Author Topic: A Fatal Passion: The Story of Victoria Melita  (Read 43294 times)

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Offline Angie_H

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A Fatal Passion: The Story of Victoria Melita
« on: September 25, 2004, 01:14:48 PM »
I posted this topic in books, but I also wanted to put it here. This book is making me so PO'd!!!! It's like the author just accepted all the untrue statements made about Alix and accepted them as fact!  Jane said it best on the other board when she said the author was sycophantic. This book in my opinion is nothing but one big pity party for Ducky. Yes she had a hard life, but please! Show some objectivity!!!!
The author had the audacity to state that yes, Alix loved Nicky but there were more reasons as to why she accepted his proposal,  that she didn't like being made 2nd lady of the land in Hesse once Ernie married Ducky.
I find that statement to go against everything I read about Alix. She was so shy and only performed court functions because she had to, that she disliked being around strangers. I would think she would have been grateful for Ducky coming so Ducky could perform those functions and she would not.
The author makes the stupid statement that Ducky and Ernie were the only grandchildren of QV's to marry 1st cousins. Uh, what about Irene of Hesse and Heinrich of Prussia? They first cousins too.
The author raves on and on about how beautiful Ducky was, even more beautiful than Alix or Ella. Um, I DON'T THINK SO!! In my opinion Ducky was good looking. Not pretty or beautiful. Something about her eyes just makes me think she is good looking and that is it. Before all the turmoil and heartache took their tolls on them Alix and Ella in my opinion were the 2 most beautiful princesses for their generation.
I am so glad I got this book from the library and didn't buy it! I don't think I am going to bother finishing it. I also got Maria Pavlovna (the youngers) memoirs. I think I will start that.
I do feel some sympathy for Ducky. She was pressured into her marriage to Ernie by her family, (her mother was the only one against wasn't she?). And when she finally found the person she loved and married she was penalized for some time for it.
Sorry if I was ranting but that book is totally trashy and I would only recommend someone getting it to use to put under a table leg to make the table less wobbly.
Angie

Offline RomanovFan

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Re: A Fatal Passion: The Story of Victoria Melita
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2004, 02:05:10 PM »
Quote
The author makes the stupid statement that Ducky and Ernie were the only grandchildren of QV's to marry 1st cousins. Uh, what about Irene of Hesse and Heinrich of Prussia? They first cousins too.
 


Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were first cousins too, weren't they? ... I know this is a little off the subject, but I read in one of many bios written about QV that SHE proposed to Prince Albert, not the other way around, since she was queen of England then. True?
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Offline LisaDavidson

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Re: A Fatal Passion: The Story of Victoria Melita
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2004, 03:35:13 PM »
The fact of the matter is, Alix didn't like losing her position as first lady of Hesse. That doesn't mean she wasn't shy or interested in her brother's happiness - she was just always position conscious. I agree that Sullivan comes off very biased, but that doesn't mean some of his points aren't valid. Fact is the Edinburgh girls were regarded as the great beauties of the day, and Ella the lovliest of the Hessian girls. This was just the prevailing opinion of the times.

Offline grandduchessella

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Re: A Fatal Passion: The Story of Victoria Melita
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2004, 08:14:23 PM »
Quote
The fact of the matter is, Alix didn't like losing her position as first lady of Hesse. That doesn't mean she wasn't shy or interested in her brother's happiness - she was just always position conscious. I agree that Sullivan comes off very biased, but that doesn't mean some of his points aren't valid. Fact is the Edinburgh girls were regarded as the great beauties of the day, and Ella the lovliest of the Hessian girls. This was just the prevailing opinion of the times.
j

As much as this confounds me, it is apparently true. I have collected a lot of original articles from the day, including ones dealing with beauty/fashions/marital prospects of various princesses. The Edinburgh daughters are mentioned quite frequently for their beauty (esp Missy, natch) and Alix was never in one of the ones I read. In articles from the early 1900s Beatrice was remarked as being the most beautiful of the 4. Ella was mentioned in a couple, but she was already married by the time a lot of them were published. Standards of beauty change from time to time, especially, I think, in regards to what is considered most important when making the decision (ex complexion, coloring, etc). We can change so much about our appearance nowadays--dye your hair (w/o being a trollop!), colored contacts, makeup. Back then I think those things meant more with people's coloring esp being mentioned in a lot of the stories about beauty. Nowadays those qualities aren't so prized because they're so easily altered. There are some like Missy (when she was young) and Queen Alexandra who will be considered beautiful no matter what the era, while others may be considered such at the time and it leaves us shaking our heads now and others we may consider more handsome than beautiful. I never saw Ducky's appeal as a beauty, just one to be admired for her bearing, etc...She apparently did have beautiful eyes though. As for the book, I liked parts of it since it was a more detailed exploration of Ducky's life but it did have a lot of factual errors and a decidedly biased slant which could set a lot of people off--esp as Ducky tends to be a more polarizing figure.
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Offline Angie_H

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Re: A Fatal Passion: The Story of Victoria Melita
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2004, 09:46:48 PM »
I think Missy was very pretty, but something about Ducky's eyes as she grew older just throws me off. Yes Victoria did propose to Alfred but I think that all had to do with rank.

Offline princessalice

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Re: A Fatal Passion: The Story of Victoria Melita
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2004, 04:08:52 PM »
i think also i have been told by several folks that the FATAL PASSION book has some glaring mistakes.  i have it myself and never really liked it much....and, i never thought Ducky to be very beautiful, as many articles and books would say.....
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Offline Annie

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Re: A Fatal Passion: The Story of Victoria Melita
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2004, 05:18:38 PM »
I don't think she was pretty at all, she looked kind of stuffy and mean to me. I felt sorry for Alix when she came to Hesse and put a wedge between her and Ernie.

Offline Jane

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Re: A Fatal Passion: The Story of Victoria Melita
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2004, 05:47:39 PM »
It's always been my belief, formed from reading numerous accounts of both women, that Alix and Ducky probably shared many of the same character traits, even if they, if they could , would undoubtedly disagree.  They were both fairly stubborn and uncompromising women.  Both were capable of igniting deep loyalty among their closest loved ones.  Both were very conscious of their respective positions.  Both could be quite supercilious.  By the same token, both could be quite generous.  (And both were beautiful, in my opinion, but that is neither here nor there).  Neither one was a saint, and both were often misunderstood by others.  Most of all, they seemed to not understand each other at all.    

Ducky was not successful as Grand Duchess of Hesse.  Being prodded into an unwanted marriage clearly caused her to chafe against the restrictions imposed on her.  She and Ernst Ludwig simply were not compatible.  I think it took a great deal of courage, on both of their parts, to accept that fact and decide upon divorce at a time when divorce was supremely scandalous and nearly unheard of among royalty.  Compounding that undoubtedly difficult decision was the presence of their child.  

I suppose that one might be able to argue that Ducky's actions simply show that she was more selfish than Alix, etc.  On the other hand, one can say that she was willing to grasp for happiness.  I know I don't find the post-Revolution, imperial pretensions of Ducky and Kirill very attractive; however, life in exile must have been harrowing in many ways.






Offline ashanti01

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Re: A Fatal Passion: The Story of Victoria Melita
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2004, 08:29:57 PM »
Ducky I find as one of the most intresting family member outside the Romanovs, next to Queen Alexandra

She was pretty ( at least in one of the photos I saw) in her own way, although she wasn't as lovely as Alix and Ella in thier prime.

She accepted to scandle in order to search for happiness in another mans arms. I may not respect what she and Krill did after the revolution, but I do have to give her credit for daring to go against the rules and regulations of her time for a chance at happiness.

Offline imperial angel

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Re: A Fatal Passion: The Story of Victoria Melita
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2006, 11:34:42 AM »
I enjoyed reading this thread, especially Jane's post which I mostly agree with. This book is at least a biography of her, although perhaps not the best one. I think the author could have done better, but since it was only the second bio of her, it was harder to shape a biography with no tradition. Of course it has some errors, but in general I am just happy someone did a biography of Ducky. She was someone who, apparently you either love or hate. Perhaps because of this is the reason this bio has had this reception, not that I'm defending the book. Ducky to me was someone who lived her life with truth, and never cared for sham. And this always inspires people to take sides, because it's our social lies that make life bearable sometimes, so we don't have to face the truth. Ducky in exile was perhaps not at her best, she wanted to support Kyril, and do something with her life, both noble, but her husband's ''court'' was a bit of a farce. I think Ducky was a beauty, although not a conventional one. I love any photo of her. I guess I'm one of those people who is defintely a fan of Ducky.

Offline TampaBay

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Re: A Fatal Passion: The Story of Victoria Melita
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2006, 06:28:54 AM »
Quote
Quote from: LisaDavidson  link=1096132488/0#2 date=1096144513
The fact of the matter is, Alix didn't like losing her position as first lady of Hesse. That doesn't mean she wasn't shy or interested in her brother's happiness - she was just always position conscious. I agree that Sullivan comes off very biased, but that doesn't mean some of his points aren't valid. Fact is the Edinburgh girls were regarded as the great beauties of the day, and Ella the lovliest of the Hessian girls. This was just the prevailing opinion of the times.
j

As much as this confounds me, it is apparently true. I have collected a lot of original articles from the day, including ones dealing with beauty/fashions/marital prospects of various princesses. The Edinburgh daughters are mentioned quite frequently for their beauty (esp Missy, natch) and Alix was never in one of the ones I read. In articles from the early 1900s Beatrice was remarked as being the most beautiful of the 4. Ella was mentioned in a couple, but she was already married by the time a lot of them were published. Standards of beauty change from time to time, especially, I think, in regards to what is considered most important when making the decision (ex complexion, coloring, etc). We can change so much about our appearance nowadays--dye your hair (w/o being a trollop!), colored contacts, makeup. Back then I think those things meant more with people's coloring esp being mentioned in a lot of the stories about beauty. Nowadays those qualities aren't so prized because they're so easily altered. There are some like Missy (when she was young) and Queen Alexandra who will be considered beautiful no matter what the era, while others may be considered such at the time and it leaves us shaking our heads now and others we may consider more handsome than beautiful. I never saw Ducky's appeal as a beauty, just one to be admired for her bearing, etc...She apparently did have beautiful eyes though. As for the book, I liked parts of it since it was a more detailed exploration of Ducky's life but it did have a lot of factual errors and a decidedly biased slant which could set a lot of people off--esp as Ducky tends to be a more polarizing figure.

Beauty was marked and judged by one's complexion.  This is not a parameter today becuase if you have a poor complexion, you buy a bottle of Estee Lauder and slap it on.

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Offline imperial angel

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Re: A Fatal Passion: The Story of Victoria Melita
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2006, 09:01:37 AM »
True; the standards of beauty change. I can see why Ducky was thought a beauty back then, but not so much today, although I find her very beautiful, no matter what the era.

Offline aussiechick12

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Re: A Fatal Passion: The Story of Victoria Melita
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2006, 03:51:18 AM »
This topic has been very interesting to read as I am actually reading the book at the moment. As I haven't read anything on Ducky before, and don't know any much about her apart from what I've been told in the book, I've taken all the information that I have read about her to be true.
Are there any other books I can read about her to compare? I have found her very interesting and from what I have read, to be one of my favourite Royal women during this time period. The one thing I don't like about the book is that it hardly mentions her other sisters and brother very much. Is it because there isn't much information on them?
I am definatley going to continue with this book, as I am nearly finsihed the first section and am enjoying it. Let you know what I think of it when I'm finished!

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Offline imperial angel

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Re: A Fatal Passion: The Story of Victoria Melita
« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2006, 10:09:36 AM »
Yes, do let us know what you think. There is much information about her sisters, and some biographies cover her brother-his death was rather sketchy. Missy of Roumania is a well known sister of Ducky, and there are two biographies of her. There is also another biography about Ducky, it is a older book, apparently just a basic biography, although I have not read it actually- but I would- it would be good for comparison. She is one of my favourite royal women ever, Ducky. Some people do not think so well of her, but I think you should just study her more carefully if all you see is her faults at first.

Offline Laura_

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Re: A Fatal Passion: The Story of Victoria Melita
« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2006, 02:29:16 PM »
first of all there are more than 2  biographies on her sister Queen Marie of Romania!!

another book about Ducky would be of course Princess Victoria Melita ,Grand Duchess Cyril of Russia   by John Van der Kiste :)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Laurra »