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Topics - ChristineM

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Forum Announcements / New Director of TSM
« on: September 23, 2008, 01:53:26 PM »
I am delighted to announce that my dear friend Olga Sautova has been appointed Director of Tsarskoe Selo Museums.   Mme Sautova is the widow of the late Ivan Petrovich Sautov, formerly Director at TSM.   She is a very able and cultured woman and the future of TSM will be safe in her capable hands.


Forum Announcements / Death of SAUTOV - Ivan Petrovich
« on: August 01, 2008, 12:00:21 PM »
It is with great sadness I have to announce the sudden and unexpected death today of Dr Ivan Petrovich Sautov.   Dr Sautov was Director of Tsarskoe Selo Museums and as such overseen much of the restoration of the palace complex which has continued throughout the last 30 years.

Dr Sautov, aged 60, died this morning.   He is survived by his wife, Olga, their daughter Anastasia (10 years old on 25th of July) and by Ilya and Katia, children from a previous marriage.

Dr Sautov died while on a visit to Finland.   It is thought the funeral will take place on Thursday or Friday of next week.   Arrangements are not yet in place.

The staff at Tsarskoe Selo Museums are in total shock.   He was a truly remarkable man who will be deeply missed by those who knew and loved him.

Christine Martin

Rest Eternal grant him O Lord,
May perpetual light shine upon him...
May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed,
Rest in peace and rise in GLORY


After two rather fraught days on the Forum, I did some late night shopping in Borders bookshop - best form of relaxation - and getting rid of money - I know.

The book is a private publication and quite extraordinarily the lady who has authored the book lives right beside where I used to live.

The title is -

                                                                                The Memoirs of

                                                                                 EMILY LOCH

                                                                             Discretion in Waiting

A synopsis -

'Emily Loch knew Alix, Princess of Hesse-Darmstadt, the last Tsasrina of Russia, from her early years.   Emily was associated with the family of Helena, Princess Christian, Queen Victoria's fifth child and was lady-in-waiting to Princess Christian from 1883 until the Princess' death in 1923.

'During these years Emily kept a diary recording daily events, both important and trivial, which together build up a picture of life in and around the courts of England and Germany during the end of the Victorian era.

'Emily Loch's friendship with the future Tsarina grew through visits to the Hesse family in Germany and when they visited their grandmother, Queen Victoria in England and Scotland.   During the winter months of 1897 - 1898 Emily accompanied Princess Helena (Thora), Princess Christian's eldest daughter on a visit to Tsar Nicholas and the Tsarina in Russia.   Her friendship with the Imperial Family is reflected in the many leters, cards and gifts which they exchanged until early 1917.

'The author, wife of Emily's great, great nephew, has masterfully edited her diaries to give us a unique insight into the close family relationship and life at court during this important period of our history.'

I've had a brief look inside.   In the inserted pages of photographs their are illustrations, cards and text written and sent by the Empress which I have never seen  before.   I cannot wait to begin, but after these two rather dark days, wished, first of all to pass on a little glimpse of what promises to be something rather special.


The Windsors / MONARCHY - The Royal Family at Work
« on: November 05, 2007, 01:41:40 PM »
This documentary series will be transmitted on BBC1 before Christmas.

After the unfortunate debacle resulting in the departure of the Controller of BBC1 due to an independent production company's trail which was edited to make it look as if the queen walked off in a huff while having her portrait painted, they have decided the material should be re-edited in-house and the documentaries series which covers all senior members of the royal family, including interviews, will be screened in December.

I have opened a new thread, as I am sure this forthcoming documentary series will engender considerable interest on the Forum.


The Windsors / Diana Enquiry
« on: October 06, 2007, 06:44:05 AM »
Since there are already 32 pages devoted to the subject of the late Diana, Princess of Wales and that the Official Inquiry which opened this week and is scheduled to last at least six months, a thread devoted to the ongoing findings of this enquiry seems appropriate.

Having followed the first three days of CCTV footage and evidence thus far presented to the jury, my conclusion is really quite different to the way I had interpreted these sad last days.

One example which opposes the findings of the Paget Investigation is that Diana was reported to have left the Imperial Suite of the Ritz Hotel, Paris, distressed and in tears.   CCTV footage proves this totally incorrect.

This is an 'enquiry' as opposed to an 'inquest' which is being held before a jury of eleven members of the British public who first were required to prove no connection to the royal family, the Fayeds, the paparazzi, the hospital or police in Paris and etc.   

Although argued otherwise be some people, this is probably the closest we will ever get to the truth of the events of that fateful day in Paris and is therefore of historic importance.


News Links / Russia Bombers patrol North Atlantic
« on: August 22, 2007, 02:42:25 PM »
This new topic isn't altogether news, but it is worrying.

President Putin has instructed his bombers to patrol the North Atlantic - RAF fighters have intercepted them over the North Sea.

How far is Putin willing to provoke?

News Links / Putin threatens to target nuclear weapons on Europe
« on: June 04, 2007, 08:56:22 AM »
Extremely alarming developing news -

President Putin has announced that he will target nuclear missiles on Europe if the United States persists in installing a new radar base in the Czech Republic.

I think there is every possibility that we are witnessing the embryonic phase of a new Cold War.

I wish our European partners would invite Russia to join the Union.   Why, if they are prepared to allow Turkey to become part of Europe, do they steadfastly refuse to admit Russia?   Certainly, geographically and historically, western Russia is infinitely more 'European' than Turkey.

Never again should our nations be the pawns on the political chessboard called 'Europe'.   

Because we had a stupid Prime Minister who supported George Bush in the illegal invasion of Iraq, American hawks and arms industry must realise, the population of the UK knows this was a huge, unpardonable crime and that there will be no repetition.   Our European partners were wise enough to refuse to participate.



The Stuarts of Scotland / Scottish Crown Jewels
« on: May 01, 2007, 01:35:51 PM »
Scattered  around the Forum are many references to priceless, matchless jewels - none more so than those belonging to the British Crown and to the Windsors.   I thought it might interest some readers to discover that Scotland has its own crown jewels - far older and, in their own way, more historic than those known throughout the world, which are on public view in the Tower of London.   In fact the Scottish crown jewels are said to be the 'oldest in Christendom'.

The Crown Jewels of Scotland - or, as they are popularly termed - 'The Honours of Scotland' -  have a colourful, dramatic history and were only restored to the Crown Room in the Castle thanks to the sleuthing of Sir Walter Scott.

The Scottish Honours comprise a crown, a sword and a sceptre.   The crown is created from Scottish gold.   The main structure of the crown is made from the gold which was, in great haste, moulded into a circlet to crown the head of Robert the Bruce in 1306.   As with all Scottish Kings, King Robert was corwned at the ancient Palace of Scone (pronounced skoon).   However, his coronation was different.   All previous Scottish kings were crowned sitting on a stone - known today as the Stone of Destiny.   In 1296, King Edward I ('The Hammer of the Scots') stole the stone which was believed to have mystical powers and which he perceived as a symbol of Scottish sovereignty.    (More on the Stone of Scone/Destiny later)

Almost two hundred years elapsed when, in 1540, the crown was refashioned and worn by King James IV at the coronation of his wife, Mary of Guise.   They were the parents of Mary Queen of Scots.   The Scottish crown has remained in the same form to the present day.   A gold circlet, with gold arcs rising to simple cross.   The cap is fashioned from red velvet.   Like the gold, the gems which bejewel the crown come from Scottish land and river bed -  amythysts and fresh water pearls.   22 jewels were added to the original 20 precious stones during the remodelling.

The sword was gifted to James IV by Pope Julius II in 1507.   At four feet six inches long, it has an elaborately carved handle with engravings of Sts Peter and Paul.   It is the sceptre which is the oldest of the Honours.   It too was a papal gift, presented to James the Fourth in 1494.

It was at the coronation of the infant Mary, Queen of Scots at Stirling Castle in 1543, that all three 'Honours' were brought together for the first time.   The Honours were only used at the coronation of a further three monarchs before they disappeared.



The Windsors / Re: Windsor Jewels Part 6
« on: February 11, 2007, 01:05:07 PM »
This thread will be devoted to the marvellous treasure trove of jewels gifted by the Duke to the Duchess of Windsor.   In particular we can explore the mystery of the missing jewels - especially Queen Mary's emeralds - which, miraculously, disappeared from the Duchess's bedroom.   Bearing in mind this was the Windsors first visit to Great Britain after the debacle of the abdication, the timing seemed rather auspicious to say the least.


Forum Announcements / MAGNUS MAGNUSSON
« on: January 08, 2007, 07:20:17 AM »
Last night our very dear friend, Magnus Magnusson, died.   We were last together on Thursday.   Having not met since Christmas, there was an obvious deterioration in his condition.   Stoical and gracious to the end, we drank coffee, Mag smoked a pipe, we talked, laughed and knowing his passion for birds - he was President of the Royal Society for the Protections of Birds - we discussed how, in Russia, sparrows will peck crumbs from the palm of your hand.    I said - 'Its a real privilege.'   Magnus leaned forward, looked into my eyes and replied, 'Yes, a real privilege.'

It was a real privilege to know Magnus for 28 years.   These last few months, during which we met most mornings for coffee, we knew how poor was his prognosis, but he was not, for a single heartbeat, sad or sorry for himself.   He was loving, kind, optimistic and, I cannot stress the word sufficiently, gracious.   In a press release issued by his family, they said their father had taught them how to live and, in the last few weeks, he taught them how to die.

If you read the BBC News website, you will see the obituaries and tributes to this special man we were fortunate enough to know as a friend.

Christine Martin

Forum Announcements / ALONE
« on: December 10, 2006, 05:23:42 AM »
I have just checked and I am the only person in the world on-line to the Alexander Palace Forum.   There are 58 guests, but only one 'user' - me.   I think this must be very rare indeed.   Anyone else ever spotted this?


« on: November 21, 2006, 05:30:30 AM »
Mr Litvinenko's consultant toxicologiest, John Henry, has just spoken at a news conference where he stated his patient has been poisoned, most likely by radio-active Thalium.   It is the radio-active component which is causing the greatest concern.   This makes Mr Litvinenoko's long term prospects very grim.

Mr Litvinenko's spirits are high.   He is fully aware of the seriousness of his situation.   However, his entire immune system has been virtually destroyed.   Mr Litvinenko has been granted political asylum in the UK and he is under guard in hospital.   It is the anti-terrorist branch of the Metropolitan Police which is investigating the matter.

The Kremlin have issued a statement to the effect that Russian Security Services were not involved in the poisoning.    Mr Gordievsky and various other Russian spokesmen are scathing.   If they are right in their assessment, sadly this directly impacts on any of us who are actively involved with today's Russia.


The Windsors / The courtesy of the curtsey
« on: October 16, 2006, 04:36:07 PM »
A whimsy of a topic inspired by a rather (I suspect) tongue in cheek question as to whether one should curtsey to the Marchioness of Douro.

Nowadays it is not considered an obligation to curtsey.   The Queen, is, I understand, not particularly concerned whether or not those who meet her make this move.   I have had the privilege of meeting HM on more than one occasion.   Curtseying seemed to me entirely appropriate even automatic.   I also curtseyed on being presented to the Duke of Edinburgh.   When in the company of PssMoK, I have to confess, the very idea of curtseying did not enter my mind.

As portrayed in "The Queen", 'Cherie Blair' agonised over making a curtsey to 'The Queen'.   An avowed republican, her knees appeared to sieze up - it was a very funny moment.   How do posters feel about making this act - curtsey or bow - of respect?   To which royal - British or European - would you feel inclined to make this mark of respect.


News Links / Ivan Alexaev
« on: September 15, 2006, 08:11:09 AM »
This morning Ivan Alexaev passed away.   The community which is the staff of Tsarskoe Selo Museums is in shock and deep sadness at the loss of this irreplaceable colleague.

Ivan Alexaev was a ceiling artist.   He contributed to the restoration of the ceiling in the Great Hall in the Catherine Palace as well as many of the other marvellous plafonds in the Palace.   Of the three ceiling restorers, at 73 years of age, he was the youngest.   His life has been devoted to recreating the exquisite beauty of the Catherine Palace.   

I last saw him in March of this year.   The ceiling painters' workshop is now situated in the Great Library of the Alexander Palace.   At that time he was working on the ceiling for the Cathedral of the Catherine Palace.   He knew there would be many months, if not years, of work before its completion.   His enthusiasm was infectious as he explained in detail the intracacies - and miracles - of perspective while piecing together a tattered ceiling painting and restoring it to its original beauty.   He was, literally, painting a ceiling on the floor.

Ivan Alexaev will not see his marvellous ceiling in situ.   Now there are only two masters left.   This is the beginning of the end of an era.


Forum Announcements / IGNORE
« on: August 24, 2006, 04:17:18 AM »
Please ignore all postings by 'Don Johnson' - a very pathetic character.

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