Author Topic: Elizabeth (daughter of Ernie)  (Read 258129 times)

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Laurie Toth

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Elizabeth (daughter of Ernie)
« on: March 31, 2004, 05:25:16 PM »
 I find the story of little Elizabeth - the daughter of Ernie and Ducky so tragic and sad.  Is there a book written about her or more info?? Do the archives in Darmstadt have any of her things, ie: clothing, toys, schoolwork,diaries, etc.??

Janet Whitcomb

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Re: Elizabeth (daughter of Ernie)
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2004, 05:35:50 PM »
I agree, Laurie--I would also like to learn more about little Elizabeth.  The dual bio of Victoria and Ernie has some information, but perhaps more exists. As you may have discovered via this website or elsewhere, the Grand Duchess Olga Nicholievna and Elizabeth were playmates, and her death came as a terrible shock to Olga.  Added to that, of course, is the tragedy of Elizabeth being the product of an unhappy marriage--and one that, rather than being hushed up, became known as such, and eventuated in divorce.  A rarity for those times, and it cannot have have failed to leave its mark on the little girl.

Offline Louise

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Re: Elizabeth (daughter of Ernie)
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2004, 05:40:54 PM »
I have just read that this boards very own Penny Wilson and Greg King are working on a biography of GD Ernest of Hesse. I'm sure that they will include the sunshine of his life, Elizabeth.

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Offline Jane

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Re: Elizabeth (daughter of Ernie)
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2004, 05:48:42 PM »
I can't really add much beyond what Janet and Louise have indicated, Laurie.  There are two biographies of Elisabeth's mother, Victoria Melita, that I know of, and of course you are probably already aware of both of them: John van der Kiste's "Princess Victoria Melita" and Michael John Sullivan's "A Fatal Passion."  Little Elisabeth always appears, in photos I've seen of her, to be such a lovely little girl, and I am sure had she survived into adulthood, she would have continued the line of beautiful Hessian princesses.  I hope you are able to find out more information on her.

Jane

Janet Whitcomb

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Re: Elizabeth (daughter of Ernie)
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2004, 05:58:40 PM »
Actually, I meant dual bio of Victoria and Kyril.

Also, didn't know about van der Kiste's bio of Victoria--thank you,  Jane!

Offline Louise

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Re: Elizabeth (daughter of Ernie)
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2004, 06:06:43 PM »
Ditto on the thank you about the bio of "Ducky" by van der Kiste. Was there ever any resolution or theory on how she came to be called "Ducky"?

Louise
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Offline Jane

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Re: Elizabeth (daughter of Ernie)
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2004, 06:35:04 PM »
I am still at a loss about how Ducky got her nickname!  

I haven't yet read the Van der Kiste book, it was in my latest Amazon shipment ($ cha-ching for Nick, Greg, and Penny, too $), so I will let everyone know if he sheds any light on the mystery after I receive/read it. The Sullivan biography didn't have any information (that I recall).  To heck with DNA results, etc...what I want to know is how did Ducky come by her nickname?

Jane

Offline Louise

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Re: Elizabeth (daughter of Ernie)
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2004, 06:40:29 PM »
It cracks me up all the neat family nicknames in the royal families of Europe. Nelly 1 & 2, Baby Bee, Ducky, Affie, Pitz, Nix, and the list goes on.

Louise
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Offline Jane

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Re: Elizabeth (daughter of Ernie)
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2004, 06:52:35 PM »
Oh yes!!!  Me three!

And I love the Battenberg brothers (Hessians, bless 'em so we're in the right folder  :D)--Liko, Sandro, Franzjos!  I read that Princes Alexander and Henry of Battenberg had an Italian nanny that called them Alessandro and Enrico, respectively, and "Liko" was the resulting bowdlerized nursery version.  

We are all compendiums of "useless" knowledge here.  Hurrah for us!

Jane

P. Kleinpenning

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Re: Elizabeth (daughter of Ernie)
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2004, 02:12:44 AM »
If you're looking for something on Elisabeth, you might find the following book interesting:
"Es war einmal" (Once upon a time...) by Georgina Freiin von Rotsmann, illustrated by Joseph Maria Olbrich, with a substantial epilogue by Carl Benno Heller. I have a copy published by Verlag zur Megede in Darmstadt in 1983. It's a fairy tale situated at the small play house (especially built for Elizabeth, if I'm correct) in the park of Schloss Wolfsgarten near Darmstadt. The park is opened to the public once a year - in May, I believe. (Hey, that makes a nice outing next month!) And if you're there, you could of course also visit Elizabeth's grave at the Rosenhoehe.

P. Kleinpenning

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Re: Elizabeth (daughter of Ernie)
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2004, 02:59:51 AM »
I assume you've already read "Erinnertes", the reminiscences Ernie wrote down for his boys. My copy was published by Eduard Roether Verlag in 1983 in Darmstadt. It has just one page on Elisabeth, but it is of course nice to have Ernie's own words on her. If you're looking for more books on Elisabeth, you might consider contacting Buchhandlung Schlapp (bookshop), Schulstrasse 5, Darmstadt. They may be willing to state what books they have on her.

Offline Ilana

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Re: Elizabeth (daughter of Ernie)
« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2004, 12:09:05 PM »
I was lucky enough to be guided around Wolfsgarten by Moritz von Hessen, and saw that lovely playhouse.  It is very sweet, as, frankly, is the entire house and property.  One of the senses one gets in walking around Darmstadt is that they really loved little Elizabeth, and were truly devastated at her death.  Her memorial in one of the Palais parks (can't remember the name) is completely poignant... it gives you a feeling that it happened just yesterday.

And, there is still resentment of Ducky!
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Ilana »
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Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Elizabeth (daughter of Ernie)
« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2004, 11:55:09 PM »
In one of the more recent issues of Majesty magazine (the one with Sophie Wessex and her new daughter on the cover) has a pretty decent article on Elisabeth. There isn't much new information, but there are quite a few charming photos (including one with her cousins Olga and Tatiana) and one of the marble angel Ernie had dedicated to her.
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Offline Penny_Wilson

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Re: Elizabeth (daughter of Ernie)
« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2004, 09:37:39 PM »
That's my article on Elisabeth in Majesty.  She's rather a pet subject of mine -- and I was lucky enough to get to see her personal photo albums when I was at the Staatsarchiv in Darmstadt in the summer of 2000.  At that point in time, the archivists were only just beginning to archive the personal items of the Grand Ducal family that had arrived at the Staatsarchiv from Wolfsgarten in the wake of Princess Margaret's death.

We were, of course, researching Alexandra's early life, and the whole Anastasia issue, but I had asked Professor Franz about Elisabeth during the private interview that we had with him -- just as an aside, as we had been talking about Ernie and Anastasia.

A little later that day, when we were in the reading room going through some stuff, Prof. Franz arrived with an armload of "treats" for us -- wiring plans of the Neues Palais, which showed the floorplan that Greg had been interested in seeing, and Elizabeth's photo albums and postcard albums for me.  I couldn't tell you where to find them today in terms of call-numbers, as they were unarchived then, but I know that they are somewhere in the Staatsarchiv.

I learned quite a bit about her, for all that she only lived eight years -- and I look forward to including everything I know in our bio of Ernst-Ludwig, because she was so very important to his story.

There are loads of memorials to her in and around Darmstadt, one of which was raised right after her death by the children of Darmstadt, and is in the little park right being the Staatsarchiv building on the Karolinenplatz.  We were unfortunately unable to photograph it, because it was absolutely pouring with rain on our last day there, which was when we had planned on doing a lot of photography.  Wouldn't you know it?  Murphy's Law in action...  ::)

Edited to add: The Staatsarchiv had nothing about Sucky in their library until I handed over my copy of Sullivan's A Fatal Passion.  That always makes me smile -- that I made such a little contribution to poor Ducky's memory there...  :-*
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Penny_Wilson »
"Don't do anything by half. If you love someone, love them with all your soul. When you go to work, work your ass off. When you hate someone, hate them until it hurts."  -- A Piece of Good Advice

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P. Kleinpenning

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Re: Elizabeth (daughter of Ernie)
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2004, 06:21:41 AM »
According to Manfred Knodt, in his biography of Ernst Ludwig, Ernst Ludwig didn't want Elisabeth's jewellery to be used by anyone else. He had them incorporated in a chalice, a bible cover and a "Ampel" (my knowledge of German fails me here). The chalice was adorned with eight crosses and two birds and the text "Zum Preis Gottes meines Kindes Schmuck - Elisabeth - Ernst Ludwig". And in the Bible: "Als ewiges Andenken an meine geliebte Tochter Elisabeth vermache ich sie meinem Hessischen Haus. Sie ist nur an Karfreitag und sonst zu bestimmten Festtagen zu benutzen. Geschrieben zu Darmstadt Ostern 1904". The Bible is probably still in the possession of the Stadtkirche in Darmstadt.

Knodt also quotes a poem by Stefan George in memoriam Elisabeth, published in "Der Siebente Ring":

Durch schauervolle auch der seelen ferne fliegt
Des kindes trauer und des gartengangs gedenk
Der voll war von versteckten kindes anmut-lachen -
Dem nun verklungnen - kommt sie zu dem leeren haus.
Sie kann nicht mehr als tränen giessen über dich
Betrübteste der hände die mit einzigem recht
Zur klage bebt! und flüstern: Ist ein ding der welt
Noch trauriger als eines jungen traumes tod?