Author Topic: What was Alexandra's Native Language and Maiden Name?  (Read 52002 times)

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Offline AGRBear

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Re: What was Alexandra's Native Language and Maiden Name?
« Reply #60 on: April 21, 2014, 04:23:20 PM »
While there is no evidence that Alice had any interest in medieval Alixes or variants, there is direct evidence that the name was inspired by simple practicalities, as AGRBear quoted from Sarushka above in #46. In Alice Grand Duchess of Hesse: Letters to Her Majesty the Queen, , Alice wrote to Queen Victoria about her baby's names on 24 June 1872, p. 248: " 'Alix' we gave for 'Alice', as they murder my name here: 'Aliicé' they pronounce it, so we thought 'Alix' could not so easily be spoilt".  Admittedly the authority of Greg King finding it via Buxhoeveden's book does not give the quote much weight but Buxhoeveden was presumably quoting in turn from the letters.  These are available online:https://archive.org/details/alicegrandduches04alic

Yes, first and foremost it was a practical choice.
But where did she get the form Alix from? I don't think it was used at all in her own time, she must have found it in royal genealogies or historians she talked to must have told her about it. She didn't just make it up.

Sometimes we think too hard and try to make sense of things created by others.  In this case, we're probably "over thinking" about the name "Alix". 

I think Buxhoevden's did hear this reasoning from Alexandra.   Any link to earlier ancestors named "Alix" was consequential from it's concept...

Secondly,  the royal geneologists had noted every "Alix, Alex, Alice, Allice...etc. etc." attached to the family trees.  We know for certain that between Queen Victoria and the House of Hesse  (read the book titled Hessian Tapestry) knew every person on every Royal Tree in order to make the correct choices for royal marriages of their sons, daughters, cousins.... I don't recall reading or anyone's etters between family members that held remarks that they or someone else rejected the name "Alix" or ridiculed  Alexandra for using the name...

As for the hemophilia,   Nicholas II's parents did not want Nicholas to marry Alexandra and put up quite a fuss....

AGRBear

 
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Offline TimM

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Re: What was Alexandra's Native Language and Maiden Name?
« Reply #61 on: April 21, 2014, 04:36:23 PM »
Isn't "Alix" the German version of "Alice"?
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Re: What was Alexandra's Native Language and Maiden Name?
« Reply #62 on: April 21, 2014, 05:12:44 PM »
Yes it is. This whole thing looking for some Alix ancestor is silly. Germans can't pronounce Alice (it comes out as Aliseh)  so Alix was a logical choice. Why do people argue about how many angels dance on a pin head?

Offline Превед

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Re: What was Alexandra's Native Language and Maiden Name?
« Reply #63 on: April 21, 2014, 05:37:10 PM »
I don't recall reading or anyone's etters between family members that held remarks that they or someone else rejected the name "Alix" or ridiculed  Alexandra for using the name..

Why would they ridicule her when it was a name carried by loads of highborn medieval queens and princesses??? But if she had named her daughter Elisa or Else I'm sure some would have raised their eyebrows.

Isn't "Alix" the German version of "Alice"?
NO! The name was not in use in Germany at the time! Alix, Alyss, Alice etc. are both French forms of Adelheidis, which was in use in Germany in the forms Adelheid (Adelaide in the upper classes, short form Heidi.)

Germans can't pronounce Alice (it comes out as Aliseh)  so Alix was a logical choice.
Germans at that time had problems pronouncing Alice, because no-one in Germany at the time knew English! If they heard it from Princess Alice's own mouth they would of course pronounce it approximately correctly, as if it was witten Älliss in German.

If a German only knowing German read it he would pronounce it /a:li:zə/. Some of the more educated courtiers would probably try pronouncing it as if it was French.

Alix was not a so logical choice because no royals had born this name for centuries, and certainly no German ones!

Why do people argue about how many angels dance on a pin head?

I am starting to understand why people believe in all sorts of crazy survival stories and claimants when they can't fathom the simple fact that Alix is a medieval French form of Adelheidis and not a German form of Alice.

Any link to earlier ancestors named "Alix" was consequential from it's concept...

I agree it probably didn't necessarily matter to Princess Alixe if these medieval Alixes were direct or collateral kin (she would have been descended from all European royals to some degree no matter what), but it's undeniable that she must have found it in old French royal genealogies when searching for an alternative to Alice, as there were no contemporary royals with the name Alix.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2014, 06:02:47 PM by Превед »
Берёзы севера мне милы,—
Их грустный, опущённый вид,
Как речь безмолвная могилы,
Горячку сердца холодит.

(Афанасий Фет: «Ивы и берёзы», 1843 / 1856)

Offline TimM

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Re: What was Alexandra's Native Language and Maiden Name?
« Reply #64 on: April 22, 2014, 12:01:17 AM »
According to Wikipedia, her full name was Victoria Alix Helena Louise Beatrice.


Quote
Germans at that time had problems pronouncing Alice, because no-one in Germany at the time knew English!


No one in 19th Century Germany knew English!?  Right, they were all speaking Klingon!

Come on, dude, there WAS contact between Britain and Germany, even way back in those days.  So clearly, some English had to be known.  


Quote
I am starting to understand why people believe in all sorts of crazy survival stories and claimants when they can't fathom the simple fact that Alix is a medieval French form of Adelheidis and not a German form of Alice.

I think it's quite a difference between misunderstanding a name and believing in rubbish that has been debunked by solid DNA science.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2014, 12:06:51 AM by TimM »
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Offline Helen

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Re: What was Alexandra's Native Language and Maiden Name?
« Reply #65 on: April 22, 2014, 01:42:39 AM »
I agree it probably didn't necessarily matter to Princess Alixe if these medieval Alixes were direct or collateral kin (she would have been descended from all European royals to some degree no matter what), but it's undeniable that she must have found it in old French royal genealogies when searching for an alternative to Alice, as there were no contemporary royals with the name Alix.
... no contemporary royals apart from Princess Alice's sister-in-law, Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales, née Princess Alexandra of Denmark, who was called "Alix" by her immediate family.
"The Correspondence of the Empress Alexandra of Russia with Ernst Ludwig and Eleonore, Grand Duke and Duchess of Hesse. 1878-1916"  -  http://www.bod.de/index.php?id=296&objk_
"Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig and Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine in Italy - 1893"

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: What was Alexandra's Native Language and Maiden Name?
« Reply #66 on: April 22, 2014, 05:15:59 AM »
In the next generation, Princess Arthur of Connaught, christened Alexandra, was apparently known within the family as Alix. At any rate, Alice of Athlone, referring to her husband becoming Govenor-General of South Africa, mentions meeting 'Arthur and Alix Connaught'.

Adelheid was certainly in use among leading German familes at this time. Karl Eduard of Coburg married Viktoria Adelheid of Schleswig-Holestein in 1905.

Was William IV's Queen Adelaide originally Adelheid?

Ann

Offline Clemence

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Re: What was Alexandra's Native Language and Maiden Name?
« Reply #67 on: April 22, 2014, 07:22:27 AM »
I believe it's many years since it was proved it was all about a mutation in Queen Victoria's genes and had nothing to do with previous generations. At least that's what we were told in the university in the past decades.
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Offline Kalafrana

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Re: What was Alexandra's Native Language and Maiden Name?
« Reply #68 on: April 22, 2014, 07:49:18 AM »
To be precise, no one has yet found a definite case of haemophilia on either side of Queen Victoria's ancestry, and there are no clearly disproportionate numbers of infant deaths among boys on the maternal side.

This leaves three possibilities:
a) A mutation in Queen Victoria's own genes;
b) A mutation in the genes of one or other parent;
c) Somewhat implausibly, that Queen Victoria's natural father was not the Duke of Kent but a male haemophiliac who lived long enough and in sufficiently good health to have an affair with the Duchess. This was suggested in a book I read some years ago which claimed in support of this theory that there was no porphyria among Victoria's descendants.

According to Robert K Massie in 'Journey', about one-third of haemophiliacs are born to parents with no family history of the disease, and the relative frequency of the relevant mutation is the reason why the percentage of haemophiliacs in any population is fairly constant, since until recently few haemophiliacs fathered children and so passed the gene to their daughters.

Ann


Offline Превед

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Re: What was Alexandra's Native Language and Maiden Name?
« Reply #69 on: April 22, 2014, 09:27:04 AM »
No one in 19th Century Germany knew English!?  Right, they were all speaking Klingon!

Come on, dude, there WAS contact between Britain and Germany, even way back in those days.  So clearly, some English had to be known.

English was not learned as a foreign language in Germany (and vice versa) untill rather late in the 19th century, when the naval, technological and industrial rivalry with Britan began. English replaced French as the primary living foreign language in German schools only after WW1. Before that Germans studied French, Latin and Greek as foreign languages and contact with Britain was mostly conducted in French. An exception would be the merchant classes in the maritime, Hanseatic ports who always were rather Anglophile. In Hamburg English was for example taught in all primary schools from 1870 and onwards.

Do note that German has loads of French loanwords dating back to the Middle Ages, but few English ones from before 1900. Many of them date from the period when English customs and fashions, like football (e.g. fair play) started to become popular in Germany, i.e. after the unification in 1870.

Quote
I think it's quite a difference between misunderstanding a name and believing in rubbish that has been debunked by solid DNA science.
Not really. The correct etymology of Alix has been explained several times on this forum.

Quote
... no contemporary royals apart from Princess Alice's sister-in-law, Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales, née Princess Alexandra of Denmark, who was called "Alix" by her immediate family.

But that was a nickname, though I do agree that the widespread use of Alex / Alix as a nickname for Alexandra probably influenced Alice's choice of the obsolote, medieval, French spelling of her own name.

Was William IV's Queen Adelaide originally Adelheid?


Yes, indeed.
Fun fact: Just like Adelaide in Australia is named after her, there is a village in the Kingdom of Hanover, Adelheidsdorf just south of Celle, also named after her.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2014, 09:57:22 AM by Превед »
Берёзы севера мне милы,—
Их грустный, опущённый вид,
Как речь безмолвная могилы,
Горячку сердца холодит.

(Афанасий Фет: «Ивы и берёзы», 1843 / 1856)

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: What was Alexandra's Native Language and Maiden Name?
« Reply #70 on: April 22, 2014, 09:52:50 AM »
So where are we after this lengthy and at times acrimonious discussion?
a) There may have been several influences affecting AF's parents' choice of a name for their daughter;
b) If AF had a surname in the conventional sense it wasn't used much, since before her marriage she was properly referred to as 'of Hesse und bei Rhein'
c) AF seems to have grown up bilingual in German and English, though she may have preferred English, and certainly in later life she tended to emphasise her 'Englishness' over her 'Germanness'.

Has anyone any information on how much time AF actually spent with Queen Victoria as a girl? To draw a comparison, the future Empress Frederick brought her family to Britain every year or so for visits which lasted several weeks, but that certainly didn't mean that her son Wilhelm lived with his grandmother. Wilhelm was certainly bilingual, but had a definite German accent when speaking English (on the evidence of an interview he gave to Dutch radio in the 1930s, he never mastered the English th- sound, though otherwise his English was very fluent).

English seems to have become a 'fashionable' language for continentals in the second half of the 19th century. For example, in Anna Karenina, published in the mid-1870s, Count Vronsky is able to discuss his racehorse's condition with his English groom in English, and Anna herself engages an English nanny for her daughter by Vronsky, though I can't actually recall her having much to say to the nanny, in English or not. Anna and Vronsky themselves conduct most of their liaison in French.

Ann

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Offline Helen

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Re: What was Alexandra's Native Language and Maiden Name?
« Reply #71 on: April 22, 2014, 10:39:09 AM »
Has anyone any information on how much time AF actually spent with Queen Victoria as a girl? To draw a comparison, the future Empress Frederick brought her family to Britain every year or so for visits which lasted several weeks, but that certainly didn't mean that her son Wilhelm lived with his grandmother.
Based on her correspondences with her brother and with her friend Toni Becker, I think one can say the same about Alexandra: she also visited Britain almost every year for several weeks, but lived in Germany for the most part.
Alexandra's command of the English language wasn't perfect either.  I'm no expert on this, as neither English nor German is my native language, but it's my impression that she inserted far too many commas in her English letters, in a way that would be more in agreement with punctuation rules in the German language.
"The Correspondence of the Empress Alexandra of Russia with Ernst Ludwig and Eleonore, Grand Duke and Duchess of Hesse. 1878-1916"  -  http://www.bod.de/index.php?id=296&objk_
"Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig and Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine in Italy - 1893"

Offline AGRBear

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Re: What was Alexandra's Native Language and Maiden Name?
« Reply #72 on: April 22, 2014, 01:26:18 PM »
Has anyone any information on how much time AF actually spent with Queen Victoria as a girl? To draw a comparison, the future Empress Frederick brought her family to Britain every year or so for visits which lasted several weeks, but that certainly didn't mean that her son Wilhelm lived with his grandmother.
Based on her correspondences with her brother and with her friend Toni Becker, I think one can say the same about Alexandra: she also visited Britain almost every year for several weeks, but lived in Germany for the most part.
Alexandra's command of the English language wasn't perfect either.  I'm no expert on this, as neither English nor German is my native language, but it's my impression that she inserted far too many commas in her English letters, in a way that would be more in agreement with punctuation rules in the German language.

Too many commas?  Couldn't have , too,  many commas in her time, or,  even when I was in high school in the 1950s.   It was, as though, we placed commas where people would pause, just as though, we were speaking on stage to an audience.   Life was slower, then. :>)

AGRBear
« Last Edit: April 22, 2014, 01:29:37 PM by AGRBear »
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Offline Helen

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Re: What was Alexandra's Native Language and Maiden Name?
« Reply #73 on: April 22, 2014, 01:44:04 PM »
 ;D Thank you for the explanation. I wasn't aware of this change in the use of commas in English. Their use in German seems to have remained more or less as before.
"The Correspondence of the Empress Alexandra of Russia with Ernst Ludwig and Eleonore, Grand Duke and Duchess of Hesse. 1878-1916"  -  http://www.bod.de/index.php?id=296&objk_
"Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig and Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine in Italy - 1893"

Offline AGRBear

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Re: What was Alexandra's Native Language and Maiden Name?
« Reply #74 on: April 22, 2014, 02:32:52 PM »
Maiden name:

In Great Britian, her father carried the following title Royal Highness  Louis IV of  Hesse and by Rhine:

Wikipedia: >>On 1 July 1862, Louis married Princess Alice, the third child of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. On the day of the wedding, the Queen issued Letters Patent granting her new son-in-law the style of Royal Highness. This style was only in effect in Great Britain, not the German confederation where Prince Ludwig was....<< >>... a Grand Ducal Highness. The Queen subsequently created him a Knight of the Garter.<<

The family House was the  House of Hesse-Darmstadt, the  Lutheran branch of House of Hesse.  Various wars, Napoleon's victories, treaties created  Ludwig IV as the  Grand Ducal Highness of Hesse and by Rhine.  Darmstadt had been dropped from the German Confederation's official title, therefore,  GHDH Victoria Alix Helen Louisa Beatrice of Hesse and by Rhine was her name until she changed it to Alexandra [English version] ...

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

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