Author Topic: Ella and Sergei 2  (Read 84285 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline imperial angel

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 4608
    • View Profile
Ella and Sergei 2
« on: February 01, 2007, 07:19:46 PM »
It seems the last thread has become rather long, so this is now the place to discuss Ella and Sergei. They had more in common than you might perhaps see. They defintely built a marriage on what they had in common, and understanding, rather than dynastic considerations, however much their marriage may have seemed dynastic at times. Ella would have married Sergei had he had a more important position, but then again, perhaps she assumed their marriage would be more low key than it was. After all, she may not have known how much their marriage would be dissected and speculated about, and I don't believe he was Governor of Moscow at the time of their marriage or was he ( I'm hazy on this)? He had a low ranking position in the dynasty, so she knew in marrying him, but she may not have realized how prominent she would end up being. Then again, if Segei and Ella had not had the personalities and marriage they did, just perhaps they would be more foot notes in the Romanov dynasty; as it was, they stood out, despite being comparetively low dynastic ranking.

Offline Eric_Lowe

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 17014
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
    • View Profile
Re: Ella and Sergei 2
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2007, 08:42:43 PM »
Serge was artistic, sensative, cultured, rich and knew Ella all her life. Could she had fared better with either Willy or Fritz of Baden ?  ???

Offline lori_c

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 685
    • View Profile
Re: Ella and Sergei 2
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2007, 09:59:44 AM »
I don't feel Willy or Fritz would have suited Ella at ALL.  I think Sergei was her soul mate in evey sense.  I am also a little hazy on the year Sergei became Governor General.  I believe it was 1891.  They had been married for about 7 years by this time. He bought the house in Moscow and had it remodeled with his artistic sense and good taste.  Ella was never consulted about much in those days concerning such matters.  Sergei handled everything and Ella went along. In fact, I believe it was Maria P, Jr. who commented on Ella's having to suddenly make decisions after Sergei's assassination and not being accustomed to doing so because Sergei used to decide everything down to the minute details.

Offline imperial angel

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 4608
    • View Profile
Re: Ella and Sergei 2
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2007, 01:54:53 PM »
No, they would not have suited her, nor would any other suitors who might have appeared, as was pointed out on one thread, because she married pretty young. But, the fact she married Sergei right away without considering anyone else seriously points to the fact she knew he was what she wanted, which leads me to believe she would have considered no one else. I'm not exactly sure what she thought of Fritz of Baden, but she never seriously considered him, which indicates indifference. And, the only suitor often mentioned was the Kaiser. Ella became more prominent than she in my opinion bargained for when she became the wife of the Governor General. Yet, that really defined her life, because her life might have been much different had she spent more time in St. Petersburg ( closer to the center of things) than Moscow. Her husband's getting this appointment defined her place in the dynasty.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2007, 01:57:23 PM by imperial angel »

Offline lori_c

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 685
    • View Profile
Re: Ella and Sergei 2
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2007, 02:31:18 PM »
Ella's life would have taken a much different course had she been in the hub of St. Petersburg society throughout her time in Russia instead of moving to Moscow.  Far away from the capital, Ella wasn't exposed to as many intrigues, etc. though she of course kept up with correspondence and as we all know, being in Moscow didn't prevent St. Petersburg society from gossiping about HER.  However, I agree that being the Governor General's wife provided Ella with the opportunity for her charity work and reforms, much like her mother in Darmstadt, that she probably wouldn't have been able to achieve if in St. Petersburg.  This being the Tsar and Tsarina's domain.  In Moscow, she was "First Lady". :)

Offline grandduchessella

  • Global Moderator
  • Velikye Knyaz
  • *****
  • Posts: 13061
  • Getting Ready to Move to Europe :D
    • View Profile
    • Facebook page
Re: Ella and Sergei 2
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2007, 04:04:16 PM »
There was at least one other potential suitor. Queen Victoria mentions her hopes for a Swedish match--she doesn't say with who. It could've been the future Gustav V, who married Fritz Baden's sister Victoria in 1881 (and was the father of the Prince William who married Marie Pavlovna), his brother Oscar who married, morganatically, in 1888, his brother Carl, who married Ingeborg of Denmark in 1897 (and was the father of Queen Astrid of Belgium & CPss Martha of Norway) or even the youngest brother, Eugen, who never married. They were born between 1858 and 1865 so all were around Ella's age--she being born in 1864.
They also serve who only stand and wait--John Milton
Come visit on Pinterest--http://pinterest.com/lawrbk/

Offline Eric_Lowe

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 17014
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
    • View Profile
Re: Ella and Sergei 2
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2007, 07:43:41 PM »
On Pedita 's info on Serge.

I just think there is not enough first hand evidence and proof to settle all Serge's rumoured vices. However I heard that there are secret police files in Moscow that did record Serge's alleged "vices" and reported to the Tsar. That would be interesting to read. Other infos are just hearsay. Yet without condemning him I would like to add that even mass murders ot pscyco killers may have a calm and quiet side. Sometimes it really surprised a comminity that someone so unlikely could be the one who committe such horrible crimes. Serge could well be someone who can be mask his own demons with some people. The descripency that one wrote about him like Sandro contrasted greatly with VMH (while Greek Minny got along with him, but admited she did not know enough to dispel Serge's evil reputation).  ???

On Alexandra's affairs...I don't think she was particular a sexy or earthly woman. Infact there is speculation that she might be the opposite. I guess whatever she had with others mightr be just "affairs of the heart".  ???

On Marie Louise. I think she was an honest and straight forward lady (if you read her autobio, you will get that im,pression). I don't think she would take lover while she felt she was married. She could easily did a "ducky" (remarriage with another royal) or a "Lily" ( her cousin Ferderica of Hanover who ran away with her father's secretary and married him under QV's protection). Yet she decided to remain single and told others she still considered herself tied to her ex-husband because of her religion. She would clearly be "a liar" and " a hypocrite" had the rimours about the "male companion" was true. I guess he is only a companion that turned out to be male after all.   

Offline lori_c

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 685
    • View Profile
Re: Ella and Sergei 2
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2007, 08:25:01 AM »
By and large, i think there is much yet to be had when it comes to hard evidence in the State Archives in Russia still to be released someday concerning GD Sergei.  There were probably secret police files on the entire Imperial Family especially when it concerned their behavior in a private capacity that was done it public. 

But what intrigues me most would be the existence of letters outside of Russia still surviving written by the GD showing his state of mind.  He was very careful in his will to be sure all private papers, letters and diaries be destroyed.  But certainly there are some remaining in Darmstad perhaps?  This would be extremely interesting and shed new light on this misunderstood at times Grand Duke. ;)

Offline imperial angel

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 4608
    • View Profile
Re: Ella and Sergei 2
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2007, 11:13:42 AM »
Well, with Sergei, I think he fact of his reputation being so bad could actually point to his innocence of the worst charges against him. Eric_L is right, it is often the quiet perfect seeming guys who have good reputations who are really the bad ones, that murderer in Kansas a while back being one example. But, with Sergei this could work the other way. Maybe he wasn't as bad as he seemed in terms of his public reputation, because it was so bad, while people in private remembered him better. If people in public remembered him well, then maybe that would be the reverse argument. But, about him and Ella to a lesser extent, there is so much we will never know.

Offline lori_c

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 685
    • View Profile
Re: Ella and Sergei 2
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2007, 11:23:49 AM »
True.  Ella once wrote something to the effect that the more one is with Sergei the more one comes to love him.  And GD Ludwig had nothing but praise for the GD having "known him since childhood" in regards to Ella and Sergei's engagement.

Offline imperial angel

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 4608
    • View Profile
Re: Ella and Sergei 2
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2007, 12:23:13 PM »
Indeed, that was the opinion of all who knew him, who really knew him and not his public reputation. That says something, in my opinion. He must have had his troubles, but I don't think they were as deep as those of a psycho killer. Ella did indeed assume her place in the dynasty due to her husband's role, and Sergei did in his own way as well. Without that role, neither one of them might have been really fulfilled. Before that, they both played a marginal role, or does anyone disagree? Of course, the gossip about them never mattered what their public life was, it only mattered what their ever elusive private life was.

Offline perdita

  • Boyar
  • **
  • Posts: 155
    • View Profile
Re: Ella and Sergei 2
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2007, 12:34:30 PM »
If there were hard evidence in the State Archives in Russia against Serge it did not show up in the attitudes of Alexander 111 or Nicholas 11 towards Serge during the latters lifetime. To the contrary, the grand duke was afforded utmost confidence in his capacity as a principle advisor and as Governor-general of Moscow.

I promised Eric some info on Khodinka. The following account is, in part, from the perspective of Olga Alexandrovich and Marie Pavlovna. It was my impression that neither Romanov had a significant problem with Alexander111 and Serge's political stances so their point of view is of interest.

According to Olga Alexandrovich, her brother Nicholas 11, Alexandra, Empress Marie and Ella were very distraught by events and spent long hours on the day, and in the wake of the disaster, in the hospitals. Olga said her uncle Serge was in "despair". She claimed the government provided thousands of Rubles to provide for the disabled and for widows and orphans.

Concerning the Khodinka (located 7km northwest of Moscow) disaster. Apparently, there had been a dispute, and the management for the coronation festivities had been divided. The Minister of the Court, Vorontzov-Dashkov, was in charge of the general arrangements, Serge was in charge of arrangements in Moscow. While Serge had not directly participated in the planning for Khodinka Field he was--as Governor-general, ultimately responsible--just as it was the Tsar who was ultimately responsible for the decision to cancel coronation events or to dismiss government officials.

On Khodinka there existed a Romanov family devide. There were Romanovs who thought the festivities should have been canceled and those who thought that an historical event, such as a coronation, should not be disrupted or marred by a conspicuous period of mourning. The latter opinion believed that the crowds who came long distances should not be disappointed and the tightly scheduled events for foreign dignitaries not be slighted and should go forward. There was a devide in the Romanov family as to whether Serge should have resigned. Obviously, the Tsar did not support this line. (Serge ultimately did offer to resign, Vorontzov-Dashkov did not.)

The Kkodinka disput was never resolved, but one aspect of this tragedy was not disputed. In the wake of the stampede there was confusion and disunity within the Romanov family ranks and this episode would prove a PR disaster for for Nicholas 11. There were many people who chose to believe (or had a vested interest in believing) that Serge, and even the Tsar, were callously having the time of their lives in ballrooms and did not care that their subjects had been trampled to death during the coronation celebrations.

There is no doubt that Serge was a political hardliner who believed in business as usual. He would take the same hard line when he abruptly resigned in 1905 on the grounds that he would not support the Tsar's security policies of vacilliation and evasions in the wake of civil disorder. According to Marie Pavlovna, "it appeared to my uncle little less than monstrous...he expressed deep sorrow for the state of affairs in Russia, of the necessity for serious measures, and of the criminal weakness of the Tsar's ministers and councillors." Serge duly informed the Tsar that new times, needed new faces.

Fact. Ella loyally supported her husband during Khodinka. Her line was, "Thank God, Serge was not involved." (Christopher Warwick speculated that privately Ella must have been critical of her husband. But he provided no evidence to back this up.)

Olga Alexandrovich was one Romanov squarely in Serge's camp. She severely castigated Serge's "younger" critics within the family and felt they had greatly damaged the monarchy. She singled out the Michailovich branch--especially her brother-in-law, Alexander Michailovich. Conversely, if "Sandro" believed that Serge had "provided the enemies of the regime with inexhaustible material for calumnies and libels, Olga asserted that the Michailovich's vociferous sniping and conspicuous finger pointing vendetta--long standing--against Serge had, "incriminated the entire family when solidarity was essential." Alexis Alexandrovich scornfully opined that the younger Michailovich cabal were, "inclined to play to the radical grand stand" and likened them to Robespierre.

It is certain that Serge did not see himself on display as Moscow's Princess Di. It was not his temperament. He did, however, significantly improve general living conditions during his tenure and was an extremely conscientious Governor-general who took a hands on approach and dilegently sought out and punished corruption and fraud. Marie Pavlovna wrote that her uncle's poiltical position was one of great power and consequence and that,"his devotion and his sense of duty was absolute."  

According to Ernest of Hesse (Ella's brother), Serge understood the need for reform but, "the tradedy of Serge's life was that he was too far sighted. He wanted and strived for improvements (which angered conservatives) but blocked revolutionary reforms (which infuriated radicals) because he considered them impractical or thought the time was not ripe for them". Judging to the extent that Russia is still struggling with "reforms" in 2007--90 catastrophic and very bloody years after the 1917 Russian Revolution--perhaps history might concede a pre-1905 Serge that point.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2007, 12:56:51 PM by perdita »

Offline lori_c

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 685
    • View Profile
Re: Ella and Sergei 2
« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2007, 12:41:56 PM »
Indeed, that was the opinion of all who knew him, who really knew him and not his public reputation. That says something, in my opinion. He must have had his troubles, but I don't think they were as deep as those of a psycho killer. Ella did indeed assume her place in the dynasty due to her husband's role, and Sergei did in his own way as well. Without that role, neither one of them might have been really fulfilled. Before that, they both played a marginal role, or does anyone disagree? Of course, the gossip about them never mattered what their public life was, it only mattered what their ever elusive private life was.

I agree that Sergei only let his guard down around those who were close to him.  The couple both played important dyanstic roles, imo, each one was fulfilling for them.  Sergei was a staunch supporter of AIII and later NII.  But especially w/his brother.  AIII rewarded Sergei for his loyalty with the position of Governor General of Moscow.  Though the political atmosphere of Moscow was different under the feared AIII.  Sergei still played an important dynastic role, no matter where it led him during the reign of his nephew.  Ella as first lady of Moscow was of course accorded opportunities for fulfillment that otherwise she may not have been offered had she not assumed her place in the dynasty as you pointed out.  Though, imo, gossip was gossip in the Russian Court, public or private.  Gossip was almost a sport in court life.

Offline imperial angel

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 4608
    • View Profile
Re: Ella and Sergei 2
« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2007, 01:24:34 PM »
Yes, it was. I was just saying their private life was the rumor although Sergei's public life was always in there a bit as well. Ella's public life was beyind reproach, and about her private one, people never stopped guessing.They both were people who wished to contribute to the dynasty more than gossip and rumor, or simply enjoying themselves like some Romanovs. Moscow gave them that. I think that was perhaps one bond in their marrriage, their concern for having some contribution to the dynasty. But, it seens only the bad side of that and Sergei is ever acknowledged.

Offline lori_c

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 685
    • View Profile
Re: Ella and Sergei 2
« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2007, 02:11:40 PM »
Excellent point.  Sergei's contribution is continually overlooked. And you made a good point when you said that they didn't simply just enjoy themselves, living it up with no thought to consequence like other Romanovs yet their lives were up for more gossip and rumor than the Romanovs who actually DID those things. :)