Author Topic: Olga's crushes: Pavel Voronov, Dmitri Shakh-Bagov, Nikolai, N.P., AKSH, dear S, etc.  (Read 159090 times)

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Offline Sarai

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Janet,
What does that letter say, or where can we find it published? It sounds interesting to me.

Janet Whitcomb

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I apologize for not getting back to your question sooner; my book was on loan!

Check p. 114 of The Fall of the Romanovs.  On June 21, 1917, Olga Nicholievna writes to her Aunt Olga and speaks of wanting to have had a "heart-to-heart" when they last saw each other.  She also passes on a kiss to her and to Mitia.

From what I have read, Aunt Olga's husband--a commoner--was not a Mitia, nor was her infant son a Mitia. ("Mitia" being the nickname for Dmitri; Olga's cousin Dmitri was in exile in Iran and nowhere near the Crimea, where Aunt Olga and many other Romanovs were being held.)

Yes, I realize that I am extrapolating . . . but--to mix metaphors!--history is often a detective search that involves putting various puzzle pieces together.  And this letter, along with material in other reputable sources, looks to me like a possible fit!

Offline Sarai

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


Olga also received an official proposal from Grand Duke Vladimir's son Boris. The proposal was made in the name of both him and his mother, GD Marie Pavlovna. Having read a bit about him in another thread, though, it seems as if he wasn't all that interested in Olga at all, and his mother was the one who pushed for the match.

Alix did not think him to be a suitable match for her daughter, and wrote to Nicholas, "What an awful set his wife would be dragged into...intrigues without end, fast manners and conversations...a half-worn, blasé...man of 38 to a pure fresh girl 18 years his junior and live in a house in which many a woman has 'shared' his life! An inexperienced girl would suffer terribly to have her husband 4-5th hand - or more!" Because of this refusal, which only made sense considering these assertions, Marie Pavlovna bore a great hatred towards the Empress, even once stating that she must be "annihilated." (from Massie's Nicholas and Alexandra, pg. 389).

Offline Katia

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Anna Vyrubova mentions in her memoirs that Grand Duchess Olga was (as a little girl) interested in Bulgarian prince Boris, who had given her some jewelry as present...

She also tells that many officers fell in love with GD Tatiana, who was tall and slender & beautiful and romantic. She mentions Nikolai Rodionov, who admired 15-year-old Tatiana and was playing tennis and rowing a boat and walking with her. Later in Livadia (1911-1912) Tatiana had a crush on count Vorontsov, and there was some kind of rivalry between Anna (who found count Vorontsov attractive as well!) and Tatiana, they were even fighting about the place next to him at the dinner table!

Offline Guinastasia

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In addition to the Romanovs, I'm also fascinated by the Karadjordjevics-especially Aleksandar of Yugoslavia!

Rebecca West mentions in her epic, Black Lamb, Grey Falcon that he was apparently in love with one of the grand duchesses and that was why he was so averse to the Bolsheviks.  (Probably exaggeration, somewhat).

Also in the biography of the king by Stephen Graham, it mentions that the grand duchess once gave him a ring he cherished. (it doesn't mention her by name, though)

He and his sister were frequent visitors to St. Petersburg when they were young so it's possible there was a small flirtation.  (And I believe he DID ask Nicholas in 1913 if he could propose to Olga-but the Balkan Wars and 1914 interupted that).

And didn't Yelena mention it in her memoirs?  That Olga once "blushed" when Yelena mentioned that Alexander asked after her?  

Now, whether or not she seriously entertained the idea of marrying him is unknown.  (Personally, I think they would have been a good couple-they both tended to be shy and bookish-which was oftern interpreted as being standoffish).

Also, another candidate for Olga or Tatiana was the Prince of Wales-later the Duke of Windsor.  


May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Offline Michelle

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I'm curious about if any soldier, Standart officer, prince, etc. had a crush on Olga Nikolaevna.  She was certainly a beauty.  Does anybody have an inkling about crushes on Olga?   Thanks : ) :)

Offline Janet_W.

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An article was published in Russia re: the romance between Olga and Standart officer Paul Voronov; according to Olga's diary, his feelings for her were reciprocol. I have a copy of the article, but it is of course in Russian . . . my friend who lives in Ukraine sent the article to me and translated some of the more important portions, but I don't have a complete word-for-word translation.

Offline AGRBear

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I'd like to know more about this young man.

Also,  was there ever any talk about whom her mother and father wanted Olga to marry?  

AGRBear
"What is true by lamplight is not always true by sunlight."

Joubert, Pensees, No. 152

Offline Michelle

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Thanks everyone for all of your replies!  I'm certainly intrigued by this romance between Olga and an officer of the Standart.  Janet W, do you know when this romance took place and how old Olga was?  

He must've been enraptured by her mysterious looking beauty! ;D
« Last Edit: May 15, 2009, 09:41:37 AM by Sarushka »

Offline Janet_W.

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The romance between Lt. Paul Alexeyevich Voronov and Grand Duchess Olga took place in 1913. She was 17 years of age, about to turn 18, and he was about nine years older.  That year, in fact, she and her family celebrated her birthday on board the Standart. Unfortunately, evidence points to the possibility that the romance might have been discouraged by Olga's parents, once they saw it was becoming more than just a crush. I've included additional information about this episode in Olga's life in the about-to-be-posted article about Olga. Hope you enjoy reading it!

I consider myself very fortunate to have a friend in Yalta who realized I would be interested in such an article, then translated the most salient points and sent it on to me.  His name is Vladimir and if you should ever visit Yalta and wish to have a well-spoken and enthusiastic tour guide, he would be the person!

Offline Michelle

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Much appreciated Janet!  Thank you!  And I can't wait for your article to come out!! :D

I wonder how it started?  Or on whose initiative?  Maybe this officer was just struck by her and 'went after her' so to speak (lol !)  How romantic (sigh). . . . . :)

Offline Alice

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"Also,  was there ever any talk about whom her mother and father wanted Olga to marry?"

Yes. If I am not mistaken, the Imperial Family visited Romania (someone else, I hope, can confirm the year of this visit) as there was murmurs that Olga may marry the Crown Prince of Romania. Olga, however, was not impressed with him and her parents did not press her.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Alice »

Sunny

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The catalog from At Home with the Last Tsar and his Family (thank you, Melissa  :)) contains a poignant chapter titled: Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna and Lieutenant Paul Woronoff.

From the catalog:

..." Was Paul Woronoff aware of Olga Nikolaevna's love for him, and were those feelings reciprocated? Of course they were. Otherwise how can one explain the joy which appeared on his face whenever he met Olga, or his constant invitations to her to dance? Beginning in December, 1913 coded entries appear in Olga's diaries. Decoding these entries has not been difficult: "My tender darling smiled," she wrote, and my dear sweet friend rejoiced.""
"It seems impossible to determine whether Woronoff's engagement to Olga Kleinmichael, maid of honor to her Imperial Majesty, was a decisive step toward resolution of the matter taken by the officer himself or by the Grand Duchess' most august parents. It is possible that Nicholas and Alexandra had noticed their daughter's special affection for Woronoff and hastened to separate them to avoid gossip and scandal. The venerable Countess Kleinmichael was tactfully given to understand that the Emporer and Empress would not object to a marriage between the naval Lieutenant and the Countess' daughter, all the more so since the young people liked one another."
"On December 19, 1913, the Imperial family returned from the Crimea to Tsarkoye Selo. Bitter days now began for Olga Nikolaevna, the experience and feelings of which she could confide only to her diary and then only in cryptic language: "I learned", she wrote, "that S. is to marry Olga Kleinmichaell. May the Lord grant happiness to him, my beloved. It is painful and sad. May he be happy."
..."Immediately after the wedding, Paul Woronoff was granted a two-month leave, and afterwards was assigned as watch commander on the Imperial yacht "Alexandria". They would now see one another rarely, and soon the Great War would separate them forever."

"But she continued to love her "S.," concealing her feelings and confiding them to her diary in concise entries: "Saw S.!" she wrote, "Thanks be to God!" "Save him, O Lord!" And perhaps as she remembered the best days of her girlhood, Olga saw once again that hall at Livadia, and the night she had danced with Paul Woronoff..."

Sunny

Offline Lisa

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Olga and Voronov...

« Last Edit: May 15, 2009, 09:44:06 AM by Sarushka »

Offline Janet_W.

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Sunny, I would agree with everything the catalog article states, except that the diary entries re: Voronov begin much sooner than December 1913. Of course, I am only working with what my friend translated for me. But I trust his work, and given that Olga's November birthday party took place onboard the Standart, and that the family had visited Livadia and been onboard the Standart earlier that year--when Voronov was very much in evidence--I think it's safe to assume that Olga and Paul had enjoyed their mutual flirtation-turned-into-romance for some time before the engagement and subsequent marriage of Paul and the other Olga became a reality.

Those of us who have read the correspondence in A Lifelong Passion know that Alexandra already had written a tender but firm note to Marie re: her infatuation for an officer, reminding her that although it was not bad to feel that way, he had his life to live, and she had hers. (I am sorry not to quote this letter exactly and provide an exact citation; my copy of Passion is on loan!) We know that Nicholas and Alexandra had at one time thought Dmitri might be a possible match for Olga--and, as a grand duke, he would have been of far more appropriate "station" than a Standart officer--but of course they backed off when it became apparent that Dmitri was living a rather scandalous life.  

The issue of their children's eventual marriages had, early on, been a "backburner" concern for both parents--and, as their daughters matured, would naturally have been an issue of growing concern, especially to Alexandra. (Most of us have read quotes to that effect!) Every parent has these worries, to a degree, but for Nicholas and Alexandra--and particularly Alexandra, who was very much the granddaughter of Queen Victoria--this issue was exceptionally complex. Any suitors for her daughters must be of a particular station, of course. Also, both Alix and Nicky did not want her daughters to marry without love. And then there was the issue of personal morality, which brings to mind the infamous attempt to match Olga with Grand Duke Boris! Had the war and revolution not intervened, the matchmaking for these girls undoubtedly would have been as complex as that re: Prince Charles of England, half a century (and more) later!

The other speculation, of course, is that if the Romanov dynasty had survived the war, the girls might well have been allowed a broader field of choice for marriage partners. (Consider the fact that Aunt Olga was allowed to divorce and marry her "commoner.") And if the dynasty hadn't survived the war and revolution, but the family had successfully escaped to another European country, the choices for OTMA would have been even more numerous . . . unless the reservations Queen Marie of Romania had re: the hemophillia issue might have influenced other matchmaking families as well.

The game of "if" is intriguing to play, of course!