Author Topic: Alexandra as Empress and Mother  (Read 109329 times)

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Offline clockworkgirl21

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Re: Alexandra as Empress and Mother
« Reply #285 on: July 10, 2011, 11:36:22 PM »
Don't tell me they didn't really take cold baths or sleep on hard cots, those "facts" make me feel better when I'm eating Ramen noodles because school is expensive.  :P

The idea of not spoiling OTMAA always sounded funny to me too. Make them take cold baths and sleep on army cots, but give them diamonds for their birthdays and don't forget living in 3+ different palaces and two weeks on the family yacht!

You also can't forgot the mansion in Tobolsk and the nice sized house in Ekaterinburg they called cramped.

Offline RHB

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Re: Alexandra as Empress and Mother
« Reply #286 on: July 10, 2011, 11:47:00 PM »
nice sized house in Ekaterinburg they called cramped.

Well maybe it was cramped to them! You take 11 people (a family of seven plus four remaining servants) and who knows how many guards... probably one almost around every corner they went watching them... maybe it was "cramped"!

how could you avoid to spoil kids that had teachers and lesson at home, nannies and servants in all their lives? who knows how much the idea of spoiling a child changed through time ...

As for having servants and such to wait on them... i read somewhere i think it was a bio on Olga that Alix firmly believed that having someone do something you could do for yourself was not acceptable! You know... "you have two legs, you can do it yourself" kind of phrase? I believe the girls helped their maids make their beds and clean up their rooms... or something like that anyhow! Not like their legs or hands weren't broken so the servants had to do everything for them! Though yes, i guess the thought of how to spoil children has probably changed!
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Offline feodorovna

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Re: Alexandra as Empress and Mother
« Reply #287 on: July 11, 2011, 02:26:03 AM »
I understand that the children were taught to be respectful of their servants and referred to them as "Aunties" and "Uncles." It may have had something to do with what their mother learned as a motherless child at the less formal courts of Hesse and England. Their Great Grandmother, QV, always seemed more comfortable with her personal servants than with society of the "high" kind.

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Alexandra as Empress and Mother
« Reply #288 on: July 11, 2011, 03:26:01 AM »
Bear in mind that in Ekaterinburg they were only allowed outside for very limited periods and the windows were painted over so they couldn't see out. That would certainly make the place seem cramped.

As to the idea of not spoiling the girls, I don't find that strange at all. There is a strong strand of belief among the British upper crust that with privilege comes responsibility, and you don't behave in a self-indulgent fashion. Also, you don't indulge your children - if you spend money on them, it's on things that will do them good, like piano lessons, and if you get them a pony, they are expected to look after it themselves. You also don't mess the servants about. There is a famous tale that when the Queen was 5 or 6 she reaalised that if she walked past the guardroom at Windsor Castle the guard would be turned out, and she and a pal spent some time walking past the guardroom again and again. Result, a severe telling off!!!

As with most things, this philosophy worked with some upper class offspring and not with others (it didn't work with Edward VII or the Duke of Windsor, for example).

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Offline Selencia

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Re: Alexandra as Empress and Mother
« Reply #289 on: July 26, 2011, 02:01:57 AM »
Alexandra:
Good Mother
Not So Good Empress
As for this idea of not spoiling them, I think children who are born into incredible wealth can be raised not to be spoiled, or at the least not to be a spoiled brat. I don't totally understand how sleeping on a cot and taking cold showers does this, but I applaud N*A for trying. I will admit it digs at my heart to think of those beautiful beds I see in pictures in some of the palaces not being slept in by the girls.

Offline slhouette

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Re: Alexandra as Empress and Mother
« Reply #290 on: June 14, 2020, 01:26:01 AM »
This whole thread is quite old, but I'll voice my thoughts anyways for any readers out there that may benefit. I've read this many times and the variety of opinions on Alix's mothering style has always been interesting and thought provoking. People have gone back and forth over Alix's personal choices of raising her kids apart from high/low society included, and whether it's manipulative or not. I'm of the opinion; isn't living as a royal child inherently manipulative to some degree? I'm thinking of this more systematically. For example, even without the major security concerns the IF faced, it'd still be inherent for them to live apart from others - for the children, away from kids of their own age - as royalty requires an exalted and carefully controlled image to maintain itself.

(I should mention I'm mostly speaking of OTMA; I know more about them as I just don't have as much interest in Alexei.)

I think it was perfectly correct for Alix to keep her kids away from high society; but, she also didn't dip into a pool of contacts from lower social classes, even though she very much liked "plain people." I blame this precisely on royalty inherently isolating itself from lower classes. The GDs got to, as far as I can tell, infrequently interact with the Rasputin sisters, Gleb and Tatiana Botkin, etc, but not on the basis of creating, in my opinion, much intimacy and closeness. It's true that they had a variety of loving familial relationships, plus courtiers/tutors/sailors who they had great rapport with. However, to me, they didn't have deeply close friends in their own maturity bracket, and mostly lived in the company of adults. Each of us should personally know that, while we may be satisfied in one facet of our social lives (in this case, family), we may feel sadness/loneliness if another is lacking. It's entirely possible to have a great family life but also desire different types of relationships, i.e. close friendships, romance, etc. I just posted this recently, but it seems Anastasia specifically struggled with this: http://forum.alexanderpalace.org/index.php?topic=19109.0. (If the link gets broken, the topic is in the Anastasia subforum called "La Fause Anastasia.")


Offline slhouette

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Re: Alexandra as Empress and Mother
« Reply #291 on: June 14, 2020, 01:49:51 AM »
I'll keep going about monarchy being inherently manipulative, I love this kind of thing lol. To me, as monarchy requires an exalted image to be maintained/hold positive public opinion, children are controlled in order to maintain a specific image. The best example I can think of is marriages. Royalty must marry royalty or it affects the prestige of the dynasties. Buxhoeveden said, in Life and Tragedy, that "the Emperor and Empress did not want their daughters to make marriages de convenance. They wanted them to marry for love, as they themselves had done. On the other hand, the Empress disliked the idea of marriage with commoners. She thought that it tended to weaken the prestige of the Imperial Family, and that the Emperor's daughters had a duty towards their father's position."

 In my opinion, it was controlling of Nicholas and Alix to confine their children to only marrying into a small pool of possible matches. Alix herself fretted over her daughter's futures - but them developing healthy romantic relationships would be 100000% easier if they were allowed to marry outside of their class - especially as OTMA notably got along better with the "plain people," i.e. the Shtandart officers. Remember Olga's crush on Voronov - it'd be an arguably unhealthy relationship given the age/maturity gap. But if they were the same age, it'd still be a match that would never ever be allowed. Is it not controlling and manipulative for a parent to not allow their child to marry who they love (assuming the relationship is healthy, not abusive/controlling itself in any way, etc)?

I really believe Nicholas and Alix would stick to their guns and not give way to letting their daughters marry outside rank. Nicholas himself broke up family ties over morganatic marriages: when GD Paul Alexandrovich married morganatically, he was exiled from Russia, and though he intended to, was forbidden from taking his children Maria and Dmitri with him. At least in Maria Pavlovna's case, she suffered immensely from her father being banished. In my view, it was Paul's literal human right to marry who he wanted. Even if he broke the law against morganatic marriages in the Imperial Family, is that law not inherently unjust, and deserving of being broken? Isn't Nicholas in the wrong for upholding an unjust law? That's my opinion, at least. Not to mention, GD Michael Alexandrovich was exiled, with all his assets frozen, for marrying the woman he loved. Messed up stuff!

Offline slhouette

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Re: Alexandra as Empress and Mother
« Reply #292 on: June 14, 2020, 02:01:11 AM »
OH one more thing, about controlling their children's images. We're all of course familiar that OTMAA were routinely photographed in formal photoshoots. This is undoubtedly as propaganda pieces: the photos were mass produced and sold, for example, as postcards. I was going through some periodical articles cited in Rappaport's The Romanov Sisters - just checking for interesting information that she didn't use - and found a relevant tidbit. The article "The Ill Fated Children of the Tsar" in Scribner's Magazine is by Mikhail Geraschinevsky, who was a patient in M&A's hospital. He records some of his impressions of them. He talks about them showing round their photograph albums, and then states this: "They did not like to pose for photographs. They feared it was for publication, and felt embarrassed about it."

This made me feel uncomfortable: They were embarrassed about their image being sold against their will. Am I crazy or does that not reflect well on N and A.....I feel like it's an invasion of their children's privacy. Would love to hear from others on their opinions; I wish this forum was used as often as it was back in the 2000s! I was just in elementary school then, so I really missed out...

Here's the Scribner's article by the way. You'll have to scroll to page 158 to read the article: https://modjourn.org/issue/bdr478733/

Offline slhouette

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Re: Alexandra as Empress and Mother
« Reply #293 on: June 14, 2020, 02:03:35 AM »
This whole thread is quite old, but I'll voice my thoughts anyways for any readers out there that may benefit. I've read this many times and the variety of opinions on Alix's mothering style has always been interesting and thought provoking. People have gone back and forth over Alix's personal choices of raising her kids apart from high/low society included, and whether it's manipulative or not. I'm of the opinion; isn't living as a royal child inherently manipulative to some degree? I'm thinking of this more systematically. For example, even without the major security concerns the IF faced, it'd still be inherent for them to live apart from others - for the children, away from kids of their own age - as royalty requires an exalted and carefully controlled image to maintain itself.

(I should mention I'm mostly speaking of OTMA; I know more about them as I just don't have as much interest in Alexei.)

I think it was perfectly correct for Alix to keep her kids away from high society; but, she also didn't dip into a pool of contacts from lower social classes, even though she very much liked "plain people." I blame this precisely on royalty inherently isolating itself from lower classes. The GDs got to, as far as I can tell, infrequently interact with the Rasputin sisters, Gleb and Tatiana Botkin, etc, but not on the basis of creating, in my opinion, much intimacy and closeness. It's true that they had a variety of loving familial relationships, plus courtiers/tutors/sailors who they had great rapport with. However, to me, they didn't have deeply close friends in their own maturity bracket, and mostly lived in the company of adults. Each of us should personally know that, while we may be satisfied in one facet of our social lives (in this case, family), we may feel sadness/loneliness if another is lacking. It's entirely possible to have a great family life but also desire different types of relationships, i.e. close friendships, romance, etc. I just posted this recently, but it seems Anastasia specifically struggled with this: http://forum.alexanderpalace.org/index.php?topic=19109.0. (If the link gets broken, the topic is in the Anastasia subforum called "La Fause Anastasia.")

Oh, I messed up. I meant more along the lines of: doesn't living as a royal child inherently mean being manipulated to some degree?