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Messages - ChristineM

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Imperial Russian Antiques / Re: Romanov Items/Souvenirs that You Own
« on: June 05, 2004, 02:37:16 PM »
One of our finest treasures is a kopek dated 1898.   It was found in the cave church of the Feodorovsky Sobor and gifted to us.

Only one kopek, but it is priceless.


Tsarskoe Selo Town / Re: The English Palace
« on: June 05, 2004, 08:31:16 AM »
I would like to share with you a memorable day I spent in the English Park of the English Palace a few years ago.

It was the 8th of March - International Women's Day - the one day of the year when Russian men take on the  daily chores.   We were invited to a barbeque in the English Park at Peterhof.

It was impossible to notice, far less observe, any  architectural remains.   In the deep snow, my attention was fully devoted to endeavouring not to fall victim to the 'mounds' and fracture an arm, leg or neck.

Like true neanderthals, the men spurned charcoal and braziers.   Instead they brought chainsaws and immediately began lopping branches from dead trees.   During the hours we waited for the wood to reduce to smouldering embers - a very welcome heat in a temperature of at least  minus 10 - the men drank vodka while the women savoured the delicious Ookha they had prepared earlier.

The men are interesting characters.   Alpinists, they scaled the peaks of the Pamirs and the Caucusus.   On becoming Orthdox Christians, their mountains became towers and steeples - they were employed to remove Soviet stars and replace those with Orthodox crosses.   They travel all over Russia reinstating crosses on newly opened churches.

We spent a wonderful day under a brilliant blue sky on the banks of the serpentine lake, Greg.   Being British, I did feel a little proprietorial.   I thought of those long gone and the many happy hours they spent amid these lovely surroundings over the preceding two hundred years.  

Of course it is a tragedy the English Palace, like so many other architectural gems, is no more.   However, at least it is still possible, in an altogether different fashion, to enjoy the delights of the English Park.


This poor little darling's untimely death was yet another blow for Empress Alexandra Feodorovna who, out of care and concern for her brother and niece in the wake of the marriage breakup, invited to join her own family on holiday in Poland.  

Inevitably, with her propensity to blame herself for things going wrong, the Empress must have wrestled with a mixture of emotions.   The Emperor describes the family's heartbreak in the letter to Kaiser Wilhelm -

'It is impossible for me to pass over the sudden and tragic death of that sweet little sunshine, without sending you just a word to tell you how deeply I feel for you all in this sad affair.   It is really very difficult to realize the facts, that darling child is no more among us!   How joyous and merry she was that day at Wolfsgarten, when I was there, so full of life and fun and health, and to think that one shall never see her again in this world!   What a terrible heartrending blow for poor Ernie, who doted and adored that little enchantress!  May heaven give him power to bear up under such a blow!'


Alexandra Feodorovna / Re: Alexandra's childhood homes
« on: June 02, 2004, 08:46:21 AM »
Greg and Thomas

Wasn't the Neues Palace built in part of the Botanical Gardens in Darmstadt?

I have rather a wonderful watercolour of the interior of the 'Salon'.   Very Victorian - although crammed with all the fervour of Victorian maximilism, it still gives a homely impression.

I share this modern malaise of being e-challenged.   Despite having scanners, I have not a clue how to operate them.   If and when I do, I'll post this along with material appropriate to other sites.


Imperial Transportation / Re: Royal Yacht Standart
« on: May 31, 2004, 10:03:10 AM »
I was told this by a Russian naval officer.   Sounds like a piece of disinformation!  Maybe he just liked the sound of the story.   Anyway, with no reason for an alterior motive, I fell for it - thanks for the correction.

Imperial Transportation / Re: Royal Yacht Standart
« on: May 31, 2004, 09:37:55 AM »
The 'Standart' was towed into the Baltic Sea where she was used as 'target practice' by Russian naval submarines, and was sunk

The Imperial Family / Re: Costume Ball 1903
« on: May 31, 2004, 09:35:26 AM »
The front of the golden sarafan worn by Empress Alexandra Feodorovna to the 1903 Costume Ball was edged with enormous, emerald-cut emeralds.

You can observe in modern illustrations that, at some point during intervening years, these stones have been removed from their settings.


The Final Chapter / Re: Grand Duchess Marie and Ivan Skorokhodov?
« on: May 24, 2004, 11:22:38 AM »
Indeed historical facts are only too frequently 'distasteful'.   THE absolute essential in relating historical events is the use of fact and/or evidence drawn from primary source material   Rumour and innuendo belong to fiction.   I am sorry... speculation just is not good enough.   Unless firmly stated as such within the manuscript, the true rigours of historical research are being ignored.

From my point of view, the most damning 'innuendo' regarding the reference to Maria's 'indiscretion' is the implication that, as a result, she was thereafter ostracised by the rest of her family, e.g. no jewels on her body.   From this one can only deduce her own family, confined in close quraters in captivity daily facing fear and the very real possibility of a horrible death, no longer trusted her.    What an appalling 'innuendo' or rather indictment - this beautiful young victim alienated from her mother, her father her brother and her sisters in the closing days of their lives?    

To Thomas -

Apologies, I had not read the 'threads' far enough.   Now I have my answer.


One thing I find interesting and very 'human' about Grand Duke Louis (Alix's father) was his romance (years after the death of his wife) and very brief morganatic marriage to Madame de Kolemine the former wife of a Russian diplomat to the Hessian Court.  

His children were very fond of her.   Although they may have tolerated her as his mistress, she was obviously a totally unsuitable stepmother.

Do you know what became of this woman after, at Queen Victoria's instigation and the Prince of Wales intervention, the marriage was annulled?   I have always assumed she returned to Russia.   She seems to have disappeared into the mists of history.

The stained glass window which Grand Duchess Alice of Hesse instructed replace the window through which Frittie fell, bore two legends.   'Gone, but not forgotten' and 'For such is the Kingdom of Heaven'.   I believe the New Palace in Darmstadt, so obviously the stained glass window, was destroyed by bombing towards the end of WWII.


We have here approximately two hours edited from sixty hours of the family's own film.    For example, we have the last moving footage ever shot of the family.   Thois was made in October 1916.   They are sailing on the Dneiper, obviously the family had been visiting the Emperor at Stavka.   Evocative is not sufficient to descibe this footage.   Perhaps we could talk more.


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