Author Topic: Precedence of the Dowager Empress  (Read 9527 times)

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Offline James1941

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Precedence of the Dowager Empress
« on: October 20, 2004, 04:50:56 PM »
When Maria Feodorovna became Dowager Empress she claimed precedence over the new Empress consort Alexandra Feodorovna as first lady of Russia. This caused much embarrasment to Alexandra.
Can anyone cite the law or edict which specifically states that dowager empresses take precedence over the consort of the reigning emperor? Was this a law, or merely a tradition that had never been used by previous dowager empresses?

Offline Belochka

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Re: Precedence of the Dowager Empress
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2004, 01:32:53 AM »
Hi James,

It was Russian Court protocol which dictated that the Dowager Empress had precedence over the Tsarina.

I would doubt that this traditional would have been enshrined in law.


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Offline James1941

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Re: Precedence of the Dowager Empress
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2004, 03:05:06 PM »
Thanks, Belochka, for your answer. I suppose this was much like the protocol in the Ottoman court that when a new sultan came to the throne his mother became the Valide Sultana and ruled over the harem, even over the Sultan's wives.
However, your answer leads to more questions.
How old is this protocol? Does it go back to before the Romanovs came to the throne? Do you have other examples of dowager empresses or dowager tsarinas taking precedence?
Supposedly Marie F. remarked that "....my daughter-in-law doesn't like me!" My contention is that her selfish behavior was responsible for the dislike Alexandra felt for her mother-in-law, and that it led to serious family contentions that affected the imperial family during Nicholas II's reign.

Offline Belochka

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Re: Precedence of the Dowager Empress
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2004, 11:19:28 PM »
You are welcome James!

You posed an interesting question here. Please bear with me and I will try and see if I can come up with a few more thoughts.

Maria F. was not particularily gracious about parting with the Crown jewels. Being of small stature she presented Alexandra pieces which were too heavy for herself to wear. This particular Court protocol failed to be properly observed.

Alexandra was surprised that the Russian Court considered her mother-in-law and not herself as first lady of the realm. Understandably she would not be so enamored with the Dowager Empress. There was obviously friction from both sides.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Belochka »


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Offline James_Davidov

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Re: Precedence of the Dowager Empress
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2004, 08:23:09 PM »
Hey I found this link, and its both interesting and related to your questions.  I'm not sure who is the author, as i just came across it, but its invaluable in investigating the relationship between Marie and Alexandra and what society expected of their roles, and how how they carried them...I urge anyone to have a read of it...


http://www.koshka-the-cat.com/society.htm
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Offline carl fraley

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Re: Precedence of the Dowager Empress
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2006, 08:55:13 PM »
The House Law granting Precedence of the Dowager over the Reigning empress consort was enacted by Tsar Paul.  He didn't want his wife the first Marie Feodorovna to be eclipsed by any DIL after his death.   After Paul's death , MF tried to proclaim herself empress and after she accepted the foolishness of this by her son Alexander she basically resigned herself to the country traveling between Gatchina and Pavlosk and her new palace built by Alexander , called Yelagin.  So she didn't interfear with either of her Sons wives at Court.  Not much is known about Alexanders wife and I don't think Alexandra Feodorovna (nee Princess CHarlotte of Prussia) herself being a Hohenzollern would have tolerated it anyhow.   When Minnie became Empress her MIL had already been dead so Minnie had no one to bow to.  So basically Minnie was the First Dowager to actually demand this House law be followed.

Offline Vecchiolarry

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Re: Precedence of the Dowager Empress
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2009, 08:00:41 AM »
Hi,

The Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna (#2) attended the Coronation of her son and daughter-in-law in 1896.
But, did any of the other Dowager Empresses attend their sons' Coronations?
Did Maria Feodorovna(#1) attend Alexander's or Nicholas's?
Did Alexandra Feodorovna (#1) attend Alexander II's?

Thanks in advance for any info...

Larry

Offline kmerov

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Re: Precedence of the Dowager Empress
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2009, 04:00:18 PM »
Hi,

The Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna (#2) attended the Coronation of her son and daughter-in-law in 1896.
But, did any of the other Dowager Empresses attend their sons' Coronations?
Did Maria Feodorovna(#1) attend Alexander's or Nicholas's?
Did Alexandra Feodorovna (#1) attend Alexander II's?

Thanks in advance for any info...

Larry

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna did attend the coronation of her son Alexander II. I'm not sure about Maria Feodorovna (#1).