Author Topic: Grand Duchess and other possible suitors - what if..  (Read 97124 times)

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Offline Gypsy

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Grand Duchess and other possible suitors - what if..
« on: July 18, 2004, 08:37:04 AM »
What do you have on the relationship between Elizabeth and Wilhelm? Were they ever close to getting married, or did she dislike him all along? Did they speak over the years, and how serious were his attempts to get her out of Russia in the last days? Any info appreciated.

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Re: Grand Duchess and other possible suitors - what if..
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2004, 10:00:29 AM »
There is a short book about her life on the Alexander Palace mainpage, which recounts Wilhelm sending the Swedish Ambassador with a message to her to leave Moscow.

Offline Gypsy

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Re: Grand Duchess and other possible suitors - what if..
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2004, 10:08:13 AM »
Thanks, and I have a question about the main page. All I can do is click on the stories at the bottom of the page, is there a way I can access the rest of the site from the main page? I found this board through clicking on a google search. I can't get the main page to reach anything other than the books listed at the bottom.

Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Grand Duchess and other possible suitors - what if..
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2004, 11:52:28 AM »
Quote
What do you have on the relationship between Elizabeth and Wilhelm? Were they ever close to getting married, or did she dislike him all along? Did they speak over the years, and how serious were his attempts to get her out of Russia in the last days? Any info appreciated.


Well, based on published info such as letters between QV and Wilhelm's mother Vicky, it does seem marriage was considered.......on Wilhelm's side at least. When he was a college student at Bonn, he apparently spent a lot of time in Darmstadt. He developed a strong attachment to Ella (who wouldn't?) and spent a good period of his college time writing her love poems. He tended to annoy his cousins with his constantly changing moods, but Ella could supposedly quiet him with a word or look and he would sit silently when she spoke. He supposedly went out of his way to avoid her after her marriage and helped spread some of the gossip about Serge. Reportedly, he had a photo of her on his desk the rest of his life and certainly when the revolution came he did his best to try and save her. I've always found it a romantic story, showing as it did a gentler side to KW and perhaps she could've proved a stabilizing influence on him, moreso than his future wife, Dona, who worshipped him with a "cowlike" devotion. I don't think Ella would've put up with some of his stuff and certainly would've made a good Empress. Her sister Irene helped Wilhelm's brother Henry in his behavior and attitudes, esp towards his mother, perhaps Ella could've done the same. BTW, Gilbert's Royal Digest's next issue contains a story on the doomed romance between the two.
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Re: Grand Duchess and other possible suitors - what if..
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2004, 10:39:10 PM »
All of the Hessian children supposedly disliked William because he ordered them around and made them sit and listen to him read the Bible during his visits. The biography I read of his mother made him sound like an extremely unstable boy even from the first. I don't think Ella ever considered marrying him.

Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Grand Duchess and other possible suitors - what if..
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2004, 10:49:28 PM »
No, she apparently did not, though he surely did. I don't think either Vicky or Alice really supported the match though Vicky may have favored it more. I still think it could've been a successful match if "made" to do it. It certainly would've been for him, and I don't know if her life would've been more difficult either way. I"m just a sucker for unrequited love, I guess.  :)
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Offline Annie

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Re: Grand Duchess and other possible suitors - what if..
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2004, 08:43:25 AM »
Nice picture, sad story. I wonder how things might have turned out of they had married? Would she have carried hemophilia into the Hohenzollern house, and how would this have affected things? Could the sisters have shared Rasputin? Ella did not like Rasputin and denied his 'holiness' and did not believe in him at all, despite her having become a nun and seeing how her nephew was cured. Would she have fallen into the emotional trap like Alix if she had a son like Alexei? Would there still have been a World War 1 if the families had been closer? All the ifs, we'll never know.

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Re: Grand Duchess and other possible suitors - what if..
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2004, 08:45:27 AM »
Grand Duke Sergei vs. Kaiser Wilhelm? Is there a third theoretical option? LOL. Poor Ella. What I admire about Ella is that she truly did become a saint. She transcended the circumstances of her birth. She went into the slums of Russia. How many lives did she save in Russia? How many lives did she transform? She forgave her husband's murderer. She was murdered, but supposedly died in an exemplary way. If she'd been William's wife, she might not have become that. I think she lived the life that God meant her to live.

Offline Annie

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Re: Grand Duchess and other possible suitors - what if..
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2004, 08:52:40 AM »
Yes, she did a lot of good in Russia, and she is a saint and that's what she was meant to be. I'm just somebody who can't quit speculating on 'ifs' that don't matter :P

Offline Ilana

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Re: Grand Duchess and other possible suitors - what if..
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2004, 05:04:52 PM »
Another prince mentioned for Ella was Fritz of Baden, but she was never really interested in anyone else.
So long and thanks for all the fish

Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Grand Duchess and other possible suitors - what if..
« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2004, 10:05:42 PM »
I like 'ifs' too and it's tempting to think of the influence for the good that Ella might've had on Wilhelm and thus subsequent world events. If she had tamed some of W's bellicosity and changed alliances, who knows how world history might've changed? (A stretch I know but fun to speculate). Changing the dynamics of the world might've been an even greater legacy.

QV was very upset at Ella's refusal to consider "good, stable" Fritz of Baden (though apparently Ella considered it somewhat as QV complained about Ella's dithering over it--considering Fritz, rejecting Serge, rejecting Fritz, considering Serge....). She wasn't nearly as furious as Empress Augusta of Germany though who was grandmother to BOTH Wilhelm and Fritz and was furious over Ella's "snubbing" of her grandsons and snubbed the Hessian princesses at gatherings.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by grandduchessella »
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Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Grand Duchess and other possible suitors - what if..
« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2004, 08:03:06 PM »
As I am such a sucker for this doomed romance, I couldn't wait to get the new issue of Gilbert's Royal Digest since they were doing an article on it. They had some quotes from letters the Kaiser wrote which are so touching (and more candid than one might have thought):
1875: Wilhelm wrote to his mother how 'very much grown' Ella was and how she is'my special pet'...she 'is exceedingly beautiful; in fact she is the most beautiful girl, I ever saw.'.....'I think that if God grants that I may live till then I shall make her my bride once if you allow it.'
1879: when Ella injured her foot and was confined to a sofa, Willy sat and her foot and read to her
1884: for wedding at Darmstadt of VMH he wrote about 'his very mixed feelings...' about being in Darmstadt and how 'the thought of those many happy days spent in peaceful friendship and love..meant that I was unable to devote myself completely to the loud rejoicing by the many young people present.'...he 'bade farewell to the dear rooms [of the Neue Palais]...for the close circle was gathered together yesterday for the last time and has been torn asunder for ever more!' [perhaps because of Ella's impending marriage 2 mos later]...'I left with a heavy heart'.
1905: VMH noted that Willy [who met her at Berlin station while she was en route to Russia to comfort Ella following Serge's murder] 'had shown grave concern for Elizabeth'
1910: Ella visited Darmstadt and Willy, unable to resist the temptation, made an unexpected visit to the family reunion

These were some details I hadn't heard before. I've always been one of those who pined over the 'what might have been' aspect. I believe (and no one try to change my mind it won't work!  ;) ) that Ella could've been such a good influence on W and he couldn't have been a worse husband than Serge. If only she could've seen past the bombast, I think she really could've brought out the good qualities he had (and I think he had a LOT that could've been nurtured by the right wife) and helped tamp down his bad ones. And her life might've been so different (I know, I know, fate probably worked it the way it was supposed to) but she may have had even more good as German Empress. Dona, blah. Vicky's life might've been so much better too if Ella could've worked the magic that Irene did on Henry. Just so poignant, the thought of Wilhelm keeping that picture on his desk his whole life.  :'(
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Offline Martyn

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Re: Grand Duchess and other possible suitors - what if..
« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2004, 10:08:16 AM »
What an incurable romantic you are Grandduchessella.  The plain fact is that Ella had no feelings for Willy and probably knew enough of the experiences of her aunt to have a good grasp of what life would be like in Berlin and Potsdam.
Do you really think that Ella would have been able to make a difference to W?  So much damage was done to him in his formative years by Hinzpeter and Vicky herself that I doubt that anyone could have changed him.  Henry is a different matter and whilst Irene was able to achieve a certain rapprochement with him and Vicky, she herself came into conflict with the latter over Ducky and Ernie's divorce (Vicky, always a fan of Ducky, decided that she was the injured party and came down firmly on her side).
Having said that we know that there is a thin line between love and hate and that Ella aroused strong emotions in Wilhelm; that he showed concern for her when her life was in real danger and that he tried to help is to his credit.
As for Dona, well, I think that Queen Victoria was right in the way that she summed her up - "foolish" and "poor little insignificant Princess" were the terms that she used to describe her.
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Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Grand Duchess and other possible suitors - what if..
« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2004, 12:43:46 PM »
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What an incurable romantic you are Grandduchessella.  The plain fact is that Ella had no feelings for Willy and probably knew enough of the experiences of her aunt to have a good grasp of what life would be like in Berlin and Potsdam.
Do you really think that Ella would have been able to make a difference to W?  So much damage was done to him in his formative years by Hinzpeter and Vicky herself that I doubt that anyone could have changed him.  Henry is a different matter and whilst Irene was able to achieve a certain rapprochement with him and Vicky, she herself came into conflict with the latter over Ducky and Ernie's divorce (Vicky, always a fan of Ducky, decided that she was the injured party and came down firmly on her side).
Having said that we know that there is a thin line between love and hate and that Ella aroused strong emotions in Wilhelm; that he showed concern for her when her life was in real danger and that he tried to help is to his credit.
As for Dona, well, I think that Queen Victoria was right in the way that she summed her up - "foolish" and "poor little insignificant Princess" were the terms that she used to describe her.


I know, I am an incurable romanitc.  :)  I know that Ella had no feelings towards William, I just WISH she had. And I do think she could've helped undo some of the damage. I think he was still young enough and her personality was strong enough. At the very least, she would've been better than 'Dona' who stroked his ego, let him run all over her, had 'calf-like' devotion to him, etc...He loved her in his way, I guess, but she was the WORST wife someone like him should've had. And didn't I tell you not to try and disabuse me of my romantic notions?  ;)
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Offline jehan

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Re: Grand Duchess and other possible suitors - what if..
« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2004, 09:26:54 PM »
And not to throw cold water on it all, but HAD they married- how would it have ended up if she and Willie had been unable to have children- we don't know whose"fault" it was that she and Sergei had no children, after all- it wasn't neccessarily Sergei's.  Or perhaps worse- how would Willie have reacted had haemophilia come into the German royal line, as it would have had a good chance of doing?  Better that things turned out the way they did, I think!
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