Alexander Palace Forum

Discussions about the Imperial Family and European Royalty => The Hesse-Darmstadts (Hesse and by Rhine) => Topic started by: HRHLaurie1894 on April 27, 2004, 05:19:33 PM

Title: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: HRHLaurie1894 on April 27, 2004, 05:19:33 PM
Where did you find out the date of the little brothers birth???  Was he named and where was he buried???  Would the archived hold such information???  Sorry for all the questions - but this is the first I have heard of a stillborn son.  How different life would have been for little Elizabeth if he had lived - she would have had a playmate and someone else to share her short childhood with.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: NAAOTMA on April 27, 2004, 07:00:53 PM
I have read about that stillborn baby son...will try to remember the name of the book I read about it in...I am thinking that stillborn children are not baptized, hence not given a name as a livebirth child would be...example: when John and Jacqueline Kennedy's stillborn daughter was buried, there was no first name on the tombstone, even though they had picked out the name "Arabella" for the baby before the birth. Melissa K.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: grandduchessella on May 04, 2004, 11:29:57 PM
Found some interesting quotes (one from Ernie the other from Dowager Empress Marie):

Subject:  Grand Duke of Hesse, 10 November 1901
Now that I am calmer I see the absolute impossibility of going on leading a life which was killing her & driving me nearly mad. For to keep up your spirits & a laughing face while ruin is staring you in the eyes & misery is tearing your heart to pieces is a struggle which is fruitless. I only tried for her sake. If I had not loved her so, I would have given it up long ago... My last years have been a living hell to me... You have been a sister to me like there are few—God bless you for all your love.

Subject:  Maria Fyodorovna to Nicholas II, 5 November 1901
Copenhagen, 5th November, 1901.
My dear darling Nicky,
Thank you with all my heart for your dear letter from Skernevitse, which, as always, I was so glad to receive although its contents were so terribly sad. All you told me about Erni and Ducky has been *such a shock* to me that I could not *sleep* the whole night. It is simply awful: how dreadful to think of their future and that of the poor little child! I am also *extremely* sorry for poor Alix, knowing well how dear Erni is to her and how sad and painful in every respect all this must be to her. Yesterday I too had a letter from Aunt Marie, who is in despair, of course, but says that they have misunderstood each other for a long time and divorce was the only solution. But I myself entirely agree with you when you say that even the loss of a dear person is better than the general disgrace of a divorce!
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: grandduchessella on May 05, 2004, 09:54:23 AM
I just thought they were some interesting perspectives on the divorce and, in the case of MF, of someone not directly involved. We've rarely heard of E's feelings on the matter, while much has been said of VM's. That's all.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: bookworm8571 on May 05, 2004, 07:01:35 PM
"I only tried for her sake. If I had not loved her so ..."

Who did he mean by "her?" My guess is his daughter Elizabeth.

And how horrible for Nicholas and his mother to say it would be better if Ernest and Victoria Melita had DIED than to get a divorce.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: bookworm8571 on May 06, 2004, 01:15:54 PM
No, I'm not interested in a "fight," but a debate, yes. I could see the letter referring to Elizabeth as well as to Ducky. The "her" could be ambiguous. It would have made sense for him to love his daughter so much he'd stay in a bad marriage. Nothing I've read about them suggests he was "in love" with Ducky in any romantic sense.

And I can't imagine wishing anyone I love dead instead of divorced. It's just incomprehensible.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: JM on May 06, 2004, 02:05:11 PM
I think it is quite cold to say you would rather have someone dead than have them participate in a divorce.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Louise on May 06, 2004, 02:28:42 PM
Yes it is very cold to wish someone dead than divorced, but we have to put in context the time/era that this divorce took place.

People back then truly believed the teachings of the bible and the churches's beliefs on divorce. One did not simply divorce, and here is the contridication. You could take a lover/mistress and have their children and live a lie of a marriage, but no divorce. Alas, sad but true I fear.

Poor Ducky and Ernie for having been forced into the marriage in the first place.

Louise

Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: JM on May 06, 2004, 02:39:28 PM
I agree Louise, the times were completely different and I'm certain such comments wouldn't be too uncommon. I've read comments like this before and I'm never surprised.

Unfortunately I sometimes don't consider everything when I post. But believe me, I do understand.

Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Ilana on July 12, 2004, 05:58:47 PM
They weren't forced to marry.  Pressured in a certain way, but not forced....
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: grandduchessella on July 13, 2004, 10:09:24 AM
Quote
Grandduchess..don't worry: I also wanted to try it, but....well >:(

Do it like me: Just think: "They were not happy together. What shell I do with a photo of two people who thanked God for their divorce?"  ;D


Hah! That's a good way to look at it Thomas! :D
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Martyn on July 14, 2004, 08:21:11 AM
Grandduchessella, commiserations on not getting the photo - I know how passionate you are about them.
Ilana, you say that they were not forced to marry, simply pressured....I rather think that the kind of pressure that could be exerted by Queen Victoria and the Duchess of Saxe-Coburg is not to be underestimated.
We know that, as a result of Ducky's marriage and Q.Victoria's arrangement of the match, her sister Missy was rushed to the altar with Ferdinand of Rumania depite the strong attachment that she felt for her cousin George (which was reciprocated).  This was largely due to her mother's antipathy to an English marriage and partly to spite Q.Victoria; at no time were Missy's inclinations part of the arrangement.
One might consider this  to be pressure; I don't imagine for one moment that Ernie and Ducky had the slightest say in whether they should marry.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Ilana on July 14, 2004, 04:19:47 PM
Can't agree.  Queen Victoria deeply deplored Ella and Alix's marriages to Russians but had to give way as this was what the girls wanted.  Also, the Queen didn't care much for Henry of Prussia and complained bitterly that Irene had pretty much gotten engaged behind her back and that she had to read it in the newspapers.

Queen Victoria and Princess Alice talked about marriage a great deal in their letters to one another and both agreed that a princess should not  get married for the sake of it, and Alice, in particular wanted her children to marry where they wanted.

Ernie had no particular inclination whatsoever at that point, and was used to listenning to the women in his family.  I really think it was a pressure he could have resisted had he been so inclined.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Martyn on July 16, 2004, 03:50:04 AM
Thomas, what a wonderful photo of Ducky and Ernie - apparently Ducky hated her teeth which is possibly why she always looks a bit miserable in most of her photos.  Their marriage, according to John van der Kiste's biography of Ducky was very much the result of the wishes of Q.Victoria and the Duke of Edinburgh and followed hot on the heels of Missy's union with Ferdinand of Rumania.  As they had both wished very much wished for Missy to marry George, they were extremely keen for Ducky to marry Ernie, despite the wishes of Maria Alexandrovna, Ducky's mother.  The latter, apparently,  hoped that an available Russian Grand Duke might be found for Ducky - maybe one that was not too closely related to her.
I don't honestly think that either Ducky or Ernie stood a chance; their initial attraction, whatever may have caused it, had evidently waned on Ernie's part as this was Ducky's mother's principal argument against the match.
That they both found a measure of personal happiness with other people is a positive result from a situation that caused a lot of grief and heartache at the time; I think that Ducky must have been quite gutsy to contemplate the divorce, as it could have put her beyond the pale forever.  The stigma attached to divorced women at that time, even if they were the innocent party certainly did not affect men in the same way;does anyone think that royal women were exempt from this?
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Ilana on July 17, 2004, 11:46:44 AM
Perhaps we should agree to disagree on this issue.  Anyhow, of course you're right about the stigma of divorce... and royal ladies were never immune to anything of which there was a sniff of scandal.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Olga on July 18, 2004, 04:42:27 AM
Quote
apparently Ducky hated her teeth which is possibly why she always looks a bit miserable in most of her photos.


What was wrong with her teeth?
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Martyn on July 19, 2004, 08:23:51 AM
John van der Kiste has included a photo of Ducky which was taken in the 1920's (I think during her visit to the States - can't quite remember).  In this photo she is absolutely beaming and showing her teeth.  The photo is a grab shot, in direct contrast to the posed formal portraits that comprise most of the known likenesses of Ducky.
Next to the photo he asserts that she hated her teeth but gives no further elucidation on the matter.  Judging from her smile, I can only assume that she was conscious of their size, as they appear even and healthy as far as I can make out.

Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: elisa_1872 on November 10, 2004, 05:26:17 AM
I got a book recently which had in it two rare documents that i thought you might like to see.

One was the menu of the wedding breakfast held at Coburg for the marriage of Ernst Ludwig and Ducky.

" Jeudi, le 19 Apvil 1894. Diner.

Nuitres. Rossolnik clair. Petits pates a la russe. Pains de volaille a la Perigeux. Filetes de soles frits, charon. Selle de mouton a la duchesse. Vol-su-vent a la financiere. Petits aspics de foie gras. Pintades rotis Salade. Peches a la Conde. Glace a la vanille"

Music programme at the state banquet before the wedding.

"Hochzeitsmarch - Sommernachtstraum" Mendelssohn
Jubel Ouverture Weber
Fantasie "Die Walküre" Wagner
Fackeltanz von Ihrer Hoheit der Prinzessin Marie von Sachsen Meiningen
Introduction "Lohengrin" Wagner
Toreador - Rubenstein
Galatea-Walzer von Sr Königliche Hoheit dem Herzog Alfred von Sachsen Coburg und Gotha
Fantasie - Maseagui
Gavotte - Giese
Des Großen Kurfürsten Reitermarsch - Moltke

The book also has several interesting engravings, one of the Coburg wedding, with Queen Victoria embracing Ducky, another of the couple leaving in the morning, another of the choir serenading the royals.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Mike on November 10, 2004, 09:10:25 AM
Quote
" Jeudi, le 19 Apvil 1894. Diner.
Nuitres. Rossolnik clair. Petits pates a la russe.

Interesting: they served a typically Russian soup (that I believe was unlikely to be found at any European court) - obviously as a token of the bride's Russian roots.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: elisa_1872 on November 10, 2004, 01:08:06 PM
Quote
Would that be the book Louisa - Lady-in Waiting? I have it too - heaps of photos. I hadn't seen this engraving of the wedding at Coburg before, but I like it because it tells such a human story: "Granny congratulating her grand-daughter", and grand-son of course.

Elisa, have you discovered Alix in this engraving?


Dear Helen!  :)

It would indeed be this book -  i found it so interesting, so many royal photographs in amongst those of the family of Louisa. I too like the engraving, but like you, i was interested in finding of course Alix in it. Sadly at the moment, i've been peering, and can't quite make her out - i saw a few possibilities - Nicholas is to the left of the engraving, im sure. But as yet i can't find Alix :( Any ideas?
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: jfkhaos on November 24, 2004, 12:24:03 PM
Concering Ducky and Ernie's divorce, did the divorce settlement allow Ducky to keep any jewelry?  I know I have seen pics of her in a tiara that Alice wore, and that Onor subsequently wore, so I know that was retained within the Hessian family.  Was the emerald diadem she wore at her first wedding her own personal propery or was that too a Hessian piece?  Many thanks!
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: cimbrio on March 24, 2005, 06:56:20 AM
From what I know the baby's death only helped to deteriorate the couple's already difficult relationship. After all, a year later they were already divorced, but I doubt another child would have saved the disastrous marriage. I feel sorry for their daughter Elisabeth.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: bluetoria on March 24, 2005, 07:00:16 AM
Were they not divorced BEFORE Elizabeth's death? I think they divorced in 1901...almost as soon as they could after QV's death.
BTW. Cimbrio, I'm not being pedantic, or correcting you...just thinking  :))
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: TampaBay on March 24, 2005, 07:35:51 AM
Quote
Were they not divorced BEFORE Elizabeth's death? I think they divorced in 1901...almost as soon as they could after QV's death.
BTW. Cimbrio, I'm not being pedantic, or correcting you...just thinking  :))


Bluetoria,

I believe you are correct.  They divorced before Elizabth's death.  ASAP after the death of QV.

TampaBay
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: allanraymond on March 24, 2005, 06:30:33 PM
Quote
PS) Also managed to find out the exact date the little brother was born+ -

"May 25th.1900"

Elisa+


Marlene Eilers - Queen Victoria's Descendants also gives the same date of 25 May 1900.

Ernie and Ducky divorced on 21 December 1901.

Allan Raymond  
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: grandduchessella on March 24, 2005, 08:16:15 PM
There was a throwaway line about the pregnancy (not the loss) in a letter Vicky wrote to Sophie in early 1900:

'I suppose you know that Victoria Battenberg and May are expecting babies, so with Ducky's, Irene's and MIssy's , Grandmama will have 5 new babies to welcome in 1900.'

Those children would be:
Victoria B: Louis (Earl Mountbatten)
May (later Queen Mary): Henry (Duke of Gloucester)
Ducky: stillborn
Irene: Henry (d. 1904)
Missy: Marie 'Mignon' (later Queen of Yugoslavia)

It's interesting (to me anyway  :) ) to see who all were contemporaries.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: grandduchessella on March 24, 2005, 08:45:10 PM
From QV to VMH

June 10 1900
'I have not written to you about the disappointment at Darmstadt. I hope however that as she is so much stronger we shall have another Event before too long which will repair this blow!' [In the footnote the author notes: The blow refers to a miscarriage or stillbirth suffered by Ducky...It was probably not the only one in her brief first marriage for she was wild in her ways and rode hard even when pregnant. This mishap may have hastened the end of the marriage....]
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: bluetoria on March 25, 2005, 02:49:51 AM
Cimbrio, my previous post totally missed the point, didn't it??  :-[ Sorry!  :)
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Speedycat on June 30, 2005, 11:01:00 AM
As this is a rather old topic...last post being in November 2004.......... I am sure that is the reason the photos are no longer visible.  If possible could they be re-posted?  I would love to see them. Or PM them to me so not to waste space here.
In regards to Ernie and Ducky after the divorce.  At some point in time were they perhaps in Russia at the same time...after Ducky and Cyril were allowed to return and during one of Ernie's several visits to Alix?  It would be interesting to know if they ever encountered eachother, although I am sure Alix avoided Cyril and Ducky in Russia as much as possible.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Teddy on June 30, 2005, 03:18:00 PM
I'am always asking myself why Alix changed her mind abouth Ducky. She hated her ex-sisther-in-law, but in the many books I own you can read between the lines, that when they (Cyril en Ducky) returned to Russia Alix had contact with the couple and that they meet. I even saw one time a picture were both the ladies and their familie are together on the same picture. I thought I saw it in the Alexei-Forum.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Speedycat on July 01, 2005, 01:03:25 PM
 :o OMG, I'd love to see that photo.  I am off to search for it now.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: TampaBay on July 02, 2005, 09:53:58 AM
Quote
Concering Ducky and Ernie's divorce, did the divorce settlement allow Ducky to keep any jewelry?  I know I have seen pics of her in a tiara that Alice wore, and that Onor subsequently wore, so I know that was retained within the Hessian family.  Was the emerald diadem she wore at her first wedding her own personal propery or was that too a Hessian piece?  Many thanks!


Does anyone have any information on the divorce settlement?

TampaBay
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: grandduchessella on July 02, 2005, 03:25:56 PM
All I've found so far regards Elizabeth:

'An important provision of the divorce settlement was the future of Princess Elizabeth, now six. It was decided that she would spend six months a year with each parent, and that upon her eighteenth birthday she would return permanently to Darmstadt.'

I don't think Ducky took much of anything with her--I think she wanted no links with her old life. Her daughter was her last one and when she died that was it. I don't think Ducky ever even visited her grave.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: grandduchessella on July 02, 2005, 03:28:07 PM
"At the funeral [of Elizabeth] she took her Hessian Order, an elaborate badgelike medallion, and placed it on Elizabeth's coffin to show to the world that 'she had made a final break with her old home.' "
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Finelly on July 02, 2005, 03:36:15 PM
Victoria did not pressure or approve of the marriage between Missy and Ferdinand, which took place before Ducky's marriage.  That was the result of work by their mother.  Victoria wrote to her daughter Vicky that it was a lousy idea altogether.

I think both Ducky and Ernie were glad and relieved to divorce.  Ernie may have loved Ducky as a chum, but it's quite clear that not only did they not know each other very well when they married, but that both of them were under pressure from the family to marry.  There's no indication of warm feelings after the marriage.  
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: grandduchessella on July 02, 2005, 04:09:38 PM
I don't know about Ernie--he fought the divorce at first. He may have been relieved in hindsight since he found much more happiness with Onor but at the time I think he was reluctant for a variety of reasons, not least being the effect on Elizabeth.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Finelly on July 02, 2005, 04:48:10 PM
Yeah, he objected at first.  Divorce back then was a shocking scandal, which he didn't need, given his history with the stableboys, lol
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: BobAtchison on July 04, 2005, 10:34:47 AM
Alix was always more flexible in family affairs and scandals than Nicholas.  I suppose she had seen so many in her own family - like her father's remarriage, her brother's personal challenges, etc...

Alix accepted or overlooked  the most incredible lapses of judgement among her close friends, servants and family.  She wasn't a prude.  She could be very forgiving and understanding of human frailties when she wanted to or if she knew the person involved.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: VN on January 27, 2006, 04:09:14 PM
Resently I read some letters in a book which is published annualy by the Hessische Staatsarchive Darmstadt and the Historischen Verein für Hessen. They are in an article concerning  the divorce of Ernst-Ludwig & Victoria.

They are written between 8. Nov 1901 - 11. Nov 1901.


Following is a little summary:

Henry von Preußen writes to his brother Wilhelm II, to inform him "unoffically" about the upcoming divorce before Wilhelm will be informed by his envoy.

He writes (My freestyle translation)

- on the male side not capabel to sadisfy such a passionate woman like Duckie. This situation became worser by the arbitrary character of the spouse, she rejected her husband in decisive moments, then to long for him when he wasn't in the mood  


Prinz Hohenlohe-Öhringen (Envoy) writes to Berlin:

- Neither one of the sides is to be blamed, basically the different tempers and characters of the couple make it impossible to live together.  (He mentions the impotenz of the grandduke and that this doesn't makes the whole situation easier).


- Ernie writes to his cousin Wilhelm, that this is the best for Duky, anything else would destroy her. The other reason would be for his country (Ernie wasn't really able to fullfill his duties as sovereign caused by his emotinal stress, whats really understandable)  

Now WII writes back, (really nasty letter for my feelings)

In the beginning bla bla about the reaction of the hessian country loosing their "Landesmutter" and then

- The whole desaster would be Ernies fault, he never should have pushed Ducky to marry him. She was so young (17).  Now her hopes and wishes didn't come true and she feels unsadisfied and played the role of a coat stand, which he (Ernie) decorated with jewels and diamonds to show of infront of the world.  This really hurt her.  Wilhelm goes on the hail Duckies character (he admits not only passionate but also thourough/grand) which needed a man and master and this she definitly didn't find in Ernie!
He mentions Ernies letter asking Wilhelm to be his confidant/Friend in this situation. Wilhelm reassures him that he is Ernies friend, but starts to go on and complain about the whole Hessen Familie, how bad they treated him, espacially at their last meeting in Wolfsgarten (1896).

' They treated me like a stranger, for your sisters I was a horror (gräuel is the german word he uses), because they became foreigners and forgot that they are from Hessen/German.  My hopes to find a second home in Hessen vanished quickly and I feld very hurt and rejected, simple because I was "uncomfortable" for you'

Then Wilhelm blames Ernie again, for not asking him for help. Her he also blames Henry (his brother) for not telling him earlier.


There is also a letter in the article from Ernie to Victoria (in english), his sister. It is a very moving one. I don't know if it would be ok to copie it here (type it down) concerning the copyright etc. It is from the Archive part that is not open for the public.  But If anyone is interested in this article, you can buy the book, I guess over the www. hvfh.de  ; the issue  "Neue Folge 63. Band 2005"



Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: ilyala on January 28, 2006, 02:15:08 AM
it's interensting that wilhelm showed such good opinion on ducky in this letter... i mean, the edinburghs did not have the best image at berlin...  :-/
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: grandduchessella on January 28, 2006, 07:30:51 PM
Ducky was actually quite popular in Berlin and at Court. She and Dona (surprisingly) got along very well. It's not surprising (especially considering the bitter feelings Wilhelm had after his failed suit of Ella) that he would side with Ducky over Ernie.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Svetabel on February 01, 2006, 03:47:11 AM
Quote
Ducky was actually quite popular in Berlin and at Court. She and Dona (surprisingly) got along very well.


I think they got  along well only while Ducky  was Ernie's wife.  :-/
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: VN on February 01, 2006, 04:20:39 AM
Quote
"At the funeral [of Elizabeth] she took her Hessian Order, an elaborate badgelike medallion, and placed it on Elizabeth's coffin to show to the world that 'she had made a final break with her old home.' "




Maybe she didn't do this as an act of 'breaking with her old home/life'.
I could imagine that this was more an act of showing her respect bzw. honoring her daughter a last time.

I just don't think that Victora Melita  was so cold hearted in the way she always appears or is shown.

For my feeling both, Ducky and Ernie where tragic figures, basically trying to please their grandmother and maybe even other family members by getting married.  And didn't they get along very well before the marriage. I think I read something about that in the letters from QV to VMH ?!  But as we all know it takes a lot more work to keep up a good relationship.  

Greetings VN
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Laura_ on February 01, 2006, 04:49:10 AM
i've read somewhere[maybe in the Pakula book ,not sure though] that Ducky used to throw "things" at Ernst head  ;D  is this true?? if yes then she was a really "passionate" young lady ;)
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: grandduchessella on February 01, 2006, 06:54:20 AM
Quote

I think they got  along well only while Ducky  was Ernie's wife.  :-/


This is probably true. I was referring to why Wilhelm would have taken Ducky's side so strongly during the initial days of the breakup.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Svetabel on February 01, 2006, 09:37:40 AM
Quote
i've read somewhere[maybe in the Pakula book ,not sure though] that Ducky used to throw "things" at Ernst head  ;D


Yes, it came from Pakula's book. Probably it's true- she was paasionate, she did not love her husband, she loved another man, she hated all that Darmstadt..well, I think it was enough for throwing things at Ernst's head. 8)
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: VN on February 01, 2006, 10:32:45 AM
How could somebody not like Darmstadt???

;) ;D

Greetings from Darmstadt
VN



PS: which book of Hannah Pakula are you referring to. The  only one  I know of is the one about Vicky (Kaiserin Friedrich).
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Laura_ on February 01, 2006, 12:31:57 PM
Quote
How could somebody not like Darmstadt???

.



How could Maria Alexandrovna(the mother of Ducky) not like England?? paradoxes!!!!!
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Laura_ on February 01, 2006, 12:34:13 PM
Quote


PS: which book of Hannah Pakula are you referring to. The  only one  I know of is the one about Vicky (Kaiserin Friedrich).



The Last Romantic - A Biography of Queen Marie of Roumania  by Hannah Pakula

this is the great book we were referring to ;)
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on February 01, 2006, 07:53:30 PM
Ducky was in actual truth "The Fighting Grand Duchess" !  :o
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Laura_ on February 02, 2006, 04:04:11 AM
Quote
Ducky was in actual truth "The Fighting Grand Duchess" !  :o


yeah i agree with this sintagm and i pretty like it ;D
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on February 02, 2006, 08:40:11 AM
Yes...She had plenty to fight for... ::)
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Laura_ on February 02, 2006, 10:30:03 AM
yeah that's what she did all her life  :-/ fighting and fighting...
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on February 02, 2006, 10:31:27 AM
Poor Ducky !  :'(
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Laura_ on February 02, 2006, 10:51:53 AM
Quote
Poor Ducky !  :'(


that's exactly why i don't like people "disconsidering" her so much i mean she had many faults,she made many mistakes etc-- but she fought bravely against a "hostile environment",she had a strong  personality and courage after all:) she's not my fave but i can't help feeling sorry for her :( :( :(
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on February 03, 2006, 02:13:26 AM
Ducky had a tough lot, but she was a fighter and did not gave up. Also she was loyal to her family and Kyrill, but mostly to herself (one of the things was that she decided to end her first marriage and not to do a sham one with Ernie). That was one of the reasons why Kyrill's affair affected her so much... :'(
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: imperial angel on March 31, 2006, 10:56:15 AM
Ducky and Ernest were brave to consider divorce in that era, when even royal ladies who did this could suffer from the resulting scandal. Ducky was true to herself, and did what she thought best regardless of the mores of society or her royal world, but she was so young when pressured to marry Ernest. He didn't know what he wanted, neither did she, but both no doubt wanted to please their grandmother. They weren't forced to marry, as sometimes royalty actually was, but they had pressure. It was pressure they probably coudn't resist as they were so young, but in every sense this was a doomed marriage, even in the beautiful daughter that was the result of it.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: imperial angel on April 24, 2006, 05:57:47 PM
If this child had lived, history might have been different, certainly. Would this child have kept them together longer, or not? I believe most likely not, their marriage was already falling apart, and they defintely had differences that were pretty serious. They most likely had other children that might have suffered the same fate, but there doesn't seem to be any record of it.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: grandduchessella on April 25, 2006, 09:22:23 AM
I don't think the child would've saved the marriage. The pregnancy was seemingly a last-ditch attempt to make it work anyway. I think that once Ducky found true love with Kyril, it was just a matter of time before she left the marriage. Perhaps if she hadn't met him and she and Ernie could've settled into some kind of arrangement (a really big 'if' considering their temperaments) the marriage might've tottered along but I don't think that any other children could've saved it. Still, it would've been nice had this child survivied considering how the Hesse line (through Ernie) has been completely decimated.  :(
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: imperial angel on April 25, 2006, 10:02:33 AM
That is true, the Hesse didn't survive because of that plane crash, and then little Johanna's death, and the heir and his wife didn't have children to suceed to Hesse. If this child had lived, perhaps the succesion would have survived. Also, he might have been good for his sister Elizabeth, although she died tragically young. She was an only child, a rarity among royalty of that time. I agree, the child would most likely not have saved the marriage, although had she not met Kyril, perhaps she would have met somebody else. Ducky was never one to stay in a marriage she defined as a sham, while Ernest woudn't have cared as much.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: aleksandra on May 03, 2006, 05:57:26 PM
My parents had the same problem, with having kids. After my little brother's death in April 5th 1991, their marriage was over in 2002. It's so hard on the child with the upset parents batting(sp) on having the said child with them all the time. I know how Elizabeth feels like with a loveless marriage, having to pick one parent over the other. For me was mom and Elizabeth was her dad.  No one is perfect nor is a marriage.
Can we have another thread on marriage and divorce?
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: imperial angel on May 04, 2006, 10:02:25 AM
Yes, in different eras, in different countries, and among very different people, these kinds of sitiuations really are the same. Circumstances might change, but people and human emotions never really do. That is what it makes it easy to relate somewhat to these royals so far from us in time and circumstance. We can't know what Ducky and Ernest nor Elizabeth truly felt, feeling as them, but we might have gone through things like that. Perhaps it helps us understand them better.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: grandduchessella on October 27, 2007, 06:54:05 PM
The other thread was so long, I am starting another one. One proviso, since she is a popular subject and does have another thread in the Imperial Family, perhaps the one in this section should (as much as possible) be confined to her time as Grand Duchess of Hesse. That might prevent some overlap and keep the pages down. Of course, it won't always be possible but perhaps could be a goal.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: CountessKate on October 28, 2007, 07:57:43 AM
I have been reading James Lees-Milne's biography of Reginald Brett, subsequently Lord Esher, who in 1899 was the Secretary of the Office of Works and very much hobnobbing with royals, and who dined with his wife at Windsor in May where he was seated between the Duchess of Connaught and the Grand Duchess of Hesse (Ducky).  Brett was a bisexual, although married, and was particularly keen on teenage boys and had a number of aristocratic male homosexual friends. He was highly susceptible to female beauty and charm, however, and was a great friend of the beautiful Millicent, Duchess of Sunderland.  He was entranced by Ducky, and wrote to his son Maurice (with whom he had a rather unwholesome relationship), that her husband was very good looking, but "of the Loulou, Gogo type" (these were two friends of his who were rather effeminate, Lewis Harcourt, and George Maquay), "but without the skill or good taste to conceal it from Duckie, so that there have been endless troubles.  If you saw Duckie you would have no sympathy for him."  I was very interested in this as it was a contemporary observation and supports the remarks Ducky made to her niece many years later.  Clearly, the beau monde of the late Victorian era post the Wilde trial (and Brett had no sympathy with Wilde) was expected to keep a very low profile with regard to any homosexual inclinations and certainly not make it obvious to their wives what their tastes were.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: CountessKate on October 29, 2007, 04:19:16 AM
Well it's interesting that Brett noticed that her husband was good looking but didn't comment on her looks!  So perhaps it was her liveliness and charm that attracted him.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on October 29, 2007, 04:33:27 AM
Yes...Ducky did have that. Many people spoke of her attractiveness but it did not show in the photos....I think the Kaubach paiting was the cloest to Ducky at her best.  ;)
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: CountessKate on October 30, 2007, 05:34:58 AM
I agree, she does look very pretty there - most of her photos make her look rather heavy-featured.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Ilana on October 30, 2007, 10:59:03 AM
I think she usually looked like a wet weekend.  It was just her nature.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Tdora1 on November 25, 2007, 12:57:32 PM
Regrettably Ducky did not photograph well - and so routinely that I find it hard believe she really was any kind of a beauty at all. I can't find anything in her features that I would call attractive (although I hear she had beautiful violet eyes, which must have been quite something...). As for the expressions she adopted in her photos: well-spotted above-peeps: she really does seem to be putting on some knid of a face show! Indeed, rather like the young Cousin Louie's brilliantly pertinent remark to Alix "Must you always play at being sad?" Ducky's look seems to go from grumpy/cross in her youth (she had a quite remarkable scowl!) then to spoilt spouse to suffering sister and so on to the martyred matron series. I think also that less insistance on the touch-ups emphasizing her waist may have also done the portrayal of her figure more kindness. No doubt she was proud of her 17" waist but - coupled with the upholstered fashions and flamboyantly be-birded hats of her times - the represntations made her look almost comically misproportioned to the point of odd.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: LenelorMiksi on November 25, 2007, 04:04:32 PM
Victoria Melita's proportions were more realistic than many of her contemporaries, such as her sister Marie, Princess Maud of Wales or Maud's mother Alexandra.  I don't think she made a sour expression for photographs, some people's faces naturally have a melancholy look when they're not smiling, and it was uncommon to smile in photos at that period.  To me, she looks very pretty from the pictures I've seen, but attractiveness is subjective. 
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: imperial angel on November 25, 2007, 05:07:00 PM
People seem to have very differing opinions on her beauty or lack thereof. I personally wonder if we might not change all our opinions if we could see her when she was young as  she was, not as she appears to be in photographs. I know there is film that shows images of the grand duchesses OTMA, etc and the Romanovs from the early 20th century, but is there any moving film that shows Ducky from before or about World War I? I don't think you can judge from there, but certainly, it might be interesting. I have posted many times that I like Ducky's looks although maybe not some of the fashions and hairstyles of the time that didn't flatter her, so I won't go into all that again. 
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on November 25, 2007, 08:33:19 PM
I think Ducky was more attractive than beautiful. I think the von Angeli portrait (used in the Van Der Kiste book) captured her loviness completely. In it she was ewlaxed and not tense like in her photos.  ;)
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: brnbg aka: liljones1968 on November 27, 2007, 12:44:42 AM
.


this may have already been discussed before, but here's my question anyway: 

what was Ducky's title after she divorced Ernie, but before she married Kyril?  (i mean, was she still known as grand duchess?

and was it the same after marrying Kyril, but before he recieved the telegram, "ta femme est grande duchesse"?

.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: brnbg aka: liljones1968 on November 27, 2007, 02:47:21 AM
.

i realize the telegram may, or may not, have happened...

.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Bsquared on November 27, 2007, 05:16:34 AM
I think it is hard to say that a commissioned portrait is a more realistic portrayal than photographs.  Commissioned portraits often flatter the subject.  The only advantage is that we get an idea of one's coloring. 
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Marc on November 27, 2007, 10:32:14 AM
Does anyone have that von Angeli portrait of her?Or any other?
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Laura_ on November 27, 2007, 10:46:33 AM
only this version of the cover...maybe someone else has a better image and wants to share  :)

(http://www.woodslane.com.au/repository/components/images_frontcover_S475h/0750934697.jpg)
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: grandduchessella on November 27, 2007, 11:55:07 AM
.


this may have already been discussed before, but here's my question anyway:  

what was Ducky's title after she divorced Ernie, but before she married Kyril?  (i mean, was she still known as grand duchess?

and was it the same after marrying Kyril, but before he recieved the telegram, "ta femme est grande duchesse"?

.

According to wikipedia (take of it what you will) it says that her title post-divorce, pre-remarriage was Her Royal Highness Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. This is also how she was described in the newspapers at the time of her re-marriage in 1905.


Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: LenelorMiksi on November 27, 2007, 07:38:57 PM
It makes sense that her title would revert to Princess of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha after the divorce. She certainly wouldn't have been Ex-Grand Duchess of Hesse-Darmstadt!
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on November 27, 2007, 07:58:51 PM
Excactly ! She was born Princess of Great Britian & Ireland and created princess of Edinburgh and Saxe-Coburg (through the titles of her father).
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: brnbg aka: liljones1968 on November 29, 2007, 12:18:09 AM
It makes sense that her title would revert to Princess of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha after the divorce. She certainly wouldn't have been Ex-Grand Duchess of Hesse-Darmstadt!

According to wikipedia (take of it what you will) it says that her title post-divorce, pre-remarriage was Her Royal Highness Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. This is also how she was described in the newspapers at the time of her re-marriage in 1905.

that's rather what i thought.  

i'm, presently, re-reading (see quoted image below) and noticed it never mentions her interim designation....or if it does, i've managed to miss it each time i've read the book. (which, actually, would not be the first time that's happened :-P

(http://www.woodslane.com.au/repository/components/images_frontcover_S475h/0750934697.jpg)


Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: ashanti01 on December 12, 2007, 02:12:59 AM
http://s15.photobucket.com/albums/a388/ashanti01/?action=view&current=duckysandramissy.jpg

Ducky, Sandra and Missy
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: LenelorMiksi on December 17, 2007, 06:35:55 AM
According to Marie's memoires, she and V. Melita were especially apt horsewomen.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Vecchiolarry on December 17, 2007, 10:04:43 AM
Hi,

In "Hessian Tapestry", David Duff writes that Victoria Melita often rode out accompanying Empress Victoria Augusta (Dona) in Potsdam.  This was during her marriage to Ernst Ludwig.

Duff quotes someone (sorry, I don't remember whom):  "The ample backside of Dona bouncing up & down was often followed by the thin & lithe figure of Ducky on their morning trots!"......
I thought that was funny!!

Larry
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on December 17, 2007, 07:51:32 PM
I heard that Ducky often rode in Darmstadt to let off steam in her marriage.... ???
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: grandduchessella on December 17, 2007, 09:38:04 PM
Didn't it supposedly lead to the stillbirth of her son? Ernst Ludwig apparently pleaded with her to stop riding so hard during her pregnancy but she refused.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: ashanti01 on December 18, 2007, 01:00:42 PM
I think the general feeling was at that time that her riding so late into the pregnancy had caused her son to be born still birth. Ernst and several others tired to get her to stop but she refused to listen and did as she liked.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: ashanti01 on December 18, 2007, 01:21:20 PM
http://www.royal-magazin.de/german/hessen/hessen-victoria-melita-smaragde.htm
Does anyone have the two upper right hand pictures featured on this page? I had never seen them before.


Nice pictures featuring Victoria wearing very beautiful jewlery

http://www.royal-magazin.de/russia/victoria-melitta-kirill/victoria-melitta-sapphires.htm
http://www.royal-magazin.de/german/hessen/victoria-melita-hochzeit-geschenke.htm
http://www.royal-magazin.de/russia/victoria-melitta-kirill/vict-melitta-sapphire-set.htm
http://www.royal-magazin.de/romania/meander-helen.htm
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: grandduchessella on December 18, 2007, 04:16:18 PM
http://www.royal-magazin.de/german/hessen/hessen-victoria-melita-smaragde.htm
Does anyone have the two upper right hand pictures featured on this page? I had never seen them before.



The lower one is a cropped image from a sitting with Ducky, Missy & Beatrice.

(http://i49.photobucket.com/albums/f282/vickyandfritz/coburg/Foto0016sisters.jpg)

The upper one I have in a postcard but don't have it scanned.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: grandduchessella on December 18, 2007, 04:17:40 PM
A close-up of Ducky from a photo taken while visiting Queen Victoria

(http://i49.photobucket.com/albums/f282/vickyandfritz/coburg/Picture414a3aaw.jpg)
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on December 18, 2007, 08:19:10 PM
Yes... The visit whom she painted with Thora and rode with Ena... :)
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: crazy_wing on January 08, 2008, 10:47:40 AM
Victoria Melita by von Angeli in 1896

http://i20.photobucket.com/albums/b204/crazy_wing/VictoriaMelitabyvonAngeli1896.jpg (http://i20.photobucket.com/albums/b204/crazy_wing/VictoriaMelitabyvonAngeli1896.jpg)

It is now available on the Royal Collection website for viewing.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: grandduchessella on January 08, 2008, 03:37:54 PM
It was used as the cover for some editions of John van der Kiste's bio on Victoria Melita. It's a lovely portrait but then I like von Angeli as a portraitist.  :)
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: dmitri on January 09, 2008, 09:14:34 AM
Victoria Meliita always seemed to have a very long face and was not, in my opinion, as pretty as her sister Queen Marie of Roumania.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Laura_ on January 11, 2008, 09:35:19 AM
a smiling Victoria Melita:

(http://img260.imageshack.us/img260/1265/erniewithfirstwifeduckyjs1.jpg)
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Riedesel on February 29, 2008, 03:55:12 PM
I would like to tell a short story and hope I am not misusing this forum in any way.

In 2004 I was sitting in a 'Tavern' in Darmstadt with a friend. At the same table was a gentleman, older than myself, who was listening interestedly to our (english) conversation. After a while he joined in our discourse and the obvious "Where do you come from?" "What you doing here?" etc questions were asked and answered. He explained he was a Professor at Oxford, where he lived, but was of german descendants. (He spoke with a german accent). He said he was in Darmstadt to research in the 'Staatsarchiv' but didn't go into details. However, as I was also interested in Hessen_Darmstadt history we talked about this for a while. My friend was obviously bored so the conversation moved on to other topics. At the end of the evening I agreed to meet the gentleman a few days later alone as my friend had returned to England.
Our meeting started with the usual small talk and eventually moved on to his reason for being in Darmstadt. He told me of his background. Born in Mannheim before WWII and brought up in a family without grandparents where it appeared that the were also no other relatives. There were other tidbits about his family which seemed strange but, for brevity, I shall leave them out. He then started to talk about the history of the last Grand Duke, Ernst-Ludwig, and the GD's marriage to Viktoria-Melita. The tragic loss of their daughter and, importantly for him, the still-born son of 1900.
To cut to the quick; he was fairly convinced that the '1900 Son' was not still-born, but was smuggled from the palace in Darmstadt to foster parents in Mannheim, the baby being replaced by a "truly" still-born child of a palace servant. This baby, who had been smuggled to Mannheim, was my conversation counter partner's father!

This was quite a revelation for me and, to be honest, I found it hard not to burst out laughing! My acquaintance then started to tell me stories, far too long to recount here, of his own revelation and his search "for the truth". It involved numerous handicaps which seemed (to him) to be thrown in his way. Stories of surveillance by members of the British Royal Family. Encounters with Prince Phillips personal guard on the motorway (highway) between London and Oxford etc etc etc. It all became a little too much for me and a 'change of topic' and a "gosh! is it really so late? I must be going" got me out onto the street with a brisk walk home to think about what that was all about.

Just a couple of things before I finish this (ahem) short story.
The gentleman called and invited my friend over one evening shortly after these events. My friend lives near Oxford. (This to verify his existence)
The gentleman exchanged addresses with me and I can verify he exists as he said. (Again, to verify the gentleman was truly 'above-board')
On leaving our meeting I asked him if he truly thought he had a claim to the inheritance of Hesse-Darmstadt. His answer was simple.
"Don't you see? My problem is not Hessen-Darmstadt, it is the Romanovs......!"

Sorry that wasn't really short. What do you think? Was the man deluded? Or could his story have some truth in it? 

greetings
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eddie_uk on February 29, 2008, 04:00:08 PM
Stories of surveillance by members of the British Royal Family. Encounters with Prince Phillips personal guard on the motorway (highway) between London and Oxford etc etc etc.

Erm, why?
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Riedesel on February 29, 2008, 04:14:38 PM
Hello Eddy,

errm, to be honest, I don't know why either. I thought about it after the meeting and looked at the blood lines again. After the death of Louise Mountbatten it looks like HRH Prince Phillip has a legitimate call to Hessen-Darmstadt. I know the adoption of Moritz by Prince Ludwig effectively puts paid to that claim, but, hey, 'blood line'? What made me more interested was the claim of 'my acquaintance' to the Romanov family.....  I don't truly know. But... whether the chap was deluded or not, it's a nice story, ain't it?

greetings
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Riedesel on February 29, 2008, 04:22:23 PM
Hello again Eddy,

Sorry. I didn't really answer your errm, why question. My acquaintance said, quite often in fact, that he was worried that he was getting too deep into something that was the "privilege" of HRH Phillip. He told me he had moments where he thought he was in physical danger because of his 'claim' to the Hessen-Darmstadt inheritance. It appeared to him that his 'research' was stirring up things that shouldn't be 'stirred' and this was not being seen as (ahem) productive by certain members of the Windsor family. His words (more or less) not mine.

greetings
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: VN on March 01, 2008, 01:58:57 PM
1. Why was the little boy replace by a stillborn child?!  So in your friends opinion, this is how I understand it, the boy then whould have been a child of Kyrill?  Is this what he meant?

2. You mean Louise von Battenberg (Mountbatten) the Aunt of Prince Philipp, who was married to the King of Sweden whould have been the heir.


3. Prinz Phillip - It seams to me that your "Gentlemen" is a friend of Dodi's Father....always accusing Prince Philipp of weard things. Maybe he really had an encounter with his personel guards, because he started stalking members of the royal family!

Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eddie_uk on March 01, 2008, 02:28:03 PM
Thank you Riedesel!


3. Prinz Phillip - It seams to me that your "Gentlemen" is a friend of Dodi's Father....always accusing Prince Philipp of weard things.


haha, hilarious VN!
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Riedesel on March 01, 2008, 04:32:34 PM
Hello VN and Eddy,

Please, I am not making a cause for this gentleman. I was just recounting an encounter I had which I thought might be interesting, though implausible.

"1. Why was the little boy replace by a stillborn child?!"
Were the story true, I would imagine to still any possible questions as to the whereabouts of a body of the "hereditary Duke" - which such a child would have been.

2. You mean Louise von Battenberg (Mountbatten)
No. I meant Louis (Dickie) Mountbatten. The brother of Alice, Grandmother of the last of the blood line of the Hesse-Darmstadt family. HRH Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh is the closest relation to the grand-children  of Ernst-Ludwig (I think)

3. Prinz Phillip - It seams to me that your "Gentlemen" is a friend of Dodi's Father ***more laughter*** maybe Dodis father took some lessons from "my friend".

I have explained in my original post; I met the man on two occasions. He told me a story (which I have recounted here, although very summarised). I am in no way trying to support his actions or fantasies. The chances of any truth in his claims (I believe) are minimal. It is, however, a nice little 'what if' theory, is it not?

greetings
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Riedesel on March 01, 2008, 04:47:12 PM
I have done it again and failed to answer the question properly. Sorry VN.

So in your friends opinion, this is how I understand it, the boy then whould have been a child of Kyrill?  Is this what he meant?

This is what I understood from our conversation. He didn't appear too concerned about the Hessen-Darmstadt inheritance but that of the Romanovs. He believed he was the last of their line through Viktoria-Melita.

greetings
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: alixaannencova on March 01, 2008, 08:45:37 PM
What an extraordinary story!

Thank you for sharing it with us Riedesel! It sounds beyond belief on first reading and quite absurd! But then again.....I am not serious at all, I promise, but does anyone know if Kyrill and Ducky's paths crossed in August 1899? If is can be confirmed that they did come across one another on their travels, perhaps temptation proved too much for them, and Ernie might have done some sums a few months later and threatened to out them! Seriously, it is too bizarre...surely not?

I am still reeling from the oddity of the way you came across this gentleman in Darmstadt and the fact that his Oxford background only adds to the strangeness of the whole thing, though I have met a few Oxbridge dons who could be classed as rather dotty and eccentric!
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: VN on March 02, 2008, 06:19:29 AM
hallo Alixa...

1. According to Kyrills memoirs "My life in Russia's service" they have met on previous occations in 1896, 1897, 1899 and in 1900.  (got this from the Victoria Melitta book by van der Kiste. Here is also a quotation on Hannah Pakulas Book 'The last romantic' which says that they've been in love even before Victorias Wedding to Ernst-Ludwig)


Hallo Riedelsel

1.  Besides Prince Philipp the children and grandchildren of Lord Mountbatten (Lady Patricia Mountbatten - Her Son Lord Braeburn) would also be in the "blood line" - same relation to Hessen-Darmstadt as Prince Philipp. Lord Mountbatten was visiting Darmstadt frequently until his death 1979. e.g. visiting former servants from Heiligenberg. Prince Philipp was here 2 years ago with Prince Edward and Sofie and others, visiting Schloß Heiligenberg.


2. I didn't mean to sound too ironic in my last posting. I can understand why you posted this encounter, I would have done the same. It just made me think of an article I read recently in the papers, about several accusations Dodi's father made on Prince Philipp. And through my research on the Battenberg Family I have a different view on things because you know certain facts/dates etc. 


Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: alixaannencova on March 02, 2008, 09:03:55 AM
Sorry VN , I did not make it clear that I know all about Kyril and Ducky having been in love long before she and Ernie were finally coerced into marriage...all that stuff about first cousins blah blah....!

So they did meet in 1899! I do wonder if that happened to be in August....if so, that would really throw fuel on this particular fire of speculation!I mean if it were remotely possible that the child wasn't fathered by Ernie, and he suspected Ducky and Kyril of flagrantly committing adultery, he, Ernie may have lost his head and done something about it rather than have to acknowledge another man's son as his heir, otherwise Grandmama would have found out, and knowing Ernie, he would never have wanted to inflict such pain on her in her last year of life! For all his faults, Ernie was not a selfish or vindictive man, but just imaging how he may have felt if the baby hadn't been his would be awful to really contemplate!
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: CharlotteSometimes on March 18, 2008, 02:59:32 PM
Perhaps this was discussed in the older thread about Victoria Melita. I didn't find it on this thread.  Before I say what I am going to say, I want to state that I like and admire both Ernie and Ducky--they were bullied into a marriage neither desired and I don't blame either for what happened later.

Is it possible that the stillborn son VM lost in 1900 was not Ernie's, but Kyril's?  By this time their marriage seemed to be over, and although I'm sure Ernst wanted an heir, I find it hard to believe that he would want to bring another child into such an unhappy situation.  Even if he knew the child could not be his, would he be willing to claim it as his own?

Even as I'm typing this, I feel I'm spreading malicious gossip about these two (and I hate that since I really do like and empathise with them both), but it does seem as if it could be possible.  Has any book about Ernie or Ducky ever discussed this possibility?
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Terence on March 18, 2008, 11:12:31 PM
Perhaps this was discussed in the older thread about Victoria Melita. I didn't find it on this thread.  Before I say what I am going to say, I want to state that I like and admire both Ernie and Ducky--they were bullied into a marriage neither desired and I don't blame either for what happened later.

Is it possible that the stillborn son VM lost in 1900 was not Ernie's, but Kyril's?  By this time their marriage seemed to be over, and although I'm sure Ernst wanted an heir, I find it hard to believe that he would want to bring another child into such an unhappy situation.  Even if he knew the child could not be his, would he be willing to claim it as his own?

Even as I'm typing this, I feel I'm spreading malicious gossip about these two (and I hate that since I really do like and empathise with them both), but it does seem as if it could be possible.  Has any book about Ernie or Ducky ever discussed this possibility?

You can do a simple search here using the principals involved and find this very possiblity was discussed recently.

Sure almost ANYTHING is possible.  However, there apparently is no historic record of this even being considered as a real possiblity.

Two supposedly unconnected posters here bringing up the idea lately, well...to spell it out sounds like typical internet manipulation/conspiracy to me.  Just saying MHO.

T
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: CharlotteSometimes on March 19, 2008, 12:18:11 PM
Sorry, I did a search and nothing came up on this thread (using words such as "son", "miscarriage", "unborn").  I assure you I looked for such a post and didn't find one on this thread.  And there's no "conspiracy", I only have one screenname, so whoever made the previous post on the subject was not me.  Could someone direct me to the thread that discusses this subject?

I guess I offended the previous poster with the subject, sorry.  I just find it hard to believe that VM and Ernie were having sexual relations in 1900, as badly as their marriage was going, and one reason I asked such a question is because I found myself in a similar situation as Ducky, i.e., husband actually preferred men to women.  I sympathize with both of them since they were forced into their union and as far as I can see, did not do it for selfish reasons.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: RomanovFan on March 20, 2008, 07:45:20 PM
Ernie and Ducky did have a son in March of 1900, but he was stillborn.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Janet Ashton on April 15, 2008, 07:23:25 AM
Sorry VN , I did not make it clear that I know all about Kyril and Ducky having been in love long before she and Ernie were finally coerced into marriage...all that stuff about first cousins blah blah....!

So they did meet in 1899! I do wonder if that happened to be in August....if so, that would really throw fuel on this particular fire of speculation!I mean if it were remotely possible that the child wasn't fathered by Ernie, and he suspected Ducky and Kyril of flagrantly committing adultery, he, Ernie may have lost his head and done something about it rather than have to acknowledge another man's son as his heir, otherwise Grandmama would have found out, and knowing Ernie, he would never have wanted to inflict such pain on her in her last year of life! For all his faults, Ernie was not a selfish or vindictive man, but just imaging how he may have felt if the baby hadn't been his would be awful to really contemplate!


It was undoubtedly Ernie's child - there is apparently even surviving correspondence between Ducky and her sister Missy which confirms this, as Ducky talks a great deal about how surprised she is at his sudden "attentiveness" to her. She and her sister kept no secrets at all from one another, as evidenced by their correspondence when Missy instead DID find herself pregnant and in doubt at the child's paternity, so I seriously doubt that VM was hiding anything.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: ashanti01 on July 12, 2008, 03:39:10 AM
 (http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a388/ashanti01/2183153049_c5b4b06874.jpg)
Marie, Victoria Melita, Alexandra and Beatrice as young girls
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: grandduchessella on July 21, 2008, 05:38:11 PM
It's near impossible--you can only watermark them if you're going to post them unfortunately. Ebay won't take any measures--even Charlotte Zeepvat complained and they didn't even respond.

I've dealt with Tomhet and they're a real arse.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on July 22, 2008, 07:27:58 PM
It is tough to deal with the situation...And Marlene Eilers Konig thought it was easy. The copyright is hard to prove for old photos...if they are from old magazines.  :(
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: grandduchessella on July 22, 2008, 08:57:38 PM
That's why I suggest marking photos before posting them online--if someone really wants an unmarked one of mine, I will sometimes send it. Or I just make them smallish so they can't be successfully reproduced. Sad but that's the situation... Ebay is rather a lawless place.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on July 23, 2008, 09:10:50 AM
Yes...unfortunately I was told the marks could be taken off easily by savory computer geeks. Also rare images are harder and harder to find and more expensive...the recent pickings at ebay is pathetic...Anyway the haunted one is really spookey... :o
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Marlene on July 23, 2008, 11:48:22 AM


If the photograph was published before 1923, it is out of copyright.  Someone - such as a private person or an archiives - might own the "rights" to a particular print, and you would have to purchase a copy from that archives because they own the print.  Rights is different from copyright. I have a large postcard collection.  If someone wanted to use a photo from my collection (from before 1923, they could --with permission, and I could charge for the use of that image.)   

Between 1923-1960, an image may be in copyright -but it is up to the person to do the copyright search (which can be difficult.)   BUt it would have been up to the copyright holder to renew the copyright.  After 1960 -- an image is in copyright and will be protected for some decades to come - and for some decades after the death of the ciopyright holder.

If this person Tomhet is stealing images from one's personal collection of postcards of photos,  you can contact ebay and they will do something.  But if Tomhet is taking images that you scanned from books or magazines -- you do not have a leg to stand on
It is tough to deal with the situation...And Marlene Eilers Konig thought it was easy. The copyright is hard to prove for old photos...if they are from old magazines.  :(
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on July 23, 2008, 10:33:32 PM
Even from your books ?
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Laura_ on September 22, 2008, 06:50:09 AM
from  the '' rare pictures thread '' ..

(http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll95/GD_Lynn/th_vbn_012g.jpg) (http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll95/GD_Lynn/vbn_012g.jpg)
Lynn
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Svetabel on September 22, 2008, 03:06:55 PM
Famous photosession of 2 sisters actually was with Viktoria Melita - so 2 sisters and one sister-in-law

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v433/feomarie/Rarefind/sisters1.jpg)(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v433/feomarie/Rarefind/sisters.jpg)
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: grandduchessella on September 22, 2008, 03:18:19 PM
I've only ever seen that sitting with Ella & Alix--I wouldn't have dreamed Ducky was there as well! Once again, you're the best Sveta.  :)

It makes me wonder--we hear about Ducky's relationship with Alix, how was it with Ella? She was so close to Ernie yet was becoming more spiritually guided (close to forming her convent) when Ducky joined her Russian family.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Yseult on September 22, 2008, 03:37:48 PM
Wonderful pics!
 :)
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on September 22, 2008, 06:43:08 PM
Yes..They were closer than we realised.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Svetabel on September 23, 2008, 12:42:05 AM
Yes..They were closer than we realised.

Their photosession together doesn't mean they were close. Just a photo of relatives.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Laura_ on September 23, 2008, 09:28:12 AM
freezing cold..
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Ilana on September 23, 2008, 11:20:48 AM
I have to wonder who chose those dresses, it makes them all look so matronly, and they were so young!
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on September 23, 2008, 12:43:43 PM
You are right. Ducky looked uncomfortable in them.

They were quite close. Before the coronation, Ducky wrote to Missy that Alicky and Ella were offering dress codes for the balls. I think the fall out was after the divorce. Even after that they continue to meet as photos do show...
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Alexandre64 on September 26, 2008, 04:03:41 PM
(http://i273.photobucket.com/albums/jj213/Alexandre64_2007/Hesse/DuckywithdaughterElizabethofHessedi.jpg)
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: TampaBay on September 29, 2008, 11:08:00 AM
You are right. Ducky looked uncomfortable in them.

They were quite close. Before the coronation, Ducky wrote to Missy that Alicky and Ella were offering dress codes for the balls. I think the fall out was after the divorce. Even after that they continue to meet as photos do show...

Does anyone know anything about the nature of the relationship between Ella and Ducky after the divorce from Ernie?

TampaBay
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on September 29, 2008, 01:06:23 PM
As far the Hesse girl goes. Victoria was supportive and Alicky was hurt, Ella & Irene must be somewhere in between.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Luc on September 30, 2008, 09:26:39 AM
If I'm right, Ducky attended the coronation of her cousins Alicky and Nicky in 1896. Does anyone know some photos ?
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: imperial angel on September 30, 2008, 07:34:20 PM
Famous photosession of 2 sisters actually was with Viktoria Melita - so 2 sisters and one sister-in-law

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v433/feomarie/Rarefind/sisters1.jpg)(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v433/feomarie/Rarefind/sisters.jpg)

What year was this?( or around the year if you aren't sure) The dresses do look matronly, as someone else said. Too severe. I think the dress did look nice on Ducky though, and not matronly. But it didn't suit Alexandra or Ella.I never have seen this picture. I assume it was taken before Ducky's divorce, and the dress style looks to be 1890s.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Svetabel on October 01, 2008, 12:45:07 AM
That must be the end of the 1890s, probably 1899-1900.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Alixz on October 01, 2008, 02:40:39 AM
In that picture, I know that Alix is sitting.  In the one on the left, Ella is kneeling and Ducky is standing.

In the next one they have changed positions, but I am having trouble identifying them  Alix is still sitting, and now Ella is standing to her left.  Is that still Ducky to Alix's right?  The hair and face look so different.  The face looks fuller and the hair thicker.

Alix looks like her usual "pissed off" self.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Thomas_Hesse on October 01, 2008, 04:23:13 AM
Would you please explain to me why Alexandra Feodorovna looks "pissed off" in your opinion whearas the other ladies, tho looking - to me - in the same grave way - don't? The photo was taken in 1901 Darling - people were not expected to do it the American "cheese" way in official portraits.

When will this endless story of clichè come to an end?! It really makes shrunking my joy to post here.......
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on October 02, 2008, 10:20:54 AM
I think Alicky usually looked serious and a bit sad in most of her photos. People think of this as "pissed off". However you don't find the same in some of Ella or Alix of Denmark's photos. Alix knew how to relax and soften her face, while Ella's curl lips suggested a smile is coming. It is just a bit of Alicky's nature to be serious. We do appreciate your efforts.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: imperial angel on October 02, 2008, 04:25:45 PM
Were they in mourning in this photo? If taken after Jan 1901, could have been for Queen Victoria. That could expaiin the severity of the dresses, etc- that would explain the dresses someone else thought matronly.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on October 03, 2008, 09:48:33 AM
Really ? I thought Ducky was already planning her divorce at that time. She announced it soon after QV's death...
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Luc on October 06, 2008, 03:12:07 AM
I recently found in a book some documents about Ducky and Ernie's wedding in Coburg. They include an invitation to the wedding, a menu card of the wedding breakfast and a music programme at the state banquet the night before the wedding. I hope you find it interesting, here it is:

Einladung zur Festtafel
aus Anlass der Vermählung Ihrer Königlicher Hoheit der Prinzessin
Victoria Melita von Sachsen Coburg Gotha, Herzogin von Sachsen
mit Seiner Königlicher Hoheit der Grossherzog von Hessen und bei Rhein
im Herzoglichen Residenzschloss Ehrenburg
am 19. April 1894 um 1 Uhr
für
Gräfin Antrim


Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Luc on October 06, 2008, 03:17:16 AM
Jeudi, le 19. Avril 1894

Diner.

Huitres
Rossolnik clair
Petits pâtes à la russe
Pains de volaille à la Périgueux
Filets de soles frits
Selle de mouton à la duchesse
Vol-su-vent à la financière
Petits aspics de foie gras
Pintades rôtis, Salade
Peches à la Condé
Glace à la vanille
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Luc on October 06, 2008, 03:27:56 AM
PROGRAMM

 1. Hochzeitsmarsch a.d. "Sommernachtstraum" Mendelssohn
 2. Jubel-Ouverture C.M.v. Weber
 3. Fantasie a.d. Op. "Die Waltküre" R.Wagner
 4. Fackeltanz von Ihrer Hoheit der Prinzessin Marie von Sachsen-Meingen
 5. Introduction des 3. Actes und Brautchor a.d. Op."Lohengrin" R.Wagner
 6. Toreador et Andalouse a. "Bal costumé" Rubinstein
 7. Galatea-Walzer von Sr. Königl. Hoheit dem Herzog Alfred von Sachsen Coburg und Gotha
 8. Fantasie a.d. Op. "Cavalleria rusticana" Mascagni
 9. Gavotte "Blümlein, vergiss mein nicht" Giese
10. Des Grossen Kurfürsten Reitermarsch (Armeemarsch Nr.213) Cuno Graf v. Moltke
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Luc on October 11, 2008, 07:52:23 AM
I hope someone could please post a larger version of the sketch of the banquet from this link:
http://www.royal-magazin.de/german/hessen/victoria-melita-hochzeit-geschenke.htm

A description of some of the guests clothes':

"The Queen wore a black corsage covered with diamonds and crossed by the riband of the Garter, a tiara and necklace of diamonds, and a skirt draped with lace and terminating in a long black train. The Emperor (Wilhelm) wore the uniform of a General of Prussian Infantry in compliment to the bridegroom, who had been raised to the same rank in honour of the occasion; while His Majesty's companion, the Duchess of Coburg-Gotha, was arrayed in a rich velvet robe of crushed strawberry colour, a tiara with diamonds and a necklace of pearls. The Prince of Wales had donned the blue tunic of his royal mother's Dragoon Guards, of which he is also an officer. The bridegroom looked soldierly and handsome in a General of Infantry's uniform, like that of the Emperor; while his blonde and blushing bride was the picture of maidenly beauty in her sumptuous yet simple dress of white satin, trimmed with orange-blossoms."
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Laura_ on November 02, 2008, 11:46:01 AM
(http://img136.imageshack.us/img136/1518/vicmnq8.jpg) (http://imageshack.us)
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on November 07, 2008, 01:49:42 PM
it look tight fitting gown for that time. The photo from 1910 ?
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: gogm on November 07, 2008, 06:44:05 PM
The dress was certainly "ahead of its time."
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Carolath Habsburg on November 07, 2008, 07:53:48 PM
Yup.Looks pretty much as a sixties dress
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on November 08, 2008, 10:52:35 AM
Yes...especially the top part. Ducky could have reused it as a evening dress later.  ;)
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: LenelorMiksi on November 08, 2008, 12:59:43 PM
I think Victoria Melita had very good fashion sense.  She never over-did her jewels or clothes, and her hair always looks nice and more natual looking than many of her contemporaries.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Laura_ on November 18, 2008, 12:16:38 PM
(http://img239.imageshack.us/img239/5892/214297225125831b6ca5ofv2.jpg) (http://imageshack.us)
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on November 18, 2008, 01:25:52 PM
Nice image of Ducky & Elizabeth.

Yes indeed ! Ducky was never as fussy about clothes as Missy, but opted for a more natural look.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Luc on December 08, 2008, 10:01:55 AM
It was in a group photo with Missy, Charlotte and Marie Coburg. Even the jewel website lady had only that little photo of Ella wearing the beautiful emerald tiara that went to Marie Paulovna the younger and later to Mignon.

Is this the photo you mentioned ?

http://www.royal-magazin.de/russia/ella/ella-bolin-emerald-tiara.htm
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Luc on January 10, 2009, 03:25:07 PM
It was in a group photo with Missy, Charlotte and Marie Coburg. Even the jewel website lady had only that little photo of Ella wearing the beautiful emerald tiara that went to Marie Paulovna the younger and later to Mignon.

Is this the photo you mentioned ?

http://www.royal-magazin.de/russia/ella/ella-bolin-emerald-tiara.htm

Does anyone have the whole photo of the wedding group ?
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: grandduchessella on January 10, 2009, 09:30:47 PM
It was in a group photo with Missy, Charlotte and Marie Coburg. Even the jewel website lady had only that little photo of Ella wearing the beautiful emerald tiara that went to Marie Paulovna the younger and later to Mignon.

Is this the photo you mentioned ?

http://www.royal-magazin.de/russia/ella/ella-bolin-emerald-tiara.htm

Does anyone have the whole photo of the wedding group ?

(http://i488.photobucket.com/albums/rr241/grandduchessella_photo/weddings/img079-1.jpg)
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Luc on January 11, 2009, 08:48:09 AM
This was the photo I was looking for, thank you a lot GDella  :)! Is there any possibility to post it bigger ?
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Laura_ on January 11, 2009, 08:59:13 AM
You can find a very large high quality version of the pic above in the Rosvall picture album on Queen Marie of Romania. Sadly I do not have the book at hand right now. I can't remember if it was the same pic or a very similar one.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Luc on January 11, 2009, 10:52:07 AM
You can find a very large high quality version of the pic above in the Rosvall picture album on Queen Marie of Romania. Sadly I do not have the book at hand right now. I can't remember if it was the same pic or a very similar one.

Thank you Laurra, I am still considering buying the book.  :-\ Was this photo taken after the marriage had taken place ? In what room was their wedding breakfast held ?
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: grandduchessella on January 11, 2009, 11:57:17 AM
This was the photo I was looking for, thank you a lot GDella  :)! Is there any possibility to post it bigger ?

I have an 11 x 14 print of it from an old Illustrated London News. I can't scan it as it's too big (and hanging on my wall) but I have another large scanned copy I will send to you if you resend me your e-mail.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on January 11, 2009, 02:04:54 PM
I got a big copy of that photo bought from an auction. Yes it is a lovely image. Although it is also found in old copies of the ILN.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: grandduchessella on January 11, 2009, 02:17:27 PM
I like the prints--they're not only often larger (and sometimes even clearer without the spots sometimes found on photos) but given the prices at auction today much less expensive.  ::)
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Gabriella on January 26, 2009, 05:22:24 PM
After reading John Van der Kiste's biography of Ducky I have some questions about Ducky's relationship with her Hesse cousins after she and Ernie divorced.
I know about her strained relationship with Alix but what about Victoria, Irene and Ella? Does somebody know whether she stayed in contact with one of them or if she met one of them while staying in Russia or after the revolution?

Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Ilana on January 26, 2009, 05:41:53 PM
I know that VMH had a decent relationship with her and understood her better than a lot people.  She helped smooth issues between GD EL and VM with regard to visitation of their daughter to the two parents. She was a very close confident of GD EL, and I think that VM thought her a trusted intermediary.

I'm not sure about the other two sisters and how they felt about VM.  Probably not great since they were very protective of their brother.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on January 27, 2009, 10:09:11 AM
I agree with you Ilana on this. It was hard fot Alicky, especially they were in the same court (even some pictures taken in Russia of her and Ducky togather).
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Janet Ashton on January 28, 2009, 03:34:34 PM
After reading John Van der Kiste's biography of Ducky I have some questions about Ducky's relationship with her Hesse cousins after she and Ernie divorced.
I know about her strained relationship with Alix but what about Victoria, Irene and Ella? Does somebody know whether she stayed in contact with one of them or if she met one of them while staying in Russia or after the revolution?



Van der Kiste's bio is interesting, because there are two versions of it. In the first (1991, I think), he bases his accounts of the hostility between AF and VM on Catherine Radziwill's accounts, albeit with the proviso that she was a terrible gossip. By the time the second ed appeared in around 2000, more evidence was available, and he tones down a great many of his passages; for example, he changes his account of A's reaction to Ernie's divorce from a blank statement that she had "never liked" her cousin/sister-in-law to saying that she "admired and respected but found it hard to like" VM......he retains suggestions that there was hostiility there (for example, writing that A's complimentary letters about VM were "rather cold", though on what basis I am not sure), but I am inclined to feel that this was because he found it hard to let go his preconception rather than because this is what the evidence suggests.


It is funny/curious that on the one hand A is supposed to have hated VM and been angry that the latter usurped her place in Darmstadt/Ernie's affections; but on the other is said to have been angry at the eventual divorce!  ;D

There isn't any hsotility to VM evident in Alexandra's correspondence, either during the divorce or later during the war when V was married to Kirill. I just think that examining their relationship in the light of what was asserted in gossip and what A's own letters indicate is a particularly interesting exercise in the use of primary material.
By the way, Miachel sullivan or Hannah Pakula or both put the real icing on the cae when they invented some tale about A refusing to telegraph to VM to tell her her daughter was dying. I am usually wary of saying people "made it up" because it often happens that you find a dubious tale first occurred in some long-forgotten source, but in this particular case I am happy to risk my neck on it.....No-one before Pakula published this ridiculous tale, and it certainly doesn't occur in the accounts of the people who were there.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on January 28, 2009, 03:43:50 PM
Well...By the best of terms, Alicky was too different in temperment than Ducky to become pals. They liked each other but not close. After the divorce and remarriage, Alicky took her brother's side as Ducky cried " No boy was safe in the house" ( citing Ernie's elleged homosexuality). The fact that Cyril wasn't liked also coloured her views on Ducky.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Janet Ashton on January 28, 2009, 05:06:09 PM
Well...By the best of terms, Alicky was too different in temperment than Ducky to become pals. They liked each other but not close.

I agree with this. But the essential point is that Ducky in her surviving letters appears a more likeable character than the dark, brooding tragic heroine (and eternal victim) of her hagiography (I have Sullivan in mind here)..... :D Which is part of why the idea that she and A may not have  actually loathed each other like two wicked queens in a fairy tale seems reasonable.

After the divorce and remarriage, Alicky took her brother's side as Ducky cried " No boy was safe in the house" ( citing Ernie's elleged homosexuality). The fact that Cyril wasn't liked also coloured her views on Ducky.
Are you sure about this? - "No boy was safe" is surely the paraphrase used by Princess Ileana long aftewards in discussing Ducky's reasons for divorce? (and she doesn't mention Alix having any role in revelations of this). At best I think we know (Meriel Buchanan) that Ducky claimed that A was angry with her (no specifics about why), along with a number of other people including Nicholas and their Uncle Bertie. I am not aware of any specific evidence that A's view of Kirill influenced her view of Ducky either. She admired D's wars efforts, for one thing (no-one can much have admired Kirill's record  :)).
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Alexandre64 on January 29, 2009, 02:25:20 AM
Victoria Melita, Queen Victoia and little Ella:
(http://i273.photobucket.com/albums/jj213/Alexandre64_2007/Alice%20de%20Hesse/mw1333861.jpg)
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Helen on January 29, 2009, 02:46:47 AM
It is funny/curious that on the one hand A is supposed to have hated VM and been angry that the latter usurped her place in Darmstadt/Ernie's affections; but on the other is said to have been angry at the eventual divorce! 
Indeed!  ;D

I don't think Alix 'hated' Victoria Melita. I agree with Eric that Alix and Victoria Melita were too different in temperament to become pals. And Alix did notice at a very early stage that her brother wasn't truly happy with Victoria Melita and that Victoria Melita's absences from Darmstadt didn't benefit their marriage. On the other hand, Alix didn't put all blame on VM; she also advised EL on how to improve the situation. Perhaps her advice wasn't of much use, but it does show Alix had a more balanced view on the situation than to blindly blame and hate Victoria Melita for the failure of her brother's marriage.

Ernst Ludwig was perhaps biased, but in his letter of 10 November 1901 to his sister Victoria he stated that he had led a still more solitary life than Victoria Melita: "I was alone, she had her family, and I was only with one of you [his sisters], when she wanted it." To me this suggests that Victoria Melita didn't really appreciate visits from Ernst Ludwig's sisters to Darmstadt - or gave the impression that she didn't appreciate them - and that this applied to Alix as well as his other sisters. Frictions were perhaps most apparent between Victoria Melita and Alix. In Erinnertes, his memoirs, Ernst Ludwig wrote that Victoria Melita didn't understand Alix and was jealous of her, but that his second wife made Alix feel welcome again.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on January 29, 2009, 09:14:31 AM
Well...Alicky was not really a warm person and took time to shake off her reserve and accept another person into the family. After Irene married Heinrich, Alicky was the first lady in Darmstadt and took over the duties from her sister. She got help from her sistersVMH and Ella from time to time, but her shyness prevented her from being an unqualified success. As Ducky married Ernie, she literally took over from Alicky. There could be jealousies due to the comparsions with her sister-in-law. Alicky and Ella remained close to Ducky throughout her marriage to Ernie. Actually Ducky was closest to Missy whom they shared many secrets. As the marriage began to disintergrate, Missy had a ring side seat to the whole drama. Ducky wrote to her sister that she was sorry about Alicky's continued pregeancy for a son, but she was in the same boat...pressured by the family to try again for another child with Ernie...
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Jose II on January 29, 2009, 11:23:13 AM
Victoria Melita, Queen Victoia and little Ella:
(http://i273.photobucket.com/albums/jj213/Alexandre64_2007/Alice%20de%20Hesse/mw1333861.jpg)


Who is the other woman and the children ?
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Veronica on January 29, 2009, 11:47:13 AM
The other woman is Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein, and I think the girl is Ena of Battenberg.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on January 29, 2009, 01:21:44 PM
Yes...Cousin "Thora" who was very close to Alicky and Ena of course.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Janet Ashton on January 30, 2009, 12:47:56 PM

In Erinnertes, his memoirs, Ernst Ludwig wrote that Victoria Melita didn't understand Alix and was jealous of her, but that his second wife made Alix feel welcome again.

Indeed! - And Meriel Buchanan also recalls that at gatherings of family or friends Ducky's long, sad face made everyone feel uncomfortable. Oddly, Ducky's sister Missy claimed the same of Alix - so perhaps it was both of them.  ;) Maybe it was just Missy's bias causing her to see A this way, but I suspect that Alix felt at least as uncomfortable with this strange, flamboyant, mirror-obsessed cousin around as she did with the awkward Ducky - who in that aspect of personality was quite like her.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on January 30, 2009, 03:39:49 PM
Not really. Ducky and Ernst's court was one of the most informal and fun loving and famous for its parties. The turn came sometime after Elizabeth's birth when Ducky seem to want something more deeper than Ernst was capable of giving...Princess Alix was not exactly the life of the party during the best of times. Even at those rare occations, she allowed her hair down, but never instigate anything spontanous...
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Janet Ashton on January 30, 2009, 05:36:09 PM
Not really. Ducky and Ernst's court was one of the most informal and fun loving and famous for its parties. The turn came sometime after Elizabeth's birth when Ducky seem to want something more deeper than Ernst was capable of giving...Princess Alix was not exactly the life of the party during the best of times. Even at those rare occations, she allowed her hair down, but never instigate anything spontanous...

Your personal recollection?  :)
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Ilana on January 31, 2009, 11:27:06 AM
I've had the impression that GD EL and VM were enormously immature and that their early marriage was the equivalent of two children being let loose in a candy store. Both were irresponsible and had little guidance on how to rule a Grand Duchy.  QV tried to give GD EL some quick lessons in ruling, but this was a case of too little too late.  She also chided the couple for not answering letters or thanking people for wedding gifts, so you can see the level we're dealing with here.

I believe that GD EL was as unready as Nicholas II, without the disastrous consequences for his Grand Duchy -- lucky for him.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on January 31, 2009, 12:17:31 PM
I think in the later day, Ducky outgrew him and tried to look for some meaning in their marriage. She wrote to Missy saying that she was looking for something in her husband that may not have been there all along...Ernie remained his happy-go-lucky self.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: CountessKate on January 31, 2009, 06:50:42 PM
Ernie seemed to mature a lot with the death of his daughter and his second marriage.  One a really catastrophic event and the other the development of a solid partnership, both possibly making him grow up.  I always thought he and Ducky both seemed very self-absorbed as a married couple.  His second wife appeared to get the benefit of a more mature outlook and a little less focus on himself.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Helen on February 01, 2009, 06:51:15 AM
Ernie seemed to mature a lot with the death of his daughter and his second marriage. 
He did. A year after Princess Elisabeth's death, Princess Irène wrote to her sister Alexandra: "He bears his sorrow bravely and it really has broadened and widened his character".
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on February 01, 2009, 05:55:11 PM
It is sad it took a tragedy for him to grow up.

Ducky had married a boy who refused to grow up, her letters to Missy were full of frustrations of what to do with her husband. I have to say it changed my mind about Ducky and why she did want a divorce. She desperately wanted to reach out to Ernie and make him understand her need to connect with him, but he never got it...
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Helen on February 02, 2009, 02:05:09 AM
It is sad it took a tragedy for him to grow up. Ducky had married a boy who refused to grow up, ...
Ernst Ludwig felt equally frustrated with Victoria Melita. Her rejecting him whimsically time after time when he reached out to her, her frequent absences from Hesse for no apparent reason, her smashing dinner services to smithereens, her irresponsible horseback riding when pregnant, etc. were hardly the behaviour of a grown up either. 
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Paola on February 02, 2009, 06:41:35 AM
I agree Helen. Both were imature. Ernst Ludwig had his faults but Victoria Melita is also to be blame for the broken marriage.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Svetabel on February 02, 2009, 07:00:03 AM
I agree Helen. Both were imature. Ernst Ludwig had his faults but Victoria Melita is also to be blame for the broken marriage.

Why blaming Ernst Ludwig or Victoria Melita actually? Did they committed a crime breaking their marriage? Immatureness is not a crime and should not be blamed in their case. They just didn't have strength to oppose the adults who had arranged the alliance.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Paola on February 02, 2009, 07:16:55 AM
According to some relatives, their divorce was worst than a crime. This was a time where most of the marriages were arranged and most were young immature couples and not all divorced.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: CountessKate on February 02, 2009, 08:07:53 AM
What is sad is that they clearly disliked each other at the end of their marriage, and I feel it was that which basically that lead to the divorce.   Plenty of couples in their situation managed to remain married but lead their own lives with their own friends - Xenia and Alexander come to mind, and, less effectively, Marie and Ferdinand.  But it required a certain level of cordiality and complicity to work which clearly wasn't there.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Svetabel on February 02, 2009, 08:09:57 AM
According to some relatives, their divorce was worst than a crime. This was a time where most of the marriages were arranged and most were young immature couples and not all divorced.

I know that was a time of arranged marriages so moreover we don't have a right to blame the unhappy pair.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Paola on February 02, 2009, 08:28:42 AM
I don't mean they shouldn't divorce. I only think that  both didn't much or enough that their marriage could work out.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on February 02, 2009, 09:17:15 AM
I don't think Ernst reached out to Ducky emotionally, according to Ducky's letters he was never there ! When Ernst got ill after his return from England, Ducky was hoping that going through this crisis togather might bond them togather, but she found out that he locked her out once again. I think the smashing and the riding was a means of vetting out her frustrations. They were the results rather than the causes of strife. After the letters I found myself more sympathetic to the sensative and soulful Ducky. 
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Helen on February 02, 2009, 09:45:57 AM
I don't think Ernst reached out to Ducky emotionally, according to Ducky's letters he was never there ! When Ernst got ill after his return from England, Ducky was hoping that going through this crisis together might bond them to gather, but she found out that he locked her out once again. I think the smashing and the riding was a means of vetting out her frustrations. They were the results rather than the causes of strife. After the letters I found myself more sympathetic to the sensitive and soulful Ducky. 
As a grand duke, Ernst Ludwig had official duties of course, so he won't have been at home all the time. I have the impression, though, that he spent more time in Darmstadt than Victoria Melita did.

Her smashing and the riding may have been a means of venting her frustrations, but the same could be said of the sometimes rather juvenile pranks Ernst Ludwig  - and Victoria Melita - seems to have enjoyed.

It's sad that they did not manage to bond together, but I don't think one can put the entire 'blame' for this on Ernst Ludwig. Already a couple of months after their wedding, Ernst Ludwig mentioned "the emptiness of home", which suggests to me that he himself had had hopes for an emotional bond with his wife that Victoria Melita was not fulfilling. Ernst Ludwig himself said that he did reach out to his wife, only to be rejected. We'll probably never know the full truth.   :(
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on February 02, 2009, 09:57:15 AM
I think Ducky was hoping for a bond, a common purpose (like she later had about getting the throne for Cyrill) a kind of deep level of trust and loyalty. After the birth of Elizabeth, the fun and games grew mandane. It was noted that the couple could only respond to each other in a party setting when both are having fun. But for the soulful Ducky, it was not enough. She wrote to her Uncle Serge that Ernie offer to give her a seperate life and a nice income if she promised not to divorce. But she wrote that that would not be truthful to herself and living a lie. Even Missy commented that Ducky was "our conscience". She couldn't accept a life that had no meaning to her, in that she was true to herself (Like Princess Diana many years later). It was this kind of insistance on being truthful that killed her in the end. The fact that Cyril was unfaithful to her made her life unlivable. It would seem that Ernie was easier to shake off unpleasntness that poor Ducky ever could.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Helen on February 02, 2009, 10:51:35 AM
She wrote to her Uncle Serge that Ernie offer to give her a seperate life and a nice income if she promised not to divorce. ...
Such arrangements were not uncommon at the time. Divorce was not an accepted thing at the time, certainly not for royals. Perhaps all Ernst Ludwig tried to do was save both Victoria Melita and himself the awkward complications and 'disgrace' of a divorce.

... It would seem that Ernie was easier to shake off unpleasantness that poor Ducky ever could.
Where on earth did you get the idea from that Ernst Ludwig shook of unpleasantness easier? 'Poor' Ducky tried to shake off unpleasantness by venting her frustrations quite ostentatiously. The fact that Ernst Ludwig coped with the situation in a less ostentatious way and offered her the option of a common arrangement, doesn't mean he did not feel how empty their relationship was, nor that he shook off unpleasantness easily. Ernst Ludwig described his life with Victoria Melita as a life which was driving him nearly mad. Around the time of their divorce he wrote: "For to keep up your spirits and a laughing face, while ruin is staring you in the eyes and misery is tearing your heart to pieces, is a struggle which is fruitless. I only tried for her sake ... my last years have been a living hell to me." Doesn't sound as if he shook off unpleasantness at all, nor as if he had no problem with living a lie. It seems they both felt horribly miserable and tried to cope in their own way.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on February 02, 2009, 12:08:45 PM
Indeed...However for Ducky it would be "living a lie" as she put it in a case to her Uncle Serge. A ton of bricks came down on her not Ernie, who was portrayed as the injured party. Imagine Ducky had "try once again" with Ernie, just because Hesse needed an heir. People imagine how Frances, Countess Spencer went through to get an heir. The humilation of that experience was almost enough to kill whatever love she had with Ernie. She did her best and got pregnant, but lost the baby. I am sure that Ernie felt the same way, but he did not realise Ducky had enough of that when he propose that deal. How little he knew of his wife ? Ducky who hated falsehood of any kind was forced to live a half life and tied in with restrictions, no wonder she wanted to rebel.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Paola on February 02, 2009, 01:05:38 PM
I read about a rumor  that the baby she lost in 1899 was from Cyrill. Why she lost the baby? Was premature?
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Helen on February 02, 2009, 01:21:27 PM
Indeed...However for Ducky it would be "living a lie" as she put it in a case to her Uncle Serge. A ton of bricks came down on her not Ernie, who was portrayed as the injured party. Imagine Ducky had "try once again" with Ernie, just because Hesse needed an heir. People imagine how Frances, Countess Spencer went through to get an heir. The humiliation of that experience was almost enough to kill whatever love she had with Ernie. She did her best and got pregnant, but lost the baby. I am sure that Ernie felt the same way, but he did not realise Ducky had enough of that when he propose that deal. How little he knew of his wife ? Ducky who hated falsehood of any kind was forced to live a half life and tied in with restrictions, no wonder she wanted to rebel.
You may be right in saying that Ernst Ludwig didn't understand his wife. But the same can be said of her - she clearly didn't understand him either. The marriage simply didn't work. Ernst Ludwig seems to have been prepared to give it one try more than Victoria Melita was preared to - not uncommon in failing marriages. However, the prospect of spending more time with Victoria Melita probably wasn't attractive to him either. For him it was living a lie too - a lie he could not live, as he eventually admitted to Prince Hans von Hohenlohe-Oehringen. Ernst Ludwig's words that ruin was staring him in the eyes and his last years with Victoria Melita were a living hell show that Victoria Melita had made sure a ton of bricks had come down on her husband.

Bricks did come down on Victoria Melita too, but Ernst Ludwig tried to protect her reputation, refusing to discuss any details that might disgrace Victoria Melita. I don't think Ernst Ludwig was universally seen as the injured party. One only has to read Wilhelm II's letters to know that she had the full sympathy of the Kaiser.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on February 02, 2009, 02:09:19 PM
Well...In terms of affairs outside the marriage, according to Ducky, Ernie seem to have male company to off set his frustration with marriage. He seem to fit the mode too...a sensitive prince who love the arts and wearing tights. Also as immature as Ernie, he did have a more diverse hobbies than Ducky (who could only ride herself to exhaustion). Ducky seemed more sensative, shy and less easy to relate to people as quickly as her husband. In that I found a similarity with Alicky, the person whom Ducky could relate but could never past the jealousy.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Helen on February 02, 2009, 02:35:58 PM
There is indeed evidence suggesting that Ernst Ludwig had male company before and during his marriage.

As regards Victoria Melita and Alix: Ernst Ludwig said Victoria Melita was jealous of Alix, but has Victoria Melita ever said what she was jealous of, other than Alix's happy marriage?
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on February 02, 2009, 03:45:01 PM
Yes. Maybe that is why Ducky allowed herself the fling with Cyril during the coronation in Moscow, since Ernie had other affairs already. She protested that her divorce was in no way a step to marry the Grand Duke. There is good reason to believe her since the Russian Orthodox Church did not allow the marriages of cousins (that was the reason her sister Baby Bee cannot marry Misha, younger brother of Tsar Nicholas II), and also she had no idea Cyril would risk it all for her.

I think Ducky was jealous of Alicky's position of acceptance in Darmstadt. She found it hard to live up to her and Alice's memory, and finally decided to be herself instead. Ducky however wrote to her sister Missy that she was sorry that Alicky had to go through the preganancy again since she could not give Russia a male heir. She was also facing the same thing at that time. The pressure was on her as her proud mother had to step aside for Charley Albany to inheirit Coburg after her father's death.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Helen on February 02, 2009, 05:00:30 PM
I think Ducky was jealous of Alicky's position of acceptance in Darmstadt. She found it hard to live up to her and Alice's memory, and finally decided to be herself instead.
Alix was never Grand Duchess of Hesse, of course; she performed only a limited number of duties. And Grand Duchess Alice's ideas for improvements met with quite a lot of opposition in her early years. If Victoria Melita had been happier in her marriage, she probably would have spent more time in Darmstadt and would perhaps have found the same acceptance as Grand Duchess Alice in time.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on February 02, 2009, 05:09:27 PM
Alicky grew up in Darmstadt and was the first lady there and perform duties there. Ducky was a stranger coming into the mix, but the time she settled in Darmstadt. Alicky already busy preparing for Russia. It must be daunting for her without anyone to guide her. Ernie wasn't much of help either. That was why the affaires fell into disarray. Indeed had she been given a liberal education like the one Albert had given Alice, or a more mature and sensative husband, Ducky's life might have been much happier.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Ilana on February 06, 2009, 11:29:13 AM
I had always understood that Alix was not popular in Hesse when she took the role of first lady.  Her personality, certainly as we see played out later on, was not suited to it at all.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on February 06, 2009, 11:44:27 AM
Yes Ilana, Alix was not popular as first lady, but she was adequete as she grew up in the system. She fulfil the role but in bad grace. Ducky was thrust into it over night (like Alix in Russia).

Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Alexandre64 on February 18, 2009, 06:44:25 AM
(http://i273.photobucket.com/albums/jj213/Alexandre64_2007/Alice%20de%20Hesse/elisabethducky1.jpg)
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Thomas_Hesse on February 18, 2009, 09:12:53 AM
A wonderful official portrait of mother and child. It was taken in 1897 in order to celebrate the finishing of the newly decorated Art Noveau rooms at the Neues Palais Darmstadt.
The extraordinary chair with the floral decorations the pair is sitting on was made by Hugh M. Baillie Scott and survives to this day. In 2006 it was on show during the large "Hesse" exhibition at Portland, USA.
The Grand Duchess is wearing the magnificent diamond tiara Prince Consort Albert desgined especially for his daughter Alice as a weddingpresent. It survived the terrible airchrash in 1937 - protected in a metal case....
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Thomas_Hesse on February 27, 2009, 06:15:31 AM
The chair is in the purest English Art Noveau - as I have written before. The Grand Duchess is indeed dressed up in a rather modern style considering the year the image was taken. But in fact her husband designed many of her gowns - and Ernst Ludwig had always been modern in addition to dress
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Natacia on October 24, 2009, 05:11:17 PM
everyone is saying only parts of dovorce reasons.. no one seems to mention his abusive ways with her.. Ernie had big anger issues in those years.. and it was said that victoria was some what scared of him.. his second marriage Elenore never made a comment about it in her marriage but little ella told someone about it... (i think missy) and that is more than half the reason they dovorced
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: grandduchessella on October 24, 2009, 07:13:59 PM
Really? I always got the impression if anyone was close to an abused spouse it was Ernie. Victoria Melita never struck me as the easily intimidated or frightened type. Where did you read otherwise, especially the story about their daughter?
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Thomas_Hesse on October 26, 2009, 04:55:32 PM

She was definitely the more pronounced one in that match - I'd not say stronger. She was too young, too unexperienced. But to blame Ernst Ludwig would be not fair as he was more beloved than any other regent of Hesse-Darmstadt before. Same for his second wife, Eleonore
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Helen on October 27, 2009, 02:12:57 AM
She was definitely the more pronounced one in that match - I'd not say stronger. She was too young, too unexperienced. But to blame Ernst Ludwig would be not fair as he was more beloved than any other regent of Hesse-Darmstadt before. Same for his second wife, Eleonore
It is true that Victoria Melita was young and unexperienced, but I don't think Ernst Ludwig's popularity among the population of Hesse exonerates him from responsibility for the failure of his first marriage. Moreover, the people of Hesse got to see only one side of Ernst Ludwig. They knew next to nothing about Ernst Ludwig's trips to Italy. If certain details of these trips had come out, they would probably have harmed his reputation and increased sympathy for Victoria Melita.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Thomas_Hesse on October 27, 2009, 10:24:29 AM

Would you mind explaining what you mean in addition to those trips to Italy?

After all the Grand Duke was most aware of his duties - which Victoria Melita obviously was not (the reports of Meriel Buchanan - for example - are very pronounced as concerned the character of VM).

I cannot believe her being scared of her husband - Georgina von Rotsmann writes that she would smash some china to his head.
And she had an obvious affection for GD Cyrill..... wereas EL had ended his relation with his lover long before his marriage took place
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Helen on October 27, 2009, 12:20:48 PM
Ernst Ludwig may have 'ended' his relation with this lover before his marriage took place, but this former lover held a position at the court during the first years of Ernst Ludwig's first marriage.

He also had another gay friend stay with him at Wolfsgarten for weeks during his first marriage, shortly after Elisabeth's birth. Looking for information on this gay friend, I recently came across a couple of books in the Internet and had a brief look at them. Among other things, they touched upon the gay scene in Italy, describing more than just extravagant parties. Ernst Ludwig and this gay friend of his were mentioned explicitly.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Robert_Hall on October 27, 2009, 01:12:39 PM
VM  was no prize in the marriage market, she wrecked both of her marriages. She was not likely to turn  any gay man straight, if anthing, drive him back to his gay life.
 As for the vague references, so what?  I think most of us have read them over time. EL was certainly not the only. the first nor the last man to have  a male relationship whilst married to a woman. 
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Helen on October 27, 2009, 02:07:10 PM
The details I found went a bit further than just him having a male relationship.

Victoria Melita was criticized by the people of Hesse because her frequent abscences from Darmstadt did not go unnoticed. The point I was making in post #270 was that Ernst Ludwig's popularity had little to do with responsibility for the success or failure of his first marriage and that Ernst Ludwig was  popular with his people, not only because of what he did in Hesse, but also because of what he did not do in Hesse: it seems his compromising activities took place in Italy, out of sight of his people.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on October 27, 2009, 03:49:44 PM
I think VM suffered as she seemed to hate living a lie. For EL it is easier for him to live a double life. Missy wrote in her memoirs that even as a child her sister was honest and stubborn. That is why when her second husband betrayed her, it killed her. Onor was more suited to EL, since she did not care his "private life" and concentrate on the children and public role as Grand Duchess of Hesse.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Thomas_Hesse on October 27, 2009, 05:32:35 PM

Even if it is treu what was written about those "parties": the public certainly did not know about it. And I don't think that it was done as openly that VM would notice it.
Later memoirs are much exaggerated. And above all the reports about a rude and selfish and inappropriate behavior of the Grand Duchess are countless
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: imperial angel on October 27, 2009, 09:23:55 PM
I don't think it's true that VM wrecked both of her marriages. In my opinion, she and Ernest were both young and just not a good match. It was an arranged marriage that didn't work out. VM was obviously not as laid back as Ernest's second wife, but I wouldn't say it's true she wrecked the marriage by herself either. As for Kyril, and his marriage to VM, we don't know what happened to make it sour towards the end. We know more about why the marriage of Ernest and VM went sour.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on October 28, 2009, 03:22:42 PM
I have much sympathy for VM, who was forced into a marriage with no idea what love was. If the shattering of dreams was hard on the more pragmatic Missy, it would be even harder on the idealistic VM. The letters she wrote to Missy prior to her eventual divorce made hard reading. Many times she wanted to pin EL down and achieve a kind of link, EL always manage to be elusive to her much to her distress. It would seemed that apart from pouring her heart out to her favourite sister, she could only rebel aginst the status quo by escaping from the scene of the crime. VM lost herself in riding and suffered bouts of depression, which manifest itself by refusing to do what was expected of her and rude. It was really childish, but what could she have done in such a trapped situation. She felt trapped and long to break free.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: po3a on November 01, 2009, 06:02:30 PM
VM isn't someone that I admire.  But, I must say I am impressed with her.  She was a strong confidant woman---maybe it was because her grandparents on both sides were two of the most important people on the planet.  At a time when women had few rights and rules were not suppose to be broken she took her life into her own hands! I have to respect that... Ernie, wow, what can you say about him...such a tragic life.  If he was gay---well, being gay in Victorian times not easy. He had so much loss in his life. I find both of these individuals lives very interesting---a movie should be made!
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on November 02, 2009, 05:06:32 PM
Ducky would have reverted back to Princess Victoria Melita of Edinbrugh/Coburg after her divorce. She did not became Grand Duchess until she married Kyril.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Thomas_Hesse on November 03, 2009, 01:51:13 AM
Ernie, wow, what can you say about him...such a tragic life.  If he was gay---well, being gay in Victorian times not easy. He had so much loss in his life.

Guess there is a bit more to say about Ernst Ludwig's life than that =) an exceptional personality
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on November 03, 2009, 10:14:37 AM
You can never be sure one is totally gay or bisexual in those days.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Svetabel on November 04, 2009, 05:23:22 AM
You can never be sure one is totally gay or bisexual in those days.

Seems it's your favourite theme. There are a lot of themes to discuss except that vivid question.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on November 05, 2009, 02:52:38 PM
I think that was one of the reasons why Ducky felt she couldn't bond with Ernie.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Royski on February 08, 2010, 12:40:25 PM
I am new to this forum, but not new to reading about Royalty.  Can anyone suggest any good books that discuss Ernest and Victoria Meltia's marriage and the breakup?
I believe Helen talked about some books that talked about Ernest's affairs in Italy back on Oct.27, 2009, but she doesn't say which books or who the author was.
Thank you in advance for any assistance with this.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on February 08, 2010, 01:29:40 PM
There is quite a few books:

1. Fatal Attraction: A bio on Ducky that included life before and after her divorce from Ernie and marriage to Cyril
2. Victoria Melita: The bio on Ducky by John Van Der Kiste
3. My life in Russia's Service. The autobio of Grand Duke Cyril of Russia, second husband of Ducky.
4. The Story of my life. The auto biography of Ducky's sister Queen Marie of Romania. Covers their life as children.
5. Russian Memories. The memoirs of Merial Buchanan, who knew Ducky personally in Hesse and later in Russia.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: grandduchessella on February 08, 2010, 02:21:27 PM
I would add Hessian Tapestry by David Duff. If memory serves, the treatment of the divorce was pretty even-handed but it's been awhile. A Fatal Passion (not Fatal Attraction) was very pro-Victoria Melita. The Van Der Kiste was pretty just-the-facts-ma'am. Obviously Cyril's bio wouldn't dwell on the divorce, or his part, too heavily.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on February 08, 2010, 03:32:04 PM
Hessian Tavesry did not have too much on Ducky though.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: grandduchessella on February 08, 2010, 04:20:13 PM
But Royski didn't say he wanted info just on VM. He stated "Can anyone suggest any good books that discuss Ernest and Victoria Meltia's marriage and the breakup?"

Really makes me wish that Greg King didn't drop (or at least seriously postpone) his English-language bio on EL. He was a source for some of the information Royski mentioned about his Italian affairs. That was part of the research for the book.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on February 08, 2010, 04:22:22 PM
Well...I think it was also mentioned in more detail in George Buchanan's memoirs as well. I supect also VMH's privately published memoirs too.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Janet Ashton on February 09, 2010, 01:14:48 PM
John Wimbles wrote a long article for Royalty Digest Quarterly in 2007 (issue 2007:2) in which he explored the marriage of Ernst Ludwig and Victoria, and the way it ended, including the Grand Duke's involvement with Krupp's scandals on Capri. This is the best in-depth study I have seen published to date, though it's perhaps a little more discreet about the Grand Duke's interests than it might have been in a different sort of magazine.

I suspect that the book that the information came from may be "Exile on Capri" (translation of "l'Exile de Capri") by Roger Peyrifette (? think this is the correct spelling), and material that draws on it. Penny Wilson had read more about this in an unpublished memoir by a German journalist according to what Greg told me ca. 2004 when they were planning to do the Ernst bio.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on February 09, 2010, 01:19:57 PM
Yes. The article had been edited by the magazine, but to John Wimbles's disapointment. I knew the whole story through him personally though. That is why I have more sympathy for Ducky now.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Janet Ashton on February 09, 2010, 01:22:39 PM
I knew the whole story through him personally though. That is why I have more sympathy for Ducky now.

Yes, Eric, so do I, since I was writing on ERnie at the same time and our articles almost overlapped in time (Ernst being despatched to India, which was the subject of mine, to get him away from the scandal in Europe) - and ditto regarding Ducky!
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on February 09, 2010, 01:28:22 PM
Thanks. Ducky had such expectations for her marriage and wanted a life partner. In this aspect she was very modern in her approach to marriage. It was a tall order for any man she got involved in. Both Ernie & Cyril failed in their different ways. Poor Ducky !
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: grandduchessella on February 09, 2010, 02:02:34 PM
I knew the whole story through him personally though. That is why I have more sympathy for Ducky now.

Yes, Eric, so do I, since I was writing on ERnie at the same time and our articles almost overlapped in time (Ernst being despatched to India, which was the subject of mine, to get him away from the scandal in Europe) - and ditto regarding Ducky!

Did you publish yours Janet? I would love to read it. I just ordered a bunch of back issues of RDQ and so eagerly await the Greg King article. He wrote about it somewhat on the Forum long ago.

It was on this thread:
Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
http://forum.alexanderpalace.org/index.php?topic=338.0

It got rather divisive so the FA locked it but you can still read the info on it. As I was re-reading the posts (and boy was I a newbie then--over 5 years ago!), I saw that the FA had originally only intended to lock it for a couple of days for people to cool off. Some of it jumps around a bit as several posts were removed, either by mods or the poster themselves (back when anyone could delete at any time) but it's still easy enough to follow.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on February 09, 2010, 02:11:10 PM
That is interesting since I also contributed to RD. :-)
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: grandduchessella on February 09, 2010, 02:29:53 PM
Well, I look forward to your articles as well, Eric. : )  Who/what did you write on? I pretty much ordered every issue I didn't have except 1 or 2 which, based on the description, weren't on areas that particularly interest me.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Janet Ashton on February 09, 2010, 03:03:01 PM


Did you publish yours Janet? I would love to read it.


Mine was in RDQ 2007:1 - it's called "A golden bridge betwen East and West": Ernst Ldwig of Hesse and the 1903 Delhi Durbar (all my articles have clunky titles like this!) I didn't much mention anything about his sex life - except that while there in India he wrote a poem to the Ganges, about the pilgrims  at Benares immersing themselves in the river to wash  away their sins, and I thought that had some obvious connection with the rumours that swirled around him at the time! And after I'd written it I got to know John Wimbles who told me he thought EL went to India to escape the scandals.

I just ordered a bunch of back issues of RDQ and so eagerly await the Greg King article. He wrote about it somewhat on the Forum long ago.

It was on this thread:
Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
http://forum.alexanderpalace.org/index.php?topic=338.0

It got rather divisive so the FA locked it but you can still read the info on it. As I was re-reading the posts (and boy was I a newbie then--over 5 years ago!), I saw that the FA had originally only intended to lock it for a couple of days for people to cool off. Some of it jumps around a bit as several posts were removed, either by mods or the poster themselves (back when anyone could delete at any time) but it's still easy enough to follow.

The article in RDQ about Ernie's scandals and the end of the marriage to Ducky is by John Wimbles - I don't think Greg has ever written anything about EL for publication yet, except in Atlantis round about 2003. Clearly they had found the same information, though - and they have never had any contact with each other or discussed it.

Greg does have 2 articles in RDQ, though - both with me, back in 2006, which are about Polish palaces and the Romanovs.

I remember that old thread here, when it started; it was very funny as some posters had rather entrenched views!
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: grandduchessella on February 09, 2010, 03:06:19 PM
Thanks, Janet. I believe yours was in the group I ordered. My error, yes John Wimbles's article--I had Greg King on the brain!

And yes, the old thread was lively!
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Helen on February 09, 2010, 03:33:38 PM
Mine was in RDQ 2007:1 - it's called "A golden bridge betwen East and West": Ernst Ldwig of Hesse and the 1903 Delhi Durbar (all my articles have clunky titles like this!) I didn't much mention anything about his sex life - except that while there in India he wrote a poem to the Ganges, about the pilgrims  at Benares immersing themselves in the river to wash  away their sins, and I thought that had some obvious connection with the rumours that swirled around him at the time! And after I'd written it I got to know John Wimbles who told me he thought EL went to India to escape the scandals.
I was writing on Ernie at the same time and our articles almost overlapped in time (Ernst being despatched to India, which was the subject of mine, to get him away from the scandal in Europe) - and ditto regarding Ducky!
Janet, do you know why John Wimbles thought that EL went to India to escape the scandals around his person at the time? Didn't the Krupp scandal break out in the autumn of 1902? Ernst Ludwig had been interested in India since childhood, and Edward VII had invited Ernst Ludwig in the summer of 1902 to the Delhi Durbar, which makes me wonder whether the Krupp scandal wasn't just a secondary reason for EL's trip.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on February 09, 2010, 06:17:27 PM
I think it was John Wimbles who got hold of Ducky's letters to Missy that explained her side of the story on her marriage to EL. Ducky came out very sensitive and dying to try to reach out to Ernie. It was a losing battle as Ducky iniative to reach into the soul of Ernie was unsuccessful as he retreated into a facade of easy going and good humor. The spiritual link (who Ducky craved was not there). There is a world of difference that Alicky wrote "I love you, there words have my life in you." to Nicky. Her sister Missy gave up long time ago to have that kind of ideal relationship with Nando. Even though Ducky utimately failed, but there is something very honest, touching and modern to have a common link with your spouce or life partner. But there again she had such high standards of relationships for someone born in the 19th Century.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Teddy on February 10, 2010, 04:39:53 AM
Was there not a rumour that John Wimbles would publish these letters of Ducky?
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on February 10, 2010, 09:46:57 AM
No...Only Marie Coburg, the mother. But now another is going to publish those letters.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Janet Ashton on February 10, 2010, 12:55:18 PM
Janet, do you know why John Wimbles thought that EL went to India to escape the scandals around his person at the time? Didn't the Krupp scandal break out in the autumn of 1902? Ernst Ludwig had been interested in India since childhood, and Edward VII had invited Ernst Ludwig in the summer of 1902 to the Delhi Durbar, which makes me wonder whether the Krupp scandal wasn't just a secondary reason for EL's trip.

I suspect it was a bit of both. EL had always been interested in India, and the Durbar happened at a fortuitous time. IIRC he was the only foreign prince who attended, though. John W. feels that the divorces almost at the same time of both Ernst of Hesse and Aribert of Anhalt looked very bad, and there was a great deal of sensitivity about the reason becoming obvious, since it was the same in both cases. I don't know if people suspected that the Krupp scandal would erupt before it did, but even in 1900 the Duchess of Coburg wrote to her daughter saying that Ernst's going there would cause gossip. Whether she knew what went on or whether she simply thought he shouldn't leave his wife alone while he was on holiday I don't know! But Aribert himself was also a habitue of Krupp's villa, so at every step he and ERnst were linked.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: allanraymond on February 10, 2010, 01:04:46 PM
Apparently Rosvall Royal Books have plans to publish a selection of letters.

Allan Raymond
 
No...Only Marie Coburg, the mother. But now another is going to publish those letters.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on February 10, 2010, 01:43:02 PM
Yes. I was told by the man himself.

I am sure Marie Coburg knew everything since she correspond with Ducky on a regular basis.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Paola on February 11, 2010, 06:05:01 AM
Apparently Rosvall Royal Books have plans to publish a selection of letters.

Allan Raymond
 



And is there already a date for the publication?
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Svetabel on February 11, 2010, 07:33:47 AM
Apparently Rosvall Royal Books have plans to publish a selection of letters.

Allan Raymond
 



And is there already a date for the publication?

No. There's only a mention of it in a recent issue of RDQ.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Helen on February 11, 2010, 08:01:25 AM
I suspect it was a bit of both. EL had always been interested in India, and the Durbar happened at a fortuitous time. IIRC he was the only foreign prince who attended, though. John W. feels that the divorces almost at the same time of both Ernst of Hesse and Aribert of Anhalt looked very bad, and there was a great deal of sensitivity about the reason becoming obvious, since it was the same in both cases. I don't know if people suspected that the Krupp scandal would erupt before it did, but even in 1900 the Duchess of Coburg wrote to her daughter saying that Ernst's going there would cause gossip. Whether she knew what went on or whether she simply thought he shouldn't leave his wife alone while he was on holiday I don't know! But Aribert himself was also a habitue of Krupp's villa, so at every step he and Ernst were linked.
Janet, thank you for your reply. I'm not sure what the Duchess of Coburg knew, but if she didn't know all details of what was going on, she must have suspected a lot. Ernst Ludwig seems not to have been very discreet. For one thing, he appointed his former lover as a gentleman-in-waiting ('diensttuender Kammerherr') to Victoria Melita around their wedding-day,  at a time when he should have focused on his wife and making his marriage work. He also had an other gay friend stay at the house for the larger part of the summer of 1895, shortly after Victoria Melita had given birth to her first child. Ernst Ludwig travelled to Italy with this same friend, but without Victoria Melita, at least once a couple of years later. As Reginald 2nd Viscount Esher wrote in 1899, Ernst Ludwig was someone 'of the Loulou, Gogo type', 'without the skill or good taste to conceal it from Duckie', with the result that there were 'endless troubles'. He clearly wasn't an innocent party of his divorce.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Ilana on February 11, 2010, 10:34:29 AM
That is great news about John Wimbles and the letters he has.  I hope that his commentary will be published with each letter...it will really give the whole group of documents even more interest!
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on February 11, 2010, 06:06:03 PM
John is not doing it but Diana Mandache.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Thomas_Hesse on March 14, 2010, 04:51:55 AM
I just found this photograph of Victoria Melita taken in about 1900. She is at Wolfsgarten! Incredible how much the decorations changed since then. Was it not for the fireplace I would not have recognized it! The wallpaper seems to survive too. Today there are 18th century portraits hanging on the wall. Interesting that she does not seem to have favoured the Jugendstil movement in her private rooms.

(http://royalromania.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/victoria-melita.jpg?w=550&h=400)
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Carolath Habsburg on March 14, 2010, 11:16:37 AM
Question : Is this one from the same ubication?

(http://i43.tinypic.com/6tob45.jpg)
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Ally Kumari on March 14, 2010, 11:30:00 AM
Katenka - would it be possible to get this one unmarked please?
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Thomas_Hesse on March 14, 2010, 11:56:59 AM
Question : Is this one from the same ubication?

Whats an "ubication"? If it means "location": this seems not to be the Herrenbau at Wolfsgarten - but one cannot be sure. I did only see few photographs of the interiors under Ernst Ludwig's reign.

Ducky is smoking - by the way :)
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on March 14, 2010, 03:16:19 PM
Yes. The book book of interors that was available in Darmstadt covers only the reign of his father. Very few photos of Ducky after the divorce.  :(
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on March 14, 2010, 03:17:23 PM
Sorry I mean the big book. I wonder if it is still available in the Darmstadt bookstore...?
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Thomas_Hesse on April 17, 2010, 08:34:54 AM
(http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc3/hs499.snc3/27241_385397087465_649832465_4311870_4561840_n.jpg)
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: grandduchessella on April 18, 2010, 10:54:01 AM
I posted a group image of the 3 sisters on the Edinburgh children thread in Feb (from the Royal Collection) that contained this image. That might narrow the age down. Marie at this age always seems younger than Victoria Melita to me.

(http://www.royalcollection.org.uk/egallery/images/collection_large/52369.jpg)
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Veronica on April 18, 2010, 01:53:45 PM
The frame is dated 1882-83 in the Royal collection, that makes Victoria Melita around 6 or 7 years old.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: grandduchessella on July 13, 2010, 09:06:05 AM
Locking the thread to avoid repetition. It's time VM get moved over to her Imperial Family thread. Anything with her and Ernie can be posted in his thread. Anything with her daughter Elizabeth can be posted on her thread.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Svetabel on January 21, 2011, 04:36:35 AM
New arranging of the threads with favourite topics on Ernst Ludwig, Victoria Melita and her life.

All discussions on her life with Ernst Ludwig and her life as Grand Duchess of Hesse should be here.

Old thread on her as GDss of Hesse is closed to avoid repetition. I mean this one:

http://forum.alexanderpalace.org/index.php?topic=403.0 (http://forum.alexanderpalace.org/index.php?topic=403.0)

All discussions about VM and her life in Russia and in exile after the Revolution should be here:

http://forum.alexanderpalace.org/index.php?topic=16057.0 (http://forum.alexanderpalace.org/index.php?topic=16057.0)

that's Part II. A lot of info is also in the Part I:

http://forum.alexanderpalace.org/index.php?topic=27.0 (http://forum.alexanderpalace.org/index.php?topic=27.0)


Any discussion about VM and her relationship with Empress Alexandra must be at the proper thread:

http://forum.alexanderpalace.org/index.php?topic=6118.0 (http://forum.alexanderpalace.org/index.php?topic=6118.0)

The threads has been cleaned up of repetitive discussions and inane posts.
Please, stick to topics and try to avoid repetitions as there was enough of them. Thanks in advance.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: violetta on January 26, 2011, 05:01:31 PM
(http://i719.photobucket.com/albums/ww199/vitavioletta/ernst-ludwig.jpg)

i wonder where this picture might come from.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Carolath Habsburg on January 26, 2011, 05:32:10 PM
Its probably an illustration about their engagement.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: violetta on January 26, 2011, 06:56:12 PM
probably not because over VM`s head we see "Grossherzogin v. Hessen". If it had been their engagement picture VM would have been named "Princess of Edinburgh and Coburg". So probably wedding or some other occasion?
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: grandduchessella on January 26, 2011, 08:11:11 PM
It's a piece of a larger illustration used on a postcard commemmorating the visit of Nicholas and Alexandra to Darmstadt. I think the whole card is posted somewhere on here--they show both couples in those ovals--that's why it's slightly off-kilter. I can't remember the year but I'm sure someone can supply it.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Thomas_Hesse on January 27, 2011, 02:32:19 AM
There were several in the 1890ies.
96, 97, 99
I suppose it was 97
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Carolath Habsburg on January 27, 2011, 11:21:59 AM
thanks for the correction! i missed the inscription.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: violetta on February 09, 2011, 05:28:32 PM
pictures of the  1894 wedding


 victoria melita enters church with her father

(http://i719.photobucket.com/albums/ww199/vitavioletta/kobyrg-the-bride-entering-the-chapel-with-her-father-the-duke-of-coburg-engraving-published-by-the-graphic-.jpg)



(http://i719.photobucket.com/albums/ww199/vitavioletta/1894_ROYAL_WEDDING_COBURG_CHAPEL_CASTLE_MUSEUM_MARKET_1_Large.jpg)

(http://i719.photobucket.com/albums/ww199/vitavioletta/kobyrgthe-wedding-of-t-r-h-the-grand-duke-of-hesse-darmstadt-and-princess-victoria-melita-of-saxe-coburg-a.jpg)
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: violetta on February 09, 2011, 05:56:11 PM
(http://i719.photobucket.com/albums/ww199/vitavioletta/coburgwedding.jpg)



wedding breakfast

(http://i719.photobucket.com/albums/ww199/vitavioletta/coburgweddingbreakfast.jpg)




Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: violetta on February 09, 2011, 06:47:45 PM
(http://i719.photobucket.com/albums/ww199/vitavioletta/cobuurgwedding1894.jpg)
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Carolath Habsburg on March 18, 2011, 07:27:20 AM
(http://img84.imageshack.us/img84/7935/230308.jpg) (http://img84.imageshack.us/i/230308.jpg/)

 
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Svetabel on April 25, 2011, 04:57:06 AM
Viktoria Melita and her sister Sandra in April 1894

(http://i53.tinypic.com/9080nn.jpg)
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: grandduchessella on June 09, 2011, 03:03:57 PM
I had posted my picture of the large group shot of the wedding guests some years back. I don't know if it's still floating around or if it was lost in the changeover. If Beatrice was there, she should be in that photo.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on June 14, 2011, 01:33:16 PM
Love to see that photo. I think the three with mother at the carriage was the one that usually got published (got a copy myself from a friend). That could clear up the mystery.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Carolath Habsburg on June 24, 2011, 07:55:06 AM
Group image

From left to right: Victoria of Milford Haven (not sure tho, it could be Gdss Elisaveta Fyodorovna, makes more sense.), Gd Serge Alexandrovich, Duchess Marie of Edinburgh,Ernt Ludwig of Hesse. ?? (It looks like Henry Battenberg), Victoria melita , ??, Pss Beatrice of Edinburgh, ??.

In front, playing with a puppy, Pss Alexandra of Edinburgh

(http://img52.imageshack.us/img52/2595/scan006f.jpg) (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/52/scan006f.jpg/)

See it hi res here

http://img52.imageshack.us/img52/2595/scan006f.jpg
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Svetabel on June 24, 2011, 09:42:12 AM
Group image

From left to right: Victoria of Milford Haven (not sure tho, it could be Gdss Elisaveta Fyodorovna, makes more sense.), Gd Serge Alexandrovich, Duchess Marie of Edinburgh,Ernt Ludwig of Hesse. ?? (It looks like Henry Battenberg), Victoria melita , ??, Pss Beatrice of Edinburgh, ??.

In front, playing with a puppy, Pss Alexandra of Edinburgh


See it hi res here

http://img52.imageshack.us/img52/2595/scan006f.jpg

The photo is more likely of August 1895 year when GD Sergei visited his sister Marie in Bozenon, GDss Elizaveta was in Franzensbad while he was with the sister and her family.
The man at very right is Sergei's ADC Konstantin Balyasniy.

The man near Ersnt Ludwig looks very much like Prince Max of Baden.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Ilana on June 25, 2011, 10:52:41 AM
I agree, that is Prince Max.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on June 25, 2011, 12:01:54 PM
I read Prince Max of Baden once propose to Alix of Hesse.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Helen on June 26, 2011, 01:02:35 PM
I read Prince Max of Baden once propose to Alix of Hesse.
And Prince Ernst Günthers von Schleswig-Holstein proposed, or at least expressed an interest in Alix , in writing in 1888.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on June 26, 2011, 01:16:00 PM
Yes. Although I thought Max of Baden was too hot a prince to be sent packing by Alix. Both Maud of Wales and Helen of Russia (she got as far as engagement)  had set their hearts on him...
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: grandduchessella on June 28, 2011, 11:37:50 AM
Not to mention that Margaret of Prussia was madly in love with him for several years. I had realized that Maud did as well--rather fickle between her affections for Frank Teck and flirtations with some Greek and Russian cousins. And Maud was mentioned as a wife for Ernie which led to Queen Victoria's worry about the closeness of the relationship since Maud herself was regarded as sickly--unlike Victoria Melita. Ironic that, given the health problems she did have, Maud outlived both Ernie and Victoria Melita.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on June 28, 2011, 05:30:30 PM
Indeed, that is the reason I found it so odd that he was sent to propose to Alix of Hesse who did not care a fig about him...Her cousins would kill to be in her shoes. Actually Ducky died of a broken heart, she began to "die by inches" after she knew about Kyrill's "indiscretion". Had it not happen, she could have lived longer.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Laura_ on July 26, 2011, 08:44:59 AM
(http://img810.imageshack.us/img810/5505/rszvicmelita98.jpg) (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/810/rszvicmelita98.jpg/)

Picture taken during a visit in Romania...
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on July 26, 2011, 11:30:54 AM
Lovely. Ducky had always been sensitive, artistic and passionate. The photo maybe taken by Missy ?  ;)
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: miki_nastya on November 25, 2011, 01:01:58 AM
today was there birthdays...only now I realize that they were born on the same day...well so HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Thomas_Hesse on November 26, 2011, 01:35:14 AM

The photo is more likely of August 1895 year when GD Sergei visited his sister Marie in Bozenon, GDss Elizaveta was in Franzensbad while he was with the sister and her family.
The man at very right is Sergei's ADC Konstantin Balyasniy.

The man near Ersnt Ludwig looks very much like Prince Max of Baden.

But Franzensbad was in 1896 as far as I know - and Grand Duchess Elisaweta is in this picture as is her lady in waiting Kitty Kozlianinova
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Svetabel on November 26, 2011, 07:18:22 AM

The photo is more likely of August 1895 year when GD Sergei visited his sister Marie in Bozenon, GDss Elizaveta was in Franzensbad while he was with the sister and her family.
The man at very right is Sergei's ADC Konstantin Balyasniy.

The man near Ersnt Ludwig looks very much like Prince Max of Baden.

But Franzensbad was in 1896 as far as I know - and Grand Duchess Elisaweta is in this picture as is her lady in waiting Kitty Kozlianinova

Franzensbad was also in 1895 - in August 21 GD Sergei left his wife in Franzensbad and visited alone his sister Maria in Bosenon till the end of August. In 1896 the Grand Ducal pair was in Franzensbad with Fafka Lobanova, not with Kitty.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on November 26, 2011, 01:58:04 PM
I wonder if there were pictures of Ducky & Ernie with Queen Victoria.?
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Thomas_Hesse on November 27, 2011, 02:49:47 AM

The photo is more likely of August 1895 year when GD Sergei visited his sister Marie in Bozenon, GDss Elizaveta was in Franzensbad while he was with the sister and her family.
The man at very right is Sergei's ADC Konstantin Balyasniy.

The man near Ersnt Ludwig looks very much like Prince Max of Baden.

But Franzensbad was in 1896 as far as I know - and Grand Duchess Elisaweta is in this picture as is her lady in waiting Kitty Kozlianinova



Franzensbad was also in 1895 - in August 21 GD Sergei left his wife in Franzensbad and visited alone his sister Maria in Bosenon till the end of August. In 1896 the Grand Ducal pair was in Franzensbad with Fafka Lobanova, not with Kitty.

Yeah but in the previous photo both the Grand Duchess and Kitty are to be seen - so if it is true what you say it cannot possibly have been taken at Bosenon! U c? :)
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Svetabel on November 27, 2011, 05:07:24 AM
 

The photo is more likely of August 1895 year when GD Sergei visited his sister Marie in Bozenon, GDss Elizaveta was in Franzensbad while he was with the sister and her family.
The man at very right is Sergei's ADC Konstantin Balyasniy.

The man near Ersnt Ludwig looks very much like Prince Max of Baden.

But Franzensbad was in 1896 as far as I know - and Grand Duchess Elisaweta is in this picture as is her lady in waiting Kitty Kozlianinova



Franzensbad was also in 1895 - in August 21 GD Sergei left his wife in Franzensbad and visited alone his sister Maria in Bosenon till the end of August. In 1896 the Grand Ducal pair was in Franzensbad with Fafka Lobanova, not with Kitty.

Yeah but in the previous photo both the Grand Duchess and Kitty are to be seen - so if it is true what you say it cannot possibly have been taken at Bosenon! U c? :)

Thomas, if we speak about the photo posted above by Carolath Habsburg - there are no GDss and Kitty there. A girl next to GDss Victoria Melita looks like a lady-in-waiting of Duchess Marie (sorry don't remember the name right now). She can be seen in some group photos of the Royal persons and btw in the group photo in Ilinskoe in 1896. Both that lady and Kitty are in the picture. Just compare:

Kitty is second from right (sitting). The lady is 3d from right (standing). You see? ))

(http://www.picatom.com/22/1896ilinskoe1-1-th.jpg) (http://www.picatom.com/22/1896ilinskoe1-1.html)

So in the picture from Bosenon there's no Kitty. Though can't say who's a woman next GD Sergei.


p.s. That lady looks like GDss Maria Pavlovna-elder, doesn't she? But that's not MP, who was not invited in Ilinskoe then.

Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Svetabel on November 27, 2011, 01:19:52 PM
As an addition to my previous post - I think that lady (next to Victoria Melita in the picture) is Sophie de Passavant, l-i-w of Duchess Marie and since 1894 l-i-w of Victoria Melita.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Thomas_Hesse on November 27, 2011, 01:48:28 PM
Ah okay, so this is indeed not Kitty - but the woman next to Serge is definitely Grand Duchess Ella!
I have never heard the name Sophie de passavant..........

interesting
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Svetabel on November 27, 2011, 09:02:23 PM
Ah okay, so this is indeed not Kitty - but the woman next to Serge is definitely Grand Duchess Ella!
I have never heard the name Sophie de passavant..........

interesting

Well, I'll look one more time to my sources about Ella's presence in Bosenon in 1895. Not sure that's her.

Sophie von Passavant (sorry, I said 'de' but it's not a mistake actually as her family had French roots) is mentioned in the letters between Duchess Marie and her eldest daughter Marie ( Dearest Missy[/i] - the last book by D.Mandache).

The info about Sophie's being l-i-w of Victoria Melita - or her companion - I found in the R.Golicz bio on Duchess Marie.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on November 28, 2011, 03:42:11 PM
not sure it was Ella either.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Svetabel on November 30, 2011, 04:05:14 AM
Ah okay, so this is indeed not Kitty - but the woman next to Serge is definitely Grand Duchess Ella!
I have never heard the name Sophie de passavant..........

interesting

Well, I'll look one more time to my sources about Ella's presence in Bosenon in 1895. Not sure that's her.



I've looked through the sources with the chronology of the Grand Ducal pair's travels and the fact is that:

August 21 1895 GD Sergei left for Bosenon alone as his wife had to finish her cure in Franzensbad. He was visiting Bosenon till the end of August, then left for Italy  - alone with his ADC - and only in mid-September he and Elizaveta meet in Darmstadt.

That photo was taken in August, before Sandra's engagement to Ernst von Hohenlohe. There is a family photo of newly engaged couple with Duchess Marie and GD Pavel,  M-lle Passavant and others, where Duchess Marie is in the same dress as in the photo we speak about. I don't think that she would wear the same dress a year after if we imagine that the date of the photo is 1896 (when Ella indeed visited Bosenon with her husband).

So, I still don't think that's Ella in the photo.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on November 30, 2011, 12:12:30 PM
I often wondered what Ducky thought about Ella. She was close enough to see Ella's personality more closely than her sister Missy, who openly idolized her.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: grandduchessella on November 30, 2011, 02:35:26 PM
How much did she really see of her? She wasn't allowed to live in Russia following her marriage until 1909--by which point Ella had entered the convent. Other than that, just the visits to Darmstadt, I guess.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Svetabel on November 30, 2011, 11:35:29 PM
How much did she really see of her? She wasn't allowed to live in Russia following her marriage until 1909--by which point Ella had entered the convent. Other than that, just the visits to Darmstadt, I guess.

Ersnt Ludwig and VM visited 2 or 3 times Russia and also lived in Moscow for some days.I can dig out the dates of their visits.

Can't say exactly what Elizaveta thought of VM but I think her opinion would be a similar one of her husband - as she always supported him in his opinions and actions. Sergei itself doesn't write much on personal subjects in his diaries, there are some lines about the divorce of EL and VM and a story about VM's behaviour at the funeral of her daughter Elisabeth.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Thomas_Hesse on December 01, 2011, 05:28:16 AM
They deifintely visited Moscou in 1901 - there is a huge pretty photograph of Princess Elisabeth in front of a canon. It is signed in cyrillic letters dated and bears the mark "Moscou".

How did VM behave at Elisabeth's funeral?
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on December 01, 2011, 01:35:07 PM
They were quite close during VM's marriage to Ernie. It was Ella who wrote to VM on the kind of clothes (especially trains used on their gowns) during the many balls and reception during the coronation of Nicky & Alicky.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Svetabel on December 01, 2011, 02:20:53 PM

How much did she really see of her? She wasn't allowed to live in Russia following her marriage until 1909--by which point Ella had entered the convent. Other than that, just the visits to Darmstadt, I guess.



Well , their visits were: November-December 1895 - they visited St-Petersbourg and Moscow. Then - 1896 - the Coronation festivities. And January 1901 year.

Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Svetabel on December 01, 2011, 02:36:22 PM

How did VM behave at Elisabeth's funeral?

I meant to drop 2 sentences about this but now I see it's better to post the letters of GD Sergei to Nicholas II and Elizaveta Fedorovna to GDss Xenia A.
I'll translate and post them.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on December 02, 2011, 11:34:51 AM
They wrote to each other (Ella) frequently as Ducky implied in her letters to Missy.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Svetabel on December 02, 2011, 03:09:27 PM

How did VM behave at Elisabeth's funeral?

I meant to drop 2 sentences about this but now I see it's better to post the letters of GD Sergei to Nicholas II and Elizaveta Fedorovna to GDss Xenia A.
I'll translate and post them.

Here are my translations of the letters (extracts)- about VM at the funeral.

Letter of GD Sergei to Emperor Nicholas - November 6th,Darmstadt

Dear Nicky

I’d like to write quick words about  everything what was going on here. At the station in Frankfurt I came along with Ducky – she was together with Marie, Missy and baby Bee; when I was taking her to her carriage she asked if Ernie wished to see her or it would be displeasing too much for him. Her mood was very touching , their meeting was simple and natural. Ducky wished to see her daughter, and the coffin was uncovered. She was left alone with Ernie and asked him in detail about the illness and last minutes of the daughter…It was so very touching when after the end of the service – Ducky kneeled and put her head on the daughter’s coffin, and when she rose we saw that she had taken off her Hessian order and set it on the coffin: a sign that her connection with the country is cut off! She did that simply and naturally…


Letter of GDss Elizaveta F. to GDss Xenia Alexandrovna, November 9th,Darmstadt

Dear Xenia

…All this is so sad, so sad – I have no words…The meeting with Ducky was going on well. She looked like a shadow – poor, unhappy woman. Everything might be awful for her , and her recollections about her daughter are related with such remorse. The child would have been with her now but for her affair with Kyrill. Will he marry her?...He discredited her entirely in  everyone’s eyes, she is torn between and, alas! – they may thank themselves that they live now in a such situation. And all this drama has a basis – alas! – it’s a selfishness…
We all felt so sorry for her, we did everything to soothe a pain at the meeting. She was due to follow the coffin with her mother and sisters - ‘No,I want to go with someone of you’  - she followed with Victoria in the 1st carriage – Victoria was very oppressed with her grief…Ernie was as kind as an angel – he gave her a hand when she was getting out of a carriage and he was keeping her close by during all the service and funeral . He wanted that everyone saw in them a poor mother and father , not a divorced couple. Ony fancy what is that for him, but God helped him.



The source of letters is "Grand Duchess Elizaveta Feodorovna and Emperor Nicholas II. 1884-1909".

Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Thomas_Hesse on December 02, 2011, 04:25:52 PM
Thank you so much for taking the time and translating it all - unknown sources to me. I am glad to read about Ernst Ludwig's behavior - I had not a moment expected a different manner!
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Svetabel on December 03, 2011, 12:29:30 PM
Thank you so much for taking the time and translating it all - unknown sources to me. I am glad to read about Ernst Ludwig's behavior - I had not a moment expected a different manner!


You are welcome. I wished I had enough time to translate and post some more info/tidbits from the source I mentioned and also from a new Volume 4 on GD Sergei (his correspondence, diaries...)
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on December 05, 2011, 01:00:53 PM
Thanks for the translation. We get to know more about the people involved. If only these info could be published in English (like the letters of Marie Coburg & Tsarina Alexandra) one from the archives in Darmstadt and the other from Romania.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Carolath Habsburg on December 22, 2011, 02:35:00 PM
Victoria melita in uniform

(http://img823.imageshack.us/img823/6396/liyghiouh.jpg) (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/823/liyghiouh.jpg/)

 
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Svetabel on December 22, 2011, 02:40:01 PM
Victoria melita in uniform


 

She was the Chief of 117th Infantry Regiment of Grand Duchess of Hesse as I know. Great photo, thanks.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Carolath Habsburg on December 22, 2011, 02:41:26 PM
You welcome and thanks for the complementary info!! here two more in uniform and another one with a great brooch!

(http://img577.imageshack.us/img577/993/ojpioj.jpg) (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/577/ojpioj.jpg/)

 
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Svetabel on December 22, 2011, 02:50:30 PM
You welcome and thanks for the complementary info!! here two more in uniform and another one with a great brooch!

(http://img577.imageshack.us/img577/993/ojpioj.jpg) (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/577/ojpioj.jpg/)

 


And these uniforms are of some Grenadier Regiment...Very interesting!
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: grandduchessella on December 22, 2011, 04:30:53 PM
She was apparently very proud of her regiment and frequently appeared to review them. There are a lot of photos of her--mostly posed like these--in the magazines of the Day. One article--Royal Women Colonels--had one of this sitting plus Charlotte, Louise Connaught, Empress Augusta Victoria, Marie (Missy) and others--mostly those holding Colonelships of German regiments. The women cut quite the dashing figures in their uniform.  :)
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Thomas_Hesse on December 23, 2011, 04:23:08 AM
This is the uniform of the "Großherzoglich Hessisches Leib-Infanterie Regiment Nr. 117 Großherzogin" whose patron was always the Grand Duchess of Hesse. Photographed in 1897
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Carolath Habsburg on December 23, 2011, 07:41:13 AM
The pictures ame of the Nilssen collection of portraits from the 1898 issue. I have three of these books and i just found out recently they had royals, since i bought them because the victorian actresses.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Svetabel on March 06, 2012, 05:40:38 AM
Ernst Ludwig and Victoria Melita in 1895

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v433/feomarie/Rarefind/1895.jpg)
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on March 06, 2012, 01:17:20 PM
Both of them looked unhappy and wistful....
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Ilana on March 07, 2012, 10:09:13 AM
...or maybe it was just taking too long for the photograph to be taken!
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on March 07, 2012, 02:35:14 PM
Don't think they can stand hand in hand for that long. Ducky's look has an element of slight surprise in em.  ;)
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: perdita on June 25, 2012, 10:57:44 PM

How did VM behave at Elisabeth's funeral?

I meant to drop 2 sentences about this but now I see it's better to post the letters of GD Sergei to Nicholas II and Elizaveta Fedorovna to GDss Xenia A.
I'll translate and post them.

Here are my translations of the letters (extracts)- about VM at the funeral.

Letter of GD Sergei to Emperor Nicholas - November 6th,Darmstadt

Dear Nicky

I’d like to write quick words about  everything what was going on here. At the station in Frankfurt I came along with Ducky – she was together with Marie, Missy and baby Bee; when I was taking her to her carriage she asked if Ernie wished to see her or it would be displeasing too much for him. Her mood was very touching , their meeting was simple and natural. Ducky wished to see her daughter, and the coffin was uncovered. She was left alone with Ernie and asked him in detail about the illness and last minutes of the daughter…It was so very touching when after the end of the service – Ducky kneeled and put her head on the daughter’s coffin, and when she rose we saw that she had taken off her Hessian order and set it on the coffin: a sign that her connection with the country is cut off! She did that simply and naturally…


Letter of GDss Elizaveta F. to GDss Xenia Alexandrovna, November 9th,Darmstadt

Dear Xenia

…All this is so sad, so sad – I have no words…The meeting with Ducky was going on well. She looked like a shadow – poor, unhappy woman. Everything might be awful for her , and her recollections about her daughter are related with such remorse. The child would have been with her now but for her affair with Kyrill. Will he marry her?...He discredited her entirely in  everyone’s eyes, she is torn between and, alas! – they may thank themselves that they live now in a such situation. And all this drama has a basis – alas! – it’s a selfishness…
We all felt so sorry for her, we did everything to soothe a pain at the meeting. She was due to follow the coffin with her mother and sisters - ‘No,I want to go with someone of you’  - she followed with Victoria in the 1st carriage – Victoria was very oppressed with her grief…Ernie was as kind as an angel – he gave her a hand when she was getting out of a carriage and he was keeping her close by during all the service and funeral . He wanted that everyone saw in them a poor mother and father , not a divorced couple. Ony fancy what is that for him, but God helped him.



The source of letters is "Grand Duchess Elizaveta Feodorovna and Emperor Nicholas II. 1884-1909".



Pieces of a puzzle explained. Thank you for the translations.

The Romnaov/Hesse relationships are complicated. Rare first hand insights are always appreciated. Wish their diaries & letters could be published in English.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: perdita on June 26, 2012, 01:34:46 AM
You can never be sure one is totally gay or bisexual in those days.

Apparently, Ernie's own sisters (who adored him) did not deny the rumors surrounding him. Victoria of Battenberg even expressed sympathy for VM's plight during the divorce--although Ella and Alix clearly disapproved of VM's relationship with Kyril, as did many in the Romanov family.

But what is amazing is how many explicit details VM and Marie Alexandrovna (ditto all in sundry) knew about regarding Ernie's sex life. Just how indiscreet was that man? Did he do it on the carpet in the front entrence? Did he give all the details to VM in daily reports? Did he advertise?
VM and her mother vent as if they they were privy to every nook and cranny involving Ernie's sexual acts and predilections. The point is, even in modern times most people don't have a clue what their partners are up to sexually, much less the particulars of their antics.  

There is no evidence that VM & Marie Alexandrovna were liars, nor is there reason to doubt VM's first hand account of her intimate life with her own husband. Ernie's sexual proclivities DO appear to be out of the ordinary (& apparently insatible if VM & Company's are to be believed) but how did these proper Victorian ladies & their network of spies know the particulars about what was going on behind doors closed to them? Did they peep through windows, hire detectives, raid confessionals, beat it out of him--or was it rumor & conjecture on their part?
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: CountessKate on June 26, 2012, 04:57:29 AM
To what "VM's first hand account of her intimate life with her own husband" do you refer?  My understanding is that the divorce of Victoria Melita and Ernst was on the grounds of 'invincible mutual antipathy' and that no suggestion that Ernst's sexuality had contributed to the unhappiness of the marriage was made until Ileana of Romania referred to it many decades later (and thus is a second hand account).  What evidence is there that "Ernie's own sisters" would have been aware of "rumours surrounding him", when it is not obvious that there were any rumours? 
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on June 26, 2012, 07:50:20 AM
According to the letters Ducky wrote to Missy, it was more like Ducky was unable to make an emotional connection with Ernie. She was even kept from his bedside when he was sick. So I think the situation with "boys on the side" appeared to be the final nail of the coffin of that marriage. The fact that Ernie begged Ducky not to divorce and even offered to pay her comfortably if she continue has a ring of truth to it (that offer was revealed in Ducky's letter to her uncle, Grand Duke Serge).
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Helen on June 26, 2012, 08:03:51 AM
To what "VM's first hand account of her intimate life with her own husband" do you refer?  My understanding is that the divorce of Victoria Melita and Ernst was on the grounds of 'invincible mutual antipathy' and that no suggestion that Ernst's sexuality had contributed to the unhappiness of the marriage was made until Ileana of Romania referred to it many decades later (and thus is a second hand account).  What evidence is there that "Ernie's own sisters" would have been aware of "rumours surrounding him", when it is not obvious that there were any rumours? 
John Wimbles wrote an interesting article about the marriage of Ernst Ludwig and Victoria Melita, published in Royalty Digest Quarterly , No. 7, 2007, which includes details relevant to your questions.

Apart from Wimbles' publication, there's a pre-1894 letter to Ernst Ludwig in which his sister Alix referred to EL's fear, for whatever reason,  that one gay friend would show up during his stay at Windsor, while another gay friend was there, too.  There's also evidence that Ernst Ludwig had a male lover before his marriage, who was appointed to the position of diensttuender Kammerherr to Victoria Melita from the first day of EL's & VM's marriage. Moreover, Ernst Ludwig had a gay friend stay as a guest at his home for many weeks in 1895, with whom he visited Italy/Capri later; and still later, Ernst Ludwig's name was mentioned in the context of Krupp's scandal on Capri.

Alix's letters to her brother show that she knew that Ernst Ludwig and Victoria Melita had 'problems in the bedroom' well before EL's and VM's divorce. These problems were also mentioned/discussed in letters between Prince Henry of Prussia and Kaiser Wilhelm II in the days when the divorce was arranged [Ref: Ernst Ludwig und Victoria Melita by Hein Holzhauer & Eckhart G. Franz in Archiv fur hessische Geschichte , 63(2005)].
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: CountessKate on June 26, 2012, 10:22:36 AM
Quote
John Wimbles wrote an interesting article about the marriage of Ernst Ludwig and Victoria Melita, published in Royalty Digest Quarterly , No. 7, 2007, which includes details relevant to your questions.

Apart from Wimbles' publication, there's a pre-1894 letter to Ernst Ludwig in which his sister Alix referred to EL's fear, for whatever reason,  that one gay friend would show up during his stay at Windsor, while another gay friend was there, too.  There's also evidence that Ernst Ludwig had a male lover before his marriage, who was appointed to the position of diensttuender Kammerherr to Victoria Melita from the first day of EL's & VM's marriage. Moreover, Ernst Ludwig had a gay friend stay as a guest at his home for many weeks in 1895, with whom he visited Italy/Capri later; and still later, Ernst Ludwig's name was mentioned in the context of Krupp's scandal on Capri.

Alix's letters to her brother show that she knew that Ernst Ludwig and Victoria Melita had 'problems in the bedroom' well before EL's and VM's divorce. These problems were also mentioned/discussed in letters between Prince Henry of Prussia and Kaiser Wilhelm II in the days when the divorce was arranged [Ref: Ernst Ludwig und Victoria Melita by Hein Holzhauer & Eckhart G. Franz in Archiv fur hessische Geschichte , 63(2005)].

I agree that there is a reasonable amount of evidence that Ernst Ludwig was probably bisexual and the likelihood is that he had sexual relations with other men during his marriage to Victoria Melita.  I am just in doubt as to whether it was known by his sisters and actually condoned by them.  Wimbles’ article quotes Alix’s letter to Xenia in which she says, “whenever you hear nasty gossip, at once put a stop to it for their sakes and ours.  They parted as their characters could impossibly get on together, this is enough for the public....” as possibly implying some knowledge of Ernst Ludwig’s sexual misconduct but “nasty gossip” could refer to anything, or to either party.  As Victoria Melita, as the female in the partnership, was widely blamed for the divorce, the letter could equally demonstrate Alix’s sympathy with her position, much greater than has been assumed by many of her biographers, but not necessarily because she felt her brother was in any way blameworthy.  Given Alix’s general intolerance of sexual irregularity, I am dubious about how far she would overlook explicit evidence of homosexuality - which Marie of Romania categorised as a “horrible vice” (although not in relation to Ernst Ludwig).  Alix did not essentially overlook the evidence of Rasputin’s sexual misconduct – she simply refused to believe it.  So I do wonder whether she and her other sisters would have basically never allowed themselves to think about Ernst Ludwig in that way – and from the evidence, it doesn’t appear as if there were rumours about Ernst Ludwig generally at the time of the divorce, but rather, Victoria Melita got the blame.  Ernst Ludwig was of course publicly named as a homosexual in the Eulenburg affair of 1907 but was able to weather the storm since he was happily remarried by then with a son , and I imagine his sisters would view that as conclusive evidence against such allegations. 

Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: grandduchessella on June 26, 2012, 10:23:21 AM
Makes one wish all the more that Greg King had been able to go ahead with a biography on Ernest Ludwig. He is one of those prominent people in other's stories but so much actually written about him is conjecture. Being able to read some letters written to/from/about him would shed some needed light on his story.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: perdita on June 26, 2012, 05:46:41 PM
To what "VM's first hand account of her intimate life with her own husband" do you refer?  My understanding is that the divorce of Victoria Melita and Ernst was on the grounds of 'invincible mutual antipathy' and that no suggestion that Ernst's sexuality had contributed to the unhappiness of the marriage was made until Ileana of Romania referred to it many decades later (and thus is a second hand account).  What evidence is there that "Ernie's own sisters" would have been aware of "rumours surrounding him", when it is not obvious that there were any rumours?  

Marie Alexandrovna had LOTS to say about Ernie's sexual proclivities. Very outspoken, she certainly would have made known to her Russian/Hessian relations her daughter's unhappy marital situation particularily during the scandal period when VM was seeking a divorce and it was becoming clear to the family her attachment to Kyril.

Marie Alexandrovna fought for her daughter's (plural) reputations like a hawk and would have used all in her arsenal to arouse sympathy and understanding for her favorite VM at such a critical juncture and with so much at stake.

Marie Alexandrovna was all about "smoothing the way" for her children when it was a matter of salvaging their reputations (& dynastic futures) in the eyes of her imperial relations. A "deeply devout" monarchist, Marie even defended the indefensible--i.e., divorcee Ducky's remarriage to her first cousin Kyril in defiance of the Tsar and the laws of the Greek Orthodox Church.

Not surprisingly, "stickler" Marie Alexandrovna was a #1 witness at VM & Kyril's illegal wedding.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: perdita on June 26, 2012, 05:51:00 PM
Victoria of Battenberg was particularily sympathetic to VM at the time of her divorce from Ernie. None of the Hessian sisters "took sides" during that period.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on June 26, 2012, 11:22:39 PM
I think Miechen accuses Alicky of turning the Tsar against  her son Cyril.

In Wimbles letter readings on the situation that led up to the divorce, it is certain that Ernie refuse to open up his emotions to Ducky, she wrote to Missy confessing that she cannot get through to him ( Ernie). It seems that Ducky needs a kind of emotional bond that Ernie was incapable to give. That made sense when Ernie remarried, his second wife did not seem to demand the same closeness that the sensitive Ducky required. That also made sense when Cyril did betrayed his fidelity, Ducky felt it so hard that she "began to die by inches". 
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: perdita on June 27, 2012, 09:25:30 AM
I think Miechen accuses Alicky of turning the Tsar against  her son Cyril.

In Wimbles letter readings on the situation that led up to the divorce, it is certain that Ernie refuse to open up his emotions to Ducky, she wrote to Missy confessing that she cannot get through to him ( Ernie). It seems that Ducky needs a kind of emotional bond that Ernie was incapable to give. That made sense when Ernie remarried, his second wife did not seem to demand the same closeness that the sensitive Ducky required. That also made sense when Cyril did betrayed his fidelity, Ducky felt it so hard that she "began to die by inches".  

In her letters to VM, Marie Alexandrovna mocked Ernie's lack of interest in having sex with his wife & made clear he was not "a real man".

Whatever the reasons VM expediently gave to justify a divorce from Ernie ("couldn't get through to him", etc ) it was she who wanted the divorce, not her husband.

The dirty little secret was VM was in love with another first cousin--Kyril.

So why would the high handed & proud Marie Alexandrovna stand idly by and allow VM to take the fall without a credible explanation to justify a divorce to her royal relations? That Ernie wasn't a soulmate to VM would hardly cut it in royal eyes.

Granted, sexual attitudes can have no rhyme or reason--and VM was by nature a dogmatist. But the question remains, if Ernie's sexual infidelity didn't destroy their marriage in VM's eyes, why did it destroy VM's marriage to the unfaithful Kyril had she otherwise had a close relationship with him--i.e., been able "to get through to him"?

While it is reasonable to put adultery in the betrayal catagory (i.e., a marriage based on lies, vows broken, trust destroyed, risking STDs & illegitimate births, etc)--it's difficult to understand why VM was so unforgiving in Kyril's case, but didn't think infidelity particularily relevant as a basis for wanting a divorce from Ernie.

It's also hard to understand why VM was so militantly unforgiving towards Kyril's infidelty, when her own sisters (Queen Victoria's granddaughters, no less) had for decades been committing adultery right and left.  

Infidelity was no stranger to VM.

So why an infidelty pass for Ernie & her beloved sisters--but absolutely none permitted to Kyril?

Was not VM the Edinburgh sister who consistenly demanded "fairness"?
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Vecchiolarry on June 27, 2012, 09:45:42 AM
Hi Perdita,

My theory - unsubstanciated but just my opinion - is that Victoria Melita loved Cyril;  but didn't necessarily love Ernest...
She was ballyhooed into marrying Ernie by Queen Victoria, and possibly her own mother (as a great dynastic union);  so she meekly went along and not really caring what Enie was up to.
She did, however, care deeply what Cyril was up to;  and took it all too personally...

What do you think?

Larry
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on June 27, 2012, 10:08:40 AM
It is where the infidelity lies. This is the interesting part. When Ernie was thinking of proposing to Ducky, ne must be mindful of his inability to be faithful to a woman. QV played a strong part in egging him to propose to his cousin. Marie Coburg never liked what QV liked and even went further to warn Ernie not to drag Ducky to kowtow to "Grandmama Queen " in Windsor. She had successfully thawed the plan to marry Missy to George of Wales. So one understands why Marie supported Ducky in her divorce and remarriage.

Both Ernie & Kyril were fundamentally weak men, but there is difference between them. Ernie was a sensitive soul that was traumatized by the deaths in the family (Frittie, May & Alice). Her only close confidant was Ella, who like him was sensitive and respond to his emotional needs as Alicky, VMH or Irene could do. This VMH understood the bonds between her brother & sister. Errnie could not share part of his soul that Ducky wished to connect. In place of his real self, the equally sensitive Ducky saw only a facade (nice, jovial but nothing deep). It tore Ducky apart when she tried to be in his inner part, which he rejected. Kyril on the the hand was always dominated by a strong woman (Miechen) who told him what to do. This was of course another reason why Miechen could never be friends with Ducky, she wouldn't left go like Minnie did with Nicky. So when Kyril came along, he did not resist emotionally to Ducky and they fell in love (she was never truly in love with Ernie anyway). In later years, people who met the couple commented that Ducky was the more dynamic of the two. She even threaten Grand Duke Dmitri to his face when she found out he harbor some hopes of the throne himself. So to her, their union have purpose, and it energized Ducky. So when Kyril betrayal was revealed to her (most writers hinted the other party was probably a man) , it brought back all the nightmare of Ernie and his homosexuality that Ducky thought she left behind. It was a cruel joke on Ducky and it made a mockery of their vows and union. She began to will herself to die. Missy wrote about her sister "She was the most unforgiving of us all." That was true and she never did forgave Kyril for that.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: perdita on July 04, 2012, 12:18:35 PM
It is where the infidelity lies. This is the interesting part. When Ernie was thinking of proposing to Ducky, ne must be mindful of his inability to be faithful to a woman.

Predictably, it's rarely the principle, but rather who's ox is being gored. True, VM wasn't "in love" with Ernie or her sisters, but there still exists a fairness or double standard disparity there. After 30 plus years of "understanding" between VM &  Kyril & with their futures inexorably tied to one another VM took a militantly unforgiving (lethal) stance against her husband when she had given a pass to Ernie, her sisters & many other friends & relations. To repeat, infidelity was no stranger to VM. Of course, after so many disappointments in VM's life Kyril's betrayal might have been the last straw but even so throwing in the towel was a strech with so much at stake.

The point is, VM was purportedly "highly principled" and this controversy bring into question her sincerity & motives--not to mention, the machinations she deployed during the years she was attempting to negotiate a separation from Ernie that would be credible in the eyes of her relations. i.e., Her public relations campaign to persuade her royal relatives that it was the lack of "understanding" between herself and Ernie that was the key problem--NOT that she had a long standing aversion to her husband & had fallen in love with Kyril. Under those suspect circumstances VM sought to persuade her relatives that she was willing to "try again" with Ernie even going so far as to have another child (miscarried) by him when she might have calulated that her house of cards would inevitably collapse.

Unfortunately, there is scant known about Kyril's infidelty, his point of view on that subject, or the circumstances surrounding his extra marital relationships. The only perspective known is VM's implacable reaction to Kyril. Posters can only conjecture.

Who's ox is being gored is right. Interestingly, Marie Alexandrovich was a stickler on all things Russian monarchy & Greek Orthodox but did not hesitate to precide over VM's illegal marriage to her first cousin in direct defiance of the edict of the Russian emperor.

It's hardly surprising that Marie Alexandrovich had no-end difficulties with her daughters. This favorite child of Alexander 11 set herself up for one domestic calamity after another. On one hand, Marie preached implacable morality and duty, on the other, she spent her life indoctrinating her daughters to have contempt for men while arranging for them a constant round of "amusements"--balls, dances, theatricals, skating parties, pony rides, bicycling, with handsome grand Dukes, officers, even actors in attendance whilst traveling from one glamorous royal court to another, etc. Talk about living vicariously. When Marie's daughter's did fall from grace (SURPRISE!) their Mama made her displeasure known only to make clear she would defend their reputations & make execuses in their defense to the hilt. Ditto she deployed whatever it took to get that job done.

While Marie Alexandrovna never gave her husband, son, or men in general AN INCH, she did not hesitate to make excuses again and again for her daughters after orchestrating for them marriages virtually doomed to failure. The upshot is Marie Alexandovna's daughters grasped early on that their irregular behaviors would skate. The Duchess of Coburg would only break with her daughter "Missy" when the later sided with the allies during World War One.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on July 04, 2012, 05:00:51 PM
I think I believe VM when she told about her situation with Ernie to Missy. She was pressured to get a male heir after visiting Grandmama Queen. She looked at the chaos in Coburg after her father died without a male heir. She even spared some reflective thoughts on her "hated" sister-in-law Alickly, who was in the same spot at the time. She did try and it didn't work. I don't think it was "calculated" In her sisters's word, she was incapable of living a lie. "She was our conscience". 
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Condecontessa on July 06, 2012, 10:45:59 PM
Anyone knows if Victoria Melita ever mentioned her first daughter again? It seems like VM just completely eradicated her first daughters memory in her life. Of course I am not an expert so I could be wrong.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on July 07, 2012, 12:14:26 PM
Perhaps in passing, but anybody who lose a child did not want to revisit that painful place. Ducky was visibly affected at Elizabeth's funeral. As she was someone who "the most unforgiving", she must have  felt guilt among her many mixed feelings at that point.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: perdita on July 15, 2012, 04:42:04 PM
I think I believe VM when she told about her situation with Ernie to Missy. She was pressured to get a male heir after visiting Grandmama Queen. She looked at the chaos in Coburg after her father died without a male heir. She even spared some reflective thoughts on her "hated" sister-in-law Alickly, who was in the same spot at the time. She did try and it didn't work. I don't think it was "calculated" In her sisters's word, she was incapable of living a lie. "She was our conscience".  

Was VM's willingness to marry Ernest of Hesse entered into with the most sincere intentions or was it to an extent "calculated"?

Granted, VM's calculations are debatable.

Quote:

Ernest of Hesse to his sister Victoria Battenberg at the time of his divorce: "Now that I am calmer I see the ABSULTE impossibility of going on leading a life which is killing her and driving me nearly mad. For to keep up your spirits and a laughing face while ruin is staring you in the eyes and misery is tearing your heart to pieces is a struggle that IS FUTILE. I Only tried for her sake. If I did not love her so, I would have GIVEN UP LONG AGO."

Victoria of Battenberg: "Their characters and temperaments were quite unsuitable to each other."

The point is, what Ernie & Victoria of Battenberg knew, Marie Alexandrovna & VM knew in spades.

The correspondence of Marie Alexandrovna makes evident that VM felt contempt, even an aversion for Ernie, and knew they were fundamentally incompatable.  The Duchess of Coburg and VM were too intelligent and astute to believe the marriage salvagable particularily in view that VM and spent years trying to separate herself from Ernie and for some time had been in love with the Grand Duke Kyril. It didn't help that Princess Elizabeth of Hesse had become so alienated from VM as a result of their frequent separations (& her parents loud physical fights) that she far preferred Ernie and wanted little to do with the mother she doubted really loved her. Consciously or not, the end game was that the divorce be palatable to their royal relations. That a union with Ernie to a woman determined to make their marriage work was doomed to failure isn't credible. Ernie and Princess Eleonore had a successful marriage and were loving parents to their two sons.

It's tragic that VM was too inflexible to forgive to the last NOT Ernie's transgressions--but Kyril's.

Kyril on VM after her death: "There are few who in one person combine all that is best in soul, mind, and body. She had it all, and more. Few there are who are fortunate in having such a woman as their parner in their lives--I was one of the privileged."

??

Was all really as it seemed or was there maintained to an extent a false front?  i.e., There is no doubt that Kyril & his three children adored VM, but according to those closest to Victoria Melita in the last years of her life she was repelled by Kyril's touch and presence. Even on her deathbed.

Will admit to being a bit cynical when it comes to the endless calculations and machinations of the formidable Marie Alexandrovna on behalf of her daughters. To a certain degree her daughters most certainly co-operated with her schemes & calculations, marital and otherwise.

It is hoped that one day the letters between Marie Alexandrovna/VM and VM/Marie of Romania will be published in a series of volumes. It will be an eye opener adding significant pieces to their puzzle, not to mention a veil lifted on several European courts from their vantage point.

Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on July 15, 2012, 06:46:20 PM
I agree the publications of the letters would clear the air in some areas. On the reason why Ducky could forgive Ernie and not Kirill ? The answer lies in the fact that she could blame Grandmama Queen for arranging her match to Ernie (she went through a period with fellow QV hater Dona, Empress of Germany). But she could not blame anybody but herself for licking Kirill, she should have seen that "betrayal" coming but did not. In other words, she blamed herself as much as she did Kirill, and for that reason, she could not go on. In fact her death was her punishment to herself.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Thomas_Hesse on July 17, 2012, 02:10:49 AM
Do we really know that Queen Victoria "arranged" that marriage so actively as many books state?
In the case of all her hessian grand daughters the Queen's will proved to be of little influence - all of them married the men they loved. Even against Victoria's will.

I wonder why Ernst Ludwig should have married a woman whom he did not love - in the letter quoted above he repeats his love for VM.
And a young woman as outspoken as VM would certainly not have married a man she was not attracted to?

I really think that it was only after a couple of years that they found themselves unable to get on together.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: CountessKate on July 17, 2012, 03:21:37 AM
Do we really know that Queen Victoria "arranged" that marriage so actively as many books state?
In the case of all her hessian grand daughters the Queen's will proved to be of little influence - all of them married the men they loved. Even against Victoria's will.
I wonder why Ernst Ludwig should have married a woman whom he did not love - in the letter quoted above he repeats his love for VM.
And a young woman as outspoken as VM would certainly not have married a man she was not attracted to?
I really think that it was only after a couple of years that they found themselves unable to get on together.

In 1891 Queen Victoria wrote to Ernst Ludwig's eldest sister Victoria that "When Sir Wm Jenner was here I spoke to him about the possibility of Ernie's marrying one of the Edinburgh cousins" [Jenner was the Physician in Ordinary to QV and the Prince of Wales; the point of QV's enquiry was to determine whether a marriage between first cousins was undesirable.  Sir William of course said "there was no danger" due to the good health of the girls and their mother].  So QV was certainly pushing an Edinburgh-Hesse marriage at a fairly early stage.  In 1893 she again wrote to her granddaughter to say that she had “had it out with Aunt Marie....[who] is most anxious abt. Ernie and Ducky & I have written twice to Ernie abt the necessity of showing some attention & interest.....Aunt Marie fears he no longer wishes it, wh. I am sure is not the case.  Georgie lost Missy by waiting & waiting.”  While the views of ‘Aunt Marie’ are a little opaque, the Duke of Edinburgh’s were much more positive - when the engagement was announced in 1894 he telegraphed to QV that "Your and my great wish has been fulfilled this evening.  Ducky has accepted Ernie of Hesse's proposal".  However, while QV’s view seemed to be that the couple were a good match in that they were both artistic and had many interests in common, they had known each other for all their lives and thus at least had an opportunity to see whether they actually disliked each other, and while she could and did put pressure on her grandchildren to make the marriages she was keen on, there is no indication that she wouldn’t accept ‘no’ if that had been firm in either case.  So I don’t think there was any genuine compulsion in the marriage, although QV certainly energetically managed the business, to the stage where both parties were placed in proximity and were given strong encouragement to play the parts she desired. 
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Ilana on July 17, 2012, 10:23:57 AM
I think that it's also important to remember that EL was not as strong willed as his sisters.  I believe that as a young man he had been managed for so long that as long as someone was prodding him, he would be managed into this marriage as well.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on July 17, 2012, 10:25:38 AM
I think they liked each other but were not in love. There were success stories like George & May or Sasha & Minny, so a marriage made in mutual liking (if not love) did have a chance of success. The problem was that both wanted different things in their choice of life partners. Ernie wanted a freedom and space within a marriage that the more intense Ducky could not give.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: grandduchessella on July 17, 2012, 11:20:32 AM
It seems that Queen Victoria was most anxious to get Ernie settled--especially after his father's death in 1892 when Ernie was the last male in the line. The dynastic reasons became paramount then. She had mentioned Maud Wales in a letter to Victoria Battenberg but nothing came of it. The letters from the Duchess of Edinburgh published in Dearest Missy seem to indicate she wasn't opposed to it. She even writes of how fond the two were and how the enjoyed each other's company. It was only later that she began to see they were an ill-suited match temperamentally--superficially, with their shared interests, it seemed the two may actually suit.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on July 17, 2012, 11:38:26 AM
I think Marie Coburg was playing a delaying game. She just did a coup in marrying Missy off to Romania, much against the wishes of both QV and her husband (who was fond of Georgie Wales). So there was no way she could do anything with Ducky (Charlotte Meiningen wisely stayed out this one as she had a hand in the Romanian adventure). QV is going to get them wed if it is the last thing she did. To crown it all, she would be coming to Coburg to attend this wedding. Marie Coburg's unhappiness could be seen in the warning she sent Ernie's way of not dragging Ducky to kowrow to Windsor. But realistically, there was nothing she could do.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: CountessKate on July 17, 2012, 01:25:47 PM
I agree that Marie Alexandrovna seemed a little conflicted, but while she didn't want to connect her children more closely to the British court, there is no denying that Ernst Ludwig was a catch matrimonially insofar as he was a sovereign grand duke, and he was in fact German, not English, with very decent connections to the German imperial court.  So I think if Victoria Melita had really shown a strong aversion, she would have been able to carry her point with her mother, but given she presumably felt at the very least neutral, EL was probably too good a prospect for Marie to fight against (and I think her attempts to loosen EL's ties to the British court were not in themselves hostile to EL as such).  But  I don't believe either of the couple were in a situation where they would have expected true romantic love to happen automatically - it was the duty of both of them to marry and to do so with persons of appropriate rank and station, in the same way as men and women of the nobility and upper classes were expected to do.  Even very unlikely royal arranged marriages could turn out well - William III of the Netherlands was a far from attractive character, with a very unsavoury reputation who had treated his first wife in a highly unsympathetic manner, but his very much younger second wife Emma of Waldeck-Pyrmont seemed to need no extraordinary pursuading to marry him when he came looking, and he made her a good husband and was a kind father to their only daughter.  Whatever might have been the reality, EL did not have that sort of reputation and under the circumstances, I think both VM as well as El probably thought there was enough common ground to build a reasonable marriage on, and more than many of their connections started with, and Marie thought the same.  The genuine pleasure and approval of many of their powerful relatives, the fact they were young and at the head of their own little court without any immediate parental authority over them and could please themselves with regard to how they lived, must have been a great boost to their early married life, and perhaps created a glow to their marriage initially which helped to disguise for a while the basic fault-lines in the relationship. 
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on July 17, 2012, 02:06:23 PM
Indeed. Ernie wasn't too sure about this, but QV gave him a push to propose to Ducky. They got along fine and enjoy the same jokes. But Ducky was not a shallow person and had a deep desired to be wanted and understood. She painted a portrait of Ernie that her young husband could never live up to. She confessed that she had done that in a letter to Missy before her second (failed) pregnancy. Fundamentally Ernie could not give his body and soul to anybody after his mother's death, and the only person who understood his emotional turmoil was his sister Ella. VMH knew that she could never meant as much to Ernie as Ella, as he will always be "her boy". It was no accident that he named his only daughter after his favorite sister. Another thing is that Ducky felt that she was needed by Kirill and went on to organize his life. It was that kind of existence that was based on mutual need. Ernie had his own little world (men, artist and arts) that excluded her.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: grandduchessella on July 17, 2012, 03:56:54 PM
Marie Coburg originally wrote to Missy, in the early part of Victoria and Ernie's marriage, that Victoria was to be much envied that Ernie wasn't a more passionate character and thus would spare Victoria some of the less appetizing (to both Maries) part of marriage. Unfortunately, his very 'unseductive' and rather passionless nature helped doom the relationship.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on July 17, 2012, 04:26:27 PM
Indeed ! Ducky seem to need a lot of passion. In fact all the Edinburgh girls were passionate by nature. Missy had a long string of lovers, while Sandra also managed a war time affair during WW I. Both Ducky & Baby Bee were also passionate lovers that need to be fulfilled. That carried on to the next generation to Missy's daughters Elisabetta & Ileana and Ducky's daughter Marie.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: grandduchessella on July 17, 2012, 08:39:36 PM
Missy struck me as more romantic than passionate. She writes in absolute horror (repeatedly) about marital relations. Whether she had affairs, flirtations or romances, I don't think she particularly got any enjoyment out of the physical aspect of a relationship. I think she was like her mother while Victoria Melita was of a more sensual nature like her father.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: CountessKate on July 18, 2012, 03:16:09 AM
Missy struck me as more romantic than passionate. She writes in absolute horror (repeatedly) about marital relations. Whether she had affairs, flirtations or romances, I don't think she particularly got any enjoyment out of the physical aspect of a relationship. I think she was like her mother while Victoria Melita was of a more sensual nature like her father.

I always thought Marie's statement in her memoirs that "Nando....was terribly, almost cruelly in love.  In my immature way I tried to respond to his passion, but I hungered and thirsted for something more" was Victorian code for Ferdinand's being keen on sex and not very good at it, which together with his not being "a man of high spirits, nor.....imaginative" meant that she found herself in a very dreary marriage right from the word go.  I'm not so sure that she was averse from the physical side of love - it seems pretty clear from 'Dearest Missy' that she compromised herself in a way hardly in keeping with a purely platonic romantic relationship - but she certainly didn't find either sex or romance in her marriage.  I would question actually whether she was the greater romantic compared to Victoria Melita - one could argue that in the end, it was Marie who had a series of romantic liaisons which after the initial indiscretions, became rather more discreet but were nevertheless pragmatically kept within her marriage, while Victoria Melita could not compromise her ideals and do the same (and there is some indication that Ernst Ludwig would have been happy to go along with this). 
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on July 18, 2012, 08:17:41 AM
Yes. Ducky was too unbending in her ideals. Had Missy married Ernie, she would have been happy to live a separate life from him and still be happy with it having her own lovers along the way.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: grandduchessella on July 18, 2012, 09:51:02 AM
Missy struck me as more romantic than passionate. She writes in absolute horror (repeatedly) about marital relations. Whether she had affairs, flirtations or romances, I don't think she particularly got any enjoyment out of the physical aspect of a relationship. I think she was like her mother while Victoria Melita was of a more sensual nature like her father.

I always thought Marie's statement in her memoirs that "Nando....was terribly, almost cruelly in love.  In my immature way I tried to respond to his passion, but I hungered and thirsted for something more" was Victorian code for Ferdinand's being keen on sex and not very good at it, which together with his not being "a man of high spirits, nor.....imaginative" meant that she found herself in a very dreary marriage right from the word go.  I'm not so sure that she was averse from the physical side of love - it seems pretty clear from 'Dearest Missy' that she compromised herself in a way hardly in keeping with a purely platonic romantic relationship - but she certainly didn't find either sex or romance in her marriage.  I would question actually whether she was the greater romantic compared to Victoria Melita - one could argue that in the end, it was Marie who had a series of romantic liaisons which after the initial indiscretions, became rather more discreet but were nevertheless pragmatically kept within her marriage, while Victoria Melita could not compromise her ideals and do the same (and there is some indication that Ernst Ludwig would have been happy to go along with this).  

I don't know--in Dearest Missy there are lot of references to how much she seemed to dislike the whole act of sexual intercourse. She seems to have been indoctrinated in this viewpoint--that it was a rather disgusting, base act--from her mother. Whether another lover was able to bring her more enjoyment in the act or whether she submitted to it more willingly because of her love for a certain individual (like a Barbo Stirbey) I don't know. I don't think she had as many consummated affairs as is speculated. I think Stirbey is probably a given and that he was Mircea's father but some of the others, it was hard to break through some of the coded references in my opinion. What would've constituted a great fall in Victorian times might not have been an actual physical affair. But this is really a subject for the  Missy and Her Lover's thread.

Victoria Melita, on the other hand, seems to have been much more of an earthy, passionate character. From reading Dearest Missy (which I just finished in its entirety this weekend) perhaps Missy (with her romantic, artistic, not-so-passionate nature) would've been a better match for Ernie than Victoria Melita was.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: CountessKate on July 18, 2012, 11:03:39 AM
Perhaps I'm a bit cynical in thinking that notable philanderers like Grand Duke Boris and Prince Barbu Stirbey don't hang around for more than five seconds if it's just going to be moonlight and roses and someone 'submitting' to their attentions - and why would a woman go for those sorts of chaps if she really didn't like sex - but in any case, Ernst Ludwig didn't seem like the moonlight and roses sort either, as he had to be pushed to propose to Victoria Melita in the first place.  I somehow feel another 'Edinburgh cousin' might not necessarily have been a better proposition!
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on July 18, 2012, 11:16:50 AM
Indeed. Missy later did developed a reputation as a vamp & a "man-eater". I read one delegation from the Paris Peace Conference tied to avoid meeting her because he felt she might seduce him on the spot ! Missy was a woman with a healthy appetite for sex as her string of lovers included also Waldolf Astor & Grand Duke Dmitri of Russia. Ducky wanted more meaning in her relationship than just wine & roses. However had Ernie became handicapped like Lady Chatterley's husband, Ducky would have been faithful to the end. It was the emotional disconnection between Ernie & Ducky that doomed the relationship. The gay thing is just a light to a fuse.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: grandduchessella on July 18, 2012, 04:30:37 PM
Well, I think Boris liked the chase well-enough. Do we know for a fact they were lovers? Or Dmitri? I still wonder how much is conjecture and how much is known fact. As to Stirbey, that seemed a real love affair. Well, we'll just agree to disagree on Missy's nature, I guess.  :) And discuss it elsewhere. Perhaps the next volume of the Marie/Missy letters will shed more light on her later love life.

I also can't wait to read the letters that must've flown between the relations regrading the Victoria Melita/Ernie bust-up. Too bad Dearest Missy stopped right beforehand. Reading Grand Duchess Marie's insights on the marriage is enlightening--I wish there were the letters she must've written TO Victoria Melita in existence. I wonder how blunt she might have gotten--she was pretty matter-of-fact with Missy.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on July 18, 2012, 05:51:21 PM
I think from Missy's letters to Ducky and Dmitri's letter to Missy years later. Yes that was something going on. Nothing so sexy as a sexually mature woman with a younger man (Demi Moore/Ashton Krutcher). As for Boris, Missy declared her child ("Mignon") was Boris's in front of her father-in-law and went to Coburg for the birth. So I think yes they did have an affair.

Yes. But the crux of the letters would be the ones between the sisters. They would be more revealing than those to Marie Coburg.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: CountessKate on July 19, 2012, 01:39:39 PM
Quote
Perhaps the next volume of the Marie/Missy letters will shed more light on her later love life.

I also can't wait to read the letters that must've flown between the relations regrading the Victoria Melita/Ernie bust-up. Too bad Dearest Missy stopped right beforehand. Reading Grand Duchess Marie's insights on the marriage is enlightening--I wish there were the letters she must've written TO Victoria Melita in existence. I wonder how blunt she might have gotten--she was pretty matter-of-fact with Missy.

Yes, 'Dearest Missy' ended at a very tantalising point.  Those generations were great arsonists in respect of letters - in 'the correspondence of the Empress Alexandra of Russia with Ernst Ludwig and Eleonore, Grand Duke and Duchess of Hesse', letters for the relevant period of the divorce are missing, presumably destroyed.  Do we know that Marie Alexandrovna's correspondence with Marie of Romania is pretty well intact still?
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on July 20, 2012, 12:17:48 AM
I think the correspondence between the Missy & Ducky would be more revealing. In fact Ducky did pour her heart out to Missy about her problems with Ernie.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: perdita on July 27, 2012, 09:36:56 AM
I agree the publications of the letters would clear the air in some areas. On the reason why Ducky could forgive Ernie and not Kirill ? The answer lies in the fact that she could blame Grandmama Queen for arranging her match to Ernie (she went through a period with fellow QV hater Dona, Empress of Germany). But she could not blame anybody but herself for licking Kirill, she should have seen that "betrayal" coming but did not. In other words, she blamed herself as much as she did Kirill, and for that reason, she could not go on. In fact her death was her punishment to herself.

The strong-willed, obstinate, & "highly principled" Victoria Melita blamed Queen Victoria?

Did VM ALSO allocate blame--i,e., pointing the finger at herself and her own mother Marie Alexandrovna?

There was no love lost for Queen Victoria by the Duchess of Coburg. When it mattered this daughter of Alexander 11 was determined to have her way and she was only too delighted to thwart the designs of the English Queen Victoria at every turn boasting to her relations that one had but to "lock horns" with the queen to prevail. TRUE. Queen Victoria was also a sucker for "innocent romances" and was almost always sympathetic when her grand-daughters showed character and stood their ground on principle.

The young Hesse princesses were admirable characters in that they held out FOR YEARS in the face of the strongest opposition (and the schemes devised on their behalf) on the part of Queen Victoria, their beloved father, and all their relations, determined to marry the men of their choice, and to practice the religion they believed in. All remained devout--and deeply attached to their husbands.

The post 1901 divorce letters of the Empress Alexandra & the Grand Duchess Elizabeth make clear, that although both tried to keep on good terms with "dear Ducky" during her marriage to Ernie, they fundamentally disapproved of VM's character--i.e., her inattention to her duties as wife, mother, and reigning duchess, her frequent absences from Hesse, her need for constant "amusements" & advant-garde circle of friends (artists/actors, etc.,) her long time attachment to Kyril, and their pre-marital "affair".

Apparently, even little Princess Elizabeth had serious issues with VM questioning her mother's genuine love for her up until her death in 1903.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: perdita on July 27, 2012, 09:46:49 AM
Indeed. Missy later did developed a reputation as a vamp & a "man-eater". I read one delegation from the Paris Peace Conference tied to avoid meeting her because he felt she might seduce him on the spot ! Missy was a woman with a healthy appetite for sex as her string of lovers included also Waldolf Astor & Grand Duke Dmitri of Russia. Ducky wanted more meaning in her relationship than just wine & roses. However had Ernie became handicapped like Lady Chatterley's husband, Ducky would have been faithful to the end. It was the emotional disconnection between Ernie & Ducky that doomed the relationship. The gay thing is just a light to a fuse.

Seriously doubt that Waldolf Astor had a physical affair with Marie of Romania. W. Astor was a man of the highest integrity and character, descibed by his sons, and all who knew him, as unbending throughout his life in his moral principles & strait-laced behavior. The hedonistic Grand Dukes Boris & Dmitri far less so.

Since there was (in no way) an "emotional disconnection" between Ducky & Kyril why then did his infidelity doom their relationship?
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: perdita on July 27, 2012, 10:07:23 AM
Quote
Perhaps the next volume of the Marie/Missy letters will shed more light on her later love life.

I also can't wait to read the letters that must've flown between the relations regrading the Victoria Melita/Ernie bust-up. Too bad Dearest Missy stopped right beforehand. Reading Grand Duchess Marie's insights on the marriage is enlightening--I wish there were the letters she must've written TO Victoria Melita in existence. I wonder how blunt she might have gotten--she was pretty matter-of-fact with Missy.

Yes, 'Dearest Missy' ended at a very tantalising point.  Those generations were great arsonists in respect of letters - in 'the correspondence of the Empress Alexandra of Russia with Ernst Ludwig and Eleonore, Grand Duke and Duchess of Hesse', letters for the relevant period of the divorce are missing, presumably destroyed.  Do we know that Marie Alexandrovna's correspondence with Marie of Romania is pretty well intact still?

Don't count on "nothing but the truth" between VM & "Missy". Sisters, however close, can be deceptive in their relationships engaging in conjecture--ditto self-serving excuses/justifications, unwittingly or not, to put the best face on their behaviors.

Re--The correspondence of the Empress Alexandra & Ernest of Hesse. A LOT was put to the fire & destroyed. If the reader is looking for an in depth accounting (OR ANYTHING) on subjects Queen Victoria's death, Ernie & VM's disastrous marriage & divorce, Ernie's impressions after the still born birth of his son & his emotions subsequent to his daughter's death, the assassination of the Grand Duke Serge and the aftermath for the Grand Duchess Elizabeth, Ernie's decision to marry Eleonore & his feelings for her, the outbreak of World War One, Rasputin, or the Russian Revolution you won't find it in the letters published in that book. Mostly the existent letters exchanged between Alix and Ernie are merely affectionate & superficial chit-chat. Nothing as revealing as the letters written between the Empress Alexandra and Nicholas 11.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: perdita on July 27, 2012, 10:37:46 AM
I think they liked each other but were not in love. There were success stories like George & May or Sasha & Minny, so a marriage made in mutual liking (if not love) did have a chance of success. The problem was that both wanted different things in their choice of life partners. Ernie wanted a freedom and space within a marriage that the more intense Ducky could not give.

In fact, wasn't it VM who sought to distance herself as much as possible from Ernie & her duties as the reigning Duchess of Hesse?

Victoria Melita was not adverse to decrying one thing while betraying the nature of her true feeling by acting out in the reverse.

The truth is VM felt an aversion for Ernie.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: perdita on July 27, 2012, 10:51:26 AM
[quote....So QV was certainly pushing an Edinburgh-Hesse marriage at a fairly early stage.  In 1893 she again wrote to her granddaughter to say that she had “had it out with Aunt Marie....[who] is most anxious abt. Ernie and Ducky & I have written twice to Ernie abt the necessity of showing some attention & interest.....Aunt Marie fears he no longer wishes it, wh. I am sure is not the case.  Georgie lost Missy by waiting & waiting.”  While the views of ‘Aunt Marie’ are a little opaque, the Duke of Edinburgh’s were much more positive - when the engagement was announced in 1894 he telegraphed to QV that "Your and my great wish has been fulfilled this evening.  Ducky has accepted Ernie of Hesse's proposal". 
[/quote]

Apparently, the Duke of Edinburgh's views were somewhat opaque too. Wasn't Prince Alfred's "BIG DREAM" that Missy marry Prince George of Wales? This is what makes it so difficult to pin anything down when dealing with family narratives.

There is no evidence that Marie Alexandrovna or Victoria Melita seriously opposed a match with Ernie of Hesse. The buck stops there--NOT with Queen Victoria.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on July 27, 2012, 11:05:16 AM
I think you are quite prejudiced as far as Ducky is concerned. The letters between Ducky & Missy quite literally laid out that Ducky tried to reach out to Ernie but was rebuffed by him. There is also info that tied Ernie to Krupp's boy harem in Capri during his travels. Ducky would be a saint had she did not feel frustrated by the situation. Ernie was much more to blame if not more than Ducky.  

Yes. Ducky did not do her duty as Duchess of Hesse, but did her sister-in-law did any better in Russia ? Not really.

Disagree with you on the subject of Waldolf Astor, his affair with Missy predates that of his marriage to Nancy, who always felt a bit jealous of the friendship between Missy & her husband. Also the relationship between them was so close that rumors that Mignon's true father was Waldolf began to spread. No truth yes but the fact that the people believe it as much to spread it spoke volumes.  

It was Ducky unforgiving aspect doomed her when she found out about Kirill's betrayal. She could forgive Ernie because she knew later that he never loved her the way she wanted to be loved. While Kirill was her choice and she believed she was the one for him that turned out not. That Ducky could never accept.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on July 27, 2012, 11:11:13 AM
I think Marie Coburg was doing damage control for Missy and went along for Ducky & Ernie. With both Alfred & his mother determined that they are going to get their way. Don't think Marie could pull anything this time. She actually did not dislike Ernie, but it would be a stretch to say he was her favorite choice for son-in-law. Her warnings to Ernie about QV and not to drag Ducky to kowtow to her in Windsor revealed her true colors.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: perdita on July 27, 2012, 11:45:07 AM
I think they liked each other but were not in love. There were success stories like George & May or Sasha & Minny, so a marriage made in mutual liking (if not love) did have a chance of success.  

Although Queen Victoria & Prince Albert had arranged that their elder daughter Victoria make a dynastic marriage at age 14 the princess had a three year engagement before marrying the Crown Prince Frederick at age 17, and it was a love match.

To reiterate. The marital buck stops with Marie Alexandrovna & Victoria Melita. It wasn't mandatory that the dictatorial Duchess of Coburg marry her daughters THAT young.

i.e.,

Marie Alexandrovna was 20 when she finally deigned to settle for Prince Alfred of England (a country she despised).

Grand Duchess Elena of Russia was 20 when she married Nicholas of Greece.

Alix of Hesse was 22 when she married Nicholas 11.

Empress Augusta was 22 when she married Wilhelm 11.

Margaret of Connaught was 23 when she married the Crown Prince of Sweden.

Queen Mary was 25 when she married George V.

Maud of Wales was 25 when she married the future king of Norway.

Princess Beatrice was 28 when she married Henrey of Battenberg.

Princess Patricia of Connaught was 33 when she chose to marry her father's aide de camp, a commoner.

Princess Marina was 28 when she married Prince George.

Princess Louise was 34 when she married the Crown Prince of Sweden. (Louise's father Louis Battenberg had forbad her intended marriage to the artist Alexander Stuart on the grounds that he was a homosexual.)


In fact, many princesses chose not to marry, period.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: perdita on July 27, 2012, 01:43:38 PM
I think Marie Coburg was doing damage control for Missy and went along for Ducky & Ernie. With both Alfred & his mother determined that they are going to get their way. Don't think Marie could pull anything this time. She actually did not dislike Ernie, but it would be a stretch to say he was her favorite choice for son-in-law. Her warnings to Ernie about QV and not to drag Ducky to kowtow to her in Windsor revealed her true colors.

Marie Alexandrovna's warning to Ernie revealed that she could not abide QV--or her influence.

Where does the VERY outspoken Duchess of Coburg make clear that she opposed the match?

Marie Alexandrovna was ruthless when orchestrating the lives of her children and there is no doubt that her daughters co-operated, to a great extent, with her schemes and directives.

Even Queen Victoria, Prince Alfred, and their relations were shocked at the hasty alliances Marie Alexandrovna contrived for her 16 year old daughters, deficit of self understanding or real love and knowledge of their future husbands.

Marie Alexandrovna to "Missy", quote: "The only question that torments..is that Papa so positively said again, the engagement (Sandra's) was not to be before she was 17...I dread Papa, who might make it very disagreeable..."

!!

The Empress Alexandra wasn't a lone voice when she wrote to Ernest of Hesse in 1895: "So Sandra is really engaged to Ernie H.--I always hoped it would not be, he is so much older than her, & she quite a baby still. What a difficult position too, poor, no property, a simple Standesherr & she SO YOUNG for such a completely new life...But I cannot understand. A. Marie allowing her to marry so soon--a mere baby. She does not know life or the world and can have no formed ideas yet."

PRECISELY. That was Aunt Marie's plan.

Marie of Romania astutely decribed her mother's child rearing philosophy as follows: "Trapped innocence, the deliberate blinding against life as it truly is, so that with eyes shut and perfect confidence we would advance towards any fate."

Missy Oct. 1898 five years into her miserable marriage; "Mama dear, if I could I would fly to you now to dear quite Coburg, you know that I am happiest there and that I am ALWAYS longing to be with you."

Missy to her confidant the America dancer Loie Fuller: "The distaste (for Nando) which grew into a revulsion."

i.e.,--VM wasn't the only Coburg princess who was repelled by her royal hubby.

Marie Alexandrovna ruled the roost in Coburg. For the most part Prince Alfred made himself absent from his Duchesses' dominion but it is said he never forgave her when during their 25th wedding anniversary, embarrassed by their only son, she sent him away to die alone after his attempted suicide. Subsequently, Prince Alfred sought to separate himself from Marie Alexandrovna until the last few days of his life.

Had Marie been an out and out villian (if only) her daughters would not have adhered to her dictates and been as blindly devoted as they were. But villian or not, to some extent, that old battleship unwittingly served the same purpose. Marie's treatment of her son let him on the path to destruction, and she consciously endeavored to instill in her daughters implacable attitudes of contempt for the country of their birth, their "nasty/spiteful" English granny, their "irksome/bothersome" father, their "weak/foolish/selfish" husbands, and "filthy/ignoble" men in general. Shamelessly, the Duchess of Coburg even attempted to turn Ernie against "our enemy" the English grandmother Queen Victoria because his "idolotry" of her would translate major trouble in his marriage. Although Marie Alexandrovna deeply loved her daughters & ostensibly devoted her life to them she could not resist putting her prejudices, pride and self-satisfaction before their best interests. Inherently doctrinaire and egocentric this imperial daughter of Russia falsely believed they were one in the same.

Yes, Marie was sincerely grieved that VM lost her still born son in 1900 & that there had been no improvement in her daughter's attitude towards Ernie. It is also true that even as VM had resolved "dutifully" (& pointlessly) to conceive another child her mother was aware that the marriage was an abject failure.

Quote Marie Alexandrovna to Missy on Ducky--

1897: "Ducky writes seldom and says very little, I am not at all happy about her, though Ernie writes that they are intensely happy now. I don't see it at all in their letters."

March 1898: "Her life in her home is a sad and hopeless one...I don't see how it can ever improve..."

Marie on her brother Serge's inclination to put a "rosy face" on Ernie & VM--Sept. 29th, 1899: "He does not like it when I talk with him about Ducky & Ernie and say some truths. But he comes to my rooms to have talks."

Even during the years leading up to VM's official separation & divorce the Duchess of Coburg was carefully setting the stage for her daughter's marital collapse for her relations.

Undoubtedly, there were royal mothers who were cut throats. It is alleged that the Duchess of Coburg's "dearest friend" Marie Pavlovna the elder urged her heir Kyril to keep VM a mistress while in his self-interest to marry a woman who would be acceptable to church & state given his proximity to the throne. Apparently, after Kyril's near brush with death during the Russp-Japanese war he thought better of his mother's machinations. (What would Marie Alexandrovna have thought of her dear friend's plot?)

It is hoped there will be many more volumes of Marie Alexandrovna's exceptional correspondence with her daughters published. This daughter of Alexander 11 was everything a great letter writer should be--purposely indiscreet, venting no hold-barred impressions and observations, and extremely informative on a myriad of levels from her vantage point.

It is also hoped that one day the Coburg set detractors (& Ernie & Co.) will also have their say.



Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on July 28, 2012, 12:28:05 AM
I think each situation is different. Marie Coburg did not want Missy to marry Georgie Wales, so she pull Nando out of a hat and married her off before she could do anything. Ileana once told the story that Missy,who had a great love for England and idolized her Aunt Alix would have been happy in England, to write a refusal letter. That marriage did not create great happiness for Missy, Alfred or Queen Victoria. Because of that, when the proposed match for Ducky came along, the combined strength of her husband and mother-in-law was too much for Marie to resist. Add to that she did not have another candidate for her second daughter. Queen Victoria learned her lesson and this time did not allow Marie Coburg any time to maneuver. "No more waiting & waiting" for Ducky. The old Queen even made sure that Ernie did propose to his cousin. I agree that Marie Coburg could be ruthless, but not even she dared the combine weight of her husband and mother-in-law and gave in. Also as Duchess of Coburg, Ducky would be well off (money) and well settled in a good position.

To be fair to Ducky, she was young and unsure about the situation. She liked Ernie and judging from the early years, got on well with her husband.  However later when things began to fell apart, she wrote to Missy saying that "I built him up to be a hero, a person on a pedestal that he of course wasn't".

I am more in tune for the Ducky/Missy letters. They were much more intimate. For example Missy never disclosed to her mother that she asked Ducky to find ways of a possible abortion. Ducky on her part kept her sister's trouble a secret until she had no recourse but to reveal to their mother. That was the background not covered in the "Dear Missy" letters.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: perdita on July 29, 2012, 12:34:16 PM
I think each situation is different....hat marriage did not create great happiness for Missy, Alfred or Queen Victoria. Because of that, when the proposed match for Ducky came along, the combined strength of her husband and mother-in-law was too much for Marie to resist.....I agree that Marie Coburg could be ruthless, but not even she dared the combine weight of her husband and mother-in-law and gave in.

Is there evidence that Marie seriously opposed Ducky's marriage before the fact? Arguably, nothing was too much to resist in the mind of the iron willed Russian Grand Duchess once she had made up her mind. Marie was extraodinarily manipulative and could have out witted Queen Victoria and Prince Alfred simply by pointing out that since Missy's marriage had been no great success (after having marrying at the tender age age of 17),  than Ducky, at that same age, was too young and should wait until she knew Ernie and her own mind better. In fact, Queen Victoria was much closer and took more interest in her young Hesse granddaughters--and Victoria, Elizabeth, and Alix all held out for years in order to make up their own minds to determine their marital partner--thwarting the queen's designs on their behalf.

It's difficult to believe that Marie Alexandrovna & VM had less resolve, determination, & principles than Victoria of Battenberg, the Grand Duchess Serge, or Empress Alexandra.

Did not Queen Victoria's grandson the Kaiser (among MANY others) wish to marry Elizabeth of Hesse?

Did not Queen Victoria's English grandson Albert Victor, the Duke of Clarence (Edward V11's heir) wish to marry Alix of Hesse?

Did not Queen Victoria emphatically insist that there be no Russian marriages for her favorite granddaughters?

It was convenient for VM to scapegoat Queen Victoria rather than the mother she considered her #1 champion and with whom she was entirely dependent on for emtional support subsequent her disasterous marriage of HER OWN choosing. If the teen age Victoria, Elizabeth, and Alix had the backbone to stand up to Queen Victoria (& their beloved father) to insist on deciding with whom they would marry than so could have VM, especially after witnessing first hand the marital debacle of her sister Missy.


Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on July 29, 2012, 01:02:50 PM
I think QV considered the Hesse family special since Princess Alice died so young. The old queen was closer to them than the Edinburgh girls as they have a strong mama. As for Ella, she did not like Willy in the least bit, and Vicky wasn't for it either, so it suited both parties that it did not happen. I think you gave Marie Coburg too much credit as she did have help from Charly Meiningen (sister of Kaiser Wilhelm) too in the Missy/Nando project. I don't think Charly would dare cross her formidable grandmother once she insist that that marriage (Ernie/Ducky) go forward. So much so that she make a trip to Coburg to see it take place. Also you must also remember Alfred also wished for that too, and greatly displeased at his wife on the Missy situation. Marie Coburg also did not have any candidate for Ducky at that point, so she let it happen. I would not be surprised that given more time to plan, she would like no better to screw up her mother-in-law's plan once again. So the combine pressure of the old queen, the duke and the British fraction won this round. Queen Victoria knew how important a role she played in this marriage, when it fell apart, she said she would not arrange another marriage again. Her tone did sound guilty here. Also Ducky thought so too and for a time joined Dona in her "British hating camp" in Berlin. 
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: perdita on July 29, 2012, 01:35:00 PM
If Marie Alexandrovna fantasized that she could preserve her daughter's innocence and "moral force" by keeping them totally blindsided only to be thrown to the wolves at ages 17 in very foreign courts with husbands that they didn't really know or like then she was entirely mistaken, Unfortunately blind luck would not be on her side.

Quotations from Chairman Ma Alexandrovna to Missy 1896-1899:

"I have every right as a mother to interfere and I mean to do it."

"Flirt, amuse yourself, but don't loose your heart, men are not worth it and if you could, really could see their lives, you would turn away in disgust, for you would find there dirt and nothing but dirt, even in the lives of those who seem to you good and noble."

'Ducky arrived here in good spirits but she is terribly disappointed that she cannot have any amusements...Ducky seems extremely satisfied with her existence, with her sejour in Russia and is enjoying life thoroughly. Fancy, the happiness of having a husband who is wholly in agreement about it (no sex), as she says I really need never have any children at all, as he is perfectly happy as we are now! Yes, Ducky I said you would not find a man in a thousand, in ten thousand like that and you cannot appreciate enough or be grateful enough for it."

And the outcome?

"Look here Missy I cannot and WILL NOT let things go on as they are now, my patience is at an end and I am going to take very energetic measures without any loss of time and give then all a wholesome fright..Help is near and that is why I really came to Darmstadt, as it is easier to execute my plans..Don't you be in the least alarmed, leave it all to me and trust be entirely and absolutely."

"You ought to insist upon taking the baby with you & leave the country altogether, renouncing, if possible completely in his name the Romanian succession."

"Be patient with Nando and don't push him back too much, you could also begin again a new "family way". It wouldn't be amusing, I know, but good for your health, I should think and would QUIET EVERYBODY. Only be tactful & don't turn him into ridicule before everybody...Don't neglect him too much when your cousins (Boris & Andrew) are there."

"Women are cleverer...therefore they can turn a weak man around their fingers. You could have done the same thing with Nando, if he had not an abject fear of his uncle. Alas! that sensation (sex) is now uppermost in his mind and you will have to work at him gently & firmly to bring him around to you. It is perhaps not a very noble proceeding, but generally an efficacious one to work on his sensuality and to hold him BY THAT. If you are clever you can GAIN INFLUENCE by it."

"For I cannot tell you what the feeling is to be only a "legitimate mistress" for one's husband and no more! It is simply degrading..."

So in Marie's mind, how would Nando define his role as Missy's husband?
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on July 29, 2012, 02:36:24 PM
I think Missy and Ducky turned out being so bossy was because of their mother's advice and example. They also saw in QV a mother that has to be obeyed and revered. When the suggestion of a British nanny and midwife was blocked by "Onkel" Carol, Marie Coburg simply enlisted the help of her mother-in-law and the king had to relent. Marie Coburg knew how to appeal to the sentimentality of the old queen, just like her sister-in-law Alexandra of Denmark. In Missy's case it was simple since Missy was beautiful, Nando do not stand a chance against her wiles and appeals. Ducky was much more sensitive and easily hurt (a bit like her cousin Alicky). Try to imagine had Alicky married Eddy, it would be as bad if not more so than Ernie & Ducky. However Ducky was too young to make up her mind and she loved her father and liked Ernie (not love). So her mistake was understandable.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: perdita on July 29, 2012, 02:41:33 PM
Marie Coburg also did not have any candidate for Ducky at that point, so she let it happen. I would not be surprised that given more time to plan, she would like no better to screw up her mother-in-law's plan once again. So the combine pressure of the old queen, the duke and the British fraction won this round. Queen Victoria knew how important a role she played in this marriage, when it fell apart, she said she would not arrange another marriage again. Her tone did sound guilty here. Also Ducky thought so too and for a time joined Dona in her "British hating camp" in Berlin.  

After the disaster that was Missy's early marriage Marie Alexandrovna "just let it happen"?

Queen Victoria may have thought that she "arranged" VM's marriage--but the buck still stopped with the Duchess of Coburg and Victoria Melita.

Speaking of "tones" taken, did the Duchess of Coburg's EVER sound guilty about a single thing that she ever did? Marie would have been only too willing to pass the buck & finagle ALL blame on the hated English Queen Victoria.

By the way, any daughter of Marie Alexandrovna who fantasized Ernie of Hesse "a hero-paragon" had screws in her head. If the 16 year old Victoria Melita had such a stellar (if pie-in-the-sky) opinion of Ernie at the time of her engagement then marrying him without protest was demonstably her decision.

Clearly, the Duchess of Coburg did not make it her business to see to it that her engaged 16/17 year old daughters knew their intended husband well enough. Nor, according to Marie of Romania, would THAT have been her mother's plan.

For whatever reasons the Duchess of Coburg opposed the idea that Missy or Ducky should have, as they desired, English or Russian husbands. Nor is Marie's tone shy of her "powerful English in-laws" when she writes to Missy: "But I am going to have serious talk with Ernie about Granny's influence and interference, otherwise I CANNOT GIVE ANY CONSENT & Ducky will never stand it."

Does there exist any evidence that Marie thought VM too young to become engaged at 16/17--or did seriously opposed her marriage to Ernie before the fact?

Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: perdita on July 29, 2012, 03:37:35 PM
I think Missy and Ducky turned out being so bossy was because of their mother's advice and example. They also saw in QV a mother that has to be obeyed and revered. Ducky was much more sensitive and easily hurt (a bit like her cousin Alicky). Try to imagine had Alicky married Eddy, it would be as bad if not more so than Ernie & Ducky. However Ducky was too young to make up her mind and she loved her father and liked Ernie (not love). So her mistake was understandable.

Arguably, Marie Alexandrovna didn't see QV as a mother who must "obeyed and revered". Had that been true Missy would have married George V and not "weak/foolish" Nando, the heir in Marie's words, "of an unhealthy/barbaric country" that she could not trust the care of her grandchildren. (Queen Victoria had that opinion of Romania from the get go.)

If Ducky was "too young to make up her mind" then her mother, guardian of her best interests, must ultimately take responsibility for her marriage.

Keep in mind, it was also Queen Victoria's "greatest wish" that Alix of Hesse marry her grandson Eddy. Ditto, it was the English Queen's second greatest wish (& adament command) that her granddaughters not marry into Russia.

Alix of Hesse was very young (12 years old) when she made up her mind to refuse all family-desired suiters and to only marry a man for which she felt the great attachment. Alix also was deeply devoted to her grandmother, her beloved father, and claimed that she "liked" her cousin Eddy but would be "miserable" if she married him because she did not truly love him. Queen Victoria subsequently relented and praised her strong character--even though this favorite granddaughter had turned down the "greatest position there is".

When did Victoria Melita first fall in love with the Grand Duke Kyril?

Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: perdita on July 29, 2012, 06:07:28 PM
I think Missy and Ducky turned out being so bossy was because of their mother's advice and example. They also saw in QV a mother that has to be obeyed and revered.

"Reverence" for Queen Victoria?

It's a stretch to believe that VM ever had an exaggerated opinion of her English "granny's" authority given that even before her marriage Marie Alexandrovich had written to Ernie arbitrating that her daughter would not stand for Queen Victoria's "interference and influence".

The Duchess of Coburg to Missy, March 1894: (Pre Ducky's marriage)

"I had a long talk with Ernie and before her (Ducky) about the English family, about Granny and explained to him why WE could not really like them and how often they had been mean and spiteful to me. I don't think Ernie quite believed me, but all the same it must be said because he must not always be dragging Ducky to England in perpetual adoration of Granny and quite understand the reasons WE can NEVER adore her. Otherwise I fear conflict between Ernie and his spouse later on, which would be deplorable."

In fact, it was Marie Alexandrovich who was only too willing to drag Ducky into perpetual hostility of her English granny while making clear that she would do all in her power to exert her "interference and influence" with respect to her daughters over Queen Victoria when ever she saw fit.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on July 29, 2012, 10:21:07 PM
I think Marie Coburg did not like either England or QV and very happy to go to Coburg and be number one there. However her hatred of England and its ways did not pass to her daughters. Missy, Ducky & Baby Bee all in different part of their lives sing its praises. Missy thoughout her autobiography did showed much of her love for England. Had she allowed to marry Georgie, her life would have been less volatile. Queen Mary later quite rightly express alarm to the Balkan thrones and how shaky they are and did not envy them one bit. Yet that is the life Marie Coburg's decision led her daughter into.

I think you are too harsh on Ducky, when you are married at 16/17, who would not be a little foolish or naive. When Ducky wrote about her hero worship of Ernie, she was about at her wits end. It was after her visit at Windsor, where they wanted Ducky & Ernie to "try again" for an heir. She saw close up what a situation would arise when there is no male heir. Charles Edward of Albany was drafted to succeed her father, because of the early death of her brother. At the same time, her sister-in-law Alicky just gave birth to a second baby girl. She felt compassion for her as she knew she could not stop until a son is born (heir to the throne of Russia). Being on the same boat to "try again" did make her bitter as her inability to reach out to her husband. She concluded that the situation was "hopeless"

So I do blame Queen Victoria in pulling the strings in this marriage. She admit as much guilt to it. Ernie also shared some of the blame since he had doubts about the marriage but forge on forward. As a gay/bisexual man, his reluctance was understandable. He needed a lot of space (one that his second wife was able to give and understand) that the intense, naive and childish Ducky could handle.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Kalafrana on July 30, 2012, 04:03:53 AM
Reading all this, it seems that Marie Alexandrovna had a distinctly jaundiced attitude towards men, and I wonder where she got it from. She had six brothers, none of whom seem to have been particularly bad husbands, by the standards of the time, except possibly Sergei (but we don't really know). Nixa died unmarried, aged 21, Alexander had a very happy marriage, Alexei remained unmarried (at least officially). Vladimir's marriage seems to have been happy enough, Paul's first marriage was brief but happy. Sergei's marriage - well. I don't know. But by 1890 or so Marie was highly critical of men in general. Was it her own marriage that turned her against men, or the example of her father?

As to VM's 'hero-worship' of Ernst Ludwig, we should bear in mind that she was extremely young and naive, plus EL was good-looking, and, whatever his sexual proclivities, a pleasant fellow whom people liked. I can imagine a young girl being carried away by his looks and charm. Maybe also she was keen to get away from home and be 'top lady' in Darmstadt!

Ann
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on July 30, 2012, 08:43:23 AM
Maybe his father and cousins. Most of the other grand dukes have mistresses and their wives have to put up with this (grand duke Constantine the elder had women, while the younger had men) not to mention her father.

Yes. I think Ernie had charm and Ducky did like him so much as to marry him (although there are those who already fear that it may not be enough to live out a marriage). Her discovery of the "other side" of him must have shocked her (his liking for the same sex and his emotional detachment to her). Had she any inkling of the situation, Ducky wasn't able to voice them out until much later in the marriage. 
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: perdita on July 31, 2012, 10:56:17 AM
Indeed. Missy later did developed a reputation as a vamp & a "man-eater". I read one delegation from the Paris Peace Conference tied to avoid meeting her because he felt she might seduce him on the spot ! Missy was a woman with a healthy appetite for sex as her string of lovers .

Interesting.

Given Missy's adamantly proclaimed revulsion for sex it is a wonder that she had extra marital affairs at all.

"Dearest Missy" page 273-4, quote Nov. 1896:

"Then comes the brutal revelation which really changes everything, you know that like you that it is to me, the intencest sacrifice each time & Mama dear, do you know that it always gets worse instead of better! I thought I would perhaps get accustomed to it, but not at all, each time is greater TORTURE....he begins to kiss me, then forgets that & tries to console me by giving way to just that, that I dread most on earth."

This is why it is difficult to take people at face value or pin down their truth. There exists too much self-deception (i.e., "the self-deception that believes the lie") or devious manipulation--consciously or not. On one hand, Missy insists to her mother that she is repelled by sex and dreads it "most on earth". On the other hand, in very short order, she would be collecting lovers right and left. Did Missy really mean that what she hated was not sex, but sex with her husband? If so, that was not the impression she endeavored to convey to her mother and with good reason.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on July 31, 2012, 11:22:38 AM
I think Nando's clumsy approach to sex did make her repulsive to the whole affair with him. However in Missy's case, with the right lover, she could be a different woman. Her affair with Zizi and Boris seem to be a very different story. Which is why I think her letters to Ducky would be more accurate in these intimate terms. Missy would not dare to tell her mother her changed feelings about sex due to her lovers. Also you must remember sex gave her power over men, and that fits into her personality too.

Ducky was much more stable and less of a butterfly (Missy's nickname in the family) than her sister. She tried to love Ernie, but wasn't reciprocated in spades with the bisexual Ernie. She tried to get into his core, a place where a little boy felt hurt after his mother's death, but the place has already taken --by his sister Ella.  Even VMH knew she could not take Ella's place in Ernie's heart. What chance does the possessive and passionate young wife do ? Horseback riding. Meriel Buchanan wrote that Ducky would gallop for long periods of time by herself.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: perdita on July 31, 2012, 11:50:37 AM

As to VM's 'hero-worship' of Ernst Ludwig, we should bear in mind that she was extremely young and naive, plus EL was good-looking, and, whatever his sexual proclivities, a pleasant fellow whom people liked. I can imagine a young girl being carried away by his looks and charm. Maybe also she was keen to get away from home and be 'top lady' in Darmstadt!

Ann

Keep in mind:

The "deep--highly principled" VM consented freely to marry Ernie of Hesse at age 17, while her Hessian sister-in-laws held out for years in defiance of their English grandmother & beloved father determined to take their time & consider carefully when choosing their lifetime partner.

Marie Alexandrovna strongly advocated early engagements for her daughters (at age 16) to men they barely knew--& adamently opposed that her daughters marry English princes or Russian Grand Dukes.

Warts and all, Ernie made a successful marriage with Eleonore, and both proved loving parents to their two sons.

VM had long been besotted with the Grand Duke Kyril.

Defying the express wishes of the Tsar, "stickler" Marie Alexandrovna precided over the eventual marriage of VM to the Grand Duke Kyril in 1905.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on July 31, 2012, 12:30:29 PM
I don't think you could be "deeply high principled " at age 17. Also please remember that Princess Alice was long dead and QV gave them a pass another not others will. Also remember Princess Alice's dying wish was for her children to marry "by their own wishes". The same rule does not apply to the Edinburgh household. Ducky was as naive about marriage as Missy was when she married into Romania. She at least know the bridegroom before hand. For that it would be enough. Think of how George & May Teck spent before marriage and you could see why that made sense to QV and the family.

Ernie made a good marriage to Eleanore because she did not demand the same emotional commitment from her husband that Ducky did. When Kirill tripped, Ducky did not forgave despite so many happy years together. She was "deeply high principled" then as she did rejecting a "sham marriage" offer from Ernie, who admitted that Ducky suffered greatly in the marriage.

Ducky did not became besotted with Kirill before Nicholas II coronation, where they met. Even after that she was willing to work at her marriage due to pressure from QV and the family to "try again" with Ernie.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: perdita on July 31, 2012, 12:52:13 PM
Reading all this, it seems that Marie Alexandrovna had a distinctly jaundiced attitude towards men, and I wonder where she got it from. She had six brothers, none of whom seem to have been particularly bad husbands, by the standards of the time,

Ann

Marie Alexandrovna was a daughter who deeply loved and revered her mother. Arguably, she got her distinctly jaundiced attitude towards men from her lascivious father who not only kept mistresses, but had his illegitimate children running about upstairs, within hearing distance in the palace, while her mother lay dying.

More quotations from Chairman Ma Alexandrovna to Missy: on subject daughters v.s. sons (Alfred).

"What is to be done with Alfred, he seems hopeless. I ignored him totally for Easter and he was quite alone at Potsdam. He simply DISGUSTS me and I send him through Ruxleban very painful message and refused to pay his new debt to his dirty mistress."

"Oh! You don't know what it is for me to have him (son Alfred) her in that condition, it spoils all my sejour in Russia on which I was rejoicing, I feel so ashamed of him."

"Missy you know perfectly well, that I as your mother, would NEVER turn against you, even if if you became still worse: in my house you will always find a warm reception and protection from everybody."

"Papa must not know a word of the whole truth for I don't answer, how he will take it; men are generally ten times more cruel than we are...therefore (he should) never know the whole truth about you." (i.e., As opposed to knowing the whole truth about Alfred.)

"Papa is happily patient with him (Alfred), otherwise it would have been real hell and I was thinking of sending him to Ducky, but she found him so dull, that she did not care to have him."

"That boy (Alfred) is a terrible trouble to us and I GIVE HIM UP. I ignore him totally and if he comes now, won't even make any reproaches or give good advise! What is the use of it all."

"Shall I come and fetch you (Missy)? Now that I know all, I see my way clear! Be calm now and tell me, what is the best to do? Your old Mama grieves, but will never abandon you. And help you always."

Marie Alexandrovna to Nanda: "I am not one of those mothers who abandons daughters at the least little fault & leaves their sad destiny at the mercy of those who believe they have the right to oppress and crush them morally, to kill their courage in life because of past faults."

Missy on her brother Prince Alfred:

"Mama hoping to find perfection was often disappointed in her son...She was never able to talk with Alfred; she thought that severity and religious principles must keep him straight; he found no mercy when he sinned, so he lost confidence in those who might of helped him, and later, when liberated from Doctor X and home rule, became secretive, led a double life, and made a mess of things." (Just like Missy.)

The angst ridden Marie Alexandrovna was a willfully "Titanic", extraordinarily complicated, and perversely manipulative/contadictory character quite capable of demanding that her children be virtuous while unwittingly putting then in harms way at every turn, encouraging in her daughters a taste for mindless self-gratifying amusements while lamenting their vainglory and lack of serious pursuits, arbitrating high standards while finagling unedifying schemes and plots,--ditto enforcing respect for the strict separation of generations while venting recklessly to her daughters without restraint.

For contrast, read Queen Victoria's letters to her elder daughter the Empress Frederick, keeping in mind the English queen liked men, liked sex, and although high minded was ultimately a pragmatist when it came to the foibles of human nature.

Reading the Duchess of Coburg's letters it's understandable why her young daughters were deeply attached & were held fast to their "tigress" mother, but ultimately Alexander 11's daughter was a tragedy, and there is no way at the end of her life she could have avoided that knowledge.

The same could be said of Ducky. Marie of Romania claimed her sister "died by inches".


Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: perdita on July 31, 2012, 02:37:50 PM
I don't think you could be "deeply high principled " at age 17. Also please remember that Princess Alice was long dead and QV gave them a pass another not others will. Also remember Princess Alice's dying wish was for her children to marry "by their own wishes". The same rule does not apply to the Edinburgh household. Ducky was as naive about marriage as Missy was when she married into Romania. She at least know the bridegroom before hand. For that it would be enough. Think of how George & May Teck spent before marriage and you could see why that made sense to QV and the family.

Ernie made a good marriage to Eleanore because she did not demand the same emotional commitment from her husband that Ducky did. When Kirill tripped, Ducky did not forgave despite so many happy years together. She was "deeply high principled" then as she did rejecting a "sham marriage" offer from Ernie, who admitted that Ducky suffered greatly in the marriage.

Ducky did not became besotted with Kirill before Nicholas II coronation, where they met. Even after that she was willing to work at her marriage due to pressure from QV and the family to "try again" with Ernie.

Unfortunate then, that the highly principled VM didn't demand, as did her young Hessian sister-in-laws, a deep emotional attachment before consenting to marry a man for a lifetime. Ditto, that she kept trying to conceive children long after she & her mother knew in their hearts that the marriage was "hopeless". According to Ernie he only "tried again" at her insistence.

Unfortunate too, that VM gave her daughter Elizabeth the distinct impression that she did not really love her.

Highly principled people DO NOT bow to pressure. VM might have had an inking that she was too young to marry at age 17 given Missy's miserable example.

It is difficult to conjecture when VM fell in love with Kyril. Marie of Romania wrote that from their earliest childhood there existed a great attraction for their Russian cousins but that their mother opposed her daughters marrying into the country of her birth.

If Ducky was "deeply principled" she might have kept her marital vow ("for better or for worse") and strived to maintain her emotional committment to Kyril after his physical lapse.

Keep in mind, Ducky was NOT so "highly principled" that she would refuse to neglect her duties as wife, mother, and reigning Hesse duchess. In fact, many relations and courtiers made clear she did not hesitate to do precisely that from the get go. Ducky also divorced a husband (against the laws of her faith & virtually unheard of in royal circles) who did not want the divorce, and then proceeded to marry a first cousin who's sworn allegience was to his Tsar who had strictly forbade the marriage on religious grounds. (VM & Kyril opted to marry without the permission of the Tsar.)

More likely, as was true of her mother the Duchess of Coburg, VM was fundamentally passionate, obstinately proud, ironically self-serving, and unyielding,--rather than "highly principled".

How is it known to what degree Eleonore had a sham marriage--deficit "emotional" attachment or understanding with Ernie?

Did Queen Victoria and Princess Alice's husband Ernest make clear to the Hessian princesses that they were only to marry "by their own wishes"? Apparently not, given QV's & Ernest's emphatic insistence early on that Elizabeth & Alix not marry Russians. Notwithstanding, both girls stood their ground against all prescribed comers & most certianly DID marry Russians. In fact, there were many princesses who held fast, refused to become engaged at 17, or to leave the country of their birth.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: grandduchessella on July 31, 2012, 03:50:54 PM
We may want to take this to the Edinburgh thread in the Windsor section as it's veering too far away from the topic of the thread. It's a very interesting discussion and I would love to see it continue--perdita, you are on fire with your quotes! LOL--but in the rightful place.

There's also a thread on Marie Alexandrovna with some good insights into her life and mothering style:

http://forum.alexanderpalace.org/index.php?topic=6393.180

http://forum.alexanderpalace.org/index.php?topic=4305.0
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on July 31, 2012, 11:41:20 PM
Yes. lets stick to Ducky and Ernie. I don't think it is fair to pit the Hesse princesses against the Edinburgh ones. Their situations are too different. Princess Alice did made sure that her children could choose their partners. Hessian Tapestry pg. 195 "Grand Duke Louis had promised Princess Alice that he would allow their children to marry for love."Not so for the Edinburgh Princesses that were rushed into matrimony at the age of 16/17. That was because Marie Coburg believed that her daughters should marry young before they develop "ideas".  The only exception was Baby Bee, who married much later and also a love match.

So I think before Ducky could develop "ideas" she was married to a cousin. The combined wishes of her father and grandmother was enough to make the teenage princess agree to marry her cousin, whom she did get along. She must felt better seeing her elder sister taken to a foreign land, while she herself could visit her parents and relatives from time to time. Yet, she had no idea about the complexity of her husband (bisexuality among others and emotionally distant). That realization came later. Even the successful paring of her Uncle Bertie (Prince of Wales) and his beautiful wife. Aunt Alix was not without problems. How can we expect a high minded girl of only 17 make sense of the entire situation ? Impossible. Even the marriage of Nicholas & Alix of Hesse could not have taken place had Grand Duke Ludwig IV had not conveniently died. He was the one who fired an angry rebuke to his daughter Ella, when she decided to convert of Orthodoxy. Alix did not even dare sent any encouragement to her sister (VMH alone did, while Irene cried & cried). It was the combined situation of her father's death and his brother's marriage decided her fate.

As for Ducky not being a Duchess of Hesse, would an emotionally & physically unfulfilled young woman care about fulfilling duties that was forced upon her. No of course. She rebelled against the system and became known as the "fighting Grand Duchess". It is very easy to blame Ducky for her failings, if we do not see those of Ernie as well. He traveled and has his interests (not to mention his possible gay liaisons). In fact, one observer noted that both "do as they pleased". I do not believe that Ducky had betrayed Ernie at least physically at the early stage since they were very viable when Kirill and his brothers visited Darmstadt. In fact, one photo shows Nicholas & Alix at the same party with Kirill and his brothers. Had they been involved at that time, it would be transparent to all. I think it is much possible that the love grew slowly as Ducky felt she was losing Ernie that she began to allow herself to attach to Kirill physically. Compared to the sticky situation with Missy pregnant with a baby that was announced as Kirill's brother Boris's (even though now it was believed to be Zizi's) and have to give birth in Coburg, and eventually accepted as Nando's. Ducky preferred a clean break. It would be strange if Ducky got pregnant by Kirill and raise the child as Ernie's. It would solve many problems, but the high minded Ducky said no. In going through the divorce, she was painted as the scarlet woman, although her former sister-in-law VMH did not believe so and agreed it was the right thing to do.

So I think both Marie Coburg and Queen Victoria were responsible for the fiasco. I have great compassion for Ducky in this situation.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Kalafrana on August 01, 2012, 03:25:20 AM
Yes, I think Marie Alexandrovna's man-hatred stemmed from her father's behaviour, possibly reinforced by her own difficult marriage. However, I find it highly contradictory that she then rushed her two eldest daughters into marriage.

No, I do not find VM high-minded. I think she just wanted to get away from Ernst Ludwig.

Ann
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on August 01, 2012, 07:59:20 AM
I don't think Marie Coburg planned to get her daughters to marry so early, even though this was her belief and intention. The possible romance of Georgie Wales & Missy thrown her into action. After making Missy wrote a "Dear John letter" to his cousin, she schemed to get her married else where, while the British Royal Family wasted time by "waiting & waiting". In her heart, she did not want her daughter to live through life under her strict mother-in-law, but Romania ? In Ducky's case, she just let it happen as her mother-in-law moved "heaven and earth" to get Ducky for Ernie. 

After knowing of the contents of letters between Ducky & Missy, I think Ducky was high minded and trying to "do the right thing". The marriage was dead (at least to her) and moving on was the only logical solution that made sense. There is no guarantee that Kirill would marry her at that stage (they were first cousins and that according to the Russian Orthodox Church barred them from marrying, the same happen to Ducky's sister Baby Bee in her failed bid to marry Misha, Tsar Nicholas II's youngest brother). In fact Ducky wrote to her Uncle Serge explaining her situation passionately. It was in this letter, Ernie's "sham marriage deal" was revealed.It was not new, her cousin Ena (Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain) later also lived a separate life from her husband.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: CountessKate on August 02, 2012, 01:10:06 PM
Quote
It was in this letter, Ernie's "sham marriage deal" was revealed.It was not new, her cousin Ena (Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain) later also lived a separate life from her husband.

I'm not sure this comparison is very useful.  Since Victoria Eugenie did not marry Alfonso XIII until 1906, a "sham marriage deal" would indeed have been a new situation for Victoria Melita to contemplate in 1901.  Victoria Eugenie did not in any case seek either an annulment or a divorce, but had a separation instead, many years later.  Although the marital dissatisfaction of both cousins seemed to be rooted in the adultery of their spouses, in Victoria Eugenie's case there was the added problem of the haemophilia of several of her sons, which Alfonso apparently blamed her for, despite having been warned about the possibility of future children inheriting the condition at the time of their marriage, while Victoria Melita's other problem was that as far as can be determined, she and Ernst Ludwig had become sexually estranged.  However, there did not seem to be any problem with Alfonso's hetrosexual virility, rather the reverse; and there is some evidence that Victoria Eugenie would have been prepared for a reconciliation, had Alfonso ever given any indication of wishing this.  So the two cases were quite different.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on August 02, 2012, 01:43:06 PM
The situation was quite similar in the fact that had Ducky accept the marriage in name only deal, she would be living like Ena in the years after her last child had been born. Instead of the women in Alfonso's case, it would be men or boys in Ernie's. Who knows if Ducky had decided to stay the course with Ernie, maybe they would reconcile in old age ? Ducky's Aunt Alix had to go through this phase with her husband, as a result focused too much on her children. As far as Alfonso XIII was concerned, he did not reconciled with Erna until perhaps the very end. Ducky wished for a real marriage of hearts and minds and purpose. Ernie's emotional unavailability was the main reason for her frustration and her unforgiving nature made it impossible to compromise on a hopeless situation. 
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: grandduchessella on August 02, 2012, 04:26:26 PM
Well, technically, aren't marriages 'in name only' unconsummated ones? Difficult to have children then. :)  Alfonso & Ena didn't have one of these marriages, rather they had a rather typical royal/upper class marriage of the time. 
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on August 02, 2012, 10:02:16 PM
Well technically both marriages had been consummated and had children to show for. But what Ernie was proposing was an "in name only" after it had broken down. The same with Ena, in which Alfonso XIII had chosen to physically stop intimate relations with his wife. Ducky wanted a full marriage with her husband and not just one "in name only". That is the reason after Kirill's "betrayal", Ducky did the same like Alfonso and refrain from any physical intimacy with her husband until her death. That seem to suggest that Kirill & Ducky remained physically intimate until that point.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: CountessKate on August 03, 2012, 03:28:47 AM
Well technically both marriages had been consummated and had children to show for. But what Ernie was proposing was an "in name only" after it had broken down. The same with Ena, in which Alfonso XIII had chosen to physically stop intimate relations with his wife. Ducky wanted a full marriage with her husband and not just one "in name only". That is the reason after Kirill's "betrayal", Ducky did the same like Alfonso and refrain from any physical intimacy with her husband until her death. That seem to suggest that Kirill & Ducky remained physically intimate until that point.

What evidence do you have for Alfonso XIII proposing a "sham marriage deal" to Victoria Eugenie to cover the lack of physical relations?  The evidence suggests the Spanish marriage just broke down, but as divorce/annullment was far less readily available, both parties did as grandduchessella remarked, "had a rather typical royal/upper class marriage of the time" in which both parties stayed together but lived separate lives, although there is no evidence that Victoria Eugenie was implicitly or explicitly given any right to her own lovers (and indeed, the eventual separation seemed to have been caused by Alfonso accusing her of adultery with a male friend).  The whole point of the unusual nature of Ernst Ludwig and Victoria Melita's divorce was that it seems that VL was offered the opportunity to have exactly that sort of arrangement, with the collusion of her husband but refused it.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on August 03, 2012, 07:41:12 AM
Yes. The Hesse marriage had broken down and Ernie (according to Ducky) was proposing an open marriage of sorts to her. There were quite a few around royal circles. Ena's was a bit different, but still an open one as far as Alfonso XIII was concerned. They appeared to have stopped intimate relationships with each other and avoid each other except in public. If that is not a sham marriage, I don't know what is. The minute the couple was exiled, they physically split up or separated. In today's term, they might have been as good as divorced and could have if they had so wished it. The fact that Ducky did not want "an arrangement" done for her proved she was very much in a real woman, flawed no doubt but no hypocrite living a sad life like her cousin.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: slavona on November 24, 2012, 09:37:41 AM
between present and future ;)
(http://i442.photobucket.com/albums/qq148/slavona/41-628x479.jpeg)
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Kalafrana on November 24, 2012, 09:58:23 AM
I can recognise Nicholas, Ernst and Kirill here, but who are the other three men?

Ann
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Svetabel on November 24, 2012, 10:03:03 AM
I can recognise Nicholas, Ernst and Kirill here, but who are the other three men?

Ann


Brothers of Kirill, Andrei and Boris. And Prince Nicholas of Greece.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on November 24, 2012, 10:11:30 AM
I always wondered about the dating of this picture.

Most date the start of the affair between Ducky & Kyrill around the time of the coronation of Nicholas II. When was this taken ?

DUcky looks a bit sad here while Alicky was smiling. Also was Nicholas of Greece courting Ellen at this time, so that is why he joined in with the Vladimirovitch brothers ?
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Helen on November 24, 2012, 11:50:47 AM
I'm not 100% sure where this picture was taken. It looks like the garden/park of Schloss Wolfsgarten, with part of the Prinzenbau or Prinzessinnenbau in the background. Thomas_Hesse might know.

The date may be October 1899; the Vladimirovich brothers and Nicholas of Greece were staying at Wolfsgarten for a couple of days or weeks during the 1899 visit of Nicholas and Alexandra, but I'm not sure that they did - all of them at the same time - during Nicholas' and Alexandra's visits in 1896 and 1897.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: grandduchessella on November 24, 2012, 11:51:40 AM
Victoria Melita and Alix look to be wearing mourning and in other pictures from what seem to be the same time show a little Princess Elizabeth. I would guess perhaps 1901 after the death of Queen Vcitoria.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: grandduchessella on November 24, 2012, 11:52:49 AM
If Helen is correct (our posts overlapped) the mourning could then be for Grand Duke George.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Helen on November 24, 2012, 12:27:01 PM
To be honest, I'm not sure that I'm correct, about 1899 as a date, but I do have doubts about 1901: If this picture was taken at Wolfsgarten, it cannot have been taken in 1901, as Nicholas/Alexandra did not visit Hesse in 1901, as far as I know.

According to Nicholas' diary, Nicholas and Alexandra attended a memorial service, Panachida, at the Russian Orthodox Church in Darmstadt on 28 September (old style date) - 3 months after GD George's death.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: slavona on November 24, 2012, 01:11:40 PM
(http://i442.photobucket.com/albums/qq148/slavona/81.jpeg)

(http://i442.photobucket.com/albums/qq148/slavona/91.jpeg)

(http://i442.photobucket.com/albums/qq148/slavona/111.jpeg)

(http://i442.photobucket.com/albums/qq148/slavona/151.jpeg)

I do not know the year but the site said between 1890s-1900s
The site is „Tsar Nicholas II Clowning Around with Friends„ Very sad
































































































































































































































































Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Helen on November 24, 2012, 02:32:08 PM
These pictures were definitely taken at Wolfsgarten.
The Hesse State Archive appears to have more pictures from this series - in which both Alexandra and Victoria Melita were smiling - and the Archive has dated them as "September/October 1899".
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: grandduchessella on November 24, 2012, 02:43:31 PM
So that all would seem to date it in 1899 then. I think all the photos are available online at the State Archives site.
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Eric_Lowe on November 24, 2012, 03:14:55 PM
Russian State Archives ? 
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Speedycat on May 08, 2014, 06:24:53 PM
I recognize Ernie in the background and is that Nicholas of Greece?  But who are the ladies.  I have seen photos of Ducky in a similar light colored dress, but the other lady is a mystery.

(http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/93/f9/5a/93f95a98cf2e162fc6fa6ebef7d648d3.jpg)
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Carolath Habsburg on May 08, 2014, 07:23:16 PM
Yes, its Nicholas of Greece and the lady is princess Victoria of Schaumburg-Lippe, nee princess of Prussia (Moretta)
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Speedycat on May 08, 2014, 08:14:46 PM
Thank you for the swift answer!!
Title: Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
Post by: Bryndis on November 03, 2015, 08:27:07 AM
Gotta love that (quite camp) photo of uncle Ernie ; )

(http://i1056.photobucket.com/albums/t372/joibkb/nikcyernst_zpsni5atrtr.jpg) (http://s1056.photobucket.com/user/joibkb/media/nikcyernst_zpsni5atrtr.jpg.html)