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Messages - LadyAstraea

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Tsarevich Alexei Nicholaievich / Re: Alexei and Hemophilia
« on: December 12, 2011, 10:24:06 AM »
So yesterday in the news I read that it is now possible (in some cases) to treat Hemophilia B with gene therapy.

Here is the article at the NY Times website: "Treatment for Blood Disease Is Gene Therapy Landmark"

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/11/health/research/hemophilia-b-gene-therapy-breakthrough.html

Too bad it's come 94 years too late for Alexei.

*edit: I don't know why the direct link wants you to sign in to the website, but if you search the title "Treatment for Blood Disease Is Gene Therapy Landmark" on google, the article should come up.

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Alexandra Feodorovna / Re: Was Alix of Hesse disliked by British royals?
« on: October 20, 2011, 02:51:05 AM »
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To me, the quote from Queen Alexandra suggests a basic fondness, coupled with exasperation. But we need to know how she referred to other relations - was 'poor dear' pretty standard for her?

Yes it was. But, Queen Mary's biographer James Pope-Hennessy pointed out that the adjectives that Queen Alexandra used actually were significant. For example, he explains that shortly after Alexandra's beloved son "Georgie" married Princess May of Teck (later Queen Mary), Alexandra realized she was no longer "the object of her son's undivided attention" (p. 279). This jealousy caused her and her daughters to soon start referring to Princess May as "poor May" instead of "sweet May" as she had been described in years past. Furthermore, the sisters then took to criticizing May behind her back, even telling guests at dinner how dull she was.

So from this, I think perhaps the adjective "poor" isn't a particularly positive one coming from the pen of Queen Alexandra. I highly doubt she had a good opinion of the Empress Alexandra -- I can't remember where I read it, but I believe that via his mother, George V himself wrote somewhere that the Empress ("poor Alicky" I believe he called her) seemed to be the causer of a lot of troubles. He certainly remarked when he heard the rumours that the Empress had died with her husband that "perhaps it is best so." Of course, that statement could just mean that he thought it good that such a devoted couple at least died together, rather than apart, but perhaps it meant something more. We can't know.

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The Windsors / Re: Zara & Peter Phillips
« on: October 18, 2011, 08:53:37 PM »
The reason Prince Philip's blood was used to compare to Empress Alexandra and her children is because he shares the same mitochondrial DNA with them (i.e. DNA that is passed on unchanged down the female line). Philip's maternal grandmother (Victoria, Marchioness of Milford Haven) and Empress Alexandra were sisters, thus having the same mitochondrial DNA as passed to them from their mother, Princess Alice. Of course, Alexandra's children also had the same mitochondrial DNA as she did.

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I would imagine that all the first cousins you mention (William, Harry, Beatrice, Eugenie, Zara and Peter) are equally related to Nicholas and Alexei. Unless any of their parents (Mark Phillips, Diana Spencer, or Sarah Ferguson) were somehow closer related to Nicholas and Alexei. I doubt that.

Through Prince Philip (their grandfather): William (and the rest of his first cousins) are 1st cousins 3x removed to Alexei (their common ancestor being Princess Alice - daughter of Queen Victoria and mother of Victoria, Marchioness of Milford Haven and the Empress Alexandra).

Through Elizabeth II (their grandmother): William (and the rest of his first cousins) are 1st cousins 4x removed to Nicholas II, and 2nd cousins 3x removed to Alexei (their common ancestor being Christian IX of Denmark - father of Queen Alexandra and Empress Marie).

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In hindsight we can see that she was right, and in fact her attitude may even had had some effect on the morale of the British people, and even the ultimate outcome of the War.  But if she had been wrong wouldn't people have said that she had been "exceptionally shortsighted or exceptionally stupid or exceptionally trusting"?

DNAgenie, I completely agree with you. The benefit of hindsight makes all the difference. Had Germany won the Battle of Britain, the Queen Mother's decision to keep her children in England would likely have been viewed very differently... Had the children of Nicholas and Alexandra managed to survive, the decision to stay together certainly would also be looked upon differently.

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I find it interesting that Queen Mary (wife of George V) of Tek's family became Cambridge in 1917 when all of the German titles were abandoned.  Now, of course, Prince William and Catherine are the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Well, it's not really that surprising though, since Queen Mary's maternal grandparents were the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (the son and daughter-in-law of George III), and following this, upon the death of their only son, the second Duke of Cambridge, in 1904 without legitimate heirs, the title became extinct. When King George V created Queen Mary's elder brother the Marquess of Cambridge in 1917 once he dropped the title Duke of Teck from his father, it made sense to give him a new name from his mother's side of the family.

Regarding Prince William: since the dukedoms of York, Kent, Edinburgh, etc. are still in use, Cambridge seems like an obvious choice (Duke of Connaught also would have worked) having been the title of a king's son before (in recent enough history).

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Yes, it's where she lived, but it could have doubled as a family name.

Right, but as shown in the above link to the royal website explaining royals and surnames, as a royalty, Alix wouldn't have needed to have a surname - sometimes royalties use surnames (e.g. the Windsors) but more often than not, they are simply identified by the country/region they are from. In Alix's case, it was "von Hesse und bei Rhine." For many royalties it is a problem for even them to find out what sort of "surname" they can take if they previously haven't used one and suddenly need one. E.g. when Prince Philip had to give up his greek title when marrying into the British royal family -- no one knew what sort of last name he actually had. Was it "Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksberg....?" Perhaps, but he was known as "of Greece" more commonly. So he ended up adopting "Mountbatten."

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I have read that Queen Victoria and Prince Albert spoke German with the family which is why her daughters had no trouble marrying into German houses.

According to Victoria herself, her own native language was English, as she was not allowed to speak German when she was little, and became fluent later. When raising her own children, she insisted that she and her husband "spoke English just as much as German" amongst their children and family. Considering her husband was at first unsure of himself in English, and that German was his native tongue, it is natural that the children would have grown up bilingual. I think this would have been the same with Alix -- of course she was born and raised in Germany, and her English mother died when she was only 6, but still, given her closeness to her grandmother and her preference for English, I think we can say that perhaps both German and English were her "native" languages, with English being the preferred one. (I live in Canada and know a few people who don't actually know if their "native" tongue is French or English - they are just bilingual and don't have an accent in either language).

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She could have learned at lot in the 22 years she was on the throne, but at the end she was still speaking English to her husband and her children.

I don't really believe that speaking English to her husband and children was a deliberate snub at refusing to speak the Russian language by Alix. My own grandparents immigrated to Canada from Germany 60 years ago, and although by now they speak English most of the time and have mastered the language, between the two of them and sometimes to their children, they still speak German. The thing is, with the people to whom you are closest, you're going to want to express yourself the best you can - so it's logical and understandable you would speak to them in the language you feel the most at home with - not one that you only began learning as an adult (unless of course you have no other choice and no one understands your native tongue).


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Alexandra Feodorovna / Re: Her Accent
« on: July 23, 2011, 01:53:21 AM »
Well, German is a West Germanic language, and I suppose in comparison to the Romance languages it may sound harsh at first. But then again, English is also a West Germanic language (although one influenced by French) and I've heard some people who don't speak English describe it as a hard and not very elegant language. I must say though that if one always has a sore throat from speaking German, then that person has gone wrong somewhere! Of course if the person is just learning to produce the sounds (particularly the different "ch" and "r" sounds) then naturally one would get a sore throat from too much practice, but no, generally speaking, German isn't really any harder on the throat.

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Alexandra Feodorovna / Re: Alexandra's Engagement and Wedding rings
« on: July 17, 2011, 03:55:48 PM »
The Queen Mother's wedding ring in 1926, as well as those of her daughters Margaret and the Queen, her granddaughter Princess Anne, and Diana, Princess of Wales were all fashioned from the same nugget of Welsh gold. I suspect Kate's was made from this same nugget as well, although I'm not positive.

Regarding Nicholas, didn't he wear both a wedding ring and a sapphire ring given him by Alix always on the third finger of his right hand? Weren't these the same rings that by 1918 had so grown into his finger that he couldn't remove them when asked to do so?

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The Tudors / Re: Anne Boleyn
« on: November 25, 2010, 12:22:03 PM »
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But it would not have mattered a bit whether Anne had or had not agreed to Mary taking precedence because the only one to decide in this matter was Henry. Henry never intended to legitimise Mary. Nor did he restore her to the succession until very much later. Even after Anne was dead Mary took precedence over Elizabeth only because she was the elder sister, but not because she had the superior rank.


But I'm one of those who do not believe in Anne's fall having been so sudden anyway. I actually do believe Chapuys's earlier reports about Henry having shown signs of being tired of his wife

Chapuys's reports are likely to have been true about Henry tiring of Anne, but at the time, as even Chapuys himself acknowledged, it was not necessarily significant. Particularly since Katherine of Aragon was still alive, and since Anne actually had produced one healthy child, there was no reason for Henry to contemplate getting rid of her early on. For if he got rid of Anne, there would be the expectation by many for him to take back Katherine, which he would not do. Of course, once Katherine had died and Anne had suffered several miscarriages, the situation changed. This supposed incapability of her to produce the heir was what really mattered in the end.

Concerning whether Anne's opinions mattered much - I think they very much did. In small matters: that Anne made increasing demands on Henry to obtain property of the queens of England that were in Katherine's possession, such as the royal jewels. Henry duly got them for Anne. In larger matters: Anne and her faction worked on destroying Wolsey for years, and eventually succeeded. One cannot say that Henry would have come to distrust Wolsey on his own.

But what is very important to remember, is that in the event of the King's death, Elizabeth would have succeeded him, with Anne becoming regent. Entrusting her with his kingdom was a huge matter - in fact, it says something about how Henry viewed her capabilities. Had she been entirely apolitical, then she would not have been entrusted with such responsibility. Of course, I entirely agree that Henry was the ultimate authority at all times, but he was at times susceptible to the influences of others, in particular, that of Anne. While Anne's death did not alleviate Mary's situation, as she and her supporters hoped, that doesn't prove Anne didn't influence Henry in his treatment of Mary while she was alive. It just means that Henry's desire to break Mary into accepting his role as Supreme Head of the Church of England and denouncing the Pope, outlasted Anne.

Of course, in the end, Anne's influence obviously disappeared, but that's not to say that before her fall she had not wielded considerable influence with the King. Under her influence, he even read books that were previously banned. Here, Anne would mark particular passages for him to read with her fingernail. For example, the King even read William Tyndale's Obedience of the Christian Man and declared it "a book for me and all kings to read."

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The Tudors / Re: Anne Boleyn
« on: November 23, 2010, 10:57:32 PM »
I believe of all of the theories put forward, Ives' is the most convincing. I don't see any others that even come close to his. As for the effects of the traditional alliances - I do think these were always a factor. Certainly, Anne manoeuvred her family into a position of power, and certainly a fatal political mistake on her part (that of openly declaring her opposition to Cromwell's plans) would have caused them to lose that same power. Of course, this doesn't mean that one political mistake was the sole factor that decided her doom - merely one in a combination of factors, including the failure to produce the heir.

In any event, I think Anne's influence on policy should not be underestimated. Neither should Katherine of Aragon's, nor any other queen consort's for that matter. For that is just it, since a king was the ultimate authority, we will never know how much he is influenced by different people close him, especially his wife. Henry VIII was particularly vulnerable to be swept away by different factions. Indeed, that was why his court was as dangerous as it was - for he would turn on anyone, even his own wives and closest ministers the instant another faction slandered their enemies. For example - he acted very differently about his Reformation when Anne was alive, than he did even by 1539, when with his Six Articles he took a completely opposing stance.

I also think Warnicke's deformed foetus theory to be ridiculous, for how could the midwives have possibly decided that a premature foetus was actually deformed?

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The Tudors / Re: Anne Boleyn
« on: November 22, 2010, 09:40:12 PM »
I am very well aware of the fact that Bernard is a serious scholar. Yet scholars do need to publish books, as everyone else does. Therefore, many who read it, will do so in order to disagree with his points. e.g. This is the same issue with Eric Ives and Retha Warnicke - they published continuous back and forth papers arguing the opposite reasons for Anne's fall, with Warnicke remaining steadfast to her deformed foetus theory, and Ives denouncing it as ridiculous.

The fact that Chapuys acknowledged Anne as queen by bowing to her does not actually invalidate Ives' theory that Anne stood in the way of an Anglo-Spanish alliance. Here, it is important to remember that Anne had stood for everything the Spanish opposed for too long. While the Katherine of Aragon may have been dead, the old wounds would not be healed so quickly. At Easter Anne indeed proclaimed she was supportive of a Spanish alliance, but this does not automatically mean that such an alliance could suddenly be brought about now by her change of heart. The point is that Charles agreed to acknowledge the validity of Henry and Anne's marriage, but only if Mary were to be reinstated into the line of succession. Yet, both were not possible at the same time. That Anne would have agreed to Mary taking precedence over Elizabeth is highly doubtful. While outwardly Anne was agreeable to this new alliance, she would have assuredly caused all manner of difficulties. This, combined with the fact that she had not produced the heir and had lost her allure to Henry, all made her destruction a politically advantageous move, especially with the meek and supposedly fertile Jane Seymour waiting in the wings. Also part of Ives' argument was the idea that Anne was causing difficulties over the closing of the monasteries, and it was over this point that she and Cromwell fundamentally disagreed. Therefore, with all the aforementioned reasons in combined, the easiest solution to all of them (or so mostly everyone at the time thought) would be to remove Anne.

The reason for Chapuy's acknowledgement of Anne as queen is perhaps that the conspiracy against Anne by Cromwell was not known to Chapuys, and so he merely was trying to make the best of Anne's new-found support of the Spanish alliance. His motives cannot be judged as overly sincere though, for at dinner afterwards, when Anne requested to speak to Chapuys, she found that he was elsewhere. Therefore, while he may have made an initial overture, he was not actually prepared to go through with any real plans with Anne.  

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The Tudors / Re: Anne Boleyn
« on: November 21, 2010, 11:53:45 PM »
Bernard has never been a fan of Anne. Still, I think that this new "spin" is merely a ploy to sell more books by causing a controversy. I have not yet read it, but I cannot believe he would actually have come upon some definitive piece of damning evidence against her. I still think Ives did a most brilliant job of explaining her fall in his biography of her and various articles.  I can't see Bernard coming up with something to trump Ives' accepted version of events, other than to reinterpret some of Chapuy's reports. Anyway, like someone already mentioned, Chapuys wasn't the most reliable of sources. Yet, for many events, he is the only source we have.

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The Tudors / Re: Anne Boleyn Question
« on: October 07, 2010, 09:26:59 PM »
I'm thinking that perhaps the birth year question may not be the best issue to deal with - it would lack depth, since there really are only speculations on both sides, with neither being able to conclusively say one way or another. I think the best road to take would be a topic with lots of conclusive information from different sources. There is tons of stuff on her as being head of the "reforming" faction at court. There really is no information about her early life, and really her life is only best documented from about 1529 on. You could indeed do something about her fall - but not directly on whether she was guilty or not, because I believe there is only one modern historian who believes she was actually guilty, with everyone else being completely certain she was innocent. You could still involve the adultery topic here by integrating it into a paper about her fall from grace, by taking one side or another about its causes. Out of anything else, this has probably the most information on it. A great resource in any event, would definitely be Eric Ives' The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn. Do you know if your school has access to Jstor? It's a database where you can access many journal articles (which of course make lighter and more condensed reading than books), and there are many, many on Anne Boleyn, in particular by Eric Ives, George Bernard, and Retha Warnicke. If you want a really good argument about Anne's fall, you can compare the views of Warnicke and contrast them with Ives - they are polar opposite, and both historians have written numerous articles back and forth fighting their viewpoints (Ives argues that a fallout between Cromwell and Anne over the closing of the Monasteries caused her fall, and Warnicke sticks to things like the deformed foetus theory). Personally, I feel Ives' position to be more solid, but that would be up to you to decide. For starters anyway, you can go to your library and search for the authors mentioned above, as well as also Alison Weir and David Starkey.


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The Windsors / Re: Queen Victoria & Prince Albert--Photos and Information
« on: September 30, 2010, 01:06:48 PM »
The idea that Albert ever had ANY mistress is most assuredly utter fiction. I also highly doubt that he even ever would have seriously "flirted" with any woman. It would have been just completely uncharacteristic of him. He was the polar-opposite of his brother and father, and was disgusted by even the thought of an affair on the part of anyone. This "immorality" on the part of the former Hanoverian court was also what he desperately tried to change when he married Victoria. He wanted to create a moral court above love affairs. That was why at his wedding he demanded that no one of "questionable" character be invited -- a demand Victoria could of course not meet. This obsession with morality even spilled over into politics as well, not just at court, for this was why Albert disliked Viscount Palmerston (later PM) so much -- for again Albert had heard stories of his affairs, in particular one episode where Palmerston supposedly "raped" a woman. This extreme aversion to "immorality" as Albert saw it was precisely why, shortly before his death in 1861, he was so heartbroken and reacted so strongly when he discovered that his son, Bertie, had had an affair with an actress named Nellie Clifden. Indeed, Albert being comfortable in the company of women other than close family members was worthy of comment. Victoria herself was taken aback when in the 1850s Emperor Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie of France visited England, and Albert seemed to really like Eugenie.

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