Alexander Palace Forum

Discussions about the Imperial Family and European Royalty => Anastasia Nicholaievna => Topic started by: Rodney_G. on May 27, 2016, 07:31:23 PM

Title: Countess Anastasia?
Post by: Rodney_G. on May 27, 2016, 07:31:23 PM
Well, I must say that's a new one on me. "Countess" Anastasia, that is. That's how Anastasia was referred to in a book I'm just finishing. It's The Confidence Game and is about , well, confidence games. As in frauds, Ponzi schemes, cons, stings. The psychology, methods , and makeup of con artists and their victims.

Anastasia was mentioned  briefly in a section on the element of emotions, especially sympathy, in victims of a con, or in her case, impostures. Oddly, in the same sentence, she was both Countess Anastasia (definitely a first) and a Russian princess (closer, but not really).
"Or recall the many (!!!) Countesses Anastasia who litter history, playing on the global love and fascination with the young Russian princess whose body was never discovered when the rest of the Romanov family perished.The good story that raises your emotion..."

I can't say I lose any sleep over this carelessness in the Anastasia story now, but switching titles mid-sentence is a bit much. Also, the index has Countess Anastasia. Shaky.
The book itself is decent on the subject. The author? a youngish woman, yes, of apparently Russian descent: Maria Konnikova.

Edit. Maria K.  is indeed Russian-born and still writes in Russian.
Title: Re: Countess Anastasia?
Post by: GDSophie on May 28, 2016, 05:33:16 AM
I've never seen anywhere that Anastasia was also a countess. The only Countess Anastasia I have heard of is Countess Anastasia Hendrikova, one of Alexandra's lady-in-waiting who died in Perm in 1918.
Title: Re: Countess Anastasia?
Post by: GDSophie on May 28, 2016, 05:34:47 AM
But my brain is reading it as 'The many Countess Anastasia's who litter history...' not 'Countesses Anastasia'. Strange.
Title: Re: Countess Anastasia?
Post by: Превед on May 28, 2016, 06:31:13 AM
I agree it's most likely a mistake or pure fantasy, but to set the record straight Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolayevna was, as a maline-line Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov, by the law of the Holy Roman Empire also Duchess of Holstein, Stormarn, Dithmarschen, Oldenburg and Delmenhorst. All these North German fiefs had originally been counties (except Dithmarschen, which was a lordship, alternatively a free yeoman republic, if you contest the Holsatian Dukes' conquest!), so in theory dynasts, and especially junior dynasts, could use the comital title. For practical pruposes I can imagine Romanovs travelling incognito as Countess of Oldenburg, Stormarn etc.

Most of them (except Delmenhorst) figured in the Emperor's full title (Герцог Шлезвиг-Голстинский, Сторнмарнский, Дитмарский и Ольденбургский) together with Duke of Schleswig, which never had been a county, but the Kings of Denmark had used Countess of Schleswig as a title for morganatic spouses. There are also comital families called (von) Holstein not related to the Oldenburgs / Holstein-Gottorps both in Denmark and in Germany. As you may know Anastasia's possible second cousin once removed, Princess Thyra's alleged illegitimate daughter Marie Jørgensen, was married to Frode Pløyen-Holstein (or more correctly: Pløyen von Holstein), a distant relative of the Counts Holstein of Ledreborg. They were tenants not only of a Danish prime minister's Nazi nephew, but also of his lesbian cousin, who co-habited with a Von Holstein! See this post for details. (

More trivia: The original, medieval Counts of Holstein and Stormarn (hereditary foes of the Kings of Denmark and Dukes of Schleswig) were the Schauenburgers or Schaumburgers, from the County of Schauenburg (later Schaumburg) on the border between Lower Saxony and Hesse. When the male line in Holstein died out in the 15th century, the last Counts' cognatic (female-line) nephew, Christian, Count of Oldenburg and Delmenhorst, inherited Holstein and Stormarn from his uncle and was formally elected / confirmed by the nobility of Holstein. Because he was elected King of Denmark and Duke of Schleswig at the same time, he had to issue the fatal Charter of Ribe, which promised that Schleswig and Holstein would be up eewig ungedeelt....for ever undivided. Thence the legal pretext for the Wars of Schleswig.

Since only Christian of Oldenburg's mother was the daughter of Count of Schauenburg / Schaumburg, Christian I could not claim that title. Instead, when the last Count of Schaumburg died without male-line heirs in the 17th century, most of the County of Schaumburg fell to his mother's family, the Counts of Lippe. A junior Lippe cadet founded the mini state Schaumburg-Lippe, which existed untill 1918.

The dynastic arms of the Coat of Arms of the Russian Empire shows all of these counties:
Left / dexter: Romanov
Right / sinister:
Gold lion on red: Norway
Two blue lions on gold: Schleswig
Silver nettle leaf with red and silver shield: Holstein (originally Schauenburg / Schaumburg)
Silver swan on red: Stormarn
Gold and silver knight on red: Dithmarschen
Overall / inescutcheon:
Two red bars on gold: Oldenburg
Gold cross on blue: Delmenhorst

Title: Re: Countess Anastasia?
Post by: Forum Admin on May 28, 2016, 10:08:42 AM
Perhaps it is just a typo and "Countless" was meant.  Regardless, a Grand Duchess is a Grand Duchess.
Title: Re: Countess Anastasia?
Post by: Rodney_G. on May 30, 2016, 01:06:35 AM
But my brain is reading it as 'The many Countess Anastasia's who litter history...' not 'Countesses Anastasia'. Strange.
The quote i as it appears in the book and I take it as a reference to the severalAnastasia imposters who appeared after 1918. I guess in their number they could be many Countesses Anastasia or Countess  Anastasias.But they were wrong in claiming she was alive, as well as being a countess.