Author Topic: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated  (Read 294044 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Janet Ashton

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 719
  • www.directarticle.org
    • View Profile
    • Direct Article
Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #555 on: October 08, 2009, 07:04:06 AM »
Janet

I am trying to have a sensible debate, and would be happy to see the points you would like to make.

Kalafrana

Ok - good! :-) I was a little concerend that anything I said would be taken as a "shooting down" by an unquestioing fan. Such seemed to be the mood of the thread. I wanted to reply to your point about Alexandra's parenting. On the one hand, I do think she deserves credit for allowing her son to go off to the Stavka during the war. While his health may have been reasonably good at this time, in teh sense that he had few major bleeds, a study of his parents letters indicates that his daily life was an almost unrelieved catalogue of minor complaints and reasonably debilitating pain. Poeple are often over-precious about what terrible lives Nicholas and Alexandra's kids are supposed to have - but I certainly don't think anyone should down-play the difficulties of Alexei's disease.

Conversely, when I judge what sort of a mother she was, I meausre her against her contemporaries. We might think it "unhealthy" today that her daughters were raised with limited contact with girls outside their family, but their situation was a lot less restricted than that of Mary, the future Princess Royal say - whose brothers were sent off to school, essentially levaing her alone with her parents for company. And her brotheres at elast were terrified of those parents, particularly their father. Nicholas and Alexandra's kids, by contast, were undisciplined and badly educated - I'd see as being their parents' failure rather than over-control. One of their cousins did actually decsribe Alexnadra's treatment of her son as "incautious" - and he was with them on a daily basis at this point.

As far as Queen Ena is concerned: she had the trees in the park padded to protect her sons when they went out to play.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2009, 07:07:23 AM by Janet Ashton »
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you -
Ye are many; they are few.

Offline Janet Ashton

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 719
  • www.directarticle.org
    • View Profile
    • Direct Article
Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #556 on: October 08, 2009, 07:21:11 AM »
I never suggested that anyone should take my opinion or anyone else's as solid truth, I was only mentioning that the same questions have been asked of me and answered by me several times.  i.e. why I think it was "child abuse" etc.  I have explained that many times.

Ah - I see now that your previous post was a reply to Terrance; I had thought it was directed at the whole board....

Huh?  Where did I suggest that Alixz said "anyone should take my opinion or anyone else's as solid truth".  Here's my post..


Ouch! No - I didn't intend to suggest that you did - I thought at the time (erroneously) that Alixz was sort of shutting down the conversation by saying that she'd explained before. In reality she was replying with a longer explanation to you of her views.....AAGHH!! No doubt hat confiuses the issue still further...

My apologies for mis-spelling your name; I work with a Terrance so that spelling seems to spring to the keyboard most readily! (as it is, I have huge typo issues without the spell check anyway...)

Indeed, such are the joys of message boards....

Best

Janet
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you -
Ye are many; they are few.

Offline Kalafrana

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 2912
    • View Profile
Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #557 on: October 08, 2009, 07:40:29 AM »
Janet

I'm far from being an unquestioning fan of the Empress.

In the end I'm less concerned about her parenting of her daughters than of the Tsarevich. Part of their isolation resulted, no doubt, from the war, which came just as the two eldest would otherwise have been becoming more independent. but in relation to the Tsarevich she seems to have had no common sense at all. She never seems to have got beyond perpetual panic at the possibility of him injuring himself, spoiling him rotten (with disastrous effects on his behaviour) and treating him as an infant. She did allow him to go to the Stavka, admittedly. That the family were still calling him Baby when he was almost 14 (and he apparently put up with it) speaks volumes to me. All this was not inevitable - not all mothers of disabled children behave in this fashion.

Alixz

  • Guest
Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #558 on: October 08, 2009, 11:58:22 AM »
While I know that Olga N and her sisters were very happy in Russia, by the time Queen Olga of Greece was 16, she was married to Alix's brother.  I would have thought that visits between the Grecian relatives and the Russians would have been more common.  
Alixz, which Alix were you referring to? Alix - as in Nicholas II's wife - had one brother, Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig of Hesse, who was first married to Victoria Melita of Saxe-Coburg and then to Eleonore of Solms-Hohensolms-Lich, but not to Queen Olga of Greece.

Ooops!  Wrong Alix.  How uncommon that name is now and how common it was then.  I was thinking of Olga who married George I of Greece who, of course, was Marie and Alexandra of Denmark's brother, not Alix of Hesse's.

Guess I was just tired that day - and every day lately.

In 1914 Olga N was 19, she should have been well on her way to marriage, if not already there and pregnant.  Tatiana was 17 and could have been just as close to it.  That was another reason that I brought up Queen Olga of Greece.  She was married to King George at 16.

Alix H and Nicholas purposely keep their children young and "stupid".  In Alix's case, I think she was looking for another Toria or Olga A and that was selfish of Queen Alexandra and Empress Marie and would be equally selfish in Alix H's case.

I think one of the problems of seeing Alix H from today's standpoint is that now we don't have empresses whose job it is to be breeding stock.  Diana, Princess of Wales not withstanding, most all of the royal brides while they may have children also have had careers at some point and they try to keep the careers - look at Sophie and Edward. 

Alix H had two careers.  One was to my Empress of Russia and the other was to produce heirs.  Of course she had no control over the heirs part and back then the poor woman would have thought that the sex of the child was her fault even though we now know that Nicholas had the big say in that one biologically.

But Empress of Russia she was and should have been better at.  And a mother - of girls or one sick boy - she also was.  Hers was not a private nor personal hell.  It belonged to the whole of Russia.

Offline Janet Ashton

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 719
  • www.directarticle.org
    • View Profile
    • Direct Article
Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #559 on: October 08, 2009, 12:42:09 PM »
Janet

I'm far from being an unquestioning fan of the Empress.

Indeed - I noticed! :-)

In the end I'm less concerned about her parenting of her daughters than of the Tsarevich. Part of their isolation resulted, no doubt, from the war, which came just as the two eldest would otherwise have been becoming more independent. but in relation to the Tsarevich she seems to have had no common sense at all. She never seems to have got beyond perpetual panic at the possibility of him injuring himself, spoiling him rotten (with disastrous effects on his behaviour) and treating him as an infant. She did allow him to go to the Stavka, admittedly. That the family were still calling him Baby when he was almost 14 (and he apparently put up with it) speaks volumes to me. All this was not inevitable - not all mothers of disabled children behave in this fashion.

I wonder if anyone called him "Baby" to his face when he left the nursery? I don't see it anywhere except his parents' letters to one another; in writing to him they and his sisters all called him Alexei. This sort of perpetual baby-naming was not uncommon: e.g. his cousin Sophie of Greece went through life with the name "Tiny" - but I suspect girls got stuck with it more often than boys.

While I think that Alexei was unruly, I think this had as much to do with his parents ideas about his education as a Grand Duke and future autocrat who must learn to understand his own instincts as anything else. It has often been suggested that Alexandra feared saying no to him lest he hurt himself: what excuse then can be made for allowing Anastasia to run wild? Or for Olga's imperious instincts as a young kid?
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you -
Ye are many; they are few.

Offline Janet Ashton

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 719
  • www.directarticle.org
    • View Profile
    • Direct Article
Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #560 on: October 08, 2009, 12:51:49 PM »

In 1914 Olga N was 19, she should have been well on her way to marriage, if not already there and pregnant.  Tatiana was 17 and could have been just as close to it.  That was another reason that I brought up Queen Olga of Greece.  She was married to King George at 16.



Queen Olga was two generations older than Nicholas II and Alexandra's children, and even in her day 16 was not considered a particularly acceptable age to marry a girl off. Her own parents had great misgivings about it and blamed Maria Feodorovna for manipulating the situation.

Had Alexandra married off Olga and Tatiana at 16, I suspect people would have plenty of criticisms to make of her for that - and that, to me, is the puzzling thing here: there is so much emotion in peoples' views of all this (and I don't mean you or any individual in particular). There are those who find the merest criticism of N and A a "blasphemy", and those who condemn them in return for failing to raise their kids according to 21st century standards. It would be nice really if people would stand back and look at these individuals dispassionately for what they were: royalty, raised in the late 19th century, instead of always expecting them to be "just like us" and loving them for it or getting angry with them when they turn out not to be. I may be off base here, but that's what I always feel about these debates (not just here) and the way they polarise between those perceived as "apologists" and those perceived as "critics".
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you -
Ye are many; they are few.

Offline Helen

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 775
    • View Profile
Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #561 on: October 08, 2009, 01:55:08 PM »
In 1914 Olga N was 19, she should have been well on her way to marriage, if not already there and pregnant.  Tatiana was 17 and could have been just as close to it.  That was another reason that I brought up Queen Olga of Greece.  She was married to King George at 16.
I don't see why Olga Nicholaevna, 18 years old,  'should have been well on her way to marriage, if not already there and pregnant' at the outbreak of World War I. Queen Olga of Greece had married quite young at 16, but Xenia and Olga Alexandrovna had married at the age of 19 - in Olga's case, quite unexpectedly - Alix's sister Victoria had married at the age of 21, her sister Ella at the age of 20, her sister Irene at the age of 21, and Alix herself at the age of 22. Olga Nicholaevna still had time. And the family's visit to Romania in 1914 shows that Olga's parents were giving the issue of potential suitors serious thought.

I wonder if anyone called him "Baby" to his face when he left the nursery? I don't see it anywhere except his parents' letters to one another; in writing to him they and his sisters all called him Alexei. This sort of perpetual baby-naming was not uncommon: e.g. his cousin Sophie of Greece went through life with the name "Tiny" - but I suspect girls got stuck with it more often than boys.
Alix's friend Toni Becker had a friend who was also called 'Baby', and she too went through life with this name: Toni's granddaughter knew her as 'Aunt Baby'. ;D  [L. Hoffmann-Kuhnt, Briefe der Zarin an ihre Jugendfreundin Toni Becker-Bracht, p. 107]
« Last Edit: October 08, 2009, 01:57:34 PM by Helen »
"The Correspondence of the Empress Alexandra of Russia with Ernst Ludwig and Eleonore, Grand Duke and Duchess of Hesse. 1878-1916"  -  http://www.bod.de/index.php?id=296&objk_
"Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig and Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine in Italy - 1893"

Alixz

  • Guest
Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #562 on: October 08, 2009, 01:56:20 PM »
I have just always thought that if Olga N and Tatiana had been married at the age that young girls (then) were married at - they might have been out of the country and safe from the execution.


Offline Helen

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 775
    • View Profile
Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #563 on: October 08, 2009, 02:27:33 PM »
 :-\ I don't know the exact average age in years and months at which a girl married at the time, but yes, Olga and Tatiana might have survived if they had married young and had moved abroad. But they didn't. Their parents wanted them to have a chance to marry for love, knowing that it might take them one or two years longer to find their husbands. And even if Olga and Tatiana had been married at the time of the revolution, it would not necessarily have meant that they had been out of Russia. After all, before WWI, Olga stated that she wanted to marry a Russian, to remain in Russia.
"The Correspondence of the Empress Alexandra of Russia with Ernst Ludwig and Eleonore, Grand Duke and Duchess of Hesse. 1878-1916"  -  http://www.bod.de/index.php?id=296&objk_
"Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig and Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine in Italy - 1893"

Alixz

  • Guest
Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #564 on: October 08, 2009, 04:48:48 PM »


this is a new picture of me.

sorry to have been so crabby lately.

Alixz

Offline Kalafrana

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 2912
    • View Profile
Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #565 on: October 09, 2009, 03:27:57 AM »
Viktoria Luise of Prussia was 21 when she married in 1913 - the most recent 'major' royal marriage before August 1914. I read somewhere that she was considered as a possible bride for the Duke of Windsor in 1911 when she was 19 and he 17 - she accompanied her parents on a visit to Windsor and about a year later he visited Berlin - but the two did not hit it off, and Viktoria Luise shortly afterwards fell in love with Ernst August of Cumberland.

So Olga, rising 19 in summer 1914, was approaching the typical marriageable age and it was not surprising that her parents were starting to consider potential suitors, but she showed no interest in Carol of Romania (sensible girl!) and the war put paid to any overtures to anybody outside Russia. In 1914 Tatiana was still a bit young.

I would certainly be interested to know whether anyone called Alexei Baby to his face by 1914-18 (I know it does happen but I find it a bit peculiar when people above the age of about 10 are prepared to be called by nursery nicknames - there is a woman called Bunny Guinness who appears on BBC gardening programmes whom I just cannot take seriously!). But even if they didn't, the fact that the family were happily referring to him as Baby and the Little One (and in a letter quoted on another thread Alexandra was writing of his 'dear little arm' when he was 11 and at the Stavka) says a lot. And the job of his parents was not simply to keep him alive but to equip him to be a ruler, which they weren't doing. Romanov men were not long-lived, even without the assassin's bomb or bullet, so there was distinct possibility that Alexei would succeed while still a boy, or in his twenties. Had he succeeded as a boy there would have been a regency, but not if he succeeded as a very young adult. Nicholas himself complained of being totally unprepared for the throne, but he and Alexandra really did nothing to start the process with Alexei. Nicholas at least had a decent education and what would now be called consistent boundaries, but Alexei seems to have had no boundaries at all.

Offline Teddy

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 980
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
    • View Profile
    • https://www.facebook.com/Booksvanhoog
Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #566 on: October 09, 2009, 03:44:42 AM »
I think personally that Alexei only was called Baby and Little One in letters and diaries of his parents.

Offline Janet Ashton

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 719
  • www.directarticle.org
    • View Profile
    • Direct Article
Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #567 on: October 09, 2009, 01:08:35 PM »
, the fact that the family were happily referring to him as Baby and the Little One (and in a letter quoted on another thread Alexandra was writing of his 'dear little arm' when he was 11 and at the Stavka) says a lot. And the job of his parents was not simply to keep him alive but to equip him to be a ruler, which they weren't doing. Romanov men were not long-lived, even without the assassin's bomb or bullet, so there was distinct possibility that Alexei would succeed while still a boy, or in his twenties. Had he succeeded as a boy there would have been a regency, but not if he succeeded as a very young adult. Nicholas himself complained of being totally unprepared for the throne, but he and Alexandra really did nothing to start the process with Alexei. Nicholas at least had a decent education and what would now be called consistent boundaries, but Alexei seems to have had no boundaries at all.

I agree with you about Alexei's education being poor (but note though Alexandra's references to the 15-year-old Anastasia as "our little girlie", to our husband as "agooweeone" etc; her protective attitude was consistent and not limited to him - and also her worries about Alexei's manners in public in this period). However, I am not really sure that Nicholas's education was all that decent, except in the sense that he learned many academic subjects. He was not encouraged to question anything - or himself - and was also given to believe that his own judgement was infallible (this is one of the reasons Alexander did not worry too much about training him in statecraft: "he himself knows very well what he should do"). I think that Nicholas was training Alexei to have a similar self-belief.....and it is evident that N and A did think his exposure to generals, soldiers, etc was part of learning his job.
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you -
Ye are many; they are few.

Offline Sarushka

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 6489
  • May I interest you in a grain of salt?
    • View Profile
Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #568 on: October 10, 2009, 04:58:37 PM »
I think personally that Alexei only was called Baby and Little One in letters and diaries of his parents.

Olga N. also refers to Aleksei as "Baby" and "Little One" in her letters to NAM from Tobolsk in April-May 1918.

I don't know if those nicknames were used only in writing, or in person.
THE LOST CROWN: A Novel of Romanov Russia -- now in paperback!
"A dramatic, powerful narrative and a masterful grasp of life in this vanished world." ~Greg King

Offline Kalafrana

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 2912
    • View Profile
Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #569 on: October 12, 2009, 04:01:20 AM »
I agree that Alexandra infantilised other people besides Alexei - it is simply that for me it is most noticeable with Alexei.

Nicholas seems to have had a good education in terms of academic matters - that is what I meant. His education for being a ruler was most certainly lacking, but the point I am making is that Alexei didn't even get a good academic education.