Author Topic: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated  (Read 294046 times)

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Offline Teddy

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #570 on: October 12, 2009, 04:16:40 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.

But how can you give a sick child a good academic education? Imagine that you was his personal tutor, where would you train him in?

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #571 on: October 12, 2009, 09:48:34 AM »
:-\ 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.

Just because they married and stayed in Russia didn't mean that they would have been killed in the Revolution.  Many of the Imperial family were in Russia at that time and even though they endured "hardships" they lived through it.  Alix could have let her daughters marry at any time, but she was pulling an Queen Alexandra and am Empress Marie by keeping them close. 
From what I have read and heard from others here at least Olga had flirtations and might have chosen one of her fellow Russians to marry, but Alix was again selfish.

Alixz

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #572 on: October 12, 2009, 09:55:26 AM »
As married women, Olga and Tatiana would not have been living with their parents and even though I am sure they would have wanted to rush to Tsarskoe Selo when they heard of the arrest, they would have had personal family obligations.  They just might not have been arrested and sent to Tobolsk and on to their deaths in Yekaterinburg.

There was one proper profession for a girl of their status and that was marriage and children.  It does look as if their closest relatives did not marry young, but it was not uncommon for a girl to be engaged by 16 and certainly by the end of her debut year.  If she were not at least engaged, she would be "on the shelf" and her prospects would become slimmer and slimmer the older she got and the farther from her debut year it was.  At 20 most were considered "old maids".

Again in 1914, Olga turned 19 and Tatiana 17. It was not at all unusual for a girl to be snatched up and engaged at those ages, especially with an Imperial connection.

Alixz

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #573 on: October 12, 2009, 10:01:03 AM »
I agree that Alexandra infantilized 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.

But how can you give a sick child a good academic education? Imagine that you was his personal tutor, where would you train him in?

Sick or not, Alexei was spoiled.  Any tutor would have had trouble with Alix as his student's mother.  It wasn't the tutors who were at fault for his bad education, but Alix's for coddling him.  While there was no reason for the Gibbes solution of letting him jump from table to table and kick lanterns, there were ways to let out that youthful enthusiasm and still get an education into him.

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #574 on: October 12, 2009, 10:44:58 AM »
'But how can you give a sick child a good academic education?'

Entirely possible, I would have thought. I can recommend John Vaizey's 'Scenes From Institutional Life'. The author was bedridden in a long-stay hospital for some two years after he got osteomyelitis of the spine at the age of 14. He describes in detail how he and his fellow patients were taught by teachers who came in every day, and at the same time he discovered books (most of the time he was lying on his stomach because of the state his back was in). From there he went within a fairly short time to the London School of Economics on a scholarship, at a time, (1940s) when university education was a rare thing for a working class boy.

There must have been long periods when Alexei was immobile but not particularly ill, and could therefore have been occupied with schoolwork, quite apart from the periods between bleeds.

Offline Teddy

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #575 on: October 12, 2009, 11:05:29 AM »
'But how can you give a sick child a good academic education?'

Entirely possible, I would have thought. I can recommend John Vaizey's 'Scenes From Institutional Life'. The author was bedridden in a long-stay hospital for some two years after he got osteomyelitis of the spine at the age of 14. He describes in detail how he and his fellow patients were taught by teachers who came in every day, and at the same time he discovered books (most of the time he was lying on his stomach because of the state his back was in). From there he went within a fairly short time to the London School of Economics on a scholarship, at a time, (1940s) when university education was a rare thing for a working class boy.

There must have been long periods when Alexei was immobile but not particularly ill, and could therefore have been occupied with schoolwork, quite apart from the periods between bleeds.

Dear,

You recommend a book whose author is born in 1929 and the book itself is first published in 1959 to the Tsar and the Empress Alexandra who died in 1918??? Are you serious? You and I know now already that this comments sounds in many ears .....

Offline Janet Ashton

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #576 on: October 12, 2009, 12:24:22 PM »

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.

A good academic education should surely equip a person to find their own answers - not provide them with them. Nicholas's education did the latter, and in that regard it was useless to him as a man and as a ruler. He lacked confidence in his own views and thus stuck to them dogmatically - exactly as Alexander III had done.
The war allowed him to make something of a virtue of his own son's lack of interest in books by exposing him to more people, which both parents believed built his confidence in conversation and exchanges with others, as well as showing him something more of life than Nicholas had known as a boy. Whether he would ever have capitalized on this experience later is an absolute unknown, but it is clear from their own correspondence - and from Gilliard's memoirs - that they valued this more than a schoolroom education and believed it would "develop him quicker". And that when Gilliard argued for him to come home Alexandra insisted that he remain at the Stavka, despite its risks to his physical well-being and Gilliard's concerns that his behaviour there was out of control.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2009, 12:26:18 PM by Janet Ashton »
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Offline Janet Ashton

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #577 on: October 12, 2009, 01:12:13 PM »
.  Alix could have let her daughters marry at any time, but she was pulling an Queen Alexandra and am Empress Marie by keeping them close. 
From what I have read and heard from others here at least Olga had flirtations and might have chosen one of her fellow Russians to marry, but Alix was again selfish.


Whoah whoah whoah! :-) :-)
If you are going to say this sort of thing you ought at least to provide some evidence that anyone asked to marry her and her mother prevented this. The only suitor we know of is Carol, whose own mother was not at all keen either - and neither apparently was Olga hereslf.
The issue of Russian men is  irrelevant to her real-life prospects but somehow it's interesting you raise it: - the only Russian whom OLga could have married without losing her rights was a near relative, first cousins excluded, and the pool was rather limited. All others were of unequal birth, and that includes the flirtations she had. Alexandra was not responsible for the marriage laws of the Romanovs or for the social conventions of the day that dictated that a Tsar's eldest daughter was a prime catch and - even leaving aside the laws - was not going to be marrying a commoner without a massive scandal ensuing.
Again - I refer people to Alexandra's correspondence in which she sighs, referring to a Russian commoner: "what a son-in-law he would have made". This to me is an that she had misgivings about the laws herself - after all, she wanted her kids relatively close to her, and this is hardly an unusual or monstrous thing for a parent to feel -  and goes along with statements like "could but our children find such happiness in their married lives!" to indicate that she had every intention they marry.
Shake your chains to earth like dew
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Offline Janet Ashton

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #578 on: October 12, 2009, 01:30:48 PM »


Sick or not, Alexei was spoiled.  Any tutor would have had trouble with Alix as his student's mother.  It wasn't the tutors who were at fault for his bad education, but Alix's for coddling him.  While there was no reason for the Gibbes solution of letting him jump from table to table and kick lanterns, there were ways to let out that youthful enthusiasm and still get an education into him.

Alexei was spoiled, as was Anastasia, as according to some accounts was Olga. Their parents (BOTH of them), as the people ultimately responsible for their care, should take the blame for this. But - raising a royal child without an exaggerated sense of its own importance has to be a uniquely difficult task.

People often forget that Alexandra and Nicholas were not a minute-by-minute presence in their childrens' lives. They - and Alexei in particular - spent far more time with their nannies and later with their tutors. The whole world was lining up to ruin these kids: whether it be soldiers who saluted them, crowds who cheered them or passers-by who thought that a glimpse of them would cure their own families' ills - EVERYONE was showing them how important they were. And that includes parents who gave them suitcases emblazoned with their titles.

Sidney Gibbes was noted in previous employment for beating his pupils and being harshly critical of them. Yet (noted Frances Welch in her bio; it's not just my view as such) to him, the imperial children were wonders of charm and originality. Later, briefly, Alexei palled on him, but - as you note - he was himself always alarmingly liberal in what he let the kid get away with. In a nutshell: their tutors tended to be under the spell of their rank as well.

As I say, the parents bear ultimate responsibility for the way a child is trained, but Alexandra was not the person who was with her son every second indulging every whim. Other people played their own part in this. Including also - their FATHER. :-) And this isn't about who was to blame and whether she was a good or bad mother - rather the reverse: it's about saying: royal parents don't actually raise their own kids. Those cosy scenes in the mauve room are just one small part of the picture....

« Last Edit: October 12, 2009, 01:38:25 PM by Janet Ashton »
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Offline Janet Ashton

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #579 on: October 12, 2009, 01:33:52 PM »
Rats - it's like: for sure everyone will nail me as some sort of apologist, as I always fear. But it's kind of difficult not to assume that role when people seem to demonize one person, pin every legal and social problem in imperial Russia onto them and deny them even their virtues....let's have some balance please and some evidence too! :-)
« Last Edit: October 12, 2009, 01:35:29 PM by Janet Ashton »
Shake your chains to earth like dew
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Offline historyfan

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #580 on: October 12, 2009, 09:50:14 PM »
Rats - it's like: for sure everyone will nail me as some sort of apologist, as I always fear. But it's kind of difficult not to assume that role when people seem to demonize one person, pin every legal and social problem in imperial Russia onto them and deny them even their virtues....let's have some balance please and some evidence too! :-)

My feelings exactly.

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #581 on: October 13, 2009, 03:04:04 AM »
Teddy

'You recommend a book whose author is born in 1929 and the book itself is first published in 1959 to the Tsar and the Empress Alexandra who died in 1918??? Are you serious?'

I am simply using this as an example to make the point that someone can be seriously ill and confined to bed for a lengthy period and still get a decent education. Alexei wasn't ill all the time. There were quite long periods when he was healthy and others when he was immobile and possibly bedridden but not actively ill. His illness seems to have led both parents to abdicate responsibility and simply indulge him.

Ann

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #582 on: October 13, 2009, 03:43:51 AM »
'Rats - it's like: for sure everyone will nail me as some sort of apologist, as I always fear. But it's kind of difficult not to assume that role when people seem to demonize one person, pin every legal and social problem in imperial Russia onto them and deny them even their virtues....let's have some balance please and some evidence too!'

Janet

I'm not demonising Alexandra. She's not someone I admire, and I certainly don't think that spoiling her children can be accounted a virtue, but I too am trying to find a balanced view. Alexandra was not solely responsible for spoiling the children - their father certainly spoilt Alexei and Anastasia as well. However, the tutors etc would tend to take their cue from the parents, and if the parents weren't much concerned with academic education, good manners or self-discipline then the tutors were unlikely to push these things very hard (interesting that M. Gilliard protested that Alexei was out of control at the Stavka and was ignored). The tutors were going with the flow.

I also take the point that it was quite difficult to prevent royal children from growing up with an exaggerated sense of their own importance. However, many if not the majority of royal parents in the last century or so have tried to bring their offspring up with a sense of their responsibilities as well. Sometimes, of course it backfired - look at Edward VII and his devotion to pleasure - but there have been plenty of very hard-working royal adults in Britain and elsewhere.

Offline Teddy

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #583 on: October 13, 2009, 08:52:45 AM »
Teddy

'You recommend a book whose author is born in 1929 and the book itself is first published in 1959 to the Tsar and the Empress Alexandra who died in 1918??? Are you serious?'

I am simply using this as an example to make the point that someone can be seriously ill and confined to bed for a lengthy period and still get a decent education. Alexei wasn't ill all the time. There were quite long periods when he was healthy and others when he was immobile and possibly bedridden but not actively ill. His illness seems to have led both parents to abdicate responsibility and simply indulge him.

Ann

Thank you Ann, for letting us know what you where meaning.

Offline Janet Ashton

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #584 on: October 17, 2009, 05:39:27 AM »


I'm not demonising Alexandra.


I wasn't specifically meaning your comments; I did think Alixz got a little carried away in arguing that Alexandra's daughters might have been happily married to ordinary Russians if it weren't for her! And when you add to this the general tendency of people to blame her and the Rasputin business for the collapse of the government without looking at Nicholas's policy and beliefs and the detail of what was actually happening in those years - that's what I mean about the demonisation. She suffers it seems to me from the exact reverse of Sergei Alexandrovich: because she's had a reasonably sympathetic press through the likes of Robert Massie (and of course through Buxhoeveden and all her friends before that) as well as the syrupy publications of the 90s in particular, there seems to me to be a tendency at least on the internet to react against that now by emphasising her faults and taking at face value every negative account of her that any contemporary wrote, regardless of how reliable they are. Catherine Radziwill often gets quoted on this board and her words mis-attributed to relatives etc., though her own source was nothing more than newspaper reports.

Gilliard was not quite ignored when he told her that Alexei was out of control: she pointed out that keeping him there was a matter of deliberate policy to ensure that he grew up with more confidence than his father. She herself was forever writing urging Nicholas to correct the boy's manners and not let him run wild. I don't think anyone wanted him to grow up a monster, but they faced very particular difficulties in bringing him up, which ranged from his restless, outgoing personality (he might have done better with other children to share his lessons) to his illness (which would mean that no other child could share his lessons as Alexei would inevitably miss topics through illness and either thus hold the other boys back or fall behind himself). I'd recommend Robert and Suzanne Massie's "Journey" as in interesting and moving account of the difficulties their far more academic son faced in at school.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2009, 05:54:01 AM by Janet Ashton »
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you -
Ye are many; they are few.