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Messages - Arkhimago

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Her hospital train WAS bombed but I believe she was not onboard at that time. I only have a pre-print proof draft of Vorres book(which I have not looked at in awhile?) where I believe it was mentioned? Not sure how or if it appeared in the final version or the reprint?


HIH Grand Duchess Olga and HM Queen Elizabeth II are cousins though the formers mother.

The Dowager Empress Marie of Russia was the sister of Queen Alexandra, (consort of King Edward VII of Great Britain) and was thusly the great grandmother of QEII.
When the Queen was in Canada for the 1959 opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway, GD Olga was invited to a luncheon aboard Britannia. There was concern that she might be overlooked. However HM greeted her immediately and spent more time chatting with her over lunch than to anyone else.
Grand Duchess Olga later sent one of her oil landscapes to the Queen as a memento, and they corresponded by mail both before and after.

The whole cousin thing kind of confuses me once we get past first ones but what cousins are Olga and Elizabeth?

Christian IX - Alexandra - George V - George VI - Elizabeth

Christian IX - Maria - Olga

I think first cousins twice removed or something like that, I don't know. Is there any other bloodline connection between them?


Eric Lowe wrote:

"Olga wasn't close to her other niece, Princess Irina Alexandrovna, Princess Yussopov. "

So what?
Is there some arcane court circular governing the fundamental precepts of avuncular affection, whose tenets have been abrogated?
Where is the reference to back up your declaration Eric? Or is it yet another unfounded conjecture by you, in the absence of anything contrary?

And if this postulation actually  is correct ,then what is your point in making it?
No doubt this is a preamble to another of your pronouncements of HIH's errant character flaws which you appear to be so fond of espousing.
And again, what is your purpose in doing this so repetitively and with such intent alacrity?

Eric wrote: "Olga was of course later judged by her misalliance "
 As you are such a stickler for historic accuracy and precedent, might you kindly indicate where you have located any record of GD Olga being "judged" by anyone of her milieu, as well as the dates this was recorded? I am curious to know these "adjudicators" you have uncovered?

...then Mr. Lowe quoted the scriptures:  "The lord said once judge and you will be judged"  So...does this maxim apply to yourself also Eric? ;-)

 You could make the effort to respect both the source (which you listed as "the Lord") as well as readers here to, at the very least, quote the Bible correctly!  The specific verse you macerated above, taken verbatim from Luke 6:37 of my King James version reads:

"Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven"

(If perchance you were quoting from a speech by ex-US president George Bush, and using his version of that quotation, then do forgive my critique as well as my completely missing your subtle use of both whimsy and ironic intent!)

However if the preceding was not the case, then considering you were educated in both the USA, as well as a British crown colony, I would certainly expect your writing skills as well as your fact checking would be of a much higher calibre in that misquoting such a source does impugn your veracity.

What I really find offensive in your meanderings here is that your habitual errors are not at all out of ignorance as that I certainly do not at all believe you are not intelligent, but from a complete indifference even bother to make the small effort required to google this minutiae! Further to this, you just do NOT seem to realize that, by academic definition, if you do not assert a fact correctly and accurately then it is NOT a fact!

This being said, I do look forward to your reading your creative response to my initial query on the sources of judgement.

And to the Forum Administrator about to delete this, my admittedly verbose, narrative, I have noted that when a topic on here spawns a secondary one, you often open a new category? As that I have discovered at least a dozen respondent rants such as mine, may I most respectfully suggest a new Discussion board titled "Rebuttals to postings by Eric Lowe"? They go back at least six years, and are very well written by a wide selection of learned Forum Members from across the globe as well as this pantheon...  

*****Edited to remove very personal attacks against a fellow member. I very, very rarely edit a post but feel it was more appropriate to do so here than simply remove it--as was almost being taunted to do. The Forum Administrator is VERY clear on posting attacks on fellow members. They will not be tolerated. Obviously, he, I and the fellow members who voluntarily take the time and effort to moderate the Forum can not be every place at all times. I know I work full time and raise children so this comes at least third on my list of responsibilities and that is not unique amongst the moderators. I don't think we deserve the snark either that was aimed in the edited post. If we cannot respond to every single post in every single thread in every single subforum, our apologies if something has slipped by. There are, however, reporting buttons that alert us to posts that members think we should attend to. I am also confused as to the 'opening new categories'  comment. I really don't know what that is referring to. But NO personal attacks will be allowed on the Forum PERIOD. We have lost too many members to those over the past few years. It is one thing to criticize a work or post of a fellow members and spirited (even very spirited) debate is welcome and encouraged but not to call them names, impugn their character or intelligence or mock them. Yes, it may be written very cleverly (and I have no doubt that other posts are cheering it on) but it doesn't make it less nasty or inappropriate and whether a member thinks we are being the thought police or not, it is our job to remove or edit those posts. *****


Just saying that even Olga's relationship with her brother Michael was fragile. No wonder she sought comfort in solitude.

?? That statement does not even make any sense?? How do you possibly infer that, after stating others did not have time for her, and that she purportedly had these fragile relationships with her family......that she sought comfort... in being alone??

Wouldn't it be exactly the opposite?


Kalafrana queried:

Does hygge convey something similar to gemutlich? Gemutlich is untranslatable but involves a state of unpretentious comfort, usually fairly small-scale.

 In the intended tone of the term, I had always thought "уютный" to be a terrific and really exact russian iteration of "gemutlich".
Some of my German and Belgian acquaintances employ the English word "ambiance" to describe this, but not insomuch as a descriptor for interior decoration, but more to convey the more intangible mood of a gathering or event, and often to express their own feelings.

It is interesting that Превед describes this construct as being inherent to the Biedermeier ethos. I had only previously seen Biedermeier furniture displayed out of context in museums as individual pieces. and although quite handsome, found to be quite cold and imposing, somewhat a stripped down Empire style, and almost a precursor to Danish modern. It was only after viewing complete Biedermeier period rooms in Europe with allthe original d├ęcor extant did I begin to understand the intended mood and style of this movement and to see just how gemutlich it truly was.

And just to humour the moderator, many have postulated how awful it must have been for Grand Duchess Olga to live in such reduced circumstances in her later years. This could not have been farther from the truth. Do recall her fond recollections of her childhood growing up in the vast Gatchina Palace, but not in the lofty main floor state rooms end echoing galleries. Instead, the family suites were situated in the cozy low ceilinged upper floor rooms crammed with furniture, icons and bric a brac, basically the very embodiment of уютнo and exactly how she described her Cooksville house, as well as the rooms in Toronto where she spent her final days. This was the environment she felt most comfortable, secure and relaxed within.

Can YOU think of a single Russian or English word that can better express "schadenfreude" ?? ;-)

Zloradstvo? Smiley

Hmm... I have always thought of злорадство as being a bit too blunt and loud as in pointedly & directly laughing openly at someone's misfortune?
(As are in fact many things Russian. lol)

Whereas schadenfreude has much more subtle and....subversive overtones, as in one should feel guilt in mere ponderance of it and do it quietly.
It also seems that this most teutonic construct appears to be more often employed in the past tense?
It is almost is as if one can see or experience Zloradstvo in real time.....however, when it is recounted and analyzed in retrospect would often become:"Ya, Ya....das war....schaaa-denfreude! (but do not repeat it for people will think you are not a nice person for even thinking that!)"  ::)

Svetabel wrote:

"If we speak about the sources in English, well, documentation is poor I agree. But what about such sources as correspondence, in Russian?"


I was not inferring that the extant documentation is poor. Nor was I suggesting that my "tidbits" came from those or any other letters or journals.
Grand Duchess Olga wrote equally well in both English and Russian, often combining both along with an occasional French or German term when the topic merited. (Can YOU think of a single Russian or English word that can better express "schadenfreude" ?? ;-)

My point was merely that the assortment of written material utilized in 25 Chapters was neither by measure nor intent an archive, and even within that collection, there would of course be sequences where there just would be NO remaining documents, either by design, by intent, or from merely being lost through the last century. Secondly, it would not be possible for the writer to know, despite all good intent, where or with whom might reside any additional correspondence. Hence with that understanding they did a terrific job telling and illustrating her story from what they did have, and it should thusly not be regarded as a historic & concise review of her epoch, and therefore not be subject to critique as it's been for its omissions.

After all, it IS called "25 Chapters of my Life".
 And as HIH had, at the very least 65 chapters (with dozens of appendices), the title makes no claim of being either inclusive or encyclical.  :)

And thank you for that link to Princess Obolenskaya's letters (the archive of which I believe may reside in NYC?) I look forward to reading them.

History Fan wrote:
"I'd like to gather more reading material about Grand Duchess Olga. I have 25 Chapters of my Life and The Last Grand Duchess, but I am seeing tidbits of information that weren't in either of those sources"

You already own the only two definitive works on Olga Alexandrovna.
Although some readers did not care for 25 Chapters, I found it to be a really fascinating companion book to the Last Grand Duchess. As the latter piece was a biography of HIH's recollections of her life reviewed and recalled by her in retrospect at the end of her life, 25 Chapters is a very different posthumous compendium of many of those same events, but based upon the letters describing them, as well as her actual feelings and experience of them, in real time AT the time that they occurred.

A complaint seen often in reviews of such books, is in regard to the information that has been omitted about events or personalities. In both of these works this is with intent and not by accidental error. It is important to note that Ian Vorres came about this writing project quite by chance. Although his documentation and writing skills are impeccable, he was (and is ) essentially an art historian, and was neither a scholar of Russian political nor imperial history nor could he speak the language. Hence in his finished book, not only did he honour the wishes of his friend and subject in not delving into where or what she may not wish to recall or cover, he was not familiar enough himself with that history to know what issues or personae may have needed further review. Thusly it really is for the most part her tale, as she wanted it told, written as an autobiography through a ghost writer.

25 Chapters, although positioned as a memoir reconstructs her story upon an assortment of her correspondence collected from various sources, and compiled by her great grandson. Olga Alexandrovna was as discreet as she was private, hence any of those dealing with more sensitive themes or controversial characters were simply destroyed long ago if not immediately after reading (recall Empress Alexandra burning piles of correspondence at the Alexander Palace in those final days) by either the recipient or the sender, or just were ...not there, which then comes out as being a historical "no comment" as was and is her... imperial prerogative.

With that last caveat in mind, should you have one of the original publications of the Last Grand Duchess from the 1960s, you might want to also seek out a copy of the more recent re-release (which I covered in a posting on here a few years ago) This version has a substantial epilogue both touching upon some issues that came about as a result of the release of the original, and also covers items such as the imperial jewels saga that continued after the passing of HIH. Of real interest, and should you happen to have both copies side by side, is to compare the acknowledgements in both versions prefaces against each other. Perhaps you may read between the lines as to the reasons behind those variations.

I should add that the Patricia Phenix error laden tome about the Grand Duchess does not even merit mention here.
 Mr. Vorres summarized it precisely & succinctly in HIS review of it as: "Completely superfluous" ;-)

As for your reason in acquiring more reading material being to find any documentation of the "tidbits" you have been reading here, I can assure you that you will not find any. Since this is the first time many of them might appear in print, you may consider this forum an original source.

(I apologize in advance for my perhaps inaccurate usage above, of the terms Autobiography and Biography. I am neither a publisher nor author, hence I hope neither of the latter who might read, shall this upbraid me upon the finer points or specific definitions of said memoirs)

Eric недавно разболтал:

                     "It is also true that their affection never rose to the level of her mother Dagmar and her sisters "

Wow Eric! I am duly impressed!
The only possible way you could possess such intimate knowledge is to have personally known either the grand duchesses or their mother?
Perhaps you actually ARE a genuine великий князь?  (Apparently there are sundry ones about the forum?)

That would explain the rather appalling spelling & pronoun usage in your fascinating declarations?
 And I DO know that you are doubtlessly more accustomed to have your private secretary take dictation for you.
But if he scribed this for you, then really must teach him about that... Spell-Czech thing-a-ma-bob??
(I believe that it does English as well?) Not sure. Have never used it myself.
Tell him that as a matter of character, it follows that when one cannot be bothered to check those things, that it thusly calls into question the veracity of any other item that they purport to be fact, and thusly casts aspersions on ones "noblesse" (or apparent lack thereof) as a whole!

This heinous faux-pas may be grounds for said mendicants immediate dismissal!! And if you DO chose that route of action, then DO replace him with a Swiss one this time! Not only are they punctual, but they are quite handy at pressing your dress shirts should your valet be indisposed.
Surely their are Gilliard descendants about whom would fit the bill and who would also easily acclimatize to your glamorous peripatetic peregrinations of palace hopping to visit your regal kin for a spot of intimate tete a tete!      

And should the culprit who wrote this piece under your princely moniker , not be a native speaker of the Queens English, I do NOT apologize.
Neither am I.

Edubs wrote:

"How about resources enough to fly her sister over to spend a little time with dear old Xenia? Surely a plane ticket or two couldn't have broken the bank, yes? Sounds more Olga might have been the one refusing such a request, but she certainly had her reasons. I'm not even sure it's fair to speculate on this as we're doing here. Olga Alexandrovna's personality is fairly unimpeachable in my opinion."


There would be no need for a ticket since there were private aircraft available to her both in Canada, and by non-Britannic cousins overseas.

Quite simply, as much as she herself would happily hop on an aeroplane, she would never go anywhere without her husband, and his physical condition in his later years made him a virtual invalid.  After his passing, she herself was not well enough to attempt such a long journey.

And that Edubs, was quite honestly, a completely fair and tangible query to pose, and as you see, has an equally real answer.

Conversely, personal degrees of endearment and the posthumous metrics thereof of is no more fair to speculate upon than it is germane nor relevant, and verges upon offensive whether applied to one of noble birth or otherwise.
Some posters appear to be completely oblivious of this line of decorum and when called to task upon their meretricious musings choose to ignore it and instead sally forth with even more странные мысли.

Eric further scribed:
 "I think they were too different to be close and the Olga's tomboy personality did not jelled with Ksenia who had experienced disappointment in her marriage."

I believe that I may have prematurely praised your research skills.
Appended next is an excerpt from Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna's Wikipedia entry:

  " Xenia and her siblings were raised mostly there with simplicity.As a child, Xenia was a tomboy and was very shy.
Xenia, like her brothers, received her education from private tutors. A special emphasis was laid on the study of foreign languages.Apart from her native Russian, Xenia studied English, French and German. Xenia learnt cookery, joinery and making puppets and their clothes for their theatre. She also enjoyed riding and fishing in the nearby river on the Gatchina estate, drawing, gymnastics, dancing and playing the piano."

Conversely, there is no such commensurate description of Grand Duchess Olga in her respective Wikipedia entry?
And even if there was a dis-interest in frippery and affairs of the court on her part, this hardly implies an automatic default to"tomboy"?

Further to your observation, (and even if it WAS accurate!)  I do not get how a "tomboyish nature" in ones youth, has any correlation at all, to an "experienced disappointment in her marriage"? How do you segue to that conclusion??
 Has your un-impeachable research perhaps uncovered if Grand Duchess Olga had herself "experienced disappointment in HER marriage"?? ;-I

And: "Finally, the matter of the division of their mother's jewels, Olga felt Ksenia got more and she less."

Despite all of the scribblings on this theme over the years, this is not factually at all correct.
It was Grand Duchess Olga's off-spring who felt this disenfranchisement and pursued it's veracity on their own accord after her passing.
HIH, at that time, did not take any great issue with it and was content to get the bulk of Hvidore and its contents instead.
And as that "bulk", unlike the jewels, has remained in the family, its true provenance and value is ever increasing.
Hence she did not get such a bad deal after all as it turns out. Conversely, in net value, and due to the times, as well as her own naivete &
sundry other reasons, GD Xenia did not fare  nearly as well in the disposition of the jewellery which she did receive.
In the vernacular of today some might infer she "got hosed".
Again that's a matter of opinion which lengthy tomes have already dissected in tedious detail.

Edubs is dead on.
Unlike her younger sister, who was thrilled even into her latest years to be raced down the QEW in Ian Vorres ragtop roadster at high speeds (with both coiffure and pearls askew!), GD Xenia, although not terrified by it, did not at all enjoy travelling by boat or air. And aside from naturally being a homebody, her less than robust health in her later years did somewhat inhibit this.
She was however one of the stronger proponents in attempting to convince Olga Alexandrovna to relocate to the UK following her husbands passing.

And to address Ann's query, As that Toronto to Chicago, and the latter to NYC are quite close, the cousins did and still do see each other, both while on business and for family events. A few even attended the same summer camps in northern Ontario together and the return trip from this peregrination usually culminated in a picnic or barbecue. It is no different than it would be for any other extended family.
Oddly enough nowadays it is more likely they encounter one another in Moscow or St. Petersburg in the course of various endeavours.

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I was excited to read Eric Lowes most recent missive!

And to quote Eric's declaration reposted here verbatim:  "According to my research Olga did feel close to Ksenia"

Congratulations Eric for finally doing some first-rate due diligence in your fact finding! You are completely correct in this.

 (Although admittedly, I AM somewhat baffled as to why you would firstly quite accurately state what you had discovered, and then go into great detail trying to disprove your own research??? ;-) It is really an interesting approach for you to take!
I cannot ascertain if you are in fact dastardly clever or are but muddying your waters to give the mere illusion of depth?

 You surely seem to have fascinating and arcane insight into the mindsets and metered degrees of filial affection of personae grand et al.

I must look back in this forum to discover if you have weighed in on the whole Anastasia issue as I am certain it would be a scintillating discourse.

Eric вообразил

"What surprised me was the lack of affection between Olga & Xenia, very different from their mother & Queen Alexandra."

How are you inferring this & where have you discovered a documented measure of the Grand Duchesses filial affections toward one another?
And even if that were to be true, all four parties are individuals.  What correlation is there between the two pairs, and thusly why would you assume that one pair would mimic the others level of devotion?

The two Empresses were barely three years apart in age, whereas Grand Duchess Olga was only twelve years old when her much elder sister was already married and starting a family. Despite that and the distances that separated them they were in close communication even speaking on the telephone with each periodically until shortly before their deaths. Did you forget that they were the only remaining siblings each other had left?
Even with privy knowledge of the frequency and volume of their interaction, I would never deign to presume ones personal regard for the other.

What surprises me is your lack of comprehension that affection is bound by neither time nor distance & remains as immutable as it is inscrutable.

(... I am quite certain that their must be a pithy русская выражение that sums my latter sentiment much better than this banal attempt at it ;-)

Preved napisal:  "Imperial Russia was an extremely hierarchic and stratified society"
                         and then he wrote: "Titles meant little in themselves in Imperial Russia"
                         So..make up your mind? Which is it? lol

The reason that Empress Marie " preferred a homosexual, gambling junior prince from a reigning family" was because this "mama's boy" was the only son of her best friend, Princess Eugenia Maximilianovna of Leuchtenberg, Duchess of Oldenbourg

And to quote the latter grand lady's Wikipedia entry verbatim: "Eugenia had a long-standing friendship with Empress Maria Feodorovna, and the two helped arrange the marriage of Eugenia's son to Marie's daughter, Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna."

It suited both their purposes in that it would keep Olga close to her mother (Marie already had quite enough grandchildren), and Peter close to Eugenie, hence the wedding gift of the Olgino property right next to Ramogne (although she no doubt DID hope for grand children, and especially an heir for the Oldenbourg ducal line!)

I always thought that the Dowager Empress did not as much dislike Kulikovsky as she was annoyed with Olga for messing up her "grand plan".

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