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Messages - grandduchessella

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Happy Birthday Empress Alexandra. Our prayers are with you. On a personal note, I'm pleased that my wedding anniversary falls on both her birthday and, with my love of history, D-Day.

Marie Feodorovna / Re: Marie Feodorovna and her grandchildren
« on: June 05, 2004, 09:24:39 PM »
You're very welcome for the letter! I also found this one relating to Olga's 2nd marriage (again edited to pertinent parts):

Subject:  Maria Fyodorovna to Nicholas II, 16 November 1916
Kieff, 16th November, 1916.
My dear darling Nicky,
I cannot tell you how happy I was to see you
here with dear Alexei. It was so pleasant and cosy and
I recall these two days with such delight. Sandro can tell you everything about Baby Olga's wedding and about my great emotion. I am so very glad I was able to attend. May God give her every happiness. She herself is more than happy. She wrote twice: "I am having the time of my life!" [in English]

I embrace you tenderly and wish you all, all the best. God bless you.
Your old Mama who loves you with all her heart.
My best love to dear Alix and the sweet grandchildren.

Sheds another light on Empress Marie's reaction to Olga's 2nd marriage. Until the end of Nicky's life, she always wrote most tenderly to him, even as they grew farther apart than when he was younger. One can only imagine how hard it was for her to have lost 4 sons in her life: Alexander (as an infant), George, Nicholas and Michael.

I'm glad to hear of his doing well too. When I read it was 1994, I wondered what a decade would bring. It focused a good bit on his political career (he lost the election and I don't know if he stayed in politics) but he came across as a real inspiration: hemophilia, arthritis-related to the hemophilia and then HIV. Yet he maintained a sunny disposition, even becoming a pastor and fathering 2 children.

Marie Feodorovna / Re: Marie Feodorovna and her grandchildren
« on: June 02, 2004, 09:56:06 PM »
[edited for pertinent parts]
Subject:  Dowager Empress Maria to Nicholas II, 21 November 1917
The last letter Nicky ever got from his mother.

Aitodor, 21st November, 1917.
I have just received your letter of October 27th which has filled me with joy. I cannot find words to express my feelings and thank you with all my heart, my dear. You know that my thoughts and prayers never leave you-- I think of you day and night and sometimes feel so sick at heart that I believe I cannot bear it any longer. But God is merciful-- He will give us strength for this terrible ordeal. Thank goodness you are all well and that at least you live together and in comfort. A year has gone by already since you and darling Alexei came to see me at Kieff... I am sorry you are not allowed to go for walks, I know how necessary it is for you and the dear children; it is an incomprehensible cruelty! ....It is a blessing I am with Xenia, Olga and the grandchildren, who dine with me by turns every day. My new grandson Tikhon is a source of joy to us all. He grows bigger and fatter every day and is such a darling, so charming and quiet. It is a pleasure to see how happy Olga is, and how delighted she is with her baby which she had hoped for for such a long time. They live very snugly above the cellar. She and Xenia come to see me every morning, and we have our cocoa together, as we are always hungry....I am very glad to get those dear letters from Alix and my granddaughters who all write so nicely. I thank and kiss them all. We always think and talk about you. It is so sad to be separated, not to see one another, not to be able to talk.

I just received The Last Courts of Europe by Robert Massie (from Ebay) and inside was a People magazine article from 1994 about their son Bob Massie. I had read before that he had hemophilia which added to the tone his parents used when writing about the Romanovs. I didn't know however, that he'd contracted HIV through a blood transfusion. In the article he was running for political office and showed that he and his wife had gone ahead and had 2 children. Does anyone know how he is today?

This is such a wonderful book! I finally got mine about 2 weeks ago and I flipped through it really fast---almost too excited to sit and really look (which I'm now doing but I really want to savor it). CZ has definitely vaulted to the top of my "must buy" authors--where does she get such great access or is she the first to really focus on the photos in the archives rather than written materials?  I have all of her books and CATT and Queen Victoria's Family have definite pride of place. I can't wait to see what she does next and hope it's another photo book!

Gilbert's Royal Books site is a great one for finding old titles republished. I found Unbroken Unity there (about Grand Duchess Elizabeth) and there are many Romanov books. The reprints are very well-done too with actual reproductions of the photos and not just photocopies.

From other boards where I asked this, I gathered the following:

Yes, he seemed to fall in and out of love rather alarmingly.  :)

He proposed to Louise of Wales first, then Irene and even approached the Duke of Teck regarding his daughter, the future Queen Mary, and several others! Luckily, I guess these princesses either saw through him or their parents' did.

Wasn't he independently wealthy though until the Revolution? I thought he had a good deal of money, but it was kept in Russia which is where it was lost.

I was reading Camera and the Tsars (GREAT book!) and in a photo of GD Michael Michaelovich it says that before he married Countess Torby, he "believed himself in love" and proposed to both Irene of Hesse and Louise of Wales (at separate times of course!) and was turned down by both. Does anyone have any more information on this? Was Irene's heart already set on Henry of Prussia and did Queen Alexandra have anything to do with Louise's refusal? Ihad never read any of this before.

The Windsors / Re: Cousin Toria
« on: May 24, 2004, 03:16:54 PM »
I agree that Toria has been sadly maligned in the "looks" category. While she looked rather sickly as a child and young woman, when you see pictures of her c.1900-1910, she's really rather lovely. I have one picture of her from this period and she's wearing a lovely gown and jewelry, with her thick, lustrous hair gathered in the Gibson Girl style of the time (which suited her MUCH better than Victorian "fringe" styles) and her eyes (which I imagine are blue) look so large and beautiful. Really in the bloom of her life. I think she would've made someone (peer or royal) a wonderful consort. Queen Mary is one of my favorites, so I don't like how nasty Toria could be towards her, but as another posted mentioned, who wouldn't be bitter and rather spiteful and all she'd had to sacrifice to be her at her mother's beck & call? I know about the legendary love between Nicholas & Alexandra, but reading about his summer "crush" on his cousin Toria, one can't help but wonder how well they might have gotten on together.

I totally agree. I thought it was a beautiful production and Amy Irving was wonderful (wasn't she at least Emmy-nominated for the role?). It is totally inaccurate though and as long as you approach it as "just a really interesting story with great production values" it's very enjoyable. I have it on tape from when A&E aired it years ago.

I'm so glad PBS is running this here. I was thinking about buying the video, but now I can watch and judge before buying. I had heard a lot of criticism re: Alexandra's portrayal over on the alt.royalty boards so I'm reading for it. They had a nice spread not too long ago in either Majesty or Royalty dealing with the miniseries and had photos from it.

As the original poster, I would like to thank everyone (especially bookworm and Greg King) for their thoughtful responses. I was also thrilled to hear that Greg & Penny are working on a bio of the Grand Duke whom I feel is shamefully overlooked by history.

As to Rodger, I'm sorry if you found my query "prurient", I certainly didn't intend it to be so. Perhaps I didn't phrase the heading right (it's hard to sum a question up sometimes in a brief space). I didn't care so much _whether_ the GD was gay/bisexual or not or any details relating to his sex life. My question was mostly based on curiosity as to any independent sources since so many books about various members of the family state it as FACT and not rumor,yet all information seems to flow from one main source--his ex-wife. I was a history major in college and one of the main things we learned was about corroboration and verification of sources. GD Ernest is actually a long-standing favorite of mine (along with all the Hesses) and I've always thought the whole issue of his was he/wasn't he HAS overshadowed the great work he did and the affection with which he was held.

Bookworm, I agree with you about Ileana--she was certainly NOT a spiteful person (and another favorite of mine) but I wondered about her being a reliable source if she just took her aunt's word as the truth and then repeated the story. I also was unsure of the timeline of when VM started telling the "stableboy" story--how long after the divorce, etc....Even her sister, Marie admitted that VM had an "unforgiving" nature and mightn't latent bitterness still have been there following the death of her daughter while she was with her father and VM didn't reach her in time? If she didn't have some bitterness, why spread the story at all so long after the marriage ended (and far past just telling Ileana).

Anyway, this was all I was trying to get at--a variety of opinions since I think there are so many intelligent and well-informed people on the board who possess a wide range of opinions on things. I love getting all the different perspectives and the question was answered SO much better than on the other board. Thank you again!

I've never heard of this portrait and would love to see a copy of it. I wonder, since it was of mother & child if she would've taken it following the divorce? After Elizabeth's death, I would imagine she'd either a) destroy it or put it away because of the memories plus starting a "new" family b) have given it to her mother or c) because of the memories, keep it displayed in her new home. If it's the latter, when she escaped Russia it might've been very hard to transport (unless it was a miniature) and thus was probably left behind and was lost.  This is all just supposition of course.

I posted a thread regarding this on a different board, but got very few responses apart from a very rude Frenchman who posted about 10 times to complain about my poor American manners in referring to the GD as Ernie and calling me a "cowboy" for doing so. So, I decided to ask here where it's more civil.  :)

It's become all but accepted historical fact that GD Ernest was gay, or at the least bisexual. It's reprinted in countless books, articles, etc...I don't have an issue with this one way or the other or an agenda in protecting someones reputation. I am just curious as to whether the only sources emanate from his ex-wife Victoria Melita? All the information seem to flow from either her or a member of her family. Has anyone ever heard corroborating evidence from an objective bystander or historian? It seems Victoria Melita did possess a bit of a mean streak (though I still like her!) and an unforgiving nature, I wouldn't put it past her to have spread stories about Ernest that, given the times, would've been very damaging. Anyone know anything more?

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