Author Topic: Princess Zenaida and Count Felix - parents of Felix-jr, their family life  (Read 45180 times)

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Offline Annie

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Yeah, Old Felix seemed to hang out with military types and Felix the more 'bohemian' types. There are parts of Lost Splendor where he mentions his Dad spending a great deal of time in Moscow with associates, and that when they traveled they always drug along 'an entourage of people with whom my father could not live without' but he, Nicholas and Zenaida would rather have left at home. Whatever, if he was unfaithful, with a man, a woman, a cross dresser, it must have been awful for Zenaida. She had her choice of so many prospects, including KR, and could have had most any man in Russia, even Europe. Her father was disappointed with her choice because Old Felix was not that high of a station (of course being about 4-5 months pregnant, she pretty much had to marry him then!)

Offline Greg_King

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Alright, let me do some looking-I think I bookmarked the link somewhere; I know I copied the text out to possibly use and cite but ended up not doing so, so it may take me a day or so to find this again.  I can't vouch for the veracity of the story, but, like everyone above, I remember being shocked and thinking, "Oh, boy..."

Greg King

Offline Greg_King

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OK, here are the basics.  This information comes from:

http://www.gay.ru/english/history/moscow/18611917.htm

and a paper by Professor Dan Healey called "The Appearance of a Homosexual Subculture in Imperial Russia."

In 1912, a 17 year old peasant named Paul arrived in Moscow and soon became a male prostitute.  At this time, the senior Prince Felix was Governor-General, and apparently the two met and began an affair.  The Prince eventually appointed Paul to his Household to avoid any talk, although there were apparently two other male servants, a cook, and a coachman, that the Prince kept on staff in Moscow as sexual partners as well.

The information from which this is drawn is given in Note 17 at the bottom of the page; here it makes it clear that this is the father of Prince Felix Yusupov who is being discussed.

Again, I don't know more about it than this-and don't have reference to the materials cited in the footnote to check it out.

Greg King

james_h

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I'm sorry this is too funny...I have to say something.

Sooo Zenaide appears to have been surrounded by homosexuals/bisexuals
1. Her husband Felix
2. Her son felix
3. Would be husband number 1....The Grand Duke "K.R"
4 Grand Duke Sergei Romanov

Infact the only men in her life who appear not to have been, are her father and eldest son.

Offline Antonio_P.Caballer

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Thanks so much for the link Greg,

Itīs quite amazing the way we study someoneīs life and just to learn that we know, in fact, so little about him/her....


Quote
Her father was disappointed with her choice because Old Felix was not that high of a station (of course being about 4-5 months pregnant, she pretty much had to marry him then!)


And now, iīm again surprised and beginning to think i know nothing about the Yusupovs! Annie, do you mean that Zenaida was already pregnant when she married Felix???


Offline Martyn

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Do we find it surprising that Felix senior made a distinction between his own essentially private conduct and Felix jnr's very public conduct?  It would seem from Greg's post that Felix snr went to some lengths to ensure that his activities were contained within his household, probably for two reasons.  Firstly the convenience factor and secondly that it might possibly minimise gossip/blackmail.  I'm not overlooking the servant gossip potential but as Robert rightly pointed out in another post in the Ernie thread, people at this level of society lived very public lives - even their domestic lives were conducted under the watchful eyes of servants.
From what Greg has told us, Felix snr selected his partners from the lower orders of society which would seem to indicate that they fulfilled a function in much the same way as the rest of his household; the fact that they were made members of his establishmment is not simply coincidence.
Who knows what Zenaida made of it, if indeed she knew.  We must remember that whist we live in a cynical and wordly society theirs was equally so; women at that level of society were almost schooled to accept that their husbands may not remain faithful.  After all Zenaida may have found this situation more tolerable than Alexandra Iosifovna's; the latter was faced not just with repeated infidelity but also a the close proximity of a second family.
Felix jnr's behaviour is another matter.  Let us not forget that many men who are cross dressers are in fact heterosexual.  Do we have evidence to suggest that this became part of his lifestyle or did it cease after his parents were made aware of his nocturnal activities?
At any rate both men ultimately conformed to the standards that were expected from them; they both maintained marriages and produced children.  I would hazard a guess that Felix snr's behaviour had a strong element of conformity despite its seeming lack of it; a military background, the company of men and male pursuits, sexual activity that is seemingly purely physical and relegated to below stairs - all the time maintaining face publicly and presenting a very masculine profile to Society.
Felix jnr however seemed to want to kick over the traces of acceptable behaviour and flout the conventions of Society - that was the issue that caused the conflict with his father.  
'For a galant spirit there can never be defeat'....Wallis Windsor

'The important things is not what they think of me, but what I think of them.'......QV

Offline ashanti01

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Thanks so much for the link Greg,

Itīs quite amazing the way we study someoneīs life and just to learn that we know, in fact, so little about him/her....



And now, iīm again surprised and beginning to think i know nothing about the Yusupovs! Annie, do you mean that Zenaida was already pregnant when she married Felix???



She was pregnant when she married Felix!!!??? :o

Offline Annie

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Quote
Originally posted by Antonio

 Annie, do you mean that Zenaida was already pregnant when she married Felix???
 


Quote

She was pregnant when she married Felix!!!??? :o


I've never seen this written, but I noticed that they were married on April 9, 1882, and her son Nicholas was born in July of that same year.

Their silver (25th) wedding anniversary was in April 1907.

When the duel was mentioned in Lost Splendor, Felix stated that Zenaida was increasingly worried because Nicholas was only a few days shy of his 26th birthday, and for several generations in her family only one heir of each generation had survived past age 25. Nicholas died in the summer of 1908, just before reaching 26. 1882+26=1908.

Also, Felix mentions many times a 5 year age difference between he and his brother, 1887-5= 1882, so there, you do the math, it all adds up.

She was not only pregnant but likely starting to show at the time of her wedding, perhaps this is to account for the small ceremony at the chapel of the Chevelier Guards instead of the much bigger extravaganza one might expect for the richest and most beautiful girl in all of Russia.

I can only image, but won't bother to speculate, on how long it took her to admit her condition to her father and what a difficult situation that must have been for both of them. So while it is often boasted that she was 'determined to choose her own husband' and her father, who had 'imagined his daughter on a throne' reluctantly agreed to the match, there seems to have been more to it than that.

We learn something new about those alleged stuffy and virtuous Victorians all the time ;)


« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Annie »

Offline Antonio_P.Caballer

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Thanks so much for your explanation, Annie, youīre very observative :).

I had also all of that information about birth date and marriage date but have never even thought about checking such a thing.

Itīs not that i consider it that bad to be pregnant before marriage, but in those times of constant chaperons and overprotected fiercely guarded nurseries i wonder how she could find, or even think of, the oportunity to have so "intimate relations" with her fiancee....PLEASE, i wish someone could explain that to me... ???
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Antonio_P.Caballer »

Offline ashanti01

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WOW ANNIE!!
So when the math is done, the only real answer is that she was expecting at the time of the wedding.
It would explain the simple wedding.
How would she find the time to be alone with Felix? I mean I thought back then you had someone with you when you were courting to prevent anything from happening.

Offline Annie

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Then why would Felix himself say he was born in the summer of 1882? ??? Why would he say he was a few days before his 26th birthday in July 1908 if he wasn't? Why would he mention a five year age difference if it were only 4? I'd have to go with Felix first as a source, it's his brother. I would have to see a tombstone or a birth record to be sure. Someone later may have 'doctored' the date later to spare the family shame in some sources. There were a lot of 'preemies' in olden times because people were hiding something. (this even happened once in my family, also with someone born in the 1880's) but I believe Felix would know the true age of his own brother. And also, as we discussed, a pregnancy would account for a quickie small ceremony too.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Annie »

Offline ashanti01

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You have to think that is you are one of the wealthiest familys in the Russia, and your only surving daughter is getting married, you would be throwing a huge event.
But they didn't they had a small simple wedding in a small chapel.

I think I'll go searching for some info on Nicholas such as his birthdate, but like Annie said it could have easily have been changed to save face

Offline Annie

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Ashanti, I would be interested in your results, I would not be surprised if there were conflicting results. The only book I ever saw his years of life typed in said 1882-1908, but I based his age on Felix's detailed accounts in Lost Splendor. He would have no reason to falsify it.

I don't know where the 1883 date came from and I'd probably believe the tombstone if anyone has a pic. As I said before, a relative of mine had his birthdate falsified to cover the fact that his mother was 2 months preggers when she was married (which was a disgrace back then even in America) I also know someone personally right now who for years lied about her anniversary to her kids, saying it was a year earlier to conceal the fact that her first child was born 'out of wedlock' but she admitted the truth later. Other ways of covering these 'scandals' in the past were claiming the baby was 'premature' and also sending a teenage girl away to stay with an aunt or grandmother and having the relative 'claim' the baby when it was born so the girl could go back home with an untarnished rep on the marriage market.

I do think the small wedding is the biggest giveway something was going on.


here is the passage from Lost Splendor that states the duel was within days of Nicholas' 26th birthday:

"I had a talk with your brother this evening," she said; "all the rumors of a duel are pure inventions; everything has been arranged. You can't imagine how happy I am. I dreaded the duel, because Nicholas will be twenty-six in a few days."

It was then that I heard of the strange fate which it appears has pursued the Yussupov family since its earliest days: in each generation all the heirs but one die before reaching the age of twenty-six. My mother had had four sons, of whom only Nicholas and I survived. She had never ceased to fear for each of us in turn. The threat of a duel coinciding with the approach of my brother's twenty-sixth birthday had made her anxiety almost unbearable.


This is straight from Felix himself, unless he is lying, but why would he? ???
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Annie »

Offline ashanti01

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At this point I think its very key that records of Nicholas birth be found, I have not been able to find any real inforamation on him, only on Felix.

Can anyone help with this?

Offline Annie

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She may have been afraid to tell until it was obvious, it happens, even today. ("Papa Don't Preach") She was a 20 year old girl with a lot of high expectations and if it were true it must have been a real dilemma. I agree it is like a nosey tabloid story and I do feel bad gossiping about Zenaida, she is a favorite of mine. But I would never have speculated if the dates did not point to it they way they did. I'm not making this up, I'm going by dates given by Felix himself.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Annie »