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Messages - CatherineNY

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I believe she actually lived at the White House for a while, or at least spent a great deal of time there. Some suggest that Eleanor Roosevelt was quite jealous of her, and felt she was much too close to President Roosevelt. Eleanor supposedly referred to women who flattered the President and tried to get close to him as "Marthas."
Well, looks were not poor Mrs. Roosevelt's strong suit, and Princess Martha was quite beautiful!

BeNeLux Royalty / Re: Books about Belgium royal family
« on: May 25, 2005, 09:20:46 PM »
There is a new book on the Coburg dynasty coming out in English this month. It is called "A Throne in Brussels: Britain, the Saxe-Coburgs, and the Belgianisation of Europe" and is by Paul Belien. The book carries this recommendation from Hugo Vickers: "This is a fascinating book after which I cannot but see the Belgian royal family in a completely new light." I will declare an interest, and say that the author is a good friend of mine. The book does not portray the Coburgs in an entirely positive light, but it is most interesting, and certainly contains information I was not aware of before. It is available on

This thread has cost me money -- it inspired me to go on ABE Books and buy a copy of Hession Tapestry, which I have unaccountably neglected to read earlier! But seriously, this ihas been a most enjoyable topic, despite the sadness underlying it (so many early deaths).

You make excellent points, Bluetoria. On the other hand, my sense is that Vicky was far more interested in power politics than was Alice, and that the desire to see one of her daughters on a throne may have played a role in her support of Sophie's marriage into an Orthodox family.  I don't think Alice would have been quite as interested in seeing her daughters marry into a powerful family. While both Vicky and Alice were liberal (in the 19th century sense) intellectuals, and both were interested in improving social conditions, I think Alice was more introspective, perhaps more spiritual, and far less political. Their very different marriages and positions in the German royal hierarchy probably played a role in their development, as did the fact that Prince Albert deliberately schooled Vicky to be the wife of the German Crown Prince, while arranging for Alice to marry a relatively minor ruler. I still think Alice might have guided her daughters away from their marriages into Russia, since Russia was the antithesis of her liberal ideals, including her unconventional religious views. And I think she might have seen that Serge had issues (as we say these days), and persuaded Ella to look elsewhere. She had much more penetration than poor Ludwig, who does not seem to have been the sharpest knife in the drawer. And if Ella did not marry Serge, Alix's marriage to Nicky would have been much less likely.
This is all guesswork at this stage...but I have read a lot about this family, which interests me greatly, and this is my reading of what Alice might have done to change the course of history as we know it.
Sorry for the long post! You can tell this is a great interest of mine.

This is a wonderful thread. So many of the posters have offered fascinating thoughts and pieces of information. I love reading about Princess Alice, whom I find to be the most fascinating of QV's children, and whose early death has always struck me as a great tragedy whose repercussions were felt far beyond her own family. As I read the messages above, I started to wonder how Alice would have reacted to the idea of her daughters converting to Orthodoxy. I have great respect for Orthodoxy, but, as a faith, it seems somewhat at odds with Alice's own approach to Christianity (even if we put aside her Strauss-inspired crisis of faith). What do others think? Might she have discouraged her daughters from marrying into the Romanov family for religious, if not for other reasons?

I lean towards "cunning", while allowing for the fact that there was some underlying mental problem as well. She seems to have played a lot of people, including many who should have known better, like the proverbial violin (e.g., read the part in the James Blair Lovell book about AA, in which she suddenly "reveals" a completely new version of what happened in the Ipatiev House than she has told anyone else...and he believes her). I think that this required a high degree of cunning. I don't think someone who was mad enough to believe she was really a Romanov would have been able to master the level of detail she eventually did in order to perpetuate her charade.

For reasons I can't quite explain at the moment (long day!), I can't see Alexandra in the US. But if they did come here, they may have ended up in the NY metropolitan area, like a lot of White Russian aristocrats s did. They could have worshipped at the Russian Orthodox Cathedral on the upper East Side, but they might have preferred to live on the north shore of Long Island (where AA ended up for a while), or perhaps in Connecticut. As mentioned above, Alexei probably would not have enjoyed a long life, but at least he would have had state of the art medical care in NY, and might have lived long enough to marry and father heirs, as did Leopold, Duke of Albany, before his untimely death -- and he enjoyed less good medical care than Alexei would have had in NY in the 1920s-30s.

Much nicer to speculate like this than to reflect on what really happened...

 ???Am I getting this straight? To summarize what I think I read: This Anastasia claimant lived in (formerly) Soviet Georgia, and survived  to an old age. However, she has now died. Someone claiming to be her has been put forward in the past few years to claim Anastasia's identity. There is someone else who claims to be this "Anastasia's" son, and who calls himself "Crown Prince Anatoly."
Is that right? And if so, why is anyone taking them seriously in Russia?

The Myth and Legends of Survivors / Re: AA and the Russian Language
« on: March 10, 2005, 07:02:59 PM »
On the question of whether or not a Polish person would understand Russian,  I can contribute some anecdotal evidence. My mother grew up speaking Polish at home, and studied Russian very briefly as an adult through an educational television program, but never took any formal classes in Russian. One time, she attended a business dinner with my father and some Russian guests of his company, and told me later that she was able to understand a good deal of what they said to one another in Russian. So if FS, who grew up speaking Polish, set her mind to learning enough Russian to understand conversations, and to interject the occasional comment in Russian, she had a head start as a native speaker of another Slavic language.

Just anecdotal evidence, as I said. Personally, Anna Anderson's poor English is one of the things that convinced me that she was not Anastasia, but I also don't find the evidence that she spoke fluent Russian very convincing.

A somewhat late comment on the question of Jeanne Malcolm's parentage -- there was every incentive for Lilly Langtry to convince Louis of Hesse that he was her daughter's father. If you were Lilly, had only one child, and several lovers, why not say that the royal lover was the father? It provides the child with a leg up in life, some social cachet and possibly financial advantages she would not have had otherwise, and back then there was no DNA testing to disprove the allegation.

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