Author Topic: Time for Another List - Royalty Nobody had a Bad Word For  (Read 7288 times)

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Offline Kalafrana

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Time for Another List - Royalty Nobody had a Bad Word For
« on: August 30, 2012, 12:46:52 PM »
Some weeks ago someone remarked that no contemporary seemed to have a good word for Alexander of Battenberg (Carisbrooke).

This has set me thinking. Who are those nice pleasant royal persons whom all their relations liked for their general decency, kind hearts, devotion to their countries etc etc? In order to screen out those whom nobody could bring themselves to criticise for posterity because they died in childhood, I shall set a requirement that the person must have lived to at least the age of 21, and the views are those of contemporaries.

To kick off, in no particular order:

Haakon VII of Norway
Arthur Duke of Connaught
Princess Marie Louise

We could also suggest Heinrich of Prussia and Ernest of Hesse (relations seem to have viewed him as more sinned against than sinning in relation to his break-up with Victoria Melita, which is surprising in view of contemporary attitudes to homosexuality and the rumours about stable boys).

Everyone seems to have liked and admired Max of Baden, though Alexandra Feodorovna didn't want to marry him.

Alexander of Athlone was another popular fellow of sterling character.

More please!

And perhaps we need someone to join Alexander of Battenberg on the unpopular list. This might be difficult - even the Kaiser could claim to be liked by Alice of Athlone and Empress Zita (and maybe Marie Louise).

Ann

Offline historyfan

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Re: Time for Another List - Royalty Nobody had a Bad Word For
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2012, 08:02:24 PM »
I'm going to nominate Grand Duchess Alexandra Georgievna, wife of Grand Duke Pavel, mother of Dmitri Pavlovich and Maria Pavlovna the younger.

I haven't read a negative word about her. It seems like her husband loved her, her children missed her, and the family seemed only sympathetic.

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Time for Another List - Royalty Nobody had a Bad Word For
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2012, 01:23:03 AM »
I'm not going to argue seriously against Alexandra, but the cynic in me says that she was only 21 when she died, and an attractive young girl, so unlikely that any one would criticise her posthumously. Of course, even Marie Pavlonva was only 16 months old when she died, so could not remember her, though she and Dimitri would be aware of the gap in their lives (my father was four when his much older half-brother died from TB, and barely remembers him but has a definite sense of a gap in his life).

I have a nice vision of Marie Louise as a slightly dotty aunt-type, whom everybody smiled about but admired for all her hard work for charity and turned to when there were problems (it was she whom George V asked to break the news of Ekaterinburg to VMH).

Ann

Offline Janet Ashton

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Re: Time for Another List - Royalty Nobody had a Bad Word For
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2012, 05:48:24 PM »

I have a nice vision of Marie Louise as a slightly dotty aunt-type, whom everybody smiled about but admired for all her hard work for charity and turned to when there were problems (it was she whom George V asked to break the news of Ekaterinburg to VMH).

Ann

I think he turned to her because she had grown up with the Hessians - particularly Alix, but she would have seen Victoria as almost a big sister, and knew how to talk to her.
Leopold Mountbatten's hilarious little ditty has bad words for Marie Louise: he calls her "mad and dirty, and damned hard to please". At a recent lecture, Hugo Vickers was heard to recount how everyone felt sorry for the old lady because she was staggering up the aisle at the present Queen's coronation - but he added that this had little to do with age and much to do with drink...:-)

Her sister (Helena Victoria), on the other hand....I don't think I've read anything nasty of her. Leopold calls her:
".... the only princess
Who is loved by us all and a downright success."

Link again to Leo's lovely work, on Marlene's blog: -

http://royalmusingsblogspotcom.blogspot.co.uk/2009/05/leos-alphabet.html

[I think it was me who posted that no-one had a good word for Alexander Battenberg/Mountbatten: look at what his brother says of him....]
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you -
Ye are many; they are few.

Offline Janet Ashton

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Re: Time for Another List - Royalty Nobody had a Bad Word For
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2012, 05:52:01 PM »



And perhaps we need someone to join Alexander of Battenberg on the unpopular list.

Alexandra of Edinburgh? Widely seen as a whiner and drip, esp. by her own mother....her sister Bee was not hugely liked either, though Leopold M. DID like HER, apparently!
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you -
Ye are many; they are few.

Offline Ortipo

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Re: Time for Another List - Royalty Nobody had a Bad Word For
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2012, 09:28:52 AM »
Stepping into the wayback machine here ---

Germanicus Caesar
Agrippina The Elder
Antonia The Younger
Titus Flavius Caesar
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Offline Stardust

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Re: Time for Another List - Royalty Nobody had a Bad Word For
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2012, 03:32:11 PM »


Alexandra of Edinburgh? Widely seen as a whiner and drip, esp. by her own mother....her sister Bee was not hugely liked either, though Leopold M. DID like HER, apparently!
[/quote]


Why wasn't Baby Bea liked?

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Time for Another List - Royalty Nobody had a Bad Word For
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2012, 11:27:50 AM »
Leo's Alphabet is great fun, but either he was very sharp-tongued or most of his relations were unlikeable, unless he was simply having fun.

George V wasn't overwhelmed with Helena Victoria's looks. She was known as 'Snipe' because of her nose, and when his marriage was under consideration it was sugggested he might marry her. He wrote to a relatiion saying that 'the Christians' are pressing the case of 'their lovely Snipe.

Ortipo - I am impressed you can go back that far.

Of course, once someone is dead, especially if young and good-looking, suddenly his faults disappear. Henry II's eldest son Henry the Young King (in whom I certainly don't find much to like, and who died while in rebelllion against his father) was greatly mourned in his day, and inspired a poem by Bertrand de Born which moves me to tears.

Ann

Offline Ortipo

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Re: Time for Another List - Royalty Nobody had a Bad Word For
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2012, 03:28:06 PM »

Ortipo - I am impressed you can go back that far.


Tacitus and Suetonius wrote about the 1st century emperors and their families after they were dead and they assailed them mercilessly;  these are the only 4 people that come to mind that the biographers didn't endlessly slag. 

also

One could add pretty much all of the kings from the various Anglo/Saxon Chronicles to the list of nothing-bad-to-say but the Chronicles are too vague and one can draw nil regarding the character of the kings therein.
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Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Time for Another List - Royalty Nobody had a Bad Word For
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2012, 03:53:51 PM »
You are quite right about the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle - it doesn't even slag off AEthelred the Unready!  :D

Getting nearer to the present, untimely death always helps one's reputation. No one seems to have had a bad word to say for either Henry of Battenberg or his youngest son Maurice. Henry seems to have been a very decent fellow, and put up with a lot from Queen Victoria. Marie Louise was clearly very fond of Maurice and thought highly of him.

Ann

Offline Rodney_G.

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Re: Time for Another List - Royalty Nobody had a Bad Word For
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2012, 05:04:40 PM »
I think GD Tatiana Nikilaievna would easily fall in this category. Except for a few who thought her a bit 'haughty' (and even then not to her overall detriment) she was and is admired for her sense of service and responsibility, as well as  for her beauty  of course,  which tends to create a favorable impression. And yes, her untimely death also freezes warm remembrances in place. But justly so for TN.
Rodney G.

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Time for Another List - Royalty Nobody had a Bad Word For
« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2012, 02:40:40 AM »
Ah, Rodney, I was about to say, remember the rules. But Tatiana WAS 21 when she died, so just squeezes in!

Maurice was killed at 23, so he gets in.

Ann

Offline edubs31

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Re: Time for Another List - Royalty Nobody had a Bad Word For
« Reply #12 on: September 05, 2012, 11:36:54 AM »
I'm guessing we are basing this list off of those who knew certain individuals well, correct? We can't be talking about people in general because otherwise we'd have to rephrase the question as to "which royals were the most popular" and/or "which royals were the least disliked".

Clearly there had to be any number of Russians who hated Tatiana Nikolaevna simply because she was the Tsar's daughter. The privileged royal who ought to be eliminated along with the entire Tsarist regime (and sadly that's almost exactly what ended up happening).

I almost feel to have been truly well liked by all you had to be someone kind, quiet and not really in the public eye. The more famous you get the higher number of detractors you are going to have no matter how good a person you are. Out of the names listed so far (I'll keep it to 18th-20th century royalty) how would we rank them in terms of overall 'approval ratings'.

Haakon VII of Norway
Arthur Duke of Connaught
Princess Marie Louise
Heinrich of Prussia
GD Ernest of Hesse
Max of Baden
Alexander of Athlone
GD Alexandra Georgievna
Tatiana Nikolaevna

Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right...

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Time for Another List - Royalty Nobody had a Bad Word For
« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2012, 11:49:19 AM »

'I almost feel to have been truly well liked by all you had to be someone kind, quiet and not really in the public eye. The more famous you get the higher number of detractors you are going to have no matter how good a person you are.'

Erik

I think you are probably right on this one, but I suppose it is easier in a way to focus on those who were liked by those who knew them, rather what the public thought of them.

My personal prejudices being what they are, I would like to exclude women who were admired mainly for their looks, and 'adorable' children, and focus on those who were liked and admired for their characters. For example, the Duke of Connaught is virtually a forgotten figure now, but relations referred to him frequently, and they all seem to have liked him. Even the Kaiser described him as his favourite uncle!

Ann

Offline Stardust

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Re: Time for Another List - Royalty Nobody had a Bad Word For
« Reply #14 on: September 06, 2012, 01:51:15 PM »
How about princess Irina yusupova she was very quite and was not in public until she got married, but even then she was still kind of shy.