Author Topic: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad  (Read 275401 times)

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Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2004, 03:04:36 PM »
Well, I guess I've been put in my place.  ;)  I realize it's a touchy subject for a lot of people, especially as she has many fans (and as I said I am one of them). I had just gotten to thinking about things and wanted to get feedback from others on the subject. I love the intensity people have on this board without getting nasty (unlike some boards). I definitely believe she gave Nicholas the best thing a wife can--love. It's just, as I said, so much potential and yet such a bad ending. I believe all her attributes (good and bad) would've been fine if he'd been a younger son or a cousin rather than Tsar (or even an English country gentleman as I think Nicholas expressed once)  but were disastrous in her position. Fate works the way it does though. As people have pointed out, if you put all the "if this, if that's" together you'd go crazy. Too bad the elder Vladimir's weren't the Imperial couple and N&A and their children could've lived a comfortable, stress-free life at one of the estates without all the responsibilities and most of the joys.
They also serve who only stand and wait--John Milton
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Offline Jackswife

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Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
« Reply #16 on: May 14, 2004, 03:33:37 PM »
 I know Alix has come in for her fair share of bashing, both by historians and "regular folks", but I still think that she was good for Nicholas, and that she loved him and their children unreservedly. Had she been anything other than Tsarina,  I'm sure she would have been the happiest woman alive, even with Alexei's illness.  Her position was not only a strain on her health but also one on her personality, and by the war years she was more or less worn down by life events. Paradoxically, it seems to me that during their last months in Ekaterinburg, she seems to have had a little bit more serenity and equanimity than she had previously. As all have said, history is what it is, but it's still fascinating to ask "what if?" from time to time.

Offline LisaDavidson

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Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
« Reply #17 on: May 14, 2004, 10:27:41 PM »
Since marriage is between two people, it's only those two people who can decide what makes for a "good" or "bad" spouse. At the time Nicholas & Alexandra were married, most couples felt a "good" wife had no political opinions of her own. Instead, she expressed her husband's view if he was a political man. In this instance, Alexandra would have been considered a "good" wife, because all she did was reflect her husband's views.

Alexandra undoubtedly had both positive and negative attributes as a wife. The proof, as they say, was in the pudding. Nicholas remained happily married to her for the rest of their lives.

Offline masha

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Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
« Reply #18 on: May 14, 2004, 11:32:39 PM »
O.K. - & I'm sure that this has already been discussed or pointed out somewhere on this board, but here goes again..... For those of us old enough to have lived through the Lady/princess Diana days from start to finish, there are very obvious parallel lines to draw between the two women - starting with all the hounding from the public and the press - yes, Alix had to run & hide from crowds during her engagement, and let's turn it up a notch when she moves to Russia in adjusting to not only the attention from her subjects, but to the magnitude of courtiers, police, protocol - everything new & by someone else's rule book - namely her mother-in-law's. Let's not forget that for the first months of their marriage, Alix & Nicholas as Tsar & Tsarina lived in a few rooms in his mother's palace, & basically deprived of their privacy & freedom (everything was regulated according to Marie’s schedule - the Dowager even went so far as to order dresses for Alix which she hated.) it wasn't until the newlyweds returned from a brief get-away at the Alexander Palace, that Alix asserted herself by throwing away the wardrobe her mother-in-law gave her & basically did as she pleased.

So what does this have to do with Alix being a lousy wife & Diana's soul sister? Perhaps the fact that they ultimately had so little control over so many aspects of their lives with so many other people in the picture that they ultimately came to behave in ways that ticked many people off.  Except with one big difference - Alix had an incredible husband.

Masha
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by masha »

Offline Janet_W.

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Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
« Reply #19 on: May 14, 2004, 11:58:52 PM »
Well . . . let's say Alix had a husband who was more in tune with her!  ;)

To be in that sort of position has to be isolating. Marie of Roumania dealt with it--she loved the limelight--but Diana and Alix had different psychological makeups. They could eventually make peace with the exposure and publicity--Diana, of course, learned to work it--but they both found it threatening.

What I think they particularly had in common was their desire to have their children be socially concientious.

I do think that Alix had a better idea of who she was and what she wanted from life. But both were swimming upstream, and both suffered for it.


Offline Adele

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Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
« Reply #20 on: May 15, 2004, 08:58:18 AM »
From what I've observed in others around me, it must be very, very difficult, not to say annoying, to be married to a very passive person----in this case, Nicholas. (Of course, there were reasons why he was so passive, but that's for another topic!)

I think this might have been  the reason for all the nagging in those letters that Alexandra sent him.

On the one hand, this passivity might be viewed by others as 'saintly', however Saints are very difficult to live with.

Generally, a passive person resists making decisions.  They wait for someone else around them to make their decisions for them; and if those decisions turn out to have been the wrong course, the person who made the decision (or the person who did all the nagging) is the one who is blamed.


Now Nicholas must have been verbally nagged at by not only Alexandra but by the generals, his relations, etc. If so, he was probably psychologically frozen, by the time WWI came to be.

But those generals, his relations, etc didn't write down every conversation they had with Nicholas, at the time; whereas we have Alexandra's letters .

Can you imagine, being married to someone who can't make a decision, who is totally passive in  this way, and here you have a social situation where you can see clearly what is happening; that the world you know is crumbling around you and you are totally powerless (you are 'just the wife' ) to do anything about it and here is the TSAR!!!!, the one who does have the power to do something.....and he does nothing!

I think we would have done the same kind of nagging if we were Alexandra.  What was her alternative?  She had to try to do something.

As for her other negative traits:  she was an Introvert.  It's just as difficult for an Introvert to become an Extrovert (and thereby please Society; parties, etc)---as it is for an Extrovert to become an Introvert.

I may have mentioned this before, but occasionally my friends try to get me (and Introvert) to attend parties.  I tell them (the extroverts), 'sure, if you promise, first, to sit still in my living room with me, for 2 hours and read a book'.  At that point with the look of horror in their eyes, they usually  leave me alone.


--Adele


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Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
« Reply #21 on: May 15, 2004, 11:35:13 AM »
As others have said so well on this thread, who could have been thrown into the situation Alix was plunged into and done well?
In addition, her mother-in-law most likely would have not liked any wife that Nicholas could have chosen. If Nicholas had chosen  a party-happy extrovert who insisted in asserting her rightful place as the leader of high society, the place that the Dowager Empress was intent on keeping for herself, the fur also would have flown. When the Dowager Empress refused to turn over the jewels that are by right the current Tsarina's jewels to wear at state functions it says alot about the welcome wagon that Marie put out for her new daughter-in-law. Marie set a tone, and others at Court followed it. That tone was hardly going to make her relationship with Alix a warm and happy one.
Add to all of the family machinations that Alix stepped into as an outsider and newlywed, her serious & earnest character, her health problems, and the heartbreaking and soul-destroying events in her personal life...what a huge burden to assume and carry for the rest of one's life. And that is just the tip of the iceberg...because THEN comes the official part of one's life, in which fate gave her no breaks...   Melissa K.

Offline BobAtchison

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Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
« Reply #22 on: May 18, 2004, 01:51:06 PM »
It has always been my feeling that Americans of the time had a different perspective on Nicholas and Alexandra and treat them with fewer pre-conceived attitudes and judging them on their own merits.

About the Empress Alexandra the US Ambassador Marye writes in 1916:

"After I came the conversation took a wider range and I was much impressed by the Empress' grace of manner and by the extreme elegance and imperial dignity of her presence.  Her beauty, too, impressed me and I had no difficulty in believing the many stories I had heard of her personal charm.  I saw so signs of the extreme shyness which had made it so hard for her to win the hearts of those who came to her as friends or attendants, and rendered it impossible for her to show herself in any numerous gathering as the gracious and kindly woman she ready is.  This same feeling prevented her at the outset when she first came to Russia as the young and beautiful bride of the ruler of the country from captivating the hearts of the entire Russian people who are emotional and ask only to be allowed to love. Her inability to show herself as she really is is one of the great tragedies of current history."

Nearing the End in Imperial Russia - George T. Mayre, 1928
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by BobAtchison »

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Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
« Reply #23 on: May 23, 2004, 10:26:20 AM »
Thank you for that post, Bob. A part of it also reconfirms the description of her that George Balanchine gave, and Robert Massie quoted in NICHOLAS AND ALEXANDRA: he described her in the Imperial Box looking exquisite, likening her to a young Grace Kelly in her appearance.

As the late Princess of Wales proved early in her marriage, the public can fall in love with a beautiful royal without that royal saying much at all, while the Royal Family and the Court are shaking their heads behind the palace doors. Alix, and later Diana, have always had my sympathy on that account, and about the fact that their shy natures were an obstacle in the royal role they found themselves in at a very young age.  Melissa K.

Offline londo954

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Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
« Reply #24 on: May 23, 2004, 10:48:49 AM »
AS I have read in various biographies Alexandra's shyness was almost crippling for her. She showed extreme anxiety when appearing in public which to the Russians appeared as being snotty. She was also a part of a new generation of Royals that was emerging all over Europe that want to shake the status quo and that was virtually unsakeable in Russia, Was she not always frustrated by the fact that things were done the same from the times of Peter and Catherine the Great such as her favourite tea. One can only imaging the delight she took at being able to design the Alexander Palace the way she wanted. She was a marked contrast to the previous Empress who like to host the parties and gala balls that kept the Russian aristocracy occupied. She wanted to DO SOMETHING to contribute in a society where aristocratic women were limited on what they could do. Her postition in Russian society was not suited for her as a person I believe.
BRAVO I like the comparison of her with Princess Diana!!!

Offline Angie_H

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Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
« Reply #25 on: December 17, 2004, 03:50:54 PM »
Many people thought badly of Alexandra because she wanted to be secluded at Tsarkoe Selo with her family and didn't want to participate in court functions. MF loved the balls, etc. but AIII didn't, he tried ending functions as soon as possible (ie. dismissing the orchestra members one by one so only the drummer was left). He preferred staying at Gatchina with his family. If he had lived do you think he would have thought there was nothing wrong with Alexandra's desires since they were somewhat similar to his own?

Offline Sarai

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Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
« Reply #26 on: December 17, 2004, 04:07:29 PM »
Interesting question. I think that he may certainly have sympathized with her due to their similar characters, with regards to preferring privacy and home life over partying and socializing. I think men just tend to be more protective and tender towards women, while women can be awfully catty to each other, so going with this idea, ideally he would have helped to curb his wife's gossip against her and perhaps helped balance his wife's view of her and encouraged a friendship between them.

On the other hand, he realized that even though he hated going to gatherings and parties, it was his duty to do so, and he probably would not have approved of Alexandra practically isolating herself from society, at least in the early years before she was so ill. She was also not his first pick as a bride for Nicholas, so I don't know how this would have affected their relationship, at least at first.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Sarai_Porretta »

Offline Dennis

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Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
« Reply #27 on: December 17, 2004, 05:17:30 PM »
I think that MF and AF would have had a much better relationship!  MF could have kept her jewels and her royal precedence for some time, allowing AF to get adjusted to Russia, motherhood, and court life.  Nicky would not have been caught between wife and mother because his mother would have still been doting on AIII.  AF would not have needed to be number 1 at court because she would have had more of her husband to herself.

Perhaps too, AIII would have changed Paul's rules of succession as granddaughter followed granddaughter.
Dennis

Offline Sarai

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Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
« Reply #28 on: December 18, 2004, 01:49:34 PM »
Quote
I think that MF and AF would have had a much better relationship!  MF could have kept her jewels and her royal precedence for some time, allowing AF to get adjusted to Russia, motherhood, and court life.  Nicky would not have been caught between wife and mother because his mother would have still been doting on AIII.  AF would not have needed to be number 1 at court because she would have had more of her husband to herself.


Those are good points. Part of the problem with Alexandra was that she was thrust into the role of Tsaritsa so soon, while her mother-in-law had many years before becoming Empress to adjust to her new country and build relationships. Had AIII lived longer, Alix would have had the same opportunities and hopefully have developed a better relationship with Marie.

Offline Angie_H

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Re: Alexandra's Personality Traits - Good & Bad
« Reply #29 on: December 18, 2004, 10:10:08 PM »
I guess I asked one of those "What If" questions huh? There are stories of how AIII never educated Nicholas for his future and how Nicholas never seemed interested in learning about it. I think that if AIII lived and Nicholas married Alix she would have made him take more interest in it (just going by her actions of how she goaded him later on).