Author Topic: Marie Feodorovna, her correspondence - letters, diaries etc  (Read 73977 times)

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Offline Candice

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According to G. Battiscombe in her book 'Queen Alexandra' there are 40 volumes of letters written between Prince Waldemar to his mother Empress Marie and sister Queen Alexandra of England.  These letters were suposed to have been translated from Danish and released to the public in 1989.  These letters were housed at the archives of the October Revolution in Moscow.  The name was changed to the State Archives of the Russian Federation in Moscow.

Does anyone know anything about these letters.  The correspondence covers 50 years from 1867 to 1917.

Thank you.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Candice »

Offline dbl-headed_eagle

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Re: Marie Feodorovna, her correspondence - letters, diaries etc
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2004, 08:08:45 AM »
Hi

This is my first time writing on this incredible website, and I’m still learning my way around.
I would like to start by expressing my gratitude to Bob and others who have started this FANTASTIC website and to those who maintain it.

Perhaps others have posed this question before and somewhere else on the site, but I would like to know if anyone knows if Maria Feodorovnas diaries have ever been published and if so, where one can get a hold of them. I’ve seen photographs of the covers and read somewhere that they all but one have survived.

Furthermore, does anyone know in which language she wrote - danish, russian, english or even french...??

Christian

elisa_1872

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Re: Marie Feodorovna, her correspondence - letters, diaries etc
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2004, 01:09:32 PM »
Hello!

I read that the correspondence between Empress Marie and her son Nicholas was conducted mainly in French, and i think Danish. But the quotations in the book on Grand Duchess Xenia from the Empress Marie's diary, are translations from the Russian. I don't know of an English translation of her diaries anywhere, but i think there should be a Russian publication.

http://www.eastview.com  

This company supply many books on the Imperial Family in Russian, if you search under "Romanovs", under "Books".

At their site, i did indeed find a book called "Imperatritsa Mariia Fedorovna. 1847-1928. gg. Dnevniki. Pis'ma Vospominaniaa. My Russian's very poor, but i checked and "Dnevniki" is "Diary". The publication is by a Iu.V.Kudrina, and was published in 2002, by OLMA Press.


Hope this helps,
Best wishes :)
Elisa

Offline dbl-headed_eagle

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Re: Marie Feodorovna, her correspondence - letters, diaries etc
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2004, 06:23:03 AM »
Thanks for the info, Elisa

My native tongue is Danish, so that I can probably manage ;) but I know no Russian what so ever, so I probably have to pass – bummer!

Christian

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Re: Marie Feodorovna, her correspondence - letters, diaries etc
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2004, 09:52:25 AM »
Christian,
There is a book, "DAGMAR - zarina fra Danmark" by Inger-Lise Klausen in Danish, that should answer your questions. Sadly there is no English translation yet, although we have been advised that one may be coming soon.

I have asked Inger-Lise to answer your question for us all. So far, her secretary has said that Dagmar spoke and wrote in Danish with her Danish family members, including Alexandra, but was fully fluent in Russian. I hope to have her answers as to what languages the diaries and letters to Nicholas were in soon.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by admin »

Offline Antonio_P.Caballer

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Re: Marie Feodorovna, her correspondence - letters, diaries etc
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2004, 10:06:59 AM »
While her answer comes, i´ve find some information in Edward J. Bing´s:  Her letters to Nicholas were mostly in french, it was, he said, good  society french. Her russian, when used, is inferior. He adds that "Grammar and spelling are much at fault, although there is considerable fluency of expression"(in russian)

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Re: Marie Feodorovna, her correspondence - letters, diaries etc
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2004, 09:52:32 AM »
Just received the answers from Inger-Lise, via her translator (Inger Lise doesn't speak English). Here are her exact words:

Maria  Feodorovna, known in the family as Minny, was fluent in: Danish; English;  French; German; and Russian.

She  would speak German with her mother, who was a German-born princess of the  House of Hesse-Cassel. But after the war between Germany and Denmark in  1864, which ended in Denmark’s defeat where Denmark lost much territory to  Germany, mother and daughter would not communicate  in Danish. Just about the only German word her Danish family would use all  the time was “bitte,” which means “please”.

Her  diaries are in Danish. However, during her stay in Crimea, her diary  entries tend to be a mixture of several languages all mixed together.

For  her son, Nicholas, and her daughter-in-law, Alexandra, she would use  English.

For  her sister, Queen Alexandra of England, known as Alix, she would use  Danish. Absolutely. Please note here that whenever Alix wanted to enquire  about, or send greetings to Tsar Alexander III, known as Sacha, Alix would  always write it in French.

When  Minny arrived in St Petersburg to marry Russia’s Crown Prince, Alexander,  she had already converted to the Russian-Orthodox faith. She took the name  of Maria Feodorovna. [One of her names was Marie. Feodorovna is  patronymic, i.e. derived from the name of the bearer’s father. Eeodor is  Russian for the Danish name of her father: Frederik]. She had already  received lessons in Russian in Copenhagen before leaving for Russia.  Whenever Minny wrote a letter to Sacha, she would begin the first  paragraph or two in Russian, which Sacha praised her for. Sacha and Minny  would speak Russian to one another on everyday affairs. On more  complicated issues such Royal protocol and etiquette, Sacha told Minny  that he would have to do so in French.

To  her sisters and brothers on the thrones of Europe, Minny would always  write in Danish. 



 


 
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by admin »

Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Marie Feodorovna, her correspondence - letters, diaries etc
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2004, 02:15:49 PM »
I thought that Feodorovna was the default patronymic for those brides whose husband's didn't have a convertible name? (IE Ella--Ludwig, Victoria Melita--Alfred). Wasn't it in honor of Feodor the long ago savior of the Romanovs? Plus, MF's father's name was Christian (IX); her brother was Frederick.
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Re: Marie Feodorovna, her correspondence - letters, diaries etc
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2004, 04:34:58 PM »
Just received this afternoon:
Dear Rob,

Inger-Lise wants me to make corrections and add some more to what I wrote yesterday. So here is a more correct version:

From  a very early age, Maria Feodorovna was  known as Minny in the family. This is also how she would sign her letters.  She was fluent in Danish; French; German; and Russian. Not so much in  English because it was not a world language on the Continent the way it is  now. Her older sister, Alexandra, known as Alix, took lessons in English  from Miss Mathilde Knudsen, known as “Miss Knudsen” immediately before her  marriage to Bertie. Maria Feodorovna, on the other hand, had a  French-speaking Belgian governess by the name of Mlle. Sidone de  L’escaille, at Det Gule Palæ in Copenhagen. Mlle L’escaille became Maria  Feodorovna’s life-long friend and confidante. Her task was to teach French  etiquette and how to be a lady in society.

Maria  Feodorovna’s parents, King Christian IX and Queen Louise, spoke a mixture  of Danish and German, which was quite the common thing in Denmark at the  time. Her mother came to Denmark at the age of three. She was of the House  of Hesse-Cassel. Maria Feodorovna would speak German to her mother but  following the Danish defeat over Germany in 1864, German was banned. So  mother and daughter did not  communicate in German after 1864. A German word that was used very  frequently in the Danish Royal Household at the time was “bitte,” which  means “please.”

Maria  Feodorovna’s diaries are in Danish. However, when she was in house arrest  in Crimea, she would write one paragraph in Russian if she had a  Russian-speaking person in mind; Danish if she had a Danish-speaking  person in mind; French when she referred to a French-speaking person, and  so forth.

At  the age of sixteen, Maria Feodorovna’s first letter to her future father-in-law,  Tsar Alexander II, was in French.

For  her son, Nicholas (Nicky), and her daughter-in-law, Alexandra (Alicky),  she would use Russian and English. Alicky, although German by birth, was  brought up by Queen Victoria, which was why she was fluent in English. On  her marriage to Nicky, Maria Feodorovna asked Alicky to call her ‘Mother  Dear,’ not ‘ Aunty Dear.’

Maria  Feodorovna’s letters to her older sister, Alexandra (Alix) were in Danish.  Absolutely. Please note here that whenever Alix wanted to enquire about,  or send greetings to, Tsar Alexander III, known as Sasha, Alix would  always write it in French.

When  Maria Feodorovna arrived in St. Petersburg to marry Sasha, she converted  to the Russian-Orthodox faith. In Denmark, her Christian names were Marie  Sophie Frederikke Dagmar. Dagmar is a Gothic name and was very popular in  the Nordic countries at the time. Because the patronymic would be  Christianovna because of her father and since Christianovna does not exist  in Russian, Tsar Alexander II decided that her Russian name was to be  Maria Feodorovna. Dagmar was so Nordic that it did not exist in Russian  either.

Maria  Feodorovna had already taken lessons in Russian in Copenhagen before  leaving for St. Petersburg in 1866. Whenever she wrote a letter to Sasha,  she would begin the first paragraph or two in Russian, which Sasha praised  her for. Sasha and Minny would speak Russian to one another on everyday  affairs. When they discussed more complicated issues, Sasha insisted on doing  so in French in order to avoid any misunderstanding.

To  her sisters and brothers on the thrones of Europe, she would always write  in Danish. It is interesting that her sister-in-law, Queen Olga of Greece,  married to her brother Vilhelm, who ascended the throne of the Hellenes as  George I, was fluent in Danish. Olga, a Russian-born Grand Duchess, was  known within the family as Oli.

From  the very day that Maria Feodorovna left Denmark in 1866 and until the  death of her father, Christian IX in 1906, father and daughter would write  in Danish.

I hope this clarifies things. The above is the version that replaces my mail dated September 11 2004.

Kind regards and best wishes,

Anna 

Offline Dominic_Albanese

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Re: Marie Feodorovna, her correspondence - letters, diaries etc
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2004, 05:30:58 PM »
Did she happen to mention if Minnie's or Sasha's diaries have ever been published - in english?

thank you.

dca

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Re: Marie Feodorovna, her correspondence - letters, diaries etc
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2004, 06:00:50 PM »
They have not. I believe Inger Lise is working to produce an english translation of MFs diaries.

Offline dbl-headed_eagle

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Re: Marie Feodorovna, her correspondence - letters, diaries etc
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2004, 03:01:55 AM »
Thank you Forum Administrator for all the trouble you’ve taken to answer my questions – I’m most grateful.

Has Inger-Lise Klausen mentioned if ‘Dagmar – zarina fra Danmark’ contains the complete diaries of Maria Feodorovna or only extracts? And if it is only extracts, does she know where I can get hold of the complete version?

Once again, thank you very much for your trouble.

Christian

Offline Candice

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Re: Marie Feodorovna, her correspondence - letters, diaries etc
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2004, 09:14:35 AM »
Months ago, I started a topic asking about these letters but no one ever answered.  I understand there are in total about 40 volumnes of letters. This is very intersting!


"On her marriage to Nicky, Maria Feodorovna asked Alicky to call her 'Mother Dear,' not 'Aunty Dear.'  My question is why would Alicky call Mimmi Aunty ?  Do the letters make that clear?

Regards
Candice

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Candice »

Offline marymac

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Re: Marie Feodorovna, her correspondence - letters, diaries etc
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2004, 05:58:09 PM »
Prior to marriage, Alix's relationship w/Marie would have been similar to  "Aunt".  Marie's sister, Alexandra, being married to Edward, Alix's maternal uncle.  If I recall correctly, all of Alexandra's children called her "Mother Dear".  

Offline JonC

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Re: Marie Feodorovna, her correspondence - letters, diaries etc
« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2004, 01:48:39 PM »
Can you give a reference for that practice or is it simply what you think might be the case?

From what I've read...admitedly its not much...Empress Marie, being from Denmark was not much of a figure in English circles. Then she was married to Alexander 3rd so I haven't seen much of a 'chuminess' enough to be called 'mother' by Alexandra or her children.

Ofcourse when she married Nicholas she had every right to call Minny mother. But why had she called her 'Aunty Dear' up until then seems wrong to me.

You making a connection to Edward 7th seems a bit of a stretch to me. Maybe I'm making too much of this. Best regards. JonC.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by JonC »