Author Topic: Natalia Alekseevna, 1st wife of Emperor Pavel I  (Read 43912 times)

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Offline Lisa

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Natalia Alekseevna, 1st wife of Emperor Pavel I
« on: February 16, 2006, 04:23:14 AM »
NATALIA ALEXEIEVNA, Pavel's first wife:
1776 by ROSLIN: ; idem: ; 1774 by FALCONET (the sculptor's son):

Offline synnadene

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Re: Natalia Alekseevna, 1st wife of Emperor Pavel I
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2007, 02:12:23 PM »

Dear Discussion Group,

I started this thread in order to collect the portraits of Pss Wilhelmine of Hesse, first wife of Tsar Paul I. as Grand Duchess NATALIA ALEXEIEVNA.

Please, help me to find pictures and it would be also great to read some informations about her.

Thanks in advance,

Synnadene

Offline Yseult

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Re: Natalia Alekseevna, 1st wife of Emperor Pavel I
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2007, 03:10:09 PM »
Nothing at all, Synnadenne.
Natalia always seemed to me a very sad historical figure. If I´m not mistaken, somewhere I read that her husband Paul loved her passionately but, after the death of the wife in childbirth, Catherine the Great, wishing to put to an end the almost hysterical mourning of her son, showed him letters sended by Natalia to her lover. Is it true?

Offline ilyala

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Re: Natalia Alekseevna, 1st wife of Emperor Pavel I
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2007, 12:56:14 AM »
i didn't know there were any letters, but it's true that catherine tried (i don't know if she succeeded, given the relationship she and paul had) to convince him that his wife had been unfaithful in order to get him to marry soon after her death.
'loving might be a mistake, but it's worth making'
ilya


Offline Svetabel

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Re: Natalia Alekseevna, 1st wife of Emperor Pavel I
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2007, 03:16:33 AM »
Nothing at all, Synnadenne.
Natalia always seemed to me a very sad historical figure. If I´m not mistaken, somewhere I read that her husband Paul loved her passionately but, after the death of the wife in childbirth, Catherine the Great, wishing to put to an end the almost hysterical mourning of her son, showed him letters sended by Natalia to her lover. Is it true?

Sad figure???? Well, she died young, it's true, so sad, but for the Russian court she was more a mess than a sad figure. Natalia was too ambitious, too arrogant, too extravagant, too egoistic and definitely not as pure as an angel. She did not love her husband (and fell in love with Andrey Razumovskiy), she did not love Russia, she did not want to learn Russian - it's a nonsense for a future possible Tsarina of all the Russians - and Ekaterina II was furious about this.
Actually I don't see any sadness only bitterness that such a Princess was Pavel's first wife. Though she was of course a victim of the matrimonial intrigues of Friedrich II and her parents.

Offline ilyala

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Re: Natalia Alekseevna, 1st wife of Emperor Pavel I
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2007, 10:18:14 AM »
considering the way royal marriage (hers included) happened in those days i can't say i blame her for not fall in love with someone she was forced to be with, probably a complete stranger whom she met on her wedding day. i don't not about her ambition and arrogance but if she married against her wish and did not love her husband i can also understand why she didn't want to learn russian - it was her way to rebel.
'loving might be a mistake, but it's worth making'
ilya


Offline Yseult

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Re: Natalia Alekseevna, 1st wife of Emperor Pavel I
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2007, 12:24:39 PM »


Sad figure???? Well, she died young, it's true, so sad, but for the Russian court she was more a mess than a sad figure. Natalia was too ambitious, too arrogant, too extravagant, too egoistic and definitely not as pure as an angel. She did not love her husband (and fell in love with Andrey Razumovskiy), she did not love Russia, she did not want to learn Russian - it's a nonsense for a future possible Tsarina of all the Russians - and Ekaterina II was furious about this.
Actually I don't see any sadness only bitterness that such a Princess was Pavel's first wife. Though she was of course a victim of the matrimonial intrigues of Friedrich II and her parents.
[/quote]

Well, Svetabel...I suppose she had not an easy life. She was forced to left behind her country and family to enter into the russian court, as the wife of a man who was not "her charming prince". She was a prisoner into a state marriage, under the surveillance of a quite formidable mother-in-law. To be the wife of Paul and the daughter-in-law of great Catherine could have been so much for the hessian princess. After her, one woman of substance as Maria Feodorovna was could make it through, but not easily (it is well constructed this phrase? If not...my apologies). If she tried to obtain some measure of personal happines in the arms of Razvmousky, I can not blame her for it! But it was not fair play for Catherine to show her love letters when she was dead...She was ruinning Natalia´s image in the memories of Paul and also Natalia´s reputation.

Offline Svetabel

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Re: Natalia Alekseevna, 1st wife of Emperor Pavel I
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2007, 01:20:19 PM »
Well, Svetabel...I suppose she had not an easy life. She was forced to left behind her country and family to enter into the russian court, as the wife of a man who was not "her charming prince". She was a prisoner into a state marriage, under the surveillance of a quite formidable mother-in-law. To be the wife of Paul and the daughter-in-law of great Catherine could have been so much for the hessian princess. After her, one woman of substance as Maria Feodorovna was could make it through, but not easily (it is well constructed this phrase? If not...my apologies). If she tried to obtain some measure of personal happines in the arms of Razvmousky, I can not blame her for it! But it was not fair play for Catherine to show her love letters when she was dead...She was ruinning Natalia´s image in the memories of Paul and also Natalia´s reputation.

Seems you think that I blame Natalia. No, I just fixed the facts. She was a victim of the matrimonial plans of King Friedrich II and Tsarina Ekaterina II as I had said in my previous post.
As for the Ekaterina's act with showing letters to Pavel --well, of course, that was not a fair play but the Empress was very often unfair if the private matters came in contact with the politics.Alas...And I can say again that Natalia was a victim who dared to rebel but anyway was her rebellion good to anyoned and herself?

Offline Yseult

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Re: Natalia Alekseevna, 1st wife of Emperor Pavel I
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2007, 02:04:58 PM »
You´re right, Svetabel ;)

Offline ilyala

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Re: Natalia Alekseevna, 1st wife of Emperor Pavel I
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2007, 06:36:37 AM »
in those days the word of order was 'duty'. in these days, though, when much more selfish approaches are more popular, i'm sure most people understand why she did what she did. she might have hurt people around her but she herself was hurt in return by them.
'loving might be a mistake, but it's worth making'
ilya


Offline ivanushka

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Re: Natalia Alekseevna, 1st wife of Emperor Pavel I
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2007, 11:36:27 AM »
Good choice for a forum topic, Synnadene!

And thanks for posting the portraits, Yseult.  I've always found Natalia an interesting figure and have often wondered what she looked like.  Where did you find them?

I feel sorry for her in that her life ended so tragically, but less so in terms of how her life had gone until then.  She was a princess and would have been raised to believe that her fate was to make a political marriage.  Bearing in mind that she came from the comparatively humble state of Hesse Darmstadt, marrying the heir to the Russian throne was a major coup.  Also, she married a man who, though probably not the world's easiest person to live with, was at least in love with her - not a fate shared by all of her contemporaries.  I find it surprising that she had taken a lover with a couple of years of marrying, and though, as I said, her fate was tragic, I suspect that had she lived she would have made a fairly lousy Empress.

When she first went to Russia with her mother, two of her sisters went with her so that Paul could take his pick!  Interestingly enough, one of the rejected sisters (Amalia, I think) later married the heir to the duchy of Baden and was the mother of Elizabeth, wife of Alexander I.  Then, as now, it was a small world!!!

Offline Yseult

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Re: Natalia Alekseevna, 1st wife of Emperor Pavel I
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2007, 01:14:52 PM »
Ivanushka...I can not tell you where I found these portraits. I´m always searching for historical portraits, I collect them, but I never remember where I found this or that portrait  :-[
I´m very interested in what you said about Paul making his choice between three hessian sisters who had traveled from their little country to the great russian empire with their mother. It´s funny enough one sister of Natalia Alexeievna had been Amalie, the mother of Elizaveta Alexeievna. Elizaveta is my favourite historical figure at these times, but I have read just a little about her, so this information is absolutely new for me. Do you know how felt Amalie about the ill-fate of her sister Natalia Alexeievna? Amalie said anything about "aunt Natalia" to her daughters Louise and Friederike when these girls went to San Petersburg to marry Alexander and Constantin?

Offline ivanushka

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Re: Natalia Alekseevna, 1st wife of Emperor Pavel I
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2007, 02:01:15 PM »
Yseult - I don't know what Amalia said to her daughters when they went to Russia.  It's only recently that I discovered the connection between Amalia and Natalia.  I would imagine that she gave them two pieces of advice:

1)  If you marry and then take a lover, don't get caught!
2)  Make sure you have a wonderful midwife when you give birth!

Seriously, I imagine Amalia must have had quite mixed feelings about it.  She must have felt rejected when Paul chose her sister, but then, if her own marriage was a happy one (I'm not sure if it was as I don't know enough about her) then she probably had no regrets.  As both Baden and Hesse were tiny compared to Russia (each had a population of around 200,000 compared to Russia's 20+ million) she must have been excited at the prospect of a matrimonial link for her daughter(s) with the Romanovs.  I also remember reading in Henri Troyat's biography of Catherine the Great, that Amalia and Natalia's mother got on very well with Catherine the Great during their visit to Russia so that may have also have encouraged Amalia to think well of the Romanovs.

Offline imperial angel

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Re: Natalia Alekseevna, 1st wife of Emperor Pavel I
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2007, 08:36:38 AM »
I had read that Catherine did show these letters to Paul so that he would move on and not mourn this wife who certainly didn't live up to dynastic standards of Romanov brides. She just wanted him to move on and marry again and have heirs for the dynasty.I think Catherine was just being pragmatic as she was so much when she showed him these letters, at least according to a quite a few biographies of Catherine the Great I have read. I think she did it for practical reasons. As for Natalia, she seems to have been not the right wife for Paul nor the right kind of woman to someday be Tsarina. Yet, Paul loved her. She was just a pawn of royal marriage.

Offline Thomas_Hesse

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Re: Natalia Alekseevna, 1st wife of Emperor Pavel I
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2007, 11:19:10 AM »
First of all: Natalia was not forced into that marriage by her mother. Landgravine Caroline wrote explicitely that she would not leave one of her three daughters in Russia against their own wish.

It is not quite correct that the Grand Duchess did not learn the Russian language: in the letters written to her mother (see Archive of the Stat of Hesse, Darmstadt, Germany) she often mentiones her progress and that she "begins to understand what people are saying".
She lived not even three years in Russia - so of course she might not have spoken the language perfectly.
I doubt that she has had a "lover" as (besides that this is no fact at all, but just - as often - rumor) she had not given birth to a child yet and nobody would have dared to have an affair with the heir's consort.

It seems that in 1776 the stuff nursing her when trying to give birth to her son was completely incompetent. The Empress behaved wrongly....and Natalia died 8 days long...




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