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Topic: Alexandra as Empress and Mother  (Read 59880 times)
Reply #15
« on: July 30, 2005, 09:39:28 AM »
Finelly
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Any time you have a member of the family who is an invalid, dysfunction is the result.  In the case of the IR, both Alexei AND Alexandra were chronically ill.  

All of the family energies were devoted to keeping the secret of the hemophilia, keeping Alexei alive and happy, etc.  Alexandra relied on her daughters to attend her, and though they took turns, one can see that it stifled them to some extent, and that they felt torn between resentment and love for their mother.

Maria in particular felt unloved and unappreciated.  Anastasia had her own issues.  As the oldest, Olga had her own burdens.  Tatiana, who was her mother's favorite companion, had to deal with the jealousy of her siblings, who loved her as well as resented her.

Does this make Alexandra a bad mother?  No more than anyone else.  We do not have to be perfect mothers, just good enough.  The kids were well fed, educated, spiritually alive and searching, had the companionship of each other, were loyal.  

Could she have done better?  Yep.  Who couldn't?

In my opinion, evaluation of this issue is not as simple as "a good mother" or "a bad mother".  WAY too simplistic.  Smiley
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Reply #16
« on: July 30, 2005, 10:06:22 AM »
Marialana Offline
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There are a lot of good points & insights being brought up here.
I think that Alexandra's "isolation" of the girls is very much a double-edged sword. In one respect, she kept them safe from the vipers of society, many of whom had bared their fangs at her for years. In doing this, she fostered a closeness amongst OTMA that may not have otherwise been quite so tight. I don't feel that she deliberately kept them home out of pure selfishness. When "suitable" people were found for OTMA to socialize with, such as the sailors on the Standart, Alix had no problems letting them enjoy themselves to the fullest. To me,  the fact that they were so at ease with others also speaks to the fact that they weren't over-isolated at all.
Of course, Alix & Alexei being ill did take a negative toll on OTMA.  They needed to attend to their mother & brother more so than they would have had their health been fine, as is the case in a many a family where illness is present. I do believe, as bluetoria alluded to, that when the time came for the girls to marry Alix had every intention of letting them evolve into womanhood and leave the nest.
To sum up (finally, as I know I can get pretty wordy!), I think that Alix and Nicholas both enjoyed their children immensely, and cherished the tight bonds of a close-knit family. Sometimes the bonds were a little too tight, but I believe that had nature been allowed to take its course the girls would have ended up happy in adult lives of their own.
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Reply #17
« on: July 30, 2005, 12:12:15 PM »
bluetoria
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Yes, I agree Marialana. They were certainly no more sheltered than, for example the Wales princesses, were they? Or, for that matter, Edward VII who was not allowed to play with other boys for fear they would lead him astray...and even when he went to university a 'minder' was sent to protect his morals!!

The fact that the war prevented any real negotiations abiut marriage, and then their early death, probably creates the impression that they were more sheltered than was in a fact the case. I do not imagine, either, that many Queens would have been so willing to their daughters to attend patients in hospitals the way the Olga & Tatiana did.
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Reply #18
« on: July 30, 2005, 12:35:50 PM »
hikaru Offline
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To add the pluses to Alexandra as the mother, I would like to say that she was only one of the Tsar's Families of Europe who feed the children with  her own milk.
She was very serious mother completely dedicated to her children.
But since the birth of Alexey he was at the first place - which was naturally because he was the heir and he was ill.


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Reply #19
« on: August 16, 2005, 05:39:17 PM »
LenelorMiksi Offline
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I think OTMAA were more isolated than the Wales girls, because they were lonely for other people their age.  Alix sequestered them for what, to her, were excellent reasons.  Queen Victoria had a habit of shunning high society, and that habit wore off on Alicky.  Their isolation had both good and bad effects.  They weren't allowed to be around many eligible bachelors.  Can you imagine what would happen if a common sailor tried to marry a grand duchess?  They had to know any kind of relationship like that was doomed.  Look at what happened to Paul A. and Princess Paley.  How many years did it take for Nikki to let them return to Russia?  That being said, everyone has faults and this one doesn't make Alix a bad person or mother, just human.
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Grand Duchess Alice of Hesse:  "Each year brings us nearer to the Wiedersehen [reunion with the dead], though it is sad to think how one's glass is running out, & how little good goes with it, compared to the numberless blessings we receive.  Time goes incredibly fast."
Reply #20
« on: August 17, 2005, 11:17:58 AM »
LenelorMiksi Offline
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I don't know if I can reply twice in a row (or if that's a Discussion Board foul), but I really want to say I believe Alix was an awesome mother.  She let all her children develop their own personality without pressuring them to conform to a preconceived standard.  She let Nastya be goofy, Marie eye hotties, and Olga have a fling with a sailor on the Standart (That last info is from Charlotte Zeepvat's book "The Camera and the Tsars").  She let Tatiana be a fashion guru, as well, when she might have lectured her on behaving too worldly.  She gave them lots and lots of love, as well as setting some boundaries which all children need. Wink
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Grand Duchess Alice of Hesse:  "Each year brings us nearer to the Wiedersehen [reunion with the dead], though it is sad to think how one's glass is running out, & how little good goes with it, compared to the numberless blessings we receive.  Time goes incredibly fast."
Reply #21
« on: August 17, 2005, 06:30:55 PM »
RealAnastasia Offline
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Yes; I think there is a sort of legend about the "isolated" Romanov children.  I read in Penny Wilson and Greg King's book she had no connection with her children and to support this opinion they quote some letters where Alix said to her eldest daughter she might be an example for others, and to Maria that she wouldn't think she wasn't loved just for she scolded her in time to time...This is a thing that all mother does, and actually I remember my mother saying the same things to me. I never felt she was mean or cold to me for that.

As for the "isolation" of the children, all the Royals were a little isolated, some of them more and some of them less. Nevertheless, I notice, watching pics of the Romanov children that they seem happy enough, and were normal children. Besides, they developed friendship in some young people of their entourage (as ladies-in-waiting) and cousins.

I think this issue is more complex that it seems to be.

RealAnastasia.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2009, 12:04:09 PM by Alixz » Logged
Reply #22
« on: August 22, 2005, 09:09:22 AM »
LyliaM Offline
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Has anybody else seen those precious little drawings that Alix did for her  children?  (Grown-up ladies in fancy dresses and things like that.)  I think she was a very, very good mother who genuinely adored and played with her children far more than the typical royal mother of that day.  
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Reply #23
« on: August 22, 2005, 09:26:59 AM »
LenelorMiksi Offline
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Lylia, I've never seen those drawings, but I think you're absolutely right about Alix.  She probably spent more "quality time" with her children then most regular mothers today, with our busy schedules and television.  They had to entertain themselves which really required more interaction. There's a couple of pictures where you can tell she's scolding Nastya (she must have been trouble with her practical jokes)...but just from photos you can tell her children felt at ease with her.  Thank goodness they made a hobby out of photography!
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Grand Duchess Alice of Hesse:  "Each year brings us nearer to the Wiedersehen [reunion with the dead], though it is sad to think how one's glass is running out, & how little good goes with it, compared to the numberless blessings we receive.  Time goes incredibly fast."
Reply #24
« on: August 22, 2005, 10:21:19 AM »
LyliaM Offline
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Yes, aren't the family photos fascinating? They're kind of old news now, I suppose, but I'll never forget getting my hands on the first book to be published of their family photos.  Another thing about Alix and children:  I have seen several pictures of her chatting with little ones, and she has such a lovely, amused, interested expression on her face.  You feel that she instinctively knew how to interact with children.  She was, of course, a product of  both her era and, more specifically, the Victorian legacy, but I suspect that, as one operating within those parameters, she was fairly progressive in her attitude towards her children.  And there is no question that they sincerely loved their mother.
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We only know in age what happened to us in youth.  -- Goethe
Reply #25
« on: November 16, 2005, 08:40:31 PM »
Tsarina_Liz Offline
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There's not doubt in my mind that Alexandra was a loving doting parent, and there's also no doubt that she was an extremely selfish and demanding one.  

She was alienated from the court and had precious few friends and because of that she demanded that her daughters fill those voids.  Not to mention the void left by her tragic childhood.  She was the mother she always wanted but never got - constantly present.

Her children became her court, and she loved them, but she also expected totaly obedience and service.
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Hindsight is 20/20.  When the myopic haze of of the present is lifted by the march of time we see it clearly as the past.  Sociology, psychology, anthropology.  They are all means of understanding that which came before.  History cannot stand alone.
Reply #26
« on: November 16, 2005, 09:49:48 PM »
Janet_W. Offline
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It's a complicated issue, and one that mirrors my own experience.

I look at the photo of Alexandra and three of her girls, in fact, and am reminded of how, beginning when I was a preteen, my own mother would stand behind me, grabbing me around the waist with a hand that felt like a clamp. And my expression was just about what we see on Olga's face.

I think there is a certain type of woman who sets out to be a loving, perfect mother . . . and then, somewhere along the way, forgets that her children are only "on loan" and that each has an obligation to himself/herself to grow up and become his/her own person. Although Alexandra wrote and spoke of the time when her "girlies" would marry, I have to wonder if she would have really accepted this. Perhaps so, due to her strong relationship with her husband.  

People are terribly complex, and I know that a seemingly wonderful parent also can be tremendously selfish in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. If I made two columns and headed one "good parenting" and one "bad parenting," then listed all the various aspects of Alexandra's relationship with her daughters, I think the columns would come out fairly even.

That being said, still I have the feeling Alexandra was a better mother than most royal women of the time, and cetainly better than most European society women.  
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Reply #27
« on: November 17, 2005, 08:29:17 AM »
Tsarina_Liz Offline
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I know I just posted yesterday, but I thought of something to add  Grin

When it came to her girls marrying, judging from the grip she had on them I think that she planned on following in her grandmother Victoria's footsteps and keeping one or two of the girls single for herself.  In my opinion, those two would have been Marie and Tatiana.  Olga had too much value on the marriage market, and Anastasia was too rambunctious to be a proper companion.  

And I pity the woman who married Alexei (had he made it that far).  Imagine having Alexandra as a mother in law after you took away her precious Sunbeam!  Cry
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Hindsight is 20/20.  When the myopic haze of of the present is lifted by the march of time we see it clearly as the past.  Sociology, psychology, anthropology.  They are all means of understanding that which came before.  History cannot stand alone.
Reply #28
« on: November 17, 2005, 09:31:20 AM »
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Tsarina_Liz, you make an interesting point.  I think that Tatiana would have gotten the fate of being the daughter left single to look after Alix, or if not, then she would have been kept in Russia or close to it by being married to a second son of some European monarch.  It's a sad thought that Maria would have suffered the same fate, since she was so set on getting married and being a wife and a mother.  

As for Alix, she was a needy woman in many ways.  She had a tough childhood, and the early death of her mother didn't add anything positive.  I think she did try to compansate for it all in her own marriage and with her own children.  However, even the best intentions can go estray, and hers did.  She was indeed a possessive and selfish mother, though when one looks on the surface alone, it doesn't seem like it at all.  

In terms of Aleksey getting married, and his wife dealing with Alix, I think the situation would have been the same as was with Alix and the Dowger Empress Maria Feodorovna.
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Reply #29
« on: November 17, 2005, 10:17:11 AM »
imperial angel Offline
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I judge that she was a good mother, if a bit overprotective. She cared deeply for her children, and they were her life, and she allowed them to have their own life within reason. I think she was close to her family and was very maternal, and her children knew that they were loved, and not smothered. She found fulfillment in being a wife and mother, although she had the intelligence and character to be more. She was a Empress, but she didn't rule the country although she messed with politics later, and firmly believed in autocracy. She was a torn women, who had tribulations, many involving her son. But she never let up in her love for her family. Besides love, she had a real relationship with them and real interaction, as you can witness in photos.

She was very protective, but then they were royalty and were isolated any way. Even today this is true of royal children, and it was more then, when royalty were even more sacred and held remote from ordinary life. So OTMA  were not really any diifferent than any fellow royals in this way. True, they were held a bit more apart from court life than most of their royal peers. And this was directly due to Alexandra, who feared the influence Court Life might have had on her children. This was legitmate enough, and coudn't have continued forever. She wasn't understood by the court, so how could she expect understanding for her daughters? And, OTMA were raised a certain way, and she didn't want this to change. Who can blame her? I think she gave them enough of a life, with the officers on the Standart, or with cousins of theirs and ladies in waiting. As well, I believe that the first World War hemmed them in, amd caused ordinary life to become very different, and so their options were even more limited. They were so young then.

So, Alexandra was a good mother, a loving mother, sometimes strict, but not one who harmed her children by isolating them. I believe everyone relates to the world in their way, and even the isolated physically can understand the world in their own way.Isolation does not always produce what people think it does, although it has the effect of making you fall back on your family more, as OTMA did.
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