Discussions about the Imperial Family and European Royalty > Tsarevich Alexei Nicholaievich

Alexei and Hemophilia

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With hemophilia playing such a pivotal role in the Royal Houses of Europe, I was wondering if there was any memoirs, diaries, correspondence between the families afflicted with this disability?

I have often wondered if Alix and Queen Ena commiserated about the affliction with their heirs? Did Alix seek advise from her sister Irene?

One would figure that each party would seek out advise and try to comfort each other.



As far as I know the disease was never mentioned in the family.
Queen Victoria used to say : "This disease does not exist in our family".

But in the letters Princess Alice of Hesse wrote to her mother she mentiones the suffering of her little Frittie - his bleedings and behaviour during these days...
It seems that it was a secret which everybody knew but nobody talked about it.
I read that Nikolaus II said the word "hemophilia" only once - when he was informed by the doctors after Alexej's first bleeding in 1904. Also Ernst Ludwig left no single word about the illness - neither in addition to his own brother, nor in Alexej's. He wrote " soon it became clear that the boy was ill.." But THE WORD never appears.

Does anyone know of the presence of the disease in the current reigning houses?

The haemophilia gene, passed through mother to daughter, only the symptoms of the disease are manifested in the son.   Males do not pass on the gene.   (I know this is an extremely simple explanation of a very complicated genetic disorder).    So far as the House of Windsor is concerned, it was only Queen Victoria's daughters who could carry the gene.   Therefore through Edward VII, George V, George VI.   It is likely therefore, the line has lost this genetic inheritance because none of their respective wives carried the haemophilia gene.   Suffice to say, neither Princes William nor Harry are haemophilics.

What appears to have been overlooked is that Alexandra Feodorovna's sister Irene's - Princess Henry of Prussia - youngest son, Henry, suffered from haemophilia.  He was born in 1900 and died in 1904.    Princess Henry was therefore only too aware of the agonies suffered  both by her young sister and her nephew who was born the same years as her own son's death.



--- Quote ---The haemophilia gene, passed through mother to daughter, only the symptoms of the disease are manifested in the son.   Males do not pass on the gene. ...

--- End quote ---

Males definitely do pass on the gene if they live long enough to have children.  

Each person has two "sex" chromosomes: a male has an X and a Y(XY); a female has an X and an X(XX).  Each parent passes one of these chromosomes on to each child:


As the hemophilia chromosome is carried on the X chromosome, every single daughter of a hemophiliac man will be a carrier courtesy of the X chromosome she received from her father(let's indicate an "infected" X chromosome as X(h):

XX     = XX(h), XY, XX(h), XY

As you can see, no daughter is free of the hemophilia gene because her father had no other X chromosome to pass on to her. No son will have the condition, because they will receive their X chromosome from their mother, and an uneffected Y chromosome from their father.

A case in point is Queen Victoria's son, Prince Leopold.  He grew to adulthood, married a German princess and had two children before his death: an un-"infected" son who became the Duke of Coburg; and a daughter, Princess Alice of Athlone, who was a carrier.  She passed hemophilia on to her own son, who died at a young age.  Princess Alice's daughter was Lady May Abel Smith, and I'm not sure is she was a carrier -- perhaps someone else here knows...


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