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Messages - CountessKate

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Rulers Prior to Nicholas II / Re: Emperor Nicholas I
« on: February 02, 2015, 09:08:29 AM »
how tall was he

The US diplomat John Motley who was in Russia in 1841 wrote that he thought Nicholas I was "six feet three inches at least in height".

It is a portrait of Queen Louise of Prussia by Josef Grassi, versions of which can be seen here: and here:

The Habsburgs / Re: Empress Maria Theresa and her large family
« on: January 26, 2015, 08:37:38 AM »
But wasn't Louis XV also charmed by Louise Elisabeth's twin, Anne Henriette?

Anne-Henriette was probably his favorite daughter, but Louis XV was fond of all his daughters and I can't recall any evidence that he ill-treated them.  He gave them appropriate establishments (albeit not independent ones) and created an apartment for them at Versailles near his own by pulling down Louis XIV's grand 'ambassador's staircase'.  They were not given any political influence, but neither were his (married) male heirs so that gives no support to the case for marital status indicating better treatment.  Mme Infante had specific ambitions for an establishment outside Spain which dovetailed with French aims of continuing an alliance with Spain, limiting Austrian ambitions in Italy, and (in the case of Mme de Pompadour), employing the duc de Richelieu outside Versailles all of which were achieved for the cost of a very small war.  But none of this indicates that Madame Infante was Louis' favorite because she was married as such, or that Louis XV treated his single daughters badly because they were unmarried, which of course was largely his doing, or rather, not-doing.

The Habsburgs / Re: Empress Maria Theresa and her large family
« on: December 25, 2014, 06:15:01 AM »
I see. May I then ask how/where you discovered these? I have never seen them before I think.

They're from the Albertina collections online.  This is the link:
Just type in Martin van Meytens.

The Habsburgs / Re: Empress Maria Theresa and her large family
« on: December 17, 2014, 03:07:49 PM »
Can they be seen in the permanent exhibition of Albertina?

No clue, I'm afraid, I haven't been to Vienna in years.

The Habsburgs / Re: Empress Maria Theresa and her large family
« on: December 17, 2014, 10:27:59 AM »
And Maria Elisabeth, aged 9, so drawn in 1752 as were all the others (except the undated one of Maria Anna which doesn't look part of the set):

The Habsburgs / Re: Empress Maria Theresa and her large family
« on: December 17, 2014, 10:24:32 AM »
Two portraits of Maria Anna, the first in 1752 when she was 14, the other undated (but she looks a little older):

The Habsburgs / Re: Empress Maria Theresa and her large family
« on: December 17, 2014, 10:21:09 AM »

Maria Christina and Maria Amalia, aged 10 and 6 respectively, so no doubt done in the same year as their younger sisters above, 1752.

The Habsburgs / Re: Empress Maria Theresa and her large family
« on: December 17, 2014, 10:18:05 AM »
The Albertina has some very nice drawings by Martin van Meytens the younger of some of Maria Theresa's daughters, presumably studies for paintings:

Johanna Gabrielle aged (I think - the age is running off the page) 2 (1752)

Maria Josepha aged 1 (1752 also).

The Windsors / Re: "Beatrice's Little Child" - in 1882?
« on: December 14, 2014, 12:48:53 PM »
My dear Friend,

You wrote me a most kind letter on the occasion of the attempt on my life, for which I meant to thank you long ago and which I now do, hoping you will forgive the long delay in my answer. We are on the point of starting for Scotland, my constant companion my dear daughter Beatrice and her little child accompany me... We are now engaged in a war which I hope will be of short duration - my dear son Arthur is with the Army. We were pleased to make the acquaintance of King Kalakaua and I would ask you to remember me to him. With renewed expressions of friendship and esteem, Your majesty's affectionate friend, Victoria R.I."

What "Little Child" did Beatrice have in 1882? 3 years before she married?

There are many references to a baby in 1882 in Queen Victoria's journals although of course she was not Princess Beatrice's.  They refer to Princess Margaret of Connaught who was born in January of that year and with her parents was often with Queen Victoria very frequently.  When Prince Arthur went to Egypt at the end of July on active service (as mentioned in the Queen's letter), his wife 'Louisechen' and baby Margaret stayed with the Queen.  The Queen travelled to Balmoral on Thursday 31st August 1882 "with Beatrice & Louischen, Helen driving down with us to Trinity Pier. Ly Southampton, Horatia S., Harriet P., Sir H. Ponsonby, Capt: Edward, Ld E. Clinton, Frl: Bauer & Mr Sahl, compose the suite. The little baby, who had gone down before, was up on deck, & so well behaved."  It is possible that there is some inaccuracy in the transcript, or, since part of the letter has not been reproduced immediately after the statement of "Beatrice and her little child", another possibility is it could have read "Beatrice and her little child niece" or something of the sort. 

The Windsors / Re: Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone
« on: November 20, 2014, 02:26:24 PM »
Imma von Dörnberg  (1901-1947) was born a princess of Erbach-Schönberg.  Her father was Alexander, Prince of Erbach-Schönberg and her mother was Princess Elisabeth of Waldeck and Pyrmont, the sister of Helena, Duchess of Albany.  She was thus Alice's first cousin on her mother's side.  Imma married the much older Baron Hans Karl von Dörnberg (he was born in 1875) in 1923 but he died in 1924.  In 1940 she married Captain Neil McEacharn; they were divorced in 1947, the year in which she herself died.  She had no children by either of her marriages.

The Habsburgs / Re: Empress Maria Theresa and her large family
« on: October 14, 2014, 05:41:12 PM »
Thanks for the correction with regard to the dates - it wasn't clear from the reference given by Derek Beales in his biography of Joseph II, and moreover he seemed to think it was a marriage project which had fallen through rather than Maximillian's appointment.

It was my understanding that Maria Elisabeth was reluctant to leave Vienna for Innsbruck when Joseph made it clear he was not prepared to allow his sisters to stay there following the death of Maria Theresa, and it might be that because of this I have misread the situation; she may have been reluctant to leave the court for good and not have the ability to move back and forth as she pleased, but the position of abbess might be the one sweetener that made the deal palatable to her.  Looked at it that way, the other aspect which is noticeable prior to this is that both Maria Theresa and Joseph thought very poorly of Maria Elisabeth - in the letter you mention, Maria Theresa adds "il est triste de voir si peu de raisonnement" [it is sad to see so little reasoning].  In fact, it seems perfectly sensible for her to fear that she would have no establishment except an unsatisfactory position at Joseph's court in the future.  It may be that Maria Theresa simply didn't consider Maria Elisabeth capable of running her own show, and Joseph was certainly not going to stand up for her, though he might have thought it worth giving her the appointment after the empress's death to get rid of her.  So it may be that Maria Elisabeth did want to be Abbess, but Maria Theresa was not prepared to allow it.  Though all this is speculation - it's very difficult in the absence of anything from Maria Elisabeth herself.

The Habsburgs / Re: Empress Maria Theresa and her large family
« on: October 14, 2014, 04:33:43 AM »
I did not want to suggest appointing her abbess right in 1766, but at least earlier than 1781.

I agree that this does seem a fair bit later than a realistic appraisal of Maria Elisabeth's matrimonial prospects would have indicated.  However, my impression is that she herself might have held out at becoming Abbess as a sort of final commmitment, even when there was no longer any real hope she might be married.  That post did seem to be held by royal ladies who had either given up their matrimonial ambitions or who had never had them.  When one of the marriage plans for Maria Elisabeth fell through, Maria Theresa wrote to Marie Christine that "she began to sob....[saying] that all [the others] were established and she alone was left behind and destined to remain alone with the Emperor, which is what she will never do.  We had great difficulty in silencing her."  It may be that she simply dug her toes in and became emotional if the prospect was raised, and was consequently left alone from embarrassment rather than made to take the appointment, until Joseph became sole ruler after Maria Theresa's death and there was no other option. She may also have reasoned that becoming Abbess might have given Joseph the excuse to push her out to Innsbruck - though as he didn't bother with an excuse, it probably seemed better to go as an Abbess than to go as a mere canoness. 

The Habsburgs / Re: Empress Maria Theresa and her large family
« on: October 13, 2014, 06:21:18 AM »
And speaking of Maria Anna, this is what really strikes me: Maria Anna was appointed abbess of the noble convent in Prague in 1766. Only a few months earlier the convent in Innsbruck was opened (to commemorate Franz Stephan's death) and this convent was modelled very closely after the Prague example. So why not appoint Maria Elisabeth abbess in Innsbruck?

Do you mean why not appoint Maria Anna abbess in Innsbruck?  The Theresian Royal and Imperial Ladies Chapter of the Castle of Prague to which Maria Anna was appointed abbess had also been founded by Maria Theresa, in 1755, so was therefore the older and more prestigious order, and perhaps where she had been destined for some time.  The appointment also conferred ecclesiastical rank.  But if you do mean Maria Elisabeth, in 1766 she would still presumably have been considered a matrimonial player even though as it turned out Marie Christine had ended up with such a huge marriage settlement, Maria Theresa and Joseph were not prepared to support another minor matrimonial royal spouse such as the Duke of Chablais, for her.  However, she was still in the running for marriage projects for major players such as Louis XV in 1770, so appointing Maria Elisabeth as abbess in Innsbruck in 1766 was perhaps too much of a commitment of a viable matrimonial resource at that stage to a religious foundation (especially since she fell ill with smallpox in 1767 at which point she lost her looks due to scarring).  It would also be fair to say that the Maria Theresianisches Damenstift in Innsbruck was envisaged as more of a lay order for noblewomen dedicated to prayers for the Emperor so was not necessarily the sort of establishment that, in 1766, would have been an obvious destination for either sister at that stage of their lives.

The Windsors / Re: Queen Alexandra in portraits/illustrations/etchings...
« on: September 01, 2014, 12:54:12 PM »
Don't think that was the same letter...he sounded better in this one. I was a bit offended when I saw the "old dear" comment since I am a fan of Alexandra.

There is no other mention of Queen Alexandra in his letters to Freda Dudley Ward.

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