Author Topic: What exactly did OTMA know about Alexei's illness?  (Read 8227 times)

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Offline Sarushka

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Re: What exactly did OTMA know about Alexei's illness?
« Reply #15 on: February 07, 2012, 10:39:06 AM »
I'm still pretty curious, assuming the event actually happened, about the impact (if any) of Maria's apparent hemorrhage in 1914.

Maria certainly had tonsillitis in December of 1914 -- this is confirmed by Alexandra's letters and telegrams to NII in The Complete Wartime Correspondence. Although the  documents in CWC do not mention the hemorrhage, editor Joseph Fuhrmann notes that some of Alexandra's telegrams to her husband have been lost. Since Alexandra did not number her telegrams like she numbered her letters, it's not possible to determine where the gaps in the record occur. Therefore, we can't necessarily presume the hemorrhage didn't happen. If the news was conveyed to the tsar in a telegram, it may be among those that were lost. Or perhaps it was destroyed for fear that it provided too much of a clue to the nature of the 'family illness.'

There are only brief references in AF's existing correspondence of 13-17 December:
13 December AF to NII: "Marie has 39. Probably caught cold." (telegram)
14 December AF to NII: "Marie better. Tonsillitis."(telegram)
14 December AF to NII: "Marie's angina [tonsillaris] is better, she slept well & has 37." (letter)
15 December AF to NII: "Marie recovered." (telegram)
15 December AF to NII: "Marie has not yet come down as her throat is not quite in order, temp normal." (letter)
17 December AF to NII: "Marie is coming down at last." (letter)

It's interesting to note that Alexandra actually gives more details regarding her own health over this span of days. For example, after relaying the news that Maria is "better" in her letter of 14 December, Alexandra goes on to say that "Botkin has put me to bed as heart still very much enlarged & aches & I cannot take medicins; & feel still horribly tired & achy all over." Similarly, after Maria has "recovered" on 15 December, Alexandra immediately informs her husband, "[My] heart still quite enlarged, head hurts, am not moving about." This suggests to me that something -- Maria's illness? -- had significantly stressed the empress. If the hemorrhage occurred, 14 or 15 December seems the most likely date.

The only source I'm aware of for the hemorrhage incident is Olga Alexandrovna's memoir (on pg 124 of my 1964 edition), and she gives no date at all -- only that it happened during a tonsillectomy.


I feel that familial discussion about the "condition" was not encouraged and I feel quite certain that when those other family members who shared it died, within the IF, it was never voiced out loud that X or Y had died of haemaphilia so it may be possible that OTMA never made the connection. Another possibility could be that Alexandra told OTMA that Alexei's illness was not to be discussed with others but I feel that this would have been unnecessary. Because they were so closely enmeshed OTMA would undoubtedly have taken their cue from their mother. It is very likely that whilst it was all being played out in front of them, so detatched were they from the effects of the disease that they may have had little realisation of what it could do to them.

I think this is an equally plausible assessment of the GDss knowledge of hemophilia.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2012, 10:42:11 AM by Sarushka »
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