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Messages - slhouette

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16
The Imperial Family / Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
« on: June 21, 2020, 08:36:25 PM »
Hmmmm, I'd be interested anyways to see what kind of evidence you have? I'll DM you! I don't think this discussion belongs in the "loneliness thread" anyways.

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The Imperial Family / Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
« on: June 19, 2020, 03:51:35 PM »
Nah there's no evidence of that happening - though if you're interested in that episode of the Rasputin drama you can dig through the forum, I know it's been discussed. I've just collected enough material to make a good argument that OTMA were being/felt confined, uncomfortable, etc in their positions. Additionally, I feel like their parents were wrong to "sell" their images and essentially force them to be participants of the autocracy. That's the basic thesis of a personal essay I'm working on.

An update on that: I have multiple books ordered coming in. I emailed Mr. Bob Atchison to check his opinion on the authenticity Anna Vyrubova's memoirs written when she lived as Nun Maria in Finland. He says they're authentic, and I trust his judgement, so I ordered a copy of the Swedish version: "Anna Vyrubova: kejsarinnans hovdam."

From the AP article with a piece of text from that memoir (http://www.alexanderpalace.org/palace/2anna1.html), Vyrubova says: "The Empress was constantly worried about her daughters' future. She cried bitterly when she thought that they would never be able to get married for love as they belonged to the royal family and their choice of the future husband would always have to be motivated by political or other considerations of the kind. I shall dwell on it later in the chapter dedicated to the Grand Duchesses."

I bought my copy to see what she has to say more on that subject. :-)

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The Imperial Family / Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
« on: June 14, 2020, 02:15:10 AM »
Honestly, almost my entire interest in the Romanovs has been about OTMA. I feel pretty strongly that they lived in a manipulative environment. All my forum posts are going to be about OTMA and their environment, particularly loneliness, stress, etc, so if anyone's out there reading this and has the same interest, you may want to follow my posts. Just yesterday, I bought Voeikov's memoirs, and Tatiana Botkine's "Aus temps des tsars," and I'll most definitely post if I find anything relevant in them when I get them. So stay tuned I guess lol.

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The Imperial Family / Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
« on: June 14, 2020, 02:10:53 AM »
Would love to know what you think! Here's the thread I made if you haven't taken a look: http://forum.alexanderpalace.org/index.php?topic=19109.0

Now here's something interesting. I just posted this in an Alexandra thread, dealing with her quality as a mother, whether she was manipulative or not. I'll repost my response here as I find it relevant:

"People have gone back and forth over Alix's personal choices of raising her kids apart from high/low society included, and whether it's manipulative or not. I'm of the opinion; doesn't living as a royal child inherently mean being manipulated to some degree? I'm thinking of this more systematically. For example, even without the major security concerns the IF faced, it'd still be inherent for them to live apart from others - for the children, away from kids of their own age - as royalty requires an exalted and carefully controlled image to maintain itself.

(I should mention I'm mostly speaking of OTMA; I know more about them as I just don't have as much interest in Alexei.)

I think it was perfectly correct for Alix to keep her kids away from high society; but, she also didn't dip into a pool of contacts from lower social classes, even though she very much liked "plain people." I blame this precisely on royalty inherently isolating itself from lower classes. The GDs got to, as far as I can tell, infrequently interact with the Rasputin sisters, Gleb and Tatiana Botkin, etc, but not on the basis of creating, in my opinion, much intimacy and closeness. It's true that they had a variety of loving familial relationships, plus courtiers/tutors/sailors who they had great rapport with. However, to me, they didn't have deeply close friends in their own maturity bracket, and mostly lived in the company of adults. Each of us should personally know that, while we may be satisfied in one facet of our social lives (in this case, family), we may feel sadness/loneliness if another is lacking. It's entirely possible to have a great family life but also desire different types of relationships, i.e. close friendships, romance, etc."

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Alexandra Feodorovna / Re: Alexandra as Empress and Mother
« on: June 14, 2020, 02:03:35 AM »
This whole thread is quite old, but I'll voice my thoughts anyways for any readers out there that may benefit. I've read this many times and the variety of opinions on Alix's mothering style has always been interesting and thought provoking. People have gone back and forth over Alix's personal choices of raising her kids apart from high/low society included, and whether it's manipulative or not. I'm of the opinion; isn't living as a royal child inherently manipulative to some degree? I'm thinking of this more systematically. For example, even without the major security concerns the IF faced, it'd still be inherent for them to live apart from others - for the children, away from kids of their own age - as royalty requires an exalted and carefully controlled image to maintain itself.

(I should mention I'm mostly speaking of OTMA; I know more about them as I just don't have as much interest in Alexei.)

I think it was perfectly correct for Alix to keep her kids away from high society; but, she also didn't dip into a pool of contacts from lower social classes, even though she very much liked "plain people." I blame this precisely on royalty inherently isolating itself from lower classes. The GDs got to, as far as I can tell, infrequently interact with the Rasputin sisters, Gleb and Tatiana Botkin, etc, but not on the basis of creating, in my opinion, much intimacy and closeness. It's true that they had a variety of loving familial relationships, plus courtiers/tutors/sailors who they had great rapport with. However, to me, they didn't have deeply close friends in their own maturity bracket, and mostly lived in the company of adults. Each of us should personally know that, while we may be satisfied in one facet of our social lives (in this case, family), we may feel sadness/loneliness if another is lacking. It's entirely possible to have a great family life but also desire different types of relationships, i.e. close friendships, romance, etc. I just posted this recently, but it seems Anastasia specifically struggled with this: http://forum.alexanderpalace.org/index.php?topic=19109.0. (If the link gets broken, the topic is in the Anastasia subforum called "La Fause Anastasia.")

Oh, I messed up. I meant more along the lines of: doesn't living as a royal child inherently mean being manipulated to some degree?

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Alexandra Feodorovna / Re: Alexandra as Empress and Mother
« on: June 14, 2020, 02:01:11 AM »
OH one more thing, about controlling their children's images. We're all of course familiar that OTMAA were routinely photographed in formal photoshoots. This is undoubtedly as propaganda pieces: the photos were mass produced and sold, for example, as postcards. I was going through some periodical articles cited in Rappaport's The Romanov Sisters - just checking for interesting information that she didn't use - and found a relevant tidbit. The article "The Ill Fated Children of the Tsar" in Scribner's Magazine is by Mikhail Geraschinevsky, who was a patient in M&A's hospital. He records some of his impressions of them. He talks about them showing round their photograph albums, and then states this: "They did not like to pose for photographs. They feared it was for publication, and felt embarrassed about it."

This made me feel uncomfortable: They were embarrassed about their image being sold against their will. Am I crazy or does that not reflect well on N and A.....I feel like it's an invasion of their children's privacy. Would love to hear from others on their opinions; I wish this forum was used as often as it was back in the 2000s! I was just in elementary school then, so I really missed out...

Here's the Scribner's article by the way. You'll have to scroll to page 158 to read the article: https://modjourn.org/issue/bdr478733/

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Alexandra Feodorovna / Re: Alexandra as Empress and Mother
« on: June 14, 2020, 01:49:51 AM »
I'll keep going about monarchy being inherently manipulative, I love this kind of thing lol. To me, as monarchy requires an exalted image to be maintained/hold positive public opinion, children are controlled in order to maintain a specific image. The best example I can think of is marriages. Royalty must marry royalty or it affects the prestige of the dynasties. Buxhoeveden said, in Life and Tragedy, that "the Emperor and Empress did not want their daughters to make marriages de convenance. They wanted them to marry for love, as they themselves had done. On the other hand, the Empress disliked the idea of marriage with commoners. She thought that it tended to weaken the prestige of the Imperial Family, and that the Emperor's daughters had a duty towards their father's position."

 In my opinion, it was controlling of Nicholas and Alix to confine their children to only marrying into a small pool of possible matches. Alix herself fretted over her daughter's futures - but them developing healthy romantic relationships would be 100000% easier if they were allowed to marry outside of their class - especially as OTMA notably got along better with the "plain people," i.e. the Shtandart officers. Remember Olga's crush on Voronov - it'd be an arguably unhealthy relationship given the age/maturity gap. But if they were the same age, it'd still be a match that would never ever be allowed. Is it not controlling and manipulative for a parent to not allow their child to marry who they love (assuming the relationship is healthy, not abusive/controlling itself in any way, etc)?

I really believe Nicholas and Alix would stick to their guns and not give way to letting their daughters marry outside rank. Nicholas himself broke up family ties over morganatic marriages: when GD Paul Alexandrovich married morganatically, he was exiled from Russia, and though he intended to, was forbidden from taking his children Maria and Dmitri with him. At least in Maria Pavlovna's case, she suffered immensely from her father being banished. In my view, it was Paul's literal human right to marry who he wanted. Even if he broke the law against morganatic marriages in the Imperial Family, is that law not inherently unjust, and deserving of being broken? Isn't Nicholas in the wrong for upholding an unjust law? That's my opinion, at least. Not to mention, GD Michael Alexandrovich was exiled, with all his assets frozen, for marrying the woman he loved. Messed up stuff!

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Alexandra Feodorovna / Re: Alexandra as Empress and Mother
« on: June 14, 2020, 01:26:01 AM »
This whole thread is quite old, but I'll voice my thoughts anyways for any readers out there that may benefit. I've read this many times and the variety of opinions on Alix's mothering style has always been interesting and thought provoking. People have gone back and forth over Alix's personal choices of raising her kids apart from high/low society included, and whether it's manipulative or not. I'm of the opinion; isn't living as a royal child inherently manipulative to some degree? I'm thinking of this more systematically. For example, even without the major security concerns the IF faced, it'd still be inherent for them to live apart from others - for the children, away from kids of their own age - as royalty requires an exalted and carefully controlled image to maintain itself.

(I should mention I'm mostly speaking of OTMA; I know more about them as I just don't have as much interest in Alexei.)

I think it was perfectly correct for Alix to keep her kids away from high society; but, she also didn't dip into a pool of contacts from lower social classes, even though she very much liked "plain people." I blame this precisely on royalty inherently isolating itself from lower classes. The GDs got to, as far as I can tell, infrequently interact with the Rasputin sisters, Gleb and Tatiana Botkin, etc, but not on the basis of creating, in my opinion, much intimacy and closeness. It's true that they had a variety of loving familial relationships, plus courtiers/tutors/sailors who they had great rapport with. However, to me, they didn't have deeply close friends in their own maturity bracket, and mostly lived in the company of adults. Each of us should personally know that, while we may be satisfied in one facet of our social lives (in this case, family), we may feel sadness/loneliness if another is lacking. It's entirely possible to have a great family life but also desire different types of relationships, i.e. close friendships, romance, etc. I just posted this recently, but it seems Anastasia specifically struggled with this: http://forum.alexanderpalace.org/index.php?topic=19109.0. (If the link gets broken, the topic is in the Anastasia subforum called "La Fause Anastasia.")


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Olga Nicholaievna / Re: Locking Trina's Maid in Water-Closet
« on: June 14, 2020, 01:04:34 AM »
Aw thanks! Well most of my research is for a personal project - I'm writing a short film about OTMA that I hope to make. (I'm a computer animation student so it'd be more feasible for me to make my own project than a "live action" filmmaker, as I can create and reuse sets + character rigs at my leisure.) I thought the water-closet episode would be a fascinating scene - though due to the nature of a short film, it'll probably not get in there. In the end I was really curious.

I'm thinking of requesting a digital scan of the article because it'll be easier in the end, plus getting to go to DC - to look up the article, and just for fun! - probably isn't going to happen soon because of the coronavirus. I'll have to look carefully at the pricing, though; even for a few pages, it seems like it could be about $40.

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My takeaway from this passage - specifically related to the question of if OTMA were lonely, felt confined, etc - is that there's a ton we really don't know about OTMA's feeling towards their lifestyle. Their personal correspondences and diaries are written in the style of reporting news/writing down the daily facts/etc - there's lots of statements of having fun playing with officers/their father/etc, that paints a picture of basically endless happiness; but, feeling happy when having fun can coexist with stormier emotions. Their Aunt Olga Alexandrovna writes: "I know there were many things that troubled [Anastasia], she hated the Cossack escort always accompanying their outings and so on, but none of it marred her gaiety." (This is from the Ian Vorres book.) So "gaiety" coexists with many things troubling her; in this case, the extreme security the Imperial Family lived under. This connects with Gilliard stating Anastasia "wanted to enjoy life fully and who had but one regret, that being born a grand duchess she was deprived of that liberty which she envied in simple mortals."

Unfortunately, Gilliard doesn't elaborate on the 1911 and 1913 incidents stated above. However, just the fact that Anastasia asked her mother to put her in public schooling, specifically to have friends, is extremely significant to me. It screams loneliness/confinement. We pretty much know Alexandra's answer was No. I wonder how she responded to her daughter. Did she bring up Anastasia being a GD? Alexandra has done so in the past: in a note to Maria, from context appearing to be about a crush, she pulls the GD card: "I know he likes you as a little sister, and would like to help you not to care too much, because he knows you, a little Grand Duchess, must not care for him so..." (This is from A Lifelong Passion, I don't have the page # written down unfortunately.)

So basically: one has to question the sunshine and roses view of the GD's domestic life. Anastasia was obviously dealing with some heavy stuff - did the other girls go through anything similar? I'm gonna keep digging and see what I find. 

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The Imperial Family / Re: The Imperial children "sad,sheltered" life?
« on: June 01, 2020, 09:01:55 PM »
Posted! The thread is called "Anastasia and Loneliness - excerpt from "La fausse Anastasia.""


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"I have said that I had never observed the least tendency to sentimentality in Anastasia, but she was very attached to people whom she loved, and although she often showed them her affection in a somewhat abrupt fashion, she could also be very endearing at these times. She whom she loved the most in the world besides her parents, brother and sisters was the Grand Duchess Olga, to whom she referred as dear sweet Aunt Olga in her letter. These sentiments were shared by the other grand duchesses who also had a particular predilection for the youngest sister of their father whom they almost saw as a big sister.

Each of her visits to the palace was a feast day; as soon as they saw her, they ran to meet her, surround her and almost smother her with their caresses; but I believe that, of all the four, it was Anastasia who loved her the best, and this love was further reinforced by the feeling she had of being a little more preferred than the others. Is not the loving nature of this young girl of 14 also revealed by all the exquisite tenderness that she showed in the letter that she wrote?

For Anastasia, my wife was a special person, in that being of strong character, she had redressed the wrongs and restored peace in this small world of hers, and to whom ever since infancy, had come to seek protection every time she had considered herself wronged by her elders. She was so happy about this boundless love that she had inspired that she wanted my wife, who was so dear to her, to participate in her life and share her joys and sorrows; then, overcoming her laziness, she quickly took up her pen . . .

The imperial family led a very secluded life, and the Grand Duchesses saw little of their parents; and only the children of the Grand Duke Alexander came frequently to the palace, particularly Princess Irina Alexandrovna who was their only intimate friend. They also had a very real affection for Grand Duke Dimitri Pavlovitch and his sister, the Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna who had lived for some years in the grand palace of Tsarskoye-Selo, as well as for their two cousins from Pavlovsk, Princesses Tatiana and Vera Constantinovna; nevertheless, in the last few years, the visits to Tsarskoye-Selo became fewer and fewer.

This isolation had the effect of bringing the Grand Duchesses very close to their immediate entourage and to their professors; at least to those who had known them as infants and with those whom they had maintained an exquisite intimate rapport. Miss Schneider was the language teacher of the Empress, to whom she had given her first lessons in Russian while she was but the fiancée of the Tsarevich; and had also played a pre-eminent role in the life of the children. She was a Russian from the Baltic provinces who was fiercely devoted, and as she had a good heart, everyone in the palace loved her.

Among the maids of honor of the Empress, I will cite Princess Obolensky (who served until 1914), Baroness Buxhoeveden, and Countess Hendrikov, all of whom were deeply loved by the children.

Of all the Grand Duchesses, Anastasia was the closest to her professors, namely, her Russian teacher, the elderly P. V. Petrov, whom she dearly loved and on whose knees she loved to climb while she was but a baby; Mr. Conrad, the music teacher (our senior member); and Mr. Gibbes.

My other colleagues were Fr. Vassiliev, Mr. Kleinenberg, Mr.Ivanov and Mr. Tsitovitch who taught religion, German, history and the natural sciences; all these four later entered into our little world of Tsarskoye-Selo.3 During the Revolution, when the Imperial Family was exiled to Siberia and transferred to Tobolsk, Anastasia was already a young girl of 16. She had become quite robust, and was so much in despair that she would have given everything in the world to lose weight and return to her former slender self. For all that, however, she had not lost her mirth and spirit. At Tobolsk, she was, as she had always been at Tsarskoye-Selo, the life of the house. Her sallies made us forget all worries at the time; she had kept her charming joy of life and freshness, and in doing so, she had become the ray of sunlight in our Siberian exile. That is the story of one whom we have known as an infant, little child and young girl, who then had to perish at 17, a victim of the most frightful crime that history has ever known."

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"I never observed the least trace of sentimentality in her nor the least trace of melancholic reverie, which afflicted so many young girls at that time. She was the life and soul of the house, and the most morose people would laugh as she approached, for it was impossible to resist her unforeseen witticisms and her perpetual skits. She was very noisy, and sometimes insupportably so. With her, every impression and sensation was expressed immediately, as she was pure life in action. Even at sixteen, she had kept the joyful allure of a wild colt that intoxicated her tutors. In her games, projects, fulfillment of desires, and in everything she did she brought the same fire and ardor—except, alas, in her schoolwork, which, as I have said before, was the cause of numerous scenes. When I told her to grow up, her eyes became immediately black with hate, but her anger left as quickly as it had come, and 15 minutes later all was forgotten as a joyful smile brightened the cheeks that still bore traces of her dried tears. She never bore one a grudge for what she felt was a deserving punishment, but every injustice hurt her deeply and roused her to the depths of her soul. One could easily love this child, despite her faults, possibly because of certain inherent aspects and because she emitted irresistible charm, made up of freshness, enjoyment of life, ingenuousness and simplicity.

But for a few moments I would like to transport you into her little world of Tsarskoye-Selo and point out that which we knew of her. The following is a letter that she wrote to my wife on 4 August 1915, in which she described a chronicle of palatial events:

'Now photos have been taken which I’m sending to you; and to your mother I’m sending photos of you about to take a sip of tea. Here, it’s been raining all the time, it’s horrible! It’s cold and windy with the most hideous possible weather. Yesterday and today I went to Dr. Kostritzki, the dentist, but he didn’t really hurt me much and yet . . . Today I only had one lesson because Mr. Gilliard had to go to town; naturally, I was elated. On Sunday, we went to the baptism of Catherine, the baby daughter of Prince Ioann Constantinovich; she howled from beginning to end; it was horrible. Father and our old Aunt Olga, the Queen of Greece, were the godparents. Yesterday, sweet and dear Aunt Olga [Grand Duchess Olga, the sister of Nicholas II] came to see us, but not for very long, only for three to six hours; she told us many interesting things; she is very sunburned and a little thin. Tatiana Andreevna came not to us but to Streina; Aunt Olga told us that she is very tired. There, I’ve told you all the news. Ah, yes, yesterday Mr. Gilliard and Vladimir Nicolaievich [Dr. Derevenko] showed us some very good interesting luminous slide projections. Lots of hugs and kisses, greetings to your mother, and Best Wishes. Love you, Anastasia'
At the time of this letter of 4 August 1915, Anastasia was 14 years old. What is there more simple and natural than this letter, which distinguishes her from all other young girls, and how can one even suspect in reading it that she is the daughter of the Emperor!

It’s that Anastasia had no one who could recall this conventional type of a Romanesque princess. She was a young girl, sound and in good health, who wanted to enjoy life fully and who had but one regret, that being born a grand duchess she was deprived of that liberty which she envied in simple mortals. It was she herself who, at 11 years of age, pleaded with her mother to place her into an institute where she could have a lot of friends and who, two years later, compelled her to let her devote herself to the theater, a vocation for which she felt an irresistible inclination. "

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"I am in the study hall at Tsarskoye-Selo, and I have just finished a lesson with Olga; being alone, I am awaiting the arrival of my second student, Tatiana. The door opens and I see a small girl coming toward me with a big picture book which she lays down with difficulty on the table in front of me, then gives me her hand and tells me in Russian: “I also want to learn French.” Without waiting for my response, she climbs up a chair, sits on her knees, opens her book and placing her tiny index finger on the enormous elephant, asks me: “What is that called in French?” Then it is the turn of the lion, the tiger, etc.; in brief, all the animals of Noah’s Ark, both the blemished and unblemished, marched before my eyes. I join in her game, amused by the imperturbable gravity that she brings to this first lesson, but the door opens again to make way for Tatiana. The little girl, whose finger was fixed on the boa constrictor, abruptly closed her album and jumped to her feet. She extends her small hand to me and tells me in a low voice: “I shall return tomorrow,” as she leaves with her album pressed against her breast.

It was thus that I made the acquaintance of Anastasia, who was then 4½, but needless to say, the lesson was not continued on the following day.

During the months that followed, I saw Anastasia more and more often. When she saw me alone, she would run up to me and recount all the salient events of her life in a language of imagery that was full of sweet and tender Russian sounds. Sometimes she asked my permission to attend one of my lessons for a few minutes. At such times she preferred to sit on the rug and observe a religious silence, for she knew that at the first prank she would be excluded from this study room that then seemed to her to be a forbidden paradise. But this virtuous tendency did not long resist the diabolical temptation to make an exploratory voyage on the table and, most often, the adventure was terminated by a shameful expulsion, accompanied by many tears.

The years passed and in 1910, Anastasia became my student. She was then 8½ and I have rarely met in a girl of that age the desire to learn to such a degree. She had a remarkable auditory memory and made astonishing progress. She easily learned both prose and verse and since she had an excellent pronunciation, she spoke French with perfection. Unfortunately, grammar was never her forte, even in Russian, and it was a real disaster when we came to the agreement of participles. She felt for this unpleasant rule the instinctive terror of a foal forced to leap over a barrier that seems too high for him; I had led her patiently to the obstacle, but she always swerved at the last moment.

In the Autumn of 1913, I was made tutor of the Tsarevich, and so I came to live in the palace. At the same time, I remarked that the great scholastic zeal that Anastasia had was diminishing from month to month, and she was becoming very lazy. My colleagues and I were disheartened because up to that time she had given us great satisfaction. I tried in vain to combat against the extreme nonchalance that she exhibited in class, a nonchalance that bitterly interfered with our lessons and which served no useful purpose; in brief, she remained a lazy student to the end. This, however, did not hinder us from maintaining the best rapport and, as I had known her since she was little, I was always closer to her than to her sisters. Her age gave her an advantage over her younger brother, and she was very involved in life more than her years, just like me. With or without my permission, she used to run through my work study; sometimes, with her cheeks on fire, she appeared all vibrant with indignation and would relate in her comical French all the little events of her life; sometimes it was a great happiness that she wanted to share quickly and which she could not keep to herself an instant longer.

Above all, that which characterized Anastasia was her great natural simplicity. As an infant she had been very mischievous; and being able to quickly assess the foibles of people, she could imitate them with an irresistible comical talent, which she lost as she grew older."

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So I wrote a little about this in the thread under Imperial Family called "The Imperial children 'sad,sheltered' life?," but I'll expand here. So it's not as highly quoted as Pierre Gilliard's Thirteen Years, but Gilliard actually did write another memoir with a co-author Konstantin Savich: "La Fausse Anastasie: Histoire D'une Prétendue Grande-Duchesse de Russie." This was a book dedicated to debunking the Anna Anderson controversy with a variety of evidence, including Gilliard's own perspective meeting Anderson.

The vast majority of the book's content focuses on, well, the false Anastasia; however, the introductory chapter includes a bit of Gilliard talking about Anastasia's character as he knew her. The title of this thread references loneliness because there's a specific piece of text that challenges the suggestion that the Grand Duchesses had perfectly fine social lives and were not isolated, deprived, etc. (I'm writing an essay about this now, so you can imagine I was extremely excited to happen upon this text!!)

The text was originally in French but has been translated into English and is available as an Amazon eBook. However, I recommend not buying it; the translator, Edgar Lucidi, writes his own introductory statement to the translation and is not just ahistorical - he uses the book to argue against Anna Anderson, in order to support his own Anastasia pretender - but also makes numerous antisemitic remarks pertaining to the execution of the tsarist family. Besides, aside from the information I'm about to post, the majority of the content can be found in Anna Anderson books such as Peter Kurth's.

Anyways, here is an excerpt of Gilliard's text. I bolded the part referring to Anastasia and loneliness:

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