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Messages - DNAgenie

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Where exactly in Hesse-Darmstadt did the Tecks holiday? Certainly not in any of the grand-ducal residences, as they were not direct and close family. Not in Darmstadt, which was not a fashionable holiday destination for anyone.
There is a mention in Alix's letter to her brother Ernie on 22June/4 July 1889, at Darmstadt, that 'Uncle Francis Teck [May's father] comes tomorrow.'
The next reference to the Tecks in Alix's letters is on 5/17 Jan 1892. 'Darling Eddy is no more, it is too awful. One cannot believe it, it seems like a horrible dream. Poor May - how broken she must be - such short joy and happiness it is perfectly terrible.... The Dr. has forbidden Papa to go to the funeral, as every excitement & great agitation, as well as the journey, is bad for him.'

Having Fun! / Re: The Enid Blyton Thread
« on: April 28, 2017, 05:13:29 PM »
I grew up reading the Enid Blyton books and I thirsted for more issues of the various Adventure series and Mallory Towers. I did read the Magic Faraway Tree but thought it was pretty silly. Noddy was not on my radar.

I identified with characters like George in the Four Goes Adventuring books, and Bill in Mallory Towers, as many girls did who did not accept the female stereotype of the times, even in those days. I naturally assumed I could do all the things boys did, and I followed a traditionally male-oriented career path as a scientist.

Viva Enid Blyton.

Maria Nicholaievna / Re: Maria photos III
« on: April 06, 2017, 06:54:27 PM »
The pole has actually ropes and "snares" attached to it and the point to slip into the snare and then run as quickly as possible - until you were lifted off the ground like on a carrousel. There are actually quite a few pictures of the Romanovs having fun like this.
There was a pole like this in my local park where I grew up and it was very popular. It had rings at head or shoulder height (instead of snares) so you and your friends grasped the rings then ran in a circle until your feet were off the ground and you swung out and round the pole as if you were flying. Great fun!

Nicholas II / Re: Re: Photos of Nicholas II #5
« on: April 01, 2017, 05:01:54 PM »
April Fools Day anyone   

What a great story!  Lots of corroborative detail with pictures and all. The best sort of AFD joke.

The Windsors / Re: Queen Elizabeth II Part IV
« on: February 11, 2017, 03:46:09 PM »
Queen Elizabeth II is not doing the job to break records. She said: "my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong."

As she has already achieved long life, the conventional prayer for "Long Live the Queen" may no longer be appropriate. Old age is not for sissies.

I would expect that the local authorities could give orders to the owners to clean up the yard if it was so poorly maintained that it became a public health hazard or a fire risk. That is certainly the case in Australia.

The closest relationship between Nicholas II and Q Victoria is 2nd cousin 3 times removed, through Duke Charles II of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Elizabeth of Saxe-Hildberghausen.

That also makes them both cousins to the Prussian royal house, as Kaiser Wilhelm I was Duke Charles's grandson. So Kaiser Wilhelm was Q Victoria's second cousin, and Nichols II's great grand nephew. Nicholas's great grandmother was Kaiser Wilhelm's sister Charlotte, who married Grand Duke Nicholas, later Tsar Nicholas II. Wilhelm and Charlotte's mother was Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Duke Charles II's daughter, who married Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia.

Palaces in St. Petersburg / Re: Private rooms of the Winter Palace
« on: September 07, 2016, 06:24:19 PM »
That is a billiards table.  It may also have been used for snooker. Pool is a different game, played on a different, smaller, table, and it was not a gentleman's game, whereas billiards and snooker were played by gentlemen.

Everybody always asks how Alix, who grew up in liberal England under constitutional monarch grandma, could end up championing autocracy as hard as she did right to the bitter end. In reality its seems to have started with grandma and didn't start in Russia at all. 

In Virginia Rounding's book she goes in length of how negative an influence the Queen was on her. Victoria was a domestic tyrant who always had to dominate the scene and have her way. As the Queen of Hearts (perhaps inspired by Victoria herself) in Alice in Wonderland said, "Always MY WAY!!!" It was she who encouraged Alix to act like a constant invalid and use her health as a reason to get out of things she didn't want to do and to virtually emotionally blackmail those closest to her. It was she who fostered Alix's shyness and pretty much told her it was okay to hide away instead of showing herself in public. All the negative aspects of Alix's personality was fostered and apparently encouraged by grandma

I disagree with the idea that Alix was unduly influenced by Queen Victoria's attitudes. The sad fact was that although Alix shared many of the Queen's personality traits, rather than being influenced by them, she inherited them.

Modern research indicates that a child's personality is determined before it is three, so although training can have some influence, the main parameters are already laid out. Alix's father was a cheerful extrovert but Alix was the opposite, as she got most of her personality traits from her mother, who was Victoria's daughter. Princess Maud died when Alix was seven, and Alix's basic attitudes would not change after that By then the framework of her personality was already determined.

Queen Victoria was horrified by the idea that Alix wanted to marry Nicholas, and did all she could to discourage the match, without effect. You can't blame Victoria for all the mistakes Alix made, although they were alike in many ways. Alix was her own woman, she lived her life as she saw it, and she paid the price for her beliefs. I feel very sorry for her.

"We enquired of Sir George Buchanan as to when a cruiser could be sent to take on board the deposed ruler and his family", said Kerensky. "Simultaneously, a promise was obtained from the German government through the medium of the Danish minister, Skavenius, that German submarines would not attack the particular warships which carried the Royal exiles.

Clearly it was in the German interest to get the Tsar out of Russia. Nicholas II was committed to continuing the war against Germany and if he was no longer on the scene in his home country he would have less influence on Russian political decisions. One of the reasons that Nicholas refused the German offer to rescue his family from Tobolsk was his fear that it would be conditional on his undertaking to support the Brest-Litovsk agreement, to which he was implacably opposed.

In wartime Britain in 1917 the level of animosity against the Germans was incredibly great. The royal family was under great pressure to change their name to sound more British, and as Empress Alexander was seen as a German Princess (of Hesse) rather than as George V's cousin, she would not have been welcome in Britain. Her sister, Princess Victoria, was living in Britain and was married to Prince Louis of Battenberg. He was forced to change his name to Mountbatten, they both lost their titles as Royal Highness, and Louis also lost his job as a senior British naval officer. The taint of 'being German' was far more important to the British public than the fact that Nicholas and Alexandra were George V's cousins.

Also, in 1917  the ultimate fate of the Romanovs was not a forgone conclusion. The Tsar had abdicated and there had been a change of government, but it took a further Bolshevik Revolution and the fall of the Provisional Government to seal their fate. It may seem obvious to us now, in hindsight, but it was certainly not obvious then. When the remnants of the Russian Royal Family were seen to be in danger in 1919 George V did not hesitate to order British naval ships to the Black Sea to rescue them. He might have dithered in 1917 but by 1919 the situation had changed and he did not wait for government approval but ordered the ships to sail himself.

When King George V sent HMS Middlesex to rescue some of the surviving members of the Russian Imperial family in 1919 its access was through the Black Sea, but of course that route was closed to British ships until the end of WW1, after the defeat of Turkey.

Alexandra Feodorovna / Re: Alexandra and her Health Part 2
« on: July 28, 2016, 07:24:05 PM »
I think people can be a bit harsh when assessing Alexandra, particularly when it comes to the issue of her health. Branding her as "insane" is rather cold and doesn't seem to take into account the fact this woman had an extremely tragic life.

Alexandra was almost certainly suffering from a rare genetic disease that she inherited through her mother, Princess Alice of Great Britain. This was a form of Porphyria (either Acute Intermittent Porphyria or Variegate Porphyria) and the disease is now known to have occurred in descendants of two of her mother's siblings: via Edward VII in Prince William of Gloucester, and via Princess Victoria, Empress of Germany, in her daughter Princess Charlotte and her granddaughter Princess Feodora of Reuss.

Porphyria was not recognised as a disease until early in the twentieth century, so Alexandra's doctors cannot be blamed for failing to diagnose it. Most patients suffer abdominal pain, sometimes with vomiting and constipation. They often suffer from limb, head, neck or chest pains, muscle weakness, tachycardia and to display mental symptoms. Patients can become hypersensitive, anxious, restless, insomniac, paranoid or depressed and, in some cases, have been labelled hysterical. The high incidence of AIP in psychiatric institutions shows how easy it is to misdiagnose the disorder. One of the problems in assessing the level of occurrence of AIP is that about 90% of people who carry the defective gene never display any symptoms. Variegate Porphyria is very similar to AIP except that photosensitivity is much more common. From pp 244-247 of "Purple Secret. Genes, 'Madness' and the Royal Houses of Europe, by Rohl, Warren and Hunt, 1998.

Palaces in St. Petersburg / Re: Private rooms of the Winter Palace
« on: July 23, 2016, 06:37:41 PM »
Here is a little tidbit of information that I will write. The standard emphasis has been on endless Imperial Balls. From January 1st to April 27th, 1902 there were 17 balls and dinners; 3 to 5 hours of the day if that.

Whose idea would it have been to have so many Imperial Balls and dinners? Alexandra hated the balls, was not physically strong enough to dance all night, and frequently retired early, nor was she comfortable making small talk at the dinners.  Was it a hangover from the previous reign, when Empress Maria Feodorovna adored entertaining and would have insisted on having many such festivities? Or was it another of the 'usual customs' that Nicholas did not want to abandon?  Would love to know the background to all this activity.

DNA testing really has debunked a lot of absurd claims, hasn't it.

It certainly has. For example, DNA testing has debunked the claim that Prince Albert of Saxe Coburg-Gotha was illegitimate. His British Coburg descendants in the male line match the Y-DNA of other male-line descendants of his ancestor Leopold I, King of the Belgians so that claim has now been proved to be absurd.

However DNA sometimes confirms claims that were thought to be absurd, and those results are not always made public. Silence does not always mean failure.

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