Author Topic: NEW LETTERS about Ella and Wilhelm  (Read 4984 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Queen_Missy

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 55
    • View Profile
NEW LETTERS about Ella and Wilhelm
« on: September 30, 2016, 03:44:54 PM »
Here are some privately held letters - which I have been given permission to share these extracts of here - from Queen Victoria to Vicky (Crown Princess of Prussia/later Empress Frederick). They are kept together as if about the same subject.

September 1878
Willy’s visit has gone well – that subject was not mentioned at all until the last day (day before he left), when he asked to see me privately and confessed everything that happened and seemed overcome and burst into tears. He said he did not know how he would face Alice and Louis at the maneuvers next month. I only bring this up again because I wished you to know how he felt about it all and that he felt what he had done was wrong and that he understood that he himself had quite spoiled his chances (which may – later - have been reconsidered otherwise) since you said he acted so strange and cold and stony about it all to both of you when you attempted to speak to him about it.

December 2 1878
I heard from Princess C of H that all has gone quite well and that E had quite an easy time and feels quite strong. She said everything lasted only about 4 hours and that it is 2. But E has not been told of her poor little sister’s death. I just received poor A’s telegram – distressed that she could not be with E during this time. You will no doubt have heard from them both before you receive this.

Offline Queen_Missy

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 55
    • View Profile
Re: NEW LETTERS about Ella and Wilhelm
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2017, 10:16:33 AM »
If you read the second letter, it sounds very like other letters Queen Victoria wrote about births - "had a very easy time"... "Only lasted about 4 hours" etc. - but the owner of the letters (who's name I am not allowed to disclose at this time) said this letter was about Ella. When I read it it sounds like it could be - "Princess C of H" would be Ludwig IV's mother - E would be Ella - "Poor A" "distressed that she could not be with E during this time" would be Alice - it is at the end of 1878 when the rest of the family was sick - Ella hadn't been told of May "her little sister"'s death. "it is 2" - Twins??

 :o Could it be that... Wilhelm got Ella pregnant when she was 13?!

Offline Queen_Missy

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 55
    • View Profile
Letters from Ella to Wilhelm
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2017, 07:11:45 AM »
Here are all the letters I found from Ella to Wilhelm in chronological order, a few more than I posted before:

November 22 1870
Dear Willy,
Victoria and Irene and I are all very well and Grosmama and Grospapa too. Is Mama better? And Baby? How is your Mama and baby Sophie? Our best wishes for her birthday. We heard of Papa’s getting the Iron Cross and were very glad. I hope you and Harry are well. I have the shell you gave me. Good-bye,
Your loving cousin Ella

January 24, 1873
Dear Willy,
I hope you get this for the 27th. Many happy returns. I send you a little drawing I did which I thought you would like. Mama and Papa and sisters send their love and best wishes for your birthday.
Your loving cousin Ella

February 1876
Dearest Willy,
Thank you for your dear letter and the book and flower. I hope your leg is better. The little bird is very pretty. I hope we will see you and Harry soon again. We are all very well. Mama and Papa and Sisters all send their love and many kisses XXX
Your very loving cousin, Ella

December 15 1877
Dearest Willy,
We are here in Potsdam and we miss you and Harry very much. Yesterday we got the new volume about Grandpapa, Mama and your Mama have taken turns reading aloud from it. I remember you telling your memory of him and how I wish we could have known him. We shall be very glad to have you coming again after not seeing you the last months. The little ones are rushing about and playing and making such noise I cannot write more. Little May runs about waving her arms like she wants to fly. All send their love and many kisses XXX
I miss You.
Your very loving cousin Ella

March 15 1878
Dearest Willy,
Thank you for the book I just received. I was sorry you had stopped just at that spot and wished for you to go on. I shall read it myself now and enjoy it very much. But did Harry get to hear it? It was Grandmama’s present for him, I shall send it back if he has not tho I do not like to have to do so.
I send you what I was painting – tho’ it is not half so good and pretty as I should have liked. My foot is much better and I was up a little today. Mama says Grosmama is much better.
In three weeks it will be 3 years since – you remember in April 75?
Your very loving cousin, Ella

April 7 1878
Darling Willy,
I found what you left in the book and it is so sweet – I must write to you tho I do not have much to say and we only said good-bye two hours ago. Yes in 73 is when – I don’t know if I should write it here –I shall just say that I would be able to say the same as you did in your note, as much as a child could, since I was only 8 then. I think of the Hothouse – of M 9th & of the 5th & the 5th 3 years ago – when you first said something and the first
XXX Your Loving Ella

April 20 1878
Darling Willy,
You come this time on Mama’s birthday I think?  So you will be here 4 days this time and 2 times this month. Mama has not been well again, I hope she will be better soon. We shall not have the things like last year as Mama is not well. I got your poem - it is very sweet. I send you a flower from the back of the H- - h - - -e – you know where.
I miss you. A loving k- - -, your Ella



Offline GDSophie

  • Boyar
  • **
  • Posts: 133
    • View Profile
Re: NEW LETTERS about Ella and Wilhelm
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2017, 10:13:37 AM »
If you read the second letter, it sounds very like other letters Queen Victoria wrote about births - "had a very easy time"... "Only lasted about 4 hours" etc. - but the owner of the letters (who's name I am not allowed to disclose at this time) said this letter was about Ella. When I read it it sounds like it could be - "Princess C of H" would be Ludwig IV's mother - E would be Ella - "Poor A" "distressed that she could not be with E during this time" would be Alice - it is at the end of 1878 when the rest of the family was sick - Ella hadn't been told of May "her little sister"'s death. "it is 2" - Twins??

 :o Could it be that... Wilhelm got Ella pregnant when she was 13?!

If that's true, which would explain Elizabeth suddenly visiting Victoria during this time, everyone was pretty good at hiding it in the years to come. Could it actually be talking about someone, anyone, else? And if Ella and Wilhelm did have children, what happened to this baby/babies?
'Give my love to all who remember me' - Olga Nikolaevna

Offline Ortino

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1033
  • Ortino
    • View Profile
Re: NEW LETTERS about Ella and Wilhelm
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2017, 11:39:43 PM »
If you read the second letter, it sounds very like other letters Queen Victoria wrote about births - "had a very easy time"... "Only lasted about 4 hours" etc. - but the owner of the letters (who's name I am not allowed to disclose at this time) said this letter was about Ella. When I read it it sounds like it could be - "Princess C of H" would be Ludwig IV's mother - E would be Ella - "Poor A" "distressed that she could not be with E during this time" would be Alice - it is at the end of 1878 when the rest of the family was sick - Ella hadn't been told of May "her little sister"'s death. "it is 2" - Twins??

 :o Could it be that... Wilhelm got Ella pregnant when she was 13?!

I'm obviously not 100% sure, but I don't believe that the two letters necessarily relate to one another. The first letter seems to discuss Wilhelm's failed proposal to Ella. It makes sense that he would feel embarrassed and overwhelmed at having been rejected by her.

The second letter *could* be read as relating to a pregnancy, but if it is, I don't think that it has to do with Ella. Aside from Ella having spurned Wilhelm's advances, I can't imagine how they would have kept such a thing a secret. Surely servants, an attending physician, etc. would have talked at some point, particularly since getting such a young girl--and moreover, a princess--pregnant would have been shocking. Perhaps Ella was briefly unwell during this time, causing Alice's  "distress." My other thought was that maybe it references menstruation--Ella would have just turned 14, so it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility.

Offline Kalafrana

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 2922
    • View Profile
Re: NEW LETTERS about Ella and Wilhelm
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2017, 10:02:48 AM »
I agree with Ortino here.

Quite apart from the points already made, there would surely have been a whole lot of angry correspondence about Wilhelm's disgraceful behaviour, and what should be done about him.

Ann

Offline GDSophie

  • Boyar
  • **
  • Posts: 133
    • View Profile
Re: NEW LETTERS about Ella and Wilhelm
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2017, 03:02:00 PM »
I agree with Ortino here.

Quite apart from the points already made, there would surely have been a whole lot of angry correspondence about Wilhelm's disgraceful behaviour, and what should be done about him.

Ann

Maybe there is. If it got out that Princess Elizabeth became pregnant at 13 by her cousin, it would have brought disgrace to Elizabeth, her family and Victoria herself. If it got out that Saint Elizabeth became pregnant at the age of 13, how many people would believe it to be fake? Remember, a Saint could not do any wrong during their lifetime because they knew they were going to be saints one day!

But being ill would make sense, but why would Victoria use words she usually associated to pregnancy to an illness? And why did Wilhelm practically beg forgiveness from Victoria because of an illness if these extracts are related like Missy says? They have access to them and knows much before then we know.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2017, 03:05:13 PM by GDSophie »
'Give my love to all who remember me' - Olga Nikolaevna

Offline DNAgenie

  • Boyar
  • **
  • Posts: 177
    • View Profile
Re: NEW LETTERS about Ella and Wilhelm
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2017, 04:24:02 PM »
Quote
Quote

 If you read the second letter, it sounds very like other letters Queen Victoria wrote about births - "had a very easy time"... "Only lasted about 4 hours" etc. - but the owner of the letters (who's name I am not allowed to disclose at this time) said this letter was about Ella. When I read it it sounds like it could be - "Princess C of H" would be Ludwig IV's mother - E would be Ella - "Poor A" "distressed that she could not be with E during this time" would be Alice - it is at the end of 1878 when the rest of the family was sick - Ella hadn't been told of May "her little sister"'s death. "it is 2" - Twins??

I find it all too possible that this does refer to a birth to Ella. First of all, I cannot find any official royal birth at this period (Oct-Nov 1878). The nearest is the birth of Alexandra of Saxe-Coburg on 1 Sept 1878, and the names do not agree. Next, Princess C of H is certainly not Ludwig (Louis) IV's mother - she was Princess Louise of Prussia, or of Hesse. However she could be Caroline, the wife of Ludwig's brother Prince Heinrich of Hesse. Which makes it likely that ella is the E, and that she had given birth. As to the difficulty of hiding such a thing from the public - this was common practice among European royalty in those days.  I know of several similar instances. The royals only spoke about such things among themselves, official birth records were disguised or omitted, and private persons were blackmailed into silence.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2017, 04:49:29 PM by DNAgenie »

Offline Kalafrana

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 2922
    • View Profile
Re: NEW LETTERS about Ella and Wilhelm
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2017, 03:10:08 AM »
If the letter dated 2 December refers to a birth, then it presumably took place in the previous week or so. We need to take account of where Queen Victoria was at the time (Windsor or Osborne?) and how long the news had taken to reach her.  If we assume that the birth took place in the second half of November 1878, then that puts the conception some time in February.

I've had a look at John Rohl's Young Wilhelm, in which he says that Wilhelm visited Darmstadt in the autumn of 1877 while en route to Bonn University, and again in April 1878. Nothing in the critical period, and nothing in Ella's letter of 15 March to suggest that Wilhelm had been there recently.

As I said in my previous post, had Wilhelm made Ella pregnant when he was 19 and she 13, he would have been in the deepest of disgrace with his parents and grandparents.  He would at the very least have been removed from his comfortable student life and posted to some distant garrison. I would expect some discussion between his father, grandfather and Bismarck about his suitability to remain in the line of succession.

Ann

Offline CountessKate

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1110
    • View Profile
Re: NEW LETTERS about Ella and Wilhelm
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2017, 08:03:39 PM »
Quote
Princess C of H is certainly not Ludwig (Louis) IV's mother - she was Princess Louise of Prussia, or of Hesse.

Queen Victoria invariably referred to Ludwig IV's mother as "Princess Charles of Hesse", for example in letters to her daughter Vicky of March 24, 1858; June 20, 1860; December 8, 1860; October 1, 1861; July 2, 1862; July 8 1862, etc.  In her diary entry of 17 December 1878, the Queen wrote "Received a touching letter from Pss Charles, saying she wished to pour her heart out to me, & mourn with me over our darling child......Poor Pss Charles was there the whole night, holding dear Alice's hand."

Quote
If the letter dated 2 December refers to a birth, then it presumably took place in the previous week or so. We need to take account of where Queen Victoria was at the time (Windsor or Osborne?) and how long the news had taken to reach her. 

Queen Victoria was at Balmoral until the 21st November 1878, when she travelled to Windsor.  She went to Osborne on the 20th December.  Because of the cataclysmic events surrounding the Hesse-Darmstadt family at the time, she was receiving frequent telegrams from Darmstadt and letters seemed to arrive pretty quickly as well - perhaps by courier. 

There seems to have been a coolness between Alice and Vicky because of Wilhelm's attachment to Ella.  Apparently much of the correspondence between the Queen and Vicky relating to this was destroyed, but in a surviving letter of October 2 1878, the Queen wrote "...I never told Alice you had complained bitterly to me-and that you had never asked me to write-for how could I?  I only warned you what I had gathered and I have told you and Herr v. Liebenau (what I am thoroughly certain of) that Alice never wished to catch Willie, for I know she did not.  It is a distressing misunderstanding which I trust is now cleared up and which I shall be too happy to aid in smoothing down if required.  I think others (unintentionally) have talked and made messes, which is very annoying.  Herr v. Liebenau thinks (as I do) Willie should not be pressed to marry too early."  This sounds as if Vicky had suspected Alice of encouraging Wilhelm's attachment to Ella, a suspicion the Queen believed was exacerbated by gossip.  This rather temperate discussion of a "distressing misunderstanding", which was "very annoying" hardly seems adequate if the Queen's grandson had seduced and made pregnant her granddaughter. 

Quote
As to the difficulty of hiding such a thing from the public - this was common practice among European royalty in those days.  I know of several similar instances. The royals only spoke about such things among themselves, official birth records were disguised or omitted, and private persons were blackmailed into silence.

Well, yes, Princess Thyra of Denmark was a case in point.  But her mother took her to Athens with the cover story of an illness, where she could be carefully hidden from public view, while Ella was certainly not hidden; she went with her family to Eastbourne that summer where she would have been perfectly visible to the public, and visited the Queen at Windsor where she would be surrounded by the huge royal retinue including hordes of doctors, of whom there would be far too many to blackmail into silence.  Not at all the way to discreetly manage an illicit pregnancy.

Offline Bambi

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 29
    • View Profile
Re: NEW LETTERS about Ella and Wilhelm
« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2017, 07:57:45 PM »
I personally think that the idea of Ella being impregnated by Wilhelm is rather far-fetched. I couldn't ever imagine Ella having physical relations with someone and falling pregnant out of wedlock, especially given that she is said not to have requited Wilhelm's romantic interests. But the excerpt of Queen Victoria's letter is very peculiar and ambiguous. I would consider it very probable that the Queen could have been talking about Wilhelm's declaration of love/failed proposal to Ella in the first letter, but the second is particularly strange and debatable. I confess myself very curious as to the nature of the ordeal Ella endured... It sounds as though it was something reasonably serious...

Also, Ella's letters to Wilhelm in 1878 - Yes in 73 is when – I don’t know if I should write it here –I shall just say that I would be able to say the same as you did in your note, as much as a child could, since I was only 8 then. I think of the Hothouse – of M 9th & of the 5th & the 5th 3 years ago – when you first said something and the first - what could she be talking about? She obviously felt uncomfortable and reluctant to speak more explicitly...

Thank you very much Queen_Missy for posting these letters and excerpts!

Offline CountessKate

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1110
    • View Profile
Re: NEW LETTERS about Ella and Wilhelm
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2017, 10:19:47 AM »
Quote
I heard from Princess C of H that all has gone quite well and that E had quite an easy time and feels quite strong. She said everything lasted only about 4 hours and that it is 2.

It is always difficult to penetrate Victorian codes but in this case I think it useful to remember that Queen Victoria and her daughters were invariably very discreet with regard to any of the (many) references they made to matters of the body.  I can't recall the date, but in a letter to Vicky concerning one of Leopold's haemophilia-related illnesses, Queen Victoria explained that Vicky would know what she meant when she said that the bleeding was from his kidneys.  Presumably it was in his urine, but the Queen could not bring herself to actually write this.  She herself was never physically examined closely by any of her doctors - it would have been far too indelicate.  All questions of fertility were of intense interest to Queen Victoria, but delicacy forbade anything but coded allusions; menstruation would be considered important enough to mention, but only in a very guarded manner.  (Didn't Ella's sister Alexandra refer to menstruation as "the General", in true Victoria fashion?).  References at that time to periods and the development of breasts was referred to as a girl's "health beginning to change", and the upper classes treated periods as illnesses - women generally refrained from exercise or much moving about, and rested frequently, which fits in with the fairly matter-of-fact references to Ella having "quite an easy time and feel[ing] quite strong".  Perhaps this was the second time she had been through this experience and discomfort lasted "only" 4 hours, compared to her first experience? 

Quote
Yes in 73 is when – I don’t know if I should write it here –I shall just say that I would be able to say the same as you did in your note, as much as a child could, since I was only 8 then. I think of the Hothouse – of M 9th & of the 5th & the 5th 3 years ago – when you first said something and the first - what could she be talking about? She obviously felt uncomfortable and reluctant to speak more explicitly...

Again, romance was a subject Victorian young ladies were intensely coy about.  Presumably Wilhelm had expressed some admiration for his cousin in 1873, which he referred to in expressing his admiration in 1878.  It was for the man to make the running, and for a female to respond very directly might have made her appear immodest.  One certainly gets the impression Ella liked Wilhelm at this point and responded to his admiration, but she observed the constraints of the period - explicit language was not something deemed suitable for this sort of correspondence, it was all allusion and delicacy.  She went as far as she could to indicate she remembered whatever the incident was, and others of a similar ilk since. 

Offline Ortino

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1033
  • Ortino
    • View Profile
Re: NEW LETTERS about Ella and Wilhelm
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2017, 12:00:48 PM »
Quote
All questions of fertility were of intense interest to Queen Victoria, but delicacy forbade anything but coded allusions; menstruation would be considered important enough to mention, but only in a very guarded manner.  (Didn't Ella's sister Alexandra refer to menstruation as "the General", in true Victoria fashion?).  References at that time to periods and the development of breasts was referred to as a girl's "health beginning to change", and the upper classes treated periods as illnesses - women generally refrained from exercise or much moving about, and rested frequently, which fits in with the fairly matter-of-fact references to Ella having "quite an easy time and feel[ing] quite strong".  Perhaps this was the second time she had been through this experience and discomfort lasted "only" 4 hours, compared to her first experience? 

I also had the feeling that it might reference menstruation. However, I was thinking that it might actually refer to her *first* experience, since Victoria mentions Alice's "distress" at not being with her daughter. This would make sense if Alice was not able to show her what to do or to explain to her what was happening. I'm not sure how much Ella would have known about menstruation at the time, even with an older sister. In fact, she may have known nothing.





Offline Bambi

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 29
    • View Profile
Re: NEW LETTERS about Ella and Wilhelm
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2017, 02:50:02 PM »

Quote
Yes in 73 is when – I don’t know if I should write it here –I shall just say that I would be able to say the same as you did in your note, as much as a child could, since I was only 8 then. I think of the Hothouse – of M 9th & of the 5th & the 5th 3 years ago – when you first said something and the first - what could she be talking about? She obviously felt uncomfortable and reluctant to speak more explicitly...

Again, romance was a subject Victorian young ladies were intensely coy about.  Presumably Wilhelm had expressed some admiration for his cousin in 1873, which he referred to in expressing his admiration in 1878.  It was for the man to make the running, and for a female to respond very directly might have made her appear immodest.  One certainly gets the impression Ella liked Wilhelm at this point and responded to his admiration, but she observed the constraints of the period - explicit language was not something deemed suitable for this sort of correspondence, it was all allusion and delicacy.  She went as far as she could to indicate she remembered whatever the incident was, and others of a similar ilk since.

I was thinking of something similar. Also to me, it comes across as though Ella may have been enjoying a childish, girly flirtation - albeit nothing serious - with Wilhelm.

The possibility that Queen Victoria could have been referring to Ella's menstrual cycle when she spoke of her ordeal is also quite plausible, in my opinion.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2017, 02:51:41 PM by Bambi »

Offline Queen_Missy

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 55
    • View Profile
Re: NEW LETTERS about Ella and Wilhelm
« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2017, 09:15:55 AM »
I've got one more letter I didn't share before.

March 30, 1878
My Darling Willy,
I shall try to write a love letter as you write me, since I did say yes – it shall be my first, I feel very shy about it, but I do love you so very much and I want you to know it.
Don’t call yourself a cripple or call your arm useless, you can do so many things you used to say you would never be able to do. You climbed that tree; you can play the piano very well now. I don’t want you to feel how you said you do in that last letter. Your arm is NOT useless, and I could not love you better than I do if you had two FULLY capable arms. It – I do not know how to say what I want to say in a letter – but I must try – your arm and hand are beautiful in my eyes. I want to help you and I don’t want you to ever feel what you said in your last letter, it makes me cry.
I must say again – your arm and hand are Beautiful in my eyes; it is Very good at certain things.
I kiss you, your arm, and where you liked it best,
Your Ella who loves you dearly.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2017, 09:17:27 AM by Queen_Missy »