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Messages - CountessKate

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The Habsburgs / Re: Empress Maria Theresa and her large family
« on: October 13, 2014, 06:21:18 AM »
And speaking of Maria Anna, this is what really strikes me: Maria Anna was appointed abbess of the noble convent in Prague in 1766. Only a few months earlier the convent in Innsbruck was opened (to commemorate Franz Stephan's death) and this convent was modelled very closely after the Prague example. So why not appoint Maria Elisabeth abbess in Innsbruck?

Do you mean why not appoint Maria Anna abbess in Innsbruck?  The Theresian Royal and Imperial Ladies Chapter of the Castle of Prague to which Maria Anna was appointed abbess had also been founded by Maria Theresa, in 1755, so was therefore the older and more prestigious order, and perhaps where she had been destined for some time.  The appointment also conferred ecclesiastical rank.  But if you do mean Maria Elisabeth, in 1766 she would still presumably have been considered a matrimonial player even though as it turned out Marie Christine had ended up with such a huge marriage settlement, Maria Theresa and Joseph were not prepared to support another minor matrimonial royal spouse such as the Duke of Chablais, for her.  However, she was still in the running for marriage projects for major players such as Louis XV in 1770, so appointing Maria Elisabeth as abbess in Innsbruck in 1766 was perhaps too much of a commitment of a viable matrimonial resource at that stage to a religious foundation (especially since she fell ill with smallpox in 1767 at which point she lost her looks due to scarring).  It would also be fair to say that the Maria Theresianisches Damenstift in Innsbruck was envisaged as more of a lay order for noblewomen dedicated to prayers for the Emperor so was not necessarily the sort of establishment that, in 1766, would have been an obvious destination for either sister at that stage of their lives.

The Windsors / Re: Queen Alexandra in portraits/illustrations/etchings...
« on: September 01, 2014, 12:54:12 PM »
Don't think that was the same letter...he sounded better in this one. I was a bit offended when I saw the "old dear" comment since I am a fan of Alexandra.

There is no other mention of Queen Alexandra in his letters to Freda Dudley Ward.

The Tudors / Re: Richard III remains found & identified
« on: August 19, 2014, 12:18:58 PM »
So they tried to wipe out or cover over the contributions of Philippa and other Ricardians in the center, wow that's rude.

I've just been to the centre and they do not wipe out or cover over the contributions of Philippa Langley at all - they acknowledge in several places that she was crucial to the dig and she in fact has a section of the exhibition to herself where there's actually a recording of her voice.  They don't particularly go to town over the Ricardians' contribution but they don't downplay or hide it either.  Frankly, I thought it was better without the strong agenda demonstrated in Annette Carson's blog, and although there were some things I didn't particularly care for, the 'projected image of the king’s remains lying in his grave' was in fact sensitively done and was one of the highlights. 

Rulers Prior to Nicholas II / Re: Alexander III
« on: August 12, 2014, 02:51:31 PM »
My understanding is that Nicholas's disease showed up fairly late on - he wasn't especially sickly as a child and young adult and his sudden deterioration came as a shock to his family.  With regard to his education compared to that of his brothers, I don't think Nicholas was educated so much in liberal views as he was especially prepared for his role, and in this royal families to the present day have continued to give special training to the heirs - as Queen Elizabeth II was given lessons in constitutional history and other aspects of her future role which I am not aware were given to her sister. Indeed, Nicholas's special training was in contrast to many contemporary heirs to the throne, such as Edward, Queen Victoria's heir, and Frederick, the heir of Christian IX of Denmark, who weren't given any particular preparation or responsibilities at all.  It therefore seems to me unsurprising that Alexander III's education should not have been especially attended to in light of future responsibilities until those were a reality.  And in fact, Alexander II was in advance of many of his contemporaries in that he actually gave his new heir any preparation at all, though clearly Pobedonostsev was a mistake if he wanted a liberal influence on his second son.  But Nicholas was only 21 when he died, so his actual involvement in government can hardly have been very great at that point, so it's not so very strange that Alexander didn't rush to give his new heir responsibilities which he would not have been fit to undertake.  And their later divergence of opinions would have discouraged the father giving his son further involvement in the work which it was clear he didn't support - which was pretty much in line with most contemporary rulers who gave their heirs very little to do.

As for liberal views, Alexander II and Maria Feodorovna no doubt brought their children up in the expectation that they would follow their general example and guidance, but I can't see that their second son's more limited education would somehow have been solely responsible for his repudiation of his father's policies.  Alexander II had rejected his father's political policies, after all, and he was brought up by caring parents who no doubt educated him in a far from liberal outlook and an expectation that he would follow in his father's footsteps.  He made his own choices about the way he wished to take Russia forward, and his son Alexander III did the same.  One only has to look at the careful liberal education and family background Frederick and Victoria of Prussia gave their son William, to see that education has very little to do with the political path which an heir might decide to take.  I don't really feel that it was a sort of parental neglect which influenced Alexander III to reject his father's policies, but a very real feeling he had a better way.

I think he called her "an old dear" when he had to visit her in Sandringham. Part of the letters to Freda Dudley Ward.

He actually wrote (York Cottage, Sandringham, 28th December 1920):

"I've got to go & dine chez ma grand-mere again tonight ce qui est assomant ['wearisome': by now Queen Alexandra was almost totally deaf, which made socialising with her very difficult] but dinner parties seem to do the poor old woman good so I suppose it's a kind act to go & my mamma & Mary are dining too.  To think that I've got another whole week of this ghastly existence sans Toi to stick out....."

Hardly an "old dear".

The Windsors / Re: Queen Elizabeth II Part IV
« on: June 04, 2014, 12:50:46 PM »
Сегодня королева открыла парламент. Один из её четырех пажей упала в обморок во время её тронной речи.
Today the Queen opened parliament. One of her four pages fainted during her Speech from the Throne.


Both Charles and Camilla appear to be having refreshing naps in the first image.

The Habsburgs / Re: Empress Maria Theresa and her large family
« on: June 01, 2014, 12:51:56 PM »
Thanks a lot for the detailed reply.  I've looked into the articles by Pastellists and Christies, and he also painted Franz Stephan. As for Maria Amalia, it might be this portrait? (see reply #4)... unsure, or at least, similar to it.  I really like the ones on Maria Anna and Maria Elisabeth. They are the best of the bunch.  Maria Christina's wasn't so good and both Franz Stephan's and Maria Theresa's seem to be all right (the likeliness to other portraits are apparent).

I did wonder at first whether the Maria Amalia portrait you linked to was part of the Bernard set but that series is anonymous as far as I know and the portraits are miniatures; additionally, the Maria Christina portrait by Bernard isn't similar.  Here are three of the miniatures, from left to right Maria Christina, Maria Carolina, and Maria Amalia:

Frequently court painters were dealing with sitters' reluctance to sit for very long, or had to create likenesses in their subjects' absences, so had to base their images on other portraits, or templates which were run up in court painters' studios, so the anonymous miniaturist or Bernard might have copied the other.  Though as Bernard's image appears to be more sophisticated, it's more likely that his portrait was the template.

I think it's hard to compare two large coloured images with two small black-and-white images - I'd have to see the other two before making a judgement!

The Habsburgs / Re: Empress Maria Theresa and her large family
« on: May 30, 2014, 11:27:35 AM »
Lovely portraits of the Archduchesses Maria Anna and Maria Elisabeth.... thanks, CountessKate!  Would you also happen to know when those were painted - they looked young -  and if they were the only two of the archdukes/archduchesses alive then that were painted by Pierre Bernard?

They are dated 1763, when Maria Anna was 25 and Maria Elisabeth 20.  Bernard's entry in the 'Dictionary of pastellists before 1800' states rather vaguely that "A number of portraits of the Austrian Royal family date from 1763" ( and the article shows there was a portrait of Maria Amalia and Maria Christina included in the set, together with their mother Maria Theresa and these were all part of the Alfons and Eugene Rothschild collection - Viennese Rothschilds - and were sold in the 1940s.  There seem to be several versions of the portrait of Maria Theresa and one (but not that owned by the Rothschilds I believe) was auctioned by Christies in 2012:  I've not found the other two portraits of Maria Christina and Maria Amalia anywhere - presumably they are in either private collections or languishing in museum stores.

The Habsburgs / Re: Empress Maria Theresa and her large family
« on: May 22, 2014, 02:57:50 AM »
The Norton Simon Museum is located in Pasadena, California.  I believe the portraits are not currently on exhibition.

The Habsburgs / Re: Empress Maria Theresa and her large family
« on: May 21, 2014, 01:43:06 PM »
I found some rather nice portraits of Maria Anna and Maria Elisabeth by Pierre Bernard, on the Norton Simon Museum website:

Maria Anna

Maria Elisabeth

The Windsors / Re: George I & his wife Sophia-Dorothea of Zelle
« on: May 07, 2014, 05:14:33 AM »
For me, one of the great problems is that none of the first three Georges were very interesting personalities (while the fourth Geoge had an interesting personality, but is not pleasant to examine in too much depth).  Interesting things happened to them, and they lived in interesting times, but I note even Lucy Worsley has struggled to do more than show what happened around George I, as opposed to focus on George himself, and has failed to convince me at any rate that the various advances of the period such as greater freedom of the press etc. occurred because of George I's benevolent hands-off governmental approach, rather than an enormous lack of interest in what happened in Britain.  I think it quite right that Hanover celebrates, because that was where George's heart genuinely was, but the very muted approach of Britain to the Hanoverian succession is understandable in that this line was essentially the scraping of the bottom of the barrel to find a committed protestant candidate to stand against the horrors of popery, with many in front of him who had a better genealogical claim than he.  I'll be interested to see what Lucy W's take on George II is - of course now she can look closely at Queen Caroline, much the more interesting of the two, and of course there's a lot to say about Georges III and IV.  But I would certainly find it difficult to hang out the bunting for the Georges as a tribe, or to really pinpoint what would have occurred differently if they had not reigned and had a Stuart been on the throne, since the only way for the latter to survive as a dynasty would have been to increasingly give in to parliamentary rule and to commit to protestantism.  So what - really - did they bring to Britain which was so wonderful that we should celebrate?  (I hope this is not going to bring forth a "What have the Romans ever done for us?" response, i.e.  "better sanitation and medicine and education and irrigation and public health and roads and a freshwater system and baths and public order....[and] peace" or something of that nature).

Writing to his mother, Nicholas was unenthusiastic about the masculine activities on the Balmoral visit: "From the very first day my Uncles [the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Connaught] took charge of me.  They seem to consider it necessary to take me out shooting all day long........"  However, things improved when "Uncle Bertie left....for Newmarket where one of his horses won a race.  After he left I had an easier time, because I could at least do what I wanted to, and was not obliged to go out shooting every day in the cold and rain."

What impressed me while I watched an episode of ''Edward The King'' was that Alix the princess of Wales seemed absent during the visit of the Russian imperial couple at Balmoral. Does anyone recall if indeed Alix (the princess of Wales)was there or not?

Yes she was there, and here is the evidence:

It's not a good photo and I can't get it larger, but it shows the two Alixes sitting side by side in September 1896.  However, she arrived late to the party and didn't stay at Balmoral but at Mar Lodge, her son-in-law the Duke of Fife's house - Queen Victoria's journal records that on the 24th September (the Russian visitors had arrived on the 22nd), "a little after 4 dear Alix arrived with Victoria, having landed today at Aberdeen, after having had a frightful passage from Copenhagen. She only remained a short time with me."  She is next mentioned on September 29th, when "Alix, little Louise, Maud & Charles came to luncheon. — Drove with Alix to the Dantzig, where we took tea with all the others. Then took leave of Alix & her children, who were returning to Mar." The next day, "Soon after 12, started with Nicky & Alicky for Mar Lodge, Beatrice, Arthur, Louischen, Thora & Franz Jos following us. All Mc Duff's men were drawn up near the house [Mar Lodge] when we arrived. Alix, Victoria, Maud & Charles were there. We had luncheon, almost directly, besides the large family party, Charlotte Knollys & Miss Forbes lunched. Sat in the Drawingroom afterwards & the 2 dear little girls appeared. Left again soon after 4."  She is not mentioned again although I think it likely she "dined en famille" on the Russian visitors last evening, October 3rd

By Louis Michel van Loo, I forgot to say.

Here are the three unmarried daughters of Carlo Emanuele and Polissena as children:

Princess Eleonora Maria Teresa

Princess Maria Luisa Gabriella

Princess Maria Felicita

And all together:

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