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Russian Imperial Medals, Orders, Uniforms & Militaria / Re: regiments
« on: February 18, 2004, 10:10:30 AM »
Thanks Nick;

Spiridovitch was my source, perhaps his calling it the 9th Regiment was a mistake or typo.  It seems logical to me that perhaps  both are correct....Olga probably did then make the petition earlier in the year, and Nicholas surprised her at the party by publicly granting it...Spiridovitch goes on for two full pages about the elaborate ceremony at Olga's party giving them the Pelisse etc and the exchange of telegrams to the Regiment from the delegation present at the party etc and Olga's reactions.....


The Alexander Palace / Re: Life in the Alexander Palace
« on: February 18, 2004, 09:55:57 AM »
Alexander Spiridovitch was Nicholas II's Chief of Personal Security (the early equivalent of our own Secret Service) and was in the Theater in Kiev guarding the Imperial Family. From his book "Les Dernieres Annees de la Cour de Tsarzkoe Selo", Vol 2, Ch. 4 "The Year 1911"...
[The Imperial Family had gone from the outer room (facing the stage) into the inner room, opening out to the corridor, for refreshements during the intermission. Spiridovitch himself was in the corridor]:

"This is what he [Nicholas II] himself later recounted several days later to the officers of the Standardt, the Emperor had heard the gunshots,  but thought they were to signal the rising of the curtain, he went toward the door of the outer box room.  Grand Duchess Tatiana had had the time to look out the door and for her to see and understand what was happening in the theater, she had shut the door on the Emperor.
     "Papa, don't come in, they are shooting" she yelled to him, crying."

The translation from the French is mine. Spridovitch has never been published in English that I am aware of.

It could also be several of the young men training to be sailors on board the Standardt, who Vyroubova often photographed playing with Alexei.  Also, Alexei often played with children of the local nobility or Governor in Yalta and Sebastapol. If we could see the actual picture in question it would probably be easy to determine who they are.

The Alexander Palace / Re:  Alexander Palace Design
« on: February 12, 2004, 11:46:05 PM »
I speak fluent French, and both telephoned and wrote to Charles Berger & Cie in Paris on behalf of Bob about the fabrics for the Palace.  They are still in business, but have absolutely no records left whatsoever of Meltzer's order for Alexandra.  They offered to recreate fabrics from known samples if they were available to be provided to them (at a rather substantial price), but have no records of what they produced and sent to the Alexander Palace over one hundred years ago.

Thank you Melissa, no need, I have put it into your profile.

Dear NAAOTMA (whoever you are since you did not provide us with your name when you signed up).
My exact words which you have deemed "harsh" were these:
"The New York Times reports that over 350 people are missing still from the Sept. 11 tragedy with no DNA or physical evidence ever found....should we still be convinced that they are alive and well somewhere until this proof is found one way or the other??
To me, demanding some physical evidence of the two bodies to prove their deaths is just as ludicrous.... "

Where have I "put down" any specific person? I personally am truly of the belief that holding on to the hypothesis that anyone survived ( after my years of reading, research and discussions with the scientists and others directly involved in the recent investigations about the remains of the Romanovs)just because we do not have physical remainsis indeed ludicrous.  There are hundreds of instances where people are murdered or killed and there are never any physical remains found, yet people gladly accept their deaths as fact, yet for some reason this logic does not apply to the "Anastasia" case. Certainly others are quite free to believe as they wish and I respect their right to do so. There is nothing any more harsh in this statement than in YOURS characterizing my response as somehow unfriendly to any specific person.

The Yussupovs / Re: Felix Yusupov and Grand Duke Dmitriy Pavlovitch
« on: February 05, 2004, 10:22:50 AM »
Without entering an opinion about Marie's books, I was most privileged to have known a genuine Princess from Moscow who was about 15 when she and her family escaped the Revolution to Paris (she would never reveal her true age, even to her daughter).  She passed away years ago at about age 92.  A charming, elegant and truly aristocratic lady in the most positive sense of the word with crystal clear memories of Moscow and the aristocracy she grew up in.  She and GD Marie were close friends after the Revolution and remained so until Marie's death. She described Marie to me in only the most positive of terms...and this lady would have definitely have made her true feelings clear! She pulled no punches, but was always "discrete" in her speaking.  I never got any sense of Marie being a "brat" or lying to further her cause, from this lady who knew her well. Just my 2 cents second hand, as it were.

Tatiana Nicholaievna / Re: Tatiana's French bulldog, Ortino
« on: February 05, 2004, 09:52:40 AM »
Bob says that this question has come up before.  The definitive answer from his research is the dog's name was <Ortino>.

The mistake seems to have come up from some Russian translations, where the character in russian cursive for "p" is the same as the western cursive for "n".

Imperial Russian Antiques / Re: Forbes collection of Faberge
« on: February 04, 2004, 12:21:21 PM »
Read Nick Nicholson's original article on the Alexander Palace Main Page.

The Alexander Palace / Re: Life in the Alexander Palace
« on: February 04, 2004, 11:28:04 AM »
While alot of what you said is correct, it isn't necessarily "accurate" in your interpretations. Many people reading history forget to put what they read back into the context of the time.  Remember that Victorian women were usually educated only in  learning domestic and household activities. Queen Victoria advocated Anglo-German standards, and she raised and influenced all of her children and grandchildren in that same way: "Kitchen, Children and Church" were the most important education.  Given the limitation of those standards, the Imperial children were well educated, learning four languages simultaneously, art, music, literature and dance, not to mention Romanov family history, Russian history and world history.  Olga was an accomplished pianist who was said by some who had met her that she could play any song she heard once perfectly. Don't forget that each Grand Duchess would lead her own military Regiment, and Olga and Tatiana loved to learn the history and exploits and traditions of their Regiments.

To be fair, they could all be, to some extent, lazy students however. Remember that virtually from birth, each had a staff and appointment calendar and fully scheduled day. From getting up until going to bed they were watched, guarded, tended and supervised. There was no time in the day for unsupervised and unstructured play and interaction together so in the classroom they tended to be unruly. Outside the classroom, they would rather try to play or do nothing, instead study when they had the time.

To say that  "In all, a very isolated, insular life, which left them unprepared for what was to come" misses an important point: They were under constant threat of harm daily by the Revolutionary terrorists. We must remember the incredible stress that had to have created.  They knew about Uncle Serge being blown to bits as well as their Great Grandfather. They were all in the theater when Stolypin was murdered, and it was Tatiana who saw the shooting and slammed the door to the box to protect her father. Their travel schedule was often erraticly changed without notice by the Secret Police learning of threats and assassination attempts, and the children all knew full well of what was going on.  They were watched 24/7 by police guards when outside Palace walls.

The Family travelled extensively together, Finland, Livadia, England, Denmark, Moscow, and all over Russia and elsewhere.  The Children were attending many events and meeting many people.  However, they sometimes appeared to act immature and childish in public, which lead some people to assume they were less intelligent than they were.

Alexandra expected the girls to always stay busy with something productive, like sewing, needlwork, painting or reading.  In the evenings when together as a family they did play games, they loved the board games of the period, a game called "Lotto", played music and yes had jigsaw puzzles.  They loved photography and had cameras and albums full of their photos.  They had records and a gramophone, and watched the latest silent movies from Europe and the US.  They read books, magazines and newspapers from all over Europe and the US, and even had a subscription to National Geographic Magazine.

Nicholas took many of the official ceremonies quite seriously, but don't forget that any public official forced to attend some ceremony almost daily will not always be at full attention all the time.  As for Alexandra, she found many such events tiresome because she was often sick and they literally tired her out too much or she was staying behind to care for a sick child or two. Also, she had five pregnancies all with long and difficult recoveries, and so was out of public sight for long times and she insisted on nursing each child herself.  She was long faulted for not being social and public like Marie Feodrovna, but to her, her husband and family came before everything else, and she strove to create a warm, stable and secure environment for them to combat the stresses and strains of their life.

The Alexander Palace / Re: Visiting the Palace
« on: February 04, 2004, 09:46:14 AM »
It is interesting to note Galina, that Alexandra was indeed originally criticised for her very "modern" Art Nouveau designs, including hidden electric lighting which we take for granted today; but also remember that for twenty years, nothing was changed at all, and by 1914 she was again being criticised for having such "old fashioned" and out dated rooms! As always, Alexandra could never "win" in the court of public opinion!! From what we understand, given the fact that the Palace was preserved virtually intact until WWII, any restoration will almost certainly return it to the original state it was in the day the Imperial Family left.

The Alexander Palace / Re:  Alexander Palace Design
« on: February 04, 2004, 09:41:25 AM »
The Alexander Palace Time Machine site has photos of the personal rooms of the Imperial Family. What photos are you looking for which are not already up?

The Alexander Palace / Re: The Imperial Garage
« on: February 03, 2004, 04:58:00 PM »
There is a good overview of the Imperial Garages on the Alexander Palace site:

In all of the photos we have seen of the Imperial cars, we have never seen the Imperial Crest on them, although there may have been a small one painted on a door. There are a few photos showing Imperial Flags flying on the cars on several occassions.  As far as we have been able to determine, all of the Imperial cars vanished during the Revolution and Civil War years.  If anyone has any information about the Imperial Cars during or after the Revolution we would love for you to share it with us.

Nicholas II never owned a Rolls-Royce according to the archives we have seen.  He did own several Mercedes (although this was a decade before Mercedes merged with Benz).  You can see a full inventory of the Imperial cars as of 1912 on the link above.

There was one manufacturer (that we know of here) of automobiles in Russia before the Revolution, the "Baltic" company. The Imperial Garage had 2 of them for use of the Palace and suite.

The Yussupovs / Re: Princess Zenaida Yusupova - discussion and pictures
« on: February 02, 2004, 10:19:58 AM »
In "The Lost Fortune of the Tsars" William Clark writes that Nicholas II had repatriated his own money back to Russia at the outbreak of the War and expected all Russians to do the same. Prince Felix told an interviewer (Dr. Idris Taylor jun.) that his family had done as the Tsar wished, and had only an estate on Lake Geneva and an apartment in London which they had yet been unable to sell, the jewelry and valuables they carried and the two Rembrandts, after they left. (see pg 219-220)

The Yussupovs / Re: Princess Zenaida Yusupova - discussion and pictures
« on: February 02, 2004, 09:50:53 AM »
Felix took two Rembrandt paintings with him, which are now in the National Gallery in Washington DC, as well as his mother's jewelry. He had inherited a small estate in France before the Revolution which he still owned, and was awarded a sizeable libel judgement in the early 1930s from MGM, as he found his portrayel in the movie "Rasputin and the Empress" objectionable.  They lived comfortably, but no where near what they had before leaving Russia.

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