 09:14:16 AM
The Dowager Empress did not think that Alix would make a suitable tsarina, and with good reason. I know that they did not get on, and this would have led to bias on Marie Feodorovna's part, but I think she really did have a valid point. In my opinion, Alix went on to fulfil her mother-in-law's fears.

Besides this, it would be best to bear in mind that at the time of Nicholas' wedding to Alix, the Dowager Empress was in mourning for Alexander III. That must have been a bad start to their relationship, as Marie would not have felt up to making close acquaintance with a young, awkward woman whom she didn't like, directly after the dead of her beloved husband. It seems hard to say that she was 'mean'.

However, you had better also bear in mind that I am biased, as the Dowager Empress was the first Romanov I read about, and remains my favourite. ;)
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: mariefeodorovna on May 03, 2005, 11:00:11 AM
What do you think popular was like back in Russia regarding Marie?  Is there any reverence of her in todays Russia?  I have always wondered!  She is always cast with bright lights  and dark shadows, but I have never truly found out why.  In Coryne Hall's book she does touch upon some of the issues but they are not deeply discussed, eg when she married Sasha after Nixa's death and the viscous gossip around that.

MF :)
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: grandduchessella on May 03, 2005, 12:15:36 PM
I supposed when they (finally!) interr the remains of MF in Russia next to Alexander III you'll be able to see how she is thought of/remembered in the country. I wonder how much ceremony there will be? I have noticed that with the publication of some of her diaries and a couple other things (in Russian) that there could be at least a revival of interest in her.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: LisaDavidson on May 03, 2005, 07:15:28 PM
Quote
Hello,

What's your opinion of Marie Feodorovna, the Dowager Empress?  Especially her relationship with Alix, her opinions?  Was she liked during her lifetime? Do you like her or is ther something you dont like? Do you think she infuenced her husband or Nicky at all?

Thanks!  It would be really interesting if you could take part!

MF :)


A. My opinion - MF was an excellent Empress and wife and a passable mother.
B. Relationship with Alix- Very complex. They got on in the earlier years, were competitive in the middle years and were estranged around the time of the Revolution, mostly over Rasputin. These were two very different women. Alix was an abomination as an Empress, an excellent mother and a good/passable wife.
C. MF was much admired during her lifetime by the people who knew her. Liked is not the word I would use.
D. Do I like her? I admire her, she did her job, and I very much respect that.
E. Unquestionably, she influenced all three tsars she personally knew - Alexanders II and III and her son Nicholas.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Dmitry2 on May 04, 2005, 01:53:29 PM
The Dowager Empress was consumate in her role as Empress.  She was a delightful and charming consort.  

Unfortunately, she did not see past that and realize that her role as Dowager was, in part, to help and ease Alexandra's sudden transition to Empress.

Marie Feodorvna was used to charming and controlling and the new Empress was not the kind of person to succumb to that.  

Olga Alexandrovna hit the nail on the head when she said that the two of them tried ot understand each other but were simply fundamentally different people and could not form that kind of a bond.

Having said that, I think that Marie Feodorovna could have used her experience and influence and even her charm to not take the precedence she was entitled to and to simply deal with Alexandra on Alexandra's own terms.  After all, she recognized the essential nature of her daughter-in-law, but did nothing to work within that framework.

It has always seemed to me that the Dowager Empress was not prepared, either personally, or psychologically, to help the new Empress.

That, I am afraid, was seeking personal gratification and issues over the good of the Empire.  

Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: jehan on May 04, 2005, 05:50:00 PM
Quote
The Dowager Empress was consumate in her role as Empress.  She was a delightful and charming consort.  

Unfortunately, she did not see past that and realize that her role as Dowager was, in part, to help and ease Alexandra's sudden transition to Empress.

Marie Feodorvna was used to charming and controlling and the new Empress was not the kind of person to succumb to that.  



Having said that, I think that Marie Feodorovna could have used her experience and influence and even her charm to not take the precedence she was entitled to and to simply deal with Alexandra on Alexandra's own terms.  After all, she recognized the essential nature of her daughter-in-law, but did nothing to work within that framework.

It has always seemed to me that the Dowager Empress was not prepared, either personally, or psychologically, to help the new Empress.

That, I am afraid, was seeking personal gratification and issues over the good of the Empire.  



I don't know about that- Marie was simply following the longtime Russian tradition that the dowager Empress has precedence- it was the way that things worked in the culture of the court.  She really couldn't change that, even if she wanted to (which I doubt
;) ).  Nicholas couldn't or wouldn't change it either.  It may have been strange to Alix, and it does seem strange to most of us, but it was the way of the court for generations, and surely Alix understood this, or should have.  After all, it was her "job" to conform with Russian traditions and protocol.   Had Marie given precedence to Alix, it would probably not have made Alix more popular- it would have made her MORE unpopular IMHO-  for shoving aside the beloved dowager (in their eyes).

I agree that they were fundamentally different people, and it would have been difficult for them to get along even had Nicholas remained just the heir for 20 years or so after their wedding.  But things would certainly have been easier for both of them had that been the case- Marie would have had more years to shine, and Alix would have had a few years in the background to learn her role and raise her family.  Alexander's early death was a tragedy in so many ways!
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: etonexile on May 04, 2005, 06:04:43 PM
It is the tragedy in every family writ large.... :'(
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: mariefeodorovna on May 07, 2005, 08:28:01 PM
Something which Coryne Hall touched upon in her book on Minnie was the fact that opinions had changed recently on the Dowager Empress - from bad to good.  What has caused this to happen? What was the negative gossip Hall infers?

MF :) Just wondering! Read the book 3 or 4 times and always wondered!  :D
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Svetabel on May 12, 2005, 12:38:28 PM
IMHO the most interesting biography on the Empress MF has been recently written  by A.Bokhanov (in Russian),"Sud'ba imperatrizi" ("A Destiny of the Empress"). The author was basically guided by the materials from  Russian and Danish Archives...so one can see a real face of the Empress through her vast correspondence.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: mariefeodorovna on May 12, 2005, 06:22:28 PM
Hello

Where can I buy this book from?

MF :)
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: RealAnastasia on May 12, 2005, 07:23:37 PM
Hi:

      I think that both women had very different ways to see the life and the world. Marie Feodorovna didn't mean to be mean to Alix. She criticized her, only for she wouldn't act like Alix at all, nor socially, nor politically. Marie was an "Empress comme il faut", this is she loved the great imperial balls, and to be a leader in the imperial society. Alix was a shy, middle-class  minded woman, with high Victorian values, but she couldn't fit the standards that her mother-in-law thought a real Tsaritsa would have.

       My own opinion is that both were good empress, but they have very different styles. For Marie, an empress must be resplendent, sparkling and love socials , beatiful dresses, etc ; For Alix an empress must be over all things a model for all the mothers of Russia, the mother of Russia herself, a religious person. For Alix, religion, family and Russia are her whole life.

     The Marie-Alix  relationships were complex, as mariefeodorovna said. Two woman so different couldn't understand each other well, and besides, both tryed hard to influence Nicky. I can understand both of them, and I like Marie and Alix , however, in very different things. For me, Marie is the ideal empress. Alix, a great mother, a great wife and a deep sincere religious woman.

         RealAnastasia.

             
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: lexi4 on June 05, 2005, 08:42:56 PM
Quote
Unfortunately, she did not see past that and realize that her role as Dowager was, in part, to help and ease Alexandra's sudden transition to Empress.


I don't think she could do much to help Alix as she was mourning the death of her husband.
I also think she was too protective of Nicholas and did nothing to help prepare him to become Tsar. Of course, neither did his father.
But she was a remarkable woman and I am sure we will see how beloved she was when her remains are brought back to Russia.
I like her. I think she was a good wife, a good Empress and did her best with her children.
And I also think, she did her best with Alix, but that was hard because she had just lost her husband.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: koloagirl on June 05, 2005, 10:52:11 PM
 :)

I have mixed feelings about Marie Feodorovna.

I believe that she was a wonderful Empress and a loving wife to Alexander III - she led society and reveled
in her role as Empress.  
I have tremendous sympathy for her losing her husband so unexpectedly....thrusting her into the "Dowager Empress" role at a young age.

As a mother I think she loved her children very much...
however...she became extremely possessive IMO of
each of them and hated to lose influence over them as they grew older.
I really dislike the way she treated Olga....she was
expected to give her life over to her mother (this while
she was in exile at Hvidore....despite the fact that she
was married with a child (children?).  
I have also read that Olga's children (with her 2nd husband) were considered inferior to her other grandchildren as she highly disapproved of Olga's
divorce (annulment?) and re-marriage to a commoner.

But how can you not be sympathetic to a woman who
after all ending up by losing so much - including her
nearest and dearest - to the revolution?   :'(

Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: PssMarieAmelie on June 06, 2005, 02:19:30 AM
I personally admire her, as I do all of Christian IX's daughters- she was a fantastic Empress, a wonderful wife and she did the best she could with her children. I also think that she tried her best with Aleksandra, her daughter in law- but I guess they just had different values.All in all- she did her job and she did her job well.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Fawzia on June 06, 2005, 08:08:27 AM
It was always very sad to me, or maybe it was better for her, that up until the day she died she never believed for a second that Nicholas and his family had been murdered.   :'(
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: grandduchessella on June 06, 2005, 08:22:10 AM
Not to mention Misha.  :(

She outlived all 4 of her sons (GD Alexander died as an infant) and 6 of her grandchildren (including Misha's son George--the last link to him).
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: TampaBay on June 06, 2005, 09:02:37 AM
Marie became Russian with all the Good and Bad associated with being Russian.

Alexandra tried to stay English/German with all the Good and Bad associated with being English/German.

Marie was in Russia for 17 years before becoming Empress.  She had a 17 apprenticeship.

Alexandra was in Russia for what a month or less before becoming Empress.  She had no apprenticeship.

Even if the Marie and Alexandra possessed compatible personalities problems would still have developed.

In my opinion, the problem was Nicholas II not Alexandra & Marie.

TampaBay
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: hikaru on June 13, 2005, 09:10:18 AM
I adore Marie Feodorovna.
She overpassed a lot  of tragedies because of two main features:
1. she was like child - her heart was
every minute open and she was ready  to  be surprised even when she was 70 years
2. She never took the news close to her heart which was the  main difference with Alix was that Alix every
bad news took very close to her heart - i.e. she worried a lot , (as many normal persons).

I think that Maria did not worry about children as Alix do.For Maria her duties as Empresse was more important than her mother duties ( it was usual ) but for Alix her mother's duties was more important.
It is hard to compare.
So for Maria Feodorovna, Alix's position was wrong, nevertheless, she tried to love Alix for the first  period of time.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Finelly on June 16, 2005, 09:42:51 PM
I totally admire Maria Federovna.  She was a wonderful wife to a husband who was a bit difficult and certainly very different from her.  She adapted extremely well to her new country and embraced RUssia and the Russians in a way that Alix never did.  She ran the court instead of avoiding it as Alix did.  She had excellent social skills and the ability to influence others in her own charming way.  From what I've read of her marriage, she and Alexander were equal partners who respected one another enormously.  Neither dominated, unlike Nicky/Alix.  
Alix's problem was that she appears to have suffered from chronic depression and social anxiety.  This made her isolate herself and become a hypochondriac.  The more she was isolated, the less in touch with reality she was.  Her whole WORLD was Nicky and her children, plus Rasputin, who served to provide her with some semblence of hope.  Nobody was able to force her to confront reality and take responsibility for things, or to deal with the obligations she kept letting go of.
No wonder Maria F was frustrated!
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Alexander_II on June 21, 2005, 07:55:58 AM
The major difference between the two women was that Marie Feodorovna was an extrovert whilst Alexandra Feodorovna was quite introverted as a person yet nevertheless, very determined.

Royality is theatrical.  Appearance, confidence and duty are paramount.  The glittering decadence of the Russian court demanded flashy monarchs and in this role the Dowager Empress played her part to perfection.  She understood the people, customs and expectations of her adopted country and as a consequence was greatly loved and venerated by both young and old Russians alike.  In Anglo-Saxon countries, to be reserved is considered a form of courtesy whilst in Russian it verges on rudeness.

Today we encourage individuality in theory anyhow but then, the matriarchs powers were beyond reproach even if they were deemed as being harsh and unjust.

The person who deserves the greatest compassion was the Emperor.  It was very difficult to balance the social and economical problems that confronted him yet alone the will of these two very determined women.

I believe that whilst we can now all sympathise with the Empresses shyness, vulnerability and fate, history has proven that both Alexander III and Marie Feodorovna were prudent to regard her demeanor as unsuitable for the role of consort to the future Emperor of all the Russia's.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Lass on June 21, 2005, 08:12:07 AM
Quote
I believe that whilst we can now all sympathise with the Empresses shyness, vulnerability and fate, history has proven that both Alexander III and Marie Feodorovna were prudent to regard her demeanor as unsuitable for the role of consort to the future Emperor of all the Russia's.


That's exactly what I think. By the way, welcome to the board, Alexander_II! :)
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: bluetoria on June 23, 2005, 10:55:51 AM
I think that MF & Alix were such different characters it was impossible for the former to understand the latter. Considering their background and upbringing their lives were so different from the start. Perhaps MF had a more pragmatic outlook (as when she dealt with the death of her first fiance) & couldn't 'reach' the depths of Alix's more contemplative character.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Finelly on June 23, 2005, 10:12:58 PM
Marie was far better suited to be an Empress than Alexandra was.  She had the social skills, the ability to balance out her husband and deflect some of his more boorish characteristics, was better able to cope with loss and tragedy, and was probably much stronger emotionally than her daughter in law.

I don't see Alexandra as so much contemplative as self-absorbed.  Marie seemed to have risen above the bad things in her life and done what needed to be done.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: bluetoria on June 24, 2005, 11:36:15 AM
Quote
Marie was far better suited to be an Empress than Alexandra was.  She had the social skills, the ability to balance out her husband and deflect some of his more boorish characteristics, was better able to cope with loss and tragedy, and was probably much stronger emotionally than her daughter in law.



Oh yes, I agree with you. MF had the flair for the role which Alix lacked. But, like her sister, she seemed to want to keep Nicholas first as her son - a relationship she seemed to view as more important than that of a husband & wife. I think there was some hidden jealousy in her treatment of Alix, whom I don't think she helped in any way to adjust herself to the new role in which she found herself. I know that MF was dealing with thedeath of her husband, but I think her reluctance to hand over the role of Empress to Alix, made things even more difficult for her.


Quote

I don't see Alexandra as so much contemplative as self-absorbed.  


Introspective, perhaps? I think she was a far more spiritual person than MF & also a far 'deeper' character. Neither of them can be blamed for this, imo. Just different characters.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: pinklady on June 26, 2005, 06:56:02 AM
Marie was much better suited to the role of Russian Empress and did her "job" extremely well.
Alix was shy and introverted and had a much more serious personality.
The big difference between the two women was that Alix had only one son who was hemophiliac, that is why she worried so much and was more family orientated than Marie, I think.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: bluetoria on June 26, 2005, 07:35:29 AM
Also MF had managed to produce 'the heir & a couple of spares' in a relatively short time. For the first decade of the reign, Alix had that anxiety hanging over her.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Jackswife on July 02, 2005, 08:22:06 AM
 These are all very interesting discussions. I have always believed that Marie felt Alix wasn't "good enough" for Nicholas, and she also felt (rightly so, as it turned out) that Alix was ill-suited for the position of Empress. If Nicholas had chosen someone more outgoing and sociable for his wife it would have made a great difference in the course of Russian history, I imagine.  With Alexander III and Marie, it was a more or less arranged marriage at first that led to genuine love over time, where as with Nicholas and Alexandra it was a love match from the start. Nicholas didn't choose someone whom he knew  would make the perfect  Tsarina ; he married the love of his life for better for worse, and I think Marie was completely baffled by this.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Jackswife on July 02, 2005, 03:53:36 PM
 I think such a comment about Ernie and Ducky seems to sound very harsh and cruel, but at the time it fits in perfectly with the standards of the day among royals. Status, position, and morals (at least in the outward show) meant everything to that era, and Marie knew as well as any other royal lady what the expectations were of what was considered  "proper" behavior. It was the same with her own daughter Olga who chose to leave her very unsatisfying first marriage to marry a "commoner" (with whom she was evidently quite happy). To Marie, such an idea was unthinkable. I'm not defending Marie's remarks, I'm just saying that for the times in which she lived, it was probably a fairly typical sentiment among royal families to avoid any kind of scandalous behaviors.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: grandduchessella on July 03, 2005, 12:04:21 PM
She was agreeing with something Nicholas had raised first.

NII to MF: "In a case like this even the loss of a dear person is better than the general disgrace of a divorce."

MF to NII: "But I myself entirely agree with you when you say that even the loss of a dear person is better than the general disgrace of a divorce."

So if MF is spiteful, I guess NII is too.  :-/
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: BobAtchison on July 04, 2005, 09:54:47 AM
Marie loved court life, parties, balls, gala dinners and the like.  She loved being the center of attention and fashion.  She also had a number of years to learn her job before being Empress, which Alix never had.  Marie's mother-in-law retreated from court life as her health worstened and the scandal of Alexander II's affair with Catherine  developed.  Marie stepped into the gap, still as the wife of the Tsarevich.  I am sure Marie made many mistakes along the way but those have been forgotten or overlooked with the passage of time.  In any case her husband had to restrain Marie's party nature.  Alexander III stayed away from the Alexander Palace during the 'season' because the palace was too close to the 'smart set' of Tsarskoe Selo and his wife was always entertaining or going to parties there.  He took his wife and family to Gatchina where the social life was dead and their were no invitations to be declined.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: NAAOTMA on July 04, 2005, 10:33:19 AM
Could any daughter-in-law gotten along with the Dowager Empress? She didn't care for Alix, a person totally opposite her in character. But would she have gotten along any better with someone who was her mirror image? That would have been a terrifically competitive situation in a very different way than it was with Alix.



Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Sarai on July 09, 2005, 03:30:49 PM
Quote
Could any daughter-in-law gotten along with the Dowager Empress? She didn't care for Alix, a person totally opposite her in character. But would she have gotten along any better with someone who was her mirror image? That would have been a terrifically competitive situation in a very different way than it was with Alix.


At first I was inclined to say that she would get along better with a DIL who was more outgoing, but you raise a good point that they may have been too competitive with each other. It seems to me that it would have been very difficult to be her DIL in any case, as Marie still wanted to be the center of attention after the premature death of her husband and her early retirement to Dowager Empress status. She also was a possessive mother and perhaps the type that thought no woman would ever have been good enough for her little boy.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: NAAOTMA on July 11, 2005, 10:32:19 PM
As a daugher in law (my mother in law was a wonderful, generous woman who treated me and my husband as a special unit from the day of our marriage until the day she died) and as a mother in law myself, I really think that anyone would of had a very difficult time with Marie...perhaps someone not quite as charming, not quite as social, not quite as fashionable...a step just below so Marie would not feel threatened...but she seems a classic "Queen Bee" to me, even though I have much sympathy for her personal situation in the various situations she found herself in throughout her life. One thing about her that I do NOT understand is her coldness toward her grandchildren from GD Olga's second marriage. And I say that as a grandmama who cannot imagine being cold toward a grandchild, period.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: grandduchessella on July 12, 2005, 05:30:32 PM
I think as long as the DIL was properly deferential (and not resentful over it) there could've been a good enough relationship. Alix, despite some of her carping, had a pretty good relationship with QM. She writes to her very fondly and was especially appreciative of how QM always took her deafness into account. QA, like MF, didn't want to give up many of her Queenly symbols--certain jewels, moving out of one of the homes (not Sandringham which was left to her for her lifetime), etc....QM accepted it gracefully and didn't put up a fuss. Alix got her nose put out of joint early and didn't seem to take MF's extreme grief over AIII into consideration. Not only did MF love her position, but there were reminders of the life she'd led with her husband. Alix seemed to pull NII between the two of them whereas QM, even if she didn't like it, accepted that QA needed GV both as a rock after her widowhood but also going back to Eddy's death as her only surviving son.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Alexander_II on August 03, 2005, 09:09:48 AM
The French philosopher Rousseau once penned a famous phrase, "A young woman nourishes her complexion in the same fashion as an older woman nourishes her brain".  The moral of the phrase is twofold.  Firstly, that youth and beauty allow a woman certain privileges and indiscretion however, once her youth has gone if she hasn't developed and sharpened her intelligence she will quickly vanish into oblivion.  The second moral significance of the phrase is that young women should be respectful and wary of older women because if you attempt to outplay them, they will use their intelligence in a subtle but direct fashion to eventually destroy your reputation.

In Russian there is also a saying which translates into the following, "A man can have many wives but he has only one mother".  It is partly this view which gave the Dowager Empress in Russia precedence over the reigning Empress.  The Dowager Empress had assumably earned the respect of her subjects whilst the young Empress had yet to earn it and part of the test was the way in which she tactfully displayed and acknowledged the accomplishments of the formers glory.  This was no different in the French court.  The mistress of the king ruled the court however, women like the Marquise de Pompadour were respected for her tact and recognition of the queens function and position whilst self glorifed attention seekers like the Comtesse Du Barry were tolerated but not well liked.

The Empress Alexandra was an excellent mother but we must understand that this was not seen as a virtuous attribute of an empress or for that matter any career minded woman in todays society.  My great great grandmother was a socialite.  She claims to have loved her children but only had luncheon with them each day and thereafter visited them in the nursery in the evenings to show herself in all her finery before hitting the St Petersburg social life.  My great grandmother said she was a doll we could never touch because she was frightened one of the children could crease her skirts.  This regrettably was the fate of many children born to prominent parents but considered quite the norm at the time.  It is interesting to note that the Empresses inclination to withdraw from society into an intimate family circle was often associated to the dowdy characteristics and behaviour of her grandmother, Queen Victoria who during her reign did much to damage the image of the English monarchy after the death of her husband, Prince Albert, purely by making herself inassessible to her subjects.    
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Alixz on August 21, 2005, 10:32:35 PM
There is a quote that includes, "a pause in the day's occupation, that is known as the children's hour." ( I think it is from a poem entitled The Children's Hour)

In society homes, children were indeed seen and not heard and were allotted one hour each day in the early evening to be presented to their parents.

Normally this hour would be at tea time and the children would be washed a dressed and then sent to spend time sitting quietly with their parents.

As to the ill will between Marie and Alix,

I think that both Marie and Alix just forgot where they came from.  Neither had an auspicious beginning and the prospects of both were not all that good.  Both took the role of Autocrat to heart even though both got to that position as a long shot.

But, in another thread, some mentioned that Alix even slighted her grandmother QV in precedence after her marriage, so why would she be content to let Marie (someone she didn't even like) shine?




Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: joye on August 02, 2006, 01:04:02 AM
I was surprised to read how MF treated her sister, Queen Alexandra  during her widowhood.  She was always urging her to take precedence over Queen Mary.An explanation of this is that in Russia, she had precendence over Alix, the ruling Tsar's wife.I admire Dagmar, but would have thought she would have been more insightful regarding her daughter Olga'a  first marriage.,,  I seem  to remember reading she asked the question about Sandro, Xenias's husband, about whether he was gay, but apparently

did not

 about Olga's 1st husband. And to let your daughter suffer for 13years is off in my way of thinking. She did her royal duty, but her family paid a price.

Signed HRH
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: joye on August 02, 2006, 01:07:35 AM
I was surprised to read how MF treated her sister, Queen Alexandra  during her widowhood.  She was always urging her to take precedence over Queen Mary.An explanation of this is that in Russia, she had precendence over Alix, the ruling Tsar's wife.I admire Dagmar, but would have thought she would have been more insightful regarding her daughter Olga'a  first marriage.,,  I seem  to remember reading she asked the question about Sandro, Xenias's husband, about whether he was gay, but apparently

did not

 about Olga's 1st husband. And to let your daughter suffer for 13years is off in my way of thinking. She did her royal duty, but her family paid a price.

Signed HRH
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Eric_Lowe on August 02, 2006, 03:25:04 AM
Well...I think Vicky (Empress Frederick) nailed the situation in her letter to Sophie saying that Alicky was ambitious and thought herself to be so clever and important that she will be hard to controll. With a husband like Nicky, her ambition went to her head without check. Dagmar wasn't that into politics, but felt herself to be the carrier of her husband's torch. She felt Nicky wasn't the one to fill Sasha's shoes (she was proved right of course...sadly). That was the reason she pushed herself forward, which made her directly against Alicky.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Caleb on August 19, 2006, 03:13:36 PM
I do think that Minnie was too overprotective of her children & that may have accounted for Nicholas's weakness. I also think that she seemed to be more bossy & less polite to family than Queen Alexandra.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Eric_Lowe on August 20, 2006, 08:31:09 PM
Well..I think Minny loved her family and her children felt their love. However she tried to do it all and became over protective, so Nicky end up being a "mama's boy". To be fair, Minny did all was required of her as a Russian Empress and did her best to keep the peace within the troublesome Romanov family. That cannot be an easy task (she was the only popular member of the Imperial Family within the court AND among the common people).  ;)
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna - Your Opinion
Post by: Katherine The O.K. on August 20, 2006, 09:27:20 PM
I think Marie was an excellent empress, good wife, and ok mother, as some other have said.

I think she was a very intelligent woman, who never had her intellectual capabilities fully developed- she was also quick to judge and somewhat immature.

Alix, on the other hand, was not nearly as bright as her mother in law (not that she was stupid, but one really only has to read the letters of these women to realize what a vast gulf lay between them), naive, and also immature, but in a shy, nervous way. She was a great deal more reserved.

I think they clashed for all these reasons- it wasn't simply that Alix was taking the place of Marie in Nicky's life, it was that she and Marie shared almost NO interests. They had nothing to base a relationship on.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Eric_Lowe on August 20, 2006, 09:46:13 PM
I think Minny was one of the most well read of the three sisters. She also had street smarts and know how to react and handle people (the fact that she was able to use her tact and charm to disarm politicans and rival family members (like Michen) alike was a great achievement for any consort). however Minny was no intellectual and did not have the far sights of politicans to handling the difficult part of ruling. She understood this very well (unlike Alicky, who was ironically much more intellectual than her). I think the only thing Alicky and Minny share was the concern for the imperial children.  ;)
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna - Your Opinion
Post by: ilyala on August 22, 2006, 10:04:37 AM
as far as intellectual goes, i think alix was more intellectual than minnie, meaning she probably read more. but it was a sort of bookworm intelligence that she developed, rather than the social intelligence of minnie which was much more useful in the whole empress of russia situation.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Eric_Lowe on August 22, 2006, 08:53:04 PM
Yes ! It helps that Minny likes to meet people, while for Alicky it was a chore to be endured.  ::)
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: James1941 on August 25, 2006, 11:04:54 AM
Normally the Empress became Head of the Russian Red Cross upon the succession of her husband as Sovereign Emperor. Minnie, however, refused to relinquish that role to Alexandra, just as she refused to relinquish the jewels that should have gone to Alexandra. Alexandra won the fight over the jewels but lost the one over the Red Cross. Minnie continued to head it, and she continued to protect her protege who ran the Red Cross. This man was grossly corrupt and stole millions of roubles from the organization to the point that it became something of a scandal. And yet Minnie refused to dismiss him. When the war came in 1914 the Russian Red Cross was so totally incompetent that private individuals had to organize hospitals and hospital trains. Could it have been than the empress dowager profitted from this corruption? And Minnie was political. She was a bad judge of persons and many of her recommendations to Nicholas for appointments to high office were very bad. She was conservative and her influence on Nicholas in the beginning led him to make many bad choices. He was inclined that way, of course, but without his mother's influence he might have listened to other opinions. Alexandra won the battle for influence over Nicholas and Marie was slowly shut out so that by 1916 Nicholas hardly listented to her but that was her own fault. Private memoirs relate that both Queen Alexandra and Empress Marie could be charming in public but in private they were petty and selfish, insisting getting their own way above all else.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Janet_W. on August 25, 2006, 12:10:13 PM
Thank you, James, for the information re: the Red Cross. I hadn't been aware of that situation. Despite Marie's personal charisama, my empathies are all the more for her daughter-in-law.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: LisaDavidson on August 25, 2006, 02:42:29 PM
Well, there are certainly two sides to this particular story. On one side is MF, who was a wonderful empress and a passable mother, who could be petty and strong willed, but had many friends and acquaintances. On the other is AF, who was a horrible empress, a devoted wife and mother, who could also be difficult, and was a wonderful friend to the few she had. I think it's a shame they could not have been friends for Nicholas' sake. My own husband is grateful that his mother and I are friends - he is never caught between the two women he loves best.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Alixz on August 25, 2006, 07:18:47 PM
When speaking of intelligence gained from reading as opposed to that gained from dealing with eveyday situations, I believe we call that "book smart and life stupid".

Alix was "book smart and life stupid".

Minnie and her sister Alexandra were petty and selfish and very controlling when it came to their children. 

While I don't belive that Minnie should have disappered into "widowhood" after the death of AIII, I think she could have shown Alix a little more compassion and sympathy.  I think that Minnie was just plain jealous and not ready to retire.  She didn't want to give up the rights and privileges of Empress. 

She was popular and she could have done a lot to help Alix, but instead, she fought with her over everything big and small.  Again, she was being selfish and petty.

Minnie came a long way from the "Yellow Palace" in Denmark and waiting tables for her own parents and sewing her own clothes to the height of Empress.  She simply forgot where she came from.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: grandduchessella on August 25, 2006, 07:45:35 PM
Just a bad situation all around. Perhaps Alix should've allowed Nicholas more time with his mother, so newly widowed and distressed, as well as having to adjust to not being Empress. It was just unfortunate that 2 women, so different in so many key ways, were thrust together in such a stressful and emotional time, with both of them needing Nicholas's time and attention. I think there's plenty of blame and sympathy to go around for both women concerning this particular period.

Certainly MF was very aware of her perogatives and privileges as Empress from the first to the last. She almost stirred up dissension between another set of mother/daughter-in-laws, Alexandra and Mary, who were very different in temperament, by telling Alexandra not to relinquish certain privileges to her successor.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Eric_Lowe on August 26, 2006, 12:05:30 AM
I think had Nicholas II was another like his father (he remain boss until the time he died). He would have controlled the two most influenceial women in his life. But he was a wimp and led them guide him ! A bad situation... >:(
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: LisaDavidson on August 27, 2006, 11:08:16 AM
Eric - you are entitled to your very sexist and mysogynistic opinion, but I find your comments disrespectful to women. Women are not to be "controlled" like animals, and just because Nicholas II wasn't like this does not make him a wimp.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Robert_Hall on August 27, 2006, 11:54:37 AM
Perhaps "wimp" is a bad choice of word, but it is not secret that Nicholas was emotionally badgered by both his mother & wife. He was also weak and indecisive. I see nothing sexist in that assessment.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: LisaDavidson on August 27, 2006, 02:06:30 PM
That's because there isn't. It's sexist to say that women should be controlled by men. Behind such rhetoric are the corpses of women beaten and killed by men seeking "Control". We don't need that here, do we?
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Robert_Hall on August 27, 2006, 02:20:24 PM
Of course not, Lisa. I guess I just did not see the comment in such strong terms
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna - Your Opinion
Post by: Forum Admin on August 27, 2006, 03:26:19 PM
English is clearly not Eric's first language.  I suspect that he did not really mean anything nearly as sexist as it may have come out, and I think Robert was just interpreting what Eric really meant.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: LisaDavidson on August 27, 2006, 05:00:44 PM
And you are probably right. I suppose having family and friends who have been subject to such "control" - and it's consequences - makes me mindful when someone starts talking that way. The poster's comment was very likely not meant the way it sounded, points taken, Robert and Bob.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna - Your Opinion
Post by: Forum Admin on August 27, 2006, 06:38:04 PM
just fyi Lisa,

FA is always Rob. Bob only posts here under his own name. In fact, he doesn't even know, or even want to know, my password as FA.

Rob
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Eric_Lowe on August 27, 2006, 09:19:41 PM
Indeed ! I did not mean that men should "control" woman. However as a soverign, Nicholas should be making decisions by himself like his father (without interferrence from his wife). Instead he was weak and got influrence by both women (who were not qualified to make decisions of state). Minnie operated from instinct while Alicky trusted Rasputin and his goons...Recipie for disaster. If Nicholas could have made up his mind about issues and put those two women back in their places (as mothers and grandmothers, leaders of society...etc). His life and those of Russia could have been better. Of the two women though, Minny knew her own short-comings and did ask for opinions in trusted advisors like Witte, while Alicky believed in herself and her power (just as Vicky had feared). :( 
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: James1941 on September 01, 2006, 12:15:45 PM
It was decided to build a new imperial yacht to replace the older Polar Star. This yacht was to be the famous Standart. There were good shipyards in Russia which could have easily built the yacht, and given jobs to Russian workers. Instead, at Marie Feodorvna's pestered her husband to award the job to a Danish shipyard. She did so because her father, King Christian, had been sending her letters asking her to help with the unemployment in the Danish yards. So the job went to Denmark.
She was a ferverent supporter of Witte. He was a disaster for Russia. His fanancial policy of rapid industrialization brought economic horror for the Russian peasant. For the first time in living memory there was famine in Russia. Alexander III shrugged this off as just a "shortage of wheat." Yet, at the time when hunderds of thousands of his people were starving and dying, ships left Odessa loaded with wheat. Russia was importing wheat in a time of famine. Why? Because this brought the much needed foreign exchange Witte needed to make his policy work. Witte bragged about balancing the budget and even in maintaining a surplus. But this was all fincancial voodoo. He himself admitted in a moment of rare candor that his budget balancing was merely the trick of moving figures around to create an illussion. In truth, he honestly decalred, Russia was 'flat broke." To help maintain the illusion of a balanced budget he burdened Russia with a huge foreign debt.
Marie Feodorovna's most pernicious act was to work, from the day she arrived in Russia as a bride, to tear Russia away from its traditional and sensible alliance with Germany. She constantly was trying to get Russia to help Denmark regain Schlesvig and to help it revenge itself against the hated Prussians. Her father in law, Alexander II, rebuffed her efforts and maintained the alliance. But when Alexander III came to the throne Russia began to abandon its alliance and to gravitate to France, and later Britain. Both were traditional enemies of Russia. And, as it turned out, the alliance meant disaster for Russia. Both were quite willing to fight Germany to the last drop of Russian blood. Her efforts brought the end of her dynasty and personal tragedy to her family. She has much to answer for in the court of history.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Robert_Hall on September 01, 2006, 12:36:41 PM
Just about everything you say about her may very well be true, James1941, however, she did not bring down the dynasty single-handedly did she? It took a lot more than her to do that.  Including the family itself. Inept leadership, greed, corruption and overwhelming injustice amongst other factors come to mind.  Marie may have indeed been influential in some instances- the yacht example being an excellent one, but overall, I do not think she had much say in the decisions Alex.III made.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: James1941 on September 01, 2006, 02:28:44 PM
I agree wholeheartedly with you that Marie Feodorvna cannot be blamed entirely for the downfall of the Romanovs. In that she had plenty of help. But she bears a great deal of responsibility. As for her influence over her husband, I will submit that it was subtle rather than outright. A.A. Polovtsov who was the Secretary to the Council of State noted that the empress badgered him for years to send her the reports on the Council's meetings, even though the emperor had resisted her demands. She also had provincial governors submit reports to her without informing the emperor. She certainly exercised direct influence with her son. A.A. Bobrinsky recounted in his memoirs that it was common knowledge in the capital among those in the know that Nicholas more than once had told a minister to wait for his answer while he went to consult with his mother. On questions of appointments Nicholas would invariably reply "Go and ask my mother," or "I will ask my mother," or "It is necessary to ask mama." She was not the best judge of character and many of her recommendations for positions of high importance in the state were disastrous. In 1895 the British Foreign Minister Lord Salisbury told Sir Frank Lascelles who had been the British ambassador to Russia from 1894 to 1895 that the whole machinery of the Russian government was in the hands of Marie Feodorovna and Count Witte. Lascelles disagreed. Witte, he countered, had little influence.
Like all people "Minnie" cannot be judged in black or white but in many shades of gray. Many Russians and foreigners of that time fully recognized the direct influence she had on affairs, and many were dismayed by it.
One more example. General N. V. Kleigels was a protoge of the Dowager Empress. In 1900 he was made Commandant of St. Petersburg, mainly through Maire Feodorovna's patronage. He teamed up with the Grand Duke Sergei Mikhailovich and his mistress Mathilde Kschessinska to engage in shameless corruption in selling contracts and other deals that rewarded them handsomely. His embezzlement of large sums from funds earmarked for the fire brigade of the city soon became an open scandal. Nicholas II finally had to dismiss him. But instead of being brought to trial, which would have embarassed the dowager empress, he was appointed governor of Kiev, again at Marie's insistence. She was not just the beautiful, bejewelled fun loving little mother of Russia whom every supposedly admired and loved.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Robert_Hall on September 01, 2006, 03:03:33 PM
No argument there, James. Especially at the begining of NII's reign.  I have read about corruption scandals from Marie's appointments and patronages. I think there was even one involving the Russian Red Cross ! Not sure of the details but will try to look them up.
 Of course the tug-of-war between Marie & Alexandra over Nicholas is infamous. And ulitimately disastorous At least Marie did not have a Rasputin- that I know of.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Eric_Lowe on September 01, 2006, 08:46:23 PM
I totally agree with you. Minny cannot be blamed with the demise of the Imperial Russia. She did not have the same poltical influrence as Alicky. Sasha was his own man and would not let Minny or her relatives influeence his political decision. It was after his death that Minny came into the arena (as the poltical sucessor of her husband to her son "Your father will have/not have done this..."). Had Nicky had any backbone, he could have told her to shove it (like GV told QA not to meddle in political affairs). Now there is also Alicky... >:(
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: dmitri on April 25, 2007, 09:18:08 AM
Marie Feodorovna was a great Russian Empress. It is a pity her advice was not more often listened to by her son Nicholas II. She was against world war one knowing Russia could not afford war. This was a wise woman who saw all that she and her husband come to ruin due to her weak son and Alexandra who many believe was unhinged. It was all a great tragedy. You would think a novice Empress like Alexandra would have bowed to Marie and tried to learn how to be an Empress from her. Sadly she was too proud and instead of courting the public she shut herself off from it.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Eric_Lowe on April 25, 2007, 11:18:43 PM
True ! If Alicky had bow to Minny (like Queen Mary to Queen Alexandra of Great Britian), she could have leaned moderation. However Alicky did have a belief that she was intelligent to rule and so ignored Minny, that she only came to Russia as an Empress and not very experienced was brushed aside. Most agreed that Alicky should stick to domestics and leave the ruling to her husband.  :(
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna - Your Opinion
Post by: Laura_ on April 26, 2007, 07:20:15 AM
Marie Feodorovna was a great Russian Empress. It is a pity her advice was not more often listened to by her son Nicholas II. She was against world war one knowing Russia could not afford war. This was a wise woman who saw all that she and her husband come to ruin due to her weak son and Alexandra who many believe was unhinged. It was all a great tragedy. You would think a novice Empress like Alexandra would have bowed to Marie and tried to learn how to be an Empress from her. Sadly she was too proud and instead of courting the public she shut herself off from it.

i totally agree very well stated dmitri.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Noelle Royale on April 26, 2007, 06:56:17 PM
Tsaritsa Marie Feodorovna was a great Empress.She certainly looked the part.The way she apated to all tha grandeur and luxury in the Great Imperial Court of the Russias is amazing.I mean, as Her Royal Highness The Princess Dagmar of Denmark and as a member of the less wealthier Royal Family of Denmark she seemed to have come into her Imperial positin naturally.I love the fact she loved balls and parties and loved beautiful jewelry.And like her sister the beautiful Queen Alexandra the Queen and Empress,she had excellent taste in fashion.I also liked all that traveling on board her own Imperial Yacht.I bet the Danes would ooh and aah whenever she would come for a visit with all that show of Imperial affluence.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Eric_Lowe on April 26, 2007, 07:58:06 PM
Yes Dagmar did give value for money. She know PR before such a term exist and got along with most of her in-laws afte she arrived in Russia. After she became Tsarista, Dagmar played the part to perfection. The way she balance her majectic part with a friendiness that appeal to a mass Russian audience is worthy of study. The fact that the Dowager Tsarista was the most popluar member of the Imperial family up to the Revolution spoke volumes.  ;)
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Yelena Aleksandrovna on September 16, 2009, 08:23:35 PM
She is one of my favorite tsarinas. She was excellent in her charge. A good hearted woman.
Also beautiful and intelligent. I consider her a good mother and wife. I also admire her style
for get her gowns that are very elegant and all her jewelry. Although she wasn't born Russian, she
became interested sincerely in Russian culture. ;-)
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: violetta on February 26, 2010, 05:00:28 AM
IMHO the most interesting biography on the Empress MF has been recently written  by A.Bokhanov (in Russian),"Sud'ba imperatrizi" ("A Destiny of the Empress"). The author was basically guided by the materials from  Russian and Danish Archives...so one can see a real face of the Empress through her vast correspondence.

I do agree with you,Sveta.The book gives you a wonderful insight into her inner and family life.it recounts the details of her engagement first to Nixa and then to Alexander. I do find her relationship with her husband really worth our admiration. the book also shows that despite her love of balls and social life, the dowager empress never came over the death of her beloved husband. even 25 years after his death she writes in her diary about pain in her heart when "out Good Lord took mu Sasha". the book contains a lot of personal correspondence. I would call this book both touching and informative.really worth reading if you want to know about Marie Fedorovna herself not just her unfair treatment of poor Alix.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Kalafrana on February 26, 2010, 06:47:45 AM
Marie Feodorovna was barely 47 when her husband died, so rather young to retire from public life.

She may not have handled the differences with Alexandra terribly well, but I doubt that Alexandra did anything to help herself. Marie Feodorovna had been against Nicholas marrying Alexandra - and her judgement was proved right on this one. Was she also against Nicholas marrying immediately after his father's death? I'm not sure, but I imagine that she would have preferred him to wait until the formal mourning was over. That's not a good start to a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law relationship, even if the two had not been totally different people. alexandra's conviction that she was always right and refusal to follow advice would hardly have helped.

Ann
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Eric_Lowe on February 26, 2010, 09:37:12 AM
I agree with you 100% Ann.

Marie knew the introverted & shy Alicky would find public life daunting, and it was a problem she never had herself. Her daughter Olga Alexandrovna said her mother was made for the role as she was never afraid to meet people and chit chat with strangers, In fact she shone in this type of envoirnment. In actual fact, although Alicky was the sister of the sociable accomplished Ella, she was not like her at all. Marie was bossy but never unkindly, while Alicky was sensative and prone to be depressed in nature. It was not a good fit for a close relationship between mother and daughter-in-law.

Eric
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: AnastasiaNikolaevna on July 27, 2010, 09:59:11 AM
Hmm...Well, everybody has opinions, but I feel the way she treated Alix was a bit harsh, to say the least. After all, she was foreign, too! I don't know very much about her, but the anecdotes I've heard about her seem like she wasn't the nicest person in the family!
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Eric_Lowe on July 27, 2010, 11:48:36 AM
I don't think so, she was never mean or cruel yet she wasn't too attentive to Alicky, who was super sensative. Minny who had years of experience as empress expected Alicky to follow her lead, but the stubborn younger woman had ideas of her own.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: AnastasiaNikolaevna on July 27, 2010, 12:36:57 PM
That is true.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Eric_Lowe on July 27, 2010, 12:54:33 PM
Indeed. Alicky's innate shyness put her in a difficult position as the first lady in Russia, while MF always made people felt welcome and smooth the path for difficult situations.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: AnastasiaNikolaevna on July 27, 2010, 01:06:37 PM
That's true. It might not be that ________ was mean, just that their different personalities didn't get along very well.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Eric_Lowe on July 27, 2010, 08:03:31 PM
Well...Olga Alexandrovna said it in her memoirs that her mother enjoyed being Empress of Russia and loved socializing. Poor Alicky was shy and tongue-tied when meeting strangers.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: AnastasiaNikolaevna on July 28, 2010, 07:24:49 AM
Right...and Alix got those terrible red patches from her nerves, which Anastasia inherited.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Eric_Lowe on July 28, 2010, 07:55:56 AM
Yes. However when she was relaxed and well, she could be good company to her intimate circle. Sad that few saw that side of her...
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: AnastasiaNikolaevna on July 28, 2010, 08:30:48 AM
Yes. I guess it was just big crowds of people that scared her.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Nicolá De Valerón on July 28, 2010, 09:10:41 AM
Little 5 cents;).

I'm not an expert exactly about Marie's life, but some thoughts and my personal opinion...

Great woman, excellent mother and unfortunately totally unrealised as a Russian leader. Sadly, but after N-II marriage (and mainly during Rasputin saga) her influence on real Russian politics diminished. Also very sadly, that Marie, being totally aware of all the catastrophic situation in Russia (Rasputin, WWI consequences, real image of the IF among an ordinary people, etc) was unable to do something serious to change the situation. There were already another people who hosted solutions in Winter Palace. We know the tragic end of these solutions. All in all - sad destiny of an interesting, beautiful and intelligent (rare quality for absolute Monarchy) woman, Marie Feodorovna.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: violetta on July 28, 2010, 02:33:38 PM
Little 5 cents;).

I'm not an expert exactly about Marie's life, but some thoughts and my personal opinion...

Great woman, excellent mother and unfortunately totally unrealised as a Russian leader. Sadly, but after N-II marriage (and mainly during Rasputin saga) her influence on real Russian politics diminished. Also very sadly, that Marie, being totally aware of all the catastrophic situation in Russia (Rasputin, WWI consequences, real image of the IF among an ordinary people, etc) was unable to do something serious to change the situation. There were already another people who hosted solutions in Winter Palace. We know the tragic end of these solutions. All in all - sad destiny of an interesting, beautiful and intelligent (rare quality for absolute Monarchy) woman, Marie Feodorovna.

I do agree with you,Nikola. Also. I think she was truly dedicated to her new country. At the timeof civil war she refused to leave Russia though her sister,the dowger empress Alexandra, and her nephew,the Danish king, offered  her an opporuniy to leave Russia. it was only after her and her family`s life were in real danger that she agreed  to leave the Crimea. She also asked for additional ships to take all those people who wanted to escape the bolsheviks. In this way, MF saved lives of hundreds of people.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Eric_Lowe on July 29, 2010, 11:36:37 AM
Like her sister Alix, Minny could be very caring and generous to others, while selfish to those closest to her.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: AnastasiaNikolaevna on July 29, 2010, 02:27:28 PM
Really? I never knew that!
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Eric_Lowe on July 29, 2010, 04:40:19 PM
Indeed...Minny was the more bossy one. Prince Christopher of Greece once wrote that she looked like an empress.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Naslednik Norvezhskiy on August 26, 2010, 08:00:23 PM
Toujours l’impératrice douairičre.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Eric_Lowe on August 26, 2010, 08:31:55 PM
Whatever  ::)

I think Minny was bossy in many ways but never cruel. I think Alicky was more hurtful in her words than her mother-in-law.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: LauraO on September 06, 2010, 01:19:56 AM
i think she was a good tsarina, wife, consort and to some extent mother, however i always say dislike is a feeling not a logic, and i don't know, i just can't take to her- however i feel she was an effective consort and cared for her family- so i guess thats all that matters, although i agree that her actions towards alix were unjust.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: katmaxoz on September 06, 2010, 02:32:10 AM
My feelings about MF are mixed.  I think she did a first class job of putting on the "show" of Empress and she had the people skills to make herself liked by both the public and the court.  For that she should really be admired. She knew how to be Empress in a way the Russians understood.

Behind the scenes I think she did her best to influence both her husband and Nicholas II politically - both she and her sister Alexandra in England chipped away at their husbands for years to build a dislike of Germany in response their own personal hatred of the country beause of the invasion of Schleswig and Holstein in 1864. Aside from that I think MF was not quite as well informed as she thought she was in making political discisions but she had far more political experience than AF and played on it to Nicky and her other "informers".

Both MF and her sister Alexandra were very selfish where family members, and controlling their lives, were concerned. It seemed to be a family trait. Her looking down on Olga's second marriage was really only to be expected. Even though it is distasteful to modern eyes it was something that european royalty had strongly emphasised for centuries. You MUST marry other royalty to maintain both your inheritance for your children and the thone. I wouldn't be suprised if this attitude is still found among many european aristocrats even today.

Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: LauraO on September 06, 2010, 05:46:06 AM
i agree completley, controlling and selfish are words that tumble from my lips without question. like i said, i do feel that she was an effective consort, she put on a show very well, shes was imo one of those people who was just good at being the centre of attention. however i can't say i like her. perhaps look at her knowing that she was effective arguably in what she did, but it doesn't mean that i have positive feeling towards her. i always feel that she was very controlling over those particuarly closest to her, i also would say jealous, i don't mean jealously over something someone else has-like envy- i mean say, jealous over someone who has affection for you showing affection to someone else- does that make sense? lol.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Kalafrana on September 06, 2010, 06:34:03 AM
I agree that Marie Feodoronva was a far more effective royal consort than her daughter-in-law, and she and Alexander III seem to have had a very happy marriage. However, she was very controlling of her daughter Olga, and that is what I don't like about her.

Ann
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Carolath Habsburg on September 06, 2010, 08:01:56 AM
Poor Olga. Sadly, that was the destiny of MANY younger daughters in Victorian and edwardian period :being controled by their mothers and some of them, remain bachelor to take care of them.

It was a (Selfish) tradition.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: LauraO on September 06, 2010, 12:35:16 PM
again in agree, the situation with olga reminds me a bit of the situation of QV and princess beatrice, i feel it was unforgiveably selfish to try and prevent beatrice from marrying to keep her in qv eyes still "hey child", i know it differs as marie married olga off- but still. although as you say it was not uncommon in this time period. but i do feel that your personality had to add to the situation. i always feel as though marie felt she needed to control or interfere (did i spell that utterly wrong?) in her childrens lives if someone else broke though the barrier that seperated the distance she was from them.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Eric_Lowe on September 06, 2010, 01:16:42 PM
I think Minny was bossy and that was the worst of her qualities. Olga escaped the only way she did by marrying Peter. She was not however the most selfish of mothers, Alicky sheltered her daughters too and only Olga later had some sense of reality of the situation outside the family.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: LauraO on September 06, 2010, 01:33:28 PM
all this is true, however i do feel that jealousy to some extent hacked away at marie's actions towards those closest to her- its difficult to explain what i mean. also i'd say you're right about the bossy thing! i may be wrong, but wasn't MF consulted when it was proposed that irina and felix should marry? i know it was a different society but i don't see how it has much to do with her? and also i read somewhere that when OA would take otma to lunch with MF not only otma but also OA would only relax and act normally once MF had left.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Eric_Lowe on September 06, 2010, 02:35:06 PM
Well...Minny bonded well with her older children like Nicky, Georgie & Xenia. But she had no time for Olga & Misha. So to the younger children she was more strict. Read Minny's letters with Nicky and you could see the difference.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: LauraO on September 07, 2010, 01:03:30 PM
yes i have read before that she was closest with the three oldest whilst olga  and misha were closer to their father, but i wander if that necessarily links directly to olga not being as comfotable around her mother- perhaps? did marie ever meet mishas son george? i read somewhere that she met him once- but many accounts say they never met, i know a lot of this had to do with natasha, but perhaps if it had been nicky or george (A), it wouldn't have been such a drastic disconnection. i know sometimes it can be hard to not have favourites, but i think such a obvious expression of favouratism must surely reflect MF's personality.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Eric_Lowe on September 07, 2010, 01:25:31 PM
Minny did have favourism as far as grandchildren went. She openly tell people that Irina Alexandrovna (daughter of her daughter Xenia) was her favourite granddaughter. Imagine how Alicky felt when she had 4 daughters ! She also did not like Olga's children and more than once tell them to shut up...
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: LauraO on September 07, 2010, 02:18:16 PM
yeh, didn't olgas boys wind her up because they were too loud and noisy? i do think people sometimes can't help having favourites- but being so open about it is just wrong. alix must have felt terrible- another trait i don't like about MF, her actions and ways towards alix- not that alix was always right, i believe she probably could have been  very awkward and carried other personality traits that fair enough marie may not have liked- but at the end of the day your son is infatuated with the woman and shes mother to your grandchildren- you may not be her best friend but maries actions were unjust.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Eric_Lowe on September 07, 2010, 02:38:06 PM
I think that MF is bossy but not cruel. She reacted that way because Alicky did not allow her free excess to her grandchildren unlike Xenia. Alicky was proud and utra-sensative and that is bound to clash with MF one way or the other.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: LauraO on September 07, 2010, 02:51:52 PM
yes, point taken. mind you of course xenia would allow her free access- she was close to her mother. however i do feel that no matter what alix felt about marie at the end of the day it was not fair to not allow marie to have free access to them. on the other hand how must otmaa have felt when marie proudly broadcasted that irina was her favourite? i'd be severely ticked off! i do think the bad relationship between alicky and marie was a severe clash in personality, but i also feel that despite their opinions of each other marie did sometimes act unjustly towards alix even if she was pain in the backside. i think that MF controlling nature contributed to this. (imo)

also if  i was nicky i'd feel bad- my mother preferred my sisters kids to mine.

also i once read that when MF was staying with olga and family post the revolution olga found her, say "hard to live with", i also read the same of xenia pre the revolution, when spending excessive amount of time with MF- i could believe it of olga but not xenia, as i always thought they were close?
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Eric_Lowe on September 07, 2010, 05:04:34 PM
Well...Like it or not both Alicky & Minny were Empresses of Russia and their wishes were commands. Alicky could be cold and acid tongued while Minny was bossy and demanding (she was not mistress of the Romanov family for nothing even though she was much nicer than Miechen or Olga Feodorovna (Grand Duchess Michael of Russia)).
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Svetabel on September 07, 2010, 11:33:23 PM

also i once read that when MF was staying with olga and family post the revolution olga found her, say "hard to live with", i also read the same of xenia pre the revolution, when spending excessive amount of time with MF- i could believe it of olga but not xenia, as i always thought they were close?

Xenia was closer to Maria Fedorovna actually than Olga. As she didn't try to rebel due to her character and far more free life with her own family. Olga had to live near MF . But both sisters were afraid of their bossy mother and Olga's decision to go away in 1919 with her - at last HER OWN family - was very hard and MF's reaction to it was very egoistic. When I was reading MF's diaries of 1914-1919 years I felt irritated at many Empress' sentences about her daughters - they sounded nice and egoistic and cruel at the same time.


Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: katmaxoz on September 08, 2010, 12:20:50 AM


When I was reading MF's diaries of 1914-1919

Svetabel, were these diaries published in Russian a few years back? I thought I saw a book along those lines, but because I can't read Russian it wasn't one I bought.

I have always had the impression that MF loved her family...but she had to be the pampered center of it..  It's not surprising in many ways that MF and AF did not get along. They were both strong personalities, but in very different ways. 
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: LauraO on September 08, 2010, 12:28:13 AM
i always had the impression she was close to her family as well and for some reason very doting. like i said before i respect her for her role in imperial russia- and unlike some do feel that many of her feelings and anguishes towards alix were justified to some extent with alix's, as you put so well "cold nature" and "acid tongued" remarks. her actions towards OA at some stages of her life i do not feel however can be greatly justfied without bringing in undesirable personality traits.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Svetabel on September 08, 2010, 01:03:03 AM


When I was reading MF's diaries of 1914-1919

Svetabel, were these diaries published in Russian a few years back? I thought I saw a book along those lines, but because I can't read Russian it wasn't one I bought.




Yes, the diaries of 1914-1923in Russian. Great source of info.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: katmaxoz on September 08, 2010, 01:18:35 AM

Yes, the diaries of 1914-1923in Russian. Great source of info.

they would be required reading I would think if you are going to write anything original about MF or do any proper research on her. A pity they aren't available in english

Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Kalafrana on September 08, 2010, 03:37:37 AM
'yeh, didn't olgas boys wind her up because they were too loud and noisy?'

I think that was probably Xenia's boys, who were known for being 'rather wild' (see John van der Kiste: Once a Grand Duchess).

Ann
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Svetabel on September 08, 2010, 06:14:16 AM
'yeh, didn't olgas boys wind her up because they were too loud and noisy?'

I think that was probably Xenia's boys, who were known for being 'rather wild' (see John van der Kiste: Once a Grand Duchess).

Ann

Olga's boys were quite irritating for their Grandma when they lived in Denmark, in 1920s. Old Empress didn't want to see Olga's husband and got tired of noisy grandsons. Don't think they were SO noisy, just little boys full of life and energy...Empress  was old, ill and with bitter feelings ,so the grandsons weren't the apples in her eye.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Eric_Lowe on September 08, 2010, 10:05:34 AM
Yes. She was too old to like noisy little boys. But I think she like her great granddaughters.

Alas ! I hope the dairies would be translated to English one day.  :(
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: TimM on October 13, 2010, 03:33:15 PM
I can't imagine what this poor woman must have felt after the revolution.  The Bolsheviks murdered two of her sons, five of her grandchildren, and her daughter-in-law (I know she and Alix didn't get along, but I don't think even Marie would have wished his fate on her).  How do you come back from a tragedy like that.  I can see why, when Anna Anderson first popped up, Marie might have had a faint hope that one of her grandchildren got away.  Of course, that hope was quickly dashed.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Eric_Lowe on October 13, 2010, 06:06:15 PM
I think Minny only very late in life accepted the death of her eldest son & family. To top that off the pretensions of Kyrill was quite distressing to her too...
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Empire on October 14, 2010, 06:15:36 AM
I think Minny only very late in life accepted the death of her eldest son & family. To top that off the pretensions of Kyrill was quite distressing to her too...



Why, what did Kyrill do?
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Eric_Lowe on October 14, 2010, 11:36:08 AM
He and Nicholasha began competing for the "head of the family", with a crowned dowager empress still alive, that was pretty premature. She wrote that the discussion to be shoved until after her death.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Empire on October 15, 2010, 06:15:00 AM
Thanks Eric - I do remember reading something about that now.

Yes, the diaries of 1914-1923in Russian. Great source of info.


Svetabel - Were the diaries published in book form or are they online somewhere? If so, I wonder if you would mind posting the link to them. Does anyone know if any of her earlier diaries are published particularly from 1890's?  :)

Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Eric_Lowe on October 15, 2010, 11:07:54 AM
Indeed. Not to add Anna Anderson to the list.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: TimM on October 15, 2010, 03:25:45 PM
Didn't Marie in the end reject her claim she was Anastasia?
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Eric_Lowe on October 15, 2010, 06:02:28 PM
I don't think she knew her. Olga went to see Anna and pronounced her false and that was the end as far as Minny went.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: TimM on October 16, 2010, 04:41:02 PM
Wasn't Marie the one that sent Olga to verify or reject AA's claim?
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Robert_Hall on October 16, 2010, 05:17:40 PM
Yes, TimM, was Marie who sent Olga. The dowager accepted her report and, as has been said that was the end of the matter, as far as she was concerned.
 BTW, The Dowager was NOT the head of the family. By dynastic law that position belonged to  Kiril Not everyone liked him,  but that was the law.This not to say that Marie was not influential, and she had a tremendous amount of respect, but she was not part of the dynastic succession.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: TimM on October 16, 2010, 06:38:01 PM
Well, after the revolution, who was the next successor to the throne became kind of a moot point.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Eric_Lowe on October 19, 2010, 06:05:05 PM
Yes...But Kyril was not crowned nor was the death of Nicholas or Misha proven yet. His actions were not appreciated especially not Minny.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Robert_Hall on October 19, 2010, 08:46:24 PM
Tim, it was a rather moot point, was it not ? As Nicholas had abdicated and Michael had declined, the next in line was indeed Kyril. First as head of the house,  he did not need to be proclaimed that, as it was in the dynastic law. Then as "Curator of the Throne" in 1922. He did not proclaim himself  Emperor until 1924. By then it was pretty useless to imagine a  return- by anyone.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: TimM on October 19, 2010, 11:26:12 PM
That's what I meant.  Kind of pointless going around calling yourself Emperor when you have no Empire.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Belochka on October 20, 2010, 04:53:39 AM
That's what I meant.  Kind of pointless going around calling yourself Emperor when you have no Empire.

Precisely TimM!

No matter how hard Kirill and his followers attempted to convey that pretense while they were all living permanently abroad.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Belochka on October 20, 2010, 05:05:00 AM
Tim, it was a rather moot point, was it not ? As Nicholas had abdicated and Michael had declined, the next in line was indeed Kyril. First as head of the house,  he did not need to be proclaimed that, as it was in the dynastic law. 

It became irrelevant as to who might or might not have been next in line after Mikhail stepped aside.

All Imperial Laws were extinguished the moment Mikhail aceeded to the Provisional Government.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Svetabel on October 20, 2010, 05:38:09 AM
Please, back to topic.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: TimM on October 20, 2010, 10:50:42 AM
Sorry about that Svetlana (did I spell that right). 

This happens a lot around here.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Naslednik Norvezhskiy on October 20, 2010, 02:50:11 PM
Kind of pointless going around calling yourself Emperor when you have no Empire.

OK, back to MF: Both MF's father, brother, husband and son called themselves Duke of Schleswig-Holstein when in fact none of them ruled S-H! :-)
Titulatory pretence is such an integrated part of nobility and royalty. E.g. none of all the princes, counts and barons of the Russian Empire actually had a principality, county or barony. (Yea, they had huge estates, but these estates were not formally counties and baronies, like in MF's native Denmark.)
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Eric_Lowe on October 22, 2010, 04:57:54 PM
Dagmar was of course understood the family law, but with Kyrill siding openly with the Provisional Government, little wonder they called him the Duke of Orleans of the Romanov Family. His betrayal of the Imperial Family was never forgiven by some family members.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Robert_Hall on October 22, 2010, 05:16:17 PM
Nicholas II himself ORDERED the support of the Provisional Government. Kyril was simply follownig  Nicholas' instruction.
  The main thing was to restore order in the capitol. Obviously, it did not work.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Eric_Lowe on October 22, 2010, 05:23:38 PM
I don't think Nicholas II ordered Kyrill to do what he did. Kyrill did it himself. Which is why Nicholasha was always much more popular than Kyrill among those who were loyal to the Dynasty. Even Grand Duke Dimitri at one point think he had a stake on the throne since he was more popular than Kyrill. Kyrill did not became the universal leader until after the deaths of Minny & Nicholasha.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Svetabel on October 22, 2010, 09:59:42 PM
Back to topic. It's on your personal opinion on the Empress.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Eric_Lowe on October 23, 2010, 12:10:51 PM
Yes. I think Minny was generally a kind person who could be bossy. It was unfortunate that Alicky was tough and proud too. They clash with each other instead of working togather for the best of the dynasty & Nicky. Had they been able to work pass their differences, the sad fate could have been somewhat avoided.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Sergei Witte on January 04, 2011, 01:21:05 PM
I have recently read "Little mother of Russia" and what comes to mind is: How could anyone survive so much personal drama!! Losing so many loved ones. Today it would destroy everybody. But in those times I guess people were much tougher.

Concerning the battle of jealousy between Dagmar and Alix: I think both women were doing the other unjust. It would have helped them both if they took the time to step back a little while and they could have realized that in fact they have exactly the same goals: preserving the dynasty. Both on their own way.

Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Eric_Lowe on January 04, 2011, 01:37:22 PM
I think Dagmar did amuch better job than Alicky did. She was too stubborn and sometimes did not listen to anyone. I also think her many illnesses and neverous behavior needed to be treated.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Kassafrass on May 09, 2013, 05:23:55 PM
The funny thing about Minnie with me is that while I love her and look up to her as an empress, a wife and a mother (not to mention I love her style and beauty) I would probably detest her if I knew her personally. I am very stubborn, like she seemed to be and I think that would cause many fights between us. Strong personalities can either make for kindred spirits or arch rivals. I wonder if that was part of what it was for her and Alix in the end. Alix had a different idea on how they should be the Tsarina, or be a wife or a mother. While Alix definitely did right by her children and (with the exception of her awful advice) was a loving wife, she was a terrible empress. I think what sets them a part in the end is that Minnie was loved (I believe) by the people during her husband's reign. It's interesting to wonder who would be remembered more today if the revolution hadn't happened. Alix or Minnie?
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Jen_94 on May 09, 2013, 05:45:47 PM
I found Minnie to be a fairly good Empress, she did her job as Empress and got on with it, you know. She also lost all of her sons and her husband too, all in a very small space of time, you know, over the space of just over 20 years, must have been tragic for her definitely.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Eric_Lowe on May 09, 2013, 07:38:07 PM
I think both were bossy women and did not want to play second fiddle to the other. Had Alexander lll lived longer,  tension may have been avoided. Nicky was torn between his newly widowed mother and young wife.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Kassafrass on May 10, 2013, 12:37:11 AM
That describes it rather well I think. Minnie probably didn't feel that her time in the sun was quite over with yet and I can't really blame her. It was a sudden death and she had, what? Three years as Tsarina? And then of course all that sadness followed her throughout her life. I always feel so bad for her.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: historyfan on May 10, 2013, 08:58:12 AM
That describes it rather well I think. Minnie probably didn't feel that her time in the sun was quite over with yet and I can't really blame her. It was a sudden death and she had, what? Three years as Tsarina? And then of course all that sadness followed her throughout her life. I always feel so bad for her.

Thirteen years - from 1881 to 1894.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Kassafrass on May 10, 2013, 11:20:12 AM
Misread  :-[ Thank you.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Eric_Lowe on May 10, 2013, 11:38:19 AM
Indeed. Minny wasn't too considerate and thought she could lead or teach Alicky into the role, but Alicky was too sensitive, shy and proud to be taught.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: JamesAPrattIII on June 02, 2015, 03:56:05 PM
My comments on Maria F. She may have been a good consort to a Tsar like Alexander III. Liked clothes jewels parties, balls, dancing, and being very likeable. However the woman was very ill educated and some of things she did helped cause the destruction of the Russian monarchy. As head of the Russian Red Cross the organization had a bad corruption scandal during the Russo-Japanese War. This hurt the rest of the Imperial family badly add this to the other corruption scandals, the military defeats, Bloody Sunday ect helped trigger the 1905 revolution. This is from the book "Tide at Sunrise":
 "A visitor to Moscow was taken by his driver to look at the spot where Grand Duke Serge had been killed. Pointing to the place, the driver said: "Look,  that's where the dog was blown to pieces. A fine sight it was. And all they found of him was a few fingers. Where do you think they found those? In the Red Cross box. They were accustomed to be in that box. He had four hundred million roubles when he died, and he stole it from the poor soldiers in Manchuria."
Note the book "Romanov Autumn" points out in real life Serge A was a corruption fighter. So her actions helped smear him.

She had a history of ignoring corrupt practices of people in her entourage. Maria F also was a investor in the Lena Goldfields mining operation where the 1912 massacre took place.

Her relations with Alexandra were bad from day one. Her refusal to let Nicholas marry her at first. Disputes over precedence and jewelry. Then there are the "Style Wars". Instead of introducing her to Russian society she helped estrange Alexandra to it.

Maria F also couldn't understand that Nicholas and Alexandra were too exhausted it part do to the hemophiliac Alexei to put on balls and parties for her social set. She also ignored Nicholas also had a mountain of paperwork to do every day and Alexandra had some serious health problems.

Then after Nicholas decides to take command of the army she gets upset that the grand Duke Nicholas was relieved of command and turns her and Maria Ps gossip machines loose on Alexandra and Rasputin.  In order to get rid of them. This was one of the straws that broke the camels back which helped destroy the Russian Monarchy and put her out of a job. She was in away the matriarch of the family. If she had decided to support Nicholas and Alexandra as well as doing damage control on Rasputin there is a chance that the monarchy could have survived.

Her efforts as a matchmaker proved less than successful she got her daughter Olga A a husband  who turned out to be a disaster. Her inability to find Michael A a wife resulted in him marrying a commoner.

Then there is prince Grigory Shervashidze, the chancellor to her court. he was in league with the revolutionaries.
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Ally Kumari on June 03, 2015, 03:19:08 AM
While I agree Maria Fyodorovna was not overly enlightened on politics and other affairs, overal I do not agree with your view on how significant her faults and ill choices were in the fall of the Empire.

I cannot really comment on how much she knew about corruption in the Red Cross, or her investments in mining operations, since I have no knowledge on that, but Grand Duke Sergei was HUGELY unpopular for being stern, to the point of being perceived as cold-blooded and cruel in the public mind, for various reasons, not the least his part of blame for the Khodynka tragedy, allowed by him neglecting his duties. Even if there were not rumours about his corruption, the public would have reacted the same way to his assasination, and he would be assasinated, even if only for the sake of the post he held.

As for her bad relationship with Alexandra, both women tried getting on at first, but their utterly different characters as well as pigheadedness made any attempts of reconcilication impossible. The argument over jewelry can be put down to Maria Fyodorovna´s vanity, but I don´t think it hurt the prestige of the monarchy too badly at all. As for the dispute of precedence, has it not been sorted by a tsar much before Nicholas II´s time? Maria Fyodorovna, in this case, had protocol on her side.

Maria Fyodorovna, as a wife of the Tsar, knew perfectly well how exhausting a job ruling was, I am sure. And as much as I sypathize and understand that Alexandra in her poor health and worry about Alexei could hardly lead society, the isolation in which she brough her family, was definitely extreme which actually DID help to damage the imperial prestige. Even when her daughters grew up and everyone expected them to, if nothing else, start attending social gatherings once in a while, Alexandra did not allow it. Also do not forget that Maria Fyodorovna, at last for a time, did not know Alexei had hemophilia.

As for the gossip and rumours, it was Maria Pavlovna´s court, which was the main source of it all. Maria Fyodorovna did lead her own little campaign against Rasputin, who she honestly believed a dangerous fraud, but she did not spread rumours about him and his lecherous doings in the palace, like others did, because she knew better. She despaired over Alexandra´s refusals to listen. Had she defnded her son and daughter-in-law in the matter, it would have only done harm to her as well, not salvaging anything, least of all the whole monarchy, that was slowly rotting anyway - at least that is how I see it.

I agree her matchmaking efforts were disasters more or less, she certainly did not have her mother´s talent when it came to it, but I would not agree with the statement that she should have find Mikhail a suitable bride. He was a responsible adult and he chose to marry Natalia. How was that her fault?

Maria Fyodorovna was arguably the most popular and loved Romanov amongs the whole family, popular with both society and public. Yes, perhaps she could have done more - but what? When she came to Nicholas with a sensible advice, or recomended people to him, he did not listen. Yes, she was not willing to give up the glittering lead role in the society, then again Alexandra has no interest at all to seize it. Yes, Maria Fyodorovna was proud and vain, but she had social skills and perceptiveness, and enough intellect.

She had her part in the decay of the monarchy perhaps, but her share is nothing compared to actions of other Romanovs.

Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Maria Sisi on June 03, 2015, 11:26:43 AM
Following the 1905 Revolution her influence dwindled and after Spala it became non-existent. And for a while after she did continue to try and fight for the minsters she believed were right, but she overall was pretty much a passive observer. Yes she played a roll in the fall of the dynasty but by the end she became a very small player and its not fair to blame her for the many faults of Nicholas, Alexandra and others. Maria bowed out far before the revolution occurred so everything could have been fixed before and the fact it wasn't isn't her fault.

She felt she was rejected by her daughter-in-law and her son was moving farther away from her so she simply stepped back. That's why she spent an increasing amount of time out of the country in Denmark or with her sister. Nicholas and Alexandra would not listen to her anymore so she gave up. It was Maria Pavlovna who became leader of society not Maria Feodorovna. She was not much part of society anymore by the end. Speaking up against gossip, which she liked to listen to, would have done no good since society was too much against Alexandra by that point.

And besides the jewel incident, which was her fault, protocol gave her the right to be #1. It wasn't her fault Alexandra refused to step up or make any effort. Alexandra refused long before Alexei and his hemophilia so that excuse doesn't fly either. Its impossible for Maria Feodorovna to help with the troubles of the Imperial Family when they closed her out to begin with and refused to let her in. You can't help people who refuse to be helped.

Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Kalafrana on June 07, 2015, 02:16:58 PM
Regarding MF's failure to find Mikhail a suitable wife, Mikhail was 34 when he married Natalia, so past normal marrying age for princes, which was 25-30. He also had a history of unsuitable infantuations. MF had had plenty of time to organise meetings with suitable royal ladies, but she and Nicholas seem to have been happy to let Mikhail drift, with no marriage and no serious responsibilities.

Ann
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: mcdnab on June 09, 2015, 01:19:28 AM
Michael's marriage did occupy her and I believe she was not opposed to him marrying Beatrice of Edinburgh - that was down to Nicholas II who absolutely refused permission (as they were first cousins).
I think that was really the last time Michael himself attempted a "suitable match".
Her occupation with the matter also caused a minor scandal when her and Queen Alexandra's gossip on the matter leaked and some papers linked Michael and Princess Patricia of Connaught as on the brink of an engagement (Buckingham Palace had to do the unthinkable and issue a formal denial).
Title: Re: Marie Feodorovna -  Your Opinion
Post by: Kalafrana on June 09, 2015, 03:24:31 AM
In Nicholas's position, he could not have gone against the Orthodox Churches' profit ion on marriage to first cousins (he was only browbeaten into recognising their marriage after the event).

A pity about Patricia of Connaught. She was an interesting girl and that could have worked.

Ann