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Messages - DNAgenie

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The Hohenzollern / The Kaiser's family claims provoke a backlash
« on: August 24, 2019, 06:27:24 PM »
PRINCE GEORG FRIEDRICH of Prussia is getting a lesson on how not to get the public on his side. The great-great-grandson of the last Kaiser has been in talks for years with the federal government, as well as the state governments of Berlin and Brandenburg, about the return of possessions expropriated by the Russians at the end of the second world war. A letter from his lawyer to the authorities has now been leaked to the press, provoking a vehement backlash against Wilhelm II’s Hohenzollern dynasty and its alleged support for the Nazis.

The document reveals that the prince wants compensation of at least €1.2m ($1.3m), the right to live rent-free at Cecilienhof (the palace where American, British and Russian leaders held the 1945 Potsdam conference that settled the post-war order), as well as paintings, sculptures, books, letters, photographs and medals from various Hohenzollern houses. The requested inventory includes Cranach paintings and the armchair in which Frederick the Great died.

The prince was perhaps naive in thinking the letter would remain confidential in Brandenburg, a state ruled by a coalition of Social Democrats and Die Linke, an ex-communist party, which is preparing for hotly contested state elections. The public reacted with Jacobin fury. “The aristocracy is not noble, but evil,” fumed Tomas Fitzel of Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg, a local radio station. The aristocracy robbed and extorted for centuries, tweeted Kathrin Vogler, an MP for Die Linke, adding that aristocrats are lucky Germany is not France.

Like all families whose property was confiscated by the Russians and eastern Germany’s communist regime, the Hohenzollerns cannot claim their houses back. Yet according to legislation passed in 1994, they are entitled to restitution of mobile property, as well as the payment of compensation. The only exceptions are families that actively supported the Nazi regime. This is the sticking-point.

If the case goes to the courts it will not be pretty. Prince Wilhelm, the son of the last Kaiser, has been called a mouthpiece for Nazi propaganda. His brother August Wilhelm was a fervent Nazi. All parties are still hoping for a settlement out of court. It is very much in the prince’s interest to make it happen.■

Having Fun! / Re: Did the Romanov kids read L Frank Baum?
« on: June 07, 2019, 04:49:32 PM »
I don't think that books published in the US would have been available in Russia unless they had also been published in the UK, and I don't think Baum's books had worldwide currency.

The Final Chapter / Re: One Hundred Years On
« on: May 14, 2019, 08:52:48 PM »
I don't disagree with much of what you said. I do, however, have a different take on it. I find something sad about the Pathos of their situation and the resulting tragedy. Yes Nicholas knew his weaknesses, as did Alexandra. You miss the point that they had NO CHOICE but to accept their roles and "muddle on" as best they could. It was unthinkable from their perspective to NOT rule as Alexander III and his other ancestors had done. Alexandra bore a huge burden feeling totally to blame for Alexei's illness, she felt a huge guilt at not being able to "fit in" to the Social world of the Aristocracy, who mostly and unfairly never gave her a chance to be accepted for who she was, and who villified her for not conforming to their expectations, when as EMPRESS the Aristocrats had the duty to try to accept her, but they refused. This made her challenge nearly impossible. Her devotion to her family and her role was seen as a negative, by the aristocratic class who preferred her to be a social paragon of tradition, parties, and less about her family, Further the health issues of the Tsetsarevich compounded her difficulty, and she had no support or understanding from the Court for this challenge. I find it a tragedy of PATHOS

That is fair comment and I agree with you about the Pathos of it all, but I wear two hats here. My comments were made as a serious historian, and I find it awkward that some posters here seem to believe that Nicholas II is beyond criticism. Alexandra is less popular, but I find her even more of a tragic figure than her husband. Given the types of people they were, the Russian Revolution became inevitable.

On a personal level I have been fascinated by the story of Anastasia and the deaths of the royal family for many years, and that interest began long before I discovered that I am related to them all. To me they are family, and their history is full of pathos and missed opportunities, so I find myself saying, If ONLY at many points in their lives. But that is hindsight, and it so easy to be wise after the event. I doubt if any of us could have done much better in the same circumstances.

The Final Chapter / Re: One Hundred Years On
« on: May 13, 2019, 05:25:49 PM »
If the Russian royal family had not been murdered, this site would not exist, but martyrdom is a powerful incentive for undeserved admiration. I am aware that the site aims to examine the facts impartially, but this is not easy to do.

The more I learn about Nicholas II the less I like him. Despite being the scion of a long line of (more or less) successful rulers, he was entirely unfitted to rule Russia when he came to the throne. I do feel sorry for him, as he knew that to be the case but he felt he had no choice. However I do not share the idolatry of many on this site.

The same goes for Alexandra, who I find particularly irritating. I am not alone in this as most of her family felt the same way at some stages of her life, but she could never see her own faults, or if she did, she could not act on the knowledge.

Given the circumstances, this pair was a disaster waiting to happen, and it happened.

Having Fun! / Re: OTMA on horses
« on: April 08, 2019, 07:13:13 PM »
Of course they were all taught to ride well. The modern equivalent would be learning to drive a car. They would have had lessons from early childhood, supervised by the Tsar's Master of Horse, or his Coachmaster, but the actual teacher would have probably been a groom.

I can't watch that show, it is too far from reality.

Jenna is much too good looking for the role. Queen Vic had lost her looks as a young woman, she ate too much and got fat, was supremely selfish, and she was a control freak. She did love Albert but he was terrified of her tantrums. She got on with Lord Melbourne because he flattered her, not because she was in love with him. Her servants had a terrible time.

Anastasia Nicholaievna / Re: Illnesses of Grand Duchess Anastasia
« on: December 26, 2018, 04:10:20 PM »
Alex's mother, Alice, died of diphtheria while nursing her children through the disease, and one child (May) also died, so Alex had good reason to fear it.

Having Fun! / Re: Getting dressed
« on: September 02, 2018, 04:19:58 PM »
'Ladies' were a small elite group who belonged to the aristocracy. Most of the female population in English-speaking countries were referred to as 'women' and only a small proportion of the wealthier women would have had maids to help them dress. We plebians would have had much less elaborate and more practical clothes and we would not all dress for dinner every night. Things have not changed all that much.

The Myth and Legends of Survivors / Re: Larissa Tudor
« on: August 13, 2018, 08:26:55 PM »
Larissa Tudor could have been a descendant of the von Hauke family, best known member of which was Julia von Hauke, Princess of Battenburg, who married Prince Alexander of Hesse in a morganatic marriage in 1851 in Breslau, Prussia. Julia was the mother of Prince Louis of Battenburg and great grandmother of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Julia's father was a Polish general who was shot during the November Uprising so his children were made wards of the Tsar. Julia's father and his two von Hauke brothers had been generals in the service of Russia and all three had become Counts of the Russian Empire. It is conceivable that Larissa came from this line, with the surname Von Hauke. She was certainly not Grand Duchess Tatiana, but if she had escaped from Russia after the revolution it is not surprising that she preferred to remain a private person.

Yeah, imagine if this was happening now.

Anna would probably have her own Facebook page, where all her loyal ciphers could post their support of her rubbish claim to be Anastasia.

Yeah AA would have been sunk from Day One in the era of DNA testing.

I know of a Russian woman who claims her mother was Anastasia. She has been tested and has the wrong DNA, but she refuses to admit it, AND she has her own Facebook page!

Alexandra Feodorovna / Re: Alexandra and her Health Part 2
« on: August 04, 2018, 07:58:01 PM »
If Alexandra had inherited porphyria from Queen Victoria's line via her mother Princess Alice (who was frequently ill with mysterious symptoms) it would be Variegate Porphyria. This, as its name suggests, can present as a wide variety of symptoms, or be completely asymptomatic for generations. It can appear in individuals in both acute and chronic forms of the disease and is made worse by stress. It is frequently mis-diagnosed, even today, and requires a complex series of tests to confirm the disease. Alexandra's first cousin, Princess Charlotte of Prussia (daughter of Alice's sister Crown Princess Victoria) has been confirmed to have suffered the disease through DNA testing, so it would made sense if Alexandra also carried the same gene.

Alexandra Feodorovna / Re: Alexandra and her Health Part 2
« on: August 03, 2018, 04:41:06 PM »
Unfortunately we will never probably know in Alexandra's case. It frustrates me that her physicians seemed to chalk most of her problems up to mental and/or emotional instability. Even when they agreed that she had some sort of circulatory or cardiac issue, they still wanted to ascribe it to her neurotic personality -  that it was simply a physical manifestation of a mental health issue. Perhaps it was simply a case of depression/anxiety/panic attacks, but I feel no really thorough physical examinations were done, or at least not documented. And, for her part, she seemed to be the type who only accepted what she wanted to hear, and likely surrounded herself with primarily sycophantic doctors. The result is likely misdiagnosis (or a non-thorough diagnosis) of what was really going on, whatever it was, and the lack of good documentation of a possible physical condition has allowed people to continue to write her off as a mentally-unstable hypochondriac. Which then plays into the larger narrative of her as a generally mentally-unstable woman whose neuroses brought down an empire. It is simply unfair - not to mention grossly simplistic and somewhat misogynistic - to frame things that way. I know that serious Romanov historians and hobbyists do not (at least I hope they do not), but in the popular imagination, she is still very much seen in that way. She deserves better as a human being, and history deserves better, as well.

I agree, though I think Alexandra was suffering from porphyria. That disease was not documented until the 1950s and is frequently misdiagnosed as hypochondria, even today. Alexandra is mentioned in the book "Purple Secret. Genes 'Madness' and the Royal Houses of Europe" by Rohl, Warren and Hunt, in which the two co-authors are molecular geneticists, and experts on porphyria.

Tsarevich Alexei Nicholaievich / Re: What and Who is Alexei to you?
« on: August 01, 2018, 07:32:45 PM »
So I doubt that the Romanian royal family knew the imperial family very well. I could be wrong (I do not have the exact words in mind), but his words about Olga for example are not representative of the Grand Duchess.

In general, the Romanian authors' remarks are violent against the imperial family. I am also thinking of Princess Bibesco, who was present in 1914 during the visit of the imperial family to Romania.

The failure of the union between Olga and Prince Karol was, I think, perceived as an affront in Romania.

Marie was only part of the Romanian Royal Family by marriage, and she did not get on with her husband Crown Prince  Ferdinand. In her youth her attitudes would have been shaped by her Russian Mother (only daughter of Tsar Alexander II) and her British father (son of Queen Victoria). However in later life Marie of Rumania was very much her own woman. It is unreasonable to equate traditional 'Romanian' attitudes with those of Marie of Romania.

This is rather off the topic of 'What and Who is Alexei to you?'

Tsarevich Alexei Nicholaievich / Re: What and Who is Alexei to you?
« on: July 31, 2018, 09:23:44 PM »
Some information that I have read here reminds me of several French articles I read in revolutionary newspapers. Others remind me of Marie from Romania. Apart from Nicholas II, this woman hated the Russian imperial family, so that's not surprising.
Marie of Rumania was the daughter of Prince Alfred of Saxe-Coburg, and Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia, so she was Nicholas II's first cousin, and Empress Alexandra's second cousin. She would have been double cousins with Alexis and probably knew him quite well. There were all sorts of political and family issues involved in their relationship and these should be kept in mind when analyzing family comments. But of course that applied to all the European Royal families.

I am related to them all, though more distantly, so that helps to see all sides of the picture. Alexis was my fourth cousin once removed, 5th cousin, 4C2R, 5C1R, 5C2R, 5C3R, etc.

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