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Topic: Was Alix of Hesse disliked by British royals?  (Read 41408 times)
Reply #30
« on: September 15, 2009, 06:54:19 AM »
PAVLOV Offline
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Well we can argue for ever. She may not have been entirely responsible, but she certainly contributed a great deal to what happened to Russia, and really did not have any conception of her position and responsibilities in Russia. I think being Royal is all about marketing oneself, and creating the right" image" and to be seen doing the right things. 
A couple of things besides the Rasputin relationship, which was highly irregular, spring to mind. A number of them are not her fault, but if she had the intelligence, and listened to good advice at the time, and was less narrow minded, arrogant and prudish, perhaps she may have  "softened the blow", or at least have changed the course of events.

First BIG mistake :

The French ambassadors ball on the night of the coronation. Against all odds Nicholas and Alexandra attended the ball, full well knowing that thousands of people had been killed. What a public relations disaster for them.
The Khodynka celebration went on for days. Many of the bodies were shoved under the huge pavillion which was erected for the royal family to sit on during the festivities. Nicholas and Alexandra literally sat on top of the bodies when they attended the festivities. Despite trying to down play the tragic events, many people found out about this and were horrified and blamed the Imperial Family for the disaster.

Marie Feodorovna, did not celebrate anything, but was visiting the hospitals at the very time that Nicholas and Alexandra were partying at the ball.
That is the difference between the two Empresses. The British Royal family would never have behaved in this fashion.

Also she was very influenced by Queen Victoria, who was also very reclusive, especially in the period after Alberts death. Queen Victoria was very judgemental of people, prudish, and arrogant in many ways.
I think this all rubbed off on Alexandra, and certainly influenced her attitude later on. She applied all she had learnt, and which she believed was the correct way to conduct oneself, in her position. How could Queen Victoria be wrong? Who would ever question Queen Victoria ?

I also think she had a natural arrogance ( the worst personality trait a member of any Royal family can have ), and used this to mask her obvious feelings of inferiority after she became Empress. She was no match for the many stimulating, cultured and intellectual people who made up Russian Society. So she critised them for being corrupt, and unsuitable for her family to socialise with. An easy way of solving her problem.

If one analizes the social structure of Russia before the revolution, as created by Peter the Great, one soon realises that Alexandra made an enormous mistake by alienating the aristocracy. The whole system was designed in order for the Tsar to have a continuous interaction with his people, be it the aristocracy or the peasants. They were all integral to the survival of the monarchy. One cannot exclude one entire strata of society, treat them with disdain, or marginalise them. My opinion is that this was exactly what Alexandra did, she broke a very important link in the chain. The peasants still believed in their "little Father" the tsar, because they were ignorant. The aristocracy and the intellectuals did not.
The Russian revolution came from the top and not from the bottom.

The British royals have always realised the importance of getting on with all levels of society, because their survival depended on it. i think the British Royals at the time, although horrified at what happened, where not surprised at the outcome.

I think they disliked Alexandra because she was one of them, and they expected her to behave in a certain way, and she did not. She let the side down. Queen Mary was particularly verbal about people who shirked their Royal duties. Even her own children did not escape her criticism, at the merest suggestion of not wanting to perform a duty. 

Yes she did not have as long a time as Queen Mary to aclimatise to her new country, and she was a foreigner. So what ? She never listened to any good advice either. Even towards the end she did not listen. In 1917 she made hardly any effort to fulfill her royal duties, so what difference would it have made ?

Also, she deserted St Petersburg, because she and her husband were afraid of being killed by the revolutionaries. On the eve of the 1905 revolution, when she found out about the famous march on the Winter Palace, she was running around hysterically begging her husband to leave. And they did, in a closed carriage, that very evening.

The British Royals would never have left, they even sat out the bombing during the second world war.

I dont think the British Royal Family had much respect for the manner in which Alexandra conducted her life, and thought her unsuited for the position. So did the Russian Royal family actually.
Poor woman, she was in the wrong country at the wrong time, doing everything wrong.       

       

 

 

 
       
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Reply #31
« on: September 21, 2009, 06:55:11 AM »
mcdnab Offline
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Just a couple of points about the last post and the previous one - as I said earlier in the thread I don't believe there is any exisiting contemporary evidence that Alexandra Feodorovna was disliked by her British relations. I believe that what little evidence we have suggests that a) Queen Victoria was not greatly enamoured over Alex's decision to marry Nicholas firstly because she knew "Minny didn't wish it" and more importantly because Victoria had a distrust of Russia and the lack of political stability in the country, that b) Victoria had at some point advised Alex about gaining the love of her subjects which Alex had dismissed because Russia was different, that is pretty much all there is.

George V certainly noted that Nicky and Alicky had been foolish shall we say but I don't think it's any indication of a strong personal dislike and we do know that Queen Alexandra and Princess Victoria were deeply distressed by subsequent events and that distress I suspect was shared by the rest of the family.

Much of the surviving actual criticism of Alexandra comes from the wider Romanov family - there are letters from Missy (Marie Queen of Roumania first cousin to Nicholas and Alexandra) and Victoria Melita (Grand Duchess Kyril first cousin again to both N and A as well as being A's former sister in law) that are critical of her but neither show any particular hatred - both were writing to Grand Duchess Xenia.

To be perfectly truthful Alexandra's fault and failings were also those of Nicholas (and indirectly his parents) but I don't believe that is particularly relevant to a discussion of how Alexandra was regarded by her British cousins.

A few points about the below post:

If you are referring to Queen Mary (consort of George V) then although born a Princess of Teck she was brought up and entirely educated in England (her mother was first cousin to Queen Victoria and a direct male line descendant of George III - her father was a morganatic descendant of the Kings of Wurttemburg who were it not for his birth might well have succeeded to that throne - after his marriage he made his home in England where his wife had an income and was tremendously popular with the British public - they overspent and were continually poor.)

Mary (May to the family) had her own problems with her in laws as Alexandra had although Queen Victoria was very fond of her - she was looked down on due to her father's birth and her mother's weight - she was also far more intelligent and artistic than her Wales' cousins who whatever their attributes couldn't have been described as particularly intelligenet or artistic. She developed the patience of a saint and managed to cope.

You mentioned the British royal family and the Second World War - in fact despite the common misconception - King George VI and Queen Elizabeth rarely spent a night in London during the blitz - returned to the relative safety of Windsor Castle each evening although at times the Royal Standard continued to be flown over Buckingham Palace implying the sovereign was still present.

The British royals have always realised the importance of getting on with all levels of society, because their survival depended on it. i think the British Royals at the time, although horrified at what happened, where not surprised at the outcome.

I think they disliked Alexandra because she was one of them, and they expected her to behave in a certain way, and she did not. She let the side down. Queen Mary was particularly verbal about people who shirked their Royal duties. Even her own children did not escape her criticism, at the merest suggestion of not wanting to perform a duty. 

Yes she did not have as long a time as Queen Mary to aclimatise to her new country, and she was a foreigner. So what ? She never listened to any good advice either. Even towards the end she did not listen. In 1917 she made hardly any effort to fulfill her royal duties, so what difference would it have made ?

Also, she deserted St Petersburg, because she and her husband were afraid of being killed by the revolutionaries. On the eve of the 1905 revolution, when she found out about the famous march on the Winter Palace, she was running around hysterically begging her husband to leave. And they did, in a closed carriage, that very evening.

The British Royals would never have left, they even sat out the bombing during the second world war.

I dont think the British Royal Family had much respect for the manner in which Alexandra conducted her life, and thought her unsuited for the position. So did the Russian Royal family actually.
Poor woman, she was in the wrong country at the wrong time, doing everything wrong.       

       

 

 

 
       
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Reply #32
« on: September 21, 2009, 09:02:17 AM »
Alixz
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We always hear that Alexandra was disliked by most of her contemporaries.  However, family being what it is back then as well as today, I am sure that her royal relations saw her differently than most people.

Queen Victoria loved Alix like her own daughter and Alix spent much of her childhood in England with her grandmother.

As to how Queen Mary and King George V felt, they were looking through dynastic as well as family ties.  Most everyone comments that neither George now Mary said anything bad about N&A after the murder.  What would you expect?  That they would shout "Good!"  from the roof tops?

The murder of a disposed monarch and his family would bring into focus the fact that no one was safe and George and Mary had to know that could be their fate if they were not prudent.

No matter how much people disliked Alix, I am sure her death at the hands of the Bolsheviks was a shock and I doubt that anyone would have put something negative in their diary about it.

Personally, I have said that Alix was a least one can short of a six pack in most of her decisions, but I would not glory in her death.  I might try to avoid her in life, but I would certainly feel a sadness in the manner of her dying.

I would imagine that most of the British Royal Family felt about the same.

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Reply #33
« on: September 24, 2009, 08:27:46 AM »
Kalafrana Offline
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One can be fond of someone but exasperated by their behaviour, particularly if they go on making the same mistakes many times over. Equally, one can believe oneself to have little in common with a person, and not actively seek their company, without actively disliking them.

One impression I have of Alexandra is that she was difficult to get to know, and, because of her health if nothing else, didn't spend much time in walking, riding and similar activities. In addition, she didn't have much in the way of artistic interests, and was inclined to be moralistic and censorious. Not therefore all that surprising that many of her relations had little in common with her, though it would be going a bit far to say that they disliked her.

I must look at my copy of Princess Marie Louise's book and see what she has to say. Marie Louise herself sounds a very pleasant and down to earth soul (she spent part of the Fist World War living at the YWCA!), who travelled quite extensively, was fond of music, and the sort of person her relations turned to in a crisis. In fact, George V entrusted her with the very difficullt job of breaking the news of Ekaterinberg to Victoria of Battenberg.
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Reply #34
« on: October 05, 2009, 07:36:17 AM »
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I agree that it maybe was difficult to know Alexandra, I think she had a very serious character.

Marie Louise liked her cousin so far as I remember reading her book.
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Reply #35
« on: October 06, 2009, 01:55:04 AM »
Kalafrana Offline
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Teddy

Yes, I've had a look at my copy of Marie Louise's book since my last post, and she was obviously fond of her cousin (Marie Louise seems to have been fond of most people). However, she was by no means blind to people's faults, and tries to be judicious about major historical figures (she was obviously a lady with a good brain and a mind of her own within the limits imposed by convention). Also, I think, she did not see Alexandra and the rest of the family in the later stages - from 1910 or so onwards - when Rasputin's influence was at its greatest.

Kalafrana
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Reply #36
« on: October 06, 2009, 02:56:55 AM »
Teddy Offline
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Teddy

Yes, I've had a look at my copy of Marie Louise's book since my last post, and she was obviously fond of her cousin (Marie Louise seems to have been fond of most people). However, she was by no means blind to people's faults, and tries to be judicious about major historical figures (she was obviously a lady with a good brain and a mind of her own within the limits imposed by convention). Also, I think, she did not see Alexandra and the rest of the family in the later stages - from 1910 or so onwards - when Rasputin's influence was at its greatest.

Kalafrana

I can agree on some level what you are saying about Marie Louise. She had a very lovely, but ex centric character. She loved a gin-tonic one or two more, if you may believe Mr. Golden in his book. Marie Louise was indeed nice to everyone.

The influence of Rasputin on The Empress Alexandra I've heard was not so big as it seems. But you must know Kalafrana, that I never would blame any mother who tries to save her sick child from an early death, trough a peasant as Rasputin. If I have the time I send you a PM with a quote from the book A Romanov Diary, where GD Marie G explained her cousin by marriage character and a quote from Prince Nicholas of Greece book. Then you may understand her personality.
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Reply #37
« on: October 07, 2009, 06:30:03 AM »
Kalafrana Offline
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Teddy

Thank you, but I have to disagree with your view that one should never blame a mother who acts in what she considers to be the interests of her sick child. I am not a parent, so have to be careful on this point, but there is a distinct difference between what a parent thinks is best for the child, and what is, objectively, best for the child. That is before you bring in the interests of other people involved, which , in Nicholas and Alexandra's case, meant the entire Russian nation. Alexandra's obsession with Rasputin and his 'power' to 'heal' Alexei, had the most dreadful consequences, though they were not, of course, the only cause of disaster.

A successful ruler needs to be able to put aside personal feelings where necessary. We will never known what might have happened had George V allowed Nicholas and family asylum in Britain, but the king was absolutely correct to put the interests of his own country and monarchy before personal ties. Of course, the ultimate result was appalling, but that the Bolsheviks would come to power and then murder the entire family was not in contemplation at the time the king made his decision. Presumably he and his advisors were working on the basis that they would stay in the relatively benign hands of the Provisional Government and in reasonable safety.

I would be most interested to see the source you mention.
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Reply #38
« on: October 07, 2009, 10:58:30 AM »
imperial angel Offline
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I'd also be interested in those quotes from those books, Teddy. I had never read Marie G's book before but I just ordered it from interlibrary loan since you mentioned it. I've never read the Nicholas of Greece book either.
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Reply #39
« on: December 17, 2009, 01:00:49 PM »
Clemence Offline
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from Helen Rappaport, Ekaterinburg, p.148-149 (in the GB edition) that I just finished:

'' The problem was Alexandra: King George disliked her and had no qualms in stating that he held her ''largely responsible for the present state of chaos that exists in Russia''.
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Reply #40
« on: October 17, 2011, 01:34:36 PM »
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After Alexandra was arrested did a message not arrive from the "Queen of England" asking after the health of "the ex-Empress"? I can't recall where I read that.

Interestingly Queen Alexandra wrote to George V in 1917 that the death of Rasputin was "only regretted by poor dear Alicky who might have ruined the whole future of Russia though his influence" So it appears Queen Alexandra thought of her fondly. She went on to add that "Alicky thinks herself like their Empress Catherine"
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Reply #41
« on: October 17, 2011, 02:05:31 PM »
Alixz
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Unfortunately, though quotes could be taken either way.  Especially the second two about Rasputin and thinking of herself like Catherine the Great.   Those quotes could be taken as a negative view of Alexandra and the way she acted and reacted.
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Reply #42
« on: October 17, 2011, 02:10:23 PM »
Eddie_uk Offline
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Well I guess it's down to interpretation. I interpret that as affection for the Empress on Queen Alexandra's part. I wouldn't refer to someone I disliked as "poor dear..." But I see your point.
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Reply #43
« on: October 17, 2011, 02:24:39 PM »
Alixz
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I see yours too, but the "poor dear" could have been a way of saying that the "poor dear" was just - out there.  As in quite off her rockers.

However I would think that calling her a poor dear after her arrest would indicate that she felt bad about what was going on and how much Alix might be suffering.
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Reply #44
« on: October 18, 2011, 12:30:34 AM »
feodorovna Offline
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I read on one post that Minnie and Alexander, when they first learned of Nicky's interest in Alix, that she was of too little importance in the heirachy of princesses to be a suitable bride for their son. Had Alix known this, it would not be surprising for the shy girl to hide behind arrogance as a woman. As Pavlov states so eruditely, in an earlier post, it is to Queen Victoria we must turn to learn how the child Alix became the adult Alix, and we can see how very different was the QUEEN from the woman. I believe that the QUEEN was all -and more-that Pavlov said of her, but it didn't just happen. The girl who walked alone for the first time in eighteen years, into a room full of ancient worthys who proclaimed her Queen, was I imagine, scared witless, but managed to hide it behind her new facade and continued to practice it until she became the ultimate Imperial Imperatrix, however, the diffident girl remained just beneath the surface. All her life Victoria displayed that fascinating duality of nature so often shown in Geminians and whilst the QUeen was above all, the woman enjoyed cosy intimacies and appeared to be more naturally relaxed with those who had little or no social standing. How much less Queenlike was it to remind her Grandaughter not to get proud when she displayed engagement gifts? I believe that all her life Alix emulated what she had seen displayed by Victoria-she had no other frame of reference. For the most part, history condemns Alexandra, but if we look at the private Alicky we see a very different personality, not just with her family but with people who wll come to have small importance in the annals of history. Here we see kind, caring, selfless generosity of spirit. How sad that too few saw that side of her. Did the BRF dislike her-I guess the answer to that depends on how they, as individuals, treated her and how she responded to them.
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