Alexander Palace Forum

Discussions about the Imperial Family and European Royalty => Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna => Topic started by: imperial angel on February 01, 2007, 07:19:46 PM

Title: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: imperial angel on February 01, 2007, 07:19:46 PM
It seems the last thread has become rather long, so this is now the place to discuss Ella and Sergei. They had more in common than you might perhaps see. They defintely built a marriage on what they had in common, and understanding, rather than dynastic considerations, however much their marriage may have seemed dynastic at times. Ella would have married Sergei had he had a more important position, but then again, perhaps she assumed their marriage would be more low key than it was. After all, she may not have known how much their marriage would be dissected and speculated about, and I don't believe he was Governor of Moscow at the time of their marriage or was he ( I'm hazy on this)? He had a low ranking position in the dynasty, so she knew in marrying him, but she may not have realized how prominent she would end up being. Then again, if Segei and Ella had not had the personalities and marriage they did, just perhaps they would be more foot notes in the Romanov dynasty; as it was, they stood out, despite being comparetively low dynastic ranking.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eric_Lowe on February 01, 2007, 08:42:43 PM
Serge was artistic, sensative, cultured, rich and knew Ella all her life. Could she had fared better with either Willy or Fritz of Baden ?  ???
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: lori_c on February 02, 2007, 09:59:44 AM
I don't feel Willy or Fritz would have suited Ella at ALL.  I think Sergei was her soul mate in evey sense.  I am also a little hazy on the year Sergei became Governor General.  I believe it was 1891.  They had been married for about 7 years by this time. He bought the house in Moscow and had it remodeled with his artistic sense and good taste.  Ella was never consulted about much in those days concerning such matters.  Sergei handled everything and Ella went along. In fact, I believe it was Maria P, Jr. who commented on Ella's having to suddenly make decisions after Sergei's assassination and not being accustomed to doing so because Sergei used to decide everything down to the minute details.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: imperial angel on February 02, 2007, 01:54:53 PM
No, they would not have suited her, nor would any other suitors who might have appeared, as was pointed out on one thread, because she married pretty young. But, the fact she married Sergei right away without considering anyone else seriously points to the fact she knew he was what she wanted, which leads me to believe she would have considered no one else. I'm not exactly sure what she thought of Fritz of Baden, but she never seriously considered him, which indicates indifference. And, the only suitor often mentioned was the Kaiser. Ella became more prominent than she in my opinion bargained for when she became the wife of the Governor General. Yet, that really defined her life, because her life might have been much different had she spent more time in St. Petersburg ( closer to the center of things) than Moscow. Her husband's getting this appointment defined her place in the dynasty.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: lori_c on February 02, 2007, 02:31:18 PM
Ella's life would have taken a much different course had she been in the hub of St. Petersburg society throughout her time in Russia instead of moving to Moscow.  Far away from the capital, Ella wasn't exposed to as many intrigues, etc. though she of course kept up with correspondence and as we all know, being in Moscow didn't prevent St. Petersburg society from gossiping about HER.  However, I agree that being the Governor General's wife provided Ella with the opportunity for her charity work and reforms, much like her mother in Darmstadt, that she probably wouldn't have been able to achieve if in St. Petersburg.  This being the Tsar and Tsarina's domain.  In Moscow, she was "First Lady". :)
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: grandduchessella on February 02, 2007, 04:04:16 PM
There was at least one other potential suitor. Queen Victoria mentions her hopes for a Swedish match--she doesn't say with who. It could've been the future Gustav V, who married Fritz Baden's sister Victoria in 1881 (and was the father of the Prince William who married Marie Pavlovna), his brother Oscar who married, morganatically, in 1888, his brother Carl, who married Ingeborg of Denmark in 1897 (and was the father of Queen Astrid of Belgium & CPss Martha of Norway) or even the youngest brother, Eugen, who never married. They were born between 1858 and 1865 so all were around Ella's age--she being born in 1864.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eric_Lowe on February 04, 2007, 07:43:41 PM
On Pedita 's info on Serge.

I just think there is not enough first hand evidence and proof to settle all Serge's rumoured vices. However I heard that there are secret police files in Moscow that did record Serge's alleged "vices" and reported to the Tsar. That would be interesting to read. Other infos are just hearsay. Yet without condemning him I would like to add that even mass murders ot pscyco killers may have a calm and quiet side. Sometimes it really surprised a comminity that someone so unlikely could be the one who committe such horrible crimes. Serge could well be someone who can be mask his own demons with some people. The descripency that one wrote about him like Sandro contrasted greatly with VMH (while Greek Minny got along with him, but admited she did not know enough to dispel Serge's evil reputation).  ???

On Alexandra's affairs...I don't think she was particular a sexy or earthly woman. Infact there is speculation that she might be the opposite. I guess whatever she had with others mightr be just "affairs of the heart".  ???

On Marie Louise. I think she was an honest and straight forward lady (if you read her autobio, you will get that im,pression). I don't think she would take lover while she felt she was married. She could easily did a "ducky" (remarriage with another royal) or a "Lily" ( her cousin Ferderica of Hanover who ran away with her father's secretary and married him under QV's protection). Yet she decided to remain single and told others she still considered herself tied to her ex-husband because of her religion. She would clearly be "a liar" and " a hypocrite" had the rimours about the "male companion" was true. I guess he is only a companion that turned out to be male after all.   
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: lori_c on February 05, 2007, 08:25:01 AM
By and large, i think there is much yet to be had when it comes to hard evidence in the State Archives in Russia still to be released someday concerning GD Sergei.  There were probably secret police files on the entire Imperial Family especially when it concerned their behavior in a private capacity that was done it public. 

But what intrigues me most would be the existence of letters outside of Russia still surviving written by the GD showing his state of mind.  He was very careful in his will to be sure all private papers, letters and diaries be destroyed.  But certainly there are some remaining in Darmstad perhaps?  This would be extremely interesting and shed new light on this misunderstood at times Grand Duke. ;)
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: imperial angel on February 05, 2007, 11:13:42 AM
Well, with Sergei, I think he fact of his reputation being so bad could actually point to his innocence of the worst charges against him. Eric_L is right, it is often the quiet perfect seeming guys who have good reputations who are really the bad ones, that murderer in Kansas a while back being one example. But, with Sergei this could work the other way. Maybe he wasn't as bad as he seemed in terms of his public reputation, because it was so bad, while people in private remembered him better. If people in public remembered him well, then maybe that would be the reverse argument. But, about him and Ella to a lesser extent, there is so much we will never know.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: lori_c on February 05, 2007, 11:23:49 AM
True.  Ella once wrote something to the effect that the more one is with Sergei the more one comes to love him.  And GD Ludwig had nothing but praise for the GD having "known him since childhood" in regards to Ella and Sergei's engagement.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: imperial angel on February 05, 2007, 12:23:13 PM
Indeed, that was the opinion of all who knew him, who really knew him and not his public reputation. That says something, in my opinion. He must have had his troubles, but I don't think they were as deep as those of a psycho killer. Ella did indeed assume her place in the dynasty due to her husband's role, and Sergei did in his own way as well. Without that role, neither one of them might have been really fulfilled. Before that, they both played a marginal role, or does anyone disagree? Of course, the gossip about them never mattered what their public life was, it only mattered what their ever elusive private life was.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: perdita on February 05, 2007, 12:34:30 PM
If there were hard evidence in the State Archives in Russia against Serge it did not show up in the attitudes of Alexander 111 or Nicholas 11 towards Serge during the latters lifetime. To the contrary, the grand duke was afforded utmost confidence in his capacity as a principle advisor and as Governor-general of Moscow.

I promised Eric some info on Khodinka. The following account is, in part, from the perspective of Olga Alexandrovich and Marie Pavlovna. It was my impression that neither Romanov had a significant problem with Alexander111 and Serge's political stances so their point of view is of interest.

According to Olga Alexandrovich, her brother Nicholas 11, Alexandra, Empress Marie and Ella were very distraught by events and spent long hours on the day, and in the wake of the disaster, in the hospitals. Olga said her uncle Serge was in "despair". She claimed the government provided thousands of Rubles to provide for the disabled and for widows and orphans.

Concerning the Khodinka (located 7km northwest of Moscow) disaster. Apparently, there had been a dispute, and the management for the coronation festivities had been divided. The Minister of the Court, Vorontzov-Dashkov, was in charge of the general arrangements, Serge was in charge of arrangements in Moscow. While Serge had not directly participated in the planning for Khodinka Field he was--as Governor-general, ultimately responsible--just as it was the Tsar who was ultimately responsible for the decision to cancel coronation events or to dismiss government officials.

On Khodinka there existed a Romanov family devide. There were Romanovs who thought the festivities should have been canceled and those who thought that an historical event, such as a coronation, should not be disrupted or marred by a conspicuous period of mourning. The latter opinion believed that the crowds who came long distances should not be disappointed and the tightly scheduled events for foreign dignitaries not be slighted and should go forward. There was a devide in the Romanov family as to whether Serge should have resigned. Obviously, the Tsar did not support this line. (Serge ultimately did offer to resign, Vorontzov-Dashkov did not.)

The Kkodinka disput was never resolved, but one aspect of this tragedy was not disputed. In the wake of the stampede there was confusion and disunity within the Romanov family ranks and this episode would prove a PR disaster for for Nicholas 11. There were many people who chose to believe (or had a vested interest in believing) that Serge, and even the Tsar, were callously having the time of their lives in ballrooms and did not care that their subjects had been trampled to death during the coronation celebrations.

There is no doubt that Serge was a political hardliner who believed in business as usual. He would take the same hard line when he abruptly resigned in 1905 on the grounds that he would not support the Tsar's security policies of vacilliation and evasions in the wake of civil disorder. According to Marie Pavlovna, "it appeared to my uncle little less than monstrous...he expressed deep sorrow for the state of affairs in Russia, of the necessity for serious measures, and of the criminal weakness of the Tsar's ministers and councillors." Serge duly informed the Tsar that new times, needed new faces.

Fact. Ella loyally supported her husband during Khodinka. Her line was, "Thank God, Serge was not involved." (Christopher Warwick speculated that privately Ella must have been critical of her husband. But he provided no evidence to back this up.)

Olga Alexandrovich was one Romanov squarely in Serge's camp. She severely castigated Serge's "younger" critics within the family and felt they had greatly damaged the monarchy. She singled out the Michailovich branch--especially her brother-in-law, Alexander Michailovich. Conversely, if "Sandro" believed that Serge had "provided the enemies of the regime with inexhaustible material for calumnies and libels, Olga asserted that the Michailovich's vociferous sniping and conspicuous finger pointing vendetta--long standing--against Serge had, "incriminated the entire family when solidarity was essential." Alexis Alexandrovich scornfully opined that the younger Michailovich cabal were, "inclined to play to the radical grand stand" and likened them to Robespierre.

It is certain that Serge did not see himself on display as Moscow's Princess Di. It was not his temperament. He did, however, significantly improve general living conditions during his tenure and was an extremely conscientious Governor-general who took a hands on approach and dilegently sought out and punished corruption and fraud. Marie Pavlovna wrote that her uncle's poiltical position was one of great power and consequence and that,"his devotion and his sense of duty was absolute."  

According to Ernest of Hesse (Ella's brother), Serge understood the need for reform but, "the tradedy of Serge's life was that he was too far sighted. He wanted and strived for improvements (which angered conservatives) but blocked revolutionary reforms (which infuriated radicals) because he considered them impractical or thought the time was not ripe for them". Judging to the extent that Russia is still struggling with "reforms" in 2007--90 catastrophic and very bloody years after the 1917 Russian Revolution--perhaps history might concede a pre-1905 Serge that point.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: lori_c on February 05, 2007, 12:41:56 PM
Indeed, that was the opinion of all who knew him, who really knew him and not his public reputation. That says something, in my opinion. He must have had his troubles, but I don't think they were as deep as those of a psycho killer. Ella did indeed assume her place in the dynasty due to her husband's role, and Sergei did in his own way as well. Without that role, neither one of them might have been really fulfilled. Before that, they both played a marginal role, or does anyone disagree? Of course, the gossip about them never mattered what their public life was, it only mattered what their ever elusive private life was.

I agree that Sergei only let his guard down around those who were close to him.  The couple both played important dyanstic roles, imo, each one was fulfilling for them.  Sergei was a staunch supporter of AIII and later NII.  But especially w/his brother.  AIII rewarded Sergei for his loyalty with the position of Governor General of Moscow.  Though the political atmosphere of Moscow was different under the feared AIII.  Sergei still played an important dynastic role, no matter where it led him during the reign of his nephew.  Ella as first lady of Moscow was of course accorded opportunities for fulfillment that otherwise she may not have been offered had she not assumed her place in the dynasty as you pointed out.  Though, imo, gossip was gossip in the Russian Court, public or private.  Gossip was almost a sport in court life.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: imperial angel on February 05, 2007, 01:24:34 PM
Yes, it was. I was just saying their private life was the rumor although Sergei's public life was always in there a bit as well. Ella's public life was beyind reproach, and about her private one, people never stopped guessing.They both were people who wished to contribute to the dynasty more than gossip and rumor, or simply enjoying themselves like some Romanovs. Moscow gave them that. I think that was perhaps one bond in their marrriage, their concern for having some contribution to the dynasty. But, it seens only the bad side of that and Sergei is ever acknowledged.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: lori_c on February 05, 2007, 02:11:40 PM
Excellent point.  Sergei's contribution is continually overlooked. And you made a good point when you said that they didn't simply just enjoy themselves, living it up with no thought to consequence like other Romanovs yet their lives were up for more gossip and rumor than the Romanovs who actually DID those things. :)
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: imperial angel on February 05, 2007, 04:02:31 PM
Agreed. That should not have been the case yet it was. Perhaps part of was that with the other Romanovs, it was rather out in the open because it was there. As well, most members of the Imperial family were not as private as them. In addition, many of the more scandal ridden grand dukes took off for France and their life there, which was always nice though of little use to the dynasty. Sergei and Ella stayed in Russia, and their work was of great use to the dynasty, especially Ella. But, people always see the bad side of Sergei as governor general, not the good side.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: lori_c on February 05, 2007, 05:10:29 PM
In most cases those Grand Dukes were of no contribution to the dynasty.  More like a drain on the coffers.  But Ella and Sergei made signifcant contributions.  And Sergei had his own wealth inherited from his mother.  Making him accountable to nobody regarding spending money.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: imperial angel on February 05, 2007, 05:52:15 PM
Indeed. But, they have gotten many more accolades from history, although sometimes they have just been ignored, which is more than fine. Sergei on the contrary never was self indulgent, whatever else you want to say, but he gets such bad press. Not that they have always gotten good press, but they are usually dismissed, whereas the allegations against Sergei are gone over and over. Even Ella gets her name tangled up in such things, although that was far from her. I wonder if she ever felt bitter, but then that wasn't her personality. Some people might have been...
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eric_Lowe on February 05, 2007, 06:58:25 PM
Yes...Olga A was squarely in Serge's camp. However I do not think Xenia and Sandro shared that opinion. Also Greek Minny can be a middle ground since she had no trouble with Serge, but did not dispel the rumours outright. The problem with Olga A was that she wasn't invloved in politics as other Grand Dukes were. As I have said Serge may have different sides to many people. There are stories of Serge cruelty to Jews and that has been documented. People who knew him spoke of his proudness and coldness. Felix Yussopv whose mother Zeneida was a close friend of Ella, never felt at ease with Serge. It also fit into the pattern of the story of Serge's elleged molestation of his nephew Dimitri (as Felix was his friend and also a beautiful child like Dimitri). Felix found Serge's attention on him very uncomfortable when he was a child. I am not saying that it was therefore the truth, but there is definitely sparks here for that story. Grand Duke Ludwig was very happy about Ella's marriage to Serge, but was thunder struck when she converted to Orthodoxy to be close to her husband, He wrote her a very painful letter. It seems that the simple minded duke did not believe his daughter would one day join her husband's church ? So much for his understanding of Serge (Serge was a very faithful Russian Orthodox believer)... ???
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: lori_c on February 06, 2007, 08:25:55 AM
Indeed. But, they have gotten many more accolades from history, although sometimes they have just been ignored, which is more than fine. Sergei on the contrary never was self indulgent, whatever else you want to say, but he gets such bad press. Not that they have always gotten good press, but they are usually dismissed, whereas the allegations against Sergei are gone over and over. Even Ella gets her name tangled up in such things, although that was far from her. I wonder if she ever felt bitter, but then that wasn't her personality. Some people might have been...

No. Ella wasn't that type of person.  I agree.  She and Sergei more or less probably wondered why they were any more of a target than the rest of the family who actually HAD done things to warrant gossip and rumor.  More than likely their silence on their private live propelled the speculation and constant unfounded allegations.  When the court discovered they couldn't talk about the couple, the maybe just began to make things up based on a few things they actually DID know.  Especially about Sergei.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: lori_c on February 06, 2007, 08:29:03 AM
Grand Duke Ludwig was very happy about Ella's marriage to Serge, but was thunder struck when she converted to Orthodoxy to be close to her husband, He wrote her a very painful letter. It seems that the simple minded duke did not believe his daughter would one day join her husband's church ? So much for his understanding of Serge (Serge was a very faithful Russian Orthodox believer)... ???

I think that GD Ludwig's opinion of Sergei was based on his memory of Sergei in his younger days.  Ella didn't immediately convert.  And it was certainly her own choice.  Sergei was pleased w/her decision, but by all accounts never insisted she convert.  This was something, I believe was deep inside Ella's own soul.  A need that Lutheranism didn't fill.  It also was a way to become closer to her husband.  Because, as you said, he was an extremely devout Orthodox believer. :)
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: imperial angel on February 06, 2007, 09:30:49 AM
Excellent point.  Sergei's contribution is continually overlooked. And you made a good point when you said that they didn't simply just enjoy themselves, living it up with no thought to consequence like other Romanovs yet their lives were up for more gossip and rumor than the Romanovs who actually DID those things. :)

Even I when I first read about Sergei as governor general I never knew the good parts of when he was this. I was surprised. I think he gets so maligned in history, that carrying over from when his reputation when he lived. It was overlooked both then and now. As for Ella, she is usually remembered for the things she did after her husband's death, although she is also remembered for her devotion to him, perhaps those two things most of all. She, I suppose, is remembered for things during his lifetime too, in Mosow, but not perhaps as much.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: lori_c on February 06, 2007, 12:25:35 PM
I think during his lifetime she was renowned for her efforts for the sick and wounded in the Russo-Japanese War.  She also did much for women even before she became a nun.  Her devotion to Sergei was legend.

IMO, Sergei absolutely hasn't got a fair deal as far as history is concerned.  It would be so very interesting if only there were surviving writings belonging to the GD that still are in existence. ;)
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eddie_uk on February 06, 2007, 01:15:06 PM
Perdita, I am really enjoying your thougtful and interesting posts!! There are far to many posters waffling on about a lot of hot air, it makes it such a bore! :)
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: lori_c on February 06, 2007, 02:05:28 PM
Thanks for the complement.  :D  Unfortunately, not all of us are as smart and knowledgeable as perdita. :)
However, waffling and hot air don't seem to me to be an accurate picture of the discussions we've been having about Ella and Sergei.   
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eric_Lowe on February 06, 2007, 07:39:27 PM
Agreed totally with your point.  ;)
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eddie_uk on February 07, 2007, 08:26:21 AM
Thank you :) What comment would that be Eric??
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eric_Lowe on February 07, 2007, 07:40:49 PM
About the waffling and hot air... ;)
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: imperial angel on February 08, 2007, 05:13:55 PM
I think during his lifetime she was renowned for her efforts for the sick and wounded in the Russo-Japanese War.  She also did much for women even before she became a nun.  Her devotion to Sergei was legend.

IMO, Sergei absolutely hasn't got a fair deal as far as history is concerned.  It would be so very interesting if only there were surviving writings belonging to the GD that still are in existence. ;)

I think she has gotten criticized at times for her devotion to Sergei, and in fact this is done when when it is said as it was in other threads, about denial  and that she wasn't aware. I think because of his unfortunate reputation, that it is easy to look down on that devotion, which was stronger in my opinion than her love for him even. Of course, it is her devotion to his memory that is legendary, but her devotion during his lifetime was very real as well. Indeed, that is correct about Sergei, but he won't ever be given a fair deal, I don't feel.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: lori_c on February 08, 2007, 06:42:19 PM
Charlotte Zeepvat's Camera & the Tsar's suggests that new things on GD Sergei are coming to light and may make it to some sort of publication.  One can only hope. ;)
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eric_Lowe on February 08, 2007, 08:38:24 PM
Either good things or bad... ;) It is good for more info coming out.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: lori_c on February 09, 2007, 10:11:23 AM
As with other people in the saga of the Romanovs an oft repeated tale becomes as fact.  I think this was espeically true for Ella and Sergei.  Anything new by or about Sergei would contributed greatly to their story.  It certainly would be well deserved if it proved to rehabilitate his reputation as well as that of his marriage to Ella.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: imperial angel on February 12, 2007, 09:58:12 AM
As with other people in the saga of the Romanovs an oft repeated tale becomes as fact.  I think this was espeically true for Ella and Sergei.  Anything new by or about Sergei would contributed greatly to their story.  It certainly would be well deserved if it proved to rehabilitate his reputation as well as that of his marriage to Ella.

Yes, the marriage of Ella and Sergei, and also the individual qualities of Sergei have been seen through the haze of myth and legend rather than fact. The myth of the marriage of Ella and Sergei is more pervasive than the real story. It is only when you look at it, past the rumors and the gossip that it becomes clear what it was really about. If only that could become clearer, through facts rather than by piercing through the myths and legends that surround that marriage, and what Sergei was like. I don't think you could say about many other men what you could say about Sergei, that there is the greatest contrast in the world between the private and the public record ( if rumors can be called so)with regards to him.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: lori_c on February 12, 2007, 01:03:36 PM
IMO, there MUST be surviving writings of Ella and Sergei, though maybe not in Russia.  Sergei specifically gave instructions that all douments and personal writings belonging to him be destroyed upon his death which nodoubtidly, Ella complied.  But certainly there must be existing letters to Ella in Darmstadt Archives.  If so'  What a plethora of information!
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Helen on February 12, 2007, 03:48:42 PM
But certainly there must be existing letters to Ella in Darmstadt Archives.  If so'  What a plethora of information!
They do have some letters written by Sergei at Darmstadt: about the death of Empress Marie in 1880, about his proposal of marriage - to Ludwig IV - and some letters to Ernst Ludwig. As far as I can see none of the letters preserved was addressed to Ella herself. Ella probably took his letters with her to Russia.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: lori_c on February 12, 2007, 05:20:45 PM
Yes it would stand to reason huh?  I didn't even think about that. :)
Of course I know I would if it were me. I wonder if Sergei ever wrote to anyone outside Darmstadt that survives?

Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eric_Lowe on February 12, 2007, 08:42:19 PM
Unlikely...The best bet is still in Russia.  ;)
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: imperial angel on February 13, 2007, 10:24:14 AM
Most of what we know about Ella isn't from surviving writings, I don't think. Nicholas and Alexandra wrote many letters to each other, and these survive, along with both their diaries, which are particularly useful about their courtship. Nicholas and Alexandra left many records of what type of marriage they had, that it was a love match. Yet, the marriage of Nicholas and Alexandra, in terms of politics or royal marriage of serving the country, was something of a disaster. In contrast, Ella and Sergei's marriage is barely documented at all, and there are certainly no diaries, nor I believe letters. In light of this, guesses about the perhaps unhappy nature of their marriage have abounded. But, it seems to me their marriage worked well politically, and as a royal marriage especially in terms of Moscow. This a interesting contrast to the marriage of Nicholas and Alexandra, and  it must be said that Sergei and Ella's marriage was happy, in its own way.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eric_Lowe on February 13, 2007, 07:53:31 PM
We may never understand it. It seemed unique...even then.  ???
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: lori_c on February 14, 2007, 12:11:33 PM
The mere privacy and silence that the couple maintained spawned most of what was only guessed upon and  rumoured about.  That's the problem.  They were such private people, it gave much room for rumourmongers regarding the status of their marriage and it's happiness or lack thereof.

Of all the GD, Sergei maintained what was perceived as cold and distant, but IMO it was his perception of how a Grand Duke should conduct himself and his private life.  As far as his politics, I'm not well versed as I prefer to concentrate on Sergei the man, not Sergei the Governor General. But, having had his father assassinated and the anti semitism that was prevalant at the time had a profound effect on how he ran Moscow.  This certainly doesn't justify it. But it is something to ponder. He was fiercely devoted to the policies of both his brother and his nephew.  Clearly this was rewarded as he was given the post in Moscow and rewarded the children of Paul at his request.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eric_Lowe on February 14, 2007, 10:13:00 PM
Well...Yes he was devoted to the policies of his brother and nephew. Yet unlike Alexander III, he did not let down his guard when he is on holiday. Alexander III became a gentle bear & giant when he went on holiday in Denmark. All the family loved him and he was a favourite of his nephew and nieces. Serge was very different. It would fit the bill if he was a closeted homosexual. As he never seemed to be at ease with himself and others. That is why he is not liked personally by members of his own family. I think they respect him rather than love him. However I believe Ella would have been the only one that ever come close in understanding the "real" nature of Serge.  ???
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: imperial angel on February 15, 2007, 11:18:30 AM
Sergei's politics seem to have been some of the problem of his image, but not all of it. Yet, I think family members didn't just respect him, I think they remembered him more fondly than that. There isn't one bad word they have to say, except for Alexander Mikhailovitch. Their words indicate fond loving memories, if perhaps distant ones, because he was such a private person. How was Ella remembered by the family, I know they remembered her well, but was it more love or was it respect?
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eric_Lowe on February 15, 2007, 07:44:41 PM
But you have to remember that they also felt sorry for Ella being married to Serge. That does tell you something...Both Greek Minny & VMH liked Serge, but they did not feel that they know enough about Serge to defend him. There is always an aloofness in Serge's nature.  ???
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: imperial angel on February 16, 2007, 12:54:10 PM
Well, yes, but I only feel that was because she was such an outstanding woman that she would have been felt sorry for to be married to anyone not as great as her. Of course, Sergei and the rumors is a forever on and on subject, but he wasn't always going to look great in contrast to Ella. As well, the feeling sorry might have been speculation like ''maybe we should feel sorry if those things are true'', and they didn't know.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eric_Lowe on February 19, 2007, 08:18:12 AM
Well that tells you much about Serge's nature as even those closest do not understand.  :(
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Svetabel on May 08, 2007, 03:15:17 PM
Well, just an amusing fact. Seems there is a new speculation on GD Sergei that some historians offer to us.
This is a version that Sergei was a FATHER of GDss Maria Pavlovna-younger and GD Dmitri :P....due to the fact that he loved them deeply. I've heard this version from a guide in a museum, and she had no exact answer about an author of such "epoch-making" 8) discovery on Maria and Dmitri's father. IMHO, what stuff.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eric_Lowe on May 08, 2007, 08:22:06 PM
I think the guide would be horrified if you tell him that Serge was accused of molesting Dimitri.  ::)
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Svetabel on May 09, 2007, 12:56:58 AM
I think the guide would be horrified if you tell him that Serge was accused of molesting Dimitri.  ::)

You can joke but the guide told such stuff - (that  Sergei is alleged to be father of Pavel's children )- to the tourists who listened to her open-mouthed. And when I began to beset the guide with the questions she even had no answer who and on what reason "made" Sergei the father of 2 children of his brother.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eric_Lowe on May 09, 2007, 03:35:27 AM
Is that the general quailty of the guides there...?  ???
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Svetabel on May 09, 2007, 05:40:15 AM
Is that the general quailty of the guides there...?  ???

That is a general attention-getting "mechanism" - tidbits for absent-minded tourists.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: lori_c on May 09, 2007, 12:48:07 PM
This seems to me an anethma to what everything Sergei stood for.  He loved his brother Paul and was extremely close to him.  The whole family love his wife and for Sergei to betray his brother and commit adultery of the worst kind involving a beloved sister-in-law seems unlikely to me.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eric_Lowe on May 09, 2007, 08:26:08 PM
No...certainly not ture. Although it seemed that serge detected a kind of closeness between Ella & Paul and sought to stop that from developing.  ???
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: ashanti01 on May 09, 2007, 10:57:12 PM
From what I've read, it doesn't seem that Serge tried to stop the closeness between Ella and Paul. If anything he seemed to encourage it. The three of them seemed very comfortable together and didn't seem to care about what people said or thought. Even when rumors where flying about a possible affair between Ella and Paul, Serge seemed to ignore or brush them off.

Serge seemed to be very devoted and loyal to his brother and the same could be said about Paul, so I doubt Paul would have ever even considered something outside of a deep friendship with Ella. It's rather sad to see how the closeness between Ella and Paul fell apart in later years. Even in later years when they were on speaking terms again, they just didn't seem to be as close as they had once been.  :-\

Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eric_Lowe on May 09, 2007, 11:46:36 PM
I read that Serge was quite pocessive of Ella. While he encourged her to stand with officers during parties (instead of chatting with the ladies), he made sure that she and Paul were not overly close. However Ella and Paul did became close and when he married Alexandra of Greece, she accepted her as a sister. However Ella was very disapointed in Paul over his later mistress Olga (later Princess Paley).
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: ashanti01 on May 09, 2007, 11:54:59 PM
 
I read that Serge was quite pocessive of Ella. While he encourged her to stand with officers during parties (instead of chatting with the ladies), he made sure that she and Paul were not overly close. However Ella and Paul did became close and when he married Alexandra of Greece, she accepted her as a sister. However Ella was very disapointed in Paul over his later mistress Olga (later Princess Paley).

I too have read that Serge was possessive of Ella but he seemed to be very comfortable with the idea of Paul and her being close. It seemed he knew nothing would  ever have happened between them, therefore he was not worried.

Yes, Paul's marriage to Olga did do a number on his relationship with Ella. I haven't read much about Serge's feelings on Paul marriage, but I can imagine he must not have been too thrilled to hear the news.  :-\

Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eric_Lowe on May 10, 2007, 12:05:03 AM
"Not thrilled" was an understatement. The Romaovs felt betrayed by him (Paul). The motion to deny him of the cusdoty of his children was a means to "punish" him in which Serge led the charge.  :(
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Svetabel on May 12, 2007, 05:42:11 AM
Charlotte Zeepvat's Camera & the Tsar's suggests that new things on GD Sergei are coming to light and may make it to some sort of publication.  One can only hope. ;)

Yes, the new things are beginning to come into light as a new gorgeous publication has been recently issued. Our Forum's member Hikaru mentioned a new book on GD Sergei (In Russian) somewhere in the threads. I've got the book and now up-to-the-ears in reading of GD Sergei's diaries of 1873-1876 years...It's really captivating - one can see "other" Sergei, his thoughts and interests when he was a young naive boy. The style of his writings is very simple, he describes his life and relations without any affectation, but one can easily understand that he was VERY religious, his faith was strong and inflexible - every day records are always ended by word "AMEN!"...Also he constantly writes about his beloved Mama - Empress - and brother Pavel and sister Maria - these 3 siblings were very closed to each other for many years...The wedding day of Maria and Duke Alfred of Edinburgh was a "nightmare" for sensible and loving brother Sergei.

Well, I highly recommend the publication to all who can read Russian (and the photos in the book are just exclusive). "Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovitch Romanov. Volume N.1. 1857-1877". the ISBN is 5-87389-036-6.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eric_Lowe on May 13, 2007, 08:09:53 PM
if only we can get it... :( :( :(

Anything abvout Ella yet ?  ???
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Svetabel on May 14, 2007, 03:31:07 AM


Anything abvout Ella yet ?  ???

In the Volume 2 I think.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eric_Lowe on May 14, 2007, 04:47:12 AM
If only we are as lucky as you... :(
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: grandduchessella on May 14, 2007, 07:19:59 AM
Svetabel supplied the ISBN if you'd like to try and get it.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eric_Lowe on May 14, 2007, 08:05:50 PM
Can we get Russians books outside of Russia ?  ???
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Laura Mabee on May 15, 2007, 12:55:38 PM
Can we get Russians books outside of Russia ?  ???

Of course you can! Lots of us have had the opportunity to snag some Russian books from random places.
If you're interested check out Gilbert's Royal Books (http://bookshop.royal-russia.com/), EuroHistory (http://www.eurohistory.com/index2.html), or eBay! (http://www.ebay.com). There is also the used book search spots like Bookfinder (http://www.bookfinder.com/) and Addall (http://www.addall.com/).
I'm sure there are many others. But alas, not for this topic...

Anyway, back on topic...
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: lori_c on May 15, 2007, 01:47:00 PM
I am so happy to learn that ANY diaries of GD Sergei survived and are coming to light.  I hope someday that they will be translated into English. How important it would be to the perception of the GD.  It certainly would paint him in a little more sympathetic light, IMO.

I would be especially interested in the entries concerning Ella.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eric_Lowe on May 15, 2007, 08:28:22 PM
me too !

Will try the bookfinders.  ;)
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Svetabel on May 16, 2007, 03:21:57 AM

I would be especially interested in the entries concerning Ella.


I guess such ones will be in Volume 2.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eric_Lowe on May 16, 2007, 03:25:51 AM
that should be good. The engima of Serge may hopefully be solved...soon.  :D. Too bad Ella did not leave a diary... :(
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: lori_c on May 16, 2007, 03:14:12 PM
She probably destroyed it.  More than likely though, she had one, as her preponderance for writing letters has shown. 
Does anybody know if this GD Sergei book will ever be translated?
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eric_Lowe on May 16, 2007, 08:42:52 PM
Unfortunately I don't think anytime soon. Very few Russian books gets translated into English. The only ones I can think of are those by Evuard Radinsky... ???
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Svetabel on May 17, 2007, 02:43:47 AM

Does anybody know if this GD Sergei book will ever be translated?


Unlikely. Such translations are very expensive. :(
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Svetabel on June 17, 2007, 02:30:29 AM
that should be good. The engima of Serge may hopefully be solved...soon. 

Of course Sergei's diaries partly shed light on some sides of his character but if speaking about the recent publication (extracts) of his records we must have in mind that the book was issued by ...Novospasskiy Monastery (in Moscow) and with the patriarchial blessing of His Holiness the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Alexiy II ! It means the publishers offer us only a part of Sergei's diaries, not complete version, and a version where we hardly find out something really "spicey" on Grand Duke. But anyway these extracts are great source of info on Sergei, his relatives and life of the IF.

I've just finished reading Grand Duke's diaries of 1873-1876 years and a journal of his tutor Dmitriy Arseniev.
Sergei had a platonic love in his youthful years :), that was Countess Olga Perovskaya, a friend of GD's sister Maria Alexandrovna. Countess Olga, as portrayed by Dmitriy Arseniev, was a girl with the same virtues of  her character as...Empress Maria Alexandrovna, beloved Mama of GD Sergei! Very religiuos, serious, calm, strong in spirit - and remember Ella! Well, it's obvious Sergei liked women the same in character as his mother.
Countess Olga died of dyphteria in 1889 unmarried ( she worked in a orphanage in Tsarskoe Selo).
If we only can find a picture of Olga Perovskaya  :( , would be interesting to look at her.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eric_Lowe on June 17, 2007, 07:58:45 PM
Indeed ! Thanks for sharing this info with us. Those who cannot read Russian.  ;)
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: brnbg aka: liljones1968 on September 05, 2007, 06:14:33 PM




(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v345/skinheadbrian/Unfiled%20Photos/ella1886.jpg)(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v345/skinheadbrian/Unfiled%20Photos/serge1886.jpg)
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Svetabel on December 04, 2009, 04:36:17 AM
Recently issued extracts from GD Sergei’s diaries of the 1891-1905 years give an interesting insight into his character and relations with his wife.

His diaries are not too much wordy but comparing with brief and emotionless notes of Nicholas II the Grand Duke's entries are more interesting.

My personal point of view, after reading those entries, is that Sergei really loved his wife in his egoistic but anyway tender way, he was proud of her beauty and femininity. They were really united and harmonious couple, probably due to Grand Duchess’ efforts to be as close as possible to her husband and Sergei’s over- protectiveness on her. They usually kept together, in official and unofficial life, and in rare moments of separating (when Grand Duchess took the waters at some spa resort or visited her sister Empress) Sergei deeply missed his wife and wrote freely about it in his diary. Every time they met after separating he made an entry in the diary: “Joy of our meeting”. They celebrated quietly every year the day of their engagement and wedding, presenting to each other some nice small pieces of jewellery or  paintings.

The publication doesn’t contain Grand Duchess’ letters to her husband (they burnt most of their correspondence) but only some telegrams – very tender and loving.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eric_Lowe on December 04, 2009, 04:29:22 PM
Were they published in English ? I thought Sergei's diaries were published already in Russian.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: ashanti01 on December 04, 2009, 04:53:32 PM
Eric, the material is only available in Russian, and its highly doubtful it will be published in English. Shame for I believe many would love to read these volumes on GD Sergei.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: MademoiselleAndrea on July 02, 2011, 11:40:02 AM
At what date did Ella and Serge get engaged, and how long was their engagement? What sort of event did they announce it at? Sergei must have been visiting Hesse when he proposed. And did Ella tell her sisters beforehand, or was it a suprise? Any info about this pair's engagement would be very helpful, thanks in advance.  :)
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Svetabel on July 02, 2011, 02:14:53 PM
At what date did Ella and Serge get engaged, and how long was their engagement? What sort of event did they announce it at? Sergei must have been visiting Hesse when he proposed. And did Ella tell her sisters beforehand, or was it a suprise? Any info about this pair's engagement would be very helpful, thanks in advance.  :)

They  got engaged unofficially November 6 1883 year , when Sergei was in Darmstadt. Official announcement was in February 15 1884 and Sergei went to Darmstadt again for this event.
The engagement was not a surprise, the whole Hesse family was well aware of Sergei's plan but he was quite reluctant and was thinking very long.

(the dates are of Old Style)
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eric_Lowe on July 04, 2011, 04:19:55 PM
Was there a promise that Ella made to her father that she would not switched churches ? If so it would explain the uproar from Grand Duke Ludwig & his younger daughter Irene (who wept at the news).
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Thomas_Hesse on July 05, 2011, 03:14:15 PM
Was there a promise that Ella made to her father that she would not switched churches ? If so it would explain the uproar from Grand Duke Ludwig & his younger daughter Irene (who wept at the news).

I think that at the time of her marriage it was totally out of question that Ella should convert to orthodoxy. After a couple of years in Russia her attitude changed but it was not until her husband's appiontment to Govenor General and their move to the ancient capital of Moscow that she dared talking about it to her family.
There was no explicit promise but it was considered unthinkable to change deliberately - for Ella was not forced to do so (in distinction from her grand aunt Empress Maria Alexandrovna). It deeply hurt her father - there a couple of letters dealing with that matter.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eric_Lowe on July 06, 2011, 08:22:25 AM
Yes. I read the angry response from her father, the disappointment from Irene and the support from VMH. I wonder about how Ernie & Alix felt about it. One author wrote that "Only Princess Louis of Battenberg of her family sent encouragement to Ella".
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Russka Princess on July 31, 2011, 09:11:45 AM
the whole Hesse family was proud protestants.. (Like im ;)  ) and they grow up in this religion and i think  it was scared  for Irene and their Father Ludwig IV to hear from a russian othodox..although the othodox people are christ aswell...
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eric_Lowe on August 02, 2011, 03:11:36 PM
It is interesting that they felt so much uproar against Ella's conversion when their aunt (Empress Marie Alexandrovana) did convert to Orthodoxy, not to mention Ella was actually the third bride from Hesse to marry into Russia.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: grandduchessella on August 02, 2011, 07:23:36 PM
It is interesting that they felt so much uproar against Ella's conversion when their aunt (Empress Marie Alexandrovana) did convert to Orthodoxy, not to mention Ella was actually the third bride from Hesse to marry into Russia.

Not really. There are lots of things I might not like but might not overly care about if my aunt (or great-aunt in Irene's case) did that I would be very upset/angry about if it was one of my children. Is there any record stating that Ludwig was sanguine about his aunt's choice? Or the reaction of her brothers? Maybe there was consternation but it was overwhelmed by the thought of an Imperial throne.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eric_Lowe on August 03, 2011, 12:12:30 PM
I don't think so. Alicky was offered that throne too, but Ludwig wasn't that keen on his daughter changing her religion after Ella did. It was only after her father death and his brother's marriage that made her change her mind. So much for the throne theory.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: grandduchessella on August 03, 2011, 04:50:18 PM
I was referring to MARIE'S parents or siblings not caring about changing her religion for a throne. Of course, her nephew (who was 4 years old when she married the Tsar) wouldn't have any say in the matter. Have you ever read anything from Marie's family stating their feelings one way or the other on the matter? And I was not putting forth a "throne theory"--it was just part of a line of inquery with the hope that some of our posters would have read something on the issue. I don't know one way or the other to form a theory about what the reaction of earlier Hesses might have had towards any religious conversion. Therefore, it is incorrect to automatically surmise that the wasn't consternation towards Marie's marriage unless something has been read of it. Of course, they may have been thrilled. That was my point.

Also, it would have been an accepted part of the deal for Marie's conversion--the Empress had to be Orthodox. Ella, like Miechen and Mavra, was married understanding they didn't need to convert and Ella maintained her Lutheranism for roughly 4 years afterwards. Perhaps Louis wouldn't have acquiesced to the wedding had he known that would happen. Again, I've only read of his post-conversion reactions. For many back then, a potential change in religion was a deal breaker in many royal marriage unless (and, again, not saying this was/wasn't the case with Marie) ambition over-road those concerns. Often, even then, compromises had to be struck.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Thomas_Hesse on August 04, 2011, 03:34:54 AM
I was referring to MARIE'S parents or siblings not caring about changing her religion for a throne. Of course, her nephew (who was 4 years old when she married the Tsar) wouldn't have any say in the matter. Have you ever read anything from Marie's family stating their feelings one way or the other on the matter?

Do not think that the Hessians took that matter too easy in the previous generation. The Tzarevitch Alexander came to Darmstadt already in 1839 - after three days he would propose for the first time. The actual marriage took place not before 1841. the tender age of the Empress to be was certainly not the only reason for the Grand Duke to wait and hesitate so long.
Of course Marie's aunt had been an Empress of Russia already - so there was another close connection to that dynasty.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eric_Lowe on August 04, 2011, 09:29:27 AM
That make the case more interesting if religion wasn't that much of a bit deal in the Hesse family in general, Ludwig IV's tirade against his daughter became more unreasonable since it was done already in the past. I also believe that it was her father Alicky was thinking of when she said no to Nicky. Had Ludwig IV lived for another decade, Alicky would not have married into Russia. The combination of Queen Victoria (grandmother) & Ludwig IV (father) was too great for even Alicky to overcome despite the whole-hearted support from Ella. It is well to remember when Ella converted, "only" VMH sent encouragement. Alicky did not even dare to do that (not to mention the crying jets of Irene).
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: grandduchessella on August 04, 2011, 10:26:09 AM
According to what Thomas wrote, it seems the opposite is true and that religion may have been an issue. (Correct me if I'm wrong please Thomas). He states that:

"Do not think that the Hessians took that matter too easy in the previous generation. "

and

"the tender age of the Empress to be was certainly not the only reason for the Grand Duke to wait and hesitate so long." (bold mine)
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eric_Lowe on August 06, 2011, 11:23:21 AM
Yes, but they relented and Marie did marry and became empress. Whereas Alicky did not even dare to think about it during her father's lifetime. Maybe the unhappiness of Empress Marie Alexandrovna's later years may have something to do with it. Another reason may be that despite Ella's protests of happiness with Serge, some people did not buy into that (Grandmama Queen did have her doubts).
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: perdita on November 08, 2012, 04:43:37 PM
I read that Serge was quite pocessive of Ella. While he encourged her to stand with officers during parties (instead of chatting with the ladies), he made sure that she and Paul were not overly close. However Ella and Paul did became close and when he married Alexandra of Greece, she accepted her as a sister. However Ella was very disapointed in Paul over his later mistress Olga (later Princess Paley).

It's conjecture how close Ella & Paul were before his marriages. There is no evidence that they were engaged in an adulterous affair. Certainly, Ella had no sympathy for Paul after he broke his pledge to the emperor, devastated his brother Serge, and eloped with his mistress. Apparently, Ella did not want Marie & Dmitri to become permanent sqatters in her household & deeply resented her husband's unqualified love for them. According to Marie Pavlovna Ella never forgave Paul.

Not conjecture is Serge's strong feelings for Paul's wife Alexandra of Greece.

Marie Pavlovna, quote:

"My uncle was profoundly attached to my mother. The early death which came to her, as I have said, at Alinskoe, left him with a sense of bereavement for which he could never be consoled. He ordered the room in which she had spent her last hours to be kept intact, exactly as it was when she died there. He had the rooms locked, & throughout the remainder of his life himself guarded the key, allowing no one else to enter."

Marie Pavlovna wrote that her Aunt Ella only tolerated Paul & Alexandra's children in her house because that was what her husband wanted. The exact reason for Ella's ("confessed") jealousy is unclear.

If Serge was possessive of his wife, there is evidence that Ella was even more possessive of her husband.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eric_Lowe on November 08, 2012, 05:46:02 PM
Not really. Ella did not like the children because she could not produce any herself. The love Serge gave them was a reproof to her barren status. She would not felt that way had she been blessed with children.

Ella also flirted with Prince Nicholas of Greece too, so her flirtation with Paul maybe resented by Serge.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: perdita on November 09, 2012, 12:33:40 AM
Not really. Ella did not like the children because she could not produce any herself. The love Serge gave them was a reproof to her barren status. She would not felt that way had she been blessed with children.

Ella also flirted with Prince Nicholas of Greece too, so her flirtation with Paul maybe resented by Serge.

When did Ella convey (to anyone) that she could not abide Paul & Alexandra's children in her household because she could not produce any herself? Many barren women love & adopt children. No problem. If the reason Ella had no children was Serge (sterility) it didn't prevent him from adoring children & going out of his way to assume responsibility for his brother's.

Tsar Alexander 111 apparently knew by the early 1890s that Serge & Ella would never have children. He didn't mention why he had that impression. If the reason Serge & Ella did not have children was that their marriage was never consumated it is highly unlikely that Serge would have advertized that circumstance to his relations. Odd, that Marie Pavlovna noted that while Serge & Ella never seemed very intimate (at least in her presence) they shared the same bed throughout their marriage which was highly unusual for members of the aristocracy. Without diaries & letters making clear the nature of Serge & Ella's relationship it is difficult to ascertain details with certianty. Both seemed diffident & possessive of the other. The reason is unkown. Marie Pavlovna wrote that her aunt & uncle were afflicted with jealously. Ella confessing this sin only after her husband died and asking forgiveness. Marie mentioned that Serge was "extremely jealous" and had he known the extent of her love for her father it would have "maddened him".  A mystery. An astute observer, Marie wrote that until the day of his horrible death Serge remained imcomprehensible to her.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Svetabel on November 09, 2012, 05:59:36 AM


Tsar Alexander 111 apparently knew by the early 1890s that Serge & Ella would never have children. He didn't mention why he had that impression. If the reason Serge & Ella did not have children was that their marriage was never consumated it is highly unlikely that Serge would have advertized that circumstance to his relations. Odd, that Marie Pavlovna noted that while Serge & Ella never seemed very intimate (at least in her presence) they shared the same bed throughout their marriage which was highly unusual for members of the aristocracy. Without diaries & letters making clear the nature of Serge & Ella's relationship it is difficult to ascertain details with certianty. Both seemed diffident & possessive of the other. The reason is unkown. Marie Pavlovna wrote that her aunt & uncle were afflicted with jealously. Ella confessing this sin only after her husband died and asking forgiveness. Marie mentioned that Serge was "extremely jealous" and had he known the extent of her love for her father it would have "maddened him".  A mystery. An astute observer, Marie wrote that until the day of his horrible death Serge remained imcomprehensible to her.

The reason of the pair's childlessness was more likely Grand Duchess' illness - in 1908 she was finally operated (see the topic about Ella's illnesses, I had posted there a translation of a medical report about that surgery). Almost every year before the surgery she went to resorts for cure - mainly that was Franzensbad (famous when the reason of the illness was gynecological).

As for the relationship of Grand Duke and Grand Duchess...well, I read the diaries of Grand Duke, I read Grand Duchess' letters to her husband...My impression he did love her and that was not a love to a 'child' but to a partner, to his soul-mate, he always missed her when they separated for some reasons, he always waited for her to talk about everything, they had no secrets from each other in private. It's clearly seen from her letters to him: she describes every detail of her life, I especially like when she tells about the hairdresser and how he cleaned off her hair.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: perdita on November 09, 2012, 11:18:32 AM


Tsar Alexander 111 apparently knew by the early 1890s that Serge & Ella would never have children. He didn't mention why he had that impression. If the reason Serge & Ella did not have children was that their marriage was never consumated it is highly unlikely that Serge would have advertized that circumstance to his relations. Odd, that Marie Pavlovna noted that while Serge & Ella never seemed very intimate (at least in her presence) they shared the same bed throughout their marriage which was highly unusual for members of the aristocracy. Without diaries & letters making clear the nature of Serge & Ella's relationship it is difficult to ascertain details with certianty. Both seemed diffident & possessive of the other. The reason is unkown. Marie Pavlovna wrote that her aunt & uncle were afflicted with jealously. Ella confessing this sin only after her husband died and asking forgiveness. Marie mentioned that Serge was "extremely jealous" and had he known the extent of her love for her father it would have "maddened him".  A mystery. An astute observer, Marie wrote that until the day of his horrible death Serge remained imcomprehensible to her.

The reason of the pair's childlessness was more likely Grand Duchess' illness - in 1908 she was finally operated (see the topic about Ella's illnesses, I had posted there a translation of a medical report about that surgery). Almost every year before the surgery she went to resorts for cure - mainly that was Franzensbad (famous when the reason of the illness was gynecological).

As for the relationship of Grand Duke and Grand Duchess...well, I read the diaries of Grand Duke, I read Grand Duchess' letters to her husband...My impression he did love her and that was not a love to a 'child' but to a partner, to his soul-mate, he always missed her when they separated for some reasons, he always waited for her to talk about everything, they had no secrets from each other in private. It's clearly seen from her letters to him: she describes every detail of her life, I especially like when she tells about the hairdresser and how he cleaned off her hair.


Thank you Svetabel. Many forum users haven't had access to the Grand Duchess Ella's letters to her husband and are unable to translate from the Russian.

Admittedly, Red flags went up when hearing about the Grand Duchess Ella's "cures" and the nature of her surgery (ovarian cyst?) in 2008.

Victoria of Battenberg knew Ella best. Victoria, pragmatic & out spoken, insisted Serge & Ella had a happy marriage. There exists no documentation in Ella's words that contradicts that impression. Clearly, Ella deeply loved and was profoundly attached to her husband. Had their marriage been an empty facade she would not have felt that. According to Marie Pavlovna, unable to sleep or eat after her husband's assassination, Ella confessed to her that she tirelessly buried her pain in ceaseless work with the suffering to forget her abject despair and loneliness. To honor of the memory of her husband Ella even confronted his assassin & forgave him. (Extraordinary.) In her memoirs (Vol. 2) Marie wrote that Ella never recovered from Serge's death.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Svetabel on November 09, 2012, 01:16:12 PM


Tsar Alexander 111 apparently knew by the early 1890s that Serge & Ella would never have children. He didn't mention why he had that impression. If the reason Serge & Ella did not have children was that their marriage was never consumated it is highly unlikely that Serge would have advertized that circumstance to his relations. Odd, that Marie Pavlovna noted that while Serge & Ella never seemed very intimate (at least in her presence) they shared the same bed throughout their marriage which was highly unusual for members of the aristocracy. Without diaries & letters making clear the nature of Serge & Ella's relationship it is difficult to ascertain details with certianty. Both seemed diffident & possessive of the other. The reason is unkown. Marie Pavlovna wrote that her aunt & uncle were afflicted with jealously. Ella confessing this sin only after her husband died and asking forgiveness. Marie mentioned that Serge was "extremely jealous" and had he known the extent of her love for her father it would have "maddened him".  A mystery. An astute observer, Marie wrote that until the day of his horrible death Serge remained imcomprehensible to her.

The reason of the pair's childlessness was more likely Grand Duchess' illness - in 1908 she was finally operated (see the topic about Ella's illnesses, I had posted there a translation of a medical report about that surgery). Almost every year before the surgery she went to resorts for cure - mainly that was Franzensbad (famous when the reason of the illness was gynecological).

As for the relationship of Grand Duke and Grand Duchess...well, I read the diaries of Grand Duke, I read Grand Duchess' letters to her husband...My impression he did love her and that was not a love to a 'child' but to a partner, to his soul-mate, he always missed her when they separated for some reasons, he always waited for her to talk about everything, they had no secrets from each other in private. It's clearly seen from her letters to him: she describes every detail of her life, I especially like when she tells about the hairdresser and how he cleaned off her hair.


Thank you Svetabel. Many forum users haven't had access to the Grand Duchess Ella's letters to her husband and are unable to translate from the Russian.



The Grand Duchess wrote her letters to her husband in English. I can send you a file with her letters, it's not a problem.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eric_Lowe on November 09, 2012, 01:19:33 PM
That would be nice to be able to read the letters.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Olga Maria on November 14, 2013, 03:20:01 AM
The more I look at this photo of younger Serge, the more I think he and Ella look alike in a general way.

(http://imageshack.us/a/img51/4667/t5xe.th.jpg) (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/51/t5xe.jpg/)

If only you think his beard as invisible, I think you'll see more of their resemblance (or it just my illusion?)
Btw I have a question (which I wrongly placed in the '"suitors' thread"...

Quote
Quoted from Eric Lowe :Ella was very much into her appearance and clothes, but she was always generous in her charity work. That was one of the reasons why she was popular while Serge was hated.


 hmm, I wonder if Serge has given to charity in secret. Seems possible.
Did Ella have income as a Grand Duchess? (It was not Serge who gave her money to give to charity, right?)
Because if Ella wasn't earning something while Serge was still alive, then it means Serge was the one who gave Ella money for that.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eric_Lowe on November 14, 2013, 02:59:39 PM
I don't think Ella had a lot of money on her own. Her husband on the other hand had an appanage from the Emperor plus property and precious items inherited from his mother Empress Marie. After the death of Serge, people were surprised to find that Ella did not have much in terms of wealth since many were owned by the family and others were given use during the lifetime. The life of a childless grand duchess married into the family wasn't a life of riches in caparison. Ella had to sell her own personal jewels (those that belonged to the family had to be returned) to fund her own nunnery. Her husband's property and possessions passed into the hands of Serge's wards Dimitri & Marie. The fact that Serge's death made her much poorer than before was not noted and her husband's will did not make any provisions for his widow was quite shocking. It was under that situation that people began to speculate if Ella would marry again, since she lost the financial security that Serge gave her upon her marriage.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Olga Maria on November 15, 2013, 11:58:34 PM
Thanks for the new info, Eric!
So Ella didn't have any appanage. And with this, I now think most of the money she gave to charity were Serge's.
I also just knew from your post that she only had a little property of her own after Serge died, and that Serge didn't leave something for her in his will ~ do you (or anybody) know the reason why?
It really shocks me to know that. I thought Serge had left her something in his will (like what a loving husband would do for his wife)... I don't doubt his love for her, so I don't  think lack of love for her was the reason behind that.
Instead, I think perhaps he thought they would die together or almost at the same time in very old age (or possibly, he also thought he would outlive Ella), and leaving something for her would be of no use because he knew she would 'follow' him after a little while. Or maybe it was Ella herself who told him to not leave something for her...

Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Svetabel on November 16, 2013, 02:45:44 AM
I thought Serge had left her something in his will (like what a loving husband would do for his wife)... I don't doubt his love for her, so I don't  think lack of love for her was the reason behind that.



The truth is that GD Sergei didn't leave a will, the only one "will", so to say, was a letter of 1892 year to his brother Pavel about GD's personal belongings.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eric_Lowe on November 16, 2013, 10:39:47 AM
Indeed...Even members of the Imperial Family was shocked that more had not been done for the dower rights of Ella. Since she had no children, she cannot live on her children's money before they are of age. Since Serge left no will (strange since he al,ways believed he would be killed and had little time on earth, why didn't he provide more for his wife ?). The matter of fact that most of what she owned with her husband went back to the Imperial Family (and to her wards). so apart from the grace & favor apartments. Ella did not have a big property or cash portfolio. Many felt sorry for her (especially her brother-in-law The Tsar) chipped in to help Ella with her nunnery apart from the sale of her own personal jewelry.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Olga Maria on November 18, 2013, 03:14:37 AM
So it wasn't an official will but a letter only to Pavel ... now it answers why he mentioned only Pavel's children. He wanted to let him know about his plan. There's no need for him to mention Ella.
Thank you very much Svetabel : )

I'm sure Ella didn't blame anything on Serge. It seems to me she was willing to give up everything and change herself after her other half departed. Although Serge didn't leave anything for her, she lived quite well. She knows God will provide : )
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eric_Lowe on November 18, 2013, 03:54:09 PM
Ella was not in a financially secure place and with no income. Her future looked bleak. Her only source of income was the sale of her jewels and some interests in her property (which is not a lot). The Tsar picked up the tab for here.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Olga Maria on November 19, 2013, 11:23:15 PM
With that few money it was especially harder for her because she suddenly became the only one who would provide for Marie and Dmitri. She surely struggled in budgeting their expenses. Maybe that's also one of the reasons that led her to marry off Marie to P. William of Sweden (so that she wouldn't see Marie stuck in their poverty).
Quote
The Tsar picked up the tab for her.
Because of that she remained grateful to Nicholas throughout her life.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: matushka on November 20, 2013, 04:56:24 AM
She was not the only one to provide for Marie and Dmitri. Quickly after GD Serguei's death, the Tsar took his right upon GD Paul's children and officially became their tutor with Ella.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eric_Lowe on November 20, 2013, 05:34:13 PM
Well...Marie Paulovna would not be stuck in poverty because as a born Romanov, she would receive income from the Tsar as every member of his family does. Ella wanted to marry her off because she wanted to see her settled, I think she already detected a kind of restlessness in her young niece. Marie was smart to choose marriage as a way out, had she refused Wilhelm she would have to be under the nose of the Empress. She had seen enough of the lives of OTMA to not wanted to be thus confined. Dimitri did became the ward of the Tsar. But as a boy he could opt for Military Service and get more freedom from there, which he did.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: matushka on November 21, 2013, 04:19:22 AM
Very strange argument. At the time Marie married, OTMA were little school girl of 11, 10, 8 and 6 yeard old. Alexandra was more or less healthy. I do not see any reason to speak of OTMA being "confined" in 1907, and it is certainly not the reason of Marie's choose.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eric_Lowe on November 21, 2013, 03:13:49 PM
Alicky was more than a martinet than Ella was. If Marie chose not to marry Wilhelm, she would have to live with the IF under the watchful eye of the Empress. That was something that Marie did NOT want to do. That explained why her letters to Wilhelm of Sweden were mostly cheerful and happy that she would be free to choose her household and decorate her first homer. She loved the escape but not the person (her husband).
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: JamesAPrattIII on December 20, 2013, 05:54:45 PM
This is what the book "Romanov Autumn" which has a chapter on Serge:
On him forbidding Ella to read the book Anna Karenina. It has Serge being a well read man who knew all the Russian literary greats of his day. It all has that Tolstoy wanted Tsar Alexander III to show mercy on the killers of Alexander II and he sent the appeal to via Serge. The account of him not letting Ella read Anna Karenina comes from Paleologue's memoirs. It could be he was just repeating gossip. The article also points out that Serge as governor general of Moscow he was not the total incompetent he is sometimes described as. It refers to him as also being hard working, punishes corruption and fraud and secretly helping people. It also points out that there were many people who mourned his murder.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eric_Lowe on December 25, 2013, 06:54:59 PM
Serge was always been controversial and not always on the bad side.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Превед on January 01, 2014, 06:24:30 AM
With regard to Sergey's Alexandrovich's alleged homosexuality I'm surprised that nobody is discussing the sources mentioned in his Russian Wikipedia article:

"Нина Берберова в биографии современника князя композитора П. И. Чайковского, известного своей гомосексуальностью[36], упоминала такой эпизод: «Известен один случай с человеком, знакомым довольно многим, преподавателем латыни и греческого, любовником московского губернатора, вел. кн. Сергея Александровича (брата Александра Третьего), которого судили и которому дали три года „изгнания“ в Саратов, а затем вернули в Москву».[37]

Сексолог Игорь Кон утверждал (1997), что Сергей Александрович вёл открыто гомосексуальный образ жизни, приведя в качестве примера запись из дневника современника великого князя, известного гомосексуалиста министра иностранных дел графа Владимира Ламсдорфа, сделанную через месяц после назначения того московским генерал-губернатором (игра слов: русское слово «бугор» — созвучно испорченному франц. bougre — «содомит»)[38][39].

    По городу циркулируют два новых анекдота: «Москва стояла до сих пор на семи холмах, а теперь должна стоять на одном бугре» (фр. bougr'e). Это говорят, намекая на великого князя Сергея.

    — В. Н. Ламздорф, дневниковая запись от 26 апреля 1891[40]

=

Nina Berberova in her biography of the Grand Duke's contemporary, the composer Tchaikovsky, known for his homosexuality [36] mentions the episode " one known case of a person familiar to quite many, a teacher of Latin and Greek, a lover of the Governor of Moscow, Grand Duke Sergey Alexandrovich (brother of Alexander III ) , who was tried and sentenced to three years' exile' in Saratov, and then returned to Moscow ". [37]

Sexologist Igor Kon argued (1997) that Sergey led an openly homosexual lifestyle , citing as an example an entry from the diary of a contemporary of the grand duke , the famous gay foreign minister Count Vladimir Lambsdorff made ​​one month after the appointment of the Governor- General of Moscow. (Pun : Russian word бугре, hill (in instrumental case) - French word bougre (bugger, sodomite )) [38 ] [ 39].

"There circulates through the city a new joke: "Moscow was standing on seven hills , and now must stand on one hill / bugger". That said , alluding to the Grand Duke Sergey."

 - V.N. Lambsdorff, diary entry of 26 April 1891 [40]
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Svetabel on January 01, 2014, 12:25:18 PM
As always - only rumors and nothing more. Someone who said to someone who had said to someone who had said to someone who...and so on. No names, no real facts, no details, no real episodes,no photos...Nothing more! Only people who collect rumors and say about that with aplombe. Nina Berberova as a respectful source?? sorry, sounds funny.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Превед on January 01, 2014, 02:22:28 PM
As always - only rumors and nothing more.

True, but it's interesting if "tout Moscou" joked that their new governor-general was a homosexual! And considering that he expelled all the Jews from Moscow, it's interesting as homosexuals is another group which often is portrayed as a secret cabal undermining society (not at least in the propaganda of Sergey's successor as the never-smiling man in the Kremlin).
I guess it kind of boils down to what political axe did Count Lamsdorf have to grind (was he a liberal?) and how good was his gaydar!

Quote
Nina Berberova as a respectful source?? sorry, sounds funny.

Why? You think she linked it to Sergey Alexandrovich just to make Tchaikovsky's homosexuality (which she was the first portray) more palatable?

Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Svetabel on January 01, 2014, 02:41:13 PM
As always - only rumors and nothing more.

True, but it's interesting if "tout Moscou" joked that their new governor-general was a homosexual!

Quote
Nina Berberova as a respectful source?? sorry, sounds funny.

Why? You think she linked it to Sergey Alexandrovich just to make Tchaikosvsky's homosexuality (which she was the first portray) more palatable?



The whole high-society of Moscow and St-Petersburg joked about Grand Duke and his manners as well as character and personal life, but there were only rumors, nobody knew the true so they imagined whatever they wanted.
We has been discussing this hot-issue for years here, just wait a minute and our Eric Lowe will jump at your re-opening of this discussion and we have a "brand new" repeating of the same "truths".

Nina Berberova was a fiction-like writer actually, her literature is not scholarly.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Превед on January 01, 2014, 02:55:14 PM
The whole high-society of Moscow and St-Petersburg joked about Grand Duke and his manners as well as character and personal life, but there were only rumors, nobody knew the true so they imagined whatever they wanted.

The Okhrana must have known. (And those who had access to its information.) If Sergey, like KR had relationships with bathhouse attendants / male prostitutes there would be several who knew (and would talk for money. Of course there was no gutter press in Imperial Russia, so the money would only be to obtain information for surveillance or blackmail.)

That's the interesting thing: If denied (or denying themselves) the possibility to have a relationship with someone of approximately their own social standing, e.g. a fellow officer, who could be expected to behave according to a certain code of conduct and would have as much to lose from disclosure as the royal himself, these allegedly homo- or bisexual royals, just like gay Catholic priests, ressorted to partners (youngsters, sometimes even children) from lower social classes, who could be bought and bribed to remain silent - untill someone offered a bigger bribe!

I think Tchaikovsky was an example of all those strategies, he both had (platonic) relationships with social equals, with young peasants and perhaps also with "lower-class urban types" like a cab driver.

Quote
We has been discussing this hot-issue for years here, just wait a minute and our Eric Lowe will jump at your re-opening of this discussion and we have a "brand new" repeating of the same "truths".
Eric Lowe has nothing to add to discussion when he ignores the wider social mechanics of Imperial Russia and only theorizes based on the dynamics within the royal clan, as if there was Ebenbürtigkeit in homosexual royal relations too!
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Svetabel on January 01, 2014, 03:06:00 PM
The whole high-society of Moscow and St-Petersburg joked about Grand Duke and his manners as well as character and personal life, but there were only rumors, nobody knew the true so they imagined whatever they wanted.

The Okhrana must have known. (And those who had access to its information.) If Sergey, like KR had relationships with bathhouse attendants / male prostitutes there would be several who knew (and would talk for money). That's the interesting thing: If denied (or denying themselves) the possibility to have a relationship with someone of approximately their own social standing, e.g. a fellow officer, who could be expected to behave according to a certain code of conduct and would have as much to lose from disclosure as the royal himself, these allegedly homo- or bisexual royals, just like gay Catholic priests, ressorted to partners (youngsters, sometimes even children) from lower social classes, who could be bought and bribed to remain silent - untill someone offered a bigger bribe!

I think Tchaikovsky was an example of all those strategies, he both had (platonic) relationships with social equals, with young peasants and perhaps also with "lower-class urban types" like a cab driver.



True, the Okhrana must have khown. But ALL dirty things from its Archives on Grand Dukes and Romanovs must have been published in the Soviet period already! Just think what a fruity subject for anti-Romanov propaganda, just as documents on Rasputin...But such documents on GD Sergei have ever been found or published? No. Till now the researchers have a bit of resources on GDuke's personal life.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Превед on January 01, 2014, 03:15:07 PM
But ALL dirty things from its Archives on Grand Dukes and Romanovs must have been published in the Soviet period already! Just think what a fruity subject for anti-Romanov propaganda, just as documents on Rasputin...But such documents on GD Sergei have ever been found or published? No. Till now the researchers have a bit of resources on GDuke's personal life.

Oh, good point, did the Soviets really search through the archives looking for such?
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Svetabel on January 01, 2014, 03:26:14 PM
But ALL dirty things from its Archives on Grand Dukes and Romanovs must have been published in the Soviet period already! Just think what a fruity subject for anti-Romanov propaganda, just as documents on Rasputin...But such documents on GD Sergei have ever been found or published? No. Till now the researchers have a bit of resources on GDuke's personal life.

Oh, good point, did the Soviets really search through the archives looking for such?

Of course. At least the Archives of the Okhranka were a good source on all underside of the Romanovs. A lot of documents were destroyed, obviuosly, but not all. The Grand Duke was a political figure, it's hard to pass by him easily in the history, and also he was killed by a so-to-say "revolutioner", his life and dirty facts on him were important for the Soviets.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Превед on January 01, 2014, 03:51:55 PM
Of course. At least the Archives of the Okhranka were a good source on all underside of the Romanovs.
Lol, it's kind of hilarious to imagine Stalin as the first Romanov researcher / curious, combing the Okhrana files for details of their personal lives. He must have had a fit if he discovered that fellow romantic poet KR was bisexual.


Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Превед on January 01, 2014, 04:15:22 PM
And considering that he expelled all the Jews from Moscow, it's interesting as homosexuals is another group which often is portrayed as a secret cabal undermining society

Of course it says a lot about the differences between the Russian and German Empires that while this happened in Russia, a Jewish journalist (Maximilian Harden né Witkowski) was attacking the German monarchy by exposing Wilhelm II's two close associates Prince Philipp Eulenburg and Count Kuno Moltke as homosexuals.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eric_Lowe on January 01, 2014, 08:49:15 PM
I have yet to read a bio that could reconcile Serge closeted homosexuality with his hatred of Jews (a hatred shared by his brother Tsar Alexander III).
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Kalafrana on January 02, 2014, 03:03:01 AM
Where is the problem? They are two entirely separate characteristics.

Ann
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: edubs31 on January 02, 2014, 05:21:40 AM
Where is the problem? They are two entirely separate characteristics.

Ann

Didn't want to be the first to say it, but thank you Ann. I was enjoying this discussion but confused by that comment as well.

That said, I have yet to reconcile my own heterosexuality with my hatred of rush hour traffic! :-)

Eric, mind clarifying your comment? I'm thinking you're trying to say something along the lines of, "isn't it hypocritical of Serge to subscribe to a minority lifestyle (homosexuality) while discriminating against other minorities (Jews)" ?
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Превед on January 02, 2014, 08:53:58 AM
Perhaps he thought along the lines: Why should they be allowed to be different when I - the most powerful man in Russia after the Emperor - am not allowed to!?
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eric_Lowe on January 02, 2014, 09:33:59 AM
Indeed...both are against God in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Serge was supposed to be such a pious person...
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: grandduchessella on January 02, 2014, 11:51:28 AM
Where is the problem? They are two entirely separate characteristics.

Ann

Didn't want to be the first to say it, but thank you Ann. I was enjoying this discussion but confused by that comment as well.

That said, I have yet to reconcile my own heterosexuality with my hatred of rush hour traffic! :-)

Eric, mind clarifying your comment? I'm thinking you're trying to say something along the lines of, "isn't it hypocritical of Serge to subscribe to a minority lifestyle (homosexuality) while discriminating against other minorities (Jews)" ?


That's what I was taking from it--that someone who was a minority would be loathe to discriminate against another minority. But we see it frequently still--African-Americans, for instance, still oppose gay marriage and protections against discrimination based on sexual identity. Many get angry that the gay civil rights movement is equated at all with the black civil rights movement.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Превед on January 02, 2014, 02:33:12 PM
It kind of surprises me when the Orthodox church takes a stand against homosexuality, because I've always thought of it as quite otherwordly and fatalistic and more focused on atonement than prevention of sins, which strikes me as a very Occidental obsession - in Catholicism due to external rules laid down by the church hierarchy, in Protestantism due to a tormented internal consciousness, very much like what seems to may have been the case with Sergey Alexandrovich.

Seems very strange to obsess about homosexuality in a country still struggling to come to terms with Stalinist mass murder. I wonder what the Church thinks about Stalinism's harsh view of homosexuality as "bourgeois decadence"?
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Kalafrana on January 03, 2014, 03:15:48 AM
We should also be aware that a person may have a particular characteristic and be very unhappy with that aspect of themselves. I think that was true of Sergei.

Ann
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: JamesAPrattIII on January 06, 2014, 05:29:50 PM
More from "Romanov Autumn" That I probably should have enclosed with my earlier post. It speculate Serge may not have been able to have children and may not have been a homosexual. It also points out while Serge did wear a corset sometimes this also does not make him a homosexual. Note: the Book "The Russian Army of the Napoleanic Wars (2) Philip Haythorinwaite mentions that some Russian officers did wear corsets back then to fit into their tight fitting dress uniforms. I believe I have read somewhere that in other countries some officers did this during the 1800s.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Carolath Habsburg on January 06, 2014, 06:14:36 PM
Thats true. There are also images of Gd Boris Vladimirovich (a well known "womanizer) wearing corset under his  uniform.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eric_Lowe on January 07, 2014, 11:05:20 AM
I think his homosexuality was more repressed and psychological.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Превед on January 07, 2014, 02:57:36 PM
I think his homosexuality was more repressed and psychological.

There is non-psychological homosexuality? You mean like Men who have sex with men (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Men_who_have_sex_with_men), Down-low (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Down-low_%28sexual_slang%29), Prison sexuality (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prison_sexuality) or Gay-for-pay (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gay-for-pay)? Or homosexuality as opposed to homophilia ?
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Kalafrana on January 08, 2014, 03:58:24 AM
Is Eric trying to say that he thinks Sergei was homosexual by orientation but non-practising?

Ann
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eric_Lowe on January 08, 2014, 11:14:42 AM
Could well be...His frustration could well be his meanness & coldness to some people.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Olga Maria on January 14, 2014, 10:18:41 PM
Swerving from the topic currently in discussion...
I am reading letters of Ella to Minny. It's so nice to read how she spoke of Serge with a wifely fondness, and reading between the lines, it's clear they shared a very harmonious and loving relationship.

Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eric_Lowe on January 15, 2014, 08:32:21 AM
That is why people think Ella was such a saint. She could see his good side while others could not.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Maria Sisi on January 26, 2015, 12:05:19 AM
Sorry for bringing back a dead topic but I recently finished Maria Pavlovna's memoir and despite everything said about Sergei's possessiveness and need to control everything around him, I don't think she once mentioned Sergei controlling what Ella read or wore which are two things that seem to be thrown against him.

Maria says when it comes to Ella's reading:
Quote
The things they read (Ella and her ladies) must have been childish, for I will never forget the difficulties my aunt had with Recollections of a Dead-House, her first attempt to appreciate Dostoievsky. She did not know enough Russian to read it herself; one of the ladies read it aloud to her. And so great was my aunt's fear of details too realistic that she would permit no one to attend these readings!
She had no admiration for French literature; once she said to me, apropos of a persona whose life she found somewhat frivolous, that it was the French novels with yellow covers that had corrupted her ideas. At this period she read only English books and chose her authors with great caution p. 27


So in my opinion based on this if Ella never read something like Anna Karenina it was because she herself chose not too, not because Sergei forbid her. It sounds like she stuck to what most upper class English ladies of her period read and didn't stretch too far from it although she did give it a try.  

She goes into great detail about Ella's ritual of dressing as well. I won't quote the whole thing because its pretty long but to summarize she pretty much says that Ella designed many of her own clothes and took great pains to dress up each day trying on multiple outfits, dinner especially. What she chose to wear depended on what mood she was in and picked out the jewels she would wear with great care according to what dress she had chosen. She read the French fashion magazines and cut out what she liked and used them as inspiration in designing her own.

Maria also talks about Ella's very old fashioned views on ladies and how they should act and behave. Again nothing strange or out of the ordinary for a woman of her age when talking to a much younger girl, something Maria herself pretty much says. Their not beliefs forced on her by a controlling husband but her own from how she grew up.

The worst I can remember her saying is that Sergei disapproved of her increasing religious devotion and that she was taking it too far. Also if one of Sergei's orders could not be carried out Ella would have them quietly changed behind his back so as not to bother him and he would get upset with her over it when he found out. Lastly, Sergei controlled how they spent every hour of the day and that Ella became accustomed to it without saying anything, but that honestly sounds like something she could have picked up from Queen Victoria who in a way let Albert do the same in their home.

I didn't read anything about Ella being some great victim of Sergei but instead two people who lived as others of that era did except in their own way. They appeared very much on the same wave length.

In regards to why they did not have children I'm guessing it was due to a medical problem from either Sergei or Ella. Both of them knew about it and accepted it because they loved each other. Sergei was very duty conscious and surely he knew that having children was part of his duty to the dynasty. So if he could have had children he certainly would have and even if he was gay he would have done it just as KR did. A medical problem makes the quote attributed to Alexander III make more sense.

 
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eric_Lowe on February 19, 2015, 11:18:34 PM
I think the notion of Ella being controlled by Serge came from Sandro's memoirs "Once A Grand Duke".
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Kalafrana on February 20, 2015, 02:17:16 AM
Apropos the possibility of a 'medical problem'. Mumps in adulthood or adolescence is a fairly common cause of male infertility, and this was known at that time. Any information on whether and when Serge had it?

Ann
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Kimberly on February 20, 2015, 10:43:13 AM
Don't know about mumps but according to Christopher Warwick, Ella had a problem with uterine fibroids eventually requiring surgery. If these were sub mucosal fibroids, Ella would probably have problems conceiving.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Maria Sisi on February 20, 2015, 05:10:14 PM
Apropos the possibility of a 'medical problem'. Mumps in adulthood or adolescence is a fairly common cause of male infertility, and this was known at that time. Any information on whether and when Serge had it?

Ann

I don't know if Sergei had it but I'm pretty sure Ella did. Is it the same for women as well?
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eric_Lowe on February 20, 2015, 09:16:10 PM
Serge is too strange a character with a mixture of a tortured mind and suffering inside. Cannot think of him as a father type...
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: CountessKate on February 21, 2015, 11:49:47 AM
Quote
I don't know if Sergei had it but I'm pretty sure Ella did. Is it the same for women as well?

Generally mumps can cause complications in female fertility (miscarriages, etc.) but does not cause sterility as such and apparently does not affect a female's fertility in the longer term.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Ally Kumari on February 21, 2015, 01:46:30 PM
Serge is too strange a character with a mixture of a tortured mind and suffering inside. Cannot think of him as a father type...

From what I understand he longed to be a father very much. In my view part of his "suffering" was the fact he knew he never would have a child. He was more than overjoyey, rather selfishly though, when he and Ella were given custody of Dmitri and Maria, even claiming he was their father now. We cannot what "what" kind of father he would have been, but he definitely wanted to be one and there is little doubt he would love the children.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eric_Lowe on February 22, 2015, 11:40:25 PM
Really ? Felix Yussopov thinks Sergei was rather strange and disliked him but loved Ella. Also that was that claim that Sergei "touched" Dimitri as a child. Dimitri too adored Ella when he grew up and one of the things he took into exile was a big portrait of Ella...
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Ally Kumari on February 23, 2015, 03:41:25 AM
I draw my information from maria Pavlovna´s memoirs. She definitely believed Sergei wanted and loved her and her brother. About Sergei "touching" Dmitri - first time I hear about it.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Kalafrana on February 23, 2015, 04:45:52 AM
I don't think we can rely on anything Felix Yussupov has to say about anybody.

In any case, if Sergei disliked Yussupov that is hardly surprising, given the way Yussupov behaved!

Ann
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Ally Kumari on February 23, 2015, 07:32:55 AM
I agree about Felix not being the most reliable and objective witness. I also take impressions Alexander Mikhailovich had about Sergei with more thana pinch of salt, because the antagonism and bias are clearly felt, and colour the final judgement.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Kalafrana on February 23, 2015, 08:48:12 AM
Going slightly off the point, I think i would find Felix Yussupov amusing company if I only met him occasionally, but I would very quickly grow impatient with him if I had to spend much time with him!

Ann
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Eric_Lowe on February 24, 2015, 04:39:57 AM
The information about Sergei "touching" Dimitri came from a book by Greg King. It seems it was widely believed in Russian Circles. There was wide sympathy for Ella being married to "that person" that even Ella had to write to QV to refute the rumors that she was unhappy with her husband. Even though VMH liked Sergei but I don't think even she understood him. His wanting children stem from possessiveness rather than unconditional love. Grand Duchess George (Greek Minny) said openly in her autobiography that Maria Paulovna the younger was selfish, thus siding with Ella. So I don't trust too much on her bio that she blamed everybody but herself. It is also true that both Dimitri and Felix both loved Ella, so it boils down to who you believe.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Olga Maria on April 08, 2015, 03:37:39 PM
Serge is too strange a character with a mixture of a tortured mind and suffering inside. Cannot think of him as a father type...
We may assume that he can't be a father type given the fact that as a young man, he saw his parents going through difficult times. Statistics show (well, as far as I know) that people who grew up in such family environment have hard time being parents. Not only Serge, Ella grew up with her parents who also quite had a rocky marriage so the negative views of Marie Pavlovna on her being a mother may be supported with that theory, too.

The information about Sergei "touching" Dimitri came from a book by Greg King. It seems it was widely believed in Russian Circles. There was wide sympathy for Ella being married to "that person"
I still highly doubt if that was true. If I remember it right, the Russian circles at that time were all avid attackers of Sergei's mysterious personality so they loved assuming that rumor as true although there's no concrete proof .. and they surely hadn't cared to look for proofs because they only like to believe what they want to believe. And because that's been widely believed, the rumor became the "truth".
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Ally Kumari on July 19, 2015, 08:48:47 AM
(http://cs628219.vk.me/v628219079/d9c1/Lodpzek17t4.jpg)
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Romafan96 on September 06, 2015, 11:35:52 AM
Why did Ella and Sergei not have children?

Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Превед on September 06, 2015, 02:51:23 PM
Why did Ella and Sergei not have children?

I'm sure you can find many educated guesses in this 34-page thread devoted to the subject (http://forum.alexanderpalace.org/index.php?topic=1685.0)!
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Romafan96 on September 06, 2015, 02:54:01 PM
Why did Ella and Sergei not have children?

I'm sure you can find many educated guesses in this 34-page thread devoted to the subject (http://forum.alexanderpalace.org/index.php?topic=1685.0)!

Thank you! I tried to use the search engine since I figured it would have been covered but nothing came up. Bless you for providing me with this link :D
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Kalafrana on September 07, 2015, 04:26:45 AM
My personal view, insofar as it is relevant, is that one or the other was infertile. Infertility was not so very uncommon then, and quite a number of royal and aristocratic marriages were childless. One near-contemporary example is Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia (1840-61) and Elizabeth of Bavaria, who had an apparently happy marriage, but no children.

Ann
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Grandoffsky on January 11, 2018, 01:33:01 PM
Would anyone know where one could find GD Elizabeth's letters to GD Serge? As I understand they were written in English? I would love to read them in original, but if not, then Russian is OK, too. I have recently ordered part 4 of GD Serge's biography, but I'm not sure if all the letters are in there.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Svetabel on January 13, 2018, 03:37:54 AM
Would anyone know where one could find GD Elizabeth's letters to GD Serge? As I understand they were written in English? I would love to read them in original, but if not, then Russian is OK, too. I have recently ordered part 4 of GD Serge's biography, but I'm not sure if all the letters are in there.

The letters were published in Russian in 2011, the book is out of stock now.

https://www.ozon.ru/context/detail/id/7536647/ (https://www.ozon.ru/context/detail/id/7536647/)
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Grandoffsky on January 13, 2018, 04:04:28 AM
Would anyone know where one could find GD Elizabeth's letters to GD Serge? As I understand they were written in English? I would love to read them in original, but if not, then Russian is OK, too. I have recently ordered part 4 of GD Serge's biography, but I'm not sure if all the letters are in there.

The letters were published in Russian in 2011, the book is out of stock now.

https://www.ozon.ru/context/detail/id/7536647/ (https://www.ozon.ru/context/detail/id/7536647/)

Thank You very much for the information. I'll keep looking for this book, perhaps it'll pop up somewhere.
Maybe you know if any of GD Elizabeth's letters to her husband were published in the 4 volume Russian biography of GD Sergei? I'm currently waiting for volume 4 to arrive.

ETA: As I understand, at least some (don't know if all) of those letters can be found in this book as well:
https://www.ozon.ru/context/detail/id/32861782/ (https://www.ozon.ru/context/detail/id/32861782/)
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Svetabel on January 13, 2018, 11:10:03 AM
Would anyone know where one could find GD Elizabeth's letters to GD Serge? As I understand they were written in English? I would love to read them in original, but if not, then Russian is OK, too. I have recently ordered part 4 of GD Serge's biography, but I'm not sure if all the letters are in there.

The letters were published in Russian in 2011, the book is out of stock now.

https://www.ozon.ru/context/detail/id/7536647/ (https://www.ozon.ru/context/detail/id/7536647/)

Thank You very much for the information. I'll keep looking for this book, perhaps it'll pop up somewhere.
Maybe you know if any of GD Elizabeth's letters to her husband were published in the 4 volume Russian biography of GD Sergei? I'm currently waiting for volume 4 to arrive.

ETA: As I understand, at least some (don't know if all) of those letters can be found in this book as well:
https://www.ozon.ru/context/detail/id/32861782/ (https://www.ozon.ru/context/detail/id/32861782/)

Yes, some letters are in the last book, but not all. In the 4 Volume there are no GDss Elizaveta's letters.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Grandoffsky on January 13, 2018, 12:10:07 PM

Yes, some letters are in the last book, but not all. In the 4 Volume there are no GDss Elizaveta's letters.

Thank You so much for this information. As I have to order these books from abroad, it is always a bit of a gamble not knowing what you'll get without being able to look through the book before buying. So I guess I'll keep looking for the book you mentioned.
I found GD Sergei's correspondence in Volume 3 most interesting, especially with GD Paul and GD Konstantin, therefore I'm really looking forward to seeing the tone of GDss Elizabeth's letters.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Grandoffsky on January 25, 2018, 09:25:14 AM
In the 4 Volume there are no GDss Elizaveta's letters.

Well, as I see, there are the letters from 1892, which is at least something :)
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Grandoffsky on January 26, 2018, 12:25:39 PM
I’ve decided to write a bit on GD Sergei and GDss Ella’s engagement as seen from Sergei’s POW (sources taken from GD Sergei’s 4 Volume biography in Russian).
I have sort of swiped over Queen Victoria’s side of the whole engagement, but quite superficially. I’m still waiting for my book of QV’s letters to Victoria of Hesse (which I’ll hopefully get in February). So if you know more on that side of the story, I would be very happy to hear it. And sorry for my English, it's not my first language (and neither is Russian), so I’m trying to translate as well as I can.

The first time I could find Sergei write anything about Ella is in a letter to GD Konstantin on 3 Nov 1882, where he says that he's paid a visit to GD Louis of Hesse: “his daughters are really beautiful. There are rumours that I’m getting married, but they should not be believed and in truth we are still very far from it”. The next mention I can find is from 8 Feb 1883 when he writes to GD Konstantin regarding Konstantin's engagement and says he thinks he himself "wouldn't be worthy of such happiness, even though the happiness was so close and so possible. But I'm not losing hope - everything is in the hands of God. Hope and patience."

The beginning of 1883 is also time when there is a lot of gossip about GD Sergei in St. Petersburg and he writes quite desperate letters to GD Konstantin trying to understand the causes. Konstantin replies that he knows Sergei too well to believe the gossip and concludes that because of how their elder brothers acted before, they can’t do anything without being criticised now.

In summer he tells about his wish to marry Ella to his tutor and friend Arseniev. Arseniev and GD Paul exchange letters on the subject, bet Sergei doesn’t tell Paul himself. At this time Ella is in England with Queen Victoria.

On 26th August he writes to GD Konstantin that all his plans need to be postponed and that he would explain this when they meet in person. (I guess this is about the time when Ella returned from Queen Victoria, who had made her promise that she would never marry a Russian). So here’s the question – was there a first proposal that Ella turned down or wasn’t there? To me it seems that there was not an official proposal, but that there may have been some sort of discussion on the subject, since Queen Victoria is so very vexed about the possibility that Ella could marry a Russian. As I understand, he had asked to come to Darmstadt some time in September 1883, but puts it off all the time. He travels around Europe in a rather foul and philosophical mood and manages to have a couple of fights with Paul via letters (Paul is getting sort of jealous, repeating that Sergei doesn’t need him in his life anymore). They sort it out as soon as they meet in person when Sergei unexpectedly visits Paul on his birthday.

It's interesting that he only really speaks to GD Paul about his marriage on 5th Nov 1883, right before he leaves for Darmstadt for the engagement, even though by the time Paul knew all about Sergei's plans from other sources. But they have a very cordial discussion in the night that leaves them both very emotional.

The next day Sergei is already in Darmstadt. He also didn't want anyone to know that he was there, because he didn't want any kind of gossip. He asked Paul to send telegrams in his name (so they wouldn’t know that he sends them from Darmstadt). He has a very nice and long chat with GD Louis of Hesse while playing billiard and everything is arranged; 5th November becomes the date of their unofficial engagement, which they later celebrate each year, giving each other little gifts.

He also writes to his brother Alexander III and asks him not to tell anyone, because the wedding would only be in summer (because they feared that Russian winter would be too harsh for Ella in the beginning) and therefore until then there would be an awful lot of gossiping otherwise. For now he only tells his very closest - his siblings and  a couple other of the closest people. He stays in Darmstadt until 19th of November, quite disappointed that Louis leaves for a hunt (which, according to custom, means he can't see Ella) and that Vicky (Queen Victoria’s daughter) is coming to visit, though they do end up being mutually very friendly.

Sergei writes to Konstantin from Darmstadt without telling anything, and GD Konst. replies “I don’t understand your behaviour concerning Darmstadt. All the world is talking about your engagement. What are you doing there if you don’t count on it and why don’t you write to me about your plans?” However, the next week Sergei meets GD Konstantin and his fiancee in Altenburg, so I guess he told him in person.
Title: Re: Ella and Sergei 2
Post by: Grandoffsky on January 26, 2018, 12:29:50 PM
[cont.]

When he returns to St. Petersburg, there are already rumours, some of them so nasty, he writes to Paul that he "can’t even repeat".

On New Year’s Eve he writes to Paul that it has been a “Good Year”.

GD Sergei leaves for Darmstadt for the official  engagement and on 19th Feb 1884 he writes to Maria Feodorovna from Darmstadt : “I’m happy and content here – with all my soul I’m thanking God for my happiness, hoping to be worthy of such great joy. Dmitry Serg[eevich Arsenev (his tutor)] will tell You everything – he’s enchanted by dear Ella – it has to be said that it’s hard not to be! [..] I have to say that on one of the groups [photographs that he sent] I have a little dumb expression. They say it’s because of the happiness – I really hope it’s not true!!!”

He’s very sad that Paul’s not with him, but writes a very lovely letter to him on 22 Feb 1884:
“[..] We went right to the Neues Palais, where was the happiness of meeting Ella. I forgot to tell that Shpunia [Sergei’s dog] is with me.
You know how much I miss you, my dear! I would love to share these happy moments with you. I’ll tell you more – if you were here with me right now, I would be even happier. That you and Olya [Olga Konstantinovna] almost won’t see me as a groom leave me in a little despair. Ella gave me a ring with a sapphire and two diamonds that I wear with the rings of Maman and Olga. I found a complete spring here -  the leaves are opening, as well as spring flowers and the air is warm. In a word – the air is heavenly. Everything is going great. Ella, if possible, is even more beautiful. We’re sitting together a lot; in the mornings she’s in my room and I’m teaching her a little bit of Russian. “God save the Tsar” [the anthem] among other things. We’re already walking alone through all Darmstadt and yesterday we two paid a visit to old Trota [an old lady in waiting, very loved by Empress Maria Alexandrovna]; I’m always very emotional visiting her, because those are the same rooms, where dear Maman lived in her childhood, and on one of the windows Mama has even written her name in 1835. We went to photographer with Ella. I’ll send you the photographs, they’re quite funny and nice. [..]
I dare to continue my letter after dear Ella wrote a couple of lines to you [there was a page in English written by Ella (unfortunately, I do not have this letter)]. [..] I got the idea to invite him [commander of Preobrazhenski regiment, prince Nikolai Obolenski] here, he was very moved by it and arrived immediately and was completely charmed by Ella. [..]”

There were dinners and dances (where he danced with Ella a lot, but thought the way they waltz in Germany is awful.) etc.

In the end of March he writes to Paul from St. Petersburg: “I was hoping to go to Darmstadt for the wedding of Ludwig [Battenberg and Irene of Hesse], but yesterday I got the message about the death of Leopold, the son of the Queen, and, it’s likely that all the plans are destroyed. Right now I don’t know what’s going to happen and when I’ll go there. I’m very sorry. Ella and her sisters loved this uncle very much.”

Two days later he writes again: “Ella writes to me wonderful letters every day, and once even a small letter in Russian, which she wrote all by herself. Of course, it’s very funny and with mistakes, but still amazing. Now I’ve found her a Russian teacher, who will go to her.”

He still goes to Darmstadt several times before the wedding. On 28th March, but he couldn’t stay for the Battenberg wedding (which was on 18th of April), because GD Konstantin was getting married on 15th and he had to be back in Russia for it. At this time he also meets Queen Victoria for the first time, who finds him “Very tall and gentleman-like, though very thin and delicate.” He writes about this to Konstantin: “It was very nice and peaceful in Darmstadt. I finally met the Queen – what a face – but with me very friendly.”

He returns for a few days to Darmstadt again on 9th -14th May.

And then he sends a train decorated with white flowers that would take Ella and all her family to St. Petersburg.