Alexander Palace Forum

Discussions about the Imperial Family and European Royalty => The Imperial Family => Topic started by: Angie_H on March 01, 2004, 11:12:37 AM

Title: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Angie_H on March 01, 2004, 11:12:37 AM
I have often read about how the Imperial children did not have real contemporaries of their own age. How they rarely saw other members of the Romanov family their own age. I have wondered if this was somewhat due to some influence Queen Victoria had over her grand daughter Alix. Not that Queen Victoria told her outright to do this. From what I read, after Prince Albert died Queen Victoria acted like she had to be the center of attention when it came to her children. That she was very reluctant to let her daughters Helena & Beatrice marry (when they did marry Queen Victoria insisted they live in England), that she even expected Beatrice to remain unmarried and devote herself only to her mother. After Princess Alice's death Queen Victoria took more of an interest in her Hessian grandchildren. Did some of this wear off on Alix? Alix was often ill, did she look at her daughters more as companion/caretakers? Being so isolated and not exposed to people their own age, wouldn't that have made the girls somewhat naive in regards to the outside world? And if the grand duhcesses did marry would she have insisted they too remain in Russia. (I do remember reading somewhere that Olga said she did not want to go to a foreign country). And in reality wouldn't the grand duchesses gotten on each other's nerves after awhile too no matter how close & loving they were?  :-/
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Sarai on March 01, 2004, 03:51:08 PM
Angie_H,
Yours are interesting questions, which even contemporaries of the Imperial Family posed themselves. From what I have read, it seems that Alexandra's main motivation in isolating her children from the outside world was to protect them from what she perceived as the many negative influences surrounding them. It seems that many of their contemporaries probably lacked the solid moral values that Alexandra tried to instill in her children, as they were more interested in partying and decadence than in a quiet home life centered around family. In this, I find the Imperial Family to have been more like ordinary people than royalty, as their core traditional values dictated family first as opposed to lavish parties and self-indulgence.  As a concerned mother, Alexandra tried to shelter her children from that type of world. Indeed, I think that is what many mothers even today wish they could do, to protect their children from negative outside influences and keep only the good around them. However, as ordinary folks we are unable to do so, as our lives in this day and age have children necessarily exposed to their peers in school and later when they enter the workforce. It is just a normal part of life for us. Our children cannot be secluded in a palace surrounded only by their close family and carefully selected people.

Alexandra also thought that the children could keep themselves occupied amongst each other, without the need to bring in outsiders. As there were four sisters with much in common, they were each other's best playmates. Of course, it could grow boring dealing with the same people day in and day out, and this was seen by outsiders to be detrimental to the children's normal social development, so they tried to help expand their horizons. For instance, their aunt, the Grand Duchess Olga, gave small weekend parties to which the Grand Duchesses eagerly attended and apparently delighted in. Of course, the young people at those parties were very carefully selected to ensure Alexandra's high standards, but they were a diversion nonetheless. Alexei also had outside children brought in to play with him; again, carefully selected sons of officers, but other children nevertheless. The G.D. Tatiana in particular seemed to eagerly seek the companionship of others, as she was naturally outgoing and friendly and wanted friends outside of her tight family circle, but this was not possible.

Alexandra did in fact also consider her daughters as companions, as it has been stated in various books that whenever the girls went out on walking excursions and rides, one of them always stayed behind with their mother, who rarely ventured outside on such journeys. The girls apparently did not mind doing this, and each took turns performing this task. I don't know if this attitude of Alexandra's was due to Queen Victoria's influence, or just due to the fact that she couldn't join their excursions due to health reasons and didn't want to be left alone. The girls apparently considered it as their duty and did not mind keeping their mother company.

The Grand Duchesses were also indeed said to be quite naive about the outside world. For instance, they did not know much about the value of money and buying items in stores, which they were only able to do while on holidays abroad, and contemporaries noted that they seemed immature for their age, in the way that they expressed themselves and acted. Their mother certainly and unapologetically wanted to keep them as children for as long as possible. I don't know if she would have insisted all of her daughters to stay in Russia after their marriages, as I think it was probably inevitable that at least one of them would have been married to a foreigner and gone to live abroad. For instance, I have read that had the revolution not occurred, the G.D. Maria may very well have been married to her cousin Prince Louis Mountbatten of England, who was madly in love with her and whom apparently she had a liking to as well. As far as Olga goes, as you correctly stated, she made the decision herself not to leave Russia and didn't seem to be influenced by her mother in that decision, as she was very steadfast about it and seemed to come to it on her own.

As far as your last question, it is sometimes hard to believe in these cynical times that these girls were as constantly loving and devoted to each other as they were made out to be, but apparently that is really how they were, as evident in their diaries, letters, and contemporary accounts. I am sure they did get on each other's nerves from time to time. There are in fact examples of this in their letters (from memory, i.e., Olga trying to slap Anastasia's hand away from her nose as she was picking it, etc.), but they seemed to be fleeting moments. From all accounts, the girls realized that they lived in a "gilded cage," but didn't seem to mind it - instead, they seemed to treasure it and couldn't imagine any other way of life. Indeed, one must admit that despite their isolation their lives were idyllic until the last few years.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Robert_Hall on March 02, 2004, 12:01:38 PM
Isolated ? To a certain extent, yes. Like most children of that rank at the time. They had many friends/playmates from among the  myriad cousins, children of staff & servants, etc.  I do not think they were all that naive about life, even though their mother was over-protective, she was certainly not a prude.
Besides, even the most isolated enviornment will not quell a teenagers's curiosity.
The older daughters worked in war hospitals, and the lot of them were friendly with their own guards, for the most part.
The idea of them as "innocent, pure angels, unbesmirched by the vile world" is just another illusion. They were active, curious teens, & I think did what most teens of any era or class do- get away with as much as they they they could !
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: tea_rose on March 02, 2004, 07:36:59 PM
I have always been interested in the daughters-a lot of the time they seem to be treated as a unit (OTMA). I think the "isolation" probably started because Alexandra was shy and much more comfortable in the family circle. Also, as someone said, she disapproved of the morals in Russian high society.

 However, the advent of the war probably perpetuated this situation for the girls. They could not "come out" and remained close to their mother doing war work (the nursing). I don't think they would have remained spinster companions in ordinary circumstances as Queen Alexandra's daughter, Toria, did in Great Britain.

 The glimpses we have of them do make them seem "young" for their age-but I think if they had lived in normal times-they would have matured.    
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Sergio on September 25, 2004, 06:27:34 PM
Sarai wrote
Quote
The Grand Duchesses were also indeed said to be quite naive about the outside world. For instance, they did not know much about the value of money and buying items in stores


It is funny to read what Sarai wrote above because I once saw a documentary about the Romanovs and it said the same thing about OTMA being isolated and naive about the outside world: one time when they went to buy something at a store, they paid with money and the shop owner gave them the change but they do not understanded why the owner did that !!!
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Olga on September 27, 2004, 02:34:14 AM
I've often read how they sounded immature and how they had a childish way of speaking. What sort of things would they do/say?
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: jackie3 on September 27, 2004, 07:23:31 AM
Another reason for the isolation of the Imperial Children (in addition to Alix's distaste for what she saw as the decadence of the aristocracy and the arrival of WWI preventing the girls from "coming out") was that assassination plots were everywhere. Nicholas' grandfather had been assassinated and died before his eyes, his father Alerxander III's health was probably not helped by the train explosion at Gorki, his Uncle Serge was blown literally to pieces in Moscow,  and Prime Minister Stolypin was openly assassinated before the eyes of Nicholas and his two oldest daughters.  The children of the Tsar were tempting targets for nihlist terrorists, in Alix's mind (and perhaps in fact) the safest place for them to be was in the Tsar's Village where no one was allowed to enter without the Tsar's knowledge.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: tea_rose on September 27, 2004, 09:30:25 AM
 Olga, this is what Peter Kurth says about OTMA's immaturity in "Tsar":

" As young women, they spoke disconcertingly like 10 year old girls. They giggled, poked each other, ran into corners, and were incapable of writing any but the simplest correspondence in any one of the four languages they were taught: Russian, English, French and German. Never once in their lives did they go anywhere unescorted or without each other, except to the extent that they were split into pairs, "Big" and "Little."

This sounds harsh-but I have known some teen-age girls that stayed "young" in this way until they went off to school.  I think it would have naturally righted itself if history  had taken another turn.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Robert_Hall on September 27, 2004, 10:53:54 AM
Well now, it seems highly unlikely that these girls would have "gone off to" anywhere, least of all to school.  Marriage, even for Olga seemed also a rather remote possiblity. The penchant for mothers  in this era to keep at least one daughter at home would also hinder any likelihood of an emotional liberation.
So, would a natural "righting" have taken place?
Despite N&A's obvious healthy & romantic sex life, would they have imparted that expectation to their daughters? Would they even have the possibitly of attaining it?
I would expect that their bubble would have burst sooner or later, despite war, revolution, family feuds & scandal.
Sadly we shall never know what their reaction to a relatively "normal" enviornment would have been.
Robert
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: tea_rose on September 27, 2004, 11:03:08 AM
You have a point, Robert! Given their untimely end, I would prefer to be optimistic than not. However, many people of their station did stay isolated in an unhealthy way. Few doubt that their intimate family life was happy-despite the constant stress of their brother (and mother's-to some extent) illness.

 The Tsarina was quite Victorian and probably preferred "naive and immature" daughters to sophisticated ones. Still-as I said-I have seen "late bloomers" and the girls could have have done so. In a way, they were NOT as frivolous as some of their peers; they had a lifetime of putting their parents and brother first.  
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Elisabeth on September 27, 2004, 11:04:51 AM
I also think Sarai's summary is the best.

Olga wrote:

"I've often read how they sounded immature and how they had a childish way of speaking."

I was very surprised when I read OTMA's childhood letters to their mother in Maylunas and Mironenko's book -- letters in English, with tons of grammatical and spelling errors, far more than you would expect in children of their age. But then I learned from a linguist that children who have multiple "first" languages are much slower to be able to speak and write correctly in those languages than children who only have one language to learn. They have much smaller vocabularies, too, since it's twice (or three times) the work. Sometimes bilingual and trilingual children are even labelled "stupid" or "slow" by their ignorant teachers.

This might partially explain why Gibbes, Alexei's English tutor, records that the boy could not speak or understand any significant amount of English at all when Gibbes first began teaching him. Alexei was 9 years old at the time. Certainly his sisters could all communicate in English by that age. On the other hand, Gibbes' story may also indicate that Alexandra did not spend nearly as much time even with her favorite child as we usually assume.

I think there's a deeper significance to that famous story of Edward VII telling Alexandra in 1908 that something must be done about her children's English, because they had picked up an "Hibernian" accent from their nanny. Why on earth would the children have had an Irish accent if they were speaking English with their mother with any frequency?

One of the things I liked about Wilson and King's book was the fact that they did discuss the strangeness of Alexandra's relationship with her daughters -- writing her little daughters letters about very emotional topics, instead of discussing these things with the girls in person!

There's no doubt that OTMA, at least, did not receive adequate attention, and that many contemporaries wondered why. Various memoirists record that OTMA were frequently left on their own, and after the departure of Sophia Tiutcheva, had no real supervision. Thus Elizaveta Naryshkina recorded that they behaved "like young savages." Mossolov wrote that O and T talked like little children even when they were teenagers.

In terms of friendships, OTMA and Alexei did have opportunities to play with the children of their aunt, Grand Duchess Xenia, as well as the children of Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich. They spent a lot of time with Grand Duke Paul's son Dmitry and daughter Maria, who were taken under N & A's wing after the exile of their father. As a young woman Olga was friends with a girl named Rita Khitrovo. But Buxhoeveden also records that Tatiana in particular longed for close friendships that never materialized because of their royal status and general isolation.






 
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Michelle on September 27, 2004, 11:50:03 AM
That's terribly unfair that OTMA weren't given much attention! >:(  I can understand Alix not giving them much attention, but Nicholas didn't either?  Poor girls. :'(  I know I'd be irritated.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Antonio_P.Caballer on September 27, 2004, 12:10:57 PM
I think that, at first sight, it might seems quite strange how the Empress used writen notes between the upper and ground floor to comunicate with her own children. However, it´s very important to considerate that she suffered from recurrents migraines(a kind of strong headache, i hope this is the correct term). I myself have always suffered from migraines. When you have one of them the pain is so hard that you cannot do anything but wait until it stops or (if you are lucky enough) you fall asleep. Really, i´m not exaggerating, you cannot stand with either the faintest noise or any light. And you´ll agree with me that four little girls, as much as she loved them, could be quite noisy.

Alexandra spend much more time with her daughter than any of the royalties of her time, and what is more important, she conciously tried to dedicate them every possible time, to the point that she would be criticized by some of her contemporaries. Yet, she had to be the Empress of Russia.

With her failing health, her constant worries...well, i think she would have needed three whole lifes to do all she was supposed to do, one for playing the role of great hostess( to meet the requirements of Miechen, for example), a second one to be the perfect mother( to meet the modern standards requirements) and a third life to take care of her own health....

Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Robert_Hall on September 27, 2004, 12:14:38 PM
Late bloomers ?
Perhaps it could have been.
It seems to me that their lives were unbalanced by any class standards.
Despite their air-head frivolity, they had matured  very early in caring for  a very ill sibling and a mother that mixed illness with downright paranoid behavior. Lots of kids around the world have dealt with that situation haven't they? Some deal with it admirably, others hold deep resentment and act on that later in life. I think the potential for either direction was ripe, especially in a rapidly changing world.
And, who is this RALPH that AGRBear keeps referring to?
Best,
Robert
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: rskkiya on September 27, 2004, 01:08:57 PM
Mr. Hall

You have made a good point. Perhaps it was exactly the stress of being constantly faced with a semi invalid mother, a very ill younger brother- as well as gd knows what other pressures- which caused them to react by being 'silly monkeys' as my dear nana might have put it.

I'm sending some incense wafting up to the firmaments for you...do you like it?  ;)

Rskkira

ps-- I do not know "ralph" either.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Robert_Hall on September 27, 2004, 01:45:12 PM
Thank you, the aroma is indeed lovely!
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Janet_W. on September 27, 2004, 02:43:22 PM
Remember that the family one reads about in Fate of the Romanovs is different, in many ways, from the family of 1913, 1906, and so forth.

Family dynamics are always in a state of flux, no matter how much some parents may wish to stop time. (My own mother's favorite statement was, "I wish I could put a brick on their heads and stop them from growing" . . . an attitude I rather think Alexandra had about OTMA!) Growing emotional and social independence, along with puberty, is going to affect relationships--not destroy them, necessarily, but certainly affect them. The girls--and Alexei, for that matter--were becoming grownup, despite whatever immaturities they may have exhibited from time to time. Olga had a keen mind and, if the war had not come along, would have undoubtedly succeeded as a poet or in any other related discipline. Tatiana had management skills that needed an outlet. Marie had longed for a husband and children even as a child. Anastasia's precocity speaks for itself. Had the family survived, Nicholas and Alexandra would have found what all parents of healthy teens-to-adults have found . . . that their "children" were making decisions for themselves and leading lives which were not always in accordance with their own thoughts and wishes.

Alexandra was undoubtedly more involved with her children's lives than most royal mamas. However, the Romanovs have become perhaps the most scrutinized royals of all time, and so of course people evaluate and speculate over the various aspects of their lives. It is only natural for a child to long for the presence of a parent--remember when our own parents couldn't always make it to a school pageant?--and although OTMA were used to having servants help their lives along, they did miss the presence of their parents on numerous occasions. Still, the many casual photographs with all seven family members bear some sort of witness as to Nicholas and Alexandra's involvement with and enjoyment of their children.

By the time of imprisonment, though, much had changed. The parents were not only middle-aged but undergoing incredible stress. The children had been going through puberty, were about to enter it, or were young adults still sequestered with their parents. Crisis after crisis was being met, mostly with tremendous grace and courage, but it would be absurd to think that the relationships between these seven distinct  personalities--cooped up and suffering from various physical ailments and emotional stresses, not to mention fears for their futures--would be in perfect and idealistic harmony.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Abby on September 27, 2004, 02:55:32 PM
Janet, your posts are always very clear and well thought out. You made a great point! I agree, and think that we probably don't know as much about the family during their final months as we think. Lord only knows what 7 people go through together in that situation.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Robert_Hall on September 27, 2004, 03:22:52 PM
I agree with Janet. I might add, however, that IF their lives had proceeded on a "normal" course [for Romanov Imperials] they would not likely have had much of a chance to make many decisions for themselves or chosen their own paths.
At least no more than any children of a reigning family.
What we might call "career opprotunities" might have been confined to "hobbies or past-times" for them.
Robert
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Elisabeth on September 27, 2004, 03:34:53 PM
Personally I think Sarai and Janet_W should write a book. I will read it!

I hope I didn't sound as if I wanted to destroy Alexandra's reputation as a mother, because that wasn't my intention. As Antonio pointed out, in addition to being royal, Alexandra was also an invalid (I am NOT one of those people who ascribes her illnesses to symptoms of "hysteria"). I do, however, think she and Nicholas did not pay nearly enough attention to their daughters' education as they should have done -- quite possibly because they had too much to worry about already.  Their governess in Tobolsk commented that the girls were not nearly as well educated as one would expect the daughters of an emperor to be; Gilliard also mentions that the imperial milieu was not conducive to the flowering of Olga's considerable intellectual potential.

I've always thought it strange that Nicholas II did not follow his imperial forebears' example in choosing some of his children's tutors from the ranks of Russia's great writers and thinkers -- especially when you consider that his reign was the Silver Age of the Russian Arts.  Instead they chose these very obscure people like Gibbes and Gilliard. No doubt it reflects Nicholas and Alexandra's suspicious attitude towards their "intelligentsia" (although many Russian intellectuals were conservative, so that excuse doesn't quite wash, either).

Maria Mouchanow records that after the revolution, Alexandra lost her obsessive interest in Alexei and became much closer to her daughters, whom she felt she had neglected somewhat in the past.  But does anyone here know how reputable a source Mouchanow is? I've noticed only Carolly Erickson ever used her as a source, in her biography of Alexandra.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Janet_W. on September 27, 2004, 03:36:16 PM
Thank you for your kind words, Abby.  :D

And yes, Robert, I agree with you   ;) . . . the children, as adults, would have needed to subjugate their own interests to the schedules and demands of their royal duties. But I am inclined to think that Olga would have carved out a "niche" for herself as a published author, much as did Carmen Sylva and Marie of Romania. And I'm sure that practical and efficient Tatiana would have been a natural as an organizer of charities and so forth. All of this would have happened only in addition to pregnancies and public appearances, of course!
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Janet_W. on September 27, 2004, 03:46:09 PM
Elisabeth, what a nice compliment. My day is definitely made!  :D

Sadly, it seems that the Maria Mouchanow book was more a work of fiction than fact, and "Maria Mouchanow" a fictiitious name. I have enjoyed Carolly Erickson's books, but I think many people here--including the Forum Administrators, if I recall correctly from previous posts--will agree that Ms. Erickson made a mistake in relying so heavily on the Mouchanow book.

If the Forum Administrators or any other posters disagree with what I've just said, I am ready to stand corrected!
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Janet_W. on September 27, 2004, 10:04:23 PM
Belated thanks, AnastasiaFan!  

I confess to becoming focused on the Paul Voronov thread this afternoon, and only found your nice comment just before closing time. Now I'm finally back online . . . but at the library because my own computer isn't the most reliable p.c. these days!

Anyway, thanks again for your kind words. And I do recommend the memoirs of Paul Voronov's wife .  . . in addition to her own story, you'll find some interesting bits of info re: OTMA as well, including comments about their shyness and relative isolation. (How's that for getting back on topic?!)



Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: pushkina on September 27, 2004, 11:29:56 PM
Quote
I do, however, think she and Nicholas did not pay nearly enough attention to their daughters' education as they should have done -- quite possibly because they had too much to worry about already.  Their governess in Tobolsk commented that the girls were not nearly as well educated as one would expect the daughters of an emperor to be; Gilliard also mentions that the imperial milieu was not conducive to the flowering of Olga's considerable intellectual potential.

I've always thought it strange that Nicholas II did not follow his imperial forebears' example in choosing some of his children's tutors from the ranks of Russia's great writers and thinkers -- especially when you consider that his reign was the Silver Age of the Russian Arts.  Instead they chose these very obscure people like Gibbes and Gilliard. No doubt it reflects Nicholas and Alexandra's suspicious attitude towards their "intelligentsia" (although many Russian intellectuals were conservative, so that excuse doesn't quite wash, either).
 


considering the education levels of N & A, it doesn't surprise me that the children weren't well educated.  remember that also in the british family, sophisticated levels of education weren't a thing there either.  for males, education was to be part of a military service, to ride, to hunt, shoot, the social pleasures.  for females, to do good needlework, to be useful to one's charities, to ride and dance gracefully, to manage a household.  general victorian upper middle/upper classes aspired to the same sorts of things. (sorry i'm so jumbled: i'm sick in bed with fever!)
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Elisabeth on September 28, 2004, 06:52:15 AM
I hope you get better soon, Pushkina!

Regarding the children's education -- even Nicholas II had teachers like the former Minister of Finance, Nicholas Bunge, and the Procurator of the Holy Synod, Pobedonostsev.  The latter might have had reactionary views we find repellent, but nobody could argue that his was not, objectively speaking, a formidable intellect.

Alexander I had LaHarpe, Alexander II had the poet Zhukovsky. The last tsarevich, Alexei Nikolaevich, had Gibbes and Gilliard. Very odd.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Sarai on September 28, 2004, 07:53:11 AM
Quote
Personally I think Sarai and Janet_W should write a book. I will read it!


Elisabeth,
Thank you very much for your kind words! They are truly appreciated. :) You have made some very excellent points yourself.

I am glad we have discussed the passing of notes between mother and daughters in this thread. It is something that I have thought to be odd and somewhat impersonal, having to pass notes and letters to your children who are living right upstairs. However, I am more enlightened by the explanations given here as to the reasons why she did this, especially those due to health reasons. I can certainly understand that if the mother is ill and can't see her children, then at least passing notes to them is a considerate way of keeping in touch. It shows that she still wanted to communicate with the children even if she couldn't see them personally.

I don't know how often this was done, though, although I seem to recall reading somewhere that it was done on a nearly daily basis. If this was done even when Alexandra was feeling alright, then it would still appear rather strange to me, but, like AnastasiaFan pointed out, it seems to just have been a custom of the time among royal mothers.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: rskkiya on September 28, 2004, 08:41:02 AM
Heres an idea...
Perhaps Alix used notes to instruct or correct her children so as to not embarrass them publicly...Life in any palace would have been - I imagine- a bit like life in a glass box, even amongst the family I should guess there would have been servants, various guards, pages, footmen, & ladies in waiting all about, so a simple note from downstairs stating "Olga please dont sulk and do try to stop slurping your soup.  Mama *" or Maria, sit up straight and  please work on your french pronunciation... G. mentioned that this is a problem. Mama.*" may well have been kinder than we could realize.
Then again what do I know about this sort of thing... :)LOL

R.

*- Not actual notes - simply my creations! R
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Elisabeth on September 28, 2004, 09:49:51 AM
I'd like to agree with that argument. The problem is, that many of Alexandra's notes to her children were about such intensely private and emotional things, the kinds of things children are usually too afraid to speak about in a voice above a whisper, much less to confide to a piece of paper!

I'd like to go back to a point Angie raised at the beginning of this discussion, i.e., that Alexandra raised her children in much the same way she was raised, that is, in the English fashion. We tend to forget how most upperclass children fared in England.  They were raised primarily by their nanny and a flock of nursemaids.  In other words, most of the actual child rearing was left to servants. Children of the aristocracy and even the middle class were fortunate if they saw their parents once a day. This was during the so-called "Children’s Hour," when traditionally the entire family gathered for tea. (A tradition upheld by Nicholas and Alexandra.)

As children got older, girls usually were kept at home, under the supervision of a governess. Sometimes one daughter, often the youngest, was expected to stay unmarried and care for her parents in their old age. Meanwhile boys were sent off to public school by the age of eight or nine, and only saw their families on holidays. (Foreigners even as early as the sixteenth century viewed this practice as evidence that the English "hated" their own children!)  

Examples of famous "neglected" children abound.  (By which standards, Nicholas and Alexandra were above-average parents!)  Winston Churchill’s parents virtually ignored him until he became a teenager, and showed promise of becoming as talented as his famous father. (He was fortunate that he had a nanny who loved him, and with whom he could form an enduring bond.) But his experience could hardly be called unique.

A historian of childhood, Lloyd de Mause, calls the world of Victorian childhood "terrifying."  Servants could and did take out their problems and frustrations on the little children under their care.  Older children often tormented their tutors and governesses, knowing that, as mere "servants" in the household, these teachers would probably never dare to punish them. In the case of royal children, the position of tutor or governess assumed a much greater importance.  The teacher played a crucial role in forming the intellect and views of future monarchs. (We would expect that a future autocrat would receive an education at least equal to, preferrably superior to, that received by a future constitutional monarch!)  But the tutor or governess also helped to shape the child’s behavior, as the only regular source of discipline and example for the child, in the absence of the parents.  If OTMA "behaved like savages," it was no doubt because, after Mme. Tiutcheva left, they had no governess to keep an eye on them.      
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: pushkina on September 28, 2004, 08:07:39 PM
we're not royal and living in a fishbowl of a palace and yet my husband sends me daily emails (today's equivilent of a note) to remind me of things, to bust my chops, to encourage, to say stuff he would hesitate to speak.  

it drives me crazy BUT he says that things make more of an impact if they are read rather than heard.

maybe alix knew how to make an impact on her girls.  and if they had lived, the lessons, in deportment (well OK maybe not if they really did behave like savages) but surely in matters of the heart and soul would certainly have had to make a strong point to remind and shape daughters of the tsar and the empire.  public life was/is lonely and treacherous.  a note in the pocket would have been/is a tangible (and treasured) reminder.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: rskkiya on September 29, 2004, 04:07:09 PM
Pushkina

Sorry ..."Bust your chops?"

Your husband wants you to smash up meat?

I'm so lost...
R
 
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Jane on September 29, 2004, 04:53:46 PM
rskkiya,

to "bust one's chops" is an American slang expression (more commonly used on the East Coast) meaning to engage in an affectionate and informal teasing of another person.  It is usually quite lightheard.  Also, it can be used to denote nagging (again, usually of an affectionate and lighthearted exaspertion manner)

Jane
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: rskkiya on October 07, 2004, 05:04:21 PM
Thanks Jane and Pushkina,

Sorry ;) Sometimes American common phrases just never sink in...Although I would guess that very few people in America use terms such as "Carrying coal to Newcastle"

LOL...
Rskkiya.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Jane on October 07, 2004, 05:18:24 PM
Glad to help, kitty cat.  ;)  

Maybe you can share with me what "Carrying coal to Newcastle" means?  I've been there, and I even root for Newcastle FC if I see a Premiership game, but you've stumped me on that one.

Jane
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: rskkiya on October 07, 2004, 05:26:30 PM
Newcastle used to have the largest coal mines in the  old empire-- so "carrying" any there suggests a state of foolish disorganisation or extream ignorance. LOL ;D

Rskkiya
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Jane on October 07, 2004, 07:19:17 PM
Thanks Rskkiya!  I'll have to work that one into conversation soon!  
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: pushkina on October 07, 2004, 08:03:53 PM
it's kind  of like "selling ice to eskimos" another useless, wasteful and very stupid activity.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: rskkiya on October 07, 2004, 08:06:03 PM
Pushkina
Perfect!
R.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: MariaR on January 25, 2005, 08:23:28 PM
I've just finished reading Virginia Cowles book The Last Czar~ alas I"ve taken it back to the library~but I want to say it was around pg 140 or so that she mentioned that OTMA were seemlingly socially deprived. I distictly remember that VC felt  it was because of Alix. Alix being more of a practical bent who did not care for the frivlous court life. This was mentioned several time in the book.
Does anyone have the book to double check my facts?

Meanwhile, while I've done very little reading on OTMA I've NEVER gotton the impression they felt deprived or where seen as deprived at the time.

Those of you who are more well versed in things OTMA/Alix could you let me know what you think?

MariaR
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Lanie on January 25, 2005, 08:43:00 PM
This is just my opinion but...they certainly were.  They were kept from having much social interaction therefore they grew up very immature although I think in an odd way the war helped since the older girls got to nurse and talk to 'normal' girls their age, etcetera.  Though Alix had good intentions she did keep her daughters pretty much in a closed order, so to speak--they didn't have friends, didn't socialize much even with relatives, etc.  I'm sure in some ways they did feel deprived, and knew they were, socially since the war had allowed them to come in contact with a greater number of people and they realized what they'd been missing (esp. Olga and Tatiana who both desperately wanted friends their own age who weren't their sisters or their mother's older ladies in waiting).
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: otmafan on January 25, 2005, 09:01:06 PM
I agree Lanie. They barely had contact with the "outside world" at all. Except for the Standart officers and family (rarely), they weren't allowed to experience what they might have wanted.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: bookworm857158367 on January 25, 2005, 09:24:08 PM
I think they were most definitely deprived of a normal social life -- normal in terms of what was normal for other princesses of their station in life, not just what was normal for any teenage girl. Really, what teenager wants to spend all her time with her sisters and extended family? These were bright, healthy girls who, from their own letters and the accounts of others about them, seemed to have wanted friends, the opportunity to fall in love, to take part in life.

I think Alexandra was really not "all there" towards the end of her life and it affected her daughters and son. She was a religious fanatic and seems to have been somewhat unbalanced emotionally and mentally.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: RichC on January 25, 2005, 11:54:18 PM
I think it is unfair to place too much blame on Alexandra's shoulders.  I mean, Nicholas was their father; didn't he have a say?  He should have spoken up!  Yeah, I know, everyone says he always gave in to what Alexandra wanted, but that's beside the point.  He was their father.  But the blame is always directed at her.

I suspect that, while the children were isolated because of who they were, a lot of this stuff about being deprived was exaggerated by people who blamed Alexandra for the fall of the monarchy, revolution, etc.  They wrote lots of negative things about her after the revolution including that she was a bad mother who made her children unhappy.  Let's compare her to Xenia, who allowed her only daughter, 18 at the time, to marry a sleazy guy like Felix Youssopov.  Alexandra would never have allowed that and she told Xenia so before the marriage took place.

In any case, despite the attacks, the prevailing view has long been that N and A were good parents to their children.  I don't think that view will change much in the future because, I suspect, it's correct.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Lanie on January 25, 2005, 11:58:32 PM
Nicholas seemed not to have a lot of say in the upbringing of the girls.  He didn't spend a lot of time with them since he was always so busy; Alix was the one who watched over the girls, etc.  They were good parents in a lot of ways and bad parents in a lot of ways.  They weren't perfect like a lot of people tend to believe...nor were they distant and ignored their children (though it seems to me Alix did ignore OTMA to an extent, but I guess one could understand that with Alexei and her being ill all the time).

And with Felix and Irina...from what I understand, Irina WANTED to marry him!
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Belochka on January 26, 2005, 02:03:58 AM
From our modern perspective, we would consider that OTMA were somewhat deprived of friendships with girls of their own age. However it must be remembered that these were not ordinary girls. They were members of the first family of Russia.

The Russian aristocracy did not spend a great deal of time with their children. To meet at dinner was considered quite normal interaction. Nanyi looked after the children, while tutors were employed for their education. The lucky few girls attended the Smolni Institute, while the boys by the age of twelve or so were sent off to live-in military schools.

OTMA actually fared better than most. Due to their isolation, they actually spend more time in their parent's presence then was customary. They got to know their parents!

With the Japanese War, revolutionary assassinations and then the start of WWI, the family had to be kept isolated for their own protection.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Sarai on January 26, 2005, 07:29:42 AM
MariaR,
There is more on the isolation of the children on this thread:
http://hydrogen.pallasweb.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=family;action=display;num=1078161157
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Forum Admin on January 26, 2005, 09:23:33 AM
Belochka raises a valid point that needs expanding upon. Again, the entire thrust of this thread imposes a late 20th early 21st century idea on the victorian era.  Girls HAD NO SOCIAL LIFE in Victorian society whatsoever before they were "brought out" to society at age 16.  They were expected to  stay at home with mother, learn housekeeping skills, needlework etc etc. In this respect, they were not deprived at all, as private tutors were hired to teach them far more than the average girl, even of the upper classes, might have learned at the era, not to mention the travel and attending many public events before age 16. So, adding on the fact that they were daughters of the Emperor, I think they were not in the slightest bit deprived when viewed from the perspective of their PEERS at the time.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: MariaR on January 26, 2005, 09:58:22 AM
...and this is exactly what I was wondering. To them, for their time period were they deprived? My thought was that it seemed all fairly typical of the time....but in Cowles book she mentioned (I wish I had it in front of me!) that they were not allowed to go to many official/royal social functions even. I had figured they had a fairly "normal" royal upbringing until maybe the war intervened and they had to be more secluded...that always seemed such a tragedy to me. But Cowles made me wonder if even before the war they lived a less than "normal" royal life.

On a secondary thought: because of their "seclusion" from other girls/boys their age do you think this would have any play on their relationship with the Standart officers? I've always thought of their relationship with the officers a innocent/experimental one....but seen in the light of perhaps they wished for more interaction, perhaps they were deprived...maybe these relationships had a bit of desperation to them? Maybe OTMA took these relationships more serious than perhaps they otherwise would??

Thoughts?

MariaR
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Forum Admin on January 26, 2005, 10:06:16 AM
They were not all that secluded, even before the war. They were often at charity bazaars, selling donated items to the "regular" people attending, they helped every Easter and Christmas to distribute literally hundreds and hundreds of presents to staff and military regiments.  They were surrounded by staff, not just the officers on Standart. The officers would have been keenly aware of not letting any "attachment" get beyond the innocent lest their entire military career come crashing to a halt. Each GD had a personal staff with them daily.  They were interacting with adults constantly.  During the War they were MORE involved with even more charity work and daily visits to hospitals.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: MariaR on January 26, 2005, 10:21:43 AM
P.S. Sarai~

I checked the thread out you mentioned! Thanks, there are some really insightful comments there~~ lot's of food for thought~helps broaden my picture of OTMA  and their relationship w/their parents better~~

Ah. a great forum, this is!

MariaR
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: MariaR on January 26, 2005, 10:25:42 AM
Quote
They were not all that secluded, even before the war. They were often at charity bazaars, selling donated items to the "regular" people attending, they helped every Easter and Christmas to distribute literally hundreds and hundreds of presents to staff and military regiments.  They were surrounded by staff, not just the officers on Standart. The officers would have been keenly aware of not letting any "attachment" get beyond the innocent lest their entire military career come crashing to a halt. Each GD had a personal staff with them daily.  They were interacting with adults constantly.  During the War they were MORE involved with even more charity work and daily visits to hospitals.




You would think then, if anything all this company of adults would make them mature a bit faster.....
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Angie_H on January 26, 2005, 10:54:45 AM
Quote



You would think then, if anything all this company of adults would make them mature a bit faster.....

I don't know about that. I guess it depends on how the adults treated them.
I understand that because of their rank the girls didn't mingle much with "ordinary" people, but they didn't have much association with members of the Romanov family either, i.e. like cousins & such
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: RichC on January 26, 2005, 05:06:49 PM
Quote
And with Felix and Irina...from what I understand, Irina WANTED to marry him!


Even if she wanted to marry him, and I agree that she did, her parents should have advised her better.  If she completely understood what she was in for and Felix was up front with her, then she must have been an unusually mature individual for 18!
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: RomanovFan on February 01, 2005, 10:55:50 AM
The Imperial children were deprived in a sense.  Because they were so isolated from the reality of what was going on (the wars, starvation of the people, failure to help the people, ect.), yes they did get to spend more time with their parents than they would've been had they not been isolated. They were deprived of friends close to their age, besides each other. While most 18-year-olds were preparing to be "launched into society", Olga, at 18, was given a grand ball, but it was attended by mostly other Romanov relatives. No close friends of her own outside the royal family because she had none. None of the children were ever given the chance to make friends on their own. Nicholas and espcially Alexandra, sheltered their children so much that they were probably very anti-social.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Janet_W. on February 01, 2005, 12:13:43 PM
I think we're imposing our own current thoughts re: "deprivation" on this topic. These days a 14 year old often feels "deprived" if he or she can't have multiple body piercings, wear hooker apparel and spend the entire weekend at the multi-plex eating junk food and terrorizing the average citizen.

The children of Nicholas and Alexandra were brought up in a rarefied atmosphere. What else would you expect of royal children? Even Princes William and Harry, for all of their mother's efforts, could not escape that situation . . . nor should they. If you have the means to keep your children sequestered from the hardscrabble ugliness of the world, of course you will do so.

Nicholas and Alexandra did not, however, want their offspring to be spoiled. And as the children grew older, they participated in experiences which encouraged them to be aware of others less fortunate.

Much has been written of Alexandra wanting to keep her daughters to herself, and therefore denying them relationships with others their own age. I do not deny there is probably some truth in this. However, I think the actual situation was a bit more complicated. Just who would OTMA socialize with? Aunt Xenia's children were primarily boys and, it appears, a fairly pugnacious group. Irina? Perhaps. But considering what happened later--that her parents gave permission for her to marry Felix--well, does that possibly indicate a preference for the accumulation of wealth over emotional stability?  From all that I've read, this would not have been the case with Nicholas and Alexandra. Alexandra loved Nicholas for who he was; she had refused her English cousin, who was in line for the British throne, because she could not love him. Nicholas married Alexandra not because of her wealth--she was, by all accounts, a relatively impoverished and minor princess--but because he loved her profoundly. Parents with values such as these would be inclined to want the same for their children.

Olga and Tatiana had each other for companionship, but apparently very few others; the only friend I can think of at the moment is Rita Khitrovo. (Though of course we are not privvy to every bit of information re: this or any other area.) But again, given Alexandra's feeling of antipathy--in many ways justified--toward the "bright young things" of St. P society, it's no wonder the girls had limited social contacts. Still, they managed to attend dances, flirt, and enjoy themselves . . . we have contemporary accounts of this. I think that, given their "exalted" position, the two eldest girls at least did enjoy themselves and--had war not intervened--gradual freedoms would have been granted the youngest two. This is typical of the family dynamic; older children usually “blaze the trail” for those who follow.

Deprivation is a tricky topic. My sense of deprived teenagers might not be yours, and vice-versa. In a sense each one of us has had some sort of deprivation, whether it be lack of financial resources, an abundance of financial resources, permissive parents, strict parents, too little socializing, too much socializing, etc.  In this life, no one can have it all. Parents can only do their best, and if they are empathetic and ethical, that "best" may be quite satisfactory.


Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Georgiy on February 01, 2005, 01:53:08 PM
A good question would be did they themselves feel deprived? If they themselves didn't feel deprived, and were happy, then who are we to say they were deprived.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Denise on February 04, 2005, 09:39:28 PM
Quote
A good question would be did they themselves feel deprived? If they themselves didn't feel deprived, and were happy, then who are we to say they were deprived.


I doubt that they felt deprived.  It was the only upbringing they knew, and were a very close loving family.  That closeness is probably what kept them going once they got to Ekaterinburg and faced the hopelessness of their situation.  

Denise
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Belochka on February 05, 2005, 05:31:49 AM
I would also like to believe that it was because the girls were members of a close and loving family, that their isolation made their situation in Ekaterinburg more tolerable.

The girls were not certainly deprived of wholesome family values.  

Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Madal on February 05, 2005, 06:27:04 AM
Olga and Tatiana had each other for companionship, but apparently very few others; the only friend I can think of at the moment is Rita Khitrovo.

There is an Olga and Rita's  photo in Livadia.org but ... Who was Rita Khitrovo? How did Olga and Rita meet?
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Olga on February 05, 2005, 08:12:48 AM
Margarita Khitrovo was a Lady in Waiting to Olga Nikolaevna.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: rskkiya on February 05, 2005, 09:33:02 AM
Quote
The girls were not certainly deprived of wholesome family values.  



    (ACCCK) That particular phrase really bothers me--but I think that I understand your meaning!
     Like anything their lifes and all the "privations" that they may have suffered were rather relative.  After all many factory workers would have loved their clean beds (simple though they seem to us ) and envied their balanced regular meals and daily baths...I and many others are glad to not be forever in the spotlight forever to be "stared at"!
    It's rather sad that they had so few friends, and that they seem to have never matured.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Lanie on February 05, 2005, 01:12:06 PM
Quote
Margarita Khitrovo was a Lady in Waiting to Olga Nikolaevna.


I think she was a lady-in-waiting to Alexandra, but ended up getting close with Olga since they were the same age.  Rita nursed with both Olga and Tatiana and was a devoted friend of both.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Sarai on February 20, 2005, 03:36:02 PM
Quote
I think she was a lady-in-waiting to Alexandra, but ended up getting close with Olga since they were the same age.  Rita nursed with both Olga and Tatiana and was a devoted friend of both.


Lanie is right about Rita being a LIW to Alexandra, who eventually became a close friend of Olga's due, in part, to the proximity in their ages.

With regards to the girls feeling "deprived," most of what I have read about them says that they were in fact quite content with their situation and didn't feel deprived at all. They lived in a "gilded cage" but they couldn't imagine life any other way.

Of course, we do know that the girls, Tatiana in particular, longed to have outside friends. So, in her case, she may have indeed felt a bit deprived of friendships. I am sure that all of the girls were glad to get out and meet other people during their hospital work in WWI. They took their responsibilities seriously but must have been glad to get to know other people outside their limited circle.

Perhaps as they grew older they may have felt a bit "deprived" of the opportunity to be out in society, but at least during their childhoods there was no indication that they suffered from their isolation and they seemed perfectly happy amongst themselves.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Georgiy on February 20, 2005, 05:13:57 PM
Probably the only time they would really have felt deprived was whilst they were living under captivity. But that would be perfectly understandable.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: sunnyluv on March 02, 2005, 02:42:33 PM
 ;)They definetly were...I will find the account of entry by the hospital woman who worked with Olga and Tatiana, and she wrote that they knew "next to nothing" about the outside world--even by "back then" standards they were considered somewhat immature as they spoke in nursery language between themselves--personally I do not think it shows that they were not developed--just that they were isolated--and did not socialize--even as they grew older, their rooms were still called "nursery" and they were considered still "girls" for their mother--elder were referred to as big girls;  They did not know a lot of people outside their family and they did not participate in the activities of their peers--there were only few times that N. himself accompanies their elder daughters to the theatre;  
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Maria_Romanov_fan on March 02, 2005, 08:55:55 PM
Lol, guys, I don't know if OTMA were as "deprived" as you think they are. I know some people say "Oh, let's pity the poor Romanov girls who died so young and were not given many social interactions... ect"
Ummm, no not really (well yes it is sad that they died young :'( ). I think that compared to other Russian children of that time (especially peasents) they lived much more comfortable lives.
But yes, they could have had a little more social interactions.  :)
*Hmmm, please let us remember the time frame of Nicholas II's reign, the Romanovs were like a government monarchy and might become the future rulers of Russia.  ;) Lol, I don't think it's possible to go back in time to ask OTMA if they were happy with their childhood, and their childhood social life.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: NAAOTMA on March 08, 2005, 10:25:38 PM
As Janet said, we often look at the 19th Century and early 20th Century through our 21st Century glasses.

I was reading a book about Queen Victoria by one of her ladies in waiting, and in it was related a conversation between the Queen and one of her younger daughters. The gist of it was that royalty kept to its own immediate circle, and that did not include the courtiers and aristocratic types. The Queen pretty much said that friendship was impossible with anyone but another royal. In that regard, Alexandra was more relaxed than her grandmother.

Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: La_Mashka on March 11, 2005, 10:31:13 AM
Quote
I hope you get better soon, Pushkina!

Regarding the children's education -- even Nicholas II had teachers like the former Minister of Finance, Nicholas Bunge, and the Procurator of the Holy Synod, Pobedonostsev.  The latter might have had reactionary views we find repellent, but nobody could argue that his was not, objectively speaking, a formidable intellect.

Alexander I had LaHarpe, Alexander II had the poet Zhukovsky. The last tsarevich, Alexei Nikolaevich, had Gibbes and Gilliard. Very odd.


I believe the Tsarevich "tutor" was named when he turned 11, however in Alexei's case, when this happened the war started, and so his parents decided to wait to choose a tutor, and to let him learn from life (being at the front with his father) for the time being.  Of course they never thought the war would be so long, and that the Tsar would have to abdicate.

This can be rea din Pierre Gilliard's book.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Ming on March 11, 2005, 08:29:53 PM
Am enjoying all the valuable information and speculation.  About writing notes: I have never in person seen a real palace, but in pictures, to me, they seem HUGE.  Can you imagine a working, unhealthy mother of five trying to run around the palace, looking for her children, to tell them to wipe their noses or something?  Seems to me that just distance alone would argue for note-writing, sent by servants, as the most efficient and quickest way to get word to one's child, unless one is with them at the moment.

I also feel that royals, by their very nature, are somewhat isolated from the "common man" and probably don't have a realistic idea of how non-royals raise their children.  It's just the nature of the beast, I think, that being royal also means being a little different from the rest of us.  Even today, Queen Elizabeth's children have had problems with their marriages...some due to their parents' lack of involvement with them during their upbringing.

Perhaps the "job" of being a royal is much, much different and more difficult than any--or most of--us can even imagine.

Also, perhaps some royals seem so very isolated because to them, they're the only ones who can trust each other.

While I think it would have been marvelous to have lived in a huge, beautiful home, and have had gorgeous dresses and jewels and the very best of everything, and been waited on all the time, I can also see how that kind of life can easily interfere with self-discovery and a limited world view.

Just thinking.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Belochka on March 11, 2005, 09:19:26 PM
Quote
I believe the Tsarevich "tutor" was named when he turned 11, however in Alexei's case, when this happened the war started, and so his parents decided to wait to choose a tutor, and to let him learn from life (being at the front with his father) for the time being.  This can be rea din Pierre Gilliard's book.


I am unable to agree with these statements.

Piotr Petrov was the Russian language and literature instructor to all the children.

There is a photograph (see Nicholas II the Imperial Family (2004), p 112) and other sources, which shows Alexei at his desk surrounded by his tutors, Gibbes, Petrov and Gilliard and also Voyeikov.

The photograph was taken in 1916 at Stavka (General Headquarters).
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Belochka on March 11, 2005, 10:02:22 PM
Here is that photograph taken on 7 December 1916:

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v676/sadbear/AlexeiII.jpg)

In the photograph:

P. Gilliard, V. Voyeikov, the Tsetsarevich, S. Gibbes and P. Petrov holding onto the stool.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: koloagirl on March 12, 2005, 08:00:09 PM
 :)

I have to agree with both Sarai and Janet W. on their assessments.  :)

I really don't think that the GD's felt themselves isolated and deprived in a big way.  

I know that Tatiana expressed a wish for a friend - but in no way do I ever get the feeling from reading books that they felt deprived or rebellious about it.  Rather, they showed a deep devotion to each other which I don't think we can really understand from this point in time.  The situation into which they were thrust was unique and ultimately they relied on each other (and parents) for support and love.  Which they received.

This is one of the things that makes me feel ultimately better about their deaths - they were together and I'm sure each of them would have wanted it that way (my opinion at least).
Janet R.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: hikaru on June 13, 2005, 10:58:14 AM
I just want to say that Russian equivalent of
"Carrying coal to Newcastle" will be
"To go to Toula with own samovar".
As for OTMAA isolation - they were very isolated.
For Example,
It was forbidden for them to speak with the girls of Committees who were preparing the corpia etc.
They also can not speak free in the hospital with everybody.
The circle of people to whom they could speak was
decided by Empresse.
I think , of course, they did not
hear their mother in this but if somebody saw them speaking to the strangers,  it was followed by the home scandal.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Finelly on June 16, 2005, 09:06:09 PM
Alix's role models were Victoria of England and Alexandra of England.  Alexandra of England (Mrs.Edward) kept her own girls VERY close to her and deprived them of a lot of social adult life.  They remained rather childish and sheltered into adulthood.  Perhaps Alix thought this was the way to raise her daughters.  And, of course, she felt that the other courtiers and nobility were corrupt and decadent and immoral, so she wouldn't want to expose her daughters to THEM.....
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: koloagirl on June 23, 2005, 08:49:19 PM
 :)

I really don't think that the Grand Duchesses were "deprived" in any significant way.

Yes, they lived a very isolated life - really only social with their cousins and other exalted children -- but they lived such close lives with each other - I cannot think of any other Royal Family that had the loving relationships that the "girlies" seemed to have had with each other.

To our eyes it may seem that they were not exposed to very much of the "real world" and I'm sure that is true...but given their rank I don't believe that they would have been....and I like to think of them as happy with each other and not knowing any differently....happy within their little family group.

Maybe I'm idealistic -- who knows?  But I would certainly like to think that they were happy and did not feel isolated or deprived in any significant way.

Janet R.
:)
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Finelly on June 23, 2005, 09:38:47 PM
Being deprived and FEELING deprived are different.  Clearly, OTMA lived in a dysfunctional family system.  They didn't have much contact with the outside world nor were they given the opportunity to "come out" in the traditional way.

Most people who grow up in non-violent or non-abusive dysfunctional families don't have a clue what they are missing.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Georgiy on June 23, 2005, 11:21:04 PM
Quote
Clearly, OTMA lived in a dysfunctional family system


Please forgive any offense, but I think this is looking at a pre WW1 Orthodox family and judging through 21st Century western, or western-influenced eyes, which is like trying to compare chalk and cheese.

That the Emperor and Empress tried to raise their children to be pious and with a great love for God in their hearts is a duty of every Orthodox parent.

These days we are so used to thinking about all our worldly joys and needs etc, it seems (I may be wrong here) that we neglect our inner selves. A hundred years ago, even in the west, people led much more family-centred lives and made their own entertainment much more than these days. While OTMA may have had even less outside entertainments than say their contemporaries,  I do not think they were deprived. The 'entertainment' factor of their lives might have got less stimulation than some of us these days would like, but their souls and hearts were not neglected. To say that they were part of a disfunctional family is I think to miss the point, and uses 21st century terminology for a modern malaise which I think can not be applied to a quite different culture, mind set, world view and way of thinking.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Finelly on June 23, 2005, 11:26:56 PM
They were not the typical orthodox family by any stretch of the imagination.

They were not even the typical orthodox ROYAL family by any stretch of the imagination!  They had a neurotic mother, a passive father, an ill brother whose illness was kept a deep, dark secret, relatives who hated their parents (or at least their mother) and made that clear to all, and no court life.

To refuse to use new understandings and knowledge to assess the past sort of beside the entire point of this board!  
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Georgiy on June 23, 2005, 11:30:43 PM
I realise this is the wrong place to ask this, as it is not entirely related to the topic, but are you Orthodox and do you know how an Orthodox person lives, what they believe or what their world-view is? Otherwise I would suggest that you are not really in a position to say whether were a typical Orthodox family or not.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Finelly on June 23, 2005, 11:35:00 PM
I'm Orthodox.  Orthodox Jew.

And my relatives were tortured and slaughtered for generations by Orthodox Christians in Russia.

But besides that, I think I have read just about every biography of Romanov relatives that exists in English, and almost every book about the fate of the Romanovs.

So, yes, I think I'm in something of a position to be able to venture an opinion.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Georgiy on June 23, 2005, 11:44:00 PM
Maybe we are both looking at it from positions that could hardly be called neutral.
:-/
I too have read pretty much everything out there in English that there is to read on the Romanovs, and some in Russian too, but I will stand by my point that we can't judge a very different way of culture and thinking with terms syptomatic of 21st Cetury malaise.

Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: hikaru on August 05, 2005, 02:34:24 PM
I have found an intresting description of the Easter Holliday in Alexandr Palace written by Count A. Scherbatov ( The Faberge cache-cache ( hide - and - seek) ara marvelous)
" In 1915 war-year we went for Easter Holliday to the children of the Emperor Nicholas II. Emperor was not this time in the Palace, probably , he was at Stavka. Usually, somebody guided us to him and we just made a bow to him.
Older daughters welcomed the guests wearing the Nurse's uniforms. Empresse Alexandra Feodorovna , always , enchanting and kind, embraced and kissed us one by one , and also she caressed our little heads.
She was a beauty, but , Her sister Elizaveta Feodorovna was regarded as an unbelievable beauty. Adults used to say that  all men loose their heads for her.  
My favorite one of Tsar's children was Maria. She was extremely  kind and attentive. Younger children , as all of us , used to wear a sailor suits. Everybody used only
Russian language but Alexandra Feodorovna had some lovely accent.  My mother, sometimes, spoke in English to her. My mother's English was ideal one, but my father prefered French to English.
Actually, My mother had a more freind connection with Marie Feodorovna than with her daughter - in -law.
The mother of the Emperor was more open lady.
But the best real friend of my mother always was Olyga Alexandrovna, sister of  Nicholas II. While adultls were talking to each other, children drank tea, hot chocolate and cacao with an apple pie. Then we played toys for a while, but it was not so intresting: we have the same toys. The same toys as at my home, were not attracted me much. I remeber , that we had the same Railroad with Alexey - just station's names were differeng. He had not my favorite beloved station named " Dno" so his railroad was worser than my.
Expecting the main event, everybody ,  if it was possible,  slowly walked  speaking about various things.
We gathered together for the following event:  a day before holliday, the Empresse hided  litte Faberge things, tiny gold eggs and other souvenirs  between pillows , into the  foldes of sofas and other furniture like that. Then the invited childred had a fun by seaeking
all that staff.  I do not remember clearly, but it seems to me that I could find out 1 or 2 small things that time. I was 5 years old. For 5 years old boy the things are not so valuable, but there were such funny and such enjoyable. I thought , that in every ideal house should be like this - funny and enjoyable"

Pls correct My English, if any
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: charley on August 06, 2005, 10:28:27 PM
I have to say my life mimics the Grand Duchesses in so many ways.  There were five girls in my family and the older ones were called the "Big Ones" and the younger ones were called the "Little Ones" similiar to the GD's.  We had to travel around often and having the sisters was all we really needed.  The GD's had each other and they probably did not feel a need to have alot of friends.  Alexei on the other hand was the only boy, so I imagined he needed some friends.  As for the letter writing.  The same thing goes on in my family with my children.  I may be resting in my room and my children will place notes under the door.  If you did not understand the workings of our family, you would think that these notes were the only connection between my children and myself.  It has more to do with the love the Grand Duchesses felt for their mother and my children feel towards me.  It is beautiful.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Finelly on August 06, 2005, 11:55:21 PM
Well, but there are certainly indications that the girls harbored some resentment toward their mother (referring to her staying in bed as "tiresome", and longing for more freedom).  It wasn't all a bed of roses.  The family was quite dysfunctional.

The fact that one of them always had to attend their mother was another problem.  They were good about taking turns but it cannot have been easy.

Certainly at the end, there was estrangement between the family members and Olga was barely speaking to her sisters at all.  A and M were more social.  They craved contact with others, while Olga was more inhibited and stayed away from others outside of the family.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: sailor_of_standart on August 29, 2005, 09:01:44 PM
I believe the isolation has happened in many royal families.
Even those of today.   The british royals such as C,A,A and E were raised by themselves their mother was to busy to interact with her children.  
The Danish Royals, prince Fredrick said he and his brother were raised by their nannies and they lived in the top half of the palace.  They simply did not get to see their parents and if they did it was only for a few minutes or if they had to be scolded.  Their childhood was strict and sadden that they never got to be raised like normal children.
That is why his bride Princess Mary is going to raise their child without nannies.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: imperial angel on October 10, 2005, 11:09:02 AM
I think that isiolation or living in a fish bowl as it is put in modern times happens in all Royal families to various degrees depending on many things. After all, the reality that Royalty know is not the reality we have. Modern  young royals are more in touch with the ordinary wood than royal children of those times were. There was even more isolation back then, than there is today. Of course, Otma were affected by this, and any books which note this are correct, unfortunatly. They were probably even more isiolated than most royals then, because Nicholas and Alexandra never made them aware of the world of the court, which many royals of that time knew, much less the outside world of ordinary reality.

But in their last year, when they were young adults I think they learned much about reality and how to deal with it. They were made aware of a brutal reality, and they had to come to terms with it. I think on the night they died, they were not so childish and naive. As for whether isolation was wholly negative or not, that should have its own thread. I could write a book on that subject alone.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: julia.montague on December 07, 2005, 09:34:17 AM
I read that the girls were not able to make conversations like adults (even when they were grown-up), because they nearly never met other people.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: imperial angel on December 07, 2005, 10:08:59 AM
Yes, I think they did to some extent, because they were isolated to a degree, but to regard them merely as childish is a mistake, because they were more than that, but they may not have been as adult or contemporary to their age in their behaviour and habits, and conversation. But at least Olga by the time of her death knew the world to some extent, and acted adult. I think ''innocent'' a better term than ''childish'' because that is what Otma were: sheltered and innocent. Childish sometimes, but they were, of course, not very old, nor very worldly wise, but then royalty, especially in that era were very sheltered and had different mores and a different way of life-any way, Welcome to the board, I am 19, female , from IA and hope you have a great experience here! :)
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Janet_W. on December 07, 2005, 12:04:40 PM
Think about all the times you've seen a group of teenage girls chattering away. Or, if it applies, think about the times you've chatted with your teenage girlfriends! When it comes to speech and other behaviors, teens very typically appear to have regressed, and much of what they say is purposely in a self-conscious "code" so as to set themselves apart from others. I have the feeling this is what was overheard by palace staff.

With regards to both Olga and Tatiana, we know that at necessary and often critical times, they could speak as well as any diplomat.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Russian_Duchess_#5 on December 07, 2005, 12:36:32 PM
I do not think that this criticism was accurate. In that era, manners were all very critical and every move was watched. I think that whoever said this was harsh, and to an extent, not true.
Olga read extensively, so she probably had an extensive vocabulary.
Tatyana was fromally very proper and, in my opinion, was the most elegant of the sisters.
I do not understand WHY they would sound like children around meeting people.


Sofi :)
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Russian_Duchess_#5 on December 07, 2005, 12:38:08 PM
Oh, and welcome Ida!! :D

Sofi :-*
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Georgiy on December 07, 2005, 02:07:59 PM
I imagine that their way of talking was more 'innocent' than 'childish' as someone else already pointed out. Compared to their contempories of St Petersburg society, they were rather religious and I suspect that their topics of conversation were probably not as worldly as others might have wished for. Thus the idea of childish - not constantly going on about boys and dresses etc etc, though no doubt they did to a degree. There was a lot of petty talk in society about the IF, OTMA would not have been immune. It would be a way for people to criticise the Empress - you know, saying "Oh she is so dreadful, she hasn't even let her daughters grow up, they still act and talk like 12 year olds.' If the girls had been bawdy and crude, then that would have been another type of ammunition for the gossip-crowd. :(
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: matushka on December 07, 2005, 04:24:12 PM
Very well said, Georgy. Very good points.
I would like to insist also on the following: we often read that OTMA "saw very few people", they were "closed in a golden cage", they had no contact with other people, with other young people. It seems to me - if I am wrong, correct me- that those conversations come in general from people of the high Petersburg's society. "OTMA see noone" mean here no one of this Peterburg's high society, the Romanovs, some fashionnable families and people. But, looking at there way of life, I found they saw a lot of very different people. And as I myself grew up in a VERY strict family, I found also that the way AF educated her daughters was not so strict as it seems to be. The girls could easily talk with officers, with sailors in a flirting way and their mother knew the first all their little secrets. In a really strict family, I can testimony that it is quite impossible ;)!
As for their behaviour, there was indeed something childish in it, as it is in every girls company. Girls of that age can have very serious conversations and can behave themselves, hum, in a strange childish way. That happened with all of us, that happened with OTMA. They like jokes, silly jokes, making noise, writting nasty verses about people they dislike. In some officials ceremonies they could laugh if something happened, if someone looked funny, or just because it was boring. Yes, those things happened, and happened often.
A wounded of the lazaret (Stepanov, he was at the beggining of the war) wrote it was sometimes difficult to find a thema for conversation with the GD. Olga, he added, had more experiences of chating, Tatiana not yet. But this experience come with time, I guess 2 years later Tatiana already could talk easily, and she already preside her comitee without her mother's help.
They were innocent, they could behave themselves awfully childish, and they could be very serious and attentive. They were teenagers, they were learning their GD's job. How many of us could have "conversations" with such differents people as a minister, a priest, a bishop, a lady, an officer in one dinner at the age of 14 or even 19?
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Tania+ on December 07, 2005, 04:26:08 PM
Georgiy,

Your points are well taken. Though I see even today, many years later, people are still prone to petty gossip one way or another. Back then or now, 'you can't win for losing'. That's why it is so very important for those of us to remain true, and to point out what is truth, and what is just 'petty gossip'. Thanks always for offering your very important perspectives on the IF, etc.  !

Tatiana


Quote
I imagine that their way of talking was more 'innocent' than 'childish' as someone else already pointed out. Compared to their contempories of St Petersburg society, they were rather religious and I suspect that their topics of conversation were probably not as worldly as others might have wished for. Thus the idea of childish - not constantly going on about boys and dresses etc etc, though no doubt they did to a degree. There was a lot of petty talk in society about the IF, OTMA would not have been immune. It would be a way for people to criticise the Empress - you know, saying "Oh she is so dreadful, she hasn't even let her daughters grow up, they still act and talk like 12 year olds.' If the girls had been bawdy and crude, then that would have been another type of ammunition for the gossip-crowd. :(

Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Sarushka on December 07, 2005, 07:53:03 PM
I agree with the assessment of childish vs. innocent.  I also think their so-called childishness would have more to do with the topics of conversation than their actual style of speaking, or vocabulary - I sure don't believe they were gabbling away in some sort of baby talk! Further, the memoirs of Gilliard, Dehn, Vyrubova, & others don't give any examples of tremendously immature speech on the part of the Imperial children.

Judging from the girls' own letters, they seemed quite lighthearted and open, but certainly not stunted in their use of language, in either Russian or English. Before the war & abdication began to weigh on them, the children's letters are basically chatter on paper.

Slightly off-topic: does anybody know anything about the secret language Anastasia & Alexei invented? I've got the name of it written down somewhere...
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Olga_Anna on December 07, 2005, 08:44:04 PM
Quote

Slightly off-topic: does anybody know anything about the secret language Anastasia & Alexei invented? I've got the name of it written down somewhere...

I've never heard anything about a secret language between Nastya + Baby. Do you have any more info?? All I've heard is that they had some kind of six sense or something like that.

Welcome Ida!  :)

I think this topic has been disscussed somewhere, I can't remember where though. I post the link if I find it.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Russian_Duchess_#5 on December 07, 2005, 09:04:47 PM
 :oSIXTH SENSE??!!
Wow, I must read up, because I don't know what you two are talking about lol. !!
(I have read ALOT of books, I guess its not enough!! ;))

Sofi :)
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Sarushka on December 07, 2005, 11:16:37 PM
Quote
I've never heard anything about a secret language between Nastya + Baby. Do you have any more info??


Anastasia & Alexei called their language Tarabar. Unfortunately, my notes don't say where I read this. I can promise it was a non-fiction source, though!
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: matushka on December 08, 2005, 06:42:19 AM
It would be wonderful, if you find the reference, Sarushka!
About the way they wrote, I can add there were a lot of orthographic mistakes in their russian diaries...
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: imperial angel on December 08, 2005, 10:54:55 AM
That thing about the secret language of Anastasia and Tsarvitch Alexei is interesting, I had never heard of it before and I have also read many books. ;) Yes, Otma were teenagers/young adults, and sometimes were serious, sometimes had fun, just as all teenagers around the globe. They were not more immature than was typical for their age then, and that is very true, althugh they were more innocent or sheltered than some young women, and that made the topics of conversation different as did the fact that they were Royalty.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: GrandDuchess_Bella on December 08, 2005, 02:08:05 PM
I do not think that the girls were all that childish. Sometimes we all pick out silly topics to talk about which are childish in a way. I know I do. In FOTR, sources say the girls were ‘stupid’ and ‘childish’ but I seriously doubt this for some of their letters show great wisdom to me. They knew how to be serious and elegant when needed. The palace servants who heard them didn’t really know who they were. Sure, they knew their name’s and family but they did not know them. The girls started out childish and it probably took them longer to grow out of it considering the kind of environment they were encased in but for the most part, the two Grand Duchesses knew the world which they lived and knew how to adapt to it. They would have to know some considering the things that went on around them, especially the matters with Nicholas. I do not believe they were as immature as some people say. By the way, welcome Ida!
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: clockworkgirl21 on December 08, 2005, 03:10:52 PM
I haven't read many of Olga's letters or diary entries, but sometimes TMA would use words I've never even heard of before. My vocab isn't as big as I'd like it to be, but I do try to look up a word in the dictionary and try to use it everyday. It doesn't really work, sometimes I forget the word...but back on topic. I remember reading a letter of Maria's, and by the date, she'd be about 14. She had a pretty good vocabulary for someone who was 14. Anastasia used some intelligent words, too around that age. But I chuckle whenever I think about Tatiana's letter, complaining about those "d*mned mosquitos."
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Yoyo on December 08, 2005, 06:11:16 PM
When I read accounts that OTMA spoke like children or that they behaved "like savages" I always wonder who the writer is; i.e. whether he/she is a "hostile" witness or not. What I mean is, for instance, it was princess Galitzine (if not mistaken), Alexandra's mistress of the robes, who mentioned about their "savage" behavior. Well, a lot of these courtiers from the old, aristocratic families, detested Alexandra, especially after she snobbed heir friendship (preferring the company of non-entities like Vyrubova) and considered the company of their daughters too corrupting for her (AF's) own. So when they speak derisively of OTMA, I always wonder whether that is how it really was, or whether it was meant to heap scorn on Alexandra's puritanical morals and Victorian child-raising techniques. So I tend to take these accounts with a grain of salt, but also those of the fawning hagiographic courtiers.
8)
Yoyo
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Janet_W. on December 08, 2005, 07:38:05 PM
I rather think such comments were recorded by adults who had forgotten what it's like to be a child. Or, perhaps more fairly, they were simply recording what they observed, to tell us (1) in the case of childish talk, that the girls were protected/isolated from the more sophisticated/jaded young women their ages (the so-called "Whispering Wales Sisters" inspired similar comment), and (2) in the case of the "savages" remark, that they were typical, rambunctious, occasionally out-of-control children.

Anyone who has been around children knows that a single child can often be well-mannered and reasonably easy to keep in check, but that as you add on children they become more and more . . . . inventive!  ;)  I would love to think that the girls had opportunities, away from the public eye, to run and play and whoop and make lots of ruckus, as long as they did not inconvenience others. I rather think their parents thought the same thing.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Sarushka on December 08, 2005, 07:54:38 PM
Quote
When I read accounts that OTMA spoke like children or that they behaved "like savages" I always wonder who the writer is; i.e. whether he/she is a "hostile" witness or not.


I wonder if what was perceived as out-of-control behavior on the part of the Imperial Children would have been considered normal for a regular kid?  ;)

I like to think OTMAA were pretty rambunctious, but I doubt that they were constantly outrageous.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: RealAnastasia on December 08, 2005, 08:07:34 PM
Quote
Think about all the times you've seen a group of teenage girls chattering away. Or, if it applies, think about the times you've chatted with your teenage girlfriends! When it comes to speech and other behaviors, teens very typically appear to have regressed, and much of what they say is purposely in a self-conscious "code" so as to set themselves apart from others. I have the feeling this is what was overheard by palace staff.

With regards to both Olga and Tatiana, we know that at necessary and often critical times, they could speak as well as any diplomat.


You made a good point, Janet_W. Sometimes, teenagers seems to be childish. The person who heard them speaking to each other like childs (I think it was Sokolov, but I'm not sure. I must go check in my books) didn't know nothing about teenage girls!  ;D I remember to have been quite stupid when I had their ages.  ;)

RealAnastasia.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: imperial angel on December 09, 2005, 10:16:54 AM
Yes, what was typical for teenagers and especially isolated royal teenagers might have not been the remotest knowledge of the people on whose sources we rely for these observations. Indeed, everybody has a different definition of childish, and in somethings, people mature differently. These are factors too. That Otma were childish in way that was abnormal way past the correct age is not true at all.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: matushka on December 09, 2005, 02:41:46 PM
Sarushka's remark seems to me very pertinent. OTMA's behaviour was discussed by ladies and people not especially young, living at the Court for years. They had habit for strict behaviour, self-control, standart behaviour, ceremonial and were not prepared to accept children's noise and jokes.
Once more, I came back to the Chebotareva's diary, this goldmine as told Janet one day! Once, Valentina Ivanovna speak about a guy - a mysterious K. - Tatiana liked very much and who was all the possible time with her. Chebotareva worried terribly about that, she write something like "I am afraid that Naryshkina would have an attack if she saw TN chating and laughing that way with K." There was here nothing special for a 18 years old girl, but something very serious in the eyes of people when it is about a GD. What about Alexandra Feodorovna, she did not worry at all!
Sometimes such remarks came from simple people (such as guards or servants in the Ipatiev house). I explain this an other way. Even if they were more or less "revolutionnar", they were taugh from their childhood to admire, I would say, to deify all what come from the Tsar and his family. The discovery they were just people as they were themselves... surprised them.
And it is normal: from a Tsar and is family is expected something different, something high, they have to be models, people who one can admire. I think that a lot of people was surprised by the "dailyness", the simplicity of the family.
Hope it is understandable...
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Janet_W. on December 09, 2005, 04:46:49 PM
Matushka, I thank you for your post . . . and yes, your post is very understandable!

Since the Imperial Family were held to a high standard, of course any behavior would be discussed, analyzed, and discussed again. Perhaps a comparison of sorts would be that of how the world watched Princess Diana. Yes, it was decades later, and the technology was far more sophisticated, but many people will remember that from the very beginning, when Diana became engaged to Prince Charles, every aspect of her life was considered . . . what she said, how she looked, what she ate, what she wore, etc.  Many young women, in fact, began to imitate her in terms of hair style and dress.

I'd also like to refer AP participants to one of my favorite films, Roman Holiday. Although the movie was made in the early 1950s, it does address issues that both OTMA and Princess Diana dealt with, including conformity of dress, public conduct, etiquette, scheduling, lack of spontenity, etc.  The princess in the movie, Princess Ann (Audrey Hepburn), exemplifies a certain demeanor and attitude that--brought up in her rarified atmosphere of a fictional small European nation--I would imagine was not very different from that of Olga and Tatiana.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: GrandDuchess_Bella on December 11, 2005, 10:50:36 AM
Quote
I haven't read many of Olga's letters or diary entries, but sometimes TMA would use words I've never even heard of before. My vocab isn't as big as I'd like it to be, but I do try to look up a word in the dictionary and try to use it everyday. It doesn't really work, sometimes I forget the word...but back on topic. I remember reading a letter of Maria's, and by the date, she'd be about 14. She had a pretty good vocabulary for someone who was 14. Anastasia used some intelligent words, too around that age. But I chuckle whenever I think about Tatiana's letter, complaining about those "d*mned mosquitos."


Lol, I laugh often when I think of Tatiana's letter as well. I agree with you. The girls did seem to have a rather advanced vocabulary for someone their age. I wish I did lol ::)
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: imperial angel on December 12, 2005, 11:11:52 AM
The comparison between Otma and princess Diana was good, I often compare them in my posts, for whatever reason. I think in some ways there a lot of similarities. I think these are issues that royalty deal with in many countries and many different ages, and that is part of what they have to deal with.That film sounds interesting, and all the issues you mentioned echo in the lives of many royals, and otma and Princess Diana.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Elisabeth on December 12, 2005, 01:48:51 PM
Just to clarify: it was Alexander Mossolov who wrote about OTMA that "I never heard the slightest word suggestive of modern flirtation. Even when the two eldest [grand duchesses] had grown into real young women, one might hear them talking like little girls of ten or twelve."

Given the context, it sounds to me like Mossolov only said this because he was trying to protect OTMA's reputation. When he wrote this they were already dead, presumably murdered. So I think he is emphasizing here for the general public the complete innocence of the grand duchesses, their lack of knowledge of anything remotely sinful. Remember that before the Revolution OTMA's names had frequently been linked with Rasputin in the gutter press and you begin to understand Mossolov's protectiveness towards them.

The person who wrote that OTMA "generally behaved like young savages" was Elizaveta Naryshkina, Alexandra's Mistress of the Robes. Naryshkina came from an ancient noble family and IMHO with this statement she was sneering at the Romanovs as the old Russian nobility was accustomed to doing, especially in the case of Nicholas and Alexandra. (The Romanovs were not a particularly "old" family compared to many others, and the "old" aristocracy maintained a level of disdain towards them. Of course, these very same people would be falling over themselves to accept an invitation to the Alexander Palace, but in private, amongst themselves, they would be highly critical of the emperor and empress - both critical and hypocritical!) I'm sure the usual adolescent hijinks of four rather spoiled grand duchesses (rather spoiled because they were after all grand duchesses) were transformed in her mind into the very worst escapades ever.

Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Tsarfan on December 12, 2005, 02:37:46 PM
While I knew there was widespread disdain among the nobility of Nicholas and Alexandra, I have never heard of any disdain arising from geneaological snobbery.  My understanding is that Romanov nobility is traceable at least back to Simeon in the mid-fourteenth century -- perhaps not the most ancient lineage, but at least a couple of centuries older than the family's election to the throne.

Could the disdain have arisen more from the fact that Elisabeth was the last person to sit on the Russian throne who derived her Romanov descent through the male line, and her successors were actually Oldenburgs who simply adopted the Romanov name?

We might take the point lightly, but people in societies where geneology conferred legitimacy would have looked upon this as a serious breach in purity of bloodline . . . and the "moral" right to rule.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: tian79 on December 13, 2005, 01:06:36 AM
I would like to add that Elizaveta Naryshkina was born in 1838. She was named as Alexandra's Mistress of the Robes in 1910 when she was 72 years old and OTMA were 9 to 15. So no wonder if she thought the girls were a bit wild.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: imperial angel on December 13, 2005, 09:31:52 AM
It could have been age difference, the lack of understanding of a older noblewoman for the girls, or it could have been other things, but it was most likely more personal than not.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Sadie on December 27, 2005, 09:41:41 AM
Quote
Ummm, no not really (well yes it is sad that they died young  ). I think that compared to other Russian children of that time (especially peasents) they lived much more comfortable lives.  

I agree. OTMA lived in divine splendour compared to most other Russian children at the time. They lived in warm palaces with servants, they had dozens of dresses and shoes, food to eat, never really having to want for anything physically......look at how other Russian children. They were, poor most didn't have acess to education, were starving.......

Quite frankly I think the only things those girls really lacked was social interaction but compared to most others their age around Russia they had it MADE.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Jackswife on December 27, 2005, 09:53:02 AM
 There's a quite fascinating discussion on the "Education of the Heirs" thread that I think is tangentially related to the question of whether the girls were "deprived" or not. Certainly, materially they had resources far beyond any ordinary middle-class daughters of the time could have imagined (although it does seem N&A went to lengths to make sure that they weren't spoiled or overly demanding, so that's a plus.) Educationally and socially they seem to have been fairly backward and perhaps even ignorant. (I also have to say that neither Nicholas nor Alexandra seemed to have had much in the way of good sound formal education or training for either of their respective roles). Perhaps there were safety issues that made their cocooned lifestyles almost an imperative. Not saying that they weren't a happy family but in some ways OTMA seemed to have been very limited as far as outside influences and socialization goes. ???
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: AkshayChavan on December 27, 2005, 01:20:25 PM
How did OTMA's education compare with other grand duchesses of previous generation like Xenia and Olga senior? Were they "less deprived"  than OTMA?
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: snugglemummy on January 14, 2006, 02:47:43 PM
I hope this is the right place for this topic ...

I have read many times that the grand duchesses led sad, lonely, sheltered lives. But when I look at the photographic record and read about their lives, this does not seem to be the case to me. They had many adventures, met many interesting people, and did scores of interesting, exciting, special things. They also had lots of pets and companions amongst their staff and had each other as friends. Furthermore, I know they had friends outside the family, Olga in particular, although admittedly this was just one or two.

I wonder how much of our perception of their lives is based on modern ideas. Children these days are sent to school to spend all day with other children, and then often have "playdates" afterwards. This is the modern idea of good socialisation for children. Spending time with adults and people of all different ages is not counted as good socialisation. Siblings are not counted as "real" friends.

As a mother who homeschools her child, I meet this bias all the time. But my child has a rich and interesting life even if she doesn't spend it all day with crowds of other children, and it seems to me from the evidence it seems to me that the GDs had richer, more interesting lives also. They are constantly swimming, canoeing, playing on the Children's Island, dancing, going to festivals, visiting interesting people, putting on plays, sailing the islands, tramping and exploring, playing tennis with handsome young officers, going on train journeys, attending meetings, visiting hospitals, playing pranks ... if anything, I wonder if they ever wanted to just have quiet time to themselves! How many of you who are parents could say that your children lead such entertaining lives?

I know they complained of being terribly bored at certain times during the year, but I wonder how much this had to do with teenagers who didn't really want to do school, and who wished it was summer holidays again.

What do others think?

Sarah.



Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Grace on January 14, 2006, 04:44:02 PM
I think the Grandduchesses were somewhat over-sheltered, certainly by today's standards, but not unusually so for children of their position and time.

It's not that they didn't have contact with people, but I believe what they missed out on most was the friendship and companionship of other girls of a similar age - they did not get spend a lot of time with other children.  

Some of their mother's behaviour may have made life a little difficult for them at times, too.

Just my opinion...  :)
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: maddi on January 15, 2006, 09:22:10 PM
I suppose because times have changed so much, that it is difficult to say really, in terms of today, they would certainly have been very sheltered, but even in their time, they were more sheltered than other royal children at that time. I say this because while other royal children would see their cousins semi regularly, the GD's hardly ever saw their cousins.

However, despite this,  i don't think they had 'sad'  lives. I think they were very happy in each others company, and couldn't really miss what they had never known. Also, because of their position, they had many adventures that other children of their time could only dream of.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: imperial angel on January 16, 2006, 11:20:48 AM
They were blessed due to their position, and they did have many opportunities, and I think had a happy childhold, that according to the standards of their age was fine.As for this age, well, I have never really thought that Otma's upbringing suits the standards of this age, and that's fine because it is a different time.In general, it must be said that the ideas of this age seem rather inaccurate, and I think what is right for everybody in their childhood is different. Some need crowds of kids around them everyday, that is them, and some don't. And those don't should not be forced to simply because everybody else think's that is wise. As for those who do, their needs should be accomdated. It is not one fits all as this society often is, and it is great to get along with different people, that is a good skill, and it is perfectly right, sometimes people don't relate most to those of their own age. Different people, in different positions have and need diverse upbringings, and as long as a childhood is happy,well, who is to question what went on during it as regards activities, and socialization? I think Otma's childhood was sometimes a bit darkened by the family sitiuation, but it seems they were happy.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Ortino on January 16, 2006, 04:55:36 PM
It really depends on what you view as "sheltered" and from what perspective you are looking at it: modern or early 20th century. The children had a much closer relationship with their parents than other children of their generation, but lacked the social interaction with people their own age that one would find today. This I'm sure would have been limited even further due to their elevated status. They had each other, which, though not ideal, made their situation better. In my opinion, they truly didn't lead sheltered lives at all. They were constantly traveling, visiting and meeting people, and exploring. If anything, in this regard they were freer than aristocratic children.  
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Alixz on January 16, 2006, 06:20:04 PM
I was interested in the comments about the activities of today's children.  It seems that we have structured our children's days down to the minute.

From school to "play dates" (I never had those when growing up, I just ran next door to see if my friends were home and if they weren't I found something else to do) to sports and after school activities, etc.

In that way, OTMA were more free than today's children.  While I am sure that some of their time was "scheduled" and they had things that must be done, at least they weren't in car pools half of the day or in day care the rest of the time. (I guess they had Nanny Day Care but at least it was in their own home.)

And remember that their Aunt Olga A had them come to her home in St. Petersburg for Saturday afternoons.  They must have met other children and young adults there.

Just because we have a dearth of evidence about their short lives, doesn't mean that their lives weren't full for them.  Maybe not "full" as our young children know it today, but as full as it could be for their times and elevated status.

My pet peeve, referring to them at the time of their death as "children".  AT  22 and 20 and 19 and 17 they were hardly "children".  Perhaps that is why we think they led sheltered lives.  Because everyone including their contemporaries refer to them as "children" and that leads us to think of them as underdeveloped for their ages.  ie: sheltered.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Tsarfan on January 16, 2006, 08:56:54 PM
Quote
And remember that their Aunt Olga A had them come to her home in St. Petersburg for Saturday afternoons.  They must have met other children and young adults there.


If I recall, Olga told her biograher Ian Vorres that she did this because she felt the girls were being deprived of healthy social interaction by their isolation at Tsarskoe Selo.  So, even by the standards of their time and status, at least one fairly objective member of the imperial family felt their social development was being stunted.

One has to admit, though, that the more highly-socialized members of the imperial family often discredited themselves and the dynasty by the company they kept.  Nicholas' brother Michael (with Olga's complicity) got involved with a married woman while ostensibly maintaining a friendship with her husband.  She later divorced this second husband to enter into a morganatic marriage with Michael.  Olga herself had an affair with one of her husband's retainers (apparently with her husband's blessing), whom she eventually divorced her husband to marry.  Dmitri, who was a ward of Nicholas and Alexandra, kept very racy company in St. Petersburg.  Dmitri's father was exiled for an inappropriate marriage.  And the list goes on.

A credible chaperone was not always easy to come by among the Romanovs.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Grace on January 17, 2006, 02:08:47 AM
Most on these threads seem to agree that the girls did not lead uninteresting or extremely sheltered lives for their positions or for the time.

But I again say that I believe they suffered considerably from the lack of contact with other children (particularly girls) of their own ages.

The afternoons of dancing arranged by Aunt Olga were apparently loved and very anticipated by the girls but likely were highly organised and, if other children were there, it is unlikely that any genuine interaction leading to friendships would have taken place.  

Anna Vyrubova described Grand Duchess Tatiana as "longing pathetically for friends".  This being so, it's very likely that the other three girls felt the same way and this, IMO, was probably the most overlooked aspect of their upbringing.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Tsarfan on January 17, 2006, 06:40:15 AM
Quote
But I again say that I believe they suffered considerably from the lack of contact with other children (particularly girls) of their own ages.


I actually agree with you entirely on this.  I was just taking a tongue-in-cheek swipe at the Romanov marital shenanigans with my comment about a chaperone.

I find it interesting that pains were taken, at least early on, to introduce Alexei to a circle of friends.  There are quite a few reports of suitable companions being brought to visit Alexei, some of whom experienced a bit of bullying or foul temper from him (although nothing much different from what any child might do when vested with the power to have his way).

It makes me wonder whether Nicholas' and Alexandra's motives in keeping the girls more isolated might have had something to do with keeping their reputations intact for marriage.  Given their own views of the sanctity of marriage vows, N&A probably hoped for similarly respectful marriages for their daughters.  Any potential spouse whose views would have squared with this goal would likely have been leery of a wife who was the center of the St. Petersburg social whirl, which was the most rakish of the era.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: imperial angel on January 17, 2006, 10:05:53 AM
The girls might have been more sheltered, but given their position, and the time and country in which they live this is not very surprising. Keeping them away from St. Petersburg society was in keeping with what we know of Nicholas and Alexandra, and it could be to preserve them for a foreign marriage that would be a good thing for them. If they had good reputations, it would better given that as late as Princess Diana, royal brides were supposed to be immaculate virgins with spotless reputations. And it was just that Nicholas and Alexandra supposed family life was better for them, and Alexandra disliked society. As for today, well some kids thrive on structure, and some don't, so does it have to be one size fits all? ???
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: imperial angel on January 17, 2006, 11:30:34 AM
Another thread has started on this topic already... ;D
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: imperial angel on January 17, 2006, 11:33:54 AM
There are now a grand total of three threads on the isoloation topic... ;)
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Alixz on January 17, 2006, 06:15:56 PM
Three threads and  I still have the same opinion.

Today our children go into day care as early as six weeks old.  When day care is closed a Grandparent is mustered up to take up the slack.

Our children are being raised, not by their parents but by day care givers and an older generation who is much more forgiving with their grandchildren than they ever were with their own children.

I know this is a necessity for many families with two working parents or even in single parent households.  Please don't rush to post against me.

However, I see no difference in having a "nanny" than in having day care.

Royality just had it before we did and at that time, only the rich could afford it.  Now whether they can afford it or not everyone does it.

I stayed home with my son, and it actually hurt him when he started school.  He wasn't "kindergarten ready" according to the teachers and social workers because he had not had the "day care" experience.

As parents today we spend very little time with our children.  Perhaps less than Alix did with hers.  Who knows for sure?

Remember the quality vs. quantity arguements of the 1980s?  I am sure that Alix thought that she was spending quality time with her children and that she was the best mother in the world.







Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Georgiy on January 17, 2006, 08:56:47 PM
As for the social side of things...I read somewhere that the Tsar and Tsaritsa intended having balls as soon as the daughters were old enough to attend properly. As we know Olga and Tatiana attended one, maybe two at the most before the war shut all that kind of social activity down. If the war hadn't come along, all 4 by 1918 could well have been enjoying all those things we consider them deprived of. I expect that a lot of their contemporarie were also deprived of that sort of entertainment. Unlike OTMA however, those that lived through the war and revolution were probably able somewhat to make up for lost time.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: snugglemummy on January 18, 2006, 12:12:31 AM
Oops, sorry, I am the one who started the new thread - I did not see this one here!

I am fascinated that people could describe OTMA as "deprived". As I said in the other thread, anyone looking through their photo albums will see dozens upon dozens of events like dancing on the ship, exploring the beach with their same-age cousins, playing tennis with young officers, travelling to interesting locals, mixing with locals in charity bazaars, playing on swings, cuddling peasant children, etc. They also wrote letters to friends while in Tobolsk.

It may be true that they did not have as many age-peers as children these days do, but the so-called need for that is a very recent social construct. For most of history, children have lived and worked amongst adults, primarily their own families. Playing with other children did not happen very often. In the Victorian era in particular, children spent most of their time playing alone in the nursery, supervised by a nanny or nurse. I think we (and certain authors) judge OTMA's situation from a far too modern perspective.

Also, as others have noted, they were the imperial family. They could hardly just play with anyone. Conversations with passersby led to the secret police intervewing those passersby. This was part of the huge infrastructure surrounding the IF and they were pretty powerless to change it. It was not just for prudish reasons that N&A had to be careful who their children played with. They were probably quite relieved to have 4 daughters so close in age so they could be "safe" company for each other.

As I said in the other thread, it is not unusual that OTMA, especially the older two, complained of being bored and wanting more friends. They were teenagers at the time - if they were satisfied with any part of their life, it is surprising! They were also princesses in a rarefied atmosphere. No matter how wonderful their lives, they probably wished to be free for a while, to experience the grass on the other side of the fence - just as many of us may have wished we could be princesses in our youth.

As for them being immature - well yes, they probably seemed that way to many who were older and had lived broader, more rugged lives. That does not mean they were deprived. It just means their parents kept them out of a culture they did not approve of, just as many parents do for their children these days by not allowing tv or pop music or going to parties where there will be drugs or letting their girls wear mini skirts. No doubt these children seem "immature" to their peers and other adults too. But are they deprived, or simply being raised in a loving and sheltering way?

By the way, the GDs did have the "opportunity to fall in love" - we know they had many flirtations and romances, and more than one GD was seriously in love at one time or another.

It frustrates me that many historians judge the IF based on modern ideas about society and family life. And that many pick up what others have said and simply restate it without analysing it more.

Sarah
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Grace on January 18, 2006, 05:06:04 AM
I don't think it's a particularly "modern" concept that children need other children in their lives.

I think it is absolutely vital that all children, regardless of status and the period they were born into, have the opportunity to spend time with other children around their own age.

It gives them a broader outlook, stimulates the imagination, teaches them how to share and get along with others and many other positive factors too numerous to mention here.  I think that a child who has no proper contact with other children feels isolated, no matter how much privilege and love he receives from the adults in his life.  :)  




Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: leushino on January 18, 2006, 09:25:36 AM
Quote
I'm Orthodox.  Orthodox Jew.

And my relatives were tortured and slaughtered for generations by Orthodox Christians in Russia.

But besides that, I think I have read just about every biography of Romanov relatives that exists in English, and almost every book about the fate of the Romanovs.

So, yes, I think I'm in something of a position to be able to venture an opinion.


Amen, Finelly. I miss your contributions. They had a good deal of common sense to them. Even though I am Orthodox, I admit to the anti-semitism that was (and still is in some quarters) rampant throughout so-called Holy Russia. Pogroms were regularly carried out against your ancestors by these so-called pious Orthodox Christians. And we can try and deny that it was Orthodox Christians doing this... but we CANNOT deny that it was the Emperor himself who often ordered such AND demonstrated his sympathies for such.

As for this family being deprived... deprived of what? They had the world compared to their subjects who had nothing. Have you seen the images ... haunting images ... of the children working in the factories in St Petersburg and living in abject poverty and squalor? Lice in their beds... little food... tattered clothing... no education... no prospects of rising in this miserable life... factory conditions that were unsafe and sure to produce lung cancer and other respiratory diseases.... little fuel for warmth during the bitterly cold winters.

Deprived in a pig's eye. Do you think the children of Moscow and St Petersburg were going to parties and socially interacting with their peers (and most of YOU posters would have fit into this working class... so were you to go back in time, you could lump yourself with them)?  There were few laws regulating working conditions and children were frequently forced to leave their childhood behind them and help support their desperately poor families. It just makes me bristle. We pour such undeserved adulation on this family because of their glamor and privileged, fairytale existence when all around them people were suffering. There were few personal liberties, thanks to the Romanov autocrats. And Alexandra was DETERMINED that her son would take over from his father without any reduction of such autocratic powers. As for her subjects.... well... they should be grateful to be living under her husband and later son. Grateful indeed.

Deprived you say? I would LOVE to hear what the average boy or girl living back in those times would say were he or she to hear such a question asked about the Romanov children.
::)
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Sarushka on January 18, 2006, 09:49:49 AM
Quote
As for this family being deprived... deprived of what? They had the world compared to their subjects who had nothing.


In terms of privilege, opportunity, wealth, and social standing, I think you're absolutely right, leushino. At the same time, I do believe the imperial children suffered (so to speak) developmentally from a lack of unsupervised, informal, run-of-the-mill interaction with other children. Though they probably handled official social occasions quite well, I'm of the opinion that they would have been somewhat stunted in the way they dealt with children/young adults of their own age.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: imperial angel on January 18, 2006, 10:14:57 AM
You have a valid point that more social life was intended for them, but because of the war, this fell by the wayside more than you might expect. If the war hadn't happened no doubt the girls would have gotten a more traditional social life than they did, and it was intended but life intruded. This was never Nicholas and Alexandra's fault, because otma were very young at the start of the war. I don't see them as engaging with some of the darker elements of ST. Petersburg society, but I am sure being who they were, they would have attended balls and such, and enjoyed it. ;D
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: imperial angel on January 18, 2006, 10:24:26 AM
Well materially, they had it all, this is to  be agreed, although Nicholas and Alexandra tried to make sure that they didn't get spoiled or anything. Beyond the material, for Royal children life is always different because of who they are, and in the case of the Romanovs especially so because of the people in the country who would be looking for an opprtunity to assinate them at any turn, innocent or not. This made unsupervised contact difficult.

And Nicholas and Alexadra were quite home loving people, who especially Alexandra looked down on the social life of the capital,wrong or right. Then there was the war, and it put normal life on hold, and this was during the years Otma grew up, and thus were denied whatever social life they could have had, and then they were imprisoned, and murdered. They never got the opportunity for the social life they no doubt would have had otherwise. They might have felt lonely sometimes, but other than the fact of World War I, preventing them from having a bit more social life than otherwise, they weren't deprived.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: lilavanderhorn on January 18, 2006, 12:06:33 PM
Alexis was a little boy with only sisters to play with.  It is no surprise that N&A wanted him to interact with boys his own age, so he could play soldiers, sailors, war, etc.  Of course they undoubtedly wanted the poor child to have fun with other children despite his illness.  As for OTMA, they were brought up in a way that many upperclass Victorian children were.  If the war never came about, they would have likely only had to deal with people with similar stations in life and had no need to be involved with common folk, besides their servants and those they helped with charity.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Tsarina_Liz on January 20, 2006, 05:24:16 PM
In my opinion, the girls did live extremely sheltered and, as an occasional consequence, sad lives.  They were encapsulated in the Alexander Palace atmosphere and surrounded only by their parents, servants, and the occasional relative.  But even their relatives were kept at a considerable distance by Alexandra.  No girls their age were invited to the palace for regular play dates and they were certainly kept apart from young men which means the girls were forced to resort to each other.  And while they were sisters, this severely stunted their emotional and social growth not to mention resulted in them knowing almost nothing about the outside world.  They suffocated.  And it is interesting that they felt resentful about this and directed the resentment at the suffocating and distant Alexandra and not Nicholas, whom they adored.  I believe Alexandra felt that, because she had given each of them three sisters they needed nothing else - their social circle was complete.      

Even when they were out and about say in Livadia and Romania they were cloistered together under the watchful and very disapproving eye of Alexandra.  She undoubtedly wanted them to remain forever her little girlies and, well, personal maids.

Their immaturity was astounding as was their naivete.  But I think in that way, the Romanov family represented a perfect microcosim of bouergois Victorian life.  
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Lanie on January 20, 2006, 06:54:54 PM
Quote
In my opinion, the girls did live extremely sheltered and, as an occasional consequence, sad lives.  They were encapsulated in the Alexander Palace atmosphere and surrounded only by their parents, servants, and the occasional relative.  But even their relatives were kept at a considerable distance by Alexandra.  No girls their age were invited to the palace for regular play dates and they were certainly kept apart from young men which means the girls were forced to resort to each other.  And while they were sisters, this severely stunted their emotional and social growth not to mention resulted in them knowing almost nothing about the outside world.  They suffocated.  And it is interesting that they felt resentful about this and directed the resentment at the suffocating and distant Alexandra and not Nicholas, whom they adored.  I believe Alexandra felt that, because she had given each of them three sisters they needed nothing else - their social circle was complete.      

Even when they were out and about say in Livadia and Romania they were cloistered together under the watchful and very disapproving eye of Alexandra.  She undoubtedly wanted them to remain forever her little girlies and, well, personal maids.

Their immaturity was astounding as was their naivete.  But I think in that way, the Romanov family represented a perfect microcosim of bouergois Victorian life.  


I agree entirely.  Great post, Tsarfan.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: lilavanderhorn on January 20, 2006, 07:36:52 PM
Young ladies did not have play dates back then.  It is not like they could call Irina up on the phone and say "let us go shopping together".   I agree they were sheltered and somewhat cloistered.  But you have to remember that security was a big issue.  Olga is the only one who was officially "out" when the war began and her social life was just starting.   I believe she would have gone through the regular activities of a young royal woman at the time, and would soon have Tatiana as a companion.   They did accompany their father to the theatre, and other activities, so it is not like they were shut up in the "Alexandra prison" with no way out.  I do not think they resented their mother.
 
It is normal for children to want more freedom, especially as they get older, I doubt any of them were actively stewing over not being allowed to roam the streets of St. Petersburg with the likes of Felix.  As for them not being around men, well they had enough of that with the young officers they liked to flirt with.  When the war came they took part in the war work, and seemed to get along well socializing with the wounded soldiers.  I agree that Alix could have allowed them to interract more with their cousins and the rest of the family.   The girls probably had negative views of the rest of the family because of their mother.  I have a feeling they were very protective of her and sided with her views. That is only normal.  As to their immaturity, well, of course they acted like children even though they were young adults.  The way you act in your own close family circle is different to how you would act with outsiders.  My younger sisters and I were somewhat spolied and babied even as we got older.  We tend to act younger when we are with our relatives.  I have a feeling that this is how it was for OTMA.   This does not mean they were stunted.  

Naive maybe.  Ignorant of the outside world beyond their pearly gates.  But then again, so were many upper class Victorian and Edwardian children.  They had everything catered to them and did not need to be bothered with the poor or working class.  At least their mother seemed to care about those types of people.  True she was unable to change much for them, but she made an effort, and encouraged them to do the same.  How many other very wealthy young women of the time cared about knitting to help with charity?  They were too concerned with what dress they could wear to their next ball.  This is exactly the type of thing Alix did not want.  She wanted to raise respectlful and modest young women, and I believe they would have had more freedoms if the time had let them.  You have to remember the rigid social world they lived in.  Gilrs did not get together to "hang out."  You went to visit a friend with your calling cards, it was all very formal, particularly for royals.  It is not like someone could just come to the palace for a visit, everything was organised.  True, they wanted for friends besides each other, but they seemed genuinley happy with their own company.  I do not think their were all out depressed about it.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Tsarina_Liz on January 20, 2006, 07:42:48 PM
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Young ladies did not have play dates back then.  It is not like they could call Irina up on the phone and say "let us go shopping together".   I agree they were sheltered and somewhat cloistered.  But you have to remember that security was a big issue.  Olga is the only one who was officially "out" when the war began and her social life was just starting.   I believe she would have gone through the regular activities of a young royal woman at the time, and would soon have Tatiana as a companion.

 They might not have been playdates, but that's what they would have in effect been.  An invitation sent out to local noble girls of the GDs age in the area to come for tea or a picnic.  It would have been carefully orchestrated but it would have been more of an outlet than the girls had.  And yes, Tatiana would have become Olga's companion.  That was part of the problem, Olga had no one else besides her sisters and some considerably older ladies in waiting like Buxhoeveden.  Sisters may be close, but it is not healthy to completely rely on them and not form nonfamilial ties.  And all of the girls remained, to the end (and this is supported by both captors and people like Botkin who knew them) incredibly immature even in public.  They were naive and were in public what they were at home - eternal girlies.
 And there is evidence of some resentment towards their mother.  It can be seen in their letters to her and in their private correspondences.  More obviously, it is seen in Olga's attitude later in life and her unwillingness to comply with her mother's wishes.  Alexandra wrote complaining of this more than once to Nicholas.

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It is normal for children to want more freedom, especially as they get older, I doubt any of them were actively stewing over not being allowed to roam the streets of St. Petersburg with the likes of Felix.  As for them not being around men, well they had enough of that with the young officers they liked to flirt with.  When the war came they took part in the war work, and seemed to get along well socializing with the wounded soldiers.  I agree that Alix could have allowed them to interract more with their cousins and the rest of the family.   The girls probably had negative views of the rest of the family because of their mother.  I have a feeling they were very protective of her and sided with her views. That is only normal.  

 They probably felt very keenly that they were being left out of something going on the cities, they heard enough about it from their mother when she complained.  Girls as they grow older naturally want to go out and explore and dance and be happy.  St. Petersburg may have been, through their mother's negative influence, Sodom but it's vitality and society would most likely have appealed to them.  They would have known about the glittering balls and it would have made their simple existence even more frustrating.
 Alexandra certainly was a large part of the problem.  Her irrationally prudish views of the Romanov relations forever tainted her childrens' and the girl's never had the chance to make up their own minds about men like Felix.  They sided with her because they had to, they knew nothing else, and over time had been worn down by her incessant campaigning and frankly b******* about the family she had married into.  But that is not to say the girls were protective of her, either.  They were probably sick and tired of her long before they reached captivity despite loving her.  As has been said many times on these boards, Alexandra was not an easy woman to live with.  Which is perhaps one reason why they favored their father more, and why Nicholas ran off to Stavka.  

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Naive maybe.  Ignorant of the outside world beyond their pearly gates...At least their mother seemed to care about those types of people.  True she was unable to change much for them, but she made an effort, and encouraged them to do the same.  How many other very wealthy young women of the time cared about knitting to help with charity?  I do not think their were all out depressed about it.


Alix was an egomaniac.  She desperately needed to be needed and thrived in situations where others were suffering and where she could play the hero and the mother.  She would be sick with a general malaise for weeks and then spring out of bed at the sound of a cough, all of her previous ailments forgotten (at least until she had the chance to martyr herself in a letter).  I do not think she did all the nursing work out of charity.  More like a national Munchhausen's syndrome.  She helped create the war through faulty political views and then relished in aiding the poor wounded soldiers and playing the Little Mother (and, no, I am not saying she did this consciously or that she started a war to get her jollies).  
 And the girls were depressed about their lack of friends.  More than one person,  Buxhoeveden included, noted how Olga in particular pined for a real friend and mourned over her desperation for a new companion.  
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: lilavanderhorn on January 20, 2006, 08:14:08 PM
If Olga was resentful of her mother, I doubt it was a constant thing.  I chalk it up to her being the eldest, and with a stubborn side, and normal teenage angst, not a hatred because she was not allowed to be a social butterfly.  She was 18? when the war started.  What time did she have to be the belle of the ball then?  She could hardly blame her mother for that.  Their aunt Olga allowed them to socialize a bit more with people their own age, and they seemed to have enjoyed it, I feel though that people may have been intimidated by them and the elder two a bit shy.  Again, they did not do this for long, thinks might have improved if given more time.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Tsarina_Liz on January 21, 2006, 11:39:03 AM
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If Olga was resentful of her mother, I doubt it was a constant thing.  I chalk it up to her being the eldest, and with a stubborn side, and normal teenage angst, not a hatred because she was not allowed to be a social butterfly.  She was 18? when the war started.  What time did she have to be the belle of the ball then?  She could hardly blame her mother for that.  Their aunt Olga allowed them to socialize a bit more with people their own age, and they seemed to have enjoyed it, I feel though that people may have been intimidated by them and the elder two a bit shy.  Again, they did not do this for long, thinks might have improved if given more time.


I didn't say that Olga was resently because she could not be the belle of the ball, although I am sure that didn't help the mother daugher relation any.  Coming out also should not have been the start of the girls' social lives, they should have been building up frienships for years as is healthy.  Obviously Alexandra did not think about networking and the value it would have to the girls in their later years, especially when it came time for them to find husbands.  

I think FOTR the explains it best, it discusses the relationship between Alexandra and the girls in the chapter "Ruin of an Empire."
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Sadie on January 21, 2006, 12:13:34 PM
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Deprived you say? I would LOVE to hear what the average boy or girl living back in those times would say were he or she to hear such a question asked about the Romanov children.  

Seriously! I'm sure if you asked any ordinary peasant child growing up in Russia in the early 20th century they would have given an arm and a leg to be a Romanov prince or princess.   Compared to how the royal children lived with that of every other ordinary child they were living in divine splendor.  
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Georgiy on January 21, 2006, 09:05:52 PM
I disagree with Tsarina_Liz aboutt he girls resenting their mother. Reading letters of Olga and Tatiana to their mother (in a Russian book - I haven't seen English versions) from 1915 and 1916 show a very deep love for her. As for Olga's attitude, it seemed to get worse when 'Miss Becker' came which I don't think is terribly uncommon. Judging by the Empress's letters, there is the usual and quite expected generation gap problems - they don't do things the way I did when I was their age kind of stuff. Olga, having grown out of her teens as an adult in captivity (in particular) seems to have grown very close to her mother going by her letters.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Sarushka on January 21, 2006, 09:23:51 PM
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Reading letters of Olga and Tatiana to their mother (in a Russian book - I haven't seen English versions) from 1915 and 1916 show a very deep love for her.

Is that Divniy Svet, by any chance? I hope, I hope...'cause I've ordered a copy  ;)
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Tsarina_Liz on January 21, 2006, 09:32:44 PM
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I disagree with Tsarina_Liz aboutt he girls resenting their mother. Reading letters of Olga and Tatiana to their mother (in a Russian book - I haven't seen English versions) from 1915 and 1916 show a very deep love for her. As for Olga's attitude, it seemed to get worse when 'Miss Becker' came which I don't think is terribly uncommon. Judging by the Empress's letters, there is the usual and quite expected generation gap problems - they don't do things the way I did when I was their age kind of stuff. Olga, having grown out of her teens as an adult in captivity (in particular) seems to have grown very close to her mother going by her letters.


While they did grow closer in captivity and during their years working together in hospital, there still seems to always have been a strained relationship especially between Olga and Alexandra.  Tatiana may have been the only daughter who unequivocally loved her mother over her father, as evidenced by her years of service to her mother as what amounts to a glorified lady in waiting or maid.  
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Georgiy on January 21, 2006, 09:52:43 PM
Yes Sarushka, it is Divny Svet. There are lots of letters to and from Olga in her early teens, and a lot to and from Tatiana during the war.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: leushino on January 21, 2006, 09:59:53 PM
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While they did grow closer in captivity and during their years working together in hospital, there still seems to always have been a strained relationship especially between Olga and Alexandra.  Tatiana may have been the only daughter who unequivocally loved her mother over her father, as evidenced by her years of service to her mother as what amounts to a glorified lady in waiting or maid.  



I completely agree with you, Tsarina_Liz. :)
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Tania+ on January 22, 2006, 01:02:50 PM
Hi Sadie,

Welcome to the forum threads !
Can you please tell me what it is you mean by the children living in divine splendor ? I'm not following exactly what it is that you are pin pointing in terms of splendor, of their every day world ? Can you tell me what their immediate day, and or world was surrounded by and in ? Thanks for your taking time to express to me your views.

Tatiana


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Seriously! I'm sure if you asked any ordinary peasant child growing up in Russia in the early 20th century they would have given an arm and a leg to be a Romanov prince or princess.   Compared to how the royal children lived with that of every other ordinary child they were living in divine splendor.  

Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Tsarina_Liz on January 23, 2006, 03:21:49 PM
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I completely agree with you, Tsarina_Liz. :)


Aw.  Thanks!
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: imperial angel on January 24, 2006, 10:44:11 AM
I doubt that the girls ever resented their mother, except perhaps in a childish passing way, as any girl might do more or less. Their relationship was complicated sometimes, but most people could say that is true of their parents from time to time, anyway. ;)
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Tsarina_Liz on January 31, 2006, 02:26:33 PM
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Anastasia & Alexei called their language Tarabar. Unfortunately, my notes don't say where I read this. I can promise it was a non-fiction source, though!


Given OTMAAs confined childhood it's not surprising that they developed things like shared language.  Any chance that when people sneered that they "talked like children" they were talking not only about the girls' naivete/innocence but also that the children were communicating in some sort of made up langauge?  Or even a language that wasn't totally fake but made up of smatterings of all the languages they spoke regularly?  
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Georgiy on January 31, 2006, 02:35:51 PM
I think there's a strong possibility of that. We often speak Russlish at home and throw in some Japanese words for good measure!
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: imperial angel on March 01, 2006, 10:33:20 AM
Yes, they may have mixed up languages. It is certainly impressive they spoke so many, but European royalty were very international in those days. It could be that talking like children could be reference to the language they used, that is very possible. Perhaps they did have a sort of made up language, or perhaps they just spoke many interchangeably.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Margarita Markovna on March 01, 2006, 11:47:59 AM
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I think there's a strong possibility of that. We often speak Russlish at home and throw in some Japanese words for good measure!

Same here! Although it's the Romance languages in my house, we all speak English and throw in bits of Spanish, French, and Italian here and there!
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: imperial angel on March 01, 2006, 12:14:13 PM
So I conclude that they mixed up languages interchangeably, which is very understandable! It is such a pity I only speak English.. :(
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: RealAnastasia on March 01, 2006, 09:24:15 PM
Nacy Leed, who is Princess Xenia Romanov-Leeds daughter, uses to explain that her family spoke a mixed language. They could be speaking in English, but if they thought that a word was better in Russian, or German, they used it in the middle of an English sentence...Or they used an English word in the middle of a German or Russian sentence...It sounds quite complicated, but it is the whole truth.

In Peter Kurth's book about Anna Anderson, he quotes Prince Galitzin, who couldn't speak his native language (the Russian), whithout traslating it to French in his mind! Weird enough...Isn't it. Weird but true... Here is the strange quote:

"...I'll testify because it is the truth"-said Galitzin. At Hamburg, the first surprise came when the Prince asked for permission to depose in French.

 -Why do you want to do that?-asked Wollmann with a knowing smile.

  -Because I'm more at ease in that language.

  -Have you forgotten your Russian?-asked Judge Petersen.

  -No, but when I speak Russian I always translate from English and French; the words don't come to me automatically. I mught make a mistake..."  

(Kurth; Peter: "Anastasia, The Riddle of Anna Anderson". page 344)

Weird...Isn't it?  ???

RealAnastasia.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Tsarina_Liz on March 18, 2006, 06:17:27 PM
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Nacy Leed, who is Princess Xenia Romanov-Leeds daughter, uses to explain that her family spoke a mixed language. They could be speaking in English, but if they thought that a word was better in Russian, or German, they used it in the middle of an English sentence...Or they used an English word in the middle of a German or Russian sentence...It sounds quite complicated, but it is the whole truth.

In Peter Kurth's book about Anna Anderson, he quotes Prince Galitzin, who couldn't speak his native language (the Russian), whithout traslating it to French in his mind! Weird enough...Isn't it. Weird but true... Here is the strange quote:

"...I'll testify because it is the truth"-said Galitzin. At Hamburg, the first surprise came when the Prince asked for permission to depose in French.

  -Why do you want to do that?-asked Wollmann with a knowing smile.

   -Because I'm more at ease in that language.

   -Have you forgotten your Russian?-asked Judge Petersen.

   -No, but when I speak Russian I always translate from English and French; the words don't come to me automatically. I mught make a mistake..."  

(Kurth; Peter: "Anastasia, The Riddle of Anna Anderson". page 344)

Weird...Isn't it?  ???

RealAnastasia.


It's strange, but not unexpected.  French was the language of the court, if I am not mistaken.  Anyone who was anyone spoke it.  Russian took a back seat sometimes.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Jacy on November 06, 2006, 09:57:12 PM
but from what i read 'children' up till 18,didnt have much of a social life back then, until they were introduced to society around 18-19.I said children because then theyre were no distinction of teenagers which wasnt invented till the 50's,so any body then from 3-18 would be called a child.what the tsars did, wasnt really isolating for them,since
children then only played with their cousins or parents friends children.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Jacy on November 06, 2006, 10:05:02 PM
i heard back then,there were a lot of gossippy 'older' women who like to say stuff about ppl.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: clockworkgirl21 on November 06, 2006, 10:24:46 PM
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i heard back then,there were a lot of gossippy 'older' women who like to say stuff about ppl.

Not everyone around has English as a first language, so they might have trouble with the chatspeak.  ;)

And, those old women still exist. When my great aunts get together, it's worse than a high school!
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: imperial angel on November 07, 2006, 11:55:56 AM
I think their upbringing was Royal, and that can be misunderstood of those of a later age and time. They way Royal children were raised then, is not the way most children are raised today, but that doesn't make the way they were raised bad. It worked for them, in that culture and era, it was fine for them. They were being prepared to assume a role that other children in other eras were not, and so needed different training, and a different upbriging, etc. I think it's too easy to read modern assumptions into things like this, and it is a mistake. They would have had a traditional social life if they had lived longer, and had circumstances been different, and it is unfortunate about that, but the way they were raised in their childhood, I find nothing wrong with.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Suzie on July 12, 2007, 11:04:52 AM
Just a thought but since Alex knew that her girls carried the possibility of having male children with hemophilia, perhaps she did not think that they would ever marry. 

Suzie
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Sarushka on July 13, 2007, 09:03:28 AM
Just a thought but since Alex knew that her girls carried the possibility of having male children with hemophilia, perhaps she did not think that they would ever marry.

I'm sure hemophilia must have been a concern, but I don't think it would have prevented Alix from marrying her girls off. There are a number of wartime letters where Alix mentions marriage (she hoped they would be able to marry for love) for her girls and possible suitors for the Big Pair in particular. The IF also took a trip in 1914 to Romania to introduce Olga Nikolaevna to Prince Carol as a possible match. According to Gilliard's memoirs, Olga herself understood the purpose of the trip quite clearly and proclaimed to her tutor that she would only marry a Russian: "I am a Russian and intend to remain a Russian" (or words to that effect).


The more interesting question IMO is whether OTMA themselves understood the possible impact of hemophilia on their own futures as wives and mothers. Were they aware of how the idsease was transmitted? After all, Maria Nikolaevna's dream was to "marry a soldier and have dozens of children."
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Katherine The O.K. on July 13, 2007, 06:27:44 PM
Certainly the girls were very sheltered, in a way that would today be thought of as almost abusive, I think- they were speaking like children as adults, and hardly had any friends aside from their immediate family. While not that unusual for the time, it was still excessive, even given their status. It is sad, in a way, that the children, in particular Olga who seemed to be such a deep thinker, were never allowed to 'grow up'. Granted, that seemed like the 'in' thing with the ruling Romanovs... Marie did the same with her kids.

But I'm sure they themselves rarely felt truly unhappy or really understood the world they were missing out on. I mean, ignorance is bliss, isn't it? And besides, Alexandra was a very controlling mother, so I doubt they ever put much thought into rebelling because they figured she would just shoot them down- kind of a 'why bother fighting with no chance of winning if it makes everyone miserable?"
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Georgiy on July 14, 2007, 10:31:16 PM
Having read the Grand Duchesses diaries and letters, I strongly disagree that they had sheltered, lonely lives. They seem to be constantly busy meeting people and doing things. In fact, working in the hospital would have exposed Olga and Tatiana to far more than they could normally have expected to have been exposed to in normal circumstances considering their rank.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: LisaDavidson on July 25, 2007, 11:10:14 PM
I suppose part of this comes down to opinion, but before deciding this was the case, one might want to consider what these young women actually accomplished during their short lives.

I believe the evidence indicates to the contrary. Tatiana - as an example, started one of the first government committees to consider the problem of refugees.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: dmitri on July 26, 2007, 09:00:12 AM
Yes Olga and Tatiana had their own regiments and of course worked as nurses during the war. I do think though they were a touch cut off from reality though. Can any of us really imagine their lives in the Alexander Palace? The revolution in 1917 must have been a complete shock to their previous existence. They went from being important personages to being prisoners after all. Digging the vegetable garden and doing physical labour must have been quite a challenge. The journey to Tobolsk might have been interesting given it was somewhere they did not know. The cold in Tobolsk would have been terrible and Ekaterinburg must have really been quite terrible. I guess the only comfort they had was being together. They must have realised things could not have got much worse than what they experienced there. It is so hard to imagine dying by whatever means at such a young age. I doubt any of us can contemplate such a horror as they all experienced. 
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Sarushka on July 26, 2007, 05:27:14 PM
I agree that the imperial children were cut off from reality to a certain extent, but I don't think they were strangers to physical activity.  Nicholas was a fresh-air fiend, very fond of physical exercise, and his children were accustomed to that lifestyle as well. They swam, walked, rowed, or rode their bicycles daily. As far as I know, none of the imperial prisoners were required by their captors to do any sort of physical labor. It was something they themselves craved. At the AP, the kitchen garden was planted on the IF's request as a form of entertainment and exercise, and in Tobolsk they obtained permission to chop wood for the same purpose.

I also think the children were somewhat sheltered from the status of their positions. They were not fussed over by the servants in the AP, and the girls often helped their maids make their beds and tidy their rooms. In Yekterinburg, one eyewitness reported that the girls voluntarily helped the scrub-women wash their floors.
 Sophie Buxhoeveden recollected addressing Tatiana by her full title at a committee meeting and Tatiana was so embarrassed that she kicked Sophie under the table and whispered, "Are you crazy to talk to me like that?" So I don't think they would have keenly felt their loss of rank. In fact, there are a number of instances where the IF joked about their loss of rank -- Nicholas once referred to their dinner as an "ex-ham" for example, and one of the courtiers remembered the empress joking, "Pay no attention to me, I'm only an ex!"

That said, I do believe the revolution would have come as quite a shock to the imperial children in other ways. I think they were treated decently on the whole during their captivity and exile, but IMO the children would have been shocked to discover how hated their parents had become in the eyes of the public at large. I would also imagine it would have affected OTMAA deeply to hear some of the revolutionary soldiers jeer at their father and call him "Mr. Colonel" and "citizen Romanov." It's a subtle difference, but I think the children were probably affected *more* by the sudden decrease in the level of respect and courtesy in their lives than by the loss of their titles. Again, I don't think they were used to a great deal of fawning and deference, but they probably experienced a lot more indifferent and casual treatment than they were accustomed to, and I think that would have felt strange and unsettling.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: dmitri on July 27, 2007, 06:26:57 AM
I think the imperial children were hugely cut off from reality. Living away from the people in imperial residences was hardly reality. They hardly made a habit of visiting factories where people lived and died next to where they worked. Certainly some of them saw Stolypin murdered in the opera house in 1911. They really never went through the trauma like Nicholas II did of seeing his grandfather mutilated after the bomb attack that killed him or not at least until the bullets started being fired in the Ipatiev House cellar. They were largely cut off from reality. Courtiers did bow and scrape to them on a regular basis. Have a look at some of the film remaining of visits to the Kremlin or even when they arrived on the Standart and elsewhere. They knew their rank from an early age and must have felt the loss of their father's position and their own intensely and all the security of life that went with it. It is said that the older girls knew of the unpopularity of their parents before the revolution. Certainly the greeting the family received in St.Petersburg in 1913 for the tercentenary was hardly rapturous. After the revolution they knew they were prisoners and they were hassled in ways they could never have imagined even in the gardens of the Alexander Palace. They were no longer able to go where they pleased. Guards delighted in humiliating their father. They must have known of this. I truly do feel very sorry for them as their parents unwise rule was the cause of their deaths. The revolution and their early deaths would not have occurred under a wiser ruler. Russia needed reform or harsher rule. The Soviet Union certainly provided both and far harsher rule under Stalin than Nicholas. Nicholas was sadly completely out of his depth as Tsar and dragged his family and an entire empire down with him. It was all so tragic. Life for the imperial children after the revolution was hardly a picnic. There may have been occasional jokes. These however would have probably occurred in an attempt to break the hopelessness of their situation. Certainly Alexis was very much effected as his diary records. Staff in the Ipatiev House were ordered not to communicate with them. I wonder how any of us would feel to be shunned? I think they would have all realised how hated they were. Evidence is there of how the remaining children were treated on their arrival in Ekaterinburg from Tobolsk having to drag their luggage through the mud without assistance in pouring rain. That is hardly something they knew before the revolution. The monotony of the food served in the Ipatiev House would have been quite a come down from the imperial dining table. Their clothes and shoes were also falling apart. Could any of us really imagine any of this given the comfort of the western lifestyle in the early 21st century I wonder?     
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Sarushka on July 27, 2007, 07:27:46 AM
Certainly Alexis was very much effected as his diary records.

I've read Aleksei's 1916 diary in Tsesarevich, and some of his 1918 diary in Le Enfant Martyr -- are other sources available? I'd particularly like to see his 1917 diary.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Sarushka on July 27, 2007, 08:08:43 AM
Courtiers did bow and scrape to them on a regular basis. Have a look at some of the film remaining of visits to the Kremlin or even when they arrived on the Standart and elsewhere. They knew their rank from an early age and must have felt the loss of their father's position and their own intensely and all the security of life that went with it.

Again, I definitely agree that the imperial chldren were cut off from reality. However, I'm still reluctant to believe that they encountered a lot of bowing and scraping on a daily basis. From crowds at their public appearances, yes. But at home? I'm not so sure. I don't think people like Botkin, Vyrubova, Buxhoeveden, Eagar, and Dehn fawned over them. According to the memoirs I've read, it seems that the people who were with the imperial family on a regular basis treated the children as normally as their position permitted. I recall a scene from a documentary in which the girls arrive on the Standart as youngsters. They do indeed file down a line of sailors who kiss their hands, but it's very...how do I describe it...perfunctory? When they've made it through the line, all four of them dash away down the deck to play, and the feeling I get watching them is, "Ok, that's over with, let's go have some fun!"

So yes, people bowed to OTMA and kissed their hands. They had to, and there's no way arpund it. But there's a difference between a long bow from the waist or a sweeping curtsey and a perfunctory nod or dip of the knees. I don't see a lot of exaggerated adulation when I watch the films of the IF in private or on their yacht.

The question is, did OTMA realize all this bowing and hand-kissing was unusual? Did they themselves bow to their parents the way Queen Elizabeth's children and grandchildren bow to her? In public, did they feel that the public's cheers and bows were directed at them as well as their parents? Did OTMA consider themselves important in their own right, or simply accessories to their parents and their brother the heir? I don't know if it's possible to answer those questions with any degree of certainty, but they're interesting to think about.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: brnbg aka: liljones1968 on August 05, 2007, 04:33:07 PM
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this may be a minor point, but i've always felt the whole identical dresses etc might have been rather unhealthy.   while it may have been considered "cute" by their parents, it may, very well, have been an outward sign of similar treatment on a more personal level.   dressing children in virtually identical clothing (be they identical twins or otherwise) does tend to suppress a child's individuality & personal identity, while exerting distinct control & the power of the parents.   although the girls appeared outwardly normal & seemed to function well within their family unit, had they lived, we might have seen a certain amount of dysfunction once they ventured into the greater world.  they knew how to perform their duties as grand duchesses, what, & what not, to say, etc, but only time would have shown how well they would have functioned on an interpersonal level with people other than their parents & siblings.    it's also very possible the girls would never have married, while Aleksei would have been "gnawing at the bit" to get away.   sheltering a child as Aleksei was sheltered, involves much more than mere protection from accidents, even if it begins as fear for the child's safety, it may easily become a pathological means of control.

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click on image for larger version
(i know these images are rather common & well known,
but i thought some might like them in a larger size...)

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v345/skinheadbrian/Unfiled%20Photos/IF2.jpg) (http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v345/skinheadbrian/Unfiled%20Photos/IF2.jpg)

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v345/skinheadbrian/Unfiled%20Photos/IF1.jpg) (http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v345/skinheadbrian/Unfiled%20Photos/IF1.jpg)

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Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: brnbg aka: liljones1968 on August 05, 2007, 05:23:28 PM
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click on image for larger version

Anastasia, Marie, Tatiana & Olga
(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v345/skinheadbrian/Unfiled%20Photos/AMTO1lgst.jpg) (http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v345/skinheadbrian/Unfiled%20Photos/AMTO1lgst.jpg)

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Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Sarushka on August 05, 2007, 10:11:03 PM
this may be a minor point, but i've always felt the whole identical dresses etc might have been rather unhealthy.   while it may have been considered "cute" by their parents, it may, very well, have been an outward sign of similar treatment on a more personal level.   dressing children in virtually identical clothing (be they identical twins or otherwise) does tend to suppress a child's individuality & personal identity, while exerting distinct control & the power of the parents.   although the girls appeared outwardly normal & seemed to function well within their family unit, had they lived, we might have seen a certain amount of dysfunction once they ventured into the greater world.  they knew how to perform their duties as grand duchesses, what, & what not, to say, etc, but only time would have shown how well they would have functioned on an interpersonal level with people other than their parents & siblings. 

I think it is an excellent point. The girls did appear content and seemed to function well within their family, but I do suspect they were somewhat sheltered socially and might have displayed a bit of awkwardness in social situations -- perhaps in the way many homeschooled children today do when they enter public schools for the first time. That said, because of OTMA's rank and position, I'm not sure how often any social disfuction would have been visible. As grand duchesses, they would rarely (if ever) have had the opportunity to interact with others young people on equal footing. They were likely very comfortable with their intimate friends and courtiers, they functioned well at official engagements, but because of their station they really didn't have any peers, and they were never just part of a crowd. In any social situation, they would always be seen as 'the tsar's daughters.' I'd be willing to argue that because of who they were, the contexts that would have put OTMA's social development to the test simply didn't exist.


Quote
click on image for larger version
(i know these images are rather common & well known,
but i thought some might like them in a larger size...)

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v345/skinheadbrian/Unfiled%20Photos/IF2.jpg) (http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v345/skinheadbrian/Unfiled%20Photos/IF2.jpg)

That pose was new to me -- thanks so much!  8)
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: brnbg aka: liljones1968 on August 06, 2007, 05:21:07 AM
this may be a minor point, but i've always felt the whole identical dresses etc might have been rather unhealthy.   while it may have been considered "cute" by their parents, it may, very well, have been an outward sign of similar treatment on a more personal level.   dressing children in virtually identical clothing (be they identical twins or otherwise) does tend to suppress a child's individuality & personal identity, while exerting distinct control & the power of the parents.   although the girls appeared outwardly normal & seemed to function well within their family unit, had they lived, we might have seen a certain amount of dysfunction once they ventured into the greater world.  they knew how to perform their duties as grand duchesses, what, & what not, to say, etc, but only time would have shown how well they would have functioned on an interpersonal level with people other than their parents & siblings. 

I think it is an excellent point. The girls did appear content and seemed to function well within their family, but I do suspect they were somewhat sheltered socially and might have displayed a bit of awkwardness in social situations -- perhaps in the way many homeschooled children today do when they enter public schools for the first time. That said, because of OTMA's rank and position, I'm not sure how often any social disfuction would have been visible. As grand duchesses, they would rarely (if ever) have had the opportunity to interact with others young people on equal footing. They were likely very comfortable with their intimate friends and courtiers, they functioned well at official engagements, but because of their station they really didn't have any peers, and they were never just part of a crowd. In any social situation, they would always be seen as 'the tsar's daughters.' I'd be willing to argue that because of who they were, the contexts that would have put OTMA's social development to the test simply didn't exist.

that's a very good point, as well.    given their status, their social opportunities would, indeed, have been limited and any ldysfunction would likely not have been evident.   however, what i had in mind as i was writing were their spousal relationships (if any), relations with in-laws (if any) and the relations with their children (if any).    it would have been interesting to see what sort of stress they encountered with the "switchover" from their parental & filial group, into a marital group.    i suspect any spouse would have fallen far short of their expectations.     serious disenchantment would likely have seen a mad dash "home".     Olga had already expressed a determination not to marry outside of Russia & her parents acknowledged they would (probably) never force her to marry anyone she didn't want to marry.   one might ask if she was, in actuality, asserting herself or simply (and unknowingly) expressing pathology.    all 4 girls would have understood, the "flirtations" & "romances" with the various officers, were those their parents allowed them.   they, likewise, would have understood precisely what the limits & limitations were.         it's all pure conjecture of course, but i can't help but wonder if any husband the grand duchesses chose would, ultimately, have been (or could have been) anything more than gruesome version of prince Henry of Battenburg (ie: the husband of queen Victoria's youngest daughter Beatrice).

however, it's also very possible (although, in Olga's case, unlikely) the children would have left their "cozy little family" as soon as a marriageable prospect hove into view.     that type of "cozy" can be suffocating..... it can also be lethal.

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Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: LisaDavidson on January 06, 2008, 01:14:53 AM
I think it's equally possible that the grand duchesses were quite happy with their parents and their lives together. It's also possible that they would have all married in time had war, revolution and their deaths not occurred. My sister and I often dressed alike by the way - our family is quite close - and neither of us had trouble establishing independent identities or separate happy homes.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Dominic_Albanese on January 06, 2008, 09:00:22 AM
I've never read anything but that they were happy in their lives - especially before being imprisoned - after all, what else did they know?
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Padawan Ryan on July 09, 2008, 01:10:01 PM
The girls, while probably very grown-up themselves, may have just not been
Able to carry on adult conversations of the sort just because they spent the
Majority of their lives surrounded by each other rather than a frenzy of adults.

It's believable, as I also read somewhere that the girls had no idea how to use
Money and whatnot, and Olga and Tatiana learned that first hand in a store.
Apparently they later asked Ivanovna Chebotareva, a nursing friend, how to use money.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: EmmyLee on July 10, 2008, 08:28:21 PM
Nacy Leed, who is Princess Xenia Romanov-Leeds daughter, uses to explain that her family spoke a mixed language. They could be speaking in English, but if they thought that a word was better in Russian, or German, they used it in the middle of an English sentence...Or they used an English word in the middle of a German or Russian sentence...It sounds quite complicated, but it is the whole truth.

This makes perfect sense in the case of the children as well. They grew up learning quite a few languages, so they had the ability to choose words in another language than what they were primarily speaking in. I could definitely see them throwing in, let's say, an English word in a Russian sentence simply because it seemed like a better word for what they wanted to say.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Lalee on July 10, 2008, 08:35:51 PM
Nacy Leed, who is Princess Xenia Romanov-Leeds daughter, uses to explain that her family spoke a mixed language. They could be speaking in English, but if they thought that a word was better in Russian, or German, they used it in the middle of an English sentence...Or they used an English word in the middle of a German or Russian sentence...It sounds quite complicated, but it is the whole truth.

This makes perfect sense in the case of the children as well. They grew up learning quite a few languages, so they had the ability to choose words in another language than what they were primarily speaking in. I could definitely see them throwing in, let's say, an English word in a Russian sentence simply because it seemed like a better word for what they wanted to say.

That certainly does happen. It happens in my family as well.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Raegan on July 21, 2008, 11:34:04 AM
The girls, while probably very grown-up themselves, may have just not been
Able to carry on adult conversations of the sort just because they spent the
Majority of their lives surrounded by each other rather than a frenzy of adults.

Well, it certainly wasn't unusual for the Grand Duchesses to be in the company of other people (including adults). Grand Duchess Olga's diaries are filled with entries about spending time with other people, including Xenia and Sandro and their children.

They grew up learning quite a few languages, so they had the ability to choose words in another language than what they were primarily speaking in. I could definitely see them throwing in, let's say, an English word in a Russian sentence simply because it seemed like a better word for what they wanted to say.

Yes, that is possible.

BTW, Brittany Catherine, is your avatar a scene from The Secret Garden? It sure looks like it. The 1993 version is my favorite, though the beginning of the film was obviously different from the book.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: jrose on July 27, 2008, 07:19:09 PM
i highly doubt that Alix or Nicholas would have allowed their daughters to grow up lacking a sense of professional speech. especially with Alix's affiliation with the English court. and weren't Tatiana or Olga present in official meetings?
they may have been naive about outside society, but i wouldn't describe them any more childish than teenage girls today.

jessicarose
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: LenelorMiksi on August 05, 2008, 06:37:32 PM
They may have sounded childish when speaking amongst themselves- when a person is with people they are very familiar with then often the way they speak is more relaxed and could be termed "childish".  Also, it was not uncommon for imperial and royal people to be unfamiliar with how to use money.  They ordered everything. 
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: rosieposie on August 29, 2008, 12:55:24 AM
They may have sounded childish when speaking amongst themselves- when a person is with people they are very familiar with then often the way they speak is more relaxed and could be termed "childish".  Also, it was not uncommon for imperial and royal people to be unfamiliar with how to use money.  They ordered everything. 

You are right Lenelor,  myself I speak in childish terms when I'm with my family, I'm 24 by the way lol.  When I'm at uni or work I talk in a professional or educated manner.  Especially when it is about Pedagogy. :)

I believe the children were similar. 
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Royal Bulgaria on November 30, 2008, 04:36:36 AM
I wonder what was the voice of the girls... i heard Nicky and it sound very strange... but i wish i can hear OTMA's voices....xaxa
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Sarushka on November 30, 2008, 07:52:19 AM
I don't recall ever running across any descriptions of OTMAA's voices, except for Olga's singing voice, which I think is mentioned briefly in one of the courtiers' memoirs.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Lalee on November 30, 2008, 11:30:27 PM
Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden wrote that Olga sang prettily in a mezzosoprano.

Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Royal Bulgaria on December 01, 2008, 01:58:16 AM
yes i know that about the singing...but i mean talking... i believe Anastasia and Maria had tiny voices...don't know why :D
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Sarushka on December 01, 2008, 07:11:24 AM
Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden wrote that Olga sang prettily in a mezzosoprano.



Thanks! I could NOT find that yesterday.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Erika on December 01, 2008, 01:24:30 PM
Didn't Alexandra sing in a mezzosoprano voice as well? Maybe Olga's voice was similar to her mother's. Me, my mother and my sister sound almost alike so it wouldn't suprise me if the girls sounded like each other. But this I don't know - it is only speculation.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Sarushka on December 01, 2008, 01:30:58 PM
Didn't Alexandra sing in a mezzosoprano voice as well? Maybe Olga's voice was similar to her mother's. Me, my mother and my sister sound almost alike so it wouldn't suprise me if the girls sounded like each other. But this I don't know - it is only speculation.

Seems to me I've read a couple widely different descriptions of Alexandra's voice -- Vyrubova claimed she sang contralto, but someone else put her in the soprano or mezzo-soprano range.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Royal Bulgaria on December 01, 2008, 01:32:12 PM
Hm... it's interesting
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Erika on December 01, 2008, 01:55:49 PM
Didn't Alexandra sing in a mezzosoprano voice as well? Maybe Olga's voice was similar to her mother's. Me, my mother and my sister sound almost alike so it wouldn't suprise me if the girls sounded like each other. But this I don't know - it is only speculation.

Seems to me I've read a couple widely different descriptions of Alexandra's voice -- Vyrubova claimed she sang contralto, but someone else put her in the soprano or mezzo-soprano range.

Oh yes, I was wrong. I always thought of Alexandra as an contraalto, even though some state that she was a soprano. There is such a difference between these so it is kind of strange that some say that she was a contraalto and some say that she was a soprano. It is possible that Olga would have developed in to a contraalto as she grew older. Most people get darker voices when they get older.

These are two examples of how Olga and Alix would have sounded if Alix was a contraalto and Olga a mezzosoprano.
Alexandra (contraalto)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpDfZ_oq-oY  (Swedish singer Zarah Leander, isn't she fantastic?)

Olga (mezzosoprano)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RO3k_s9mkio


Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Royal Bulgaria on December 01, 2008, 02:03:43 PM
Amm i'm not sure did Olya sound like that... they are nice voices....but i just think she had "kind" voice
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Erika on December 01, 2008, 02:09:44 PM
That was just to show how a contraalto and a mezzosoprano sounds. By these two clips we probably can conclude that they had quite "dark" voices talking as well. But it is possible that Alix was a light contraalto and sounded more like a dark mezzosoprano and that Olga was a light mezzosoprano and sounded more like a soprano.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Royal Bulgaria on December 01, 2008, 02:33:10 PM
Hmmm for me it's strange to hear Nicky's voice
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Erika on December 01, 2008, 03:11:26 PM
Yes, his voice isn't as I pictured it. There are recordings of Alix and the girls voices as well, but we don't know if the recordings have survived.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Royal Bulgaria on December 01, 2008, 10:21:31 PM
Aw this is too bad...
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Olga Maria on December 02, 2008, 10:46:35 PM
For me ,it's not bad to talk like children especially like their case. Perhaps, it made them feel younger because their childhood is better than their adulthood. Just for me only. IMO
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Royal Bulgaria on December 03, 2008, 01:21:20 AM
Mmm yes... For me even i didn't heard their voices....they are still beautiful and kind...
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Erika on December 03, 2008, 04:54:30 AM
For me ,it's not bad to talk like children especially like their case. Perhaps, it made them feel younger because their childhood is better than their adulthood. Just for me only. IMO

This is very interesting. I actually tend to do this sometimes. I wonder if Alix and Nicky wanted their girls to grow up? I remember reading somewhere that Alix dreaded the day she would have to part with her children. My parents, especially my dad, don't want be to grow up and I tend to act like a child when I am near him. I also think that the reason for them talking like children could be that they lived quite isolated and didn't spend much time with girls and boys their own age.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Royal Bulgaria on December 03, 2008, 05:23:31 AM
For me ,it's not bad to talk like children especially like their case. Perhaps, it made them feel younger because their childhood is better than their adulthood. Just for me only. IMO

This is very interesting. I actually tend to do this sometimes. I wonder if Alix and Nicky wanted their girls to grow up? I remember reading somewhere that Alix dreaded the day she would have to part with her children. My parents, especially my dad, don't want be to grow up and I tend to act like a child when I am near him. I also think that the reason for them talking like children could be that they lived quite isolated and didn't spend much time with girls and boys their own age.

When you are royal where were you going to spend "more time with boys and girls of your own age"?!?When you are royal you have to accepted that you have for friends...cousins,people from the court like Olga's friend Rita who was lady in waiting and "boys" from their their ship guards or soldiers...This was the life in 1800-1920.... not only OTMA,but the other intellectuals.... Grafs,Knyaz,Velikii Knyaz and such type of people... The Time was other ,the life was other.... Russia wasn't like today....  So that's why i don't agree with you... And so the parents doesn't want their child to grow up... i'm mean they doesn;t want to grow because they will have their own life... they were isolated because they were royal.but they weren't isolated as humans... they had great childhood
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Erika on December 03, 2008, 05:59:46 AM
For me ,it's not bad to talk like children especially like their case. Perhaps, it made them feel younger because their childhood is better than their adulthood. Just for me only. IMO

This is very interesting. I actually tend to do this sometimes. I wonder if Alix and Nicky wanted their girls to grow up? I remember reading somewhere that Alix dreaded the day she would have to part with her children. My parents, especially my dad, don't want be to grow up and I tend to act like a child when I am near him. I also think that the reason for them talking like children could be that they lived quite isolated and didn't spend much time with girls and boys their own age.

When you are royal where were you going to spend "more time with boys and girls of your own age"?!?When you are royal you have to accepted that you have for friends...cousins,people from the court like Olga's friend Rita who was lady in waiting and "boys" from their their ship guards or soldiers...This was the life in 1800-1920.... not only OTMA,but the other intellectuals.... Grafs,Knyaz,Velikii Knyaz and such type of people... The Time was other ,the life was other.... Russia wasn't like today....  So that's why i don't agree with you... And so the parents doesn't want their child to grow up... i'm mean they doesn;t want to grow because they will have their own life... they were isolated because they were royal.but they weren't isolated as humans... they had great childhood

I am not saying that they didn't have a great childhood. They had a great childhood with loving parents etc... I am only speculating and I just thought that one of the reasons for that they spoke like children were that they were quite isolated. And I am not saying that it was easy for them to spend time with "boys and girls of their age". I understand perfectly well that it was difficult. I just think that one of the reasons for them speaking like children is that they spent so much time only with each other. These are just my thoughts and I have nothing to prove that I am right, because I am, as I already said, only speculating.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Royal Bulgaria on December 03, 2008, 06:02:44 AM
And i'm just saying why i didn't agree... nothing personal... Probably thats the reason,but i prefer their voices to be like children then like ogre  :D :D
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: imperial angel on December 03, 2008, 06:35:54 AM
For me ,it's not bad to talk like children especially like their case. Perhaps, it made them feel younger because their childhood is better than their adulthood. Just for me only. IMO

This is very interesting. I actually tend to do this sometimes. I wonder if Alix and Nicky wanted their girls to grow up? I remember reading somewhere that Alix dreaded the day she would have to part with her children. My parents, especially my dad, don't want be to grow up and I tend to act like a child when I am near him. I also think that the reason for them talking like children could be that they lived quite isolated and didn't spend much time with girls and boys their own age.

When you are royal where were you going to spend "more time with boys and girls of your own age"?!?When you are royal you have to accepted that you have for friends...cousins,people from the court like Olga's friend Rita who was lady in waiting and "boys" from their their ship guards or soldiers...This was the life in 1800-1920.... not only OTMA,but the other intellectuals.... Grafs,Knyaz,Velikii Knyaz and such type of people... The Time was other ,the life was other.... Russia wasn't like today....  So that's why i don't agree with you... And so the parents doesn't want their child to grow up... i'm mean they doesn;t want to grow because they will have their own life... they were isolated because they were royal.but they weren't isolated as humans... they had great childhood

I totally agree with you Irina Alexandrovna, except that I think Nicholas and Alexandra did want their children to grow up, but I think that as they were a close family, more so than other Royal families, they dreaded the break up of their family circle perhaps to OTMA marrying and possibly moving away. Otherwise, I think you are dead on about OTMA's childhood.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Erika on December 03, 2008, 06:39:02 AM
And i'm just saying why i didn't agree... nothing personal... Probably thats the reason,but i prefer their voices to be like children then like ogre  :D :D

I understand and I apologize if I sounded a little bit harsh. It just felt like I was being attacked. But everything is now forgotten and I hope that we will keep on discussing the voices of OTMA:) Smiley
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Royal Bulgaria on December 03, 2008, 07:00:57 AM
For me ,it's not bad to talk like children especially like their case. Perhaps, it made them feel younger because their childhood is better than their adulthood. Just for me only. IMO

This is very interesting. I actually tend to do this sometimes. I wonder if Alix and Nicky wanted their girls to grow up? I remember reading somewhere that Alix dreaded the day she would have to part with her children. My parents, especially my dad, don't want be to grow up and I tend to act like a child when I am near him. I also think that the reason for them talking like children could be that they lived quite isolated and didn't spend much time with girls and boys their own age.

When you are royal where were you going to spend "more time with boys and girls of your own age"?!?When you are royal you have to accepted that you have for friends...cousins,people from the court like Olga's friend Rita who was lady in waiting and "boys" from their their ship guards or soldiers...This was the life in 1800-1920.... not only OTMA,but the other intellectuals.... Grafs,Knyaz,Velikii Knyaz and such type of people... The Time was other ,the life was other.... Russia wasn't like today....  So that's why i don't agree with you... And so the parents doesn't want their child to grow up... i'm mean they doesn;t want to grow because they will have their own life... they were isolated because they were royal.but they weren't isolated as humans... they had great childhood

I totally agree with you Irina Alexandrovna, except that I think Nicholas and Alexandra did want their children to grow up, but I think that as they were a close family, more so than other Royal families, they dreaded the break up of their family circle perhaps to OTMA marrying and possibly moving away. Otherwise, I think you are dead on about OTMA's childhood.


Thanks.. Here i completly agree with you.... Indeed N&A wanted this i was just speaking in general...
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Royal Bulgaria on December 03, 2008, 07:02:07 AM
And i'm just saying why i didn't agree... nothing personal... Probably thats the reason,but i prefer their voices to be like children then like ogre  :D :D

I understand and I apologize if I sounded a little bit harsh. It just felt like I was being attacked. But everything is now forgotten and I hope that we will keep on discussing the voices of OTMA:) Smiley

Aw theres no problem probably i understand it wrong... Felt attacked too... Nothing... So yes we can continue discussing their voices
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Proud_Olga on December 03, 2008, 07:17:25 AM
For me ,it's not bad to talk like children especially like their case. Perhaps, it made them feel younger because their childhood is better than their adulthood. Just for me only. IMO

This is very interesting. I actually tend to do this sometimes. I wonder if Alix and Nicky wanted their girls to grow up? I remember reading somewhere that Alix dreaded the day she would have to part with her children. My parents, especially my dad, don't want be to grow up and I tend to act like a child when I am near him. I also think that the reason for them talking like children could be that they lived quite isolated and didn't spend much time with girls and boys their own age.

When you are royal where were you going to spend "more time with boys and girls of your own age"?!?When you are royal you have to accepted that you have for friends...cousins,people from the court like Olga's friend Rita who was lady in waiting and "boys" from their their ship guards or soldiers...This was the life in 1800-1920.... not only OTMA,but the other intellectuals.... Grafs,Knyaz,Velikii Knyaz and such type of people... The Time was other ,the life was other.... Russia wasn't like today....  So that's why i don't agree with you... And so the parents doesn't want their child to grow up... i'm mean they doesn;t want to grow because they will have their own life... they were isolated because they were royal.but they weren't isolated as humans... they had great childhood

Even if Russia was not like today, there are few accounts that says that the girls were pretty isolated (for this time. ) and that may be one of the reasons why they talked like children...
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Erika on December 03, 2008, 07:27:50 AM
For me ,it's not bad to talk like children especially like their case. Perhaps, it made them feel younger because their childhood is better than their adulthood. Just for me only. IMO

This is very interesting. I actually tend to do this sometimes. I wonder if Alix and Nicky wanted their girls to grow up? I remember reading somewhere that Alix dreaded the day she would have to part with her children. My parents, especially my dad, don't want be to grow up and I tend to act like a child when I am near him. I also think that the reason for them talking like children could be that they lived quite isolated and didn't spend much time with girls and boys their own age.

When you are royal where were you going to spend "more time with boys and girls of your own age"?!?When you are royal you have to accepted that you have for friends...cousins,people from the court like Olga's friend Rita who was lady in waiting and "boys" from their their ship guards or soldiers...This was the life in 1800-1920.... not only OTMA,but the other intellectuals.... Grafs,Knyaz,Velikii Knyaz and such type of people... The Time was other ,the life was other.... Russia wasn't like today....  So that's why i don't agree with you... And so the parents doesn't want their child to grow up... i'm mean they doesn;t want to grow because they will have their own life... they were isolated because they were royal.but they weren't isolated as humans... they had great childhood

Even if Russia was not like today, there are few accounts that says that the girls were pretty isolated (for this time. ) and that may be one of the reasons why they talked like children...

That is what I thought. Thank you Proud_Olga! :)
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Proud_Olga on December 03, 2008, 07:31:59 AM
You're welcome!  :)
I agree with you, so I have to say it...
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Royal Bulgaria on December 03, 2008, 07:45:39 AM
For me ,it's not bad to talk like children especially like their case. Perhaps, it made them feel younger because their childhood is better than their adulthood. Just for me only. IMO

This is very interesting. I actually tend to do this sometimes. I wonder if Alix and Nicky wanted their girls to grow up? I remember reading somewhere that Alix dreaded the day she would have to part with her children. My parents, especially my dad, don't want be to grow up and I tend to act like a child when I am near him. I also think that the reason for them talking like children could be that they lived quite isolated and didn't spend much time with girls and boys their own age.

When you are royal where were you going to spend "more time with boys and girls of your own age"?!?When you are royal you have to accepted that you have for friends...cousins,people from the court like Olga's friend Rita who was lady in waiting and "boys" from their their ship guards or soldiers...This was the life in 1800-1920.... not only OTMA,but the other intellectuals.... Grafs,Knyaz,Velikii Knyaz and such type of people... The Time was other ,the life was other.... Russia wasn't like today....  So that's why i don't agree with you... And so the parents doesn't want their child to grow up... i'm mean they doesn;t want to grow because they will have their own life... they were isolated because they were royal.but they weren't isolated as humans... they had great childhood

Even if Russia was not like today, there are few accounts that says that the girls were pretty isolated (for this time. ) and that may be one of the reasons why they talked like children...


Yes Sweety,but in that time all royal families were "isolated" as royal they are but as humans they are not.... sorry i have read so many letters and diaries and no where they are saying "We are isolated" or "We feel isolated" How can you be so sure that they were?That's why i think that they had amazing childhood and i don't think it's big deal were they isolated or not.... So im not going to speak about this anymore
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Proud_Olga on December 03, 2008, 09:15:23 AM
Where do you see that I said that the girls felt isolated ? I don't speak about(and I think that's what Erika tried to say)  if they FELT isolated, but if they WERE.
And considering the standards of this time, they were. Anna V. said it herself! ( so did some others, I think.)
Alix was raised in UK, and from what I know about the life of the British royalties, it is not like living as Russian Royalties.
Their mother brought them up in a Victorian education, that's why they were more isolated than usually Russian Royalties were!
On the other hand, as humans, I agree, they had never been isolated, they knew soldiers and many officers for example (especially during the Great War! )
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Erika on December 03, 2008, 09:21:33 AM
Where do you see that I said that the girls feel isolated ? I don't speak about(and I think that's what Erika tried to say)  if they FEEL isolated, but if they WERE.
And considering the standards of this time, they were. Anna V. said it herself! ( so did some others, I think.)
Alix was raised in UK, and from what I know about the life of the British royalties, it is not like living as Russian Royalties.
Their mother brought them up in a Victorian education, that's why they were more isolated than usually Russian Royalties were!
On the other hand, as humans, I agree, they had never been isolated, they knew soldiers and many officers for example (especially during the Great War! )


Yes, that is what I've been trying to say. I never thought that the girls themselves felt insolated. Thank you for clearing this up Proud-Olga! Smiley:)
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Proud_Olga on December 03, 2008, 09:27:29 AM
You're welcome =)
Oh yes that's felt I wrote feel >_<
I 've just corrected this mistake  :)
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Erika on December 03, 2008, 09:28:50 AM
You're welcome =)
Oh yes that's felt I wrote feel >_<
I 've just corrected this mistake  :)


Oh my god! I didn't mean it that way. I just bolded the word so everyone would understand that I didn't mean that they felt isolated. I am so sorry!
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Proud_Olga on December 03, 2008, 09:31:16 AM
I know why you bolded this word :)  but thanks to you, I've remarked this mistake!
So thank you for this!

Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Royal Bulgaria on December 03, 2008, 04:21:53 PM
I know why you bolded this word :)  but thanks to you, I've remarked this mistake!
So thank you for this!



OK i'm not going to argue two people... i'm one your two sorry not fair... but i'm just telling what i think!!!!!!!! Not saying it's true this is the diffrent which you can't understand!So you are not going to see me writting in this discusion...
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Erika on December 03, 2008, 04:32:06 PM
I know why you bolded this word :)  but thanks to you, I've remarked this mistake!
So thank you for this!



OK i'm not going to argue two people... i'm one your two sorry not fair... but i'm just telling what i think!!!!!!!! Not saying it's true this is the diffrent which you can't understand!So you are not going to see me writting in this discusion...

Of course you are entitled to your own opinion. We were just trying to explain what we meant.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Proud_Olga on December 04, 2008, 11:09:37 AM
I know why you bolded this word :)  but thanks to you, I've remarked this mistake!
So thank you for this!



OK i'm not going to argue two people... i'm one your two sorry not fair... but i'm just telling what i think!!!!!!!! Not saying it's true this is the diffrent which you can't understand!So you are not going to see me writting in this discusion...

Of course! I didn't say I am right... You have your opinion, and I have mine.. I was just explaining what we really meant (about the question if the girls were isolated or not .)
But, please, next time you don't agree with somebody, tell it in a less rude way. I am not surprised if Erika felt attacked by your answer to her opinion, I would have felt this way too. Your post towards me was also pretty rude and not respectful. I suppose you didn't do it on purpose, and I apologize if you found that my answer was aggressive then.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Erika on December 15, 2008, 12:25:08 PM
I found this on page 75 in Helen Rappaport's book Ekaterinburg - The last days of the Romanovs;

"...Apart from occasional trips into St Petersburg with their beloved Aunt Olga on Sundays during the years 1906-1914 (...), the girls were given very few opportunities to make friends. Their mother was of the view that most of those at court were a pernicious influence on their innocent young minds and were to be shunned; the girls therefore were only allowed to play with the children of members of the Imperial entourage. Even among their own close relatives, however, they had no real friends. (...) With very little protest, the Romanov sisters grew used to their isolation and the relative austerity of their lives, becoming extremely self-sufficient, turning to each other, their china dolls, their pet dogs and their treasured Bow Brownie cameras. (...) Such isolation inevitably left all to a degree innocent of their years and thus more emotionally vulnerable. It meant that when they did have to go out into society they sometimes seemed gawky and ingenuous and tended to talk to each other like girls far younger than their years..."
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: EmmyLee on December 15, 2008, 09:52:36 PM
Great quote, Erika. I got that book in through Interlibrary Loan and can't wait to read it over Christmas vacation!
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Olga Maria on December 15, 2008, 09:58:01 PM
I thought Olga sounds like a woman enough on nineteen, likewise Tatiana. Why do some people say only Tatiana has an imperial voice? I wonder why they don't comment the same on Olga, Maria, and Anastasia.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Sarushka on December 16, 2008, 07:40:11 AM
Why do some people say only Tatiana has an imperial voice? I wonder why they don't comment the same on Olga, Maria, and Anastasia.

I've never heard that myself. Reading their letters, I actually find Tatiana one of the most entertaining of the girls. None of them come across as particularly "imperial" to me.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Erika on December 16, 2008, 07:45:00 AM
I thought Olga sounds like a woman enough on nineteen, likewise Tatiana. Why do some people say only Tatiana has an imperial voice? I wonder why they don't comment the same on Olga, Maria, and Anastasia.

I've read that Tatiana looked and acted like a daughter of an emperor but I never heard that her voice was imperial.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: RealAnastasia on December 16, 2008, 03:58:51 PM
And...How is an "Imperial voice"??? I've never heard something similar to this...

RealAnastasia.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Lalee on December 16, 2008, 06:02:09 PM
I've actually never read anything about Tatiana's voice, but always that she was very regal and acted like a princess. All that I've ever read about their talking is that they talked as if they were much younger than what they really were.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: imperial angel on December 16, 2008, 06:59:54 PM
I suppose an imperial voice could be regarded as powerful, authoritative maybe? We don't have a recording of Tatiana's voice and can't go back in time and hear it, so we can never know. Tatiana was said to be imperial, but her voice was never mentioned as a factor in that.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Olga Maria on December 17, 2008, 02:18:17 AM
Imperial voice has something to do with being princess-like: smooth, comprehensible and formal. Just like what movies regarding royalties show. I don't know. It's just a guess. Well, I read somewhere while browsing. I can't remember where I read "Tatiana's voice being imperial". Thank you.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Royal Bulgaria on December 17, 2008, 10:20:15 AM
Imperial voice has something to do with being princess-like: smooth, comprehensible and formal. Just like what movies regarding royalties show. I don't know. It's just a guess. Well, I read somewhere while browsing. I can't remember where I read "Tatiana's voice being imperial". Thank you.

Agree with you... i know the same thing "Tatiana's voice being imperial" i will lie you if i say i have seen this in one memories... have to remember where..
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: imperial angel on December 17, 2008, 10:55:05 AM
I would love to know where you read that. Anyway, if we did have a recording of Tatiana's voice, it might surprise us what it really sounds like, as people in the Nicholas's voice thread were sometimes surprised by the sound of his real voice- it wasn't as they had imagined it to sound.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Royal Bulgaria on December 17, 2008, 11:03:43 AM
I agree with Imperial_Angel.... I would love to hear Olya's voice or Maria's
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: RealAnastasia on December 17, 2008, 03:53:04 PM
All of them if possible, please!  ;D

RealAnastasia.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Erika on December 18, 2008, 04:15:44 PM
All of them if possible, please!  ;D

RealAnastasia.

It would be fantastic if the recordings turned up somewhere... Have anyone else than me read that Alexandra spoke with a whispering sound?
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Royal Bulgaria on December 19, 2008, 06:13:05 AM


Hmm... i haven't heard this... i always knew that she had kind voice.....
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Lalee on December 19, 2008, 09:12:30 PM
All of them if possible, please!  ;D

RealAnastasia.

It would be fantastic if the recordings turned up somewhere... Have anyone else than me read that Alexandra spoke with a whispering sound?

I think I have heard of this too - that she had a feminine and very soft voice. The same was said about her sister Ella.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: amartin71718 on December 19, 2008, 10:54:53 PM
They both had lower voices, too.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Royal Bulgaria on December 20, 2008, 05:21:16 AM
They both had lower voices, too.

Yes but they weren't  loud-mouthed...
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Erika on December 20, 2008, 05:49:08 AM
They both had lower voices, too.

Yes but they weren't  loud-mouthed...

Some people say that Ethel Barrymore sounded almost exactly like Alix in Rasputin and the Empress. I remember reading it somewhere, but I can't remember where. I will try to find the source.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Royal Bulgaria on December 20, 2008, 06:14:30 AM
Well it could be possible but it will be strange to hear her or any of The Romanov's voices ...  i still can't believe that this was Nicky's voice... lol
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Lalee on December 20, 2008, 06:54:13 AM
I can't imagine Alix's voice sounding like Ethel Barrymore's in Rasputin and the Empress. Hers sounded too deep, for my imagination. From reading accounts, I've always thought of Alix to have had this soft voice, and very low (just like Ella's).

Just to note, I have never watched the movie, but to hear Ethel Barrymore's voice I just watched this scene on YouTube, in case anybody else is interested:-

http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=bz1T7GkCR-E

As for Nicholas's voice, his came as not much of surprise to me at all. :P




Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Royal Bulgaria on December 20, 2008, 07:25:32 AM
I can't imagine Alix's voice sounding like Ethel Barrymore's in Rasputin and the Empress. Hers sounded too deep, for my imagination. From reading accounts, I've always thought of Alix to have had this soft voice, and very low (just like Ella's).

Just to note, I have never watched the movie, but to hear Ethel Barrymore's voice I just watched this scene on YouTube, in case anybody else is interested:-

http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=bz1T7GkCR-E

As for Nicholas's voice, his came as not much of surprise to me at all. :P

Xixix with Ferah think same :D Yes i agree ... well i didn't watch this movie but i have seen this scene uploaded by Tuga9890 i even comment it... Well it's kind of strange here... but it could be possible she to sound like that... and in that movie and scene for first time i hear OTMA called Alix "Mamishka" :DD




Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Olga Maria on December 21, 2008, 03:18:09 AM
ahh..It's not actually imperial..it's aristocratic. I thought both words are synonyms (well, are they?) I have to consult first a dictionary. I read it on alexander palace time machine OTMA biographies.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Royal Bulgaria on December 21, 2008, 05:00:49 AM
Well i can't say for 100% are imperial-aristocratic synonyms... hmm i don't think they are ... well imperial means above all...Aristocrats would mean Grafs,Knyaz and Velikye Knyaz.... the court life....  :)
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Sarushka on December 21, 2008, 07:30:02 AM
They are similar, related words but not quite identical:

aristocratic |əˌristəˈkratik|
adjective
of or relating to the aristocracy : an aristocratic family.
• distinguished in manners or bearing : a stately, aristocratic manner.
• grand; stylish : aristocratic-sounding names | a snob with aristocratic aspirations.

imperial |imˈpi(ə)rēəl|
adjective
1 of or relating to an empire : Britain's imperial era.
• of or relating to an emperor : the imperial family.
• majestic; magnificent : the bedroom is huge and imperial.
• imperious or domineering : the party and its autocratic—many would say imperial—ways.


So someone who is imperial is at the pinnacle of aristocracy. But someone who's aristocratic is not necessarily imperial as well. (In other words, all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares.)
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Olga Maria on December 23, 2008, 03:58:17 AM
Sorry for misleading some of you. Indeed, I'd say she has and aristocratic voice.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: susana on December 24, 2008, 12:25:04 PM
Back to the talking like children topic: there's a distinct difference between 'childish' talk and 'childlike' talk, also thinking and behavior. I have read this too, cannot remember where and I think this comment referred to the quality of their conversations among themselves--naive and innocent are good words also. Childish talk would be babyish while childlike would be less experienced and less socialized--their interests were probably greatly limited by the lives they were 'allowed' to lead.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: susana on December 24, 2008, 02:01:43 PM
A warning says I left the body of this post empty??  Basically I said there's a difference between being 'childish' and being 'childlike'--childish would be inappropriate and babyish. Childlike would be less socialized, naive and the adjective innocent which has been used. The children weren't really allowed to do much outside of their mother's control and even Olga, when introduced as the chairperson of a meeting, used the cover of the table at which they were all seated to hide her kick of the leg of the lady introducing her.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: amartin71718 on December 24, 2008, 03:04:52 PM
That was Tatiana that kicked the lady.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: I am_Tatianochka on December 24, 2008, 04:16:12 PM
That was Tatiana that kicked the lady.

Yes,thats right... :)
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Ally Kumari on December 24, 2008, 04:42:37 PM
That was Tatiana that kicked the lady.

Little more detail: the lady was Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden and she said to Tatiana "May I please Your Imperial Highness".... When she sat down Tatiana kicked her and whispered "Are you crazy to talk to me like that?" She was used to be called only by her first and patronymic name and it took Alix some explaining before Tatiana got used to be adressed in a "proper" manner.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Royal Bulgaria on December 25, 2008, 05:17:47 AM
That was Tatiana that kicked the lady.

Little more detail: the lady was Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden and she said to Tatiana "May I please Your Imperial Highness".... When she sat down Tatiana kicked her and whispered "Are you crazy to talk to me like that?" She was used to be called only by her first and patronymic name and it took Alix some explaining before Tatiana got used to be adressed in a "proper" manner.


Yes and you can read all that in livadia.org...
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Ally Kumari on December 25, 2008, 05:41:18 AM
You can read that on lots of sites. The original source is actualy Sophie Buxhoeveden´s book.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Multiverse on December 31, 2008, 05:30:18 PM
Something I have wondered about OTMA and Alexei is whether they ever felt isolated and lonely? As one website put it, "no girls were ever invited to the palace," and that Alexandra thought her daughters should be able to entertain each other. While they did have each other I wonder if at times any of them felt isolated and lonely. It must have been more difficult for Alexei. Yes he had his older sisters, but he had no other boys his own age to associate with.

My sense of Nicholas II is that he was a good man, a kind and careing man who wanted so much to do the right thing for Russia and The Russian People, but who by his training was so bound to tradition that he just couldn't bring himself to make the changes that were needed to save The Monarchy.

In reading this family's story I feel a real sense of sadness not only for how they died, but also in their lives as they lived them.

I know this is a very big if, but if Russia at that time had been a constitutional monarchy much like Great Brittain, what kind of constitutional monarch would Tsar Nicholas II have made? My own thought is that with his personality, Nicholas II would have made an outstanding constitutional monarch. 
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: grandduchessella on December 31, 2008, 06:20:01 PM
There was already a thread on this topic so I merged the one created today. Please remember to search through the existing threads before starting a new one. Thanks.  :)
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Teddy on December 31, 2008, 06:48:23 PM
Dear Multi,

Maybe you must read the diary off Grand Duchess Olga for the year 1913, by Reagan Baker. They had no sad lives, but were very happy.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Sarushka on December 31, 2008, 07:48:00 PM
It must have been more difficult for Alexei. Yes he had his older sisters, but he had no other boys his own age to associate with.

On the contrary, reading Aleksei's 1916 diary is leading me to believe that he actually had a more normal (by modern standards) social life than his sisters. He certainly had more opportunity to play with children his own age than OTMA did.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Multiverse on December 31, 2008, 08:53:29 PM
I may be able to shed a bit of insight into this from personal experience. I myself was raised very over protected and very oversheltered. I understand my father and mother's motovations in raising me this way. Like Nicholas and Alexandra, my parents were motovated by fear and by concern for the safety and wellbeing of their child or children, but in their fear they carried it too far.

At least OTMA and Alexei had each other. I myself was an only child. There were many times I wished I had a brother or sister just to have another kid in the house.

Many of the same terms people of the day who encountered them used to describe the Grand Duchesses could have applied to me. Seeming to be socially immature for their age. Nervous, uncomfortable, ill prepared for certain social situations.

I'm like a big kid who never quite grew up. At 53 years old I am still single never married, and I occasionally have people tell me there is almost a strange childlike quality about me.

Yes my childhood was very happy, and I'm sure OTMA and Alexei had a very happy childhood as well. But growing up so very overprotected and oversheltered does impart at times a sense of isolation and even loneliness, and also a kind of childlike sense or quality that one never quite outgrows. From my own personal experience I'm thinking the same may have been true of OTMA and Alexei.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: imperial angel on January 03, 2009, 03:14:39 PM
It must have been more difficult for Alexei. Yes he had his older sisters, but he had no other boys his own age to associate with.

On the contrary, reading Aleksei's 1916 diary is leading me to believe that he actually had a more normal (by modern standards) social life than his sisters. He certainly had more opportunity to play with children his own age than OTMA did.

I agree with you there- that's a good point.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Greenowl on January 04, 2009, 08:21:01 AM
growing up so very overprotected and oversheltered does impart at times a sense of isolation and even loneliness, and also a kind of childlike sense or quality that one never quite outgrows. From my own personal experience I'm thinking the same may have been true of OTMA and Alexei.

Thanks for sharing that Multiverse. I suppose it depends a bit on the individual concerned, as different people cope with the situation in different ways. I too was an over-protected only child for much of my early life and as a teenager was nervous, uncomfortable and shy in certain social situations. However, I gradually overcame the problem although I still dislike large gatherings and tend to avoid them if at all possible. Strangely enough, I married an only child and he too dislikes large gatherings although is forced to attend them on a regular basis because of his work.

I was probably guilty of over-protecting my own son...it is said that one sub-consciously repeats one's parents' behaviour...but he reacted violently against it from a very early age and took every possible opportunity to meet other children, loves parties and various social activities and is now what I would describe as a real "social butterfly" and cannot understand our dislike of parties etc. So I think that at the end of the day it all boils down to one's personality.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Felicia on January 04, 2009, 11:55:26 AM
They have played with Sandro and Xenia's children, don't they?
I think their shelterness shouldn't be exaggerated, because the life of very first Romanovs princesses was much more sad - home, church - and early death or elder age as nuns.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: nena on January 04, 2009, 12:20:38 PM

They have played with Sandro and Xenia's children, don't they?

I know only for Aleksei -- yes. Probably OTMA too. IMO, their life were very enjoying with many friends around them, and rarely they were isolated, meeting people during ceremonies, opening lazaret. I am only looking case from good point of view. But there is also another side of medal -- a bad one.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Eric_Lowe on January 04, 2009, 12:50:29 PM
Yes I agree that they were sheltered.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Imperial_Grounds on January 04, 2009, 01:28:31 PM
They were sheltered yes, but not in the sense that they had no idea about what was going on around them, Especialy Olga. And as for Alexei, he had contact with childeren, sons of Officers and such. I think also in Mogilev and such, when he joined his father, he had contact with other people. I don't know there were boys of his age to play with but from what we know he hade nice times then. So, yes I think they were sheltered, to some sense, but not as they would have been completely isolated.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Eric_Lowe on January 04, 2009, 01:31:46 PM
Yes. I heard Alexei was upset that his father abdicated his rights to the throne without talking to him.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Sarushka on January 04, 2009, 01:49:40 PM
Yes. I heard Alexei was upset that his father abdicated his rights to the throne without talking to him.

I've read precisely the opposite -- to my knowledge Aleksei never once protested his father's decision, nor his own loss of rank.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Ally Kumari on January 04, 2009, 02:26:18 PM
Yes. I heard Alexei was upset that his father abdicated his rights to the throne without talking to him.

I've read precisely the opposite -- to my knowledge Aleksei never once protested his father's decision, nor his own loss of rank.

Sarushka is right. The boy only asked "And who would be now the Tsar?". He never asked for his own rights. The idea of Alexei being upset about Nicolas giving up the throne for him comes probably from movie Nicolas and Alexandra, where Alexei is portraited (sorry for that) like a spoilt brat.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Eric_Lowe on January 04, 2009, 02:50:34 PM
I think it is more than one account.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Ally Kumari on January 04, 2009, 02:54:12 PM
I would trust Gilliard on this matter. After all it was him who was appointed to tell Alexei about his father´s abdication.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Eric_Lowe on January 04, 2009, 03:22:29 PM
Well...He did not prove himself reliable in the Anna Anderson trial....
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Ally Kumari on January 04, 2009, 03:27:46 PM
Don´t know about that. What did he do? Bu well, as I said, I would trust him on THIS matter. What are the other accounts you mentioned? I´ve never heard about them.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Eric_Lowe on January 04, 2009, 03:29:44 PM
Gillard admitted to court he burn his own notes...
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Ally Kumari on January 04, 2009, 03:30:41 PM
Well, that doesn´t explain why he should lie about what a little boy said. Still waiting for those other acounts :)
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: nena on January 04, 2009, 08:00:30 PM
Sarushka is right. The boy only asked "And who would be now the Tsar?". He never asked for his own rights. The idea of Alexei being upset about Nicolas giving up the throne for him comes probably from movie Nicolas and Alexandra, where Alexei is portraited (sorry for that) like a spoilt brat.

Yes, in Russian: „Если больше нет Императора, кто же будет управлять Россией?''. And Gilliard mentions that.  ;)
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Eric_Lowe on January 06, 2009, 08:20:03 AM
I will follow up on the other account.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Multiverse on January 06, 2009, 07:34:08 PM
A couple of other thoughts here.

In some posts I've read that some who met the GDs when they were teenagers described them as being immature for their age.

I understand in their personal tastes Nicholas II, his wife and children, had fairly simple tastes at least compared to what we would expect from The Imperial Family. They seemingly were not comfortable with or didn't like the heavy formality, an yet formality is what one expects from Royalty. I've also read accounts of those who met the GDs who described them as approachable.

Could it be that some who met these young ladies have expected them to be much more formal than they were, and could some who met them have misinterpreted their lack of formality and their approachableness for immaturity? It's not that they were too over sheltered and socially immature for their age, it's just that they were not as formal as some might have expected them to be.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Multiverse on January 06, 2009, 07:55:06 PM
On the subject of marriage for the GDs. I think Alixandra hoped and expected her daughters to one day marry and have families of their own, but that she also dreaded the separation that entailed.

I have always thought that at leasts one of the GDs would marry a Russian Prince and remain in Russia, and Olga was pretty clear on her intention to marry a Russian and remain in Russia. It's not clear how any of the other three GDs felt about that or if they had even thought about someday and marriage and children. I have also thought it might be that at least one of them might never have married.

I realize I'm looking at this from the standpoint of a typical American in 2009. But a problem with finding a suitable husband for these girls is that even though the men these girls would have married would have themselves almost certainly been Royalty, I imagine the prospect of having the Tsar of Russia as a father in law could be rather intimidating. Though somehow I get the feeling it would have been easier to be Nicholas's son in law than to be Alexandra's son in law.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Ally Kumari on January 07, 2009, 02:22:40 AM
As for the marriages, it was either Sophie Bux. or Anna Vyrubova, who mentioned Alexandra liked to imagine Anastasia getting married into English royal family.... Will try to find the quote....
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Eric_Lowe on January 07, 2009, 09:57:52 AM
Age wise Edward of York could marry either Marie or Anastasia.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Rodion_Felix on October 27, 2009, 05:30:33 PM
In a way the children ( OTMAA ) was in a way in captivity their hole life.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: imperial angel on October 27, 2009, 09:38:11 PM
Well, I think many royal children of that era and even of today could be said to be living in a goldfish bowl growing up, and indeed in adult life too. In that era, especially in Russia where there was a fear of assination on the part of the IF, growing up as royalty meant a lot of restrictions.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Helen_Azar on July 24, 2013, 01:30:31 PM
I used to think that the imperial children were very sheltered with not much access to other kids/teenagers their own age, and a lonely existence with only their own siblings for company. But working on Olga's diary translations made me realize that this was not the case at all. Olga and her sisters actually seemed to have a very busy social life, and many friends their own age, albeit, not surprisingly from aristocratic circles only. Many of Olga's diary entries, even among the ones during the war, mention the names of friends, and the fun they had together... Of course being the royal children the people they came in contact with was in a controlled environment which of course is understandable, but that still doesn't mean that they didn't form real friendships and develop mutual affection towards people their own age, or even had occasional flirtations with the opposite sex.  Based on the diaries, and letters, the imperial children were not in any way isolated or lonely. 
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Kalafrana on July 25, 2013, 11:40:35 AM
I think the one who had the sad life was Alexei. Fancy a lively boy being forbidden to ride a bike, and having to go round on a child seat with Derevenko.

Oh, and being called Baby when he was almost 14!

Ann
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Forum Admin on July 25, 2013, 12:48:51 PM
Spirdiovitch writes about Alexei having a group of boys as friends who would come to Livadia where they played out in the woods, supervised by Derevenko.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: edubs31 on July 25, 2013, 01:01:56 PM
Spirdiovitch writes about Alexei having a group of boys as friends who would come to Livadia where they played out in the woods, supervised by Derevenko.

I've read about this too. But perhaps to Ann's point I think some of what was sadly lacking in Alexei's life as opposed to most other boys was a sense of spontaneity. The idea that he could never do, or go, or play with exactly as/where/who he wished.

I never got the "Baby" thing either. It seems almost an insult as he grew older and it's hard to imagine he would have been called such a name if he hadn't spent so much of his life as an invalid. I'm surprised he didn't reject being called this (perhaps he did from time to time?), especially for someone who desperately wanted to be one of the boys. Imagine inspecting troops at the front with his father one week, and then laid up in bed suffering through an attack while Mama and company call you "Baby" the next. Must have been maddening!

Fortunately he was never deprived of love and affection in his all too short existence, and perhaps that was enough to make him a generally happy boy. I certainly hope so. Nothing breaks my heart more while thinking of them as a whole in Ekaterinburg and when the shots began firing in the Ipatiev basement than Alexei; weakened, confused, terrified, and heartbroken...
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Kalafrana on July 25, 2013, 02:53:44 PM
I find it hard to imagine Alexei not objecting to being called Baby. It is literally infantilising and mollycoddling, and, as Erik says, Alexei desperately wanted to be a normal boy. I persuaded my parents to stop using my infant nickname long before I reached 13!

An n
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Forum Admin on July 25, 2013, 03:13:17 PM
Well, any child born with Haemophilia in 1905 would have been forced to lead a similar life, at least if born into a family with the means to have servants to look after him. Certainly he probably was able to lead a more enjoyable and "adventerous" life than most other young boys because of his position.  Don't forget that Alexei was able to travel extensively, to Germany, England, the Crimea, Moscow, etc etc.  He had his own Regiment and had the run of the Yacht as a playground. He met with many different people. The thread is about the IF children have "sad, sheltered lives" and I just don't see Alexei's life as at all 'sad' nor was he more sheltered because of his "status" as a "Royal".  The true sadness of his life is his illness and the young age at which his life was taken from him.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: edubs31 on July 25, 2013, 05:02:59 PM
Well, any child born with Haemophilia in 1905 would have been forced to lead a similar life, at least if born into a family with the means to have servants to look after him. Certainly he probably was able to lead a more enjoyable and "adventerous" life than most other young boys because of his position.  Don't forget that Alexei was able to travel extensively, to Germany, England, the Crimea, Moscow, etc etc.  He had his own Regiment and had the run of the Yacht as a playground. He met with many different people. The thread is about the IF children have "sad, sheltered lives" and I just don't see Alexei's life as at all 'sad' nor was he more sheltered because of his "status" as a "Royal".  The true sadness of his life is his illness and the young age at which his life was taken from him.


This is very true. Alexei has a rather exciting life compared to typical boys his age from, say, normal middle class Russian families. He also had any number of enriching experiences. Of course it's hard to say how fulfilling that was for him. Having relatable experiences with boys his age could have been much more valuable to him than lavish regal receptions and men in uniform basically kissing his royal behind everywhere he went. And as you point out dying before the age of fourteen and suffering up to that point through an often painful disease forces one to further reassess the true quality of his life (which certainly lacked "quantity").

His sisters naturally grew up in very similar conditions and while it sounds like they may have had a few friends I'm skeptical as to whether any of those could be considered "close" friendships. But they did have each other, which is more than Alexei can claim being the only son. They also didn't suffer through a debilitating disease. Another thing to consider is that OTMA (less so Anastasia) got to enjoy at least some attention from the opposite sex. We hear cute stories of crushes and innocent flirtations between OTM and male officers all the time. Both Olga and Tatiana even seem to have been in love on more than one occasion.

But it wasn't like Alexei had this opportunity around women. Sure he was younger, but even still the same opportunity wouldn't have been afforded to him in their immediate circle as was for his sisters. In a word, his life was bizarre. Harder to find a more unique experience, including his death, in all of world history.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Sarushka on July 25, 2013, 08:24:29 PM
In comparing Aleksei's 1916 diary with Olga's 1913 diary, I was struck by how much more opportunity Aleksei had to interact with other children his own age. It seems playmates were sought out for Aleksei, while OTMA were expected to rely on each other for the majority of their companionship.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: slhouette on May 27, 2020, 09:00:22 PM
This thread is pretty old, but I'll go ahead and post anyways so that people browsing the forum might see it.

Pierre Gilliard did write another memoir beside Thirteen Years, about the Anna Anderson controversy: "La Fausse Anastasie: Histoire D'une Prétendue Grande-Duchesse de Russie." I got lucky to find someone translated it to English and published it as an Amazon ebook; unfortunately, this translator uses Gilliard's text to try and prop up his own Anastasia pretender. Plus, this ebook is littered with antisemitic remarks. So it was pretty embarrassing for me that I spent money on it, I wish I'd just found + translated the original text myself, even though I don't know French....

Anyways, there's a really revealing piece of text in this Gilliard memoir. He includes the text of a letter Anastasia wrote to his wife (Alexandra 'Shura' Tegleva) and then says this:

"At the time of this letter of 4 August 1915, Anastasia was 14 years old. What is there more simple and natural than this letter, which distinguishes her from all other young girls, and how can one even suspect in reading it that she is the daughter of the Emperor!
It’s that Anastasia had no one who could recall this conventional type of a Romanesque princess. She was a young girl, sound and in good health, who wanted to enjoy life fully and who had but one regret, that being born a grand duchess she was deprived of that liberty which she envied in simple mortals. It was she herself who, at 11 years of age, pleaded with her mother to place her into an institute where she could have a lot of friends and who, two years later, compelled her to let her devote herself to the theater, a vocation for which she felt an irresistible inclination."

Sounds like at least Anastasia was having some issues with loneliness/isolation. None of the letters/diaries of the Nicholas, Alexandra, the GDs, etc, give any reference to either of these incidents. It really goes to show that the primary documents give the appearance of cheeriness when, at least with this daughter, something wasn't right.

Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Marie-Catherine on May 28, 2020, 07:44:51 AM
Hello!  I'm a French speaker. If you want, give me the details of this source and I'll go look it up to make sure it's translated correctly :) The book is pretty old maybe I could find it online.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: slhouette on May 28, 2020, 10:02:18 PM
Oh, I think the translation is perfectly correct. The vast majority of the content is what was written by Gilliard and his co-author Konstantin Savich. I'm just sad that I accidentally supported a translator that was making antisemitic remarks in his work. If I had known that content was in there beforehand, I would have just gone through the trouble of translating the original source rather than support that translators work. :-(

That being said, it'd always be interesting to go back to the original text and see how the translations differ. It looks like La Fausse Anastasie is at multiple US university libraries just from a worldcat.org search. The closest one to me is a bit too far to justify making a whole trip for, though.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: slhouette on June 01, 2020, 08:36:52 PM
Actually since this source isn't very well known I'll go ahead and put the excerpt from the introduction in a new thread in the Anastasia Nicholaivna subforum. The introduction is written by Gilliard and is about Anastasia herself, before he gets into discussing the Anna Anderson controversy.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: slhouette on June 01, 2020, 09:01:55 PM
Posted! The thread is called "Anastasia and Loneliness - excerpt from "La fausse Anastasia.""

Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Marie-Catherine on June 08, 2020, 03:30:36 AM
Thanks I'll look it up :)
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: slhouette on June 14, 2020, 02:10:53 AM
Would love to know what you think! Here's the thread I made if you haven't taken a look: http://forum.alexanderpalace.org/index.php?topic=19109.0

Now here's something interesting. I just posted this in an Alexandra thread, dealing with her quality as a mother, whether she was manipulative or not. I'll repost my response here as I find it relevant:

"People have gone back and forth over Alix's personal choices of raising her kids apart from high/low society included, and whether it's manipulative or not. I'm of the opinion; doesn't living as a royal child inherently mean being manipulated to some degree? I'm thinking of this more systematically. For example, even without the major security concerns the IF faced, it'd still be inherent for them to live apart from others - for the children, away from kids of their own age - as royalty requires an exalted and carefully controlled image to maintain itself.

(I should mention I'm mostly speaking of OTMA; I know more about them as I just don't have as much interest in Alexei.)

I think it was perfectly correct for Alix to keep her kids away from high society; but, she also didn't dip into a pool of contacts from lower social classes, even though she very much liked "plain people." I blame this precisely on royalty inherently isolating itself from lower classes. The GDs got to, as far as I can tell, infrequently interact with the Rasputin sisters, Gleb and Tatiana Botkin, etc, but not on the basis of creating, in my opinion, much intimacy and closeness. It's true that they had a variety of loving familial relationships, plus courtiers/tutors/sailors who they had great rapport with. However, to me, they didn't have deeply close friends in their own maturity bracket, and mostly lived in the company of adults. Each of us should personally know that, while we may be satisfied in one facet of our social lives (in this case, family), we may feel sadness/loneliness if another is lacking. It's entirely possible to have a great family life but also desire different types of relationships, i.e. close friendships, romance, etc."
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: slhouette on June 14, 2020, 02:15:10 AM
Honestly, almost my entire interest in the Romanovs has been about OTMA. I feel pretty strongly that they lived in a manipulative environment. All my forum posts are going to be about OTMA and their environment, particularly loneliness, stress, etc, so if anyone's out there reading this and has the same interest, you may want to follow my posts. Just yesterday, I bought Voeikov's memoirs, and Tatiana Botkine's "Aus temps des tsars," and I'll most definitely post if I find anything relevant in them when I get them. So stay tuned I guess lol.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: tenorsfan on June 19, 2020, 03:24:54 AM
Were you planning of investigating if they were abused by Rasputin as he bragged about? I brought it up and it went over like a lead balloon, even getting deleted in a day or two.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: slhouette on June 19, 2020, 03:51:35 PM
Nah there's no evidence of that happening - though if you're interested in that episode of the Rasputin drama you can dig through the forum, I know it's been discussed. I've just collected enough material to make a good argument that OTMA were being/felt confined, uncomfortable, etc in their positions. Additionally, I feel like their parents were wrong to "sell" their images and essentially force them to be participants of the autocracy. That's the basic thesis of a personal essay I'm working on.

An update on that: I have multiple books ordered coming in. I emailed Mr. Bob Atchison to check his opinion on the authenticity Anna Vyrubova's memoirs written when she lived as Nun Maria in Finland. He says they're authentic, and I trust his judgement, so I ordered a copy of the Swedish version: "Anna Vyrubova: kejsarinnans hovdam."

From the AP article with a piece of text from that memoir (http://www.alexanderpalace.org/palace/2anna1.html), Vyrubova says: "The Empress was constantly worried about her daughters' future. She cried bitterly when she thought that they would never be able to get married for love as they belonged to the royal family and their choice of the future husband would always have to be motivated by political or other considerations of the kind. I shall dwell on it later in the chapter dedicated to the Grand Duchesses."

I bought my copy to see what she has to say more on that subject. :-)
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: tenorsfan on June 21, 2020, 02:23:58 PM
Actually there is, but a difficult subject to confront.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: slhouette on June 21, 2020, 08:36:25 PM
Hmmmm, I'd be interested anyways to see what kind of evidence you have? I'll DM you! I don't think this discussion belongs in the "loneliness thread" anyways.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: slhouette on June 21, 2020, 10:38:18 PM
Actually y'know what, from your previous forum posts it looks like you're referring to Owen Bejamin content on Rasputin. If you consider an infamous antisemite, racist, coronavirus conspiracy theorist comedian as a reputable source - that's extremely pathetic and quite literally unacceptable...you deserved your post getting down I think. Let's NOT chat.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: tenorsfan on June 24, 2020, 01:26:28 PM
Well, I guess that's me slandered; sorry, just trying to help. Was thinking more the contemporary witnesses rather than Owen Benjamin's wonderful Rasputin video; that's gone now, isn't it? Owen gets called a lot of names, never mind losing his Hollywood career, basically for calling out child abuse. Who knows if he didn't inspire Mrs Trump to bring about the child traffickers Nexium's and Epstein's downfall.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: slhouette on July 15, 2020, 01:17:34 PM
Ugh whatever, back on topic:

From "Anna Virubova : kejsarinnans hovdam:"

"Tatiana loved company to a much greater extent than the other Grand Duchesses. She often complained that she had no girlfriends. However, it was easier said than done to get girlfriends, because the empress made sure her child did not choose unwanted companionship. Later, however, the Grand Duchesses were allowed to form friendships with Countess Kleinmichel and Miss Khitrovo. Admittedly, the Empress was worried that her daughters would spend time with the daughters of the Russian aristocracy, who had grown accustomed to an empty and often frivolous life from childhood. Nor did the Grand Duchesses spend time with their cousins to the extent that they wished, since the empress also found them too ruined to be suitable as companions for her children."

Vyrubova's statement that she "often complained she had no girlfriends" goes along with the text in her other memoir that "[Tatiana] liked society and she longed pathetically for friends. But friends for these high born but unfortunate girls were very difficult to find."

I should also note that OTMA were only really interacting with Olga Kleinmichel (Voronova) starting in 1911/1912 (I think - the dates aren't super clear in Voronova's Upheaval), and Margarita Khitrovo in 1914. So Olga and Tatiana were already arounnd 16/15 before they were allowed these friendships - even though, I think I can say with confidence, close friendships are already important considerations when children are much younger, not even in their teens. I really don't know why Alix isn't condemned for this more, she's so icky to me. From statements in OTMA's letters, I know they needed to ask her permission to go out in the park and such. Due to the nature of royals not being able to freely participate in public life like us - such as attending school, clubs, going to public spaces, etc - she had all the power over where her children could go, who they could interact with. I don't know why she didn't make the effort to actively find close friendships for her girls. I know she knew how bad it felt to not have any friends - she really suffered before meeting and befriending Anna Vyrubova.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: slhouette on July 15, 2020, 01:30:03 PM
Some more pieces of text from Anna Vyrubova's later memoir:

"Since the Grand Duchesses had relatively few female friends, they lived among adults and appropriated their mindset."

"The Empress was constantly worried about her daughters' future. She cried bitterly when she thought that they would never be able to get married for love as they belonged to the royal family and their choice of the future husband would always have to be motivated by political or other considerations of the kind."

"The imperial children had all received a religious upbringing and, just like the parents, felt a certain attraction to the mystique. A very special feature that characterized them was the burning love of the motherland. The motherland was so dear to them that, with fear, they thought of the possibility of being forced by marriage to abandon it or abandon their religion."

Again, my opinion: this is more of a systematic issue of royalty - which I find inherently immoral - butvboth OTMA and Alix worried about them marrying for political considerations; however, Alix (and Nicholas) were the ones with the power to change this. The modern view of N&A is the beautiful loving middle-class inclined family persecuted by the evil aristocracy - but are they not playing directly into the oppressions of the aristocratic class by carrying on the tradition of marrying only in one's class, even though it constrained their daughters.....I really wonder if anyone else feels like I do about this?
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: CountessKate on July 16, 2020, 08:37:07 PM
Quote
Again, my opinion: this is more of a systematic issue of royalty - which I find inherently immoral - butvboth OTMA and Alix worried about them marrying for political considerations; however, Alix (and Nicholas) were the ones with the power to change this. The modern view of N&A is the beautiful loving middle-class inclined family persecuted by the evil aristocracy - but are they not playing directly into the oppressions of the aristocratic class by carrying on the tradition of marrying only in one's class, even though it constrained their daughters.....I really wonder if anyone else feels like I do about this?

I think the problem is that you are applying modern arguments to people who would have had simply no idea of what you are talking about.  It may be a modern view - I don't think it is 'the' modern view which applies across the board - to see the idea of marrying only in one's class as an aristocratic tradition, but it applied quite as much to a 'beautiful loving middle-class family' of the period who would have been just as horrified at the idea of their sons and daughters marrying out of their class as would N&A or a contemporary aristocratic family have been.  The son of a professional lawyer, for example, marrying the daughter of a tenant farmer, or a prosperous farmer's daughter marrying a labourer would have made quite as many waves within their respective families although there was at least the possibility of such a marriage actually taking place, and even of the families coming around, though far less so the further up the classes you went. Nicholas's refusal to accept non-dynastic marriages within the imperial family meant that this became an issue which affected the entire imperil family, and was of concern to many of them, who were similarly placed with Nicholas's daughters - as Tatiana Konstantinova's situation demonstrated.  She had to renounce her dynastic rights to marry what one would have thought was a perfectly suitable marriage partner for an imperial princess (not even a grand duchess!) not very close to the throne.  So yes, Nicholas and Alexandra could have changed this situation - but why on earth would they, given the limitations of their entire upbringing and culture?  If Princess Marina could sneer at the aristocratic Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon and Lady Alice Montagu-Douglas-Scott in the 1930s, as "common little Scottish girls", whose families were "not even mediatised", how much more would N&A have sadly regarded morganatic marriages as unsuitable for the daughters of the Tsar, and that they should have to marry in their rank either in or out of Russia.  Even Edward VIII said, whether truthfully or not, that he did not realise until quite a long time after WWI that his parents would have accepted his marrying a non-royal spouse. 

So while I absolutely agree N&A were short-sighted and just plain wrong with regard to their marital policy for their children - of course it applied absolutely to Alexei as well - I don't see that it in any way distinguishes them in any special way from not only the majority of their own royal rank, but from pretty much all the other classes of their time.  And the middle classes were upholding these views just as much as the aristocracy.  The only leveller was money - and that did not apply to royalty at this time, and did not necessarily apply consistently to every other level.  The impoverished duke of X was perfectly capable of refusing his daughter's hand to the millionaire Mr Y of New York Consolidated Railroads, parents unknown. 
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: slhouette on July 17, 2020, 03:27:49 PM
Er, I hope I understand what you're trying to say...I should have specified more, instead of just referring to marriage into one's class across all classes. All classes follow this unspoken rule - I can't think of any exceptions off the top of my head - but to me, royal marriages are distinguished from other class marriages, as there's enormous political consequence - the image and, thus, legitimacy of a dynasty is at stake. Hardly a good environment to develop healthy, intimate relationships.

I'd guess that all royals had an unconscious understanding of this; at the very least, Alexandra understood that royal marriages were distinguished from others. In Sergei Sazonov's memoir "Fateful Years," he recalls a conversation with Alexandra after proposing an alliance through marriage with Romania (the Olga-Karol match): "I recollect a conversation I once had on this subject with the Empress, on the terrace of the Palace of Livadia. ‘I think with terror,’ said the Empress, ‘that the time draws near when I shall have to part with my daughters. I could desire nothing better than that they should remain in Russia after their marriage. But I have four daughters, and it is, of course, impossible. You know how difficult marriages are in reigning families. I know it by experience, although I was never in the position my daughters occupy, being the daughter of the Grand Duke of Hesse, and running little risk of being obliged to make a political match..."

For me, which I don't know if anyone will agree with me lol, I perfectly understand the reasoning behind N&A to limit their childrens' + the rest of the Imperial Family's marriages. I know they weren't being intentionally mean, manipulative, etc. But, it's not an excuse, because they were in the wrong. Their family members were pawns used to prop up the image of the Romanov dynasty, and thus, advance Russian imperialism. And I do feel that they are excused today. A major view of them in both the West (example: historians like Robert Massie) and the East (Russian orthodoxy, especially those in the extremely far political right) is the perfectly united, loving patriarchal family, which is 100% excusing that N&A were manipulating their children and confining them to highly restrictive roles for an Imperialist agenda.......the sanitized image of the Romanovs really kills me. :-(

Recently I was listening to an episode of Buzzfeed Unsolved (a mystery podcast haha) about Edgar Allen Poe, and they mentioned that he married his 13 year old cousin. One of the speakers was like "Welllll it's was a standard of the times" but the other said, funnily, "It's very easy to condemn from our point in history… so we do condemn! Wholeheartedly!" That made me laugh, but I also think it's a good mindset. Here's the clip just for fun: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4DTW4B3Sjs&feature=youtu.be&t=292
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: GDSophie on July 17, 2020, 03:41:18 PM
To be honest it seemed Nicholas wasn't as strict with family who married non-royals or even royals 'lesser then them' if they asked for permission. Tatiana Konstantinova and Irina Alexandrovna are examples; yes they had to give up their place in line but that was it. They were still invited to official proceedings, they weren't shunned by their family; they actually had it much easier then family members who didn't ask, and so weren't exiled or had their titles stripped from them. A friend over on PanHistoria once said that maybe this was Nicholas 'testing the waters' for what would be acceptable marriages for his daughters at the time.

By the way Buzzfeed Unsolved is an excellent, funny web show thanks to Ryan and Shane (the two speakers you mentioned) and you have great taste. ;)
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: CountessKate on July 17, 2020, 06:33:14 PM
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But, it's not an excuse, because they were in the wrong. Their family members were pawns used to prop up the image of the Romanov dynasty, and thus, advance Russian imperialism. And I do feel that they are excused today. A major view of them in both the West (example: historians like Robert Massie) and the East (Russian orthodoxy, especially those in the extremely far political right) is the perfectly united, loving patriarchal family, which is 100% excusing that N&A were manipulating their children and confining them to highly restrictive roles for an Imperialist agenda.......the sanitized image of the Romanovs really kills me.

I understand the argument you are making, and I agree that the soft focus can be really irritating, but it seems to me that just because an image of a "perfectly united, loving" family is projected by some, does not mean that N&A should be especially attacked for "manipulating their children and confining them to highly restrictive roles for an Imperialist agenda" when frankly, all the royal and imperial families of the period were doing the same.  Where were the personal friends for the children of George V and Queen Mary?  Nowhere.  They may not have had the same constrictions as N&A's family but they were bullied by their father, and not protected by their mother.  And they were certainly used in "highly restrictive roles for an Imperialist agenda" - their marriages were subject to control by the sovereign via the Royal Marriages Act of 1772 and limited in choice.  You might say that N&A, for all that, were genuinely involved with their children in a way that George and Mary weren't.  Yes, N&A's family situation wasn't perfect and Helen Rappaport in her 'Four sisters' is highly critical of some of Alexandra's maternal manipulations and control.  Yes, the dynastic constraints to imperial marriages had difficult or unpleasant implications for all the imperial family.  But to expect N&A to rise above the limitations of their upbringing and go against the views of the majority of their culture and do away with the imperial restrictions on marriage, and loose their daughters into Russian society to find an appropriate group of friends and eventual mate was something just not within their mental grasp - and they would have considered such a notion actually immoral, not just in letting their daughters find their own friends or partners, but in not supporting the dynastic aims of the imperial family - that was their duty.  I'm not making this argument because I like or support N&A - I think Nicholas was a incompetent ruler, and Alexandra incredibly stupid over Rasputin and the whole shutting down of public representation aspect of their lives - but I do feel that it is going a bit far to blame them for the glossy and sanitized view of others.  They were the product of their time and their environment and neither were sufficiently bright or radical to make imaginative leaps beyond them.

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Nicholas wasn't as strict with family who married non-royals or even royals 'lesser then them' if they asked for permission.

Absolutely.  Though both Tatiana Konstantinova's and Irina Alexandrovna's marriages were initially was opposed by their families (though I think the first was on dynastic grounds - an unequal marriage - and the second due to Felix Yussupov's rather unsavoury reputation, as the idea had been established).  But the daughters of the Tsar would probably have to go with (1) a Russian Grand Ducal or at least Princely cousin (2) a foreign royal. 
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: slhouette on July 20, 2020, 03:34:39 PM
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I understand the argument you are making, and I agree that the soft focus can be really irritating, but it seems to me that just because an image of a "perfectly united, loving" family is projected by some, does not mean that N&A should be especially attacked for "manipulating their children and confining them to highly restrictive roles for an Imperialist agenda" when frankly, all the royal and imperial families of the period were doing the same.

Oh, I'm not meaning to specially attack them (especially attack, though I must admit I do get fired up about this topic haha). I'd make the same argument for all royals of the time period: that's why it's a systematic issue, not just personal to one family. I can't expect N&A to have acted outside the conventions of their time period/rank - but I don't think that lets them go of any responsibility. If someone does something wrong unintentionally, they still are responsible. I think it's a really bad idea to excuse the actions of historical figures because they were acting within the norm - there are lots of societal normals (in all cultures) that are accepted behavior while also being wrong. An easier example would be, say, cultures where child marriages are traditional (think Marie Antoinette being married off without her consent + expected to become pregnant at 14, aaah!!).

(I also hope I'm not coming off as argumentative, this is an interesting discussion.)

Quote
To be honest it seemed Nicholas wasn't as strict with family who married non-royals or even royals 'lesser then them' if they asked for permission. Tatiana Konstantinova and Irina Alexandrovna are examples; yes they had to give up their place in line but that was it. They were still invited to official proceedings, they weren't shunned by their family; they actually had it much easier then family members who didn't ask, and so weren't exiled or had their titles stripped from them. A friend over on PanHistoria once said that maybe this was Nicholas 'testing the waters' for what would be acceptable marriages for his daughters at the time.

This is interesting! Though I wonder if Nicholas was so agreeable to permitting these marriages because they were lower-ranking Romanovs - princesses instead of Grand Duchesses - and not as dynastically important. I doubt Nicholas would have let his Uncle Paul marry morganatically if he'd asked beforehand, lesser so with his brother Michael because he was heir (after Alexei). There's not much "data" to look at, with only a handful of marriages happening in the family during his reign.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: GDSophie on July 20, 2020, 06:04:39 PM
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This is interesting! Though I wonder if Nicholas was so agreeable to permitting these marriages because they were lower-ranking Romanovs - princesses instead of Grand Duchesses - and not as dynastically important.

True, but may I point out there was one Grand Duchess - not a lower ranking Romanov - and extremely close to Nicholas in terms of dynastic importance who would fit the bill and that would be his youngest sister, Olga Alexandrovna. Nicholas had no problem with not only granting her a divorce from Duke Paul of Oldenburg (once he gave it, of course) but gave permission for Olga to marry Nicholas Kulikovsky. Unlike Tatiana Konstantinovna and Irina Alexandrovna who married men with titles, he had none and his only claim to nobility was being a grandson of a general who fought during the Napoleonic Wars and his family happened to own two large estates in Ukraine.

Yes, Nicholas refused to grant a divorce to her before the War on religious and dynastic grounds; he believed marriage was for life and that royalty should marry within royalty. However he changed his mind after visiting Olga in Kiev - both annulling the marriage and granting her permission. In a letter (I think to Alexandra, who did not think too kindly about all this) he also had no qualms against it and wished his sister a lifetime of happiness. Before the War, sure, he wouldn't have allowed Olga let alone any high ranking Romanov a divorce or marriage a commoner like Kulikovsky but during? After, if the family had lived? We will never know, but I will not say it is out of the realm of possibility.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Marc on July 22, 2020, 09:36:40 PM
Nicholas had no problem with not only granting her a divorce from Duke Paul of Oldenburg (once he gave it, of course) but gave permission for Olga to marry Nicholas Kulikovsky

You mean Duke Peter of Oldenburg.

He also married for the second time Russian noblewoman Olga Vladimirovna Ratkova-Roznova (1878-1953), daughter of Russian Senator Vladimir Alexandrovich Ratkov-Roznov (1834-1912) and Vera Yakovlevna Shishmanova (1841-1920). She was rich and even a street in Sankt Peterburg was named after her:

https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%A3%D0%BB%D0%B8%D1%86%D0%B0_%D0%96%D0%B0%D0%BA%D0%B0_%D0%94%D1%8E%D0%BA%D0%BB%D0%BE
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: GDSophie on July 23, 2020, 06:57:45 AM
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You mean Duke Peter of Oldenburg.

PETER. I meant Peter.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: slhouette on July 24, 2020, 10:54:09 AM
Haha it's hard to remember everyone's names, especially if there's a billion of the same name like all the Maries, Louises, etc etc

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Yes, Nicholas refused to grant a divorce to her before the War on religious and dynastic grounds; he believed marriage was for life and that royalty should marry within royalty. However he changed his mind after visiting Olga in Kiev - both annulling the marriage and granting her permission. In a letter (I think to Alexandra, who did not think too kindly about all this) he also had no qualms against it and wished his sister a lifetime of happiness. Before the War, sure, he wouldn't have allowed Olga let alone any high ranking Romanov a divorce or marriage a commoner like Kulikovsky but during? After, if the family had lived? We will never know, but I will not say it is out of the realm of possibility.


You're right, I almost forgot about Olga Alexandrovna's case. Though I must say that the situation had to reach a crisis point before he granted her the marriage to Kulikovsky: If I remember correctly, from the N&A correspondence, Olga A. became pretty depressed during her career as a nurse. Am I right??? I don't have the N&A correspondence on hand so I can't go back and check, but I'm 99.9999% sure I remember Alexandra mentioning it. I'll also have to go back and check both of Olga's memoirs to see what she said about the marriage in 1916...I don't think we have much information on the reasoning on waiting all the way til 1916 for her to marry Kulikovsky. You put it best, we will never know. But I'm really thinking that Nicholas finally had enough pity for his little sister to grant her wish - 15 years after her marriage to Peter of Oldenburg. :/
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: slhouette on July 24, 2020, 11:06:10 AM
Yooooo I found a really interesting excerpt from a rare memoir. Nina Alekseevna Krivosheina was a worker at the Catherine Palace "warehouse" in 1916, where the GDs would sometimes go to roll bandages and make other materials. She writes the following text in her memoir "Four Thirds of our Life"/"Четыре трети нашей жизни." (The link is here, text from chapter "ДВОРЦЫ - ЕКАТЕРИНСКИЙ И МРАМОРНЫЙ": http://www.lib.ru/%3E%3C/MEMUARY/KRIWOSHEINA/deparis.txt)

[I must say that this is translated through google translate, but it gives you the general meaning...:]

I had to work in "SKLADA" - that was the name of the premises where they voluntarily made bags with bandages or gifts for the army. Such warehouses were usually headed by some higher Organization or Lady, and mainly girls from the high society worked there or were somehow connected by families with these organizers. And, although my parents (and our entire family) were very far from the Court and did not at all strive to communicate with the court world, nevertheless, there were some connections with this world; in general, the gap between the so-called bourgeois circle and the courtier almost did not exist. So the future king of Yugoslavia, Alexander Karageorgievich, when he studied before the war in the Alexander Corps in St. Petersburg, spent Sunday leave in the family of my second cousins, the children of Vissarion Komarov (Komarov,
All this was normal in everyday life, but being at the Court was another matter. Nobody invited us there!


In 1916, all summer until September, we lived in Tsarskoe Selo, in a very large dacha on the road leading to Pavlovsk. The infirmary, which my mother was in charge of, was transported for the summer somewhere not far from Tsarskoye Selo, and my mother had an affair with Velichkovsky about this, as well as with Prince. Putyatin, who was, it seems to me, the palace commandant, and with his wife - we generally knew them, albeit not close: or rather, my sister and I met Putyatin's sons everywhere - Gulya and Alik.

As it turned out, Princess Putyatina was at the head of the "Warehouse" in the Catherine Palace, where they prepared packages and gifts for our "gray heroes". She suggested to my mother that I start working at the Warehouse every day, from 4 to 6 pm. I didn't really smile, but hanging around the garden all day alone was the worst of all - and ... they quickly sewed a white robe out of thin cambric, which I really liked, and on June 15, I went to work at the Warehouse ...


It was necessary to enter from the huge square in front of the Palace; I came right on time and book. Putyatina, who was waiting in the lobby, led me into a spacious room - the door was right from this hallway. There were two long tables, quite far from each other, on the tables were laid out gauze in large cardboard boxes, scissors, threads ... Soon the young ladies who worked here were already all there - there were fifty of us in total. Book. Putyatina pointed to a chair for me and went off to another table; At exactly 4 o'clock we all started work: we cut from gauze and rolled the bandages by hand; This business seemed to me at once completely wild - shouldn't I pinch the lint, as my grandmother did in the Turkish war? After all, even then there were excellent manual machines for cutting bandages, they had to start two or three, no more,
The girls were talking loudly, laughing, they were all in pretty white robes; in general, it was not boring, but I was unpleasantly struck that Russian was almost not heard - they spoke French, English and, which seemed quite surprising ... German! Next to me, to the left and to the right, the chairs remained free, in front of me there was also an empty seat. .. Well, that's right, someone didn't come or got sick.

 rang five strikes, and at that very minute the door from the lobby opened abruptly and one of the liveried giants proclaimed in an impressive and special voice: "The princesses are coming!" Absolute silence reigned, and the Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia entered the door from the hallway in single file, one after another. Everyone, of course, got up, and the Grand Duchesses began to walk around the tables, shaking each other by the hand - they made a very small curtsy ... Then Olga went deeper into the room and sat at the head of the second table,


The Grand Duchesses began diligently to work with gauze and bandages, all fifty young ladies fell silent and also devoted themselves to work - silence and complete, unbroken silence reigned; it was, of course, impossible to speak in the presence of the Grand Duchesses; to address them themselves was forbidden by old court etiquette. So they were silent at both tables, everyone was silent, including Princess Putyatina and her son Alik - and in this painful silence a whole hour passed. The clock rang again: six o'clock. The first to get up was Grand Duchess Olga, bowed to those sitting at her table with a nod of her head - everyone got up and made a slight curtsy; Olga came to our table, at the same moment her sisters rose too - everyone sitting at our table simultaneously stood up, made a curtsy, Grand Duchesses Tatyana, Maria and Anastasia bowed slightly to us. The door to the lobby opened as if by itself, and they followed the older sister, slowly, but somehow unnoticed, disappeared through the open door. A minute passed, less, and the Warehouse burst out with talk and laughter: they began to move the chairs, close the cardboard boxes on the table, remove the scissors - in five minutes the Warehouse was empty, the work was over.


For two whole months I went every day after lunch to work in the Warehouse, life did not offer me anything else at that time. In the morning, my sister left for the city to work in the surgical department of the hospital for the seriously wounded under the supervision of the Holy Synod and returned to Tsarskoe Selo at about seven in the evening. After dinner, my mother immediately left by car to her infirmary, somewhere close to Tsarskoe - I was left alone at the dacha; At that time our English governess was living with us, seemingly retired and, of course, a servant.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: slhouette on July 24, 2020, 11:11:40 AM
(Con't)


I visited the Warehouse regularly, gradually got used to it, rolled bandages no worse than other girls, met someone there and chatted pleasantly, but more and more in Russian - it seemed to me that during such a difficult war it was more decent ... Tea ceremony I really liked it: after all, we could not have been treated to this tea - they say, come home and have a drink! It was both tasty and, at the same time, exotic - drinking tea in the Catherine Palace! Like everyone else, at exactly five o'clock I fell silent, got up, did the already familiar "curtsey" and sat down comfortably so that I would hardly move for an hour. It was difficult for me to examine my neighbors, the Grand Duchesses Maria and Anastasia, due to the most primitive politeness - I could not turn my head and look at them ... But as soon as I raised my eyes, my gaze immediately met the Grand Duchess Tatiana, and it was difficult to break away from her, she was so attractive and pretty! A strict principle, instilled in us from childhood by the English miss: "Child, don't stare!" (do not look at anyone at close range!) I used it badly, although, of course, I did not "stare at close range", but dodged, looked as if I was looking for a bandage or scissors. I will not describe her, and any portrait is usually unsatisfactory - after all, there are many photographs of this particular period ... Best of all, I saw her hands on the table, and these hands were beautiful: on her right hand there was a heavy gold bracelet with a large Ural sapphire in the middle and the same ring - in winter I just gave the same bracelet and ring to my sister, she loved them very much and wore them all the time. Such golden things then became very fashionable and were quite decorative; the young lady was not supposed to wear real diamonds, but semi-precious stones were quite possible. In short, if much remained incomprehensible, then this bracelet and ring were familiar and understandable, and I really wanted to tell the Grand Duchess that my sister also had such a bracelet and ring ...

In two months, the silent ritual of rolling the bandages was broken only once: on that day a door suddenly opened in the opposite corner, behind another table, at the head of which was Grand Duchess Olga, and Alik Putyatin wheeled in a large wheelchair - the maid of honor Orbeliani was sitting in it. All four Grand Duchesses jumped from their chairs; we, of course, also got up, and the princesses approached the maid of honor Orbeliani, one after another made her a deep courtesy curtsy and kissed her hand; Olga and Tatiana said a few words in response to some questions asked by the maid of honor; they spoke French and, although it was at a certain distance from me, for the first time I heard their voices. The conversation was very quiet. Two or three minutes, and Alik, having rolled up a wheelchair, took the maid of honor Orbeliani inside the Catherine Palace; there were no living quarters, which means [??? not sure why this cuts off? ]

Well, and there was one more time: Grand Duchess Anastasia (and she looked then still quite a girl: her hair was loose on her back, bangs on her forehead) accidentally touched me with her foot under the table, all flushed from such awkwardness and very sweetly, turning to me, said -French: "Oh! je vous en prie, excusez-moi" - to which I mechanically replied, without adding "Your Highness": "Oh! mais ce n'est vraiment rien".

I knew that the Empress sometimes visited the Warehouse in the Catherine Palace, but two months have already passed since I went there daily. From the fact that I seemed to be used to everything there, the unnatural silence did not seem more understandable, on the contrary, the questions became more and more intrusive: why can't you talk to us? Well, at least about the most ordinary things ... I sometimes wanted to talk about this with one of the young ladies around me - and what do they think, is this normal? But I never dared to do it, and I still regret it. Sometimes it seemed to me that they understood something here, but I didn't ... In a word, some kind of resentment was accumulating, and, as I learned much later, not with me alone.

On that day, which became the last day of my presence in the Warehouse of the Catherine Palace, a friend of my girl Katya (forgot her last name) informed me that tomorrow the Empress would visit the Warehouse, who hadn’t been for a long time ... "Well, how can you do a deep curtsy and kissing the hand near the chair? It's not very clever. " - "No, said Katya, you just need to move a little away from the chair, and great."

I returned home, and on the way my decision was firmly made. In the evening, as soon as my mother returned from her infirmary, I went to her room and said that I would not go to the Warehouse tomorrow, since the Empress would be there, and I would have to kiss her hand, but I’m not going to do that, I just won’t. And after that it will be awkward for me to return to the Warehouse ... Well, that's why I won't go there again. It was so unexpected that my mother was dumbfounded; she tried to persuade me, and, most importantly, she kept asking one question: why? why? I was silent, looked sullenly and finally exclaimed: "She is German! I do not want and will not kiss her hand!"

......

During this troubled time, perhaps at the end of October, not long before the murder of Rasputin, a lady came to visit my mother; she rarely visited us, although she was with us, if not in kinship, then in property. She was from my mother's Yekaterinoslav family of Malam, also from the impoverished, not from the rich, and she was married to some high-ranking, besides a court husband, and they lived very modestly; their mother said about them: "Very decent people and, moreover, decent people." However, according to the court report, the husband of this relative was ahead of many others who were considered more important than him, and she always visited the Court.

During the war, my mother did not have "foster days", as before the second and fourth Wednesday of the month; it means that the lady called on the phone and agreed: they did not come to St. Petersburg, there was Europe!

And I remember her very well, I saw her with us when I was still a girl; she changed little - one of those women who are without age; she usually wore tailleur suits of strict color, in winter with a black muff in her hands and, though modest, was very graceful. She came, and the young maid Marfusha, who in those years opened the doors to visitors, took her directly to her mother in a small living room, served tea there, and the visit lasted a long time. Where have I been? Probably downstairs, in my room - but I saw this lady come, and even greeted her.

When the lady left, my mother went to her room and, calling me, immediately said: "Just think what I have just found out, but this, of course, is a secret, and Maria Nikolaevna (let her name was that) is horrified and upset." But it turned out this: at the end of September 1916, Princess Putyatina ceased to be the head of the warehouse in the Catherine Palace - why? I think, and even almost sure, that her husband was no longer the palace commandant, and they moved from Tsarskoye to Petersburg. It was then that the post of head of the warehouse was offered to Maria Nikolaevna - she immediately agreed and accepted this job with zeal and great joy.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: slhouette on July 24, 2020, 11:13:14 AM
Now she too had to spend two hours or an hour every day in that huge room where the bandages were rolled, and the same painful silence hung over everyone who sat with the Grand Duchesses. But then one day, all of a sudden to herself, Maria Nikolaevna herself spoke to Grand Duchess Olga - she asked her the question that was on everyone's mind: "Your Highness, it’s true, I don’t dare, and I’m not supposed to, but for God's sake , tell me why neither you nor your sisters will ever speak to us ?! After all, we all love you so much, we would be so happy ... Yes, you yourself know and feel - why ?! " - And could not stand it, burst into tears. The Grand Duchess also replied with great excitement that both she and the sisters would very, very much like to talk with everyone, to get to know at least a little, but ... it is impossible, they are not allowed. And she added: "Mom forbade us this ... She is so afraid that someone will tell us something. After all, they say, such terrible gossip and rumors are circulating ... All this can affect Alexei ... But his health ... After all, this is all not true, not true! "

What was further said here? I write only what I firmly remember, and these words are exactly what I remember. Our poor relative was in despair - she, with all her heart devoted to the royal family, literally idolizing the Grand Duchesses! .. My mother consoled and reassured her as best she could, but she herself was shocked by this story and repeated several times: “What a horror! "

As far as I know, the next day the Grand Duchesses did not come to work at the warehouse, and ten days later the warehouse was completely closed and ceased to exist.
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: slhouette on July 31, 2020, 01:20:02 PM
Here's the bolded part in original Russian. Google translate has come a long way in accuracy, but it's still not perfect (and I've only just started learning Russian, so I wouldn't trust my own translations), so I'm wondering if I'm understanding right: Olga seems to be saying that Alexandra is making an excuse for her and her sisters to not interact with the public? As in, is she saying that it's "not true" that rumors and gossip will affect Alexei's health? Or that it's not true that there are rumors/gossip swirling around?

"Но вот однажды, внезапно для самой себя, Мария Николаевна сама заговорила с Великой Княжной Ольгой - она задала ей тот вопрос, который был у всех на уме: "Ваше Высочество, верно, я не смею, да и не полагается мне, но ради Бога, ответьте мне, почему ни Вы, ни Ваши сестры никогда не заговорите с нами ?! Ведь мы все вас так любим, так были бы счастливы... Да Вы сами это знаете и чувствуете - почему же?!" - И не выдержав, разрыдалась. Великая Княжна ответила тоже с большим волнением, что и она сама, и сестры очень, очень хотели бы поговорить со всеми, познакомиться хоть немного, но... нельзя, им не позволяют. И добавила: "Это мама нам запретила... Она так боится, что кто-нибудь что-то скажет нам. Ведь говорят, ходят такие ужасные сплетни, слухи... Все это может коснуться Алексея... А ведь его здоровье... Ведь это же все неправда, неправда!"

In the end, the thing I found most interesting was that Alexandra apparently explicitly forbade them from talking to, at least, the Catherine Palace warehouse workers, even though the girls wanted to speak with them. I wonder if there's any other social spheres where they were told not to talk with others, like at balls, receptions, ?
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: slhouette on July 31, 2020, 01:27:30 PM
It is interesting to note that the rumor mill against Alexandra did reach her children. From Spiridovich's “The Great War and February Revolution 1914-1917:”

"The rumor of imprisonment [Sending Alexandra in a monastery] became known to the entire retinue. The servants also knew about it. It reached Their Majesties. The children knew. Life surgeon Fedorov personally told me (and others) that when he once came to the palace to the sick heir, he saw Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna crying. When asked what happened, the Grand Duchess said, "that Uncle Nicholas wants to lock 'Mama' in a monastery." Sergei Petrovich had to console the girl that all this, of course, was not true." ("Слух об заточении сделался достоянием всей свиты. Знала о нем и прислуга. Дошло и до Их Величеств. Знали дети. Лейб-хирург Федоров лично рассказывал мне (и другим) что придя однажды во дворец к больному наследнику он увидел плачущую Вел. Кн. Марию Николаевну. На его вопрос что случилось, Великая Княжна сказала, «что дядя Николаша хочет запереть «мама» в монастырь». Сергею Петровичу пришлось утешать девочку, что все это, конечно, неправда.")

From the same source: "Alarming rumors penetrated into the Tsarskoye Selo palace. There the atmosphere was heavy. “Like a dead man in a house,” said one man who often went there. The queen lay almost all the time. E. V. seemed exhausted both physically and morally. The children, hearing a lot of secrets from others, anxiously looked at their parents. An alarm reigned among the closest courtiers, reaching some ladies with a foreboding of disaster." ("Тревожные слухи проникали и в Царскосельский дворец. Там атмосфера была тяжелая. «Точно покойник в доме» — выразился один, часто бывавший там, человек. Царица почти все время лежала. Е. В. казалась измученной и физически, и нравственно. Дети, слыша многое по секрету от окружающих, тревожно посматривали на родителей. Среди ближайших придворных царила тревога, доходившая у некоторых дам до предчувствия катастрофы.")
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: Inok Nikolai on August 03, 2020, 09:01:49 AM
RE: The incident in the Catherine Palace supply depot:

One doesn’t quite know what to make of this account taken from N. A. Krivosheina’s memoirs.
The Krivosheins are a classic example of the fate of the “Former People”, as described in Douglas Smith’s book.
They escaped across the frozen Gulf of Finland in the 1920s; lived twenty-seven years in France; survived the Gestapo, but believed the post-WW II propaganda; took out Soviet passports and repatriated — only to be arrested and sent to the Gulag. After another twenty-seven years in the Soviet Union, they were allowed to return to Paris in 1974, where they spent their remaining years.
N. A. began writing her fascinating memoirs only in 1977. They contain an epilogue written by her husband after her death in 1981, and a second epilogue written by their son in 1998, when the memoirs were being prepared for publication in Russia itself.

However, her account of the incident in the Catherine Palace supply depot is related third-hand. It comes from an un-named woman (to whom the author assigns a fictitious name) who told the author’s mother that…

But the book “Most-august Sisters of Mercy” — which has been cited elsewhere on this Forum — contains the memoirs (published in 1925) of S. Y. Ofrosimova, who also worked at the supply depot in the Catherine Palace of Tsarskoe Selo. Her account tells quite a different story, and according to her, the Grand Duchesses did indeed interact with their co-workers.
Some excerpts:
************
“…In one of the halls of the Catherine Palace there was established a large supply depot. Every day people worked there packing bandages, preparing wadding, and sewing linen for the soldiers and their families.
The Grand Duchesses came there almost daily. With excitement I awaited the time when the gilded doors of the huge palace hall would open and the Grand Duchesses would appear on the threshold.
…In my imagination I see them once again, sitting opposite me, as in that long-ago time.
Grand Duchess Olga Nicholaevna is sitting obliquely from me. … I become perplexed and flustered when she cordially strikes up a conversation with me.
…Her manner of laughing… her melodious voice…
Grand Duchess Tatiana Nicholaevna… laughs more rarely than her sisters.
Opposite me sits Grand Duchess Anastasia Nicholaevna. … her eyes do not miss a thing of what is happening around her; they notice everything, and her sharp, at times merciless, little tongue, tells of all that she sees. Wherever she appears, irrepressible liveliness breaks out, and merry laughter is heard.
…[During the War] Palace etiquette was gradually simplified, and their [the Imperial family’s] relationships with their subjects became simpler and more intimate.”
(pp. 285-293)
***********

N. A. Krivosheina concludes her narrative concerning the Catherine Palace depot with the dubious remark: “As far as I know [?], the next day the Grand Duchesses stopped coming to the depot to work, and ten days later the depot itself was closed altogether and ceased to exist.”
(No source given, and this was written sixty years after the event.)

It should be noted here that S. Y. Ofrosimova herself does go on to say that the Grand Duchesses did live a rather lonely and sheltered life.

(But from her account above, it does seem that the Grand Duchesses did use those opportunities given them to socialize.)
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: slhouette on August 15, 2020, 12:06:51 AM
Aha great point, I jumped the gun and didn't take into account that Krivosheina heard that story, the "mother won't allow us to talk to you" one, second-hand... I actually don't think she's assigning a fictitious name to the unknown woman, Maria Nikolaevna. The original russian behind where google translate got the phrase "let her name was that" from google translate, is "пусть ее так звали." If I'm correct, the literal translation - from particle form of пусть "let" + pronoun + adverb + verb - is "let her this way [be] called." The use of "called" (звали, conjugated form of the verb звать) makes me wonder if this is how she's choosing to refer to Maria Nikolaevna, rather than calling her something like Mrs lastname...I don't know though, my translation might not be right at all haha. Maybe Krivosheina didn't know her last name? Nevertheless, I can't so far find anything online about staff of the Catherine palace warehouse, so I can't find out if a Maria Nikolaevna was actually the replacement of Putyatina as manager. If I could find that detail I would be more convinced of the veracity of the second-hand story that Krivosheina is relating. :/ Maybe I can email someone at the Tsarskoe Selo museum complex?

It's interesting how Krivosheina's memories clash with Ofrosimova's in terms of how social the GDs were at the warehouse. It makes me wonder if someone is telling lies (Krivosheina more so than Ofrosimova)... when I first read the memoir I noticed that she makes a convincing case, in that she recalls details that refelct real life; for example, Sonia Orbeliani coming to pick up the GDs, Olga referencing Alexei's health, etc. But if she wrote her memoir in 1977, that's about a decade behind Massie's smash hit publication of Nicholas and Alexandra (and the movie too); we don't really have any way knowing if she's making stuff up off Massie's book...

I know Tatiana Botkina worked as a nurse at the Catherine palace infirmary; I have her French memoir Au Temps des tsars. I'll check and see if she mentionns anything about the GDs visiting the infirmary/the warehouse specifically.

I know of the Catherine Palace infirmary, patient of the smaller infirmary S. P. Pavlov recalled "Once the Grand Duchess Olga told me that tomorrow they would not be in our infirmary, because they would have to visit the infirmary of the Great Palace (Catherine Palace) and that they would be very bored there. With her soft and shy smile, the Grand Duchess explained the reasons for this boredom: 'Everything there is so strict and official, that we have to watch our every step as We are in the spotlight. We never liked it there, and the sisters there are so self-important. Only in Our infirmary, We feel good and cozy!'"

@ Inok Nikolai specifically, If it's convenient for you, could you post the text from Ofrosimova where she feels that the GDs lead lonely/sheltered lives? I've been meaning to read August sisters of Mercy, but the university library near me that holds it is closed to the public due to coronavirus...
Title: Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
Post by: slhouette on August 20, 2020, 03:36:48 PM
Hmmm I just had a thought...of course we’ll never 100% know, but if we assume Krishoveina is being 100% truthful and stating her memories as she recalls them, then I have to wonder - Maybe the atmosphere of the Catherine palace warehouse started out as being more friendly and sociable; however, as the overall situation deteriorated/the rumors against Alexandra got more intense, maybe when Krishoveina joined the warehouse effort in 1916, the atmosphere had become much more tense/Alexandra told her girls not to talk to the others. Did Ofrosimova work in the warehouse until the very end of its existence, or did she leave at any point before 1916?