Alexander Palace Forum

Discussions about the Imperial Family and European Royalty => Alexandra Feodorovna => Topic started by: investigator on April 08, 2004, 04:25:47 AM

Title: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: investigator on April 08, 2004, 04:25:47 AM
What sort of a relationship did Alexandra have with her brothers and sisters?
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: Greg_King on April 08, 2004, 05:54:37 AM
Of them all, I'd say she was closest to Ernie.  They understood each other completely, shared very similar characters and outlooks, shared religious and philosophical interests, and even tastes for art nouveau.

Her relationship with Victoria was close, but the age difference did much to keep them from feeling like confidants.  Victoria, being older and also probably the most level-headed of the Hessian children, may also have been a bit more judgmental about Alix.

The difference in age also applies to Ella-as far as I can tell Alix and her only became fairly close after Ella married Serge, and then when both sisters were living in Russia.  But their relationship-that of two stubborn, passionate women, each convinced that she knew best-was never easy, and in the months before the Revolution practically broke down completely.

Irene was closer to Alix than either Victoria or Ella by virtue of age and shared experiences, though this, too, faltered somewhat when Irene married Heinrich of Prussia.  From everything I've seen and read, there isn't much evidence that Irene ever served as a confidant to her sister after Alexei was born with hemophilia, though one might have expected it.

Frittie died when Alix was only a year; May served as her playmate for 4 years until she died, but I've never really run across any evidence or information that her death had much of an impact on Alix-it had much more impact on Ernie.

Greg King
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: BobAtchison on April 08, 2004, 12:28:01 PM
Greg:

I am sure you'd agree that Alix and Ernie has a life rather seperate and differnet than their older siblings.  Their difference in age and the absence of their mother meant that the two youngest were in the nursery or still being taken care of my nannies when the oplder girls were in real school.

My own impression is that Alix and Ernie were 'little brother' and 'little sister' to the others and they were used to bossing them around.  Elizabeth made lots of decisions for Alix before she arrived in Russia.  I know she made many decisions about the design of their rooms at the Winter Palace with Meltzer and the other designers but Alix didn't care for them.  It seems like Alix didn't assert herself much at first and let Elizabeth do things like this.  I think she eeven made some decisions on Alix's jewelry...  I imagine Alix was rather in awe of her older sisters for some time into adulthood.  They probably thought of her as a child well into her twenties.

Ernie got pulled away from Alix pretty early too, wasn't he Greg - you know more about that than I do....  Alix was pretty much alone with her nannies and governess until her teens - isn't that right?

As you probably found in your research Alix and Ernie's English was much better (perfect spoken, inperfect spelling and grammar at times) than their older sisters.  Elizabeth seems to instinctively choose German over English.

Bob

Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: Greg_King on April 09, 2004, 12:36:40 AM
Bob-

Yes, I agree that Alix and Ernie were closer largely owing to their ages and to circumstances, but they also shared a number of personal interests and character traits absent in the other Hessian children.

Ernie was forced to undergo military obligations, but these were largely confined to Darmstadt, excepting his time in Potsdam, which amounted to less than a year.  Even so, he spent more time when home with Alix than with Irene.  I don't think I'd quite characterize Alix as being somewhat left alone as a teen-Ernie was there, and even when he was away was either home at night or during weekends often and holidays.  There's a wealth of correspondence between Ernie and Alix in Darmstadt-it's one of the things that struck me-the sheer amount of letters passed between them-far more than anything preserved at Broadlands to Victoria.

A lot of their letters are on philosophical questions.

Greg King
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: tea_rose on April 09, 2004, 10:02:10 AM
 This closeness is the reason that Alix was so upset about the break-up of the marriage between Ernie and Victoria Melita (who left because of her attachment to Grand Duke Kyril who she eventually married.) The marriage was extremely unhappy and a good example of bad matchmaking. But-those were different times-and divorce was not as accepted then as now.

Greg-did Alix ever relax her frostiness regarding this?  I know it did cause yet more distance between the Imperial Family and the rest of the Romanovs.
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: Janet Whitcomb on April 09, 2004, 12:03:20 PM
What has intrigued me is that Alexandra and Nicholas eventually "saw" Victoria Melita (Ducky) and Kyril socially.  Given Alexandra's famously rigid positions on issues of morality, etc., this must have been very difficult for her.  I'd be interested in knowing more about the dynamics of this relationship between the two couples, if such information exists!

From what I've read, sometime during the marriage of Ernie and Ducky, the latter gave Alexandra an earful of complaints re: her troubled marriage. How much Ducky told her and how much Alexandra was able to believe and/or assimilate is a good question.  I've always wondered if Alexandra--presuming she acknowledged/comprehended  her brother's proclivity for men--blamed Ernie's disinterest on Ducky, for being an inadequate wife or possibly a depraved woman?
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: BobAtchison on April 09, 2004, 02:41:18 PM
Janet:

It's a good point you raise.  Nicholas and Alix even saw members of the family after the police told them these Romanovs were plotting Alix's death or exile and the replacement of Nicholas on the throne with Michael! How could Nicholas meet his brother so tenderly before the departure for Siberia when he knew his own brother had conspired against him.

I don't understand how they could do it....

Bob
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: Janet_Ashton on April 09, 2004, 03:31:29 PM
Quote
My own impression is that Alix and Ernie were 'little brother' and 'little sister' to the others and they were used to bossing them around.  .


Bob - as a kind of aside on this, my general impression is that the closest relationship where the four sisters were concerned was between Victoria and Irene, who spent lots and lots of time together and had the added closeness of their interest in the Navy. Ernie of course says openly that his elder sisters were jealous of him, but the whole family as adults looked up to Victoria.

Quote
Alix and Ernie's English was much better (perfect spoken, inperfect spelling and grammar at times) than their older sisters.  Elizabeth seems to instinctively choose German over English..



Victoria's English though was faultless. I do find Ella's grammar and punctuation very odd.

Janet

Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: Janet_Ashton on April 09, 2004, 03:45:04 PM
Quote
This closeness is the reason that Alix was so upset about the break-up of the marriage between Ernie and Victoria Melita (who left because of her attachment to Grand Duke Kyril who she eventually married.) The marriage was extremely unhappy and a good example of bad matchmaking. But-those were different times-and divorce was not as accepted then as now.


I think Alix gets an unduly harsh rap on this. Nothing I have ever seen indicates that she felt anything other than sympathy for BOTH parties at the time of the divorce. Members of the family do still maintain that all of Ernie's sisters were extremely supportive of both him  and Ducky. It's perfectly possible that they knew details of his private life and realised that for Ducky this was unsupportable. The nasty comments over the divorce came from the Dowager Empress, who declared that Ernie and Ducky might have been better off dead than causing a scandal.

I can't imagine that the Alix/Ducky relationship was ever very easy - in some ways they were quite similiar, and Ernie mentions jealousy from Ducky - but there is evidence that A did try to get along with her sister-in-law in the early days of the marriage.

If rift there was, I think it had more to do with the awkward (illegal) marriage to Kiril than with any animosity over the divorce.

Alix appreciated Ducky's wartime nursing role - and bravery - very much

Janet
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: Janet Whitcomb on April 09, 2004, 03:56:33 PM
Janet, thanks--that helps put things in better perspective.  We have to remember that usually there are a lot of shades to human behavior, and that most of us are far too complex to paint with a broad brush!
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: Thomas_A. on April 11, 2004, 11:32:44 AM
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Victoria's English though was faultless. I do find Ella's grammar and punctuation very odd.

Janet



I must say that I believe that all the Hesse children were not very firm in grammar or even in orthography and synatx.
All of them wrote strange combinations and wrong words etc. in german letters I read!.
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: Ilana on April 12, 2004, 06:10:55 PM
It's funny, my impression is that Victoria and Ella were the closest of sisters, not Victoria to Irene.  Irene was considered somewhat backward in the family, and because both of their husbands were in the Navy gave Louis a chance to report on the German Navy, but I don't think they were particularly close as naval wives.  I also felt that the wars inserted a bitterness in their relationship that was not present, strangely, in Victoria's relationship with Ernie.  

Victoria, however, mothered those children, and the sisters seemed to have a conspiracy to keep the harshest realities of life from Ernie.  There seemed to be an unspoken agreement between Irene and Victoria not to tell Ernie the graphic details of Ella's death... they wrote about to him in generalities.  I'm sure he found out for himself as time went on, but not from his sisters.
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: bluetoria on February 22, 2005, 12:01:49 PM
There is a rather disturbing quotation in Martha Mouchanow's autobiography which says that Alix would tremble whenever Ella, "swept down upon her with a complaint or in an excitement of some kind or another."
In one of his early letters to Alix, Nicky refers to Ella 'the governess.'
Later on, it seems that Alix sometimes took a high-handed approach to Ella, reminding her that she was not her 'little sister' but her Empress.
I find the relationship between them fascinating.
I firmly believe that from the time Alix arrived in Russia, Ella's sole intention was to ease her into her new role, but did Alix come to resent this (long before the Monsieur Philippe & Rasputin episodes)?
I - having grown up in the shadow of a far more confident & outgoing elder sister!! - have some sympathy with Alix but at the same time I feel that she eventually treated Ella very harshly - even mocking her religious foundation & suggesting that she was setting herself up as a saint.
Do you think Alix WAS a little afraid of Ella? Or was her 'trembling' just her own nervous nature?
Any other thoughts on their relationship?

Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: ashanti01 on February 22, 2005, 10:16:37 PM
I think Alix was to an extant resentful and envious of Ella.

While Ella had managed to be accepted and become frineds with the Romanovs and other high ranking noble familys, Alix was not.

She also seemed to have been somewhat envious of the special relationship between Nicholas and Ella who were very close for years before Alix and Nicholas finally married.

I think Alix was very defensive and may taken a gesture to help her ease into society as an attack on her social skills or rather lack of social skills.

I agree the sisters seemed to have had thier own share of problems, that would only become more intense with the years.
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: bluetoria on February 23, 2005, 10:53:33 AM
Quote
I think Alix was to an extant resentful and envious of Ella.

While Ella had managed to be accepted and become frineds with the Romanovs and other high ranking noble familys, Alix was not.

I think Alix was very defensive and may taken a gesture to help her ease into society as an attack on her social skills or rather lack of social skills.
.


Thanks, Ashanti, for responding.  Your point about Ella being accepted & Alix is is very interesting. I'm not so sure about the jealousy because of her relationship with Nicholas - if anything, surely, she should have been grateful for that :-/ But, yes, perhaps did not like being helped; as you say, maybe she took it as an attack...
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: Elisabeth on February 23, 2005, 02:32:26 PM
Quote
There is a rather disturbing quotation in Martha Mouchanow's autobiography which says that Alix would tremble whenever Ella, "swept down upon her with a complaint or in an excitement of some kind or another."
In one of his early letters to Alix, Nicky refers to Ella 'the governess.'
Later on, it seems that Alix sometimes took a high-handed approach to Ella, reminding her that she was not her 'little sister' but her Empress.
I find the relationship between them fascinating.
I firmly believe that from the time Alix arrived in Russia, Ella's sole intention was to ease her into her new role, but did Alix come to resent this (long before the Monsieur Philippe & Rasputin episodes)?
I - having grown up in the shadow of a far more confident & outgoing elder sister!! - have some sympathy with Alix but at the same time I feel that she eventually treated Ella very harshly - even mocking her religious foundation & suggesting that she was setting herself up as a saint.
Do you think Alix WAS a little afraid of Ella? Or was her 'trembling' just her own nervous nature?
Any other thoughts on their relationship?



As I've only learned in this forum, Mouchanow's biography of Alexandra is a fake and not to be taken seriously - not to be taken at all, I guess. So her very negative portrait of Ella (e.g., forcing Alix to swallow the relics of a saint!!) is inaccurate, at least as far as her claims go. (Marie Pavlovna also gave a negative portrait of Ella, of course, but in different respects.)

I am an eldest sister myself, and know there can be very much rivalry and resentment between siblings of the same sex, especially if they have very different personalities and temperaments (as my younger sister and I do). Quite often the younger sister feels cast into the shadow of her elder sibling, and feels she can never hope to measure up to her. I imagine this could have been the case with Ella and Alix in terms of religion, if nothing else, because I think the problems in their relationship really only date from the rise of Rasputin (although with Monsieur Philippe, there were already warning signs). Ella's disapproval of Rasputin must have hit Alix very hard. I imagine she saw Ella's attitude as something of a betrayal, and hurtful in the extreme. So it's really a testimony to the strength of their relationship that they managed for so long to maintain sisterly affection, at least judging from their letters to each other. Didn't this bond only break down when Rasputin was murdered?

Related to this question, another one: did Ella sign the letter the rest of the imperial family wrote to Nicholas asking for clemency for Grand Duke Dmitry after the murder of Rasputin? I can't remember...
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: Angie_H on February 23, 2005, 03:03:21 PM
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As I've only learned in this forum, Mouchanow's biography of Alexandra is a fake and not to be taken seriously - not to be taken at all, I guess. So her very negative portrait of Ella (e.g., forcing Alix to swallow the relics of a saint!!) is inaccurate, at least as far as her claims go. (Marie Pavlovna also gave a negative portrait of Ella, of course, but in different respects.)

Elisabeth where did you read that? What thread/board? I recently got the book from the library and I was very surprised on how the "author" slams Ella!
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: Elisabeth on February 23, 2005, 05:17:53 PM
Quote
Elisabeth where did you read that? What thread/board? I recently got the book from the library and I was very surprised on how the "author" slams Ella!


Hi, Angie. As I recall, Janet_W, a very reliable source (the best!:)), informed me of this fact, but I can't remember on which thread (probably a Books thread?). It's been discussed elsewhere as well. Periodically someone brings up Mouchanow as a source, only to be told that her book is an infamous fake. Apparently Mouchanow had no access to Alexandra whatsoever, much less to the imperial family, and her stories about Ella are based either on gossip or fantasy. If gossip, then it would be somewhat interesting, I think, in so far as it might overlap with Maria Pavlovna's testimony against Ella - except that I can't see any overlap.. so utterly worthless, in my opinion.
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: bluetoria on February 23, 2005, 05:20:57 PM
Quote

As I've only learned in this forum, Mouchanow's biography of Alexandra is a fake and not to be taken seriously - not to be taken at all, I guess. So her very negative portrait of Ella (e.g., forcing Alix to swallow the relics of a saint!!) is inaccurate, at least as far as her claims go. (Marie Pavlovna also gave a negative portrait of Ella, of course, but in different respects.)

Related to this question, another one: did Ella sign the letter the rest of the imperial family wrote to Nicholas asking for clemency for Grand Duke Dmitry after the murder of Rasputin? I can't remember...


Thank you for that, Elizabeth. I was unaware that this book was a fake - I have only read extracts from it, not the whole & it did all sound very dubious.
No, Ella didn't sign the letter - I'm quite sure of that. But by then, Alix had already decided that Ella was 'involved' in the plot because of her telegrams to Dmitri & Felix. The whole matter is very vague, isn't it? I'm sure Ella wouldn't have condoned murder, but her response is a little surprising...but then, perhaps rushed as she was on her way back from pilgrimage & hadn't heard the whole story.
I believe, but I may be mistaken, that the bond was already drawn to breaking point quite a long time before Rasputin's murder. Alix's comments about Ella's Order were, I think, a symbol of a deeper resentment...perhaps the jealousy Ashanti described.  :-/  
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: Elisabeth on February 23, 2005, 05:24:34 PM
Bluetoria, what comments did Alexandra make about Ella's order? I'm very curious!
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: bluetoria on February 23, 2005, 05:36:46 PM
She accused Ella of 'setting herself up' as a saint. The main thing was about Ella's wish to re-establish deaconesses. Ella said there had been precidents in the Orthodox Church, to which Alix replied that these had been established by saints, and so did Ella think SHE was a saint?
To Ella's Countess Ol... (I forget the name & don't have my references to hand)...Alix said Ella was 'puffed up' by the view other people had of of her (i.e. her holiness) to which Ella replied,
"I, who am so unworthy..." (And Ella's letter - which I'll find & copy more fully, shows that her humility was directly from her heart!)
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: Elisabeth on February 23, 2005, 05:43:00 PM
That's so interesting, I didn't know any of this! Bluetoria, do you also think that Alix's differences with Ella centered mainly around religion? Perhaps the two sisters felt a form of competitiveness in this area if no other?
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: bluetoria on February 23, 2005, 05:50:03 PM
I don't know. I don't think Ella felt any need to compete; I think she did what she did because she believed it in her heart of hearts, following her YEARS of meditation & prayer.
Alix, I THINK, simply couldn't understand - perhaps she had too many other matters to preoccupy her (her sick son, being Tsarina etc.) - and sometimes she must have wondered why Ella managed to 'do everything right' when she just couldn't. Her reaction to Ella I think was extremely harsh (it reminds me of Mozart & Salieri...someone juist naturally achieving, & someone who, for all their efforts didn't.)
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: ashanti01 on February 23, 2005, 06:24:30 PM
Quote

Thanks, Ashanti, for responding.  Your point about Ella being accepted & Alix is is very interesting. I'm not so sure about the jealousy because of her relationship with Nicholas - if anything, surely, she should have been grateful for that :-/ But, yes, perhaps did not like being helped; as you say, maybe she took it as an attack...


The reason I think she may have seen Ella's offer to help as an attack is because I have done that several times. When I'm being offered help to do things better or learn how to do something, I indirectly took it on as a attack on me saying how I was not good enough to do something. Alix from what I read was very defensive and seemed to have turned down several offers from other woman in thier circle to ease her transition from financee to Empress.

That is what I think, but I could be wrong. Alexandra is such a enginma to me. Just when I think I have her figured out, I find that I'm more off than ever.
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: bluetoria on February 23, 2005, 06:31:04 PM
Quote

The reason I think she may have seen Ella's offer to help as an attack is because I have done that several times. When I'm being offered help to do things better or learn how to do something, I indirectly took it on as a attack on me saying how I was not good enough to do something. Alix from what I read was very defensive and seemed to have turned down several offers from other woman in thier circle to ease her transition from financee to Empress.

That is what I think, but I could be wrong. Alexandra is such a enginma to me. Just when I think I have her figured out, I find that I'm more off than ever.


I empathise! They ARE enigmas, all of them! And that is why they are so fascinating. (Apart from the inspiration of their courage, spirituality  etc.) It seems to me that in understanding them, we learn to understand all our lives & those of the people around us...well, that's how it seems to me :)


Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: Sarai on February 24, 2005, 01:51:44 PM
This is an interesting thread about the sisters' relationship. As there were 8 years between them, I think that growing up Alix may very well have seen in her sister an authority figure or even a mother figure. Ella herself mentions this in a letter in "A Lifelong Passion," where she acknowledges hearing rumors that she was jealous of Alix being Empress, since she was just her little sister, and Ella basically writes that those allegations are ridiculous and that she was never jealous of her sister. She also writes that, on the contrary, because of their difference in ages, she always considered Alix almost like her child as well as her sister.

Once Alix was Empress, it seems that Ella definitely respected her position and was eager to be in her good graces. Ella was actually said to have been quite ambitious, probably due in part to the influence of her husband Serge. The couple were enthusiastic about having Alix marry Nicky, and they greatly encouraged their relationship. No doubt the thought of having her sister as Empress, and all the attending benefits, would have appealed greatly to Ella. Nicky confided a great deal in his "aunt Ella" during his courtship, and she was ultimately the one who convinced Alix to marry him by calming her fears of converting. I have also read that there was a time when Ella and Serge felt their influence on the young couple was waning, and it was at this time that they played into Nicholas's anti-Semitism by recommending to him an anti-Semitic book that Nicholas liked very much and commended them for, which I believe was called "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion." Some claim they did this deliberately to play into the Tsar's fears and natural aversion to the Jews, and thus gain favour with and influence him again.

Overall, I think Alix and Ella had a generally close relationship throughout their lives, and this turned sour at the end, when Ella was vocally opposed to Alexandra's dealings with Rasputin. The last time they saw each other they left on a sour note. However, I remember that Ella sent her sister treats such as chocolate and coffee when she was imprisoned in Tobolsk, and Alix gladly accepted the gift, so perhaps they didn't hold a grudge against each other for too long.
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: bluetoria on February 24, 2005, 01:51:48 PM
Quote
That's so interesting, I didn't know any of this! Bluetoria, do you also think that Alix's differences with Ella centered mainly around religion? Perhaps the two sisters felt a form of competitiveness in this area if no other?


I've found one of the letters which I mentioned. It is from April 1909 & Ella is responding to all Nicky's arguments (or rather Alix's arguments about her Order.)
Firstly Alix (with supreme irony considering how easily she was influenced by Rasputin & Philippe) accuses Ella of being too easily swayed by her priest (Mitrophan) & of being 'carried away' by a spur of the moment whim. Ella replies that she has been considering this for years -even since childhood - & that she only discussed her decision with Mitrophan after discussion with many other priests.
Alix then as good as accuses her of being too wilful! (Could Ella win??) To which Ella replies she has placed herself under the guidance of elders.
Then Ella writes:
"I fear you think I am proud & self-satisfied, that I interiorly puff myself up with satisfaction at creating something grand. Oh, I wish you knew me better - I know Alix imagines I allow people to call me a Saint - she said so to my Countess O. I - good gracious - what am I, no better, & probably worse than others. If people have said foolish & exaggerated things is it my fault, but they don't say it to my face, they know I hate flattery as a dangerous poison. I can't help it if people love me, but then I love them and they must feel it."
Poor Ella...she ends with endless humble apologies:
"I will be so grateful for your advice & remarks.  Forgive me, both of you. I know and feel alas that I worry you & perhaps you don't quite understand me, pleaseforgive and be patients with me, forgive my mistakes, forgive my living differently than you would have wished, forgive me that I can't often come and see you because of my duties here. Simply with your good hearts forgive, and with your large Christian souls pray for me and my work."
There are several other similar letters.  
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: Angie_H on February 26, 2005, 08:13:46 PM
I really don't see Ella being jealous of Alix being an Empress. If Ella had wanted to be an Empress she could have married Wilhelm of Prussia. But I don't think Ella was the type to marry to get to a "higher" position(Serge was way down the line for the throne)
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: leanora on February 27, 2005, 02:58:26 PM
Quote
I really don't see Ella being jealous of Alix being an Empress. If Ella had wanted to be an Empress she could have married Wilhelm of Prussia. But I don't think Ella was the type to marry to get to a "higher" position(Serge was way down the line for the throne)


Hmmmmmm, Do you really think Ella marry Serge by love? Serge was said at this time to be rude and haugthy... I am not sure a woman ( who doesn't know him a lot) will marry such a man by love....What thing push her to take this decision? nobody knows
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: bluetoria on February 27, 2005, 05:30:00 PM
Quote

Hmmmmmm, Do you really think Ella marry Serge by love? Serge was said at this time to be rude and haugthy... I am not sure a woman ( who doesn't know him a lot) will marry such a man by love....What thing push her to take this decision? nobody knows


She DID write to QV, "Do you not think I might do him some good..."
I think she loved him, too, but was also wound up in the general Darmstadt excitement of Victoria's impending wedding & was perhaps 'swept away'. She was VERY young....
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: griffh on February 27, 2005, 07:13:53 PM
Bluetoria have you ever read the book by Anthony Lampton, "Elizabeth and Alexandra"?  

I am not sure that the book is much more than an historic novel in the end but I suppose it is based on some facts.  Lampton acknowledges the help of several titled people including Princess Paul of Yugoslavia, the Archduchess Ferdinand of Austria, and Prince Alexander Romanoff for their help in writing the book.  I have not read too much of it but it seems rather interesting.  

Lampton chronicles Ella's close friendship with Zenaïde Youssoupoff as someone who helped smooth over the harsh treatment that Ella often received from Serge.  Lampton also talks about some kind of strange involvement with some shadowy man who wrote her anonymous letters and was opposed to Serge's anti-Semitic practices.  I was so shocked that Serge was so like Hitler.  When he became Governor-General of Moscow he banished all the Jewish population.  He was such a tormented man.  I often wondered if Ella life of service was a quiet apology for Serge’s cruelty.  The book says that in spite of his anti-Semitism he used Jewish youth for his pleasure.  So you can see that the book is pretty wild in its accusations, though the expulsion of Jews is accurate I believe.  

Lampton also says that Ella was at one time drawn to John of Tobolsk but that he was too rough and left her unimpressed or something like that.  I really haven’t read too much more but will try to finish the book to see how he handles Ella’s relationship with Alix.  I have always had the impression the Ella was much closer to Victoria and that they shared similar political views, but I can’t tell you where on earth I got that idea.  

Remember too that Ella was capable of being very cold and unfeeling even toward children as the GD Marie Pavlovna the younger points out.  And she did go through a phase after she was married of being something of a clothes horse and changing her gowns and jewel twice during parties so that she could wear all her pretty things and show them off.  Ella grew up a lot after Serge was blown to pieces.  I am sure that Ella could be very scary in those days before 1905 and before her life experiences soften and elevated her character, though she was always exquisite and refined.   Queen Marie of Romania speaks about the delicate beauty of Ella and said that she moved with such grace that it could move one to tears.  

The other thing that is interesting is this problem of older sisters being relegated to a secondary position by younger sisters who their ruler.  One of the many objections that Queen Victoria had against Alix marrying Nicky was this very problem.  She stated in a letter that such a situation had often ruined family relations.    
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: bluetoria on February 27, 2005, 07:17:12 PM
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sorry Griff!
I hate, loathe, detest that book. I think it the most appalling book ever written!
SORRY Griff...but don't believe a word of it!
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: bluetoria on February 27, 2005, 07:23:56 PM
Sorry Griff...I can't tell you how much I hate that book! But tomorrow (because it's very late here now) I'll read what you wrote more dispassionately, if that's okay...and answer less hysterically! ;)
Good night!
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: griffh on February 28, 2005, 05:23:53 PM
Bluetoria, I feel just like you do.  I tried to continue reading it last night but I had to stop.  griff
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: bluetoria on February 28, 2005, 05:28:17 PM
Oh Griff, I'm sorry...I promised I would explain myself & I forgot...sorry :-[
I find it hard to write about that book without becoming extremely angry...as I wrote on another thread it is the ONLY book I have ever readwhich I literally tore into tiny shreds in anger. I hated the stereo-typical portrayal of Serge as some kind of Gothic sadist, whipping everyone. I thought the author seemed to be merely exploiting his own sexual fantasies & it disgusted me.
I hated, still more, the pathetic portrayal of Ella as a nervous & impatient but passive creature who spent her whole life being annoyed by everyone. I thought it was absoluely disgusting the whole book!
So I'm glad you agree ;)
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: griffh on March 01, 2005, 05:28:16 PM
You know Bluetoria I think that from what I have read of your contributions in threads that we have shared ideas in and other threads I have read where you have contributed a perspective, I would say that you have an inner sense of Alix that is extremely well balanced and very fair and the same with Ella.  You don't tend to idealize either woman but you always take us to a place where we can see the motivation of a  loving mother and wife.  I think it is only natural for individuals of integrity like yourself to call out a protest when something is not right.  

I make so many mistakes, as you know from the threads that we share (ie Queen Mary's christening the wrong ocean liner with the wrong accent, not to mention my flubs with Rasputin knife wounds, etc.) that I don't mind strong responses as I learn to be more disciplined and careful.

You know the thing about Lampston is that he seems less interested in really describing the complexity of the people he is writing about than he is in describing the beautiful objects that surrounded them.  I think he was probably mislead by a great deal of "high gossip."  I do hope that I am not being too uncharitable in terms of Mr. Lampston's contribution.    

Hey Bluetoria guess what?  I took your advise and started a thread inquiring about the Princess in my family and someone named Bear has directed me to a website where I can try to find out which Galitizin married my Aunty's grandfather's first wife.  

You know I was pondering how I wrote about how frieghtened I have always been of this fascinating family that I am a part of, and I have described some rather harsh moments but I truely love and respect all these amazing individuals whether or not I was treated as something more than a nameless shadow.  
 
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: bluetoria on March 01, 2005, 05:50:51 PM
Quote
 I think it is only natural for individuals of integrity like yourself to call out a protest when something is not right.  

I make so many mistakes, as you know from the threads that we share (ie Queen Mary's christening the wrong ocean liner with the wrong accent, not to mention my flubs with Rasputin knife wounds, etc.) that I don't mind strong responses as I learn to be more disciplined and careful.

Hey Bluetoria guess what?  I took your advise and started a thread inquiring about the Princess in my family and someone named Bear has directed me to a website where I can try to find out which Galitizin married my Aunty's grandfather's first wife.  

You know I was pondering how I wrote about how frieghtened I have always been of this fascinating family that I am a part of, and I have described some rather harsh moments but I truely love and respect all these amazing individuals whether or not I was treated as something more than a nameless shadow.  
  


Griff  :) Thank you for your very kind words...I'm afraid I'm very often wrong about things! As for your mistakes...EVERYONE makes mistakes. There's a great quotation but I forget who by, "The person who admits his mistake is really saying that he is wiser today than he was yesterday."  ;)
I really did, as I think I made clear  :) feel SO strongly about that book because I felt it totally misrepresented Ella, whom I admire as a person and revere deeply as a saint.
I'm glad you're pursuing your family history (please keep sharing it with us!) I never doubted for a moment that you loved them...and as for being a nameless shadow I'm sure you are FAR MORE than that.
(I've felt like that too sometimes  ;)...but you know (from what you wrote on another thread) that 'every hair on your head has been counted', you are worth more 'than hundreds of sparrows' of which not one if lost 'without your Heavenly Father's consent' and you have a soul that cost the blood of a God. So you're hardly a nameless shadow!
I didn't mean that to sermonize, it's just what I like to think of when I feel as you described  :)
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: GD Alexandra on March 15, 2005, 01:08:57 PM
I know it's out of topic but I'm just getting to know these sisters, Do Alix & Ella were twins?  ???I mean they are so similar and if they aren't which one is the oldest?  ???I beleive they had other sisters in which order do they were born? ??? :-/
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: bluetoria on March 15, 2005, 01:23:27 PM
Hello, Alexanastasia!  :)
No they were not twins.
Victoria was their eldest sister (born in 1863)
Then Ella (born 1864)
Then Irene (born 1866)
Then Alix (born 1872)
and May (born 1874 & died in 1878.)

There is a lot more information about them under the 'Hesse-Darmstadts' & on the 'Princesses of Hesse' thread.  :)
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: GD Alexandra on March 15, 2005, 03:42:58 PM
Thanks a lot for that info  :D I'll check those files.
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: bluetoria on March 15, 2005, 03:51:01 PM
My pleasure  :) & yes, do...there is so much information there about each of them individually, too!
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: Alexandra on March 26, 2005, 10:22:09 PM
This is an excellent thread, and a comparable one might be to consider the sisters' relationship with their 'big' sister, Victoria ... grandmother of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh... .
I revere both Alexandra and Elizabeth as Saints, and pray to them as such ... sometimes, the advice I get on a particular issue is, 'Talk to my sister about that - she knows more about it than I do.' In life, however, my heart goes out to them both, because it must have been so hard for Ella to watch Alix in the toils of such an individual as Rasputin, and to be able to do nothing at all to warn her of the very real dangers of such an association. Families often do rupture along just such lines: one member thinks well of someone whom another member sees as the next thing to human refuse, and when religion is so important as it was to these sisters, that the difference should have come about over one who represented himself along religious lines makes it all the more sad. I have experienced something like this, although indirectly, and it is terrible for the people involved. I do not think that Ella and Alix eve stopped loving one another, and the fact that they continued to correspond after 1917 speaks well for them both.
A propos again of Mouchanow, if I may: it was Bob who told me, many months ago, that this book is a fake. But I do not know the rest of the story! If someone does, will you please tell us?
I believe that the  'Elizaveta' who signed the petition for clemency to Dmitri Pavlovich was the widow of 'KR,' Grand Duke Konstantine.
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: hikaru on July 09, 2005, 11:36:42 AM
I think that we could understand something about Alexandra's relationship with her relatives etc by analizing her notebook "Easter Eggs for the family and friends" where she did write annually what eggs and eggs of what price she gave to her relatives and friends ( the price of the eggs are quite different)
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: anna on July 09, 2005, 04:37:52 PM
hikaru, I've never heard of such a notebook. Are there excerpts to be found is some book?

Anna


Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: NAAOTMA on July 09, 2005, 07:28:57 PM
Yes, Hikaru, please do tell us more about the Easter Egg book! And many thanks to all for such a fascinating thread.  
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: hikaru on July 10, 2005, 11:39:55 AM
This wonderful book ( it is very beautiful note book ) is in the Armoury ( but it is not at exposition).
In the album "The world of Faberge" issued by Moscow Kremlin there is a photo of the cover of the book as well as the photo of some pages for 1906 and 1902 years.
The notebook contains names drawings and price of the eggs.
This book contains data from 1897 till 1906 years. For ten years Alexandra made drawings in her notebook of the Easter presents given by her to members of her family , relatives , friends and those closest to her at the court. The presents consists of miniature pendants and charms in the forms of Eeaster Eggs. The notebook is bound in grey blue leather with gold-tipped pages. On the reverse of the fly-leaf is the following inscription in ink written by the owner of the notebook: " Easter eggs for the family  and friends". There are from twenty to thirty drawings on each sheet, They consist of fairly schematic sketches which indicate only the colour of the object and a very approximate description of its ornament. By each sketch Alex has written in ink , mostly in Latin script , the name of the person for whom the gift was intende and a note of the price roubles. Judging by the drawings in the notebook , the Empress gave seventy or eighty such Easter presents each year.
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: anna on July 10, 2005, 01:51:37 PM
Thank you Hikaru.
I didn't realise it was the same notebook mentioned in "The Jewel Album of Tsar Nicholas II" by Solodkoff.
This wonderful book contains the notebook of Nicholas  in which he recorded and illustrated his jewellery gifts.
Very touching are the gifts from Alix upon the occasion of his childrens birth.
So  both the notebooks are now in the Oruzheinaya Palata ( the Armoury Museum). A pity that they are not exposed.

Anna
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: hikaru on July 10, 2005, 01:57:27 PM
Yes , it is a pitty,
It would be wonderful if there will be a room for Faberge pieces, but there is not such room yet.
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: hikaru on July 27, 2005, 11:03:26 PM
I have one question: Why Ella called Alix Pelly in her letters  before official engagement?.
I know that it was secret name for  Alix, but why Pelly?
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: Bsquared on August 07, 2005, 06:45:59 PM
I feel that Ella could have been a great help to Alix, and for many reasons was not/unable:
1.) She lived in Moscow with Serge-they did not see each other very much
2.) Lots of intriguing in society circles about their relationship from the time Alix arrived in Russia
3.) Ella did not want to be seen as coming between her husband and mother-in-law
4.) Ella's sisterhood became her priority
5.) Alix was very proud and parinoid and did not like her sister questioning who she spent time with or sought advice from
6.) Ella, who did not have children of her own, could not understand the Rasputin influence and Alix's anguish over Alexei's hemophilia
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: Speedycat on August 07, 2005, 07:47:48 PM
Quote
I have one question: Why Ella called Alix Pelly in her letters  before official engagement?.
I know that it was secret name for  Alix, but why Pelly?



The engagement, or plans of it, were not favored by Queen Victoria and several other members of the extended family.  So Ella wrote in a sort of code to transmit messages between Alix and Nicky.  She even reversed the genders in these messages.
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: hikaru on August 07, 2005, 10:17:54 PM
I know it. But why Pelly. What Pelly means?
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: bluetoria on August 08, 2005, 03:54:59 AM
I wonder if they just picked any name - there was a Captain Pelly involved in the Royal Service...I wonder if it was anything to do with him??
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: Antonio_P.Caballer on August 09, 2005, 10:15:18 PM
Quote

I've found one of the letters which I mentioned. It is from April 1909 & Ella is responding to all Nicky's arguments (..... )
Poor Ella...she ends with endless humble apologies:
"I will be so grateful for your advice & remarks.  Forgive me, both of you. I know and feel alas that I worry you & perhaps you don't quite understand me, pleaseforgive and be patients with me, forgive my mistakes, forgive my living differently than you would have wished, forgive me that I can't often come and see you because of my duties here. Simply with your good hearts forgive, and with your large Christian souls pray for me and my work."
There are several other similar letters.  


Hello Bluetoria, :)

Well, IMHO this endless list of apologies from Ella cannot really be any proof of her humility. I mean we would need to be able to look into her soul to be sure of her feelings when she wrote those words. The recipient of the letter, especially in strained circumstances, could take it in a sarcastic way: "forgive my being so perfect and so loved by everybody", and just think Ella was playing the victim.

Hope you understand what i mean....

Ella was such a complex character.


Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: bluetoria on August 10, 2005, 05:45:40 AM
Hi, Antonio  :)

Hmmm...Well, yes it's true we cannot look into her soul, or know the reaction of the recipient. As I understand it, though, I would think it was a very humble & polite way of writing, "I have to do this...please understand me, or at least bear with me." Judging by Ella's whole way of life, I cannot see that she had any ulterior motive in writing it. She felt that her 'call' was from God, and therefore she had to follow it. At the same time, she was facing all kinds of criticism from her family....They just, imo, weren't 'deep' enough to reach her.  

I think she was in some ways a 'complex character' but in other ways, she was direct and simple and it was the simplicity of her character that so baffled the more 'sophisticated' people.  
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: Antonio_P.Caballer on August 10, 2005, 06:47:48 PM
Hi Bluetoria :)!

Thanks for your answer.

Of course, i did not tried by any way to judge Ella´s ulterior intentions when writting that letter. What i wanted to say is that i could understand if Alexandra were not contented with that endless list of apologies from her sister.

Regards,

Antonio.
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: Finelly on August 10, 2005, 07:17:07 PM
Another perspective:

Alix was awkward, extremely shy, lacked social grace, had more difficulty learning Russian than her sister, and was fundamentally unprepared for life in Russia as Tsarina.  She arrived, became a bride, and became Tsarina so quickly that there was no time to adjust before assuming her duties.  Her social interactions were so awkward that she was made fun of.

Her sister, on the other hand, was, by all accounts, perfect.  She was gorgeous and never looked out of place.  She was graceful, articulate, much admired, and charming.  She seemed to be able to everything well........and everyone loved her.  Everyone.  She could do not wrong.

If I was Alexandra, I would have harbored some resentment.  Perhaps it was subconscious at first, but even so, there would have come a time when it would have begun to come to the surface.  Given Alexandra's personality, that resentment had to have contributed to what happened next. If Ella began to try to coach or counsel her, or disagree with her in any waym no matter how loving, it could have been taken as an affront.

Can you see how, if Ella changed into a saintly, super-religious woman who swore off all of the luxuries that Alexandra had, this would have REALLY begun to be annoying.  Now, even Ella's religiosity is better than Alexandra's!  (in a manner of speaking, of course).   Why, not only do the nobles love her, but now the common people love her.  And Alexandra knew how the common people hated HER.......

Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: Antonio_P.Caballer on August 10, 2005, 08:23:10 PM
Quote
Another perspective:

Alix was awkward, extremely shy, lacked social grace, had more difficulty learning Russian than her sister, and was fundamentally unprepared for life in Russia as Tsarina.  She arrived, became a bride, and became Tsarina so quickly that there was no time to adjust before assuming her duties.  Her social interactions were so awkward that she was made fun of.

Her sister, on the other hand, was, by all accounts, perfect.  She was gorgeous and never looked out of place.  She was graceful, articulate, much admired, and charming.  She seemed to be able to everything well........and everyone loved her.  Everyone.  She could do not wrong.

If I was Alexandra, I would have harbored some resentment.  Perhaps it was subconscious at first, but even so, there would have come a time when it would have begun to come to the surface.  Given Alexandra's personality, that resentment had to have contributed to what happened next. If Ella began to try to coach or counsel her, or disagree with her in any waym no matter how loving, it could have been taken as an affront.

Can you see how, if Ella changed into a saintly, super-religious woman who swore off all of the luxuries that Alexandra had, this would have REALLY begun to be annoying.  Now, even Ella's religiosity is better than Alexandra's!  (in a manner of speaking, of course).   Why, not only do the nobles love her, but now the common people love her.  And Alexandra knew how the common people hated HER.......



Hi Finelly, :)

I think Alexandra could have hardly envied Ella in a concious way. Apart from her popularity, what did Ella have that her sister could envy? Alexandra had a husband to love and be loved in return, and her children.
Ella had little more than a huge empty palace. IMO, Ella was so alone and could only look for happiness and peace in her own inner life(maybe that´s the reason why she founded the Martha and Mary convent and tried to fill in her days helping the poor in Moscow).

Now, if Ella knew of Alexey´s illness and how Rasputin would really heal him, how couldn´t she understand why her sister needed him?

About being popular between the common russian people, i think Alexandra kept thinking to the very last day of her life that the russian people still loved the Tsar and his family.

Really Ella left behind her former luxurious lifestyle. Yet her study at the convent cannot be called ascetic.... :P
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: Ssyentz on August 10, 2005, 08:57:54 PM
Two very complex women.  

I often think that if Alix could have had as much contact with their mother as Ella did, she would have been so much more confident.  Some say she was so imperious that she shunned the public.  In so many instances, however, she showed her great timidity at being in public.  In a rather twisted way, her strength was nourished by those who needed her...that is to say that her family became so dependent on her that she had to become a pillar.  

Ella, on the other hand, seemed much more able to adapt to her circumstances in a positive manner.  Her many attempts to warn Alix and Nicky had to be taken as affronts by Alix in that she was so very, very sure that Rasputin was her son’s salvation.  In Alix’ skewed perception, any discussion of Rasputin being less that an angel of mercy was almost treasonous.   While Ella was convinced that the public view of Rasputin was undermining the monarchy and thus felt compelled to warn her sister, Alix received any such thought as effrontery.  

The contrast between these two is almost painful.  Their rôles in respect to their husbands contrasted so, yet each was irrevocably attached to her spouse.  While Ella adapted, however, Alix pushed.  Where Ella fell into line, Alix drew her own boundaries.  Both women were so full of passion that, under other circumstances, they would probably been able to share their adulthoods happily together.  As it turned out, however, the one who could live without her husband did.  The other died with hers.
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: Finelly on August 11, 2005, 12:26:46 AM
I think Alexandra could have hardly envied Ella in a concious way. Apart from her popularity, what did Ella have that her sister could envy? Alexandra had a husband to love and be loved in return, and her children.
Ella had little more than a huge empty palace. IMO, Ella was so alone and could only look for happiness and peace in her own inner life(maybe that´s the reason why she founded the Martha and Mary convent and tried to fill in her days helping the poor in Moscow).


True, and we as objective observers can see that.  But you know how siblings are.  Many times they think the other one is luckier, even though they are simply different.
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: bluetoria on August 11, 2005, 04:41:55 AM
Quote
 As it turned out, however, the one who could live without her husband, did.  The other died with hers.


What a wonderful line! It makes me wonder what Alix would have done had she been widowed? Probably shewould have completely withdrawn like Queen Victoria after Albert's death.  :(

It does seem very likely that the circumstances and their different social status severely strained their relationship. To Ella, I think, Alix remained always a little sister.
To Alix, having become Empress, the situation had greatly changed. I think perhaps she struggled to come to terms with the fact that she was always the little sister, and yet she was socially superior to Ella. Being unable to really deal with this situation, Alix often behaved in a high-handed manner towards Ella - perhaps unintentionally.

Considering how very close the Hessian children were to one another, and particularly after the death of their mother, it is, I think, so sad that Ella & Alix - who doubtlessly loved one another - were torn apart by their different understanding of their world.
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: dp5486 on January 23, 2006, 12:46:41 PM
Does anybody know of the relationship between Alexandra and her sisters Irene of Prussia and Victoria of Battenberg. Were they close and visit each other often? I know that the war had put Alexandra and Ella against their sisters and brother. Did this strain their relationship in any way?

Thanks!
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: lovy on January 23, 2006, 09:18:16 PM
I really don't know about that one, dp5486.
    I don't recall of Alexandra keeping contact with her sisters Victoria and Irene. She kept contact with Elizabeth, of course, but in 1916, Elizabth visited Alexandra to talk to her about Rasputin, which ended tragically. That was their last meeting and they argued.
    I also don't recall much contact with her brother, Ernest.
    Sorry if I wasn't much help.

Love,
Lovy.  :D
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: Georgiy on January 23, 2006, 09:36:00 PM
There's photos of I think Irene visiting them (or them her?) before WW1. Ella is already a nun in those photos. Also photos of them visiting with Ernie in Germany.

The photos in Jewel Album of TSar Nicholas were taken by Irene on her visits, and also ones sent to her from the Empress.
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: Madal on August 16, 2006, 01:40:16 PM
What Irene and Victoria think about Rasputin? I read that Alix and Ella argued. Did they agree with Ella or with Alix
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: darius on August 16, 2006, 02:18:09 PM
I think they were all relatively close - Victoria and her family certainly visited the Empress quite regularly and was I believe in Russia at the outbreak of war. I have seen many pics of the sisters together at various times.
She was also close to Ernie as well as they were the children closest in age. Remember Ernie´s daughter died while staying with Alix at Spala.
The war certainly reduced contact - however I´m sure some was maintained through relatives in neutral countries.
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: Eddie_uk on August 17, 2006, 03:40:08 AM
I believe Alexandra was close to her sisters Victoria and especially Irene was was apparently the most affected by Alixs death. They wrote often to each other, Irene destroyed her letters in 1918. I don't have the book to hand but Victorias feelings on Alixs murder are documented.
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: David_Newell on August 17, 2006, 10:28:16 AM
They were close they kept in contact, Victoria Milford Haven was in St Petersburg in 1914
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: Eddie_uk on August 17, 2006, 10:59:44 AM
They were close they kept in contact, Victoria Milford Haven was in St Petersburg in 1914

Yes, she left her jewels their and never got them back!  :( disgraceful!!
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: Emyrna on September 04, 2006, 09:09:36 PM
Hi, I"m just curious.  I know that Alexandra and her sister Ella were cannonized as saints in the Orthodox Church.  During their lives they held different opinions regarding Rasputin.  To Alexandra, Rasputin was a miracle worker, a man of God, to Ella he was evil.  Now if you were looking for their guidance regarding Rasputin, who would you go to??
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: otmafan on September 04, 2006, 11:18:08 PM
Well, remember both Alix and Ella were coming at the situation from two completely different angles. Alix believed in Rasputin's healing powers for her son Alexei, while Ella was looking at the political aspects. I don't think either of them were wrong in their beliefs. While I know that Alix's heart was in the right place regarding Alexei, I think she was wrong in getting Rasputin too mixed up in politics. Ella was also right in her and her family's concern about Rasputin's influence, however, by the time she herself actually talked to Alix, the damage to Russia was done.
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: imperial angel on September 05, 2006, 10:11:49 AM
Ella was right about him in the political sense; he was damaging the prestige of the Romanov dynasty, one of the factors that led to the revolution. She was also right about him in the personal sense; his life was unsavoury. She saw him as evil, and she was a good woman, who was right in her views. At the same time, Alexandra might have known these things at the back of her head, but never admitted them. She did need Rasputin, he helped her son's health, amd also took much stress off her. Without him, these would have been much more difficult for Alexandra than there were. But with him, there were things that were bad as Ella knew. It is perhaps easiest to see that it was a quandry, and both women had reasons to act and think the way they did.
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: Annie on September 05, 2006, 05:21:46 PM
I had thought about that too, that with Ella being a nun, didn't it mean anything to Alexandra that she thought Rasputin evil? It apparently didn't, and they fell out over it, arguing the last time they ever saw each other. I wonder if Alix thought Ella an inferior nun for not recognizing his healing powers and what a great holy man he was! It's obvious she was totally devoted to Rasputin and believed in him fully and what Ella said only angered her.
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: imperial angel on September 06, 2006, 08:14:12 AM
Alexandra really needed Rasputin, and she put that above the rumours of his life outside the palace, which she may have regarded as just rumours. She heard things though, whether she believed them or not is hard to say. It seems she always dismissed them in light of how much she needed Rasputin. To her there was no other choice, no matter what Ella a good, well intentioned woman said. Alexandra herself had the best intentions as well; she didn't want to see, or coudn't see the more negative side of Rasputin.
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: gem_10 on May 11, 2010, 11:05:33 PM
I was reading the book "Confessions of the Czarina" by Catherine Radziwill and came across this passage:

"[Alexandra] dearly loved her two sisters, the Princess Victoria of Battenberg and the Princess Irene of Prussia, far more, indeed, than she did her other one, the Grand-Duchess Elisabeth, whom she considered more or less as a rival and whom in the secret of her heart she could not forgive for having won in Russia a popularity which had always been denied to her own self."

Is it true that Alix felt some sort of a 'rivalry' to her sister Ella? I know they were close when they were young but when they lived in Russia, things certainly changed between the two of them.

Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: amartin71718 on May 11, 2010, 11:09:12 PM
I personally wouldn't trust the Radziwill accounts because she mainly spread gossip and is therefore not a reliable source. I would check with some other books before drawing conclusions about the relationship between Alexandra and her sisters, particularly Ella.
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: gem_10 on May 12, 2010, 01:52:22 AM
Thank you for your kind reply Marty. I was just a little disturbed after reading it, although I know for certain that the two sisters undoubtedly loved each other. ANd i don't think Alix felt any sort of rivalry with Ella.  :)
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: Carolath Habsburg on May 12, 2010, 07:49:25 AM
but accorind some relievable post in this forum, she had some kind of "serious arge" with Ella in some period, i dont remember which one but i think in the "Rasputin" one.
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: Grand Duchess Valeria on May 23, 2010, 01:09:37 PM
Sorry for the interruption but when actually was the last time Alix and Ella saw each other? Is there a date and a place? Thanks in advance!
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: matushka on May 23, 2010, 01:45:09 PM
The date and the place are 1 December 1916, Tsarskoe Selo. Ella came from Moscow the day before. THe 2 sisters had a difficult conversation about Rasputin and the general situation. Their last contact was some congratulations of Elisaveta Feodorovna for Easter 1918, if I am not wrong.
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: Grand Duchess Valeria on May 24, 2010, 03:49:27 AM
Thanks a lot! So they didn't see each other for nearly two years till their death. Sad. Can't imagine it with my sister.
Title: Re: Alix & Ella & the Hessian Siblings
Post by: nena on May 24, 2010, 04:03:30 AM
The date and the place are 1 December 1916, Tsarskoe Selo. Ella came from Moscow the day before. THe 2 sisters had a difficult conversation about Rasputin and the general situation. Their last contact was some congratulations of Elisaveta Feodorovna for Easter 1918, if I am not wrong.

Thanks for the date - I tried to figure it out, but with no success.

Ella : " Perhaps it would have been better if I had not come ''
Alix : (shortly and bitterly) ''Yes''.

And then they parted coldly.Their last farewell was unfair to their love that sisters shared from early childhood. Later, Ella crying said : '' She threw me out like a dog! ..Poor Nicky..Poor Russia ''. Ella wanted to open sisters' eyes, but Alix was persuaded in her opinions and very stubborn.