Author Topic: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?  (Read 97547 times)

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Offline Kalafrana

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Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
« Reply #285 on: July 25, 2013, 11:40:35 AM »
I think the one who had the sad life was Alexei. Fancy a lively boy being forbidden to ride a bike, and having to go round on a child seat with Derevenko.

Oh, and being called Baby when he was almost 14!

Ann

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Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
« Reply #286 on: July 25, 2013, 12:48:51 PM »
Spirdiovitch writes about Alexei having a group of boys as friends who would come to Livadia where they played out in the woods, supervised by Derevenko.

Offline edubs31

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Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
« Reply #287 on: July 25, 2013, 01:01:56 PM »
Spirdiovitch writes about Alexei having a group of boys as friends who would come to Livadia where they played out in the woods, supervised by Derevenko.

I've read about this too. But perhaps to Ann's point I think some of what was sadly lacking in Alexei's life as opposed to most other boys was a sense of spontaneity. The idea that he could never do, or go, or play with exactly as/where/who he wished.

I never got the "Baby" thing either. It seems almost an insult as he grew older and it's hard to imagine he would have been called such a name if he hadn't spent so much of his life as an invalid. I'm surprised he didn't reject being called this (perhaps he did from time to time?), especially for someone who desperately wanted to be one of the boys. Imagine inspecting troops at the front with his father one week, and then laid up in bed suffering through an attack while Mama and company call you "Baby" the next. Must have been maddening!

Fortunately he was never deprived of love and affection in his all too short existence, and perhaps that was enough to make him a generally happy boy. I certainly hope so. Nothing breaks my heart more while thinking of them as a whole in Ekaterinburg and when the shots began firing in the Ipatiev basement than Alexei; weakened, confused, terrified, and heartbroken...
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Offline Kalafrana

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Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
« Reply #288 on: July 25, 2013, 02:53:44 PM »
I find it hard to imagine Alexei not objecting to being called Baby. It is literally infantilising and mollycoddling, and, as Erik says, Alexei desperately wanted to be a normal boy. I persuaded my parents to stop using my infant nickname long before I reached 13!

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Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
« Reply #289 on: July 25, 2013, 03:13:17 PM »
Well, any child born with Haemophilia in 1905 would have been forced to lead a similar life, at least if born into a family with the means to have servants to look after him. Certainly he probably was able to lead a more enjoyable and "adventerous" life than most other young boys because of his position.  Don't forget that Alexei was able to travel extensively, to Germany, England, the Crimea, Moscow, etc etc.  He had his own Regiment and had the run of the Yacht as a playground. He met with many different people. The thread is about the IF children have "sad, sheltered lives" and I just don't see Alexei's life as at all 'sad' nor was he more sheltered because of his "status" as a "Royal".  The true sadness of his life is his illness and the young age at which his life was taken from him.

Offline edubs31

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Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
« Reply #290 on: July 25, 2013, 05:02:59 PM »
Well, any child born with Haemophilia in 1905 would have been forced to lead a similar life, at least if born into a family with the means to have servants to look after him. Certainly he probably was able to lead a more enjoyable and "adventerous" life than most other young boys because of his position.  Don't forget that Alexei was able to travel extensively, to Germany, England, the Crimea, Moscow, etc etc.  He had his own Regiment and had the run of the Yacht as a playground. He met with many different people. The thread is about the IF children have "sad, sheltered lives" and I just don't see Alexei's life as at all 'sad' nor was he more sheltered because of his "status" as a "Royal".  The true sadness of his life is his illness and the young age at which his life was taken from him.


This is very true. Alexei has a rather exciting life compared to typical boys his age from, say, normal middle class Russian families. He also had any number of enriching experiences. Of course it's hard to say how fulfilling that was for him. Having relatable experiences with boys his age could have been much more valuable to him than lavish regal receptions and men in uniform basically kissing his royal behind everywhere he went. And as you point out dying before the age of fourteen and suffering up to that point through an often painful disease forces one to further reassess the true quality of his life (which certainly lacked "quantity").

His sisters naturally grew up in very similar conditions and while it sounds like they may have had a few friends I'm skeptical as to whether any of those could be considered "close" friendships. But they did have each other, which is more than Alexei can claim being the only son. They also didn't suffer through a debilitating disease. Another thing to consider is that OTMA (less so Anastasia) got to enjoy at least some attention from the opposite sex. We hear cute stories of crushes and innocent flirtations between OTM and male officers all the time. Both Olga and Tatiana even seem to have been in love on more than one occasion.

But it wasn't like Alexei had this opportunity around women. Sure he was younger, but even still the same opportunity wouldn't have been afforded to him in their immediate circle as was for his sisters. In a word, his life was bizarre. Harder to find a more unique experience, including his death, in all of world history.
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Offline Sarushka

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Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
« Reply #291 on: July 25, 2013, 08:24:29 PM »
In comparing Aleksei's 1916 diary with Olga's 1913 diary, I was struck by how much more opportunity Aleksei had to interact with other children his own age. It seems playmates were sought out for Aleksei, while OTMA were expected to rely on each other for the majority of their companionship.
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Offline slhouette

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Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
« Reply #292 on: May 27, 2020, 09:00:22 PM »
This thread is pretty old, but I'll go ahead and post anyways so that people browsing the forum might see it.

Pierre Gilliard did write another memoir beside Thirteen Years, about the Anna Anderson controversy: "La Fausse Anastasie: Histoire D'une Prétendue Grande-Duchesse de Russie." I got lucky to find someone translated it to English and published it as an Amazon ebook; unfortunately, this translator uses Gilliard's text to try and prop up his own Anastasia pretender. Plus, this ebook is littered with antisemitic remarks. So it was pretty embarrassing for me that I spent money on it, I wish I'd just found + translated the original text myself, even though I don't know French....

Anyways, there's a really revealing piece of text in this Gilliard memoir. He includes the text of a letter Anastasia wrote to his wife (Alexandra 'Shura' Tegleva) and then says this:

"At the time of this letter of 4 August 1915, Anastasia was 14 years old. What is there more simple and natural than this letter, which distinguishes her from all other young girls, and how can one even suspect in reading it that she is the daughter of the Emperor!
It’s that Anastasia had no one who could recall this conventional type of a Romanesque princess. She was a young girl, sound and in good health, who wanted to enjoy life fully and who had but one regret, that being born a grand duchess she was deprived of that liberty which she envied in simple mortals. It was she herself who, at 11 years of age, pleaded with her mother to place her into an institute where she could have a lot of friends and who, two years later, compelled her to let her devote herself to the theater, a vocation for which she felt an irresistible inclination."

Sounds like at least Anastasia was having some issues with loneliness/isolation. None of the letters/diaries of the Nicholas, Alexandra, the GDs, etc, give any reference to either of these incidents. It really goes to show that the primary documents give the appearance of cheeriness when, at least with this daughter, something wasn't right.


Offline Marie-Catherine

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Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
« Reply #293 on: May 28, 2020, 07:44:51 AM »
Hello!  I'm a French speaker. If you want, give me the details of this source and I'll go look it up to make sure it's translated correctly :) The book is pretty old maybe I could find it online.


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Offline slhouette

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Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
« Reply #294 on: May 28, 2020, 10:02:18 PM »
Oh, I think the translation is perfectly correct. The vast majority of the content is what was written by Gilliard and his co-author Konstantin Savich. I'm just sad that I accidentally supported a translator that was making antisemitic remarks in his work. If I had known that content was in there beforehand, I would have just gone through the trouble of translating the original source rather than support that translators work. :-(

That being said, it'd always be interesting to go back to the original text and see how the translations differ. It looks like La Fausse Anastasie is at multiple US university libraries just from a worldcat.org search. The closest one to me is a bit too far to justify making a whole trip for, though.

Offline slhouette

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Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
« Reply #295 on: June 01, 2020, 08:36:52 PM »
Actually since this source isn't very well known I'll go ahead and put the excerpt from the introduction in a new thread in the Anastasia Nicholaivna subforum. The introduction is written by Gilliard and is about Anastasia herself, before he gets into discussing the Anna Anderson controversy.

Offline slhouette

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Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
« Reply #296 on: June 01, 2020, 09:01:55 PM »
Posted! The thread is called "Anastasia and Loneliness - excerpt from "La fausse Anastasia.""