Author Topic: Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovitch, his family and life, Part II  (Read 34202 times)

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Offline Marie Valerie

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Re: Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovitch, his family and life, Part II
« Reply #15 on: November 24, 2012, 08:59:54 AM »

Where there no plans to get Mikhail Alexandrovitch a german princess as a wife? There were so many of them..

Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovitch, his family and life, Part II
« Reply #16 on: November 24, 2012, 11:49:48 AM »
Maybe because of Empress Marie's antipathy? There were a couple rumors about the Hanover princesses--probably unfounded as they were first cousins. (Though that didn't stop him from romancing Beatrice Coburg) Most of the more 'serious' rumors involved Princess Patricia of Connaught who would've made him an admirable wife. There were also earlier rumors linking him to her sister Margaret.

I believe there was one newspaper report involving Duchess Cecile of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. She would've made a good consort as she was the daughter of Grand Duchess Anastasia so she had the Romanov connection. I wouldn't have been surprised if Miechen had ever proposed this. :)
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Offline Marie Valerie

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Re: Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovitch, his family and life, Part II
« Reply #17 on: November 24, 2012, 12:27:18 PM »
You mean Dagmar put her personal feelings before the reputation and survival of the imperial house?

Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovitch, his family and life, Part II
« Reply #18 on: November 24, 2012, 02:13:36 PM »
No, just that she may have not preferred a German Princess and, for a long time, there wasn't a pressing need. There was no reason to think Alexandra may not have a son, even after several girls. By the time she had Anastasia,  her health was slipping and then she had a hemophiliac son--that was several years to consider whichever princess may be suitable and preferrably not German. By the time the need became paramount, Michael was involved with a princess--Beatrice--who would've been perfect had she not been his cousin. Even at that, either of the British princesses would've been preferrable if they'd had any interest. The match between Michael & Beatrice, given how things eventually turned out with Michael and his marriage perhaps should've been fought for--Victoria Melita and Kyrill were eventually married.

The point is, when Michael first became of marriageable age, they could've chosen any princess. Why pick a German one if you'd prefer not to? Having a difficult relationship with one daughter-in-law, why not look around for one that you'd enjoy? Were it not for the first cousin situation, there were any number of Princesses (British, Greek, Danish) who would've been admirable picks. When the situation became dire, I'm sure they would've taken anyone who fit.

As to Cecile, I don't know how much thought was put in that direction. Even though she was German, she was half-Russian. Wilhelm II certainly didn't fall all over himself to secure her given her mother's reputation. He had original designs on other princesses as the next Kaiserin. For a future Russian Empress, she would've been ideal. She was had the heritage, the connections (expanded given her sister's marriage to Marie's nephew), the good looks and she was the right age by 1903 (17) when worries over the next heir started becoming stronger. Also, given that she was half-Romanov she may not have had a strong an issue with becoming Orthodox.

How many eligible German princesses were there at that time? The Bavarians, Sigmaringens, Saxonys and other Catholic branches may have been out because of the reluctant to convert. The Hanover/Cumberlands and Edinburgh/Coburgs had the first cousin issue. I don't think there were any Anhalts , Waldecks, Badens, Hesses or Saxe-Altenbergs. The Prussians probably would've been a no go.

There were the Schleswig-Holsteins (Victoria, Alexandra Victoria, Adelheid and Helena) who didn't marry prior to 1905 and were of age and attractive girls. However, their Aunt was Wilhelm II's consort.

There was Marie Antoinette of Mecklenburg Schwerin but she was Catholic. Sophie of Oldenburg was unmarried until 1906 and I think her stepmother was Miechen's half-sister?

There were the Reuss princesses (Emma, Marie, Karoline and Hermine) all who married 1903-1905. Ida was a bit too young. There was Sophie of Saxe-Weimar but her family was 'bad'.

I think the Saxe-Meiningens were either too old or too young. Feo was a good age (though Wilhelm's niece) but she married in 1898.

The pickings weren't that great.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2012, 02:40:51 PM by grandduchessella »
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Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovitch, his family and life, Part II
« Reply #19 on: November 25, 2012, 05:57:05 AM »
Grand Duchess Ella, I take your points entirely, but we need to bear in mind that royal men married later than women and by the time Mikhail reached normal male marriageable age (24 or so) the succession was becoming an issue.

Mikhail was born on 22 November 1878 (OS), so not really marriageable before late 1902 at the earliest, by which time Alexandra had had four daughters and her health was increasingly fragile. From Georgi's death in 1899 until Alexei's birth, Mikhail was the heir, so some effort should have been made to find him a suitable bride.

The precedent of Kirill and Victoria Melita's marriage is not a good one, as they married abroad and against Nicholas's wishes and the marriage was only recognised after the event. And Mikhail's affections don't seem to have been terribly lasting. Between Beatrice of Coburg and Natalie Wulfert he fell desperately in love with one of Olga Alexandrovna's ladies-in-waiting and seems to have been all set to run off with her in 1906-07, but he didn't, and then seems to have dropped her quite rapidly. So would a marriage with Beatrice, if permitted, have been a success?

We have discussed marriage options for various people, including Olga Nikolaievna, elsewhere, and the problem keeps arising that what looks initially like quite a wide field once age, religion and consanguinity have been taken into account. Either of the Connaught girls would have been a good fit on all three factors, but Margaret married Gustav of Sweden in 1905 and Mikhail and  Patricia didn't show much interest in one another.

Were there any Swedish princesses of suitable age at this time?

The strange thing is that nobody seems to have been much concerned to find Mikhail a suitable bride.

Ann

Offline LadyHezter

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Re: Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovitch, his family and life, Part II
« Reply #20 on: November 25, 2012, 09:43:45 AM »
"were there any Swedesh princesses of suitable ageat this time ?"

No. Unfortunately not. There has always been more princes than princesses in Sweden, before prince Gustaf Adolf and princess Sibylla got four daughters
(and at last, a son-the present king). Prince Carl-brother of king Gustaf V, had three daughters with princess Ingeborg of Denmark, but the eldest, princess Margaretha,was born 1899. And king Oscar II and queen Sofia, had four sons-the eldest-king Gustav V, had three sons.( Gustaf Adolf-later King Gustaf VI Adolf
was married to princess Margaret of Connaught, and prince Wilhelm was married to GD Maria Pavlovna the younger for a short time. And prince Erik was
not married.) Gustaf Adolf and Margareth had four sons and a daughter-Ingrid,later queen of Denmark.

And yes-it is rather strange, that noone seemed to seriously care  about a royal bride for GD Michael A.
LadyH

Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovitch, his family and life, Part II
« Reply #21 on: November 25, 2012, 01:03:09 PM »
Ann--I guess I'm missing your point about the age? I'm aware royal males married later. I was basically going by the timeline between when he may have considered marriage up to the point when he was in love with Natalie Wulfert in looking at marriageable princesses.

My only point about Victoria Melita & Kyrill was that, given how the family eventually gave way on the  issue of first cousin marriages, I wonder if they ever looked back and thought about when his affections WERE engaged by Beatrice, however briefly. Were it not for that issue, he may have considered marrying her during the intense part of their romance--however brief that was--and his family would've been glad to get him quickly married off to a princess who caught his affection given the state of the succession. It was basically a non-starter for him and Beatrice though because of the first cousin relationship. It also eliminated quite a few other princesses who the family would've been otherwise glad to welcome to Russia.

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Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovitch, his family and life, Part II
« Reply #22 on: November 26, 2012, 02:46:26 AM »
Grand Duchess Ella

I take your point.

Being of the forward planning persuasion I would think Mikhail's family would have started thinking about possible eligible princesses in the right age bracket round about 1900, by which time he was Nicholas's immediate heir, and should certainly have been thinking seriously from around 1903. when Alexei proved to be haemophiliac and it became clear that Alexandra would not have any more children, then there was a serious need to get Mikhail married. The strange thing is that it was all allowed simply to drift.

Ann

Offline Marc

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Re: Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovitch, his family and life, Part II
« Reply #23 on: November 26, 2012, 08:04:31 AM »
certainly have been thinking seriously from around 1903.

Well,obviously,they didn't :(

If we think about the eligible Princesses from 1903 there were very few...Maybe they wouldn't have been the first choices,but apart from those already mentioned above there were some Orthodox ones:

Princess Helena of Serbia who later married his cousin Ioann.She was Orthodox,good looking,6 years younger then Mikhail,her father was King,her grandfather was King,niece of the Queen of Italy,knew the family as she was raised in Russia,but probably her disadvantages were that she was also the niece of two Montenegrin Princesses married into the family,who at that time were on closest terms with Alix,which was probably looked as non favorable by Mikhail's mother Dagmar...and not to forget their connection with Rasputin,and for their reputation also being called "the black peril" behind their back...

Princess Elena of Leuchtenberg,who,around 1909-1910 would have been 17 or 18 at the time.She was also Orthodox,descendant of the Imperial family raised in Russia,but again,her disadvantages were that she also had that Montenegrin connection which was not looked too favorable by Dagmar...

Not to mention Princesses Xenia and Vera of Montenegro,who were 5 and 9 years younger then Mikhail,also Orthodox,but also with the same disadvantages as being younger sisters of the much scandalous Grand Duchesses Militza and Anastasia...
« Last Edit: November 26, 2012, 08:16:45 AM by Marc »

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovitch, his family and life, Part II
« Reply #24 on: November 26, 2012, 08:53:23 AM »
Hello Marc

You bear out my point of the field of eligible princesses at any point usually being quite small.

Ann

Offline Marie Valerie

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Re: Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovitch, his family and life, Part II
« Reply #25 on: November 26, 2012, 10:28:16 AM »
Was Mikhail ever on "Brautschau" (touring all possible courts to find a wife)? This was the common way in most german and european courts.
Dagmar had an marriage arranged for Olga Alexandrovna with Peter of Oldenburg, why did she nothing like this for Mikhail? As he was described easy to manage..

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovitch, his family and life, Part II
« Reply #26 on: November 26, 2012, 10:43:38 AM »
I can't help wondering whether Alexandra's obsession that Alexei must inherit may have played a part. Mikhail married to a suitable princess with a couple of healthy sons would have been a much more obvious rival for the succession if it became widely known that Alexei was unlikely to live to adulthood.

Maybe I'm being unduly cynical about Alexandra, but it seems odd that neither Marie F nor Nicholas made serious efforts to find Mikhail a bride, even if the field was a bit limited.

Ann

Offline Marie Valerie

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Re: Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovitch, his family and life, Part II
« Reply #27 on: November 26, 2012, 11:07:37 AM »
But Alix, Dagmar and all other knew that after Alexej and Mikhail (later with a son who could not inherit) - there would be the Wladimirs next in line...

I don't get it.

Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovitch, his family and life, Part II
« Reply #28 on: November 26, 2012, 11:21:34 AM »
It is puzzling that from roughly 1900 (a good marrying age and with Nicholas having had multiple daughters--not to mention the death of GD George) a firmer hand wasn't taken with Michael. He was always rather spoiled and petted--maybe this continued? It's pretty unfathomable that, no matter what personal considerations, the family wouldn't insist he do his duty for his dynasty. Royal families are full of sacrificial lambs.
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Offline LisaDavidson

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Re: Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovitch, his family and life, Part II
« Reply #29 on: December 12, 2012, 06:25:06 PM »
I noted in the brief bio I wrote of MA many years ago (for the Alexander Palace Time Machine) that blame must be put on Dagmar in her actions or lack thereof when it came to the marriages of her children. This was also true to an extent with her sister Alexandra, The Princess of Wales. Neither seemed to perform this most important duty of royal mothers, to find suitable mates for her children. In Dagmar's case:

Nicholas - his parents opposed his chosen mate, Alix of Hesse, and after Alexander III's death, their relationship remained chilly. this had a detrimental effect on the monarchy.
George - I'll give her a pass on him, as his illness made marriage an impossibility for him.
Xenia - her mother had nothing to do with arranging her marriage to Sandro.
Michael - she should have arranged his marriage after the death of George in 1899. His romantic history from here on out is evidence of this.
Olga - the only marriage she arranged was to someone she didn't know and had no affinity with