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Topic: Was Alix of Hesse disliked by British royals?  (Read 35514 times)
« on: August 22, 2009, 05:28:13 AM »
Clemence Offline
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I watched the Lost Prince and in the directors comments I believe they said (commenting the famous shoes scene) that Alix had no sympathies in the British royal family, which I find somewhat strange since she was and felt so much English and adored her grandmother and all her family so much. Do you think she was really bad seen by them and could it have origins, before her marriage or after?
« Last Edit: August 24, 2009, 07:27:48 AM by Alixz » Logged

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Reply #1
« on: August 22, 2009, 05:37:49 AM »
RomanovsFan4Ever
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From what I understand, Queen Mary disliked Empress Alexandra, according to her, Alexandra was one of the causes of the revolution in Russia...
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« on: August 23, 2009, 03:56:51 PM »
mcdnab Offline
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without the book in front of me I think it was George who wrote in his diary something along the lines of Alicky had been very stupid but I can't quite remember the exact quote. Certainly the Empress Frederick (her aunt) thought she had become far too imperious, Queen Victoria had warned her to not be too proud and had reminded her of the need to gain the love of her subjects. I don't think there is any evidence of an active dislike anywhere though!
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« on: August 23, 2009, 10:48:37 PM »
sallas21 Offline
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I believe Alexandra went so far as to tell/write Queen Victoria that since Russia was an autocracy... there was no need to earn the love of the people.  Besides, she was under the impression that the "real" Russians loved the royal family without question.
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Reply #4
« on: August 24, 2009, 04:16:15 AM »
CountessKate Offline
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Certainly the Empress Frederick (her aunt) thought she had become far too imperious, Queen Victoria had warned her to not be too proud and had reminded her of the need to gain the love of her subjects.

The Empress Frederick was rather inclined to be critical of her Hesse nieces - they weren't as pretty as they were cracked up to be, etc. etc.  Possibly there was a bit of jealousy at their preferential treatment by Queen Victoria.  Alexandra and she were never particularly close anyway and she may have interpreted a certain reserve as pride.  Queen Victoria's comment about not being too proud was made in the context of the magnificent jewellery Alexandra had received as betrothal and wedding presents as temptations potentially leading to a swelled head, not a personal admonishment.   

Within the British royal family, Alix's exact contemporary was Marie Louise of Schleswig Holstein, who always was a great friend and remained so.  She never said anything about Alexandra being proud or puffed up; her main concern was that Alexandra was prone to introspection and melancholy, and she said to her face that if she was like that when she had nothing to worry her, what would she do when she had real troubles?  Queen Mary and the Wales princesses were in a slightly older age bracket so weren't particular friends - as was natural in those days, when there were sharp divisions between 'girls' and 'young ladies', so you tended to pair up with your agemates - but I've never read of their being particular enemies either.  I would have felt that there would be a certain fellow feeling between Queen Mary and Alexandra as the victims of overbearing and possesive sister mothers-in-law!

While I think 'The lost prince' was mildly interesting, I don't think Poliakoff was particularly insightful about individuals and there was too much 'broad brush' stuff - such as the 'no sympathies' comment - which is not really borne out by contemporary evidence.
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Reply #5
« on: August 24, 2009, 04:28:00 AM »
mcdnab Offline
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Certainly and Nicholas' lack of interest in Princess Margaret of Prussia might well have not helped the Empress Frederick's opinon of Alix. My understanding too was that she tended to be liked and admired by those family members with whom she was of a similar age as you pointed out in your post.
I think Poliakoff was basing his opinions on very little information and certainly it wouldn't be accurate to say there was no sympathy there at all however there were those amongst her wider family who were aware of her faults shall we say. The problem that always struck me with the very minor appearance of the Imperial family was that the image of Alexandra tended to stick with the long held public view of a rather imperious and austere figure with little human sympathy which whatever her faults is very unfair.
It's also interesting to wonder how much the opinions of The Dowager Empress and the Grand Duchess Xenia affected the attitude of the immediate British Royal family towards Alix.
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Reply #6
« on: August 24, 2009, 07:33:14 AM »
Alixz
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Perhaps Queen Alexandra was influenced by Princess Alix turning down Prince Eddy when he proposed.  Queen Alexandra thought that her sons were the most perfect sons ever and would naturally have been surprised and hurt when Alix said no to becoming Eddy's wife.

This in turn might influence Queen Alexandra's daughters in their opinions about Alix of Hesse. 

I know that Queen Victoria accepted Alix's rejection of Prince Eddy and said that it showed a strong mind.

However, I believe that Empress Alexandra was a little too imperious when in 1896 the Imperial Family visited Balmoral and Alix pushed in front of Queen Victoria because Alix was an empress and Victoria was not at that time.
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Reply #7
« on: August 24, 2009, 08:25:39 AM »
Clemence Offline
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Certainly the Empress Frederick (her aunt) thought she had become far too imperious, Queen Victoria had warned her to not be too proud and had reminded her of the need to gain the love of her subjects.

had received as betrothal and wedding presents as temptations potentially leading to a swelled head, not a personal admonishment.  

Within the British royal family, Alix's exact contemporary was Marie Louise of Schleswig Holstein, who always was a great friend and remained so.  She never said anything about Alexandra being proud or puffed up; her main concern was that Alexandra was prone to introspection and melancholy, and she said to her face that if she was like that when she had nothing to worry her, what would she do when she had real troubles?  
While I think 'The lost prince' was mildly interesting, I don't think Poliakoff was particularly insightful about individuals and there was too much 'broad brush' stuff - such as the 'no sympathies' comment - which is not really borne out by contemporary evidence.

But Marie Louise being such a close friend is an important reason to consider her opinion on Alix as biased, the way I see it - and yet she also distinguished that something morbid in Alix's character. But if all others except her grandmother (who always loved her too much), her Nicky (who was madly in loved with her) and a very close childhood friend realised pretty soon what a strange personality she had then it's possible that that it was the impression Alix gave to other royals - don't want to immagine what common people could think of her ...

I think Poliakoff got it right after all. That's why he invented the shoe insident, to show a personality that was very hard to understant and get along with. He was right the way I see it. She was impossible and got worst over the years and the hard times. No sense of reality at all. How sad she ever became an empress.



PS: thanx for correcting the title of the topic.
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« on: August 24, 2009, 01:44:44 PM »
CountessKate Offline
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I've been reading 'The Empress Frederick writes to Sophie' where she writes of a visit to her in 1896 of "Nicky and Alicky.....[who] seemed at their ease, not stiff or ceremonious" and Queen Victoria, who certainly loved Alexandra, but wouldn't remotely put up with any cheek, wrote of Nicholas and Alexandra's visit to Balmoral in the same year that they were "quite unspoilt and unchanged and as dear and simple as ever and as kind as ever". Queen Victoria's lady in waiting Marie Mallet considered at that 1896 visit that Alexandra was "angelic" but "cow-like" because she did not care "for little beyond her husband and her children and cannot rouse herself to reform either society or politics" - hardly an image of a haughty, imperious Empress with whom it was difficult to get along, or whom few in the British royal family liked.


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« on: August 25, 2009, 10:31:18 AM »
Yelena Aleksandrovna Offline
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I didn't know about Alix relationship with her British family, all the posts that you added are very interesting,
how was the relationship with her other cousins (she had very much) and with her Grandmother before she got married, the Queen Victoria,
I knew that she wanted to marry Alix with other man???
« Last Edit: August 26, 2009, 10:40:12 AM by Alixz » Logged


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Reply #10
« on: August 25, 2009, 12:25:27 PM »
RomanovsFan4Ever
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I knew that she wanted to marry Alix with other man???

As already said by Alixz, Alexandra received a marriage proposal by Prince Albert Victor (Eddy), Duke of Clarence (who was suspected of being Jack the ripper Roll Eyes, I'm totally sure that he was not Jack the ripper), but Alexandra refused his proposal.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2009, 12:27:54 PM by RomanovsFan4Ever » Logged
Reply #11
« on: August 25, 2009, 11:14:14 PM »
Grand Duchess Jennifer Offline
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I knew that she wanted to marry Alix with other man???

I read somewhere that Queen Victoria disliked Russians and would have preferred if Alexandra married Eddy, like the others said. I think she wanted Alexandra to be the next Queen of England.
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Reply #12
« on: August 26, 2009, 05:48:59 AM »
mcdnab Offline
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Britain and Russia were both rival Imperial powers throughout the 19th Century - the alliance that tied Russia and Britain together was largely coincidence and down to the entente between Britain and France during the reign of Edward VII (Russia allied with France in the 1890's in response to the end of formal alliances with both Austria and Prussia/Germany aggrevated by the dislike of both Alexander III and his wife for the German Kaiser a feeling shared by Nicholas and Alix but less so by George V and Queen Mary ).
Alexander III had a dislike for Victoria and a long standing antipathy to Britain (largely due to British policy in supporting the collapsing Ottoman empire and her ambitions in Afghanistan, in British eyes Russia was a threat to her ambitions in both the Middle East and Asia) however that doesn't seem to have been shared with his children although Nicholas II and his sisters were quite strongly opposed to the Boer War and had little sympathy with the British (but then neither did most of Europe at the time).
Victoria did write quite warmly to Marie Feodrovna on the death of Alexander III and the women corresponded and met in the South of France on at least one occassion in the 1890's. Victoria was often surprised and admiring of the closeness of the Danish royal family however she thought Queen Louise a great "intriguer". The general anti prussian/german views of the Danish royal family which dated to the war that followed Christian IX's accession over Shleswig Holstein had passed through the family to include the Russian Imperial family and to a lesser extent the Wales' family of Edward VII as well - this jarred with Queen Victoria's open affection for Germany (the place of her dear Albert's birth) and her numerous family connections there.
Victoria's comment on Alix's refusal of Eddy was that she was impressed by her willingness to forgoe such a great position - she was fond of all her Hesse grandchildren and liked Alix's father. Her written concern about the engagement to Nicholas was that she was more concerned about the safety of the country (remember it was only 12 years since the murder of Alexander II) but she added that her concern was not on account of the person because she liked Nicholas very much.
Eddy's passion for Alix was very shortlived he moved swiftly on to Helene of Orleans (ironically Marie F's preferred option for Nicholas) and then when that faltered, on the Pope and her father's refusal to allow her to convert to Anglicanism, to Princess May who was another of her relations that Victoria had a good opinion of.

Incidentally the suggestion that he might have been "jack" have been largely discounted and owe far more the imagination of writers and film makers than historical fact!
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Reply #13
« on: August 26, 2009, 06:46:42 PM »
wildone Offline
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Queen Victoria's lady in waiting Marie Mallet considered at that 1896 visit that Alexandra was "angelic" but "cow-like" because she did not care "for little beyond her husband and her children and cannot rouse herself to reform either society or politics" - hardly an image of a haughty, imperious Empress with whom it was difficult to get along, or whom few in the British royal family liked.

Where did that whole idea that QV thought Alix had changed come from, then?  It doesn't seem like she could have both found her haughty and "unspoilt" in the same visit.  Is it possible that QV's words about Alix being haughty were falsely attributed -- originated by someone else and attributed to QV?
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Reply #14
« on: August 26, 2009, 11:07:44 PM »
Terence Offline
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Queen Victoria's lady in waiting Marie Mallet considered at that 1896 visit that Alexandra was "angelic" but "cow-like" because she did not care "for little beyond her husband and her children and cannot rouse herself to reform either society or politics" - hardly an image of a haughty, imperious Empress with whom it was difficult to get along, or whom few in the British royal family liked.

Where did that whole idea that QV thought Alix had changed come from, then?  It doesn't seem like she could have both found her haughty and "unspoilt" in the same visit.  Is it possible that QV's words about Alix being haughty were falsely attributed -- originated by someone else and attributed to QV?

Somewhere on here, I recall reading about the visit where at some point Alexandra was given precedence over her grandmother.  As I recall it was a minor occasion and at the instance of Victoria.  It would be interesting if someone can locate the closest to a firsthand version of exactly what went on.

T
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