Author Topic: Empress Elizaveta Alekseevna, wife of Alexander I  (Read 121437 times)

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Offline gem_10

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Re: Empress Elizaveta Alekseevna, wife of Alexander I
« Reply #105 on: June 02, 2010, 10:34:16 AM »
I think Alexander liked women who possess a lively personality, a woman who 'worship' him and make him feel that he was strong and reliable. For example, Maria Naryshkina and his sister Ekaterina Pavlovna. Accounts say that Maria was indeed a very beautiful and attractive woman. She was not ambitious and demanding like other mistresses and had no interest in politics. But she was not intelligent as Elizabeth and was rather superficial. Ekaterina was rather temperamental but vivacious and very pretty, and Alexander doted on her very much. Alexander was also linked with Queen Louise of Prussia but I think their relationship was more platonic and Alexander deeply admired her (although I've read that Queen Louise had a slight tendency for coquetry. please correct me if I'm wrong about this. ). I've also read similar things about Alexander and Anna Feodorovna, that they got on quite well, but Anna was viewed at court as rather frivolous. Now I wonder why Elizabeth and Anna, though different in character, got on pretty well.  :-\

Offline ivanushka

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Re: Empress Elizaveta Alekseevna, wife of Alexander I
« Reply #106 on: June 02, 2010, 10:46:51 AM »
Now I wonder why Elizabeth and Anna, though different in character, got on pretty well.  :-\

I would imagine it was because at some level they did have a lot in common.  Both had had to leave large families at a young age and live in a rich, powerful and probably rather intimidating court.  I've also always had the impression that Maria Feodorovna was never terribly welcoming to her daughers in law.  Finally Anna was married to Constantine who, by all accounts, was a bit of a nightmare as a husband in those early years.  Elizabeth probably felt sorry for Anna having to deal with him.  Also both were German and could talk to each other in their native tongue about their native land. 

Offline CountessKate

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Re: Empress Elizaveta Alekseevna, wife of Alexander I
« Reply #107 on: June 02, 2010, 04:26:26 PM »
The intrepid Irish sisters, Martha and Katherine Wilmot, encountered Elizabeth during their travels in Russia which covered serveral years.  Martha, a young Irish friend of the Princess Dashkov, first saw Elizabeth when she been Empress for only a couple of years, in July 1803, and wrote that she was "tall, fair, and would be pretty, only for a dreadful scurvy she has in her face; her dress was a lilac round gown of slight silk always flowing on the ground which is quite Russian, a shawl and a lace veil thrown over her head which was all the covering it had and is the usual head dress of the higher orders while they wear shawls and long cloaks like Celia's [possibly a friend or relation] rug only of silk wadded covering their shoulders down to their heels..."(I'm sorry, but I had to put in the wonderful description of her clothes!).  Some years later, in 1805, Katherine Wilmot had a proper audience and this time there was no scurvy (perhaps a nervous rash?); instead, the "Empress is the loveliest creature I almost ever saw...She was dress'd in white embroidery and immense pearls in her beautiful light brown hair.  she has the humility, modesty and sweetness of an Angel in her demeanour, & when we were presented & would fain have kissed her hand she struggled from the ceremony & in her turn stoop'd down & kiss'd our cheeks.  She spoke french to all, except one Russian lady to whom she spoke Russ.  Her voice is very sweet and low, & she speaks as quick as lightening.  Appropriate trifles were all of course she utter'd.  She ask'd me 'how I lik'd Petersburg' & hoped it 'had given me a good impression'.  I said 'it had', (was that not witty?).  She said 'she had heard of my sister at Moscow [Martha] & that she understood I intended soon to take a long journey for the gratification of seeing her.  I said 'yea'! & that I only delay'd at Petersb. for the honor of being presented to her imperial majesty.  She then bow'd, & after staying about qr of an hour (all parties standing in a semi-circle by her) she withdrew with a mob of attendants at her heels, lovely and interesting elegant creature that she is!

Offline violetta

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Re: Empress Elizaveta Alekseevna, wife of Alexander I
« Reply #108 on: June 02, 2010, 04:34:44 PM »


3. i think aleksander felt somewhat inferior as his wife was psychologically stronger. on the night of the murder of paul 1 elizaveta aleevna was, according to adam czartoryski, at this difficult moment she was the only one who stayed calm. what is more, "she was the only authority during this night". alexander was frightned, and witnesses saw him crying on her shoulder. he must have felt humiliated as he was so powerless so weak and didn`t meet requirements of a leader of the nation. he was simplyuncofortable in her presence as she saw the weakest aspect of his personality.

4. alexander simply wasn`t her equal so turned to other women who looked up to him. he simply felt uneasy in her presence. he wasn`t strong enough to be her partner  

I am not sure I'd agree that Elizabeth's and Alexander's reactions to Paul's death necsesearily show to be stronger than him. After all, Paul was Alexander's father and he was aware of the plots, so it was natural for him to feel confusion, fear, grief and remorse and so on to a far greater degree than Elizabeth did. People who knew them later in life thought she was actualy afraid of him, so I  wonder what that indicates!?

It seems to me that perhaps - as you say - this couple were thrown together too young and came to view one another more as brother and sister than anything else - or at least this is the way A saw E. She has witnessed too many dark family moments with him, knew too much about him for him to be comfortable, and lacked the mystery he wanted in a lover. THis doesn't necessarily sugegst to me that he felt she was stronger than he though. One of the main criticisms made of her at court was that she was cold and shy, and I am sure this was a factor - she was simply not the type of happy, flirtatious woman he wanted. In the early days, he got along very well with Anna F., and this may show us what sort of girl he appreciated - though in my view she was an air-head and oviously far inferior in character and intellect to Eliabeth! :-)

Janet, thanks for your response. I don`t claim to know everything about elizaveta alexeevna who is one of my favorite Romanovs. I read quite a lot about her although there isn`t too much information on her. her diaries were burnt by nikolay I. her letters to her mother, landgravine of baden nee Hesse-Darmstadt, however have been preserved. there is also a marvelos book on her by grand duke nikolay mikhailovitch. a russian writer dmitriy merezhkovskiy wrote a series of essays on some historical figures , including elizaveta alexeevna.these essays were based on the materials in the archives.  
I formed my opinion on the basis of the afore-mentioned sources. i think she was stronger than her husband. this is the impression i get from the works that i have read.

I do agree that Alexander needed someone who would be flirtatious and look up to him. thats why i think that he was a very weak person, not being able to stand someone who was his intellectual equal and didn`t entertain him.  for me, this is an indication of alexander`s phobias and fears.

i do agree that he treated her as a sisiter. some of the court members confirm this fact e.g. countess varvara golovina.

Offline violetta

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Re: Empress Elizaveta Alekseevna, wife of Alexander I
« Reply #109 on: June 02, 2010, 05:06:49 PM »
Now I wonder why Elizabeth and Anna, though different in character, got on pretty well.  :-\

I would imagine it was because at some level they did have a lot in common.  Both had had to leave large families at a young age and live in a rich, powerful and probably rather intimidating court.  I've also always had the impression that Maria Feodorovna was never terribly welcoming to her daughers in law.  Finally Anna was married to Constantine who, by all accounts, was a bit of a nightmare as a husband in those early years.  Elizabeth probably felt sorry for Anna having to deal with him.  Also both were German and could talk to each other in their native tongue about their native land. 

As for speaking German, I strongly doubt that Elizaveta Aleexevna spoke German with Anna. I remember Elizaveta Alexeevna wrote her mother about her problems with writing in German. I do agree however why the two got on very well. when julia of coburg came to russia with her mother and sisters she vivdly remembered herself a few years before,when she came to st.petersburg as a 13-yearold girl. in a letter to her mother, 26.10.1795, on the eve of the duchess of coburg`s departure for coburg (julia was to stay in russia) :" I imagine myself in Julia`s shoes".
30.10.1795. - "the duchess of coburg has left! Oh, my God! their parting reminded me of our parting! When the mother embraced Julia for the last time, i felt as if it was all happening to me."
Also, when Catherine II died and pavel ascended the throne, elizaveta and anna spent a lot of time together. they were united in their lack of acceptanc e of pavel`s reign and a new regime. letter of 29.01.1797 : " horrible times! my only consolation is Anna, i `m anna`s consolation. she spends almost all her time in my place..."


Offline violetta

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Re: Empress Elizaveta Alekseevna, wife of Alexander I
« Reply #110 on: June 03, 2010, 06:16:47 AM »
E A was respected by e.g. members of decembrist society e.g. Pavel Bestzhev-Ryumin in his files during investigation admitted that " a good deal of people whose views matter for public opinion expressed an intention to make E A ascend the throne". Another decembrist , Pavek Shtejngel, wrote a political manifesto in the morning of 14.12. 1825 declaring VIVA  EMPRESS ELIZAVETA II AND OUR MOTHERLAND !

Offline gem_10

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Re: Empress Elizaveta Alekseevna, wife of Alexander I
« Reply #111 on: June 04, 2010, 04:09:39 AM »
I want to know more about the relationship between Elizabeth and Adam Czartoryski. Did they really become lovers? Are there evidences that pertain to that? I have been reading the memoirs of Adam Czartoryski (which are quite interesting), and so far he only mentioned Elizabeth a couple of times and usually he mentioned her with Alexander. I haven't come across anything where he mentioned her in an affectionate or sentimental way. :-\
Any comments?


Offline Janet Ashton

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Re: Empress Elizaveta Alekseevna, wife of Alexander I
« Reply #112 on: June 04, 2010, 06:55:46 AM »

Janet, thanks for your response. I don`t claim to know everything about elizaveta alexeevna who is one of my favorite Romanovs. I read quite a lot about her although there isn`t too much information on her. her diaries were burnt by nikolay I. her letters to her mother, landgravine of baden nee Hesse-Darmstadt, however have been preserved. there is also a marvelos book on her by grand duke nikolay mikhailovitch. a russian writer dmitriy merezhkovskiy wrote a series of essays on some historical figures , including elizaveta alexeevna.these essays were based on the materials in the archives.  
I formed my opinion on the basis of the afore-mentioned sources. i think she was stronger than her husband. this is the impression i get from the works that i have read.

I do agree that Alexander needed someone who would be flirtatious and look up to him. thats why i think that he was a very weak person, not being able to stand someone who was his intellectual equal and didn`t entertain him.  for me, this is an indication of alexander`s phobias and fears.

i do agree that he treated her as a sisiter. some of the court members confirm this fact e.g. countess varvara golovina.

Hi Violetta
  Thanks for your thoughts!
One thing I will say about Alexander's relationships with women which causes me to have a slightly different vew of him is that he liked his sister Catherine (to the point that people have hinted at incest) - and yet she was a very opinionated woman who often disagreed with him. So he seems to have tolerated not being looked up to when the woman had fire in her, whereas, to me at least, Elizabeth emerges from GD Nikolai M's book on her (which I think is an excellent work, unlikely to be bettered) as a lonely, melancholy woman, more ice than fire.....Alexander, in all, he treats his wife a sister and his sister as a wife! :-)

J
« Last Edit: June 04, 2010, 06:59:10 AM by Janet Ashton »
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you -
Ye are many; they are few.

Offline Dru

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Re: Empress Elizaveta Alekseevna, wife of Alexander I
« Reply #113 on: June 04, 2010, 05:05:06 PM »


Elizaveta Alexeievna by Ritt.

Offline Yelena Aleksandrovna

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Re: Empress Elizaveta Alekseevna, wife of Alexander I
« Reply #114 on: June 09, 2010, 12:43:30 PM »
Would like to see a better verssion of this

With Alexander I

Offline violetta

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Re: Empress Elizaveta Alekseevna, wife of Alexander I
« Reply #115 on: June 09, 2010, 02:00:21 PM »
ref # 110

Dear Janet

It seems to me that we must have read the same books but we formed a different opiion on EA. ;) ;) ;) To me, her power, psychological power, lies in her weaknesses (or assumed weaknesses) . she was so silent, so withdrawn but she was more sensible than her husband. after the battle of austerlitz aleander was depressed,he was  afraid of people`s response to the defeat.EA knew how to turn defeat into victory. she arrived to st.petersburg so as to greet her husband as a victor and show her admiration for him. crowds cheered as the emperor appeared before them. EA knew how to be the true empress!!!the true companion

Offline Janet Ashton

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Re: Empress Elizaveta Alekseevna, wife of Alexander I
« Reply #116 on: June 10, 2010, 01:16:41 PM »
ref # 110

Dear Janet

It seems to me that we must have read the same books but we formed a different opiion on EA. ;) ;) ;) To me, her power, psychological power, lies in her weaknesses (or assumed weaknesses) . she was so silent, so withdrawn but she was more sensible than her husband. after the battle of austerlitz aleander was depressed,he was  afraid of people`s response to the defeat.EA knew how to turn defeat into victory. she arrived to st.petersburg so as to greet her husband as a victor and show her admiration for him. crowds cheered as the emperor appeared before them. EA knew how to be the true empress!!!the true companion

Yes, I think we have different views - but it still very nice to have an informed discussion here about one of the earlier Romanovs! :-) - There is a lot on this forum about Nicholas II, as you'd expect, and other royalty, but somehow just pictures of earlier Romanovs....
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you -
Ye are many; they are few.

Offline violetta

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Re: Empress Elizaveta Alekseevna, wife of Alexander I
« Reply #117 on: June 10, 2010, 02:37:41 PM »
i read her letters to her mother. in these letters i see a young woman who longs for love but instead she has to witness alexander`s infidelity.and she often repeats that probably she isn`t destined for happiness but for suffrings and tears. i see a woman whose real self , tenderness and ability to love haven`t been fully realized. her potential as a woman and empress was simply wasted.

Offline Dru

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Re: Empress Elizaveta Alekseevna, wife of Alexander I
« Reply #118 on: June 19, 2010, 11:13:37 PM »


Elizaveta as a grand duchess.

Offline Yelena Aleksandrovna

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Re: Empress Elizaveta Alekseevna, wife of Alexander I
« Reply #119 on: June 22, 2010, 02:31:07 PM »
Elizaveta and Alexander