Author Topic: Olga's crushes: Pavel Voronov, Dmitri Shakh-Bagov, Nikolai, N.P., AKSH, dear S, etc.  (Read 160620 times)

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Offline Katharina

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Who was Nikolai, Olga Nikolaevna’s first love?

From Livadia Olga wrote to Rasputin on November 28, 1909:
“Do you remember what you told me about Nikolai? I should not force it but if you knew how difficult it is not to see him … It is terrible! Please forgive me, I know that this is not good, my dear friend.”

About a year later Olga, aged 15, wrote another letter:
“My precious friend, I remember so often your visits when you talked about God. I miss you so for I have nobody to whom I can confide my worries – and there are so many of them. I suffer a lot. Nikolai drives me crazy. When I visit Sophia Cathedral and see him I could climb up the walls, I tremble from head to foot. I love him. I am ready to throw myself at him. You advised me to be cautious. But how can I be as I am unable to show self-control? – We often see Ania. Each time I hope to meet you there, my precious friend. If I only could see you soon and ask you for advice on account of Nikolai. Pray for me […]”

I quote from a German book so I guess my translation is not literally correct.

Iliodor later made these letters public. I’m not quite sure if he actually stole it (as Rasputin stated).

By the way another detail from Edvard Radzinski’s book “The Last Tsar”:
“Olga wore a picture of Saint Nicholas beneath her heart.”
According to Radzinski this is a sign of Olga’s deep love for her father but maybe she thought of someone else. What do you think about it?

Why did she see Nikolai (only?) at the cathedral?

Offline LisaDavidson

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Olga likely had several young men she was interested in. During the War, she wrote about "Metia, the Golden One" and there were also indications she was interested in Crown Prince Alexander of Serbia.

None of these went beyond a very innocent phase - so I'm not sure "first love" is a suitable designation.

Offline 3710

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It is probably about one of the officers on Standart (can't remember the surname). There were a couple of publications about him in Russian press recently. He was 'advised' to marry someone else(whole Tsar's family, Olga included was present) survived the Revolution and is burried in the US.
Galina

Offline Katharina

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Dear Lisa,
can you tell me more about Olga's interest in "Metia, the Golden One" and Crown Prince Alexander of Serbia? What are your sources? Are there any books containing letters and diary entries of the Grand Duchesses you recommend?

What do you think about certain allusions to Olga and Dmitri Pavlovitch?

Offline Katharina

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In her letter No. 200 (Jan. 28th 1916) Alexandra talks about Miechen's proposal of a marriage between Olga and Boris: http://www.alexanderpalace.org/letterstsaritsa/january16.html

"Oh, could but our children be equally blessed in their married lives - the idea of Boris is too unsympathetic & the child would, I feel convinced, never agree to marry him & I should perfectly well understand her. Only never let Miechen guess other thoughts have filled the 'child's head & heart - those are a young girls holy secrets wh. other must not know of, it would terribly hurt Olga, who is so susceptible."

Do you know of Olga's <other thoughts>? Any suggestions?

Offline BeenaBobba

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Dear Katharina,

Olga's Mitya is mentioned in The Romanovs:  Love, Power, Tragedy.  The book quotes her diary in some entries when she mentioned him.  From this, we know that he was in the military.  I also highly doubt she was referring to the Grand Duke Dimitry.  This is because she mentions Mitya's mother - and how she looked a lot like Mitya.  Grand Duke Dimitry's mother was dead, so she couldn't have been referring to him.

Olga's possible interest in Crown Prince Alexander is mentioned briefly in Romanov Autumn: Stories from the Last Century of Imperial Russia.  All that is said is that Princess Yelena noted some chemistry between the two.

Hope this helps.  I wish I could help more, but I don't know too much about this.

Take care,

Jennifer Benjamin

Offline BeenaBobba

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Dear 3710,

When you said this officer married (with the Imperial family present) and was buried in the U.S., are you referring to Nikolai or Mitya?

Olga mentions that Mitya was sometimes away with his regiment.  Forgive me for my ignorance on Russian military rank, but did Naval officers have regiments?  

Take care,

Jennifer Benjamin

Offline Sarai

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Speaking of the Grand Duchesses' crushes, Maria also had what could be considered a "first love." Many here may have heard of a soldier named Nickolai "Kolya" Dmitrievich Demenkov, whom I believe she first met at Mogilev in 1915, when she was a sixteen year old girl just starting to blossom into womanhood. I find it amusing to read that she would sometimes jokingly sign her letters to her father as "Mrs. Kolya Demenkov" (something that girls with crushes do even today, referring to themselves as Mrs. so-and-so) and wait on a balcony to watch him pass by. On this site you can even read a few letters to her father which include references to him, including this one I found from September 5, 1915: "...We are drinking tea now. We had a very nice walk. N.D. (Nickolai Dmitrievich Demenkov - an officer of the Guards' Crew. Maria was in love with him) was on duty and we talked nicely through the open window." I have read that the feelings were apparently mutual and that the young man knew of her crush, so it was no secret to him. This probably would not have ended up as anything serious due to Kolya's lower rank, but nevertheless I find it sad that this innocent flirtation, which is so natural a part of a young woman's life, was not allowed to continue, due to purely external circumstances beyond their control. It was unnaturally cut short, and Maria was forced to stop dreaming about her crush and face the harsh realities of her rapidly disintegrating world, which made her mature faster than she would have under ordinary conditions. I can only wonder what happened to this man, if he was killed in the war or if he survived; if it was the latter, what interesting memories he could have had to share, having briefly been the object of adoration of the Tsar's daughter!

Five years before that serious crush, Maria had apparently developed a childish crush on someone else, who remains a mystery as far as I know. The first reference alluding to this dates from the time she was just eleven years old. Here is an interesting letter from her mother, dated from 1910, which I found on livadia.org:

"I had long ago noticed that you were sad, but did not ask because one does not like it when others ask...Try not to let your thoughts dwell too much on him, that's what our Friend said...I know he likes you as a little sister, and would like to help you not to care too much, because he knows you, a little Grand Duchess, must not care for him so...Be brave and cheer up and don't let your thoughts dwell so much upon him. It's not good and makes you yet more sad."

I like the tender way that the mother comforts the child, not ridiculing her for this innocent crush nor harshly admonishing her for daring to like someone beneath her rank; instead, she states that "a little Grand Duchess must not care for him so" - thus still making her point, but in a gentle way, and she seems more concerned about her daughter's sad state of mind than anything else.

My last point on this topic concerns something that I found very touching - not a crush that Maria had on someone, but rather a lifelong crush someone else had on her. That is, of course, that of her cousin, Prince Louis Battenburg, a.k.a. Louis Mountbatten (his mother was Alexandra's oldest sister Victoria). He was apparently madly in love with her, and always kept her picture by his bedside until he was assasinated in 1979. How very touching it is that he kept alive the memory of the beautiful young girl that he had loved in his youth - a memory of another time - even after many years when she had been long dead. Yet she was kept eternally young and beautiful and happy in his memories and in his photographs, until his own tragic end.

Offline BeenaBobba

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I wonder if there are any pictures of Kolya Demenkov.  

GALINA ALEXANDER

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Dear Jennifer
to be honest I do not remember his name at all. Officers in the navy would normally be mentioned with their ship's name, there were no regiments as such.

God bless those men mentioned here for not trying to sell their stories(hm, doubt there was much to say...).

Why no one mentiones Crown Prince of Romania here? He was one of very few ''official'' candidates.

Offline Jane

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I recall that both Grand Duchess Olga and Prince Carol of Romania (was he crown prince at this time?  I know his parents' coronation wasn't until after the war, but there was a gap of several years after old King Carol I had died) were thoroughly underwhelmed by the thought of a proposed marriage between them.  His later marital escapades certainly underscored whatever trepidation Olga may have felt about the notion!

Offline Helen_Azar

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Sarai, that's a very interesting footnote about Lord Mountbatten and Grand Duchess Maria, him having her picture until the day he died as an old man! You're right, that is very sad and certainly brings humanity to people we often forget are human like everyone else.... I never heard about this. Thanks!

Offline Katharina

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Roman Romanov describes the bad impression Carol gave during his visit in spring 1914.

According to him it was Carol's aunt Grand Duchess Victoria Feodorovna who tried to make a match between Olga and Prince Carol (at that time a crown prince's son as his father became King of Romania October 10th, 1914).
Thus she hoped to improve her relationship with Alexandra. The tsarina was both her cousin and her former sister-in-law but she didn't like Ducky at least since the latter's divorce.

Olga however showed a profound aversion right from the beginning so Carol's first meeting with her became rather disastrous.

Roman appreciated Olga's decision very much. He first met Carol at the Mariinsky's. After taking off Carol did not go upstairs in a proper manner as you would expect of a future king. He crawled on all fours barking like a dog. No one laughed. Roman felt ashamed because a guard had to watch that spectacle.

RobMoshein

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Here is Spiridovitch's view on the subject of Olga and Carol of Romania (from "Les Dernieres Annees de la Court a Tsarskoe Selo" Vol 2 Ch. 19 "The Year 1914":

The fact that the two oldest Grand Duchesses, Olga and Tatiana Nicholaiovna, had reached their age of majority, gave rise to the idea in the heads of some of our diplomats that one of them should be married to the Crown Prince of Rumania.
     The father and son had both come to Petersburg at the beginning of that year; however the young man was badly brought up and little cultivated, and had a mop of uncombed hair, and so greatly displeased not only the Grand Duchesses, but the Empress herself.
     After their departure, they teased Olga quite a lot about that subject, and this always put her in a bad mood.
     The rumors about an imminent marriage of Grand Duchess Olga were firmly going around in the Crimea, after it was learned that Their Majesties were going to go to Rumania.
     Olga Nicholaiovna would not be separated from her family.  "I shall never leave Russia" she said to one of those near to her.  "I shall never marry anyone who is not Orthodox" she declared that summer to one of the Officers of the Standardt.
     There were not just mere phrases.  One needed only look here in the face to see that she breathed sincerity, look in her clear and pure eyes to understand that as she pronounced these words, that the was saying them with the most intimate and sincere conviction, that her decision in these things was most firm.
     With all her being, with all her thoughts, Olga Nicholaiovna was a young Russian girl.  More than that, he had realized the ideal of the young Russian girls and she was quite conscious of it.
     The persons in the Tsar's entourage had heard for themselves all of the rumors about the eventual marriage, and everyone was of the opinion  that such a thing would not do for the daughter of a Tsar of Russia.  Everyone wished to see the Grand Duchesses marry Russians and stay in Russia.
...It was most unpleasant for us to listen to the absurd conversations of the Rumanians about the occasion of the visit of the Russian sovereigns.  Our diplomat, who had done much to obtain a transfer to this post, committed a misstep which was rather humiliating for the Imperial Family.  He had listened to the last idiot in Constanza who had told him that the Tsar was bringing his daughters to Rumania to marry them there.  Everyone among us was furious at our diplomats and were even more vexed at those storytellers who were repeating that story at that time about the marriage of one of our Grand Duchesses to the son of the Crown Prince, even though the matter had been definitely resolved, and was negative.  All those who knew the truth, however, were glad for it.
...
Empress Alexandra Feodrovna was most upset about the stay in Constanza.  She said that our ambassador, Kosell-Poklevski, had arranged everything there stupidly.

Janet Whitcomb

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From what I understand, Olga's first fairly serious object of affection was the officer on the Standart.  As previous messages have noted, he married, with N & A and OTMAA in attendance, and that was that.

A match was proposed between Olga and Prince Carol of Romania, but neither one seemed interested.  However, for formality's sake, visits were made, ending with the voyage to Constanza, during which OTMA made a pact to get sunburned so they would, collectively, repulse any marriage offers.  The visit lasted a day, then everyone sailed back to Russia . . . and soon after the war started.

Mitya was the next--and very probably last--romance in Olga's life.  A letter to her Aunt Olga suggests that Olga was considering marriage to a commoner at the time prior to her father's imprisonment.