Alexander Palace Forum

Discussions about the Imperial Family and European Royalty => Rulers Prior to Nicholas II => Topic started by: Yseult on February 16, 2008, 12:36:43 PM

Title: Nicholas I mistresses
Post by: Yseult on February 16, 2008, 12:36:43 PM
Reading Wikipedia, I found that tsar Nicholas I had illegitimate issue:

With Anna-Maria Charlota de Rutenskiold (1791-1856)
•Youzia Koberwein (12 May 1825 - 23 February 1923)
With Barbara Yakovleva (1803-1831)
•Olga Carlovna Albrecht (10 July 1828 - 20 January 1898)
With Barbara Nelidova (d. 1897)
•Alexis Pashkine (17 April 1831 - 20 June 1863)

I always thought he was a tender and protective husband to her wife, Alexandra, née Charlotte of Prussia; and I know Alexandra was really in love with her Nicky. I wonder how she felt about the mistress and illegitimate children they borne to Nicholas...Anyone knows?
Portraits of the most famous of the mistress above listed -Barbara Nelidova- would be appreciated...
Title: Re: Nicholas I mistresses
Post by: Svetabel on February 17, 2008, 03:18:19 AM
First of all Nicholas I was really a tender and protective husband who adored his delicate wife Alexandra Fedorovna. They loved each other and that was obvious. All his affairs were very discreet, he never  advertised the mistresses and the relationships of that sort. Alexandra Fedorovna didn't take seriously to heart Nicholas' infidelities as she felt certain of his love to her. Though she probably didn't know about the illegetimite children.
Title: Re: Nicholas I mistresses
Post by: Mari on February 18, 2008, 02:47:16 AM

Interesting note in the Edward Crankshaw Book that states Alexandra wanted to bring Barbara Nelidova to see Nicholas I to say farewell  before He died!

http://books.google.com/books?id=oJ_cdVgkmzEC&pg=PA147&lpg=PA147&dq=Barbara+Nelidova+mistress+of+Nicholas+I&source=web&ots=lIDDPA2oda&sig=rOxtXZNlpDzomn_DxX12HH7wH68
Title: Re: Nicholas I mistresses
Post by: Svetabel on February 18, 2008, 03:48:47 AM

Interesting note in the Edward Crankshaw Book that states Alexandra wanted to bring Barbara Nelidova to see Nicholas I to say farewell  before He died!

http://books.google.com/books?id=oJ_cdVgkmzEC&pg=PA147&lpg=PA147&dq=Barbara+Nelidova+mistress+of+Nicholas+I&source=web&ots=lIDDPA2oda&sig=rOxtXZNlpDzomn_DxX12HH7wH68

This state travels from one book to another and seems it's not exactly known true or not. Though if have in mind  a sweet and kind nature of Nicholas' spouse the fact could have been real. Varvara Nelidova was a highly-respected person at the court, and no one dared to say a bad word about her.
Title: Re: Nicholas I mistresses
Post by: CountessKate on February 21, 2008, 10:40:58 AM
I've been suspicious of these gracious deathbed wives since I learned that Mrs Keppel was not invited to the death bed of Edward VII by a forgiving Queen Alexandra, but pushed herself in uninvited, threw a hysterical fit, viewed an unconscious king, and generally made herself thoroughly unwelcome, according to Lord Esher.  Everyone then closed ranks to spread a sanitised version of events which still has currency.
Title: Re: Nicholas I mistresses
Post by: rusmila on December 13, 2008, 08:25:36 AM
Was Alexander II conktat with Barbar Nelidova after Nikolas dead?
Title: Re: Nicholas I mistresses
Post by: imperial angel on April 27, 2009, 02:42:40 AM
I have a question. I read Romanov Autumn last winter and in it Charlotte Zeepvat says Nicholas I had no mistresses, which I was surprised by. Perhaps she meant that Nicholas I had a good marriage with Alexandra and had no serious mistress? I was surprised she didn't mention Nelidova.
Title: Re: Nicholas I mistresses
Post by: violetta on April 28, 2009, 06:09:08 AM
According to the memories of Anna Tyutcheva, the daughter of the poet Feodor Tyutchev and a lady -in-waiting of the Tzesarevna Mariya Alexandrovna, the wife of future Alexander 2, Varvara Nelidova was not present during the last hous and minutes of Nikolay 1. His wife asked him indirectl whether he wanted to see Varen`ka but he didn`t. or ay be he did, but due to the feeling of decency regarding is wife and the rest f the family he refused. Tyutcheva says that Nelidova did not openly demonstrate her privileged position so she gained respect at the court. she was so discreet. to tell the truth, i can`t imagine myself asking y husnband at his deathbed whether he feels like saying good-bye to his istress.  ::) no matter how discreet they are it`s infidelity. nikolay`s wife ust have been a real angel! tyutcheva also says that nelidova suffered enourmously but she doen`t mention any issues.

As for Nelidova, GD Olga Nikolaevna, the queen of Wurtemberg, in her memories claims that  Nelidova was just a close friend, the one who was loyal and helpful etc...that is understandable `cause she didn`t want to damage the image of her father.   
Title: Re: Nicholas I mistresses
Post by: CountessKate on April 28, 2009, 06:56:44 AM
Quote
I read Romanov Autumn last winter and in it Charlotte Zeepvat says Nicholas I had no mistresses, which I was surprised by. Perhaps she meant that Nicholas I had a good marriage with Alexandra and had no serious mistress? I was surprised she didn't mention Nelidova.

Perhaps she wasn't mentioned because of the discretion exercised and the attitude of Alexandra - while most people made the assumption, which was probably correct, that she was his mistress, she wasn't acknowledged in the same way as say, Catherine Dolgorukaya and was not apparently given any special distinction.  I've never heard of any historical evidence existing, such as letters between Nicholas and Nelidova, or any remark either party made to a third to support this either.  So if you were/are charitably inclined, you could/can take the position that this is not proven and consequently cannot definitely said to have occurred. 
Title: Re: Nicholas I mistresses
Post by: imperial angel on April 28, 2009, 09:20:33 AM
Yes, that could be true. At least Nicholas I was pretty discreet, which made infidelity however bad less bad than say his son and Dolgorukaya. Have you ever read the Zeepvat book or not? It can be kind of rare.
Title: Re: Nicholas I mistresses
Post by: CountessKate on April 29, 2009, 02:57:14 PM
Quote
Have you ever read the Zeepvat book or not? It can be kind of rare.

Not only do I have a copy, I note on p. 3 that Zeepvat remarks "There are a number of stories which suggest that Nicholas did not always observe the abstinence his mother admired" and she names "a Swedish girl, Marianne Rutenskiold" who was supposed to have borne Nicholas a daughter, and then proceeds to explode this particular insinuation (dates etc. don't add up).  She ends by saying "If his eye ever strayed, it meant nothing to him" which is interesting - she blows apart a weak case, but doesn't even mention one which was widely believed at the time.  It rather suggests to me, especially since she gives a lot of lyrical detail before about Alexandra and Nicholas's deep love and idyllic home life, that she doesn't want to disturb her rosy picture but her sharper historical sense can't quite shut out some pretty convincing circumstantial evidence - hence the "If his eye ever strayed" business.  If she was so convinced it didn't, why didn't she confront the Nelidova matter head on and why did she allow an "if" to muddy the waters? 
Title: Re: Nicholas I mistresses
Post by: Janet Ashton on April 29, 2009, 04:33:10 PM
Quote
Have you ever read the Zeepvat book or not? It can be kind of rare.

Not only do I have a copy, I note on p. 3 that Zeepvat remarks "There are a number of stories which suggest that Nicholas did not always observe the abstinence his mother admired" and she names "a Swedish girl, Marianne Rutenskiold" who was supposed to have borne Nicholas a daughter, and then proceeds to explode this particular insinuation (dates etc. don't add up).  She ends by saying "If his eye ever strayed, it meant nothing to him" which is interesting - she blows apart a weak case, but doesn't even mention one which was widely believed at the time.  It rather suggests to me, especially since she gives a lot of lyrical detail before about Alexandra and Nicholas's deep love and idyllic home life, that she doesn't want to disturb her rosy picture but her sharper historical sense can't quite shut out some pretty convincing circumstantial evidence - hence the "If his eye ever strayed" business.  If she was so convinced it didn't, why didn't she confront the Nelidova matter head on and why did she allow an "if" to muddy the waters? 

Bruce Lincoln (if I recall correctly) uses essentially the same argument as CZ in his bio of Nicholas: that the stories of mistresses and illegitimate children are evidenced only by court gossip and are sometimes incompatible with his movements. He however does not deny Nelidova, noting that Nicholas strayed when he became middle-aged and needed the ego boost - and his wife had been warned not to risk yet more children. In Maria Feodorovna's letters there are comments about how desperate Nicholas became when his wife was pregnant and he was denied sex. I think it reasonable to assume that even as a young man he therefore allowed himself his pleasures outside marriage. Bottom line: this wasn't incompatible with having a protective love for his perfect "angel of the hearth": not to him, not to so many Victorian men. He treated Alexandra as something of a china doll, and yet she was pregnant at least nine times, with the seven surviving children, plus a daughter who died at birth between Maria and Olga, and there is evidence that she was pregnant again after Mikhail: I assume she miscarried late on or had a still birth. Some sources also give two more daughters who died in infancy (one between Alexandra and Konstantin; one between Konstantin and Nicholas) but I have no idea whether this is accurate. I wonder if anyone else here does?
Title: Re: Nicholas I mistresses
Post by: CountessKate on April 30, 2009, 04:15:18 PM
Burke's royal families of the world lists the following children of Nicholas and Alexandra (I've only put the years of birth of the children who lived):

1. Alexander b.1818
2. Maria b. 1819
3. A daughter, stillborn at Peterhof, 1820
4. Olga b. 1822
5. A daughter, b and d at St Petersburg, 4 Nov 1823
6. Alexandra b. 1825
7. Elisaveta b 7 June 1826; d young
8. Constantine b. 1827
9. A daughter, b and d at St Petersburg 17 October 1829
10. Nicholas b. 1831
11. Mihail b. 1832

I wondered whether 'Elisaveta' was mistaken for Nicholas' niece Elizabeth who was born in 1826, and died in 1845.  However, Burke lists the latter in the proper place and as having born in Moscow on 26 May 1826 and marrying Adolf Duke of Nassau.  So Burke clearly saw two Elizabeths somewhere - but it is very strange not to have a date of death.  For the first stillborn daughter, in 'Romanov relations' a letter from Grand Duke Nicholas to his sister Anna says "You already know from Mama about the cruel accident which happened to my wife which was followed by a miscarriage" and in 'Chere Annette', their mother's letters to Anna, she says "our dear Alexandrine was delivered safely and easily of a baby girl, already two weeks dead." In October 1823 Maria Feodorovna wrote to Anna that "Charlotte [Alexandra] is a little indisposed with stomach cramps and being a little delayed but its not serious" and there is no further information on what might have been another stillbirth in November and Maria Feodorovna writes in the same month rather cheerfully about a visit Anna's husband was making at the time to St Petersburg.  The birth of Elizabeth Mihailovna ('Elisa') is mentioned in May 1826, coinciding with the death of the Empress Elizabeth - but no mention is made of the birth of another Elizabeth to Alexandra in June.  Nicholas writes to Anna in the autumn of 1829 with much information about the state of Alexandra's health, which was poor, but there was no mention of a pregnancy or any child.  So I haven't been able to find any other supporting evidence for any of the stillbirths or daughters who allegedly died young except for the one in 1820.

Title: Re: Nicholas I mistresses
Post by: Svetabel on May 01, 2009, 04:25:08 AM
there is evidence that she was pregnant again after Mikhail: I assume she miscarried late on or had a still birth.

Yes, the mention of it one can find in her daughter's Olga memoirs. Alexandra Fedorovna did have a child after Mikhail, in about 1835-1837 years but Olga doesn't go into details - miscarriage or still-birth.
Title: Re: Nicholas I mistresses
Post by: Royal Bulgaria on May 01, 2009, 05:27:41 AM
Two of the misstress  i didn't know.... Very interesting....They were ladies of the court?
Title: Re: Nicholas I mistresses
Post by: imperial angel on May 01, 2009, 07:44:39 AM
I believe they all were, yes.
Title: Re: Nicholas I mistresses
Post by: Janet Ashton on May 05, 2009, 10:58:13 AM
Burke's royal families of the world lists the following children of Nicholas and Alexandra (I've only put the years of birth of the children who lived):

1. Alexander b.1818
2. Maria b. 1819
3. A daughter, stillborn at Peterhof, 1820
4. Olga b. 1822
5. A daughter, b and d at St Petersburg, 4 Nov 1823
6. Alexandra b. 1825
7. Elisaveta b 7 June 1826; d young
8. Constantine b. 1827
9. A daughter, b and d at St Petersburg 17 October 1829
10. Nicholas b. 1831
11. Mihail b. 1832

I wondered whether 'Elisaveta' was mistaken for Nicholas' niece Elizabeth who was born in 1826, and died in 1845.  However, Burke lists the latter in the proper place and as having born in Moscow on 26 May 1826 and marrying Adolf Duke of Nassau.  So Burke clearly saw two Elizabeths somewhere - but it is very strange not to have a date of death.  For the first stillborn daughter, in 'Romanov relations' a letter from Grand Duke Nicholas to his sister Anna says "You already know from Mama about the cruel accident which happened to my wife which was followed by a miscarriage" and in 'Chere Annette', their mother's letters to Anna, she says "our dear Alexandrine was delivered safely and easily of a baby girl, already two weeks dead." In October 1823 Maria Feodorovna wrote to Anna that "Charlotte [Alexandra] is a little indisposed with stomach cramps and being a little delayed but its not serious" and there is no further information on what might have been another stillbirth in November and Maria Feodorovna writes in the same month rather cheerfully about a visit Anna's husband was making at the time to St Petersburg.  The birth of Elizabeth Mihailovna ('Elisa') is mentioned in May 1826, coinciding with the death of the Empress Elizabeth - but no mention is made of the birth of another Elizabeth to Alexandra in June.  Nicholas writes to Anna in the autumn of 1829 with much information about the state of Alexandra's health, which was poor, but there was no mention of a pregnancy or any child.  So I haven't been able to find any other supporting evidence for any of the stillbirths or daughters who allegedly died young except for the one in 1820.



This is the same list I've seen, but I forgot about the daughter supposed to have been born between Olga and Alexandra. The last pregnancy is also omitted from Burke's, but in addition to the source mentioned by Svetabel, there is also a reference in one of the Jackman books (though I forget which without checking) to this last, post-Mikhail pregnancy. Like you I wondered whether Elizaveta Nikolaevna might be a case of confusion with Elizaveta Mikhailovna........At any rate, it's not a happy history - we know that Alexandra had at least two late miscarriges or stillbirths - and small wonder her health became so bad.....
Title: Re: Nicholas I mistresses
Post by: CountessKate on May 05, 2009, 03:35:34 PM
Yes, I've also combed Jackman although alas the 1830s correspondence is all on Nicholas' side and he doesn't go into any detail except general remarks upon his wife's ill-health (although she outlived him, and for all her frailty, survived 12 or 13 pregnancies and had 7 children who lived and except for Alexandra, were reasonably healthy).
Title: Re: Nicholas I mistresses
Post by: RomanovsFan4Ever on June 18, 2009, 07:33:53 AM
Was Alexander II conktat with Barbar Nelidova after Nikolas dead?

According to the biography of Tsar Nicholas I by Henri Troyat, Alexander II continued to be in contact with Nelidova, and also, between Tsarina Alexandra and B. Nelidova began a sincere friendship...but I don't know if it is historical truth, usually I prefer to take with caution this type of informations...
Title: Re: Nicholas I mistresses
Post by: Joanna on December 13, 2009, 02:46:32 PM
3. A daughter, stillborn at Peterhof, 1820
For the first stillborn daughter, in 'Romanov relations' a letter from Grand Duke Nicholas to his sister Anna says "You already know from Mama about the cruel accident which happened to my wife which was followed by a miscarriage" and in 'Chere Annette', their mother's letters to Anna, she says "our dear Alexandrine was delivered safely and easily of a baby girl, already two weeks dead." ...  So I haven't been able to find any other supporting evidence for any of the stillbirths or daughters who allegedly died young except for the one in 1820.

An excellent small volume "A czarina's story, being an account of the early married life of the Emperor Nicholas I of Russia written by his wife" [1948], are the memoirs Alexandra F. from 1817 to 1820. It is about 25 pages and she starts by stating "...impressions form part of my private diary while these notes are intended to be a species of 'memoires'..." Her voice travels these two hundred years with an immediacy that is rare to encounter.

On the death of her stillborn baby - "...and I had to be bled much sooner than in my other pregnancies. Bad weather in camp at Krasnoi Selo also did me harm, and I arrived in St. Petersburg for the 25th of June with my feet swollen and a horrible sick headache which lasted three days. My attacks of giddiness prevented me from appearing at dinners and dances. The Emperor [Alexander I] came to see me one evening and kissed my foot in bed, which made me laugh. Two nights later, on the 27th of June, I was at death's door. While I was unconscious a congestion of blood seized me and apparently caused the death of the child to which I gave birth on the 10th of July, 1820. In the wooden Constantine Palace I spent six very sad weeks, but I was well looked after by my husband and the Empress Mother..."

These memoirs are incredible and it is easy to imagine how exciting it would be to read her diaries!

Joanna