Author Topic: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated  (Read 305258 times)

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Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #420 on: September 18, 2005, 05:54:22 PM »
Well Toria would've been excluded under the 'no first cousins' rule of Orthodoxy--same with Maud or any of the Danish or Greek cousins.

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Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #421 on: September 18, 2005, 05:59:53 PM »
Quote
Thanks Ella (welcome back, its the first time we've met since the hurricane - I'm glad all's well).

Living out of packing cases is no joke.   When you have a young family, I suppose Mummy's books are low in the list of priorities.   Anyway, even though we will have moved beyond this point, I would be very grateful if you'd be kind enough to give me your source.

Like Louis_Charles I agree, you have eloquently summed things up in your closing para.   You also display Nicholas as a man of considerable light given his time and his position.

However, I do still see Nicholas and Alexandra as 'victims'.   Both victims of their respective parenting.   They were a young couple deeply in love.  

Perhaps given her resolute determination not to change her religion, Alexandra was the most perceptive of all the principles.   Perhaps SHE knew the inherent danger she represented, but at the end of the day, she allowed her heart to rule her head.

I still assert that the Windsors, the Hesses, the Romanovs and, given his role in their betrothal, Cousin Willi - were, in the beginning, and at the end CULPABLE.

tsaria

  


Thanks for welcome back. I'll try and dig out the source when I get my books back--next week, yay!

I don't know as I hold the whole houses responsible because a) I believe in personal responsibility b) I don't think anything could've deterred them from marrying--NII, usually the most placid of men, was actually defiant in his desire to marry Alix and really dug in his heels and Alix who adored her grandmother so much risked even her displeasure in marrying NII (not that QV withheld her acceptance in the end) and c) many in each house tried to discourage the match--more probably than encouraged it.

On a side note, wouldn't it be the Hanoverians or Coburgs rather than the Windsors at this point?  ;)
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Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #422 on: September 18, 2005, 08:58:43 PM »
Well, assuming that religion wouldn't have big an issue as it was with Alix , the bride was sufficiently royal by Romanov standards and was at least 17 by 1894 and hadn’t married prior to 1889 (about when the bride hunt began):

Margaret of Prussia--mentioned by NII's parents (even though she was the sister of the Kaiser); her sister Moretta knew she wouldn't marry Alexander Battenberg by 1889 and didn't marry Adolf of Schaumburg-Lippe until 1890 so she would've been eligible (and really wanted to marry)

Archduchess Maria of Austria (would've been only the 2nd Hapsburg-Romanov union) (1867-1932) married Duke of Orleans in 1896

Duchess Adelgunde of (or in?) Bavaria (1870-1958); m. Furst Wilhelm of Hohenzollern in 1915 and her sister Maria Ludwiga Theresia (1872-1954); m. Duke of Calabria  

Duchess Elisabeth (1874- 1957); granddaughter of Franz Joseph of Austria; married Graf von Seefried auf Buttenheim in 1893 and her sister Augusta (1875- 1964); m. Archduke Joseph of Austria in 1893

Duchess Elvira (1868- 1943); m. 1891

Duchess Amalie (1865- 1912); m. Duke von Urach 1892  and her sisters Sophie (1875-1957) married Graf zu Toerring-Jettenbach 1898 and Elisabeth (1876-1965) who married Albert I of Belgium in 1900

Clémentine of Belgium (daughter of Leopold II)  (1872- 1955); m. Prince Victor Napoleon in 1910

And her cousins:
Henriette of Belgium (1870- 1948); m. Duke of Vendome in 1896 and Josephine (1872-1958) who married Karl, Prince of Hohenzollern in 1894

Helene’s sister Isabelle (1878- 1961);  Duke of Guise in 1899 and her cousin Marguerite (1869- 1940); m Duke of Magenta in 1896

Louise of Orleans (1869-1952); m. Alfons of Bavaria in 1891

Marie Louise & Helena Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein (though the whole S-H thing probably would’ve spoiled it for MF)

Miechens’ half-sister (wouldn’t she have loved that) Elisabeth of Mecklenberg-Schwerin (1869- 1955); m. Grand Duke of Oldenberg in 1896

I guess the Montenegrin princesses would’ve been okayed so: Militza (1866-1951); m. Grand Duke Peter in 1889 and her sister Stana who also married in 1889; Jelena (Elena) who I think was also mentioned by AIII & MF (1873-1952); m. 1896 King Vittorio Emamnuele of Italy and Anna (1874- 1971); m. who married Franz Joseph of Battenberg in 1897

Luise of Saxe-Meiningen (1873-1953); m. Duke of Anhalt in 1895

Mathilde of Saxony (1863-1933) never married

Infanta Eulalia of Spain (1864-1958); m. married the Duke of Galliera in 1886 (wouldn't she have been something!)

Infanta Elvira of Spain (1871-1929) never married

Infanta Maria Beatriz (1874-1961); who married the Duke di Anticoli Corrado in 1897; and her sister Maria Alicia Ildefonsa Margarita (1876-1975)

Luise of Tuscany (ranks up there with Eulalia on the 'oh my gosh!' scale) (1870-1947); married Crown Prince of Saxony in 1891 (they'd scandalously divorce)

Carolina of Tuscany (1869-1945); m. Prince August Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in 1894

Geneaology isn't my forte so there could be hidden factors excluding some of them but I thought I'd throw them out there.
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Offline Louis_Charles

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #423 on: September 18, 2005, 10:09:08 PM »
::stares at the list, lost in admiration of GDElla::

You can post something like that without your books?

Golly.
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Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #424 on: September 18, 2005, 10:22:24 PM »
Thanks L_C  :)

Thank God I can still access geneaology records. I don't have my books, cards or cable modem but at least I have the computer.  :)
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Offline isabel

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #425 on: September 19, 2005, 03:24:12 AM »
Nicholas and Alexandra had four daughters between 1895 and 1901. If the haemophilia was knowed between Royals in that time, all the four girls would have been supossed to be carriers of the illness. In consequence, all four would not have been good matches.

When a possible marriage between Russia and Roumania was envisaged....was Olga supossed to be a posible transmesser of haemophilia ?. This point was debated between the two Royal Families? I don´t think so.

Offline ChristineM

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #426 on: September 19, 2005, 04:59:35 AM »
Ella - you leave me... breathless.   Nicholas certainly was not stuck for choice.

Isabel your point about the daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra being, literally, liabilities on the marriage market has made me wonder.   Was Alexandra more aware of the hereditary consequences of haemophilia than I had ever imagined?

The drift of this debate has made me think the following are possibilities - no more... possibilities.

Imagine.... Alix's reluctance to marry Nicholas, claiming she could never change her religion and only accepting under the greatest duress - 'If you don't agree to marry me now, that's it.   You'll never see me again' - could this indicate SHE realised this greatest of great vulnerabilities which lay within her and over which she had no control - the likelihood that she would pass to her off-spring what, potentially, was a life-sentence.

If she indeed had this degree of awareness so far as her own position was concerned, she would inevitably have felt the same, or even more, for her daughters.   Could this be the reason why she, quite deliberately, kept them emotionally stunted - in an, albeit misguided, endeavour to protect them?

Given this scenario, on top of this she had the probability that a longed for, absolutely essential, son would live a life in constant, imminent danger of death.

Could she possibly have kept the full ramifications of this horrendous secret concealed, not just from the court, not just from the citizens of Russia, but from Nicholas himself?

These possibilities certainly do make one regard Alexandra though different eyes.  

What unimagineable burdens to carry.   Everyone thought she was a failure.   She KNEW she was a failure.

OK, this is only speculation, but it does explain a great deal about Alexandra and her apparent intransigences.

This also could, to an extent, answer a question I have never really been able to understand - that of Salic law.  Paul changed the law in reaction to his mother.   Why did Nicholas - powerful autocrat that he was too - not repeal this law?

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

bluetoria

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #427 on: September 19, 2005, 05:15:12 AM »
I believe that haemophilia was one of the issues raised by Marie of Roumania when considering a match between Olga & Carol.

(And I also believe that Nicholas said hewouldrather become a monk than marry poor Mossy of Prussia!)

Trying to view this from Alexandra's point of view, even allowing for the fact that she knew haemophilia was the cause of death of her uncle and brother (she was already pregnant with Alexei by the time that her nephew died) I still believe that she remained hopeful that her child would be free of the condition. As a previous poster wrote, her faith was such that she believed Alexei was conceived as a result of a miracle following the pilgrimage to Sarov - and therefore, she would expect such a miracle to be without any dire consequences.

On the other hand, knowing Alexandra's well-documented tendency to pessimism, she may well have feared from the start that her son would have inherited the condition (who knows - perhaps her fears were materialized into his condition!).

But, to be in the position in which she found herself before her marriage: for 6 years she had turned down Nicholas' tentative marriage proposals (as far back as 1888 Ella had written to Nicholas that she had been praying in the Holy Land that they might be brought together). Yet Nicholas and Ella, and later Xenia too, persisted in harassing her about it. She loved Nicholas. She had no interest in marrying anyone else. She had raised so many arguments against this match - Queen Victoria's warnings about the responsibility and unstable state of Russia; her own religious scruples; her shyness - yet still the harassment continued. In such a position could she say, "No, I will not marry him because there is a chance I am a haemophilia carrier?" To say that, would be as good as saying, "None of my cousins or sisters should marry or have married either."
It may be argued that she could have married someone else for whom the birth of a haemophiliac son would have fewer dynastic consequences, but as a woman and a particularly sensitive woman, that would imply that the life of one child were more important than the life of another. I do not think she could have thought about it in that way at all.

There may be many mistakes which Alexandra made, but I do not believe that marrying Nicholas, when she knew the condition was in the family, was one of them. The truth is that no one knew whether or not their children would inherit this illness, and I think everyone in that situation would hope for the best because the think of the alternative was too awful.

It is true that many people nowadays are forced into making the painful decision not to have children because of conditions which are hereditary, but for Alexandra there was no genetic testing etc. and, looking at her sister, Victoria, and her brother Ernie, she probably believed she had every reason to be hopeful.    

bell_the_cat

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #428 on: September 19, 2005, 06:51:10 AM »
Wasn't Rupert, Viscount Trematon, the haemophiliac son of the Countess of Athlone considered as a husband for Princess Juliana of the Netherlands in the late 1920s?

He was more or less OK until the car crash which killed him, but he would have been a carrier, as his grandfather (Prince Leopold) had been.

Curiously, Robert Massie in "Nicholas and Alexandra" doesn't mention Viscount Trematon among the haemophiliac descendents of QV, as he seems to have been unaware that the disease is also transmitted by affected males.


Offline Tsarfan

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #429 on: September 19, 2005, 07:09:03 AM »
Quote
Trying to view this from Alexandra's point of view, even allowing for the fact that she knew haemophilia was the cause of death of her uncle and brother (she was already pregnant with Alexei by the time that her nephew died) I still believe that she remained hopeful that her child would be free of the condition.


Now I'm confused.  I read that it was Waldemar, born in 1889, who died at age four (and I rechecked that source).  By that reckoning, Alix would have certainly known of his condition before her marriage.  But when I saw your post, I researched further and found a source that says it was Henry that died at age four in 1904 and that Waldemar lived into adulthood.  Even if that's the case, though, wouldn't Waldemar's condition have been diagnosed during his infancy or youth and likely have been known to Alexandra?

Either way, though, I think your larger analysis and Tsaria's assessment of motives are very apt.

Royal dynasties took bloodlines and their duty to produce viable heirs for their own dynasty and those into which they married very seriously.  I have never been able to accept that something such as hemophilia -- which was a known, direct, and deadly threat to that central duty -- would not have been central to the thinking of Victoria's family once its presence was known.

They, and the people they married, might have arrived at different answers to the calculations they made of the risks involved (driven by a misunderstanding of how genetics worked and by the differences in which different people weigh risk and reward) -- but I am convinced they all made the calculations.  And it has never surprised me to find very little of these in the written record.

As Tsaria said, so much of the Alexandra puzzle falls better into place once grappling with hemophilia is taken into account:

-  her exaggerated reliance on converting faith as an argument against the marriage

-  the later, equally exaggerated reliance of an intelligent, educated woman on mysticism and its more unsavory proponents (Phillipe and Rasputin)

-  the specious reasons Alexander and Marie gave for resisting Nicholas' marriage to an otherwise thoroughly suitable candidate

-  the precipitous decline in Alexandra's mental stability after Alexei was diagnosed, despite her having long known it was a possibility

-  the taking of huge political risks to pretend that Alexei would rule, despite the charade's becoming almost ludicrously obvious after Spala.

In my view, if there is fault to be assigned in all this, it falls largely to Nicholas.  I think Alexandra, though in love with him, had braced herself to say no and would have stood by her resolve had his suit not been so unrelenting.

I firmly believe Nicholas was warned by his parents in no uncertain terms of the risks hemophilia posed to the dynasty.  But, as at so many junctures in his life when confronted with a critical choice, he made the wrong one.

Alexandra was a very intelligent woman whose mental rudder was eventually broken by the unrelenting weight of a secretly-made life-and-death bet gone bad.

Nicholas was a man who had trouble figuring out the right answer on a calm, clear day.

The pity is that it was Alexandra who bore the brunt of the family's ire for an algae bloom at their end of the gene pool.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Tsarfan »

Offline ChristineM

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #430 on: September 19, 2005, 07:11:48 AM »
Beautifully expressed blue.

I had forgotten Xenia's role in encouraging this match with her brother.   From being the dearest of friends, Xenia and Alix grew progressively distant.   Was this due to Alix's inability to accept Xenia's 'success' in producing healthy male offspring?   Remember how competitive the two couples were over their first-born daughters.   It is also easy to forget that in the early years of their marriages they were close neighbours in the Winter Palace.

I am sure Alix lived in hope and when she found hope wasn't enough and medical science of no help, she turned to charlatans - Dr Phillipe and Rasputin being the 'best' of an array of soothsayers and miracle workers.   Despite her adoring husband, she was essentially, alone.

These associations, by definition, isolated her further.   It is small wonder she became increasingly introspective.   The phantom pregnancy is an important indicator of the vulnerability of her psyche.

Another point which cannot be emphasised sufficiently was not just the constant, unending fear within her family unit, there was the ever present threat of assassination.  And, of course, there was her awareness that her husband, the man she adored, was not strong enough for the role of ruler of Russia.   Probably she, more than anyone, realised Nicholas' temperament was eminently unsuited to the huge task fate had visited upon him.  

Actually, when one begins to dissect the numerous pressures which engulfed Alix, there were times when she displayed amazing mental stability.

The topic of this thread is 'Enemies of Alexandra' - it seems to me she had very few friends - literal or metaphorical.   Apart, that is, from one - a love that endured pressures not one of us can even begin to imagine.

tsaria  

Offline isabel

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #431 on: September 19, 2005, 07:15:44 AM »
Queen Ena of Spain, had for sons and two daugthers, it was more or less at the same time than Alix had her children. So the information of Haemophilia was the same for the two cousins.

Two of Ena´s sons, the eldest and the younger were haemophiliacs, the second one was deaft, the third was a good health boy (father of the actuall King of Spain).

The two Ena´s girls were posibles carriers, and in fact they not married any Royal relative. Beatrice married Alexandre Torlonia Prince of Civitellacesi (she married in 1935, then they had more information about the illness than 30 years ago), and Cristina a rich italian. Both of them had sons and daughters, grand sons and grand daughters but the illness didn´t appear no more.

Ena ,as Alix ,get married in love, but i don´t think that they were so senseless to place in front this love than their responsability.

I continue to belive that in the time of their marriages, perhaps they were conscious of a sort of genetical disease in their family, but i don´t belive that both of them realized the true risk of this.

Where the two cousins two foolish women?. I don´t think so.

In the case of Spain, the dinasty continued with Juan. The case of Russia was worst, anyway the tragic end of the family don´t let us know what finally would happened with haemophiliac heir.


Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #432 on: September 19, 2005, 07:35:13 AM »
Ena married in 1906 so Alexei would've already been a few years old by the time Alfonso was born and diagnosed.

Alice Albany (mother of Rupert) didn't marry until 1904 so again Alexei was already born.

Tsarfan--yes it was Henry Jr who was born in 1900 and died (after a minor fall, I believe) in 1904. Waldemar was the longest-lived royal hemophiliac, dying in 1945.

It's interesting that Waldemar,who lived to almost 60 and married, didn't have any children. I wonder if he and his wife couldn't or made a decision not to? Rupert and Leopold Battenberg (Ena's brother) both never married though at least Leo was old enough. Another calculated risk? I wonder how much was known about carriers vs sufferers. It must've come as a shock when Alice's son Rupert had hemophilia--she was the only one to inherit the gene from an actual sufferer rather than a carrier mother.

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Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #433 on: September 19, 2005, 07:40:37 AM »
As to the original topic, here are some I can think that were close to AF at least some of the time and never became 'enemies' even if distance grew with time:

The KR branch of the Kontantinovichi--KR & Mavra seem to get along with everyone and their children played with OTMAA.

Xenia & Sandro--close in the early years of marriage and I think Xenia was always fond of AF while Sandro's relationship deteriorated

Ella--distance grew over time but I don't think Ella could be considered an 'enemy'

Stana & Militza--in the early years very close to the couple

'Greek Minny' perhaps and her husband GD George? They seem neutral on the matters and I think it was Minny who talks of seeing NII for the last time in a fond way. Minny also came in from NII's Greek relatives

Dmitri Pavlovich--very close to the couple which made his ultimate betrayal more painful

GD Michael N--NII was very fond of this uncle, founder of the Mikhailovich clan

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by grandduchessella »
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Offline ChristineM

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #434 on: September 19, 2005, 07:55:08 AM »
Wow - I don't know about anyone else, but these posts are coming in faster than I can read, never mind type.   I have resorted to opening two windows -

Isabel's point of the lack of awareness of the full implications is more than borne out by Bell.   Massie - who was introduced to the Romanov family through his own's son haemophilia - either did not know or chose to ignore this important fact.   It wasn't until the 1930s that the two types of haemophilia - A and B - were recognised and, with that, the possiblity of a 'pure' haemophilic.   Females can manifest the disease, as well as transmit it, albeit in a milder form.

I think we need the advice of Belochka here.   As Isabel says, the disease has died out in Spain - it appears to have died out in the Windsors.   Although I recall, many years ago, a rumour that Princess Anne was a carrier.   In as much as it suddenly materialised in Queen Victoria, is it equally possible that it can, just as suddenly, disappear?

Tsarfan is absolutely right - monarchies took bloodlines very seriously.   Think about it - apart from regicide, is there anything they could have taken more seriously?   They clung to their heritage with their fingertips.   They would have gone, indeed they did go,  to practically any extreme to preserve their dynasty.

Why, therefore, were the Romanovs, given they were as fully aware of the ramifications of haemophilia as were known at the time, so lax when it came to the heir to the Russian throne marrying such a risk?   I agree, of all the things we know about Nicholas, the only thing about which he seemed totally unprepared to prevaricate or compromise over, was marriage to Alix.   But this, was not enough.   Monarchies were relentless when it came to securing their survival.

I return to the only viable reason - the sudden, totally unexpected and unanticipated illness of Alexander III.   Alexander was only 49.   There was no reason to believe he would not rule Russia for another 20 years.   It was his failure to prepare Nicholas to face HIS destiny, which gave rise to all sorts of unsurmountable problems.  

Did Alexander III believe that, in addition to being an autocrat, he was invulnerable?  (Despite witnessing the agonising death of his father)   He thought little of his heir - largely because of Nicholas' lack of physical presence.   Here we go - back to genes.   It was not Nicholas' fault that he inherited his mother's stature.   But his father certainly seemed to need to punish him.   His refusal -with the exception of serving on the trans-Siberian railway committee - to support and encourage his son in the business of ruling, was, ultimately, disastrous.   We are certainly not dealing with the sharpest pencil in the box.   And I have wandered way off topic, but I am driving myself to consider that haemophilia was not Alexandra - and, ultimately, Russia's greatest enemy.   It was the legacy of Alexander III.

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