Author Topic: GDss Ella and GD Sergei's childlessness  (Read 127217 times)

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Offline Martyn

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Re: GDss Ella and GD Sergei's childlessness
« Reply #15 on: January 14, 2005, 07:55:52 AM »
That is an interesting theory Svetabel.  Do you think that is a likely solution or a religious smokescreen?
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Offline Dennis

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Re: GDss Ella and GD Sergei's childlessness
« Reply #16 on: January 14, 2005, 08:40:49 AM »
I think that theory is nuts!

Ella did not even become Orthodox until a number of years after the marriage.

Orthodoxy does not put the emphasis on celibacy that Catholicism does.  Orthodox priests are allowed to marry and their wives even have a special place in parish life.  Only bishops and monks do not marry.

Anything is possible, but it is inconceivable (no pun intended) to me that they would have made such an agreement before the wedding.
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Offline Martyn

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Re: GDss Ella and GD Sergei's childlessness
« Reply #17 on: January 14, 2005, 09:13:24 AM »
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I think that theory is nuts!


No, say what you think Dennis!  We are never going to know the real reason why they failed to have children, but it is interesting that the Church feels the need to try to explain it.
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rskkiya

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Re: GDss Ella and GD Sergei's childlessness
« Reply #18 on: January 14, 2005, 09:35:10 AM »
Well, I am very happily married and I have no children!
Sometimes people simply don't want children... who knows?

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Offline Martyn

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Re: GDss Ella and GD Sergei's childlessness
« Reply #19 on: January 14, 2005, 09:44:59 AM »
Fair enough comment.
'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

bluetoria

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Re: GDss Ella and GD Sergei's childlessness
« Reply #20 on: January 14, 2005, 10:31:51 AM »
That theory IS a possibility because Ella's priest Fr. Mitrophan was married but he & his wife had jointly agreed prior to their wedding to live celibate lives...(and of course found it very difficult)...It seems a strange idea though since there then seems little point in marrying at all. There is always the possibility that Ella agreed to that so that she might 'do [Serge] some good' as she hoped, but it is hard to imagine a naive young princess discussing such a thing prior to her marriage.  

Offline Dennis

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Re: GDss Ella and GD Sergei's childlessness
« Reply #21 on: January 14, 2005, 01:13:37 PM »
I think that the church may be using the explanation not so much to explain why there are no children but to lift up the idea of sexual purity in a canonized saint.

Assuming that it was a normal physical marriage, there is the possibility that one or both of them was infertile. That would be a very good reason.

It is interesting that Christians would take a vow of celibacy within marriage since that contradicts the Biblical idea of "one flesh" and reproduction.  
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Offline Marlene

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Re: GDss Ella and GD Sergei's childlessness
« Reply #22 on: January 14, 2005, 01:25:41 PM »
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Well, I am very happily married and I have no children!
Sometimes people simply don't want children... who knows?

rskkiya



There have been numerous stories - Serge may have been homosexual - and sexual relations between the couple were rare.  It has also been suggested that Ella was raped by her husband, and then avoided him in the marital bed.  
Or he may not have had enough little spermies to swim or she could have suffered from endometriosis or may have had other infertile issues.
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bluetoria

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Re: GDss Ella and GD Sergei's childlessness
« Reply #23 on: January 14, 2005, 01:26:31 PM »
"I think that the church may be using the explanation not so much to explain why there are no children but to lift up the idea of sexual purity in a canonized saint. "

If that is the case it rather implies that a 'normally' married person is not pure, which is not really Christian as (at least in some denominations) marriage is a Sacrament.
I do not understand Fr. Mitrophan's reasons...but then he was very ascetic and saintly...nor am I convinced that it applied in Ella's case, but with Serge's zealous devotion it is possible..On the other hand, if he expected such a thing of her, how could he then criticise her for being 'overly-religious'.
As for the idea that one or the other was infertile, it makes you wonder why then there was so much gossip surrounding their marriage which didn't arise in the case of other childless couples.

Offline Sarai

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Re: GDss Ella and GD Sergei's childlessness
« Reply #24 on: January 14, 2005, 02:27:25 PM »
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As for the idea that one or the other was infertile, it makes you wonder why then there was so much gossip surrounding their marriage which didn't arise in the case of other childless couples.


I think there was so much gossip about their childlessness in particular for a couple of reasons. Firstly, there weren't many high profile couples of their exalted rank who remained childless. I really can't think of any other couple of the Imperial Family contemporary with Ella and Serge who were childless. So they must have stood out in their family because of this.

Secondly, Ella was touted as one of the most beautiful women of her time. Many men were probably jealous of Serge for having married her and were eager to spread gossip about him. The fact that they had no children was seen as just plain odd in those days, as all women were expected to want children, and all men wanted an heir to carry on their name and inherit their fortune, so the idea that a couple had no children by choice was probably dismissed as quite preposterous.

Of course, infertility was a reality they knew about and I do believe this may have been the case with this couple. Hence the statement made by Alexander III that poor Ella and Serge would never know the joys of parenthood. The fact that Serge may very well have been homosexual doesn't factor in very much for me, as other gay men fathered children. They knew it was their duty.

The fact that Ella and Serge remained childless fanned people's imagination that they had an unhappy marriage or that something was wrong with one of them, or it fueled their speculation about Serge's homosexuality. This couple was already the object of gossip simply because they seemed to be such an odd pairing, and the fact that they remained childless did nothing to quiet people's assumptions that they had an unhappy marriage.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Sarai_Porretta »

Offline Martyn

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Re: GDss Ella and GD Sergei's childlessness
« Reply #25 on: January 14, 2005, 02:51:47 PM »
Well that all makes quite a bit of sense.  I tend to doubt that Serge was homosexual; as Sarai rightly points out, whatever their sexual proclivities, men were expected to do their duty and produce children, KR being the most notable example of this.
I don't buy the agreement to live in a celibate marital state concept either.  It just seems far more likely that there were problems with fertility, or quite possibly, that Serge was impotent.  However I'm a little puzzled as to how Alexander III knew that they would never be able to have children - perhaps it was pure speculation?
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Offline Sarai

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Re: GDss Ella and GD Sergei's childlessness
« Reply #26 on: January 14, 2005, 03:41:43 PM »
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However I'm a little puzzled as to how Alexander III knew that they would never be able to have children - perhaps it was pure speculation?


I have wondered about this myself - how could he say with such apparent certainty that they would never be parents? He must have known something about their medical history. Perhaps either Ella or Serge had a bout of illness that would have caused infertility. I recall that Princess Louise (Queen Victoria's daughter) was thought to be infertile due to a childhood disease (some kind of fever?). It would be interesting to know the couple's complete medical histories, to see what kinds of diseases they had that could have possibly caused infertility, but of course, finding out would be nearly impossible.

If one of them was indeed infertile, and it was because of an illness, it leads me to wonder if it was Serge who had the problem, since Alexander would probably have known his own brother's medical history better than that of Ella's. Perhaps Ella knew that Serge was infertile before their marriage, but, with her characteristic resignation and devotion, she accepted the fact that they would be a childless couple and married him anyway. I think she may have felt sorry for him in a way, and she was always very defensive and protective of her husband. They certainly didn't appear to have a passionate love affair, based on the accounts of their contemporaries, and perhaps they didn't engage in relations very much because they knew nothing would come of it anyway. They were both very religious and perhaps thought it almost sinful to have intercourse just for the fun of it, without the goal of procreation.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Sarai_Porretta »

Offline Johnny

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Re: GDss Ella and GD Sergei's childlessness
« Reply #27 on: January 14, 2005, 04:24:43 PM »
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 However I'm a little puzzled as to how Alexander III knew that they would never be able to have children - perhaps it was pure speculation?

How about the possibility of a disease, like Syphillis or other stuff that was quite incurable, something that Sergei had and didn't want to give it to Ella. Syphillis can also explain Sergei's moody personality. I agree that homosexuality has nothing to do with childlessness, but I can't dismiss the possibility the he WAS gay. For me that explains why he married her in the first place, to put a stop to gossip. Of course he knew he was using Ella and that he was going to make her life miserable. On the other hand, a man known for his cruelty, a man who wasn't exactly the model of compassion after the tragedy of Khodynka, wouldn't seem to loose much sleep over making Ella unhappy for the rest of her days. Just a thought!
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Johnny »
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Offline Dennis

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Re: GDss Ella and GD Sergei's childlessness
« Reply #28 on: January 14, 2005, 04:33:12 PM »
When did Alexander III make this statement about his brother?

As Serge's older brother, he may have well known that there was a fertility problem.

Or, he made the statement as a general assumption after several years had passed without there being any children.
Usually, royal brides became pregnant shortly after their marriage.

I thought I read somewhere that Serge had made an offer to Ella that she could find a "husband" for her needs.  This was an offer also made to GD Olga Alexandrovna by her first husband, Oldenburg.
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Offline Dennis

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Re: GDss Ella and GD Sergei's childlessness
« Reply #29 on: January 14, 2005, 04:37:00 PM »
One other thing - could Serge have had the mumps as a child?  Mumps can render sterility.
Dennis