Author Topic: Elizabeth (daughter of Ernie)  (Read 249682 times)

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Offline bookworm8571

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Re: Elizabeth (daughter of Ernie)
« Reply #30 on: April 24, 2004, 06:44:35 PM »
   Your quote from Ernie's memoirs doesn't sound too different to me than what I originally quoted from the book. Did he write the memoirs in German? If so, Elizabeth's quote is translated into English from the German and the meaning is essentially the same -- "Papa loves me. Mama says she loves me, but I don't think she really does."  The sentiment is a sad one for a 7- or 8-year-old to have and it's even more sad if her father didn't correct it.

 As to whether it's true that Ernest was a homosexual --it's hard to know, isn't it? None of us were there or privy to the private conversations of the people involved. That is the kind of story that everyone involved would certainly have lied about because it was so scandalous. However, saying that the assumption that Ernie was homosexual is automatically as false as the assumption that the Tsar was a cold-blooded murderer or that Alexandra was Rasputin's lover seems wrong to me.

  We have quotes from memoirs and interviews with people who knew Nicholas and Alexandra intimately that all attest to the true relationship between Alexandra and Rasputin. Therefore we know, as well as we can ever know, that Alexandra was NOT Rasputin's lover and she viewed him as a holy man who could heal her son.

  Can you cite similar primary sources that refute the story that Ernest was homosexual? The biography that I quoted from apparently cited a conversation between Ducky herself and her niece Ileana in which Ducky herself made the claim that Ernest was gay and slept with the servant boys. It apparently came directly from Ileana. In the footnotes of that book there's a reference to an interview with "Mother Alexandra." I'm not sure, but I think that may well have been the religious name chosen by Ileana when she took the veil.

  So, while not everything we read is true, I'm inclined to believe that there is some truth to the story about Ernie.

  As to when Alexandra notified Victoria Melita of Elizabeth's illness -- I think I would want to know as soon as the child showed signs of serious illness that there was something wrong. Alexandra apparently waited to notify Victoria Melita.

Offline Thierry

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Re: Elizabeth (daughter of Ernie)
« Reply #31 on: April 25, 2004, 05:49:59 AM »
Quote
I read for example the books by Marie zu Erbach Schönberg, the sister of Ernst's brother-in-law. She knew him very well and she did not mention about homosexuality.
Grand Duchess Eleonore did never do it either.


Dear Thomas,

Do you really think that Marie Erbach or Onor would have written that their brother-in-law / husband was gay and that he slept with the stable-boys ?!

By the way, I do not think it is a shame that Ernie could have been gay or bisexual !  :)

Offline bookworm8571

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Re: Elizabeth (daughter of Ernie)
« Reply #32 on: April 25, 2004, 09:21:15 AM »
   And why would Ernest's second wife say anything if Ernest was homosexual or bisexual? Ducky apparently didn't say anything in public about it either and told her niece and sister something only under extreme circumstances. Homosexuality simply was not discussed in that era. It was a shameful thing.

  Onor, Ernest's second wife, may have been better able to tolerate the situation than Ducky was. She was close to thirty when they married -- not a seventeen-year-old girl as Ducky was -- and she apparently had a quite different temperament. Some women do have very happy marriages with gay husbands. Maybe Onor was one of them. Ernie certainly comes across as an attractive personality in many ways. Onor may have loved him and he may have loved her in his own way.

  I think it's naive to protest that it can't possibly be true. Maybe it isn't. But I see no reason for Ileana of Romania to make up such a story about Ernest of Hesse's "disgusting nature" in 1982. And, if Marie merely took Ducky's side, there was no reason for her to make up a story that Ernest was homosexual. They wouldn't have destroyed either Ernie's or Ducky's reputation, and indeed Ileana never uttered a word about it until her mother, aunt and Ernest of Hesse (and his immediate family) were all long dead.

  For that matter, I think it was rather unkind of Ernest to write about Elizabeth's attitude towards her mother in his memoirs at a point when Victoria Melita was still alive.

Offline bookworm8571

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Re: Elizabeth (daughter of Ernie)
« Reply #33 on: April 25, 2004, 09:26:12 AM »
As to who's to blame for the breakup of the marriage -- isn't it clear that they shouldn't have married in the first place? In today's Catholic Church they'd easily qualify for an annulment because it wasn't a true marriage at all. Neither of them were emotionally or physically ready for such a step. I think it's admirable that they ended it, even though they had to face such disapproval from their family and society.

  I do think Ernest should have notified Victoria Melita sooner of their daughter's illness. The fact that he and Alexandra delayed, against the doctor's recommendation, is cited in several books I've read.

Offline bookworm8571

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Re: Elizabeth (daughter of Ernie)
« Reply #34 on: April 25, 2004, 03:15:22 PM »
If they ignored the doctor when he first told them to call Ducky, I think that does put a certain amount of blame on them. Maybe she still wouldn't have reached Elizabeth in time, but she would have had a better chance to make it there.

Offline bookworm8571

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Re: Elizabeth (daughter of Ernie)
« Reply #35 on: April 25, 2004, 03:36:22 PM »
I think it's very likely they were a better match than Ernest and Ducky, but it's also reasonable to assume that she was more willing to make accommodations for his sexuality than Ducky was.

I think the source for the story about Ernest's sexuality is a believable one -- Ducky told her sister, Marie, and her niece, Ileana, something about her marriage in private. Ileana wrote her own memoirs and was interviewed when she was an old woman in 1982 and apparently spoke of it then.

As to what was or was not written about Grand Duke Sergei -- I'm less familiar with that. I have my doubts that his wife Ella ever wrote or referred to his sexuality. Marie Pavlovna Junior may have referred obliquely to it in her memoirs, but I haven't read them for some time.

Offline bookworm8571

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Re: Elizabeth (daughter of Ernie)
« Reply #36 on: April 25, 2004, 03:50:57 PM »
I believe I did put the blame on Ernie, along with Nicholas and Alexandra. But in the biographies I've read, Alexandra is the one who's specifically mentioned as ignoring the doctor's advice to summon Elizabeth's mother. Massie's Nicholas and Alexandra and Sullivan's Fatal Passion both said as much.

  Still, I think the father who was beside himself with worry over his daughter can probably be cut a little more slack than the girl's aunt. Surely Alexandra could have said, "Let's call Ducky just in case." I think she put off calling Ducky because she couldn't stand the woman and didn't want her there.

  I don't think I wrote anywhere that either Ducky or Ernest were saints. It's clear that they were two human beings with faults and virtues who made any number of mistakes and were pressured into a marriage they weren't ready for. Ducky told her niece Ernest was gay, which surely contributed to the problem. Their daughter was caught in the middle and suffered at the last by not having her divorced mother with her -- perhaps in part because her father's family disliked her mother and blamed her unfairly for divorcing her father.  

Offline BobAtchison

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Re: Elizabeth (daughter of Ernie)
« Reply #37 on: April 25, 2004, 03:51:51 PM »
Alexander Mikhailovich certainly did a number on Sergei in his memoirs.

Considering that man's affairs and scandals I am surprized he feels so free attacking others.  Of course his hatred of Alix is legendary.

Bob

Offline bookworm8571

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Re: Elizabeth (daughter of Ernie)
« Reply #38 on: April 25, 2004, 03:58:28 PM »
   I've read that Sergei was homosexual in biographies, but I don't remember the source of it. It probably was common knowledge in some quarters.

 They certainly wrote about unsavory family secrets in veiled terms. Ducky's brother Alfred had venereal disease. The Empress Frederick wrote to her daughter Sophie that Alfred had a "sickness" and she didn't know any more about it, but it was certainly unpleasant to think of. In the same letter she mentioned his carousing.

  According to Sullivan, Alfred also supposedly shot himself after his mother refused to acknowledge his marriage to an unsuitable Catholic girl. He lingered for weeks. His sisters saw him and were told it was tuberculosis. Then he was sent away by train, against doctor's orders, and died of his wounds a week later. The official story is still that he died of TB. Somehow the truth leaked out, maybe through letters or private conversations, or the like. The official story about Ernie may have been quite different from what the family said in private or wrote down.


Offline bookworm8571

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Re: Elizabeth (daughter of Ernie)
« Reply #39 on: April 25, 2004, 04:08:19 PM »
Alexander Mikhailovitch -- Xenia's husband Sandro? I think they all needed money after the Revolution. I suppose he had to talk to make it look good to the publishers. It doesn't mean he was incorrect, necessarily.

Offline Penny_Wilson

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Re: Elizabeth (daughter of Ernie)
« Reply #40 on: April 26, 2004, 09:55:31 AM »
Meriel Buchanan wrote an account of the circumstances surrounding Elisabeth's death.  Of course, she wasn't in Poland, but because of her father's position in Hesse and later in Russia, she knew Ducky and Ernie quite well.  I think her mother was quite a good friend of Ducky's during her Darmstadt years. Anyway -- in MB's there doesn't seem to have been any rancor from Ducky over "not being called in time."

And Miss Eagar herself -- who WAS there at Elizabeth's bedside -- left an extensive memoir of the time, including the fact that no-one knew quite what was the matter with Elizabeth.  She woke up the morning after Olga's birthday with a sore throat, but soon felt better.  So she got up and dressed, and then felt ill again.  So the doctor was called, and nothing more than the effects of the previous day's excitement was suspected. So she spent the day in bed, and seemed fine when her father and Alexandra came to see  her in the evening.  So the grown-ups went out to see a play.  It was only on their return that things took a turn for the worse:  The theater party went to see the children and visited for a while.  Elizabeth was standing on her bed, and then suddenly fell unconscious -- this was when it became obvious that something more serious than excitement was going on.  Elizabeth received caffeine injections to revive her, and a local specialist was called in.   It was in the very early hours of the morning that Ducky was sent for -- allegedly, according to Miss Eagar, after Elizabeth asked for her, though this might be a piece of dramatic  embroidery on Miss Eagar's part because she claims that Elizabeth knew she was dying -- and the telegram reached her at breakfast.  So there was no delay in sending for Ducky.  Not more than three or four hours could have passed from the return of the theater party and the sending of the telegram, which may itself have been delayed here and there, because some telegraph offices closed overnight.

Penny
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Offline Ilana

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Re: Elizabeth (daughter of Ernie)
« Reply #41 on: April 29, 2004, 12:47:10 PM »
Hi Thomas,

It was because I was on a small tour of royal lovers led by Charlotte Zeepvat, and she was able to get us into Wolfsgarten through her connections with Dr Franz, who was our guide in Darmstadt.  A never-to-be-forgotten tour.

I just remember being able to see the memorial after we were in the Prince Georg Palais (I think, I think... don't have my notes)... the palais with all the porcelain, and then from there we walked to the Elisabeth Memorial.

So long and thanks for all the fish

Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Elizabeth (daughter of Ernie)
« Reply #42 on: April 30, 2004, 12:12:13 PM »
I came across this little bit of information:

Ella to Queen Victoria, 3 August 1894
(writing from Ilinskoe)
"About the wedding nothing seems to be
settled. Ducky will I suppose not be able to come and
that deranges all plans. I am so very glad she is
expecting a Baby if only it could be a Boy the idea of
our branch of the Hessian family dying out made me so
sad.

Ella"

I thought it was interesting to read about Ducky's pregnancy (I'm presuming this is with Elizabeth but haven't done the exact date checking) but also bittersweet knowing how young Elizabeth would live to be but also the last line about "their" branch of the family dying out. Little could she have known.... :(
They also serve who only stand and wait--John Milton
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Offline Thierry

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Re: Elizabeth (daughter of Ernie)
« Reply #43 on: May 01, 2004, 11:35:48 AM »
Quote
I thought it was interesting to read about Ducky's pregnancy (I'm presuming this is with Elizabeth but haven't done the exact date checking)


It was certainly with Elizabeth, as she was born on March 11, 1895.

Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Elizabeth (daughter of Ernie)
« Reply #44 on: May 15, 2004, 11:22:57 PM »
I've never heard of this portrait and would love to see a copy of it. I wonder, since it was of mother & child if she would've taken it following the divorce? After Elizabeth's death, I would imagine she'd either a) destroy it or put it away because of the memories plus starting a "new" family b) have given it to her mother or c) because of the memories, keep it displayed in her new home. If it's the latter, when she escaped Russia it might've been very hard to transport (unless it was a miniature) and thus was probably left behind and was lost.  This is all just supposition of course.
They also serve who only stand and wait--John Milton
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