Alexander Palace Forum

Discussions about the Imperial Family and European Royalty => Alexandra Feodorovna => Topic started by: investigator on February 07, 2004, 07:10:59 AM

Title: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: investigator on February 07, 2004, 07:10:59 AM
What sort of relationship did Empress Alexandra have with her mother-in-law?
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: anna on February 07, 2004, 03:49:06 PM
Oh yes, there were great differences between the two empresses.

I think because of their anti-german feelings, Alexander and Marie opposed Nicholas wishes to marry Alexandra.
Maria also feared that this minor little princess was going to diminish her influence with her son. But, Alexander being seriously ill and at death's door, they gave permission to the marriage.

After Alexanders death and the wedding, N&A lived with Marie at the Anitchkov Palace. Alexandra feeling very lonely and Nicholas spending much of his time with his mother,still grieving.

Alexandra was now the young empress and Marie dowager empress. Marie had constant frictions with her daughter in law. According Russian protocol the dowager empress had precendency over the reigning tsarina. Alexandra couldn't stand this, she also disliked Marie's influence over Nicholas. There was also a dispute
about the royal jewels. Marie had great taste for jewels,she refused to hand them over to Alexandra. They(according Russian protocol) belonged to the reigning tsarina. Alexandra didn't want them anymore, she didn't care much, but (again protocol) had to wear them at official ceremony's. Marie considered her daughter in law a stubborn woman, with narrow mind.
The "stiff englishwoman".

Marie was a sparkling person, who was fond of clothes and jewels. She loved social life, balls and parties. She was very popular in St. Petersburg society. As for Alexandra , she hated society life. She was not brilliant at conversations, shy, frequently ill. She disliked St.Petersburg and wasn't very popular among society.
Because of Marie's coldness towards Alexandra, the latter drew back from court.
Nicholas didn't  ( or couldn't)do much about it.Het stood between his mother and wife, whom he loved both very much.

Both the empresses spoke to each other in polite but distant terms. There was no bond between these two women.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Janet Whitcomb on April 17, 2004, 06:37:19 PM
Yikes, what a powderkeg of a question . . . "What sort of relationship did Empress Alexandra have with her mother-in-law"!!!  

It's one of the classic mother vs. daughter-in-law relationships of all time, in my opinion!   ::)

I do think Alix's German roots didn't help, because although Marie and her sister, Princess Alexandra of England (married to Edward, Prince of Wales) did have German ancestry, they were Danish princesses through and through, and very patriotic, and very resentful of Germany's political aggression.  So, Alix being German was probably a sticking point with Marie, although not the worst one.

In addition to all the resentments that can occur when a woman marries someone's "little boy," Alix and Marie had very different personalities, which included different approaches to childrearing as well as overall goals and values. The incidence of the Imperial jewels has been mentioned often as one of their initial contretemps; then, of course, there was the reluctance (understandable, to a point) of the suddenly widowed Marie no longer having the same sort of "clout" as she enjoyed while Empress.  Add into the mix Alix's inability to furnish an heir for so many years . . . then to furnish an heir who turned out to be hemophilliac . . . then her reliance upon an idiocyncratic holy man for the health and well-being of that heir!

From what I understand, Alix and Marie generally treated each other with polite civility . . . but nothing approaching closeness.  


Yet another reason to have some empathy for Nicky, caught inbetween two very determined and strong-willed women.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Louise on April 17, 2004, 08:33:32 PM
I doubt that the Dowager Empress held Alix's nationality against her. As already stated, Minnie's mother was of German origin, and so was her mother in law, the late Empress.

There was jealousy right from the beginning with those two strong willed women. The Dowager Empress was a young vibrant woman when she was widowed, and "lost" her position In Russia. In the same month as losing her husband, she lost her son to another woman. A woman that had no clue of her royal duties, and a younger woman who was now the Tsarina.

The fight for the domination of Nicholas started right at the beginning and in the end, Alix won.

Louise
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Janet Whitcomb on April 17, 2004, 09:37:15 PM
On second thought, Louise, I think you're right that Marie wouldn't consider Alix inherently German . . . but she may have been a tad apprehensive re: Alix's Englishness plus her close relationship with Queen Victoria, knowing how her own sister had to deal with her mother-in-law's tantrums and obstinancy!

Since Alix disliked her cousin Wilhelm, she and Marie were at least united in one opinion.

However, when the rumors swirled that Alix's brother Ernie was "secretly visiting" during the war years . . . well, I wonder what Marie thought of THAT!   ::)
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Joanna on April 17, 2004, 10:23:37 PM
I have found that with the limits put on writers by publishers on the length of their books and what publishers will publish that will generate sales, there is never enough space to include more details and analysis. With Marie and Alexandra there has been an encaspulation of 23 years of their relationship resulting in a limited view of it and what prevailed at different times was in constant flux within the family. From what has been revealed I see Marie as very like her sister Alexandra who had a stunning childlike (her darling geogie letters) and extreme inability to let go with her children. I am sceptical like others here of the prevalent view that it was because Alexandra was German  that irritated Marie as she had welcomed Ella into the family. From the published letters Marie attended the births of Alexandra's babies or rushed there soon after. There was a desire I believe between both for a closeness. But there is a gap of fewer sources from the initial time of the marriage in late 1890's to the 1910's when the harsher view of their relationship takes over. I am constantly revising my thoughts on different issues as more is revealed. I was stunned when I read in posts here that Marie fled with her children from her husband when he was drinking!

Joanna
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Louise on April 17, 2004, 10:25:43 PM
I adore the Dowager Empress and i believe she is one of the more entertaining Tsarina's and an Empress that knew her duty and her role. I believe the operative word is DUTY. She knew what was expected of her and her husband as head of the autocracy and society.
That said, I can also see the all too human side of Minnie. Jealous of her role, spiteful,  and controlling. I personally don't think any woman that married her darling dear Nickie would have any chance of winning her over.

Louise
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Thierry on April 18, 2004, 04:42:07 AM
Hi !

I do not think it is very accurate to talk about anti-German feelings in Empress Maria Feodorovna and Queen Alexandra. They had anti-Prussian feelings. At that time there was no Germany as a country, only Kingdoms (as Prussia, Bavaria, etc.), Principalities, Grand-Duchies, Duchies, etc.

In 1864 Prussia had invaded the Schleswig-Holstein Duchies, which were part of Denmark, and annexed them in 1866. From that moment, there was a great ressentment against Prussia in the Danish Family and their relatives.

Every year there was a big family meeting at Ruppenheim, that Queen Victoria so much despised : she called it "The Royal Mob". All the "participants" had one common point : their hate against Prussia, and Queen Victoria thought it could a threat against peace in Europe. She was not really wrong...
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: RomanovFan on July 28, 2004, 08:10:14 PM
Why do the movies about Anastasia always portray Tsarina Alexandra and D. E. Marie getting along when in all reality they almost hated each other? It's that way in every movie, not just the cartoon ones for kids.  ???
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Annie on July 28, 2004, 08:30:31 PM
I would not like to think they didn't get along, but it looks like that might have been the case. That is not unusual, a lot of brides have mother in law problems. In this case, I think it was due to the fact that they were just 2 very different personalities. MF was a party girl, who unlike most widows of the time did not retire from the social scene after she lost her husband. She loved fancy dress balls, crowds, parties and dancing. Alexandra was uncomfortable in crowds, didn't care much for balls or fancy outings most of the time, and perhaps worst of all (for her) she was more 'old fashioned' or 'Victorian' than most others in the rowdy St. Petersburg society of the time and this did not endear her to them. I recall one episode, sorry I can't remember the book to quote it, where she was at a ball and was appalled by the amount of cleavage being displayed by some. She went up to one girl and said, "excuse me, but in Hesse-Darmstadt we don't wear our dresses quite so low" to which the girl replied, after pulling her dress even further off her shoulders, "well, in St. Petersburg, we do."

Later on, when MF had a problem with Alexandra's devotion to and reliance on the advice of Rasputin, it got worse.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Annie on July 29, 2004, 09:55:19 AM
I never got any of my info from any film. True, it was mentioned in N&A that they were not friendly, but the things I mentioned came from non fiction books, not movies.

I have seen in several books that by mid WW1 Marie was so unhappy with Alexandra that there were actually 'pro' and 'anti' Alexandra forces in the family. Kiev was considered a 'Marie' stronghold.

For the record, I'm with Alexandra. I am not a party person, I don't like crowds, am not much for drunkeness and debauchery. If others want to do it that's their business, but I don't want to be around it. I'd rather sit in my boudior with pictures, kids and pets too.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: LisaDavidson on July 29, 2004, 04:04:01 PM
While their relationship was not good at the end, it is a mistake to characterize the womens' relationship as "bad". This was not the case in the beginning, as they got along well when Nicholas and Alexandra first married. And, there were many years in between when they were united in supporting the Tsar.

The two women had fundamentally different ideas about the duties of an Empress and this as much as their personality contrasts contributed to the deterioration of that unity. Alexandra felt wives should have the same political opinions as their husbands and that the Empress' "job" was to be a wife and mother first, and Empress second. MF, on the other hand, believed that a good Empress could influence her husband, as she attempted to do in steering hers  away from Prussia and toward Britain, where her sister was Princess of Wales. She was decidedly Empress first, leading society with a relish that her daughter in law never had.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: JonC on December 22, 2004, 12:28:09 AM
Hi Anna.

I have been re-reading the threads concerning Empress Marie and Alix, Nicholas's wife. I have a couple of questions. Why did Empress Marie call her the 'stiff Englishwoman'? She knew quite well that Alix was born in Darmstadt, Germany and her father was German. I have alway heard her referred to as German.

Secondly, I read on another thread that Alix always called Empress Marie 'aunty' all the way till her marriage to Nicholas where I read that E. Marie insisted Alix should now call her 'mother'.

Was Alix of her right mind? How or why would she call E. Marie 'aunty'?

In order for ' stiff Englishwoman', and 'aunty' to be true it would mean that Edward 7th and his wife Queen Alexandra, E. Marie's sister would have to be Alix's real parents. What's going on? Is there a secret history here that's been overlooked by everyone? JonC.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Olga on December 22, 2004, 12:34:19 AM
Quote
Why did Empress Marie call her the 'stiff Englishwoman'? She knew quite well that Alix was born in Darmstadt, Germany and her father was German. I have alway heard her referred to as German.


Alexandra Fyodorovna was more English than German.


Quote
Was Alix of her right mind? How or why would she call E. Marie 'aunty'?


It's just a name. I call my mother's friends Aunty.

Quote
In order for ' stiff Englishwoman', and 'aunty' to be true it would mean that Edward 7th and his wife Queen Alexandra, E. Marie's sister would have to be Alix's real parents. What's going on? Is there a secret history here that's been overlooked by everyone?


No, no and no. Just like AGRBear, it seems like anything thing is plausible to you JonC.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Teddy on December 22, 2004, 06:15:02 AM
What would be the reaction of Maria F. if Alexandra F. had survived as only one of her family the excution?
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Sarai on December 22, 2004, 08:43:36 AM
Quote
What would be the reaction of Maria F. if Alexandra F. had survived as only one of her family the excution?


One would like to hope that she would have forgotten her past bitterness towards her, and just be happy that she had survived the horrors. However, I tend to think that would not have happened, or at least, not until many years had passed. Instead, I believe that the Dowager would have been resentful that Alexandra had survived over her son and her grandchildren, to whom of course she was closer to. I also believe she would have placed a lot of the blame over the events that led to their murder on Alexandra, because of Rasputin's influence on her and because of her influence on Nicholas. I don't think she would have forgiven her daughter-in-law for neither the public events that brought about their dynasty's downfall, nor for the personal conflicts, such as the rift Alexandra caused between her and her son. I think her attitude would have been similar to that of her daughter Xenia's, who bitterly cried that Alexandra had turned her brother into a "dishrag" and blamed her for much.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Janet_W. on December 22, 2004, 11:37:12 AM
An excellent point, Helen.  

Lately I've heard several references to pogroms, mentioning that they were initiated by Alexander III upon the assassination of his father. While Nicholas has previously received the brunt of the blame, it seems that people are finally coming around to the concept that his father was far more culpable.

As for Grand Duke Alexander, he wrote fascinating memoirs, but I think it is easy to read between the lines and see that he was full of bluster and self-importance. "Sandro" might have made a interesting Tsar--I'm sure HE would have thought that!--but he also would have aggravated the heck out of people . . .  more so than Nicholas, albeit for different reasons. Plus, I doubt anyone would write empathetic memoirs to the memory of Tsar Alexander IV.  

Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Teddy on December 22, 2004, 11:47:17 AM
I think for myself that if Alexandra was the soul survivor of the execution, that MF in the first place will become mad at her daughter in law and that she would later, cry together for the loss of all the family members who didn't survive.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: JonC on December 25, 2004, 09:17:54 PM
Hi Darth Olga.

Hey, you are kind-a right . My mother insisted I call older cousins 'aunty' and 'uncle' she said out of respect. I found out that I had been calling a cousin, whom I didn't like very well, uncle all along even till I was in my twenties. I got rather indignant when I found out he was just a second cousin. I had called him 'uncle' only because my mother had wanted it that way from when I was a small child otherwise, believe me, he would have been strictly cousin!

Similarly I rather believe that since AF and MF were not on good terms she would not have chosen to call her 'aunty' just out of the blue. They were never close or very familiar with each other until AF met up with Nicholas, her betrothed. I don't believe she would have called her future mother -in-law 'aunty' because its not done.

Once AF and NR were betrothed MF insisted, and rightly so, for AF to call her 'mother'! Therefore was MF, AF's real 'aunty'?

You said that AF was more of an English woman than a German woman. Is this because she was brought up by Queen Victoria after Alice's death? I haven't seen much written about the subsequent relationship between AF and Louis 4th, her father, after the death of her mother Alice. Do you know if they were close?

 One would think that the bonds between a father and a daughter would increase after the death of the mother. I don't see that between AF and Louis 4th. I wonder why it wasn't there? Why did Queen victoria decide to raise her instead?

AF was called 'a stiff Englishwoman' because she was clearly not German.

Sometimes I am so glad that I can "modify" these old posts.  Alix asked Marie what she should call her and asked if "Aunty-Mama" would be all right.  Marie replied that she was now "motherdear" and that is what she wanted to be called.  by Alixz 05/01/2009
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Sarai on December 26, 2004, 08:31:18 AM
Alix was indeed very close to her father, although I agree that, unfortunately, there isn't a lot of information about their relationship. But one can gather this especially from the way she talked about him after his death, how dear he was to her and how much she missed him.

Alix was referred to as being more English than German because she spent so much time at Queen Victoria's court and was heavily influenced by her. Her tastes and styles were more British than German. Perhaps also because her own mother Alice was more of an influence in her early life as well. Alice was said to have retained a lot of her British customs in Germany, such as her interior decoration style and the way her nurseries were run, with the British nannies and such. After her death, Queen Victoria became like a surrogate mother to Alix. She lived in Darmstadt with her father and siblings, but visited her grandmother frequently enough, and the Queen was involved in her life through letters when she wasn't physically around. Alix also spoke more English than German, especially as an adult, thus another reason she was referred to as an "Englishwoman."

As to why Alix spent so much time with her grandmother, there could be several reasons. Firstly, she was her grandmother, and as such the closest adult female relative to the children. It is only natural that a grandmother, who is indeed a second mother to most children, would step in after the death of a parent. Also, perhaps in those days the idea of a man raising children alone, as a "single dad," was seen as strange, and both Louis and Queen Victoria agreed it was good for the children to have a maternal female figure in their lives, especially for the girls. A third possibility is perhaps because there was a period when there was a rift between Alix's father and Queen Victoria, as he chose to marry another woman not too long after Alice's death (six years). Perhaps Queen Victoria chose to keep the children with her longer to get them away from that scandalous atmosphere at home.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Martyn on December 29, 2004, 06:18:41 AM


Oh I agree.  One can find mystery anywhere if one looks hard enough.  We all have people who are loosely attached to our families, usually friends of our parents whom we are encouraged to call 'Uncle' or 'Aunt', usually at the insistence of our parents, in order to give these a people a familiar yet respectful appellation within the family.  I call the wife of my father's cousin 'Aunt' as it helps me to define the family attachment and give her a measure of respect.
And I can't help feeling that calling Alix's parentage into question unnecessarily is possible a bit lacking in respect....
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Mgmstl on January 04, 2005, 12:48:02 PM
I think that this is one of my favorite topics. Minnie was
a socially accomplished, brilliant woman, who had 20
years as Tsarevna to become adjusted to the Russian
way of doing things, Alexandra had NO time.  I am not an admirer of Alexandra's in the least, but this is one place where I have sympathy with her, no matter what
the woman did, she could no right.  Minnie was no help
to her at all, inwardly she was jealous, and was probably the ONE person who could have helped A.F. in adjusting to her new role.  This is a big black mark in my
book for Marie, whom I do admire.

European royalty was so inter-related that they called
each other Aunt & Uncle and may have been cousins of
a distant branch, in those days even in small town
America distant cousins were called Aunt & Uncle by many as a term of respect & affection.  

In a letter to Q.V., her daughter Vicky, she makes a very interesting statement about A.F.'s somewhat rigid character.  (I am not quoting verbatim)  Something about A.F. letting her position go to her head.  

Alexander III & Marie were against the match, they were
very much pro French & discussed an alliance with Helene, the daughter of the Comte de Paris, who was
engaged to Eddy Duke Of Clarence, and later became  the Duchess of Aosta.  They were angling for a much more politically brilliant alliance for their son, then a minor German Princess, however of course A.F.'s pedigree was impeccable, with her connections to Q.V.
and of course to Alexander III's mother, and the Hesse
family tree can be traced back to Charlemagne.  I think
that could have caused some akwardness, there was even a discussion of Pcss. Margaret of Prussia.  

Evidently once the match was made any bitterness on
either side was buried.  Olga Alexandrovna, stated that
she felt her sister in law & mother had tried for years to
be close & understand each other, they were two different types of women.

I think that A.F.'s indifference to public opinion, & her refusal to be an Empress consort, hold court balls, parties, other than obligatory state functions, only led to the problems between her & her husband's family.

As far as Marie & Xenia blaming A.F., I can see their point there.  A.F. was brought up in one othe most liberal monarchies,& was influenced by her grandmother who warned her about getting her head turned by all of the magnificent jewels and the "power" she would hold. A.F. should have been more enlightened coming from the background she did, and of course Pcss. Alice was inclined to think of royalty as some sort of joke, but she chose to think of her position in other terms.  A.F also blindly embraced Rasputin, made bad decisions and was
instrumental in the downfall of the monarchy IMO.  

While I don't recall reading any statement of blame on
A.F. by Marie, I know Xenia made a couple of statements, to that effect.  However A.F. had cut herself off from anyone who disagreed with her by that point, even her own sister, so it is not suprising there was some resentment by those who survived the revolution.
The more I have read of A.F., I have found her to be less likeable, and yet for some the tragedy of Ekaterinberg cloaks her with holiness & wipes away her faults.  For me the tragedy lies with the fact that her children were killed with her.   Whatever her faults were as an Empress, and the bad decisions she made, no one deserves to be executed as they did.  
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 07, 2005, 08:44:13 PM
JonC, but you didn't address the fact that Alix was a  carrier of the hemophilia gene which she could have only inherited from her mother Alice who inherited it from her mother Queen Victoria. She couldn't have inherited it from Queen Alexandra if she were her daughter. What about that?
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 08, 2005, 11:40:58 AM
JonC, do you believe then that Alexei did not really have hemophilia?
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: JonC on January 08, 2005, 01:28:28 PM
That's right Helen. If Edward and Alexandra were 'Alix's' real parents then Alexie didn't have hemophilia. The photographs and DNA evidence the claimant has shown me further convinces me that this is so.

He has shown me two DNA reports. One from Dr. Gill's team and one from Dr. Melton's team.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 08, 2005, 01:36:46 PM
Quote
That's right Helen. If Edward and Alexandra were 'Alix's' real parents then Alexie didn't have hemophilia. The photographs and DNA evidence the claimant has shown me further convinces me that this is so.

He has shown me two DNA reports. One from Dr. Gill's team and one from Dr. Melton's team.


JonC, I don't think I understand what you mean, what kind of DNA reports? And what kind of photographs?

Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: grandduchessella on January 08, 2005, 08:14:43 PM
Quote

Helen, what is the title of the English book with Alice's letters in it? Thanks in advance.


Alice, Grand Duchess of Hesse, Princess of Great Britain and Ireland: Biographical Sketch and Letters

There are 2 editions, the latter one published with a preface by Princess Helena. They both came out in the 1880s. There are copies to be found through the internet.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Ming on January 14, 2005, 08:02:32 PM
My, what an interesting discussion! So many new things to think about....About the "Aunty" thing: I wonder if that's what Ella, Alix's sister, called MF after her marriage to NA's uncle, and perhaps young Alix just copied her sister?  Just a thought.

Also, I have a feeling MF wasn't ready to give up her husband, her throne, her power, her jewels, her son, etc., to ANYBODY.  Tough time for all concerned.

Ming
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: JonC on February 25, 2005, 05:36:11 PM
If anyone is still interested in this subject...I got the book mentioned above, finally! I can't find where she says that she gave birth or that the delivery was painful. Does anyone have a page number? JonC.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: pinklady on February 26, 2005, 03:07:00 AM
Amazing how Princess Alice's daughters are all beautiful and VERY similiar in apperance and you can really see the family resemblance in each and every one of them.
And Queen Alexandra's 3 daughters also have their OWN particular look to them(totally different to the beautiful Hessian look) and those 3 daughters all look similiar as well.
Except Queen Alexandra's daughters were PLAINER!!!!!!!

And Aunty is just an endearment, sorry.
My kids call my best friend Aunty and they always will, but they know she isnt like their other Aunties, of course!
No secrets, just Princess Alice and all her very beautiful children who all resemble each other.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Lanie on February 28, 2005, 11:45:37 PM
Since Queen Alexandra was Alix's aunt, perhaps she also wished to call MF 'Aunty'?  Wouldn't surprise me that she was told to, or maybe MF wished for Alix to call her 'Aunty'; wasn't MF Alix's godmother?  It seems to me the royalties did that back then; afterall they were pretty much one big family (the royal mob!).
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: pinklady on March 01, 2005, 03:55:55 AM
Queen Alexandra was Nicholas AND Alix's Aunt, and so therefore what Lanie says makes perfect sense.
And Alexander 111 and Minnie WERE Alix's Godparents, so Yes JonC it makes perfect sense to me that poor little parentless Alix would call Minnie "Aunty", as Minnie's sister Queen Alexandra was her real Aunty, Minie was her Godmother, and they were all inter - related.
And really, you think that Queen Victoria would have wanted Alix to marry her brother?? (Eddy)
Who is strange now?
As it is according to your theory, she married her cousin Nicky?
Better than a brother anyway I guess...

Can't you see how Alix, Ella and May all look so alike??
They had the same parents, after all, does Alix resemble Queen Alexandra's daughters, I don't think so.

Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: lilavanderhorn on March 01, 2005, 07:52:56 AM
Calling an older woman "aunty" is perfectly normal in some families.  I call my mother's older friends "Aunty".  It is a sign of respect.  I still call them that as I am older.  To say that Alix is Alexandra's daughter is plain ridiculous.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Robert_Hall on March 01, 2005, 08:16:54 AM
My mother had 4 sisters. They all called the eldest "Aunty". All of the cousins, including me, called this eldest aunt "Sis". I have no idea why, but it is not so rare, apparently as some may think perhaps.
Certainly not as rare as calling Alexandra Alix's mother !
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Alexandra on April 03, 2005, 03:04:46 AM
There is also the whole array of what, in English, are called 'cousins-german,' from the French 'germain,' NOTHING to do with Germany, whatsoever!! This line of nomenclature sometimes has the younger members of a family considered as 'nieces' and 'nephews,' the elder ones 'aunts' and 'uncles,' although the relationships may actually be quite other than those presupposed by the names. Catherine the Great was quite aware of this custom and refers to it as 'de Bretagne' in her memoirs. It does not happen in Scottish families, in which, say, aunt and niece may be coaevals, and if raised together, one might suppose they would call one another 'sisters' - but they do not!
Since MF and AA were indeed Alix's godparents, there is every reason to suppose that the 'Aunty' style arose from that relationship.
Perhaps also in MF's objections to AF as a 'stiff Englishwoman,' we forget the former's affections and loyalities to Russia ... which had not yet recovered from its humiliations at English hands during the Crimean War. MF could not have helped being affected by this fact, but I do think it was Alix' often misunderstood reserve, shyness, and awkwardness with which MF became so exasperated.
Jon C ... I remember you from other strands. I am sorry to say that, in all my many decades of research among those who figure so prominently in the Almanach de Gotha, I have not once found so much as a scintilla of evidence to support the idea that Alix von Hesse und bei Rhin was the daughter of Alexandra, Princess of Wales ... or indeed of anyone other than Alice and Ludwig, or Louis, of Hesse. What would Tum-Tum have thought had Alexandra served his gander some good goose sauce??  ;)
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: lexi4 on April 05, 2005, 11:39:14 PM
I have a question and I hope this is the appropriate place to ask. As you can see, I am new.
Does anyone have any idea why the Dowager Empress never believed that the IF family were executed? Is their any mention of this in any of her dairies or letters? Did she have any tangible reason to believe the IF was still alive? ???
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: bluetoria on April 06, 2005, 06:56:09 AM
Perhaps it was just too terrible for her to accept and she found consolation in believing that there was still some hope of seeing them again.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: lexi4 on April 06, 2005, 11:57:31 AM
Quote
Perhaps it was just too terrible for her to accept and she found consolation in believing that there was still some hope of seeing them again.



That's possible. But I still wonder if she had some reason to believe the IF was still alive. Did she believe them all to be alive? Or just certain members of the family?
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: ashanti01 on April 06, 2005, 02:17:58 PM
Quote


That's possible. But I still wonder if she had some reason to believe the IF was still alive. Did she believe them all to be alive? Or just certain members of the family?



Something tells me she wouldn't have been too heartbroken if  Alexandra was the only one who didn't make it.

In fact the more I read, it sounds like Alexandra would have been attacked directly many if she had survived.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: LisaDavidson on April 06, 2005, 03:32:00 PM
Quote


Something tells me she wouldn't have been too heartbroken if  Alexandra was the only one who didn't make it.

In fact the more I read, it sounds like Alexandra would have been attacked directly many if she had survived.


1. I think it's unfair to both Empresses to suggest that MF's negative feelings about her daughter went so far as to wish her dead. It was much more complex than this. I can't think that MF was unappreciative of AF's role as a wife and mother. Like most of the family, she wanted Alix to stop meddling in politics and send Rasputin away. But wish her dead? No, I don't think that's a fair characterization of their relationship.

2. As to whether there was some basis for MF to believe that Nicholas or Michael survived, I don't think she believed this, either. Like her sister Alexandra, Maria Feodorovna had rather clever ways of dealing with unpleasant realities. Her insistance on their survival was merely another way of doing this. As her daughter Olga let us know, her mother knew the truth.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: ashanti01 on April 06, 2005, 04:37:54 PM
I don't say Minnie would wish Alix dead, I only said that I doubt she would have been very heartbroken is Alix had not made it and the other's had.

From what I'm reading many members of the IF and noble families as well, blamed Alix for the revolution. If she had survived I wouldn't be very surprised if they would have lashed out against her.

I don't think Minnie hated Alix, but it doesn't like she loved her either. That's just my two cents.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: bluetoria on April 07, 2005, 06:35:27 AM
Quote


2. As to whether there was some basis for MF to believe that Nicholas or Michael survived, I don't think she believed this, either. Like her sister Alexandra, Maria Feodorovna had rather clever ways of dealing with unpleasant realities. Her insistance on their survival was merely another way of doing this. As her daughter Olga let us know, her mother knew the truth.


Perhaps it was also a clever way of being able to avoid having to meet all the impostors who claimed to be members of the Imperial Family.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: pinklady on April 07, 2005, 07:04:03 AM
Quote

Perhaps it was also a clever way of being able to avoid having to meet all the impostors who claimed to be members of the Imperial Family.


I agree with you Bluetoria, as surely the English and Danish royals had solid inside information that in fact all  members of the family had perished, and in later years King George quickly helped other royals when they were in crisis, I beleive because he couldnt have another tragedy after the sad events in Russia in 1918.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: lexi4 on April 07, 2005, 08:11:38 AM

Her insistance on their survival was merely another way of doing this. As her daughter Olga let us know, her mother knew the truth.
[/quote]

Where can I read about this?
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Helen_Azar on April 07, 2005, 08:13:48 AM
Quote
Her insistance on their survival was merely another way of doing this. As her daughter Olga let us know, her mother knew the truth.Where can I read about this?


Lexie4, I am not 100% sure, but I believe this was in the Last Grand Duchess by Ian Vorres.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: lovy on December 10, 2005, 09:41:01 PM
Alexandra and maria's relationship might not have been well. first of all, Alexandra believed in Rasputin, maria hated him!!! and at the beginning of Nicholas and Alexandra's marriage there was probably a bit of rivalry. maria and Alexandra were both competing for the same man and Alexandra didn't like it when maria gave her son the advice. Alexandra saw that maria treated Nicholas like a young boy in their early marriage and he would always spend time with her. not many mother and daughter-in-law relationships are very good, but i still think that these two in-laws cared for each other.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Alixz on January 11, 2006, 06:37:59 PM
I have always thought that the "Aunty" title came from the fact that Minnie was Queen Alexandra's sister and a defacto Aunt to Alix.

In another thread we have covered the Orthodox prohibition of cousins marrying and if JonC's theory is correct then Alix and Nicholas would have been first cousin's.  That doesn't seem likely.

There is the hemophilia aspect as well. None of Queen Alexandra's daughters would have been carriers as she herself was not a carrier.

If Alexis didn't have hempohelia, then there are a lot of researchers with egg on their faces and a lot of early 20th century doctors as well.

This does seem to be a stretch.  But JonC, if you are still out there and researching, please continue to keep us up to date.

And please, give us some hard facts to chew on.  Like the DNA and other test tesults you mentioned.




Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: griffh on January 15, 2006, 04:00:25 PM
You know, I am just finishing "Little Mother of Russia," for the second time.  It usually takes me about five readings to begin to unlock a book, but non-the-less, after second time through the book (which is hammpered in some ways because the Danish archives are still closed and the two Danish works on the Empress Dowager would not allow the author to quote from them) I do want to share a few ideas.  

However, before advancing some ideas about why the Empress Dowager may have not believed that her sons had perished in the Revolution, I did want to say I do think that the relationship between the Empress Dowager and Alexandra was complex and did not become bitter until the revolution and even then it was the remarks of the Grand Duchess Xenia in exile that are so cruel.  Her sister, Olga, on the other hand never made such cruel remarks about Alexandra even in the 1960's when Olga's biographer, Ivan Vorres, wrote her memoirs.    

This is an aside, but I must admit that I did enjoy JonC's flights of fancy in his attempt to explain the simple logic of Alix calling Minny Aunty.  I do feel for him and I believe that we should allow him these flights as I think those wonderfully extravagant explainations help us understand the spirit of Imperial Russia, where every accepted truth was originally a lie made up to cover a truth that could not be told.    

That is not to say that I endorse his explaination, as I think that the Empress Dowager would have known if her sister had given away a child because of their incredible close relationship.  

To me, the thing that does not work with the theory that Alix was given away is that only illegitimate children of Royals were given away, such as Queen Marie of Romania's illegitimate child in the late 1890's which her mother, the Grand Duchess Marie, arranged to be disposed of.  Queen Marie, however did not part with little Mireca whose birth ten years later clearly indicated that he was the child of someone other than her husband.  Little Mireca short live ended tragically, regardless of his mother's desire to hold on to him.  

Giving away children among royals is never about two married royals do not want their child for some reason or other.  Point in case, poor Prince John, Queen Mary's son was not given away.  

Having said that, I did want to make a few remarks about the Empress Dowager's public denial of her two son's death.  The thing that struck me so foricablly was how shocked London society was when the Empress Dowager arrived, after she was rescued from the Crimea, by the fact that she was not wearing mourning, but it must be remembered that this was a social response, not a political response (see below).  It was especially marked as memorial services had already been held for the Czar and his family in Paris and London by the time the Empress arrived in London in May of 1919.  

But I believe that there are other things going on here that must be considered.  Take the arrival of the Empress Dowager in England.  It must be remembered that the left wing Daily Hearld described the Empress Dowager as the "evil genius" of Nicholas II.  It must also be remembered that her reception in England was very low key and a purely private family affair as the British government had already recognized the Provisional Government a week after the Czar's abdication in March. 1917.  Dagmar was already old news by the time she arrived in England in May of 1919 and her remarks about her son's survival were only of interest to the exiled Russian community.  Imperial Russia no longer mattered to post-war world.    

 

   

Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: imperial angel on January 16, 2006, 10:57:02 AM
I will not address the most recent debate, but I will address the relationship of Marie Fedorovna, and Empress Alexandra. It was not the best of relationships, and was rather complicated given that they were very different personalities, and that they both had different views of how to be Empress consort, and get along in Russia. Very different styles of life, beliefs, and personality were only going to create conflict at some level. They went through more more bad points, and they had some good points were the relatonship was better, but essentially they were different people, and could never come to an agreement, even if sometimes they seemed better in their relationship, at a better stage of things. There were things beyond these even; essential differences of opinion, and neither were really people to give ground. ;)
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: griffh on January 16, 2006, 10:33:34 PM
I think Imperial Angel makes a wonderful point that the relationship between the Empress Dowager and the Empress Alexandra went back and forth as the imperial angel said:  

"They went through more bad points, and they had some good points were the relationship was better, but essentially they were different people, and could never come to an agreement, even if sometimes they seemed better in their relationship, at a better stage of things. There were things beyond these even; essential differences of opinion, and neither were really people to give ground."

Sometimes in the attempt to make a righteous judgment, we have to look for neutral ground as a source of information that allows us to more accurately define character.  Isn't that in the end what all of us are seeking, a more accurate evaluation of the characters involved.  

I find a rather unbiased view of the Empress Dowager as seen from the rather negative view of her by the English in 1910 as rather enlightening in terms of the Empress Dowager’s character when judged against the very positive view of her by the Russian Court's which always lauded her elegance and tack, if not her intelligence.  

As we all recall, in 1910 Edward VII had just passed while the British and Russian political atmosphere had improved to the point that the Empress Dowager had been able to start visiting her sister, Queen Alexandra in England  again, as early as 1906, after a twenty year lapse.  After 1908 the Empress Dowager visited her sister Queen Alexandra on a yearly as of 1908.  Just after Minnie was in Demark, when her sister-in-law Marie Orleans died, she learned of King Edward's death in May of 1910 and hurried to England to be with her sister and it is here that we see an impartial view of the Empress Dowager.  

Though Minnie was a wonderful support to her sister, she was also seen by the British Court officials and family members as a trouble maker.  Why, because she started demanding for her sister, the now Queen Mother, all the rights and prerogatives that she had been granted in Russia.  She demanded that her sister hold on to all the Crown Jewels including the diamond circlet that rightfully belonged to the new Queen Mary and that she needed to have in order to wear at the opening of Parliament.  Minny also demanded that her sister refuse to give way to Queen Mary in every way possible.  Minny’s selfishness was not unknown to her relations as Queen Mary’s Aunty the Dowager Duchess of Mechlenburg-Strelitz made clear in response to a letter from Mary, a letter by the way that used the same restraint of criticism that was evident in Alexandra’s letters about her mother in law.  The Duchess wrote:  “I understand every word, expressed and not and have greatly feared what you so gently allude to.”  When the Dowager Duchess heard of Minnie’s move for sister to hold on to Crown Jewels as Minnie had been allowed to do until 1912, the Dowager Duchess of Mechlenburg-Strelitz wrote her niece Queen Mary:  “Oh! Were I there instead of Minnie!!”  “More I dare not say.”  

One wonders if these would have been the words of Princess Alice had she lived to see her youngest surviving daughter, Alexandra, suffer the same kind of humiliation.  

I think that the British Court in 1910 gives us an insight to Dagmar’s character.  This memory of Dagmar’s trouble making was not lost on the British when she was exiled in 1919 and is one of the reasons she was finally pensioned off in Hvidøre in Denmark.    

One wonders if Alexandra had not been an orphan with no parental voice to protect her when she came to the throne, if the Empress Dowager would have really been able to pull off such cruel usurpation of her daughter-in-laws rights.  

Oh yes I know the rationale is that the Emperor Paul hated his wife and sought to humiliate her by making a law that his mother as Empress Dowager would have precedence over his wife.  

Paul was born in the Palace of Empress Elisabeth in St Petersburg. He was the son of Elizabeth's heir, her nephew, the Grand Duke Peter, later Emperor Peter III, and his wife, the Grand Duchess Catherine, later Empress Catherine II.  - Paul could not have put his mother before his wife as his mother was dead before Paul ascended the throne.  Modified by Alixz 05/01/2009

But Nicholas was an Emperor too and could have annulled those laws.  Of course we all realize that there is no way that he would have had the courage or even the desire to do such a thing and I think that under the circumstances Alexandra in the first ten years of her husband’s reign exhibited remarkable Christian humility.          
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Alixz on January 18, 2006, 07:54:21 AM
I merely think that Dagmar forgot her roots.  She didn't have very much growing up and we read that she and Alexandra "waited table" for their parents and sewed their own clothes.

It would have behooved her to remember this background and be more patient and less imperious with her daughter in law.

Dagmar and AIII referred to Alix as a "minor German princess".  Well, before eveyone else in Demark died or removed themselves from the succession, Dagmar was just a minor Danish princess.

As with Queen Victoria.  A lot of people had to to die and do stupid non royally accepted things for the numbers to converge and for her to become Queen.

Dagmar was on her second ticket to become Empress after Nixa died. She's lucky she got there at all and should have remembed that.

Of course Alix forgot her roots as well.  As a "minor German princess" she grew rapidly into the imperial role and played it to the hilt.  

Of course both women played it differently, but with the same disregard for each other.

Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: kmerov on January 18, 2006, 08:26:44 PM
MF and Alexandra had a difficult relationship because of all the things stated in this thread, mainly different personalities and views on the role and duty of an Empress.
MF not liking Alix goes back to before Alexander III's death when they met her as a young girl. MF objected to Alix, simply because she didn't see her fit to be the next Empress, not because she was jealous of her relationship with her son, or because of her being the new Empress in 1894. This could have contributed to the bad relationship later on, but was not the main reason for MF for disliking her.

From what I have read from MF's diaries in the years 1917-1919 she never says anything bad about Alix, and prays for her as well and thinks of her just as she does for the whole family.  

And finally, MF moved to Denmark because it was the logical thing to do. She had Hvidøre there, and she could take up residence at Amalienborg Palace. And maybe I'm guessing her, but I think she would prefer Denmark anytime over living in GB permanently.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: griffh on January 21, 2006, 11:28:15 AM
I think that is such an important point Kmerov that the Dowager Empress never made cruel remarks about Alix, only deeply concerned remarks about her influence and during 1916 about her mental balance.  She does confide during that time of tremendous uncertainty that Alix should go to the Crimea or simply "dissappear" but these statements are confined to her diary and even so she does not make the kind of malicious statements that the Grand Duchess Marie Pavlova made publically that Alix needed to be "exterminated."  

There are many moving proofs of Alix's affection for Marie and are perhaps most apparent when Marie comes as a final gesture to speak of Rasputin's reputation causing harm to the dynasty and Alix thanking her for her honesty.  Alix felt that the Empress Dowager was simply misinformed by gossip.  

I think the tragedy between the two women was that they both had strong desires for the well being of the same man, Nicholas and for the security of the crown.  It is just that those strong desires were expressed in different solutions.  

Both women reacted in the same way when they learned of the abdication.  When the Empress Dowager was informed the day after Nicholas abdicated the Grand Duchess Olga said that it hit her "like a thunderbolt...she was in a terrible state..."  The Empress Dowager could not understand why her son had done such a thing.  

In the end both women lost their control over Nicholas who told his mother when she came to General Headquarters two days after he abdicated.  When the Empress Dowager arrived at General Headquarters two days after the abdication she only had praise for him as he explained to her the "horrible things that had happened in the last two days."  When his mother asked him why he had abdicated he told her, "...what could I do when Nicholasha and Gerneral Alexeyev asked me to resign for the country's sake?..."

So in the end both women lost their control of him to the advice of men.  I think that possibly the relationship between Alix and Dagmar is locked away in Nicky's psyche.  
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: carl fraley on February 11, 2006, 09:23:01 PM
EXACTLY......U JUST NAILED IT ON THE HEAD.... ALEXANDRA COULDN'T NOT HAVE GENETICALLY BEEN ANYONE OTHER THAN ALICE'S AND LEWIS CHILD.  IT'S AMAZING THAT SOME PEOPLE KEEPING DRUDGING UP SCANDAL OR ATTEMPTING TO DIG UP GARBAGE ON SOMEONE WHO HAS BEEN DEAD ALMOST 1OO YEARS.  I am a devout Monarchist and no matter what AF faults were,  Stick to the facts.   The facts are this:

she was a devout mother and Wife

She meddled in politics and she should not have and she has paid for this.

If Sunny had been the Child of Bertia and Alix, then she wouldn't have inherited the Hemophelia gene.  I 'm not even going to finish on how proposterous your claims are.. There ludicrous
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: carl fraley on February 11, 2006, 09:29:03 PM
Griff........ Your statment that Paul hated his wife if quite unfounded and that he did this to humiater her so that his mother would have prescedence of his wife??..  Paul did not become Tsar until his mother had DIED....  Paul could not have enacted any law until Catherine's Death.  Your statement doesn't make any sense.  paul's wife marie actually loved Paul and together with his mistress they worked together to better and control his outburst...
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Alixz on February 11, 2006, 09:39:07 PM
Paul hated his mother - not his wife and the laws of succession were changed after Catherine's death so that no other woman would rule as she had.

Just the hemopilia fact alone precludes Alix from being anyone's child but Alice's and Ludwig's.

How these things get twisted.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: carl fraley on February 11, 2006, 10:12:16 PM
Thanks for backing me up Alixz... it's truly amazing how far some of this gets stretched.  It's understandable to type something with one or 2 maybe small errors.  But to post something that it 100% fabricated and not intelligible with no basis of fact is Another thing...
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Tania+ on February 11, 2006, 11:09:17 PM
Truth has a way of always stepping forward, sometimes even from the grave. That's why it is always important to offer truth initially. In mho, a lie is harder to live with. That's why it is so very imperative for the truth and facts to be stated, no matter what the issue.

No human being is perfect, but to add insult to injury [royal or not] to person, or persons now deceased, and pass on untruths as fact, only enlarges the lie to be picked up and told en masse. Who then do we honestly find to pin our hopes on for historical purposes to offer readers now and into the future, that of truth ?

You the reader must continue to make sure that these important needs are not thrown to the wind. As the FA has already shared on another thread, the importance of written fact, not that of hypothesis.We can all suggest, or offer what we think might have transpired, but it does not equate to the reality of what actually transpired, or how that person, or those persons thought, or the evidencing of what actually transpired.

Thanks for allowing me to share my thoughts.

Tatiana+

Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Nadezhda Edvardovna on February 12, 2006, 10:49:32 AM
Re: "Aunty"

Alexandra, Princess of Wales (later Queen Alexandra) was technically Empress Alexandra's aunt, being married to Alexandra (Alix's) maternal uncle (eventually Edward VII.) Empress Marie was Queen Alexandra's sister.  Liberal application would extend the aunt relationship to Minnie.  To JonC, you're the only person on the planet to EVER suggest that Alix was the child of ANYBODY but Princess Alice of Great Britian.  It simply isn't true and it is patently ludicrous!  

It's incredibly disrespectful for a child to address any adult without using an honorific of some sort, but within close friendships and family relationships it is strange to address an adult with whom there is an intimate relationship by the title a stranger or underling would use. "Aunty" was a compromise for Alix, just as here in Georgia we use "Miss" or "Mr" before a prenom. (As in "Miss Lillian" for the mother of former President Jimmy Carter.)

Somebody has done a WONDERFUL essay comparing Minnie and Alix--I'll try to find it and post the reference.  A comparative biography would be a wonderful idea--hint! hint!

Pax et bonum

Nadezhda.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Nadezhda Edvardovna on February 12, 2006, 10:55:41 AM
Here it is, as promised:

"The Empresses Marie and Alexandra, Image and Autocracy in Late Imperial Russia" http://www.koshka-the-cat.com/paper.htm

The author is a schoolteacher named Katherine, and she apparently has great interest in antique clothing design, so for all those of you who are interested in period costume, this is a great site.  The essay "The Empresses Marie and Alexandra, Image and Autocracy in Late Imperial Russia" reads like it was written as an undergraduate college assignment, and to my judgement holds up well.

Pax et Bonum

Nadezhda
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: imperial angel on February 13, 2006, 08:55:19 AM
They were both fascinating women these two,even at odds. And it is interesting to read anything about them. Truth should always be honored, although gossip and false rumours can get in the way of understanding the lives of historical figures, and of people famous today, and even of someone down the street, because such things are universal, in time, place, and interest. People ought to realize that such gossip and innendo hurts more than it is good, and it is not necessary to spice anything up in hostory or life. The truth always is much more interesting than the false things people write or say. ;)
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Caleb on February 13, 2006, 08:31:49 PM
I'm sure that there was quite a bit of jealousy between Marie & Alix. I get the feeling that Marie Feodorovna wanted to be the center of attention in court & society, as well as in Czar Nicholas's life. I think when Alix of Hesse married Nicholas, Marie saw that she wasn't the only major woman in his life & got jealous & therefore, acted with coolness toward Alexandra. I also think it had to do with that Alix of Hesse was German-born & knowing that Marie Feodorovna, as well as her sister Alexandra, hated the Prussians, also lead to at least a bit of the hostility. If Marie Feodorovna & Alexandra Feodorovna had given & taken a little, there might have not been such a rift between the two women.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: imperial angel on February 14, 2006, 10:29:55 AM
Yes, if they had been a bit more into give and take there would not have been so many issues or problems in their relationship, and that's something we all need to learn as well. If we keep an open mind, and agree to disagree that often makes things alot better. These women were opposites who didn't do that, and were more rigid, and one could argue that it would have better if they had been more flexible-but that's one thing that Alexandra wasn't, and I think Dowager Empress Marie was more fair minded, but also thought she was right. So much for agreement to appreciate one another's differences. ;)
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: grandduchessella on February 17, 2006, 02:43:41 PM
Quote
Re: "Aunty"

Alexandra, Princess of Wales (later Queen Alexandra) was technically Empress Alexandra's aunt, being married to Alexandra (Alix's) maternal uncle (eventually Edward VII.) Empress Marie was Queen Alexandra's sister.  Liberal application would extend the aunt relationship to Minnie.  To JonC, you're the only person on the planet to EVER suggest that Alix was the child of ANYBODY but Princess Alice of Great Britian.  It simply isn't true and it is patently ludicrous!  

It's incredibly disrespectful for a child to address any adult without using an honorific of some sort, but within close friendships and family relationships it is strange to address an adult with whom there is an intimate relationship by the title a stranger or underling would use. "Aunty" was a compromise for Alix, just as here in Georgia we use "Miss" or "Mr" before a prenom.


Not to get too far off topic but I was reading some of QV's letters and she actually addressed Queen Wilhelmina as Cousin or Niece and QW responded Cousin or Aunt. Except for the ties that QW had to QV's DIL Helen Duchess of Albany (QW's aunt) there were only very distant ties between the two royal houses. Nonetheless a feeling of comradeship between the two Queens of different generations persisted. Given the relationship between AF and MF, calling her Aunty isn't surprising. Queen Alexandra called QV 'Mama' but AF might not have felt comfortable doing this given the personal difficulties and the loss of her own mother at such a young age.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Caleb on February 21, 2006, 07:21:26 PM
I've heard that Marie often blamed Alix for what was going on (is this true?) If so, I think Alix was somewhat of a scapegoat. I think that Minnie may have wanted to deny the fact that Nicholas did make some mistakes during his reign.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: griffh on February 25, 2006, 06:26:43 PM
First off, thank you, Carlfraley, for correcting me about Paul.  You see, I had read that statement in one of my books and took it for fact.  I am indeed grateful to learn the truth.  

I think that this question of the two women, Alix and Dagmar, is summed up rather nicely by Baroness Buxhoeveden who said,

"Without actually clashing they seemed fundamentally unable...to understand on another."  

The Grand Duchess Olga, Nicky's sister added,

"...they tried to understand one another and failed.  They were utterly different in character, habits and outlook."

I found Caleb's remarks most interesting and spot on about Dagmar blaming Alix for Nicky's mistakes.  That is quite original thinking as far as I am concerned and I feel that such an insight as Caleb's is somehow connected with a remarkable quote from a fairly recent publication, "Born To Rule," which is a comparison between the five reigning Consorts of Queen Victoria; the Empress Alexandra, Queen Marie of Romania, Queen Maud of Norway, Queen Ena of Spain, and Queen Sophie of Greece.  

The author, Julia Gelardi, quotes a letter from Queen Louise of Denmark to her daughter, Dagmar.   Julia writes in her section on the Empress Alexandra,

"Just as Queen Victoria had feared, the life of Russia's beautiful young tsarina was about to become one dreadful trial after another.  and Alix need look no further than home to see where one battle was already brewing.  Her new mother-in-law was not about to concede her position as first lady in the land.  Despite showering Alix with lavish gifts, Empress Marie, ever confident, could not and would not bring herself to retire gracefully into the shadows.  Not long after Nicky and Alix became officially engaged, Empress Marie's own mother , Queen Louise of Denmark, urged Marie to work at being a good mother-in-law toward Alix:

'For yours and Nicky's sake start treating her like your own child, without fear, right away.  I have done wrong by Louise [the queen's daughter-in-law and wife of Crown Prince Frederick} and therefore spoiled Feddy's life, and she is pulling him away from me, this is where I am afraid for you: and therefore I am warning you.--Pull her [Alix] towards you, then you will keep him and pull her towards you with love!  God help you if you loose Nicky's trust and love, it will be the death of you.'

Julia adds, "Unfortunately, the empress [Marie] did not heed her mother's wise counsel..."

I hope that these ideas might be helpful.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Alixz on March 06, 2006, 06:45:29 PM
I also read that part of Born to Rule and thought the same.

However, Alix was Hessian.  The Hessians were not too fond of the Prussians either.

We tend, myself included, to call everyone who was pulled into the German unification, German, but many reserved their own loyalties.

The Unification took place in 1848, so technically, Alix was German, since she was born after the unifcation, but each Grand Duchy still held itself separate and unique as long as it could.

Victoria was of German descent as was Albert (Saxe Coburg Gotha) and so when Alice married Louis she was a German marrying a German (even though Alice was an English Princess and Louis was Hessian)

Why Dagmar would call Alix a "sitff Englishwoman" is beyond me, although I don't doubt that is what she called her.  Alix may have been raised English in the English ways, but she was by blood almost pure German.

Odd isn't it?  Her Germanic roots caused her trouble during the Great War, but somehow she is seen as English as well.  And I guess that didn't set well with her Danish mother in law.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: grandduchessella on March 08, 2006, 04:51:31 PM
Perhaps she meant in personality that she was a stiff Englishwoman. Not by blood, but by the influence that Queen Victoria wielded over her from the time she was a small child. Alix, like many of QV's grandchildren, picked up decidedly English characteristics and personality traits. The Court of Queen Victoria, while easier than some, still had a lot of stiff formality and tradition.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Nadezhda Edvardovna on May 11, 2006, 04:57:51 PM
Above, JonC speculates rather extravagantly reasons why Alexandra may have referred to Marie as "aunty." But I note that Marie's mother was a princess of Schleswig-Holstein and descended from the house of Hesse-Cassel, so I imagine it is  possible for Marie and Alexandra to be related?  I haven't got the geneology properly done, but here's what I've got so far:

Hesse was divided many times, but it seems the divisions that lasted were Hesse-Cassel and Hesse-Darmstadt, which appear in the late 1500s.

Pax,

N.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Caleb on May 13, 2006, 10:23:40 AM
Well, Marie Feodorovna was the sister of her aunt-by-marriage. This also may have just been out of respect. my mom's closest friend, Cathy, I refer to as Aunt Cathy & her husband, as Uncle Jim. I accidentally once nearly refferred to Uncle Jim as "Uncle Bertie", as Uncle Jim has a resemblance to King Edward VII.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: griffh on June 04, 2006, 02:46:52 PM
You know after reading the 6 pages of this thread, I think it should be renamed, "Why did Alix address Minnie as Aunt?"  The original question seems to have gotten lost in such a senseless dispute over such a trival point.    
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: imperial angel on June 05, 2006, 03:01:19 PM
That's true. I wish we could raise the original question in an interesting way, although trivia can be interesting sometimes.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: griffh on June 05, 2006, 04:55:08 PM
Imperial Angel I was just disappointed in the direction the thread took and I guess I got grumpy.  I do agree that trivia can be a very good source of new information, but it is just that this is such a valuable thread that has spent so much thought and energy away from the topic.  But thank you for your kind reminder and I did sort of think that I was being a bit harsh and was sounding a bit judgemental.  Well do forgive me.  
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: griffh on June 09, 2006, 12:15:02 PM
So much has been written about the differences between Alix and her mother-in-law, Minnie, that I thought it might be interesting to trace some of their similarities.  I have found several of them in some of the books I am currently reading.  

First off both women were a source of delight for husbands.  Clearly Minnie was not as beautiful as Alix but she made up for this by her graceful form, charming manner, and her exquisite sense of fashion.  It is said that the Emperor Alexander III lovingly followed with his eyes his wife's beautiful form as she glided around the gorgeous ball-room of the Winter Palace during the various receptions and court balls that were held during the season.  

Nicholas was equally awed by his wife's beauty and her beauty caused a great sensation when she appeared at court functions during the first decade of her husbands rule.

Both women were very strict about the cut of gowns that were worn to court functions by the Russian noble women.  We know of stories of the young Empress calling for the carriages of aristocratic women whose gown was cut too low.  When Princess Cantacuzene wore a ball-gown to a court ball that was cut in a very low square design and came straight across and off the sholders, the young Empress had mentioned her objection that the Princess' ball gown was not cut in accord with the accepted court decollete.  For a week or so after the ball Princess Cantacuzene's square cut gown became a cause celebre among the younger aristoratic set who all arrived in square cut gowns at the next court ball.

However it is not as well known that the Empress Dowager was equally strict about the cut of ball gowns and tabooed the appearance of sleeveless gowns or gowns that she felt were cut too low.  And she maintained her strict fashion taboos all the way through her life as did the young Empress.  As late as 1912 the Empress Dowager would not admitt any woman in her presence who was wearing the extremely fashionable knee split hobble skirts that the teenage dancing wonder and fashion arbitor, Irene Castle, had made to popular in Paris.  The differece between the two Empress' was that no one dared cross the Empress Dowager while no one cared to obey the younger Empress.

Minnie's sister, Queen Alexandra of England did not appear to share the strict attitude of her sister or niece Alix.  When Princess Montesquiou Montluc Siena appeared at the English Court in a hobble skirt created by Worth, far from banishing the Princess from her presence, Queen Alexandra was so enchanted by the new fashion that she asked the Princess for a photograph of her in the gown and later the Princess was also painted in the gown.  

Neither Alix or Minnie shared Queen Alexandra's love of the latest fashion trends, even though Alix continued to maintain a current sense of fashion while Minnie seemed to slip into a sort of modified version of the "tailored suits" and hats and hair-do's of the late 1890's.        

Another similarity between both women was their attitude regarding morality.  Both women had loyal husbands.  There is only one possible exception with Alexander III that occured during a state visit to Austria when he apparently spend an evening with the Emperor Franz Joseph's mistress.  And there is some speculation about the Empress Dowager's relationship with a certain Russian Prince in the later years of her life.  But there may be no more validity to these stories than the ones that circulated about Alix and Prince Orloff around the time of the birth of Alexis.

It is well known that the younger Empress was very concerned about the lack of morality among the Russian aristocracy and created a scandal in the first years of her husband's reign by refusing to invite any aristocrat that had been compromised by a scandal to her court ball.  However the Empress Dowager was equally concerned about the lack of morality among the Russian court.  It is recorded that when the Empress Dowager found out that the Commander of the Squadron, that was to accompany her son Nicholas on his voyage around the world, was living openly with his mistress, the Empress Dowager made the Commander marry his mistress before the voyage began.

Both women were actively involved in Charitable causes and both women had great sympathy for other people's grief and both rejoiced in other peoples gladness.  

Both women retired from the social life of St. Petersburg at about the same time.  The younger Empress retired after the difficulties in 1905 and the Empress Dowager withdrew from all social entertainment by 1905 and by 1908 began to spend a great deal of time outside of Russia.  The Empress Dowager seldom invited anyone to dinner-parties at Anitchkoff palace and only broke her retirement in 1914 by giving a dance for Olga and Tatiana.

I hope other's can add more similarities between Alix and Minnie.  
  

      

  
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: aleksandra on June 10, 2006, 10:28:31 PM
Wow I never knew they had that many. I am absolute amazed :o. Way to go .
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: griffh on June 11, 2006, 10:30:16 AM
Aleksandra,

It is really interesting to do this comparison.  The other thing I forgot to mention is that both women had difficulty with lanuages.  We know that the younger Empress had a difficult time with French and did not speak it with ease and we know that it took her a decade to become fluent in Russian though she finally mastered the language and was considered to have a good accent.  

It is not as well known that the Empress Dowager also had difficulty with languages.  Where she was fluent in French, unlike the younger Empress, the Empress Dowager never was able to master the Russian language and always spoke it with great difficulty.  That is why she spoke French at Court and in society and it is also why she spoke English within her family, in spite of of the fact that Alexander III tried his hardest to promote the Russian lanuage at Court and at home.

I think that one of the things that becomes clear to me through tracking the similarities of each woman is how differently those similarities played out in their lives.  One account I am reading states that during the reign of Nicholas II:

"The open laxity of morals did not exist in the reign of Alexander III.  The Emperor had a high standard of honour for himself and for his subjects.  Besides it was well known that the Empress Marie Feodorovna loathed people who had led immoral lives.  In those days...society would naturally have followed the Sovereign's lead, and this ostracism would have effectually quenched the eagerness of enterprising women..."

Again both women "loathed people who lead immoral lives" but the effect of that loathing created respect for the Empress Dowager while it created ostracism for the young Empress.  

I think what I am beginning to realize from this comparison of similarities that it is not a question of differences of character between the two women so much as question of sympathy.  


          
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: imperial angel on June 14, 2006, 10:23:37 AM
Thanks for those interesting posts of yours, grifh. I agree about what you said, and these are things I could never have thought of on my own. We so often see these two women as very different, but in reality that isn't wholly true. As you point put, it was more how they were regarded than essential differences that makes us percieve them differently.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Caleb on June 14, 2006, 12:23:52 PM
Both were raised Lutheran
Both were "German"
Both were brought up in a "backwater"
Both had reigning relatives in other countries
Both had a dislike of Prussian militarism & both disliked Kaiser Wilhelm II
Both became married under unusual circumstances
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: griffh on June 20, 2006, 02:38:29 PM
Hey Caleb that is really a great list of similarities!!!

Both women had older sisters who had extremely elegant taste in clothes.
Both women had a plainer sister who was connected by marriage to the Kaiser.  (Alix's sister Irene married the Kaiser's brother, Henry.  Dagmar's sister Thrya's son, the Duke of Cumberland, married the Kaiser's daughter, Viktoria.)
Both women reacted exactly the same way to Nicholas' abdication.
Both women influenced Nicholas' political choices.
Both women loved Russia.
Both women were monarchists.


    
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: imperial angel on June 21, 2006, 12:01:41 PM
Yes, both are great lists, and very true. Perhaps Marie Feodorovna merely was able to express herself better to society and the Russian people than Alexandra who was an interesting person with much to offer, but who was shy and could not really communicate or inspire empathy in society or among more ordinary subjects. This might be their greatest difference which overcame all the similarities they undoubtly had.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: griffh on August 06, 2006, 02:18:54 PM
You know, even thought this thread is devoted to similarities, I just found out by reading the memories of one of the many American ministers to Russia that the Empress Dowager and the Young Empress were often at the same court events and while the Younger Empress stood isolated and distant, the Empress Dowager was charm itself.  The thing that struck me was that the Empress Dowager could have so easily included the Younger Empress and put her at her ease if she had really wanted to embarace her as a daughter.  I know that there are arguements on both sides for the distance between the women, but that letter that the Empress Dowager's mother wrote to her warning her not to continue her cold sholdering of the Younger Empress really has stayed with me. 

I guess in a way that is another similarity that both women shared, the abliity to cold-sholder people that made them feel uncomfortable. 

 
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Ortino on August 06, 2006, 04:56:58 PM
I don't believe that even Minnie's help could have put Alix totally at ease. If one is not at ease in large public gatherings from the start, then it is difficult to break that fear.  I, for example, suffer from terrible stage fright. Even if someone is up there with me, I still have trouble at times overcoming it. Kindness and understanding on Minnie's part might have helped somewhat, but it would have still been hard for her to comprehend the full extent of Alix's fear, particularly since she was so comfortable herself. Besides, socialization was an essential part of their world and Minnie couldn't have been too thrilled with having such a reclusive daughter-in-law.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: griffh on August 13, 2006, 12:08:16 PM
Ortino that is a really good point and I am sure that it would not have been easy for the Empress Dowager to put Alix at her ease and the Empress Dowager's own daughter Xenia was even more shy in public than Alix. 

I think that my point was that the Empress Dowager could have shielded Alix from criticism as she did her own daughter, instead of encouraging the criticism.  Dagmar shielded her own daughter without being able to change her shyness.  And then there is that very telling letter from Queen Louise of Demark, the Empress Dowager's own mother, in which Queen Louise told Dagmar in no uncertain terms to stop alienating Alix and to start treating her life a real daughter or she would eventually loose her son Nicholas, in the same way that Queen Louise, through similar actions to one of her daughter-in-laws, lost the affection of one of her own sons. 

The other thing that I think about is that during one of her cousin's visits in the 1890's Alix was relaxed and confident and went everywhere in society with her cousin.  I don't know, maybe I am wrong. 
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Ortino on August 13, 2006, 04:47:49 PM
I've never seen Xenia referred to as shy, but I could be wrong. If she was indeed shy, I think that the saying "blood is thicker than water" is highly relevant. Some people are willing to overlook the faults of those closest to them, but not the same ones in others. Minnie and Xenia seemed to have had a relatively good relationship--she certainly saw Xenia's children MUCH more often than she saw Nicholas'-- and that probaby contributed to her willingness to shield her from public scrutiny. Alix was a relative stranger to her in comparison and one she apparently identified quickly as being unsuited for the role of Empress. Alix seems to have been very at ease with those closest to her, explaining perhaps her behavior in the 1890's. She also didn't have the heavy burdens of being Empress on her shoulders then either.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Tsarina_Liz on August 13, 2006, 08:03:22 PM
Well, methinks neither of them would have appreciated this line of conversation...

We so often discuss their differences because they were exaggerated in life.  Why?  Both women were exceedingly stubborn and unwilling to change.  They remained frigid towards each other and worked so hard at being polar opposites, despite obvious similarities, it ruined any potential relationship. 

PS: I haven't been here in a couple of months and am a little thrown by the new style.  Have we all been knocked back down to newbie?  I do so miss being a God.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Georgiy on August 14, 2006, 07:26:57 PM
I do wonder if the differences and estrangement between them has not been somewhat exagerrated. GD Alexander wrote in his book how after the IF were imprisoned at Tsarskoe that the Dowager Empress intended to go there and share their imprisonment to be with her son, and help Alix cope. If the relationship between the two was as bad as we are lead to believe, it would seem a very strange thing for her to want to try and do. I think possibly they were very similar and that can explain why they had difficulty getting on with each other. It is touching the the DE wanted to help Alix when the IF was imprisoned. It is interesting to think about what might have happeded if Xenia and the others hadn't stopped Maria F from going. Would England have let the Queen Mother's sister be taken along to Tobolsk and Ekaterinburg and killed? Would Maria F's going along with the IF ultimately lead to their survival...
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Tsarina_Liz on August 17, 2006, 02:42:14 PM
I do wonder if the differences and estrangement between them has not been somewhat exagerrated. GD Alexander wrote in his book how after the IF were imprisoned at Tsarskoe that the Dowager Empress intended to go there and share their imprisonment to be with her son, and help Alix cope. If the relationship between the two was as bad as we are lead to believe, it would seem a very strange thing for her to want to try and do. I think possibly they were very similar and that can explain why they had difficulty getting on with each other. It is touching the the DE wanted to help Alix when the IF was imprisoned. It is interesting to think about what might have happeded if Xenia and the others hadn't stopped Maria F from going. Would England have let the Queen Mother's sister be taken along to Tobolsk and Ekaterinburg and killed? Would Maria F's going along with the IF ultimately lead to their survival...

Excellent point.  They seem to have taken the traditional battle of in-laws farther than average people though.  But then again they did live on a different scale.  Two stubborn women trying to fill the same role couldn't end happily.  I doubt, however, the presence of the DE would have influenced the fate of the IF.  I think she would have been seperated from the family when they moved and taken into a more gentle exile.  I do think she would have ended up like the rest of her family: shot.  Simply remaining in the situation, however much on the periphery, was a death sentence. 
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: griffh on August 25, 2006, 01:04:40 AM
I do wonder if the differences and estrangement between them has not been somewhat exagerrated. GD Alexander wrote in his book how after the IF were imprisoned at Tsarskoe that the Dowager Empress intended to go there and share their imprisonment to be with her son, and help Alix cope... Would England have let the Queen Mother's sister be taken along to Tobolsk and Ekaterinburg and killed? Would Maria F's going along with the IF ultimately lead to their survival...

I agree with Tsarina_Liz that you have really made a great point and is more or less the reason I wanted to start the thread.  I have just finished reading the Czar's letters to his mother and she mentions her concern for Alix often.  It is interesting that the letters cover a period from 1879 to 1917 and Minnie mentions Alix in her letters written in the 1890's and then again in 1915-1917.  I think that the two rival courts had a great deal to do with exaggeration of the two women's differences.  It is here that I remember Anna Virubova's remarks to Rheta Childe Dorr, "This much I do know, that it was difficult, very difficult, at the Russian court, to avoid being drawn into political intrigues...A court is made up of numberless little cliques, each one with its endless gossip, it whisperings, its secrets and its plots, big and small.  There is nothing too big or too small for these cliques to concern themselves with...They plot to raise this one to power and they plot to bring about the fall of another.  They plot in peace and they plot in war.  The person who lives at court and is not drawn into some of these plots is an exception to the rule."

I think that the Empress Dowager would have perished with the IF if she had gone to be with them becasue of location more than anything else.  The hatred towards the IF by the local Soviets in Ekaterinburg was far more savage than some of the Soviet units that guarded the Empress Dowager and the other Romanoffs in the Crimea.  As it was, without the duplicity of their bolshevik captor, the Empress Dowager and her fellow Romanoff relatives would have perished just before the German occupation of the Crimea.     
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: imperial angel on August 29, 2006, 10:35:46 AM
I don't think that these women could have helped each other, nor understood how to. They had too many differences for that, and perhaps each wanted to go their own way, and not be concerned with each other. Perhaps they simply did not understand each other either. They were united by some things, but perhaps divided by more. But sometimes, trouble leads to the unification of families, rather than driving them apart. As for helping Alexandra in coping with public life, Alexandra was not naturally a public figure, whereas the Dowager Empress was very social. You can't help someone change their personality, amd I don't see the Dowager Empress able to help Alexandra cope with getting more comfortable with public life, because she was social, and wasn't really the kind of person to help someone cope.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: griffh on September 04, 2006, 04:28:24 PM
I think you are spot on imperial angel!  The other involuntary difference was the Empress Marie's use of dissimulation or more softly put, her use of "little white lies" to control her husband's temper, a practice that she had passed on to her children including Nicholas II.  Alexandra's forthright character could not abide the use of dissimulation for any reason.  She faced her opponents head on.  I have no doubt that Alix would have gained the respect of Alexander III.   

Those two highly spirited, loyal women, Alix and Minny, were at odds with each other because of their basic make up as women.  But in credit to both these noble women, their history of antagonism was something that neither woman wanted, as they fought each other to maintain the love and loyalty of the same man, that dear Nicholas II.         
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: imperial angel on September 05, 2006, 10:06:42 AM
Yes, they did. They both wanted to be close to Nicholas II. One was his mother, one his wife. They were different personalities. One of the things that I have always particularly liked about Alexandra was that she was straight forward and honest, even if that led to problems for her.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: griffh on September 11, 2006, 03:38:06 PM
I am right with you Imperial Angel and I am hoping to start a thread about Alexandra's fine Victiorian virtues based on the re-evaluation of the postive aspects of the Victorian reformers.  The thing I think people miss with Alexandra is how important the elevation of those reforms were for Alexandra.  Of the tragedy is that she was playing off that agenda against the indiffernce of a Russian aristocracy that basically was impervious, like the American West, to the Victorian reform movement.  While the Russian aristocracy was still dealing with the pleasures of an 18th century menu, the American west was indiffernt because of its expansionist "lynth law" mentality. 

I suppose the only place, that such intinsically Victorian agenda for reform as the Young Empress embodied, was in England, the American New England, or possibly certain anti-Prussian German Duchies. 

I know this is going to sound very unorthodox, but even the Grand Duchess Ella, though embracing the principles of Victorian reform through her introduction of the first practical nursing order of Orthodox nuns, still was not quite as radical a reformer as Aliz. 
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: dmitri on July 04, 2007, 12:41:12 PM
Alexandra had a poor relationship due to the fact that she was too dim to learn from her wiser, more experienced and popular mother-in-law. I think that Alexandra Feodorovna in fact was insanely jealous of Maria Feodorovna and knew that sex with Nicholas would always win out over the love he had for his mother. Alexandra totally dominated Nicholas. I think there would have been civility between the two women but of course Marie knew she could not influence her son. That was one of the reasons she went to Kiev. She was absolutely disgusted at how badly Alexandra was mismanaging the governance of Russia.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: pandora on December 08, 2007, 11:01:49 AM
Unfortunately, many wives and mother-in-laws have poor relationships due inpart to one party unwilling to recognize that their influence is no longer as strong as it once was. With that said, much could have been accomplished by both the DE & Alexandra if they had learned to work together using their strengths and weaknesses at the appropriate times.
A person can only be "dominated" by another if they allow themselves to be placed in that position and marriage isn't about domination, it's about devotion. Nicholas & Alexandra were truly in love and devoted to one another. He valued her opinions on topics - right or wrong - as should be in any marriage/relationship. Using the sex angle is rather odd as sex is part of any healthy marriage so it doesn't play out that it was used as 'bribe'. Both Alexandra & Nicholas were people of decent intellect so that comment, in my opinion, cheapened them as humans. They were a married couple, deeply committed to each other and unfortunately neither capable of seeing the writing on the wall concerning Russia.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: anna11 on December 08, 2007, 04:06:58 PM
I have a feeling the bad relationship between Marie and Alexandra has been somewhat overstated. Like Pandora said, many young wives and mothers in law have poor relationships, it's just the way things are. They seem to have gotten along well enough to see each other every once in a while and be civil and friendly, even if they weren't bosom buddies. After all, Alix was the mother of Marie's grandchildren.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: AGRBear on December 17, 2007, 01:22:27 PM
Sometimes,  the relationship between Alexandra and her mother-in-law is understated.   Did you know  Maria Fedorovna plotted against
Alexandra?

LITTLE MOTHER OF RUSSIA  by Coryne Hall p.  273:

>>In the wake of Nickholas ' visit Dagmar was distressed.  Once again she had failed to make him see that the influence of Alicky and Rasputin was endangering the dynasty.  According to Pince Youssoupov,  she wrote to her son "begging him to send Rasputin away and to forbid the 'Tsarina to interfer in affairs of state'. Nicholas told his wife and she broke off relations with the family.  The Tsar and Tsarina sent no Christmas presents to the Grand Dukes or their families that year.<<

This was in 1916.

Rasputin's murers were placed on trial.

Dagmar wrote, again, to her son,  Nicholas II  p.277:

>> Dagmar followed his with a tactful letter, expressing her worry and distress that she had been unable to help during the last trying months.  Then she came to the subject upper most in her mind, "One should reach in oneself and forgive....  I am sure you are aware yourself how deeply you have offended all the family by your brusque reply, throwing at their heads a dreadful and entirely unjustified accusation.  I hope also... that you will alleviate the fate of Dimitri Pavlovich by not leaving him in Persia whre the climate is so dreaful... [he hd tuberculouis].  It is not like you with your kind heart to behave in this way;  it upsets me very much."<<

>>...Nicholas does seem to have suffered a nervous collapse.  Ministers and Ambassadaors were shocked by the change of his appearance.  Rumors circulated that the Empress was giving im drugs...<<

p. 278

>>,,,Dagmar was worried about the curret state of affairs.  On 19th January 1917 she noted her concern in her diary, again adding her wish that Nicholas  would stop followng his wife's disastrous counsel.  She now received few letters from Nicholas.   Sandro and Felix hoped that once the Tsar was back to the front,  they and the Dowager Empess could descend upon Petrograd.  There they would have Protopopov and Alicky and her confiddante Ann Vyrubova be sent to the Crimea.  Only by this course of action, Felix felt, could disaster be avoided.*<<

The plot thickens.

AGRBear

*Bold print is my own.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: anna11 on December 17, 2007, 03:58:36 PM
I was thinking more of their pre-war relationship when I made the above post. I know that Marie was concerned about Rasputin, and Alexandra's inteference in politics, but I meant the personal dislike they had for each other is often overstated imo.  And I seriously , seriously doubt Alexandra was giving Nicholas drugs.

Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Nala on December 23, 2007, 07:41:39 AM
I think an important fact is being overlooked in this discussion of why Alix was treated differently and with less respect than Minnie.

I believe it all comes down to the husbands, if not ALL then 80%

We all know that Nicky in no way commanded the same type of respect as his father.

Almost from the start Alix was astounded by the lack of respect shown to him, especially when his father was on his death bed and no one came to him to give updates etc..

So in effect Alix was trying to fight  more than one battle when it came to supremacy over Minnie

Why would the court show her any respect when they did not even show it to her Husband who was the Tsar?

Sure no one dared cross Minnie…but who gives a poop over Alix? Especially since they knew Nicky was a softie

Just my opinon
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Nala on December 23, 2007, 07:52:23 AM
And also as mentioned previously, I think Alix was a scapegoat.

From what I have read of Minnie, I do not think she was a very nice person at all

She comes across as a vindictive manipulative person.

She was the more experienced and older and it was her DUTY to take Alix under her wing and teach her and guide her.

What she did was the opposite, you would think that being older and wiser, she would know that harmony within the family ..to some degree = harmony in Russia.

Everyone knows Nicholas was a weak ruler, and instead of facing up to the truth everyone blames Alix because she is foreign and because her husband is so weak that even a woman with the slightest back bone would appear to be dominating

It happened in France and it happened in Russia, I think there is a lot of things at play here, and certainly Alix did not help matters and contributed to the malicious gossip being spread about her by her actions

But I think it is highly unfair to blame the revolution on her, I think Minnie purposefully used the family against her and outcasted her, never realising the devastating results

If anything, I think MF is just as responsible for the tragedies that took place as any one of the major players

No one supported these two on the throne, no one was their friend in the family, everyone it seems mocked them or tried to take advantage of them

That is their real tragedy, the fact that they had such a family not them being shot by the Bolsheviks

This may be a bit far fetched but I do not think the Bolshevik scene would have happened, had the royal family acted as a true family and showed the imperial couple, love , closeness and support.

To not receive this support from your mother is even worse
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: LisaDavidson on December 27, 2007, 12:06:49 AM
I think an important fact is being overlooked in this discussion of why Alix was treated differently and with less respect than Minnie.

I believe it all comes down to the husbands, if not ALL then 80%

We all know that Nicky in no way commanded the same type of respect as his father.

Almost from the start Alix was astounded by the lack of respect shown to him, especially when his father was on his death bed and no one came to him to give updates etc..

So in effect Alix was trying to fight  more than one battle when it came to supremacy over Minnie

Why would the court show her any respect when they did not even show it to her Husband who was the Tsar?

Sure no one dared cross Minnie…but who gives a poop over Alix? Especially since they knew Nicky was a softie

Just my opinon


First of all, please avoid constant reference to royal persons by their family nicknames. It is a very annoying habit and unfortunately one shared by a few others who post here.

Second of all, this is not an "opinion", it is rampant speculation based upon no facts. "Sure no one dared cross Minnie?". The lady was a Dowager Empress, and I'm sure many people crossed her, so I don't understand how you could say this. "They knew Nicky was a softie?". "They" knew this how?

Third, you contradict yourself all over the place. If it was the husbands of these two women who were responsible - for what exactly?, then they had no differences personally, which is certainly not the case. You go on to say that Maria Feodorovna "was not a nice person". The woman had a job - and she was not Emily Post or Miss Manners - she was the leader of Imperial society, and "nice" probably would not have worked too well for her or anyone else for that manner.

Lastly, the relationship between the two empresses was very complex and cannot be reduced to a few trite phrases - but you have your opinion?!
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: aleksandr pavlovich on December 27, 2007, 04:03:20 PM
Re:  Reply #113:    Thank you, Lisa, especially for your first point.  This is a hideously pervasive habit throughout many of these topics on the Board. Globally (and to no specific instance or post), I agree that outside of a direct quote,  references to Imperial/Royal, etc. personages by their family ---note the word "family"------nicknames/names is disagreeable.  I would dare say that NO ONE who posts  is so closely related to the Romanovs (in particular) that would allow them to be so familiar.  By the use of these names,  people apparently wish to demonstrate some sort of "inside knowledge" or are overly-identifying with their fantasy relationships.  We should remember the axiom:  "Familiarity breeds contempt," and contempt is exactly what to expect when certain protocol rules are consciously ignored. Of course, ignorance of these points can be expected by those who GENUINELY do not know better, but you have effectively called this now to their attention and they can learn from it.   I  DO NOT hold the Romanovs in sacrosanct esteem -- they were woefully flawed creatures, as  indeed we all are,  but I respect the demands of protocol.  The first thing that you will hear, I expect, is that "It's too long to write XXXXXXXX," or "Come on, these are modern times," etc.  Good manners are ageless.   AP
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: LisaDavidson on December 27, 2007, 05:16:18 PM
Re:  Reply #113:    Thank you, Lisa, especially for your first point.  This is a hideously pervasive habit throughout many of these topics on the Board. Globally (and to no specific instance or post), I agree that outside of a direct quote,  references to Imperial/Royal, etc. personages by their family ---note the word "family"------nicknames/names is disagreeable.  I would dare say that NO ONE who posts  is so closely related to the Romanovs (in particular) that would allow them to be so familiar.  By the use of these names,  people apparently wish to demonstrate some sort of "inside knowledge" or are overly-identifying with their fantasy relationships.  We should remember the axiom:  "Familiarity breeds contempt," and contempt is exactly what to expect when certain protocol rules are consciously ignored. Of course, ignorance of these points can be expected by those who GENUINELY do not know better, but you have effectively called this now to their attention and they can learn from it.   I  DO NOT hold the Romanovs in sacrosanct esteem -- they were woefully flawed creatures, as  indeed we all are,  but I respect the demands of protocol.  The first thing that you will hear, I expect, is that "It's too long to write XXXXXXXX," or "Come on, these are modern times," etc.  Good manners are ageless.   AP

I agree that good manners are ageless and timeless, as well.

I think it's about respect of other people, whether they be royal or not. I do not mind an occasional reference using these familiar names, but a constant use of them to me shows disrespect.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: clockworkgirl21 on January 08, 2008, 05:01:36 PM
Something one person finds disrespectful may not be disrespectful to someone else. I don't think nicknames are disrespectful at all, as long as it isn't something like "Bloody Nicholas."

It seems to be something that comes up a lot around here. Personally, I think it's a good idea to do what you think is respectful, and let others do what they think is respectful.

If some people like to call the IF by their nicknames because it makes them feel closer, what's wrong with that? Just my opinion...

Schvibzik, be careful arguing with a Mod there.  ;)
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: ChristineM on January 10, 2008, 05:24:06 AM
I never cease to be amazed and appalled by the didactic tones of Ms Davidson.   Perhaps if her domineering tones were mixed with some facts, they wouldn't be quite so objectionable.

Reading the thread, I thought 'Schvbzik' made a valiant endeavour to pin down the tangible antipathy between Maria Feodorovna and her daughter-in-law which HISTORY from FIRST HAND accounts have delivered.   I would have thought, that as an 'historian', Ms D would have been aware of this, otherwise she could stand accused of re-writing history.

There is no doubt that Maria Feodorovna was totally opposed to her daughter-in-law from the outset.   Her meddling and the active recruitment of her brothers-in-law not just to conspire against Alexandra Feodorovna, but also against her oldest son (of course her attitude towards the new Empress itself alone, belittled and derided her attitude to her own son.... Alexandra Feodorovna was, after, all his chosen his wife and the Empress) is part of recorded history - NOT a figment of 'Schvizkik's' imagination.   It is all down to  respect.   A virtue which one could be forgiven for believing is missing in the attitude of Ms Davidson to contributors here.   Perhaps this is why she finds it so easy to defend the behaviour of the dowager empress towards the Empress.

The causes of the downfall of the Romanov dynasty are long and complex.   However that envious, devious little minx - Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna - certainly played a large part THROUGHOUT the last two decades of the dynasty.   Alexandra Feodorovna with her quiet, shy constitution did well to cope under the public humiliating by her mother-in-law.    Simple, obvious examples can be witnessed in the woman's insistence in always taking precedence, not to mention the crown jewel debacle.   Eventually Alexandra Feodorovna collapsed under the strain of her inability to produce a healthy heir.   These facts alone, bring into high relief, Nicholas II's inability to assert himself as a human being - never mind as an emperor upon whose empire the sun never set.

Where is the point in posters having respect for moderators when it appears that certain moderators have not one iota of respect for posters.   


Ms Davidson - were it not for the posters - warts and all - you would have NO forum.   Please kindly bear this in mind.

tsaria

PS:  I have always thought the Director of the Imperial Theatres, Prince Volkonsky's, apt description of Mathilde Kschessinskaya - 'that black-eyed, she-devil of the ballet', could equally be applied to Marie Feodorovna.... the black-eyed, she-devil of the Empire.

Psychologists could develop an interesting theme in analysing Nicholas Alexandrovich's attachment to Mathilde and the striking resemblance of her to his mother - physically, mentally and emotionally.




 
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Forum Admin on January 10, 2008, 09:48:36 AM
Personally, I don't see anything wrong with "Alix" "Minnie" "Nicky" etc.  I mean, it is alot easier to type these than "HIH Alexandra Feodorovna" Evo Impernalnaya Gosudar Veyliyshestva Marie Feodorovna...etc.  Second, they are rather all long since quite dead, and the references were in no way derogatory.

I think Schvbik raises some interesting points, and I would myself enjoy seeing a more detailed discussion of the points raised with specific events cited.  For one, we all know how MF refused to allow AF to use of the Imperial Crown jewels to which AF was entitled as reigning Empress, that alone speaks volumes.  Further, the correspondence seems to show that MF and AF were often at odds over issues and put Nicholas in the middle, yet Nicholas really never put his foot down to his mother in support of his wife, he was always trying to placate both sides, to the frustration of both women, imo.

Frankly, is this not the whole purpose of this thread, to discuss these issues?? carry on...
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: NAAOTMA on January 10, 2008, 10:50:13 AM
I think Tsaria brings up a fascinating point: how alike Mathilda (as she was called in Russia) and Nicholas' mother were. This struck me when I read IMPERIAL DANCER.

That book also made me realize that going to the ballet for Alexandra was far more than just showing up in the Imperial Box for an enjoyable evening at the theater. It was venturing into Mathilda's turf with all its past history between Nicholas and MK as well as the ongoing support MK received from other members of the Imperial Family.

Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Forum Admin on January 10, 2008, 11:39:50 AM
NAAOTMA

While an interesting point, this thread is about AF and MF, please take Mathilde and AF to the appropriate thread.

Thanks
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: NAAOTMA on January 10, 2008, 12:31:44 PM
FA, thank you and I will do as you suggest.

The usual view is that the last Tsar was torn between his mother and his wife. But some ways he was torn between his mother and his wife and MK (even after his romantic relationship with the ballerina was long finished) according to the book IMPERIAL DANCER.
Just thought that author Hall's take on this added an additional dimension to the AF-MF relationship. Perhaps MK would have been one area where MF and AF would have found common ground---or rather a common adversary--if they had been on better terms. This of course is a mere speculation on my part and nothing more. 
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: NAAOTMA on January 10, 2008, 02:58:42 PM
I was fortunate enough to have a supportive mother-in-law who made entry into my husband's family much easier than it would have been if she had been lukewarm toward me, or passive agressive or just plain difficult. Her example was the model I followed in terms of my own daughter-in-law, who is quite different in many ways from myself.

As the senior person in the relationship, it was MF's job to do everything in her power to ensure Alexandra's success as Nicholas's wife. As Dowager Empress, it was MF's job to support and ensure the success of the dynasty. Part of that would have been supporting her son's new wife. MF chose not to do that.

Another example of her less than appropriate actions is that she tried to get her sister Alexandra of England to keep the jewels that by custom were to be passed to Mary as the spouse of the reigning monarch when Edward the 7th died. Forwhatever reason, Alexandra did not follow her sister's "advice" and Queen Mary was spared the situation that Alexandra was put through. This example has been cited many times, but it is an important one as to how MF's mind worked and what her personal priorities were.  Her advice to her sister was mean spirited and petty and could only cause embarassment for Queen Mary and hard feelings all around. 
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Nala on January 11, 2008, 10:09:18 AM
You are very fortunate to have had a mother in law that was actually humane...hehe

My mother in law was...50/50 she could be quite the devil when she chose to, but if anyone said a bad word about me, she would put them in their place.

I know from my self that I do not take well to criticism and if I was in Alexandra's shoes, I doubt I would be very social either.

I just think that maybe ( Before AN was born and AF first arrived in Russia) had it not been for MF’s influence, the court might have given AF a chance to some degree OR at least not be so antagonistic towards her

I can be quite the social butterfly, with people that I feel comfortable with, and people that I know won't judge me...but when put into a scenario where I do not really know the people or feel their disapproval or intimidation... I am extremely withdrawn to the point where the thought of being in that environment gives me anxiety…WHICH leads me to be perceived to be rude and snobbish.

Obviously not excusing AF’s behavior at times OR trying to psycho analyse, but although we have a lot of documents to go by and a lot of first hand accounts, we can never know AF on a personal level..her emotions, her needs etc

Once AN was born - most people did not even know about AN’s illness which had a HUGE influence on the IF’s lives and especially AF’s, therefore a mothers worry for her child can lead her to be aloof or disinterested in the normal “mundane” things..which can be perceived as her being cold and heartless

If you had an empire to run, but at the same time your son, your youngest born is in a bed writhing with pain..who are you going to be thinking about?... no contest, certainly not going to be thinking about organizing the next ball to entertain the masses

I am positive that, had they known AN’s condition or witnessed an episode, they would have looked upon AF in a more sympathetic light

I think it is despicable that MF knowing what her grandson was going through and what AF was going through still chose to withdraw her loving support.

I just cannot even fathom the amount of pressure AF had on her shoulders being an Empress in a country where the population more less despised you, that coupled with MF being on her back too AND Alexei’s illness?!

Geez you know..any normal person would end up quite literally either insane or develop some stress related terminal illness
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: clockworkgirl21 on January 11, 2008, 06:56:01 PM
Quote
develop some stress related terminal illness

Which Alix was probably suffering from.  :-\
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: dmitri on January 11, 2008, 11:42:05 PM
AF had many problems. Sadly she was not suited to an Empress. It is wrong to blame AF's problems on MF. She did try to assist the young woman, but was sadly rejected. It is all a tragic history.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Helen on January 12, 2008, 03:02:13 AM
It is wrong to blame AF's problems on MF.
You have a point there. One cannot put all of the blame on MF. However, it's equally wrong to keep MF 'out of range' and to suggest that MF was a helpful woman who was sadly rejected. MF caused some of AF's problems. She was an ambitious person who wanted to be in the spotlights herself. She regularly crossed Alix in performing her public duties properly and than made scenes afterwards when Alix had found a way around her hindrance. Now that's a fine way of 'assisting'! :(
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: dmitri on January 12, 2008, 07:28:50 AM
AF sadly never understood that the law of Russia made MF her superior. Nicholas II understood this and never made any attempt to change it. MF did try to assist AF but AF was too stubborn to accept assistance and learn from her experienced mother-in-law. Instead she went off and hid from her duties and slowly ceased performing many of them at all. It is interesting to note that the first 10 years of the reign of Nicholas II were amazingly secure due to MF and the Uncles advising Nicholas. Everything went quickly downhill when he turned to AF who sadly consulted Rasputin about more than any concerns over Alexis. It is interesting that basically the entire Romanov family had grave misgivings about AF. It is hard to imagine they were all wrong. AF was a very loving wife but a fairly poor Tsarina. She was extremely unpopular with the Russian people and much of this was of her own doing. She is no innocent although she was declared a passion bearer decades after her murder. 
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: anna11 on January 12, 2008, 09:41:26 AM
I've got to disagree with your apparent opinion that the whole reason AF had a bad relationship with MF was because Alexandra was too stubborn to accept help. I don't think there's any denying that Marie was not as helpful to Alix as she could have been. Not really in what she did, but what she didn't do. She could have really helped Alexandra, put her shoulder down for Alix to lean on, but instead ignored her, and only regarded her as her sons silly young wife not the new empress of Russia. The crown jewels debacle would have only increased Alix's feeling that MF did not take her seriously, and would have made her feel rather put out.

But it is quite obvious that they had an at least civil relationsip, and it wasn't straight out 'war' like some people think.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: NAAOTMA on January 12, 2008, 10:15:50 AM
Anna has made a good point.

As far as Alix being unpopular with the Russian people in the early years of her marriage, it would fairer, and less sweeping. to say she was unpopoular with the circles of high Petersburg society. And MF was the leader of those circles and had been for many years.

As far as MF outranking AF, that was not true in terms of who was the correct person to be wearing the Imperial jewels that by precendent and tradition were supposed to be worn by the wife of the reigning Tsar. Instead of handing them over, MF hung on to them and only turned them over after as one writer states, it had become a "scandal" in the circles of high Petersburg society.

Nicholas and Alexandra treated MF with tact and understanding in their choosing the side of the AP to live in that traditionally housed courtiers. That is the side closest to the road and with the least attractive views. In part at least this choice of locating their living space on the side they did was that they were not willing to radically alter the rooms that MF and Alexander III had used when they contemplated setting up house at the AP.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Peterhof on January 12, 2008, 10:53:13 AM
I always saw the problem between MF and AF as a domestic one.  A mother and a wife, both influencing NA in many aspects of his life.  I see they both realized that NA's character called for a stronger person to advise him and even more to take some decisions for him.  Adding to this the possessive characters that both MF and AF had, I could understand why they did not get alone.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: diadem on July 28, 2008, 11:15:29 PM
Having just read a book about the Romanovs recently that focused heavily on Alix and Minnie's dynamic, I had to read this thread. I'm not sure one person is more to blame than another for the coolness between them. Also, I was really trying to make sure that when I read about rifts between them I could be objective. I noticed instances where both women could be stubborn or even could have been a bit more understanding or made a bit more effort. All in all, I think they were two very different personalities that just didn't gel. I think Minnie had a very difficult time after Alexander III died and had a hard time letting go of her life as Empress with Alexander and transitioning into Dowager Empress. Alexandra is tough for me comment on. I think she was a very complex person who internalized a lot of things. She didn't have an easy life at a very young age. And in some respects I think her shyness and aversion at times to socializing was detrimental to her, and even the impression she gave people involuntarily. It seems that people had already made up their mind about her even before she married Nicky and that was very hard to change.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Thomas_Hesse on August 07, 2008, 01:07:12 PM

It was actually quite hard for Alexandra to deal with the impression of being stiff, stubborn, arrogant, cold that she made on people - even within her own family. In early letters she writes that it was totally wrong an impression and that her efford to improve was ignored...
So it was obviously a problem she was highly aware of - even as a young woman
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: LisaDavidson on August 08, 2008, 11:11:33 AM
And yet,

Surely both women became more 'big headed" when they left relative royal poverty for marriages to the heir to the Imperial Russian throne. I think one problem for these two was that they had somewhat similar circumstances but were so vastly different as people. Alexandra seemed to really care, for example, what others thought before becoming Empress. Afterwards, not so much. MF, on the other hand, clearly was always more personally charming, but could as has been cited be cruel in a way that only women can be - and Alexandra was rarely directly cruel.

I think that big egos played a part in the dysfunction of their relationship, but we must remember that their relationship wasn't always bad, it just wasn't as close and supportive as it could have been.
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Clemence on October 22, 2014, 03:22:38 PM
Having read almost all posts, there is one point I' d like to know more about, and that is what were the origins of the dislike Marie and Alexander III had for Alexandra F. from the beggining? Were they so good at judging a character from early on? Were there some kind of gossips from the court of Hesse about young Alix that reached the Russian court? Were they somehow aware of the danger of heamophilia? Why were they both so against the young princess in a way Queen Victoria obviously wasn' t? Or maybe the fact that QV favored Alix somehow was held against her by Marie and her sister? What do you think?
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Maria Sisi on October 22, 2014, 05:04:42 PM
Alexandra made 2 pervious visits to Russia, to visit Ella and Sergei, and she apparently did not make a good impression.

I don't remember any of the details but their main argument against Alix was her personality was not suited for the Russian Court at all. I'm guessing whatever she did during these visits pretty much sent up warning signals about this to them. And if I recall other people in the court weren't impressed with her either during these visits so it wasn't just AIII or MF.

Also they wanted a more grand match for the heir, or at least MF did. The very fact that they even suggest Margaret of PRUSSIA says it all when you take in to consideration MF's hate of all things Prussian. They also wanted Helene of Orleans to cement a French alliance but she wouldn't covert. 

I think Queen Alexandra had a positive opinion of Alix before she married. It wasn't until things really went south that Alexandra would say things like, "Poor Alicky, she used to be such a nice girl." Although she was getting all her information from a biased source (her sister).
Title: Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
Post by: Clemence on October 24, 2014, 12:21:25 PM
Thank you Maria Sisi, I pretty much agree with your thoughts, but I still find it hard to see if the Russuan royal couple disliked young Alix only after her visits to Russia. I find it hard to realise how she was considered English and important enough to Queen Victoria to become e British sovereign but not so for the Russian throne. I think Alix herself was hurt when she realised she was not to see Nicholas at all in one of her visits to her sister in Russia.