Author Topic: Grand Duchess and other possible suitors - what if..  (Read 99488 times)

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Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Grand Duchess and other possible suitors - what if..
« Reply #255 on: October 24, 2013, 03:54:02 AM »
Ella

Where did you get the link between Ella and Henry Wilson? It happens that I've just been reading a biography of him which makes no mention of Ella - or, indeed, any love interest apart from the lady he married in 1892. Given that they were both born in 1864, there was very little time for anything to happen before Ella married (and at that stage Wilson was failing the Sandhurst entry exam multiple time and getting into the regular army via the militia). I think his interest would have to have come after they were both married.

Ann

Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Grand Duchess and other possible suitors - what if..
« Reply #256 on: October 24, 2013, 08:46:52 AM »
Hugo Mager's bio on Ella. I had written this way back in 2004 (!!). (Boy does time fly!)

"Hugo Mager's bio of Ella:
p.63: '...a dazzling beauty. A chance combination of the genes of her ancestors had produced a face with features of exceptional purity, and a tall, elegant figure. Photographs of the time rarely did her justice. They showed a well-proportioned face, but could not depict her fairish hair or that she had 'eyes of a grey-blue, on one of which was a spot of brown, and the effect of her glance was unusual'. The strained expression caused by the long exposure meant that they never showed the charm of her smile. No princess in Europe was said to be more beautiful. Those who saw her recorded their impression in phrases that sound almost hyperbolic...Henry Wilson, a young Englishman then in Darmstadt, later a distinguished soldier, wrote simply: 'She was the most beautiful creature of God that I've ever seen.' ""

It wasn't any romance--just that he was an admirer. As I said, I think there was such a limited period of time between her coming of age and becoming engaged to Serge that I think there were very few actual real possible suitors. Plus, Montagu and Wilson would've never been actually considered.
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Offline Eric_Lowe

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Re: Grand Duchess and other possible suitors - what if..
« Reply #257 on: October 24, 2013, 12:29:02 PM »
I don't think Ella wanted another man after Serge. She was in a way liberated.

Offline Olga Maria

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Re: Grand Duchess and other possible suitors - what if..
« Reply #258 on: October 25, 2013, 01:25:03 AM »
Many thanks for the complete reply GrandduchessElla!

Quote
Quoted from grandduchessella:From everything I've read, she wasn't too keen on it. I think there were a couple of other names floated by Wilhelm and Fritz were the most notable. She was engaged fairly early (around 19) and married at 20 so many prospects were probably just in the 'casually mentioned' stage.
I thought she had other reactions regarding Willy's courting. Anyway, it's understandable why ^^
A pity the others' names wouldn't ever be known. I'm interested what families almost 'had' or were fancied to 'gain' Ella.
And Serge was very lucky he only had a few to compete with.

Those two new names of admirers are interesting. Because Ann has already done the part of asking how Wilson came to admire Ella and you've already answered it (many thanks for it!), I would want to ask the same for Lord Charles Montagu.
When did he express his admiration for her? Do you also have a picture of him?

Quote
He certainly had all the passion of an early love but he also moved on pretty quickly, no matter what he later said.
I read something between the lines of Willy's action: perhaps it was for the sake of his ambition and pride.
No one knows maybe a drama behind the scenes occurred where he was 'threatened' to lose his being heir if he kept on insisting on marrying Ella. Ambition and love could coexist, however for him, unfortunately they could not, given the circumstances thought of (which you've said). So when he was pressed to choose between the two, he chose the former. The German empire crown was more important for him, and that's totally a reflection of the Willy known.

As for pride, it seems to me because of that, he successfully made himself and others believe that he was in love w/ Dona, and had completely moved on from Ella, showing the "crisis" with her was something trivial. Therefore, he was not seen as a loser - the brand he wouldn't ever bear being attached to his name.
But I think deep inside, he was truly hurt, and he just hid it to himself. As a consequence, he had to nurse his sad heart on his own. Without someone to confide to, I think it was likely he never recovered from the heartbreak, later revealed by his keeping a picture of her, and attempting to get her out of Russia with all his might. If he had not been in love with her, he would not have done those things, imo.

I think you heard of real life stories like that? I did hear such, and given Willy's later actions [aside from the two above, also the intentional avoidance of Ella whenever she went to Berlin (from Meriel Buchanan's bio of Ella)], I can't help but think Willy's story can be classified as one of those.
It is a product of my imagination but I'd like to say it here.

It's also interesting Fritz and the Prussian grandparents were pro-Ella. I thought they were on the same side as their Crown Princess Vicky. It's also clear Helena also had the same concern (hemophilia) as her sister Vicky. I wonder if they told Alice about that.
But then in the end, Vicky won.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2013, 01:45:44 AM by Grand Princess Shandroise »

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Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Grand Duchess and other possible suitors - what if..
« Reply #259 on: October 25, 2013, 06:14:52 AM »
Henry Wilson (actually Anglo-Irish, not English, spent a short period around 1882-84 in Darmstadt learning German, in between cramming for Sandhurst. Presumably that was when he became an admirer of Ella, but I think it was admiration from a distance. Although quite a social climber, his background was relatively modest and I doubt he would have reason to meet her. I'm guessing too that the passage quoted comes from Wilson's diary at the time of her death.

Ann

Offline Eric_Lowe

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Re: Grand Duchess and other possible suitors - what if..
« Reply #260 on: October 25, 2013, 09:52:58 AM »
I believe that Willy DID love her and had Ella married him, it would be a constraint on his pride. That is the opposite of Dona, who wasn't sure about her position and try to be what Willy wanted (like being rude to Vicky...etc). Ella would have more power had she chosen to marry Willy, but it was not personal ambition but being helpful to a flawed human being like Serge that appealed to her. I read that she once wrote that she wanted to help him (Serge). I also think Ella cleverly knew that her aunt Vicky was not supportive of her to marry Willy and her life under Bismark wasn't one that she would like for herself. Instead her glamorous but less scrutinized life in St Petersburg was much better than having to beg for leave from the Kaiser like her Aunt Vicky in every turn. Having said that, Ella with her charm, wit and beauty would have an easier time with Kaiser Wilhelm I, who admired beauties (including her late mother Princess Alice). 

Offline Olga Maria

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Re: Grand Duchess and other possible suitors - what if..
« Reply #261 on: October 27, 2013, 02:33:08 AM »
Quote
Quoted from Kalafrana:
Henry Wilson (actually Anglo-Irish, not English, spent a short period around 1882-84 in Darmstadt learning German, in between cramming for Sandhurst. Presumably that

was when he became an admirer of Ella, but I think it was admiration from a distance. Although quite a social climber, his background was relatively modest and I doubt

he would have reason to meet her. I'm guessing too that the passage quoted comes from Wilson's diary at the time of her death.
Ann
Thank you for this info Ann! I concluded from what you said that Ella never met him, and that he knew it was impossible for him to ask for her hand in marriage,  especially because she was QV's granddaughter and at that time most royals were adamant toward royal-commoner marriages, be it a princess of a reigning crowned head or a minor princess like Ella was.

Quote
Quoted from Eric Lowe:I believe that Willy DID love her and had Ella married him, it would be a constraint on his pride. That is the opposite of Dona, who wasn't sure about her position and try to be what Willy wanted (like being rude to Vicky...etc).

LOL, he would resent to be known as a controlled husband.It's likely he thought had he married Ella, he would have to give in to her wishes ex. [Willy, I hope you would consider Mama's (Vicky) suggestions.] He wanted to be in control, as proven by what you said regarding him to Dona. You are also right with that Ella being aware that Vicky was against her. Plus, I think she was also on Vicky's side. Aside from that reason of living life under Bismarck and finding Willy too proud, she obviously didn't believe she had that 'power' to make Willy amiable.
I wonder if it crossed Vicky's mind that Ella being Willy's wife could have solved her long time problem of making Willy treat her and Fritz respectfully?

Quote
but it was not personal ambition but being helpful to a flawed human being like Serge that appealed to her. I read that she once wrote that she wanted to help him (Serge).
Hmm, this leads me to think had Serge's parents not died at the same year (and in not distressing situations, too), would she still have married him?
From what you said, I think she married him because of empathy which that time she thought as love when it actually was not. We know Serge had a first proposal to her which she declined. Only after his parents died that she felt the need to take care of him, so when he proposed the 2nd time, she finally accepted. That is why I thought she only felt empathy for him when she became his betrothed. The good thing was as time went by, real love replaced that empathy.

« Last Edit: October 27, 2013, 02:54:53 AM by Grand Princess Shandroise »

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Offline Janet Ashton

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Re: Grand Duchess and other possible suitors - what if..
« Reply #262 on: October 27, 2013, 05:35:48 AM »
Henry Wilson (actually Anglo-Irish, not English, spent a short period around 1882-84 in Darmstadt learning German, in between cramming for Sandhurst. Presumably that was when he became an admirer of Ella, but I think it was admiration from a distance. Although quite a social climber, his background was relatively modest and I doubt he would have reason to meet her. I'm guessing too that the passage quoted comes from Wilson's diary at the time of her death.

Ann

I think he *did* meet her, actually, or was at least at the same events. Later in life (1916) he met Alexandra in Russia and - or so he claimed - spent some time talking to her about Darmstadt days and people they both recalled. I think it was Sir Henry who also wrote that he remembered Princess Alix as a spoilt and lazy young girl who never took part in tennis with the others! ;-) It may have been, though, that she already had sciatica and that was what he saw.

I think the British community in Darmstadt may well have been quite close-knit and thus he was at least invited along to some less formal social events that the Grand Duke's family were at, including tennis parties.

Modified to say: did he not visit Darmstadt again later? Because if Aix was 10 to 12 years old when he was there, none of the above would work and we'd have to assume he was lying.....;-)
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Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Grand Duchess and other possible suitors - what if..
« Reply #263 on: October 27, 2013, 01:48:40 PM »
Now back at home and able to look up the Wilson book (Keith Jeffery: Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson; a political soldier). Wilson was in Darmstadt in 1883 when he and Ella were both 19 and Alexandra 11. According to Jeffery, he spent more time playing tennis than learning German.

Jeffrey's sources are the 2-volume biography of Wilson published in 1927, which draws heavily on his diaries, and Meriel Buchanan's 1956 volume, Victorian Gallery. He notes that Nicholas talked to all the members of the 1917 mission when he met them at Tsarskoye Selo, and was 'most affable', according to Wilson's diary, but there is no mention of either Ella or Alexandra.

Ann

Offline Janet Ashton

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Re: Grand Duchess and other possible suitors - what if..
« Reply #264 on: October 27, 2013, 04:57:04 PM »
Now back at home and able to look up the Wilson book (Keith Jeffery: Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson; a political soldier). Wilson was in Darmstadt in 1883 when he and Ella were both 19 and Alexandra 11. According to Jeffery, he spent more time playing tennis than learning German.

Jeffrey's sources are the 2-volume biography of Wilson published in 1927, which draws heavily on his diaries, and Meriel Buchanan's 1956 volume, Victorian Gallery. He notes that Nicholas talked to all the members of the 1917 mission when he met them at Tsarskoye Selo, and was 'most affable', according to Wilson's diary, but there is no mention of either Ella or Alexandra.

Ann

I've found the account of the meeting with Alexandra as well. It also took place very early in 1917, and comes from Noble Frankland's book about Nicholas ("Imperial Tragedy") and is written in the first person, so the ultimate source is probably Wilson's diary. Wilson recalled tennis parties "36 years ago", which places them at 1881 - this has to be an error, especially as he says Alexandra was present at them "and recalled many names I'd forgotten."

My curiosity is piqued now, so I will look up that two-volume set of Wilson's life and diaries this week. Where I read his negative view of Alexandra as a young girl I can't recall now, but with luck it will be in the book.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2013, 04:59:47 PM by Janet Ashton »
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Offline Eric_Lowe

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Re: Grand Duchess and other possible suitors - what if..
« Reply #265 on: October 28, 2013, 12:01:16 AM »
I think Ella would have become a bridge between Willy & Vicky like what her sister Irene did with her husband Henry & Vicky. Ella was a beauty and she was the only object of love that he known before his marriage to Dona. Yet he continue to have her photo and those of his Aunt Alix (Alexandra of Denmark) proved his continued love for her. Indeed Ella could have been a political force to reckoned with had she chose that path. Willy would have the done the same for Ella what Serge did for him. What is more important is that had Ella not married into Russia, then there would not have been a Nicky-Alicky Romance.

Yes. I agree it was Ella's mother instincts that to help Serge that made her fall for him. In a queer way, Alicky felt the same for Nicky too.

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Grand Duchess and other possible suitors - what if..
« Reply #266 on: October 28, 2013, 04:50:32 AM »
The 2-volume book on Wilson is C.E. Callwell: The Life and Diaries of Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson , 1927.

Of course, Alexandra could have been watching the tennis parties.

Ann

Offline Eric_Lowe

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Re: Grand Duchess and other possible suitors - what if..
« Reply #267 on: October 28, 2013, 11:14:53 AM »
Tennis parties ?

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Grand Duchess and other possible suitors - what if..
« Reply #268 on: October 28, 2013, 12:41:34 PM »
See Msge 264.

Offline Eric_Lowe

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Re: Grand Duchess and other possible suitors - what if..
« Reply #269 on: October 28, 2013, 07:39:14 PM »
So back to Ella. I think she could have remarried had she chose to.