Author Topic: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated  (Read 293782 times)

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Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #615 on: October 22, 2009, 04:08:04 AM »
'But I am curious as to why so many people have trouble accepting that idea that the illness MIGHT have been organic? And why is it seen as a stain on her character if it was not?'

Janet

I can speak only for myself here. If evidence is produced that Alexandra's illnesses were organic in origin I will happily read it and weigh it up. As to the 'stain on the character', I have to admit that I have no patience with people who have vague illnesses where no cause can be found (I am also impatient with myself in such circumstances - being ill is a pain and a waste of time that could be put to better use), and those who when ill like to have people fussing around them (if I'm not feeling well I like to be left alone!).

From all I know of Alexandra, she sounds like just the person who would get psychosomatic illnesses.

'Incidentally, taking up a point you made in earlier post, while parents may chide any child about table manners, I wonder how many normal kids actually listen? I know I was described aged eight as "eating like a barbarian" - my father's words; so does this mean my parents were to blame if I acted up?'

Clearly I was not a normal child - I did listen to what I was told about table manners. And though my father chided me for dreadful diction when I was a teenager, I am told that I now speak like a Radio 3 announcer. I think parents are ultimately responsible for their children's behaviour - they are, after all, in a position to control it (or at least take the child outside and deliver a telling-off when the child misbehaves in public). Alexandra reminds me of the kind of modern mother who lets her three-year-old do exactly what he (or she) likes and smiles indulgently as he creates mayhem. If Nicholas actively admired Alexei's obstreperous tendencies then he was doing the same, which can't have helped.

Perhaps this is evidence of defects in my character, but instead of feeling sorry for Alexandra I get exasperated with her.

Ann

Offline PAVLOV

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #616 on: October 22, 2009, 07:08:41 AM »
Munchausen Syndrome could have been a possible cause for her illnesses. I never realised until i read your post that the condition can be projected onto children.
I had a friend who for years pretended to have kidney Cancer, and was confined to his bed after apparently having had major surgery. He is the picture of health though, and even used to live on a strict vegetable diet, which he believed would cure the cancer.When nobody was around, he was not averse to a steak and a glass of red wine. Over the years he had 4 kidneys removed ! It got so bad that he forgot that he only had two !
He went to extraordinary lengths to avoid working in the family business, and regularly flew overseas to have treatment, until someone spotted him cavorting in nightclubs on the Costa del Sol, instead of being bedridden in a London clinic !
The interesting thing is that he turned on people regularly,and cut his friends off totally after years of friendship, and ignored them completely.
 

Could Alexandra have had Munchausen's Syndrome ? Could she have projected this onto her children perhaps, in a way. Obviously not Alexei.
She also got rid of people on the slightest pretext, ministers etc. I wonder if this is a characteristic of the condition ?

Quite interesting.



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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #617 on: October 22, 2009, 08:48:50 AM »
I do believe that parents are responsible for their children's manners.

I remember being chided as a child by my father, mostly, who would make us eat "square meals".  This meant bringing the fork straight up from the plate and then moving it squarely to the mouth on a 90 degree angle.  No slouching and no arcs were allowed.  Believe me, we learned quickly that food falls off the fork and it is uncomfortable to eat that way.  Our manners improved directly.

My son began around age 13 to eat "like a cave man".  He made noise and used his hands.  I was appalled and I dealt with it.  Not with the "square meals" I wouldn't wish that on anyone, but I felt that I must have made a mistake somewhere in his manners training and together my husband and I corrected it.  I suppose that my son was imitating someone he knew at school and thought was "cool" but the bad manners had to go.

Now that he is 23 and dating a very nice girl whose parents invite him to dinner all the time, I am sure he is grateful that we took quick action.

I also agree with Ann.  When I don't feel well, I like to be left alone.  Even when and if I need to go into the hospital, I don't like to have visitors.  I prefer to read and to rest without the invasion of "visitors" who always say they hate hospitals but are always in the room of a relative who has to be there.

As to whether or not Alexandra's illnesses were organic, even her doctors can't seem to be pinned down.  And if they were not, the stain on her character comes from her (IMHO) selfish refusal to do her job and using imagined illnesses as a reason.

Also, when I said that most of us have read the same books, I also said that many of us have done much more.  I humbly acknowledge the research and the time and energy that some here have put into not only learning more but sharing it with us by writing those books.  

I only meant that in most if not all of the books and sources that we have available to the ordinary non-writer who posts here, there is no positive proof that Alexandra had organic illnesses.  And again, nursing is no picnic.  If she did have serious non-hypochondriac illnesses, and she could put them aside to nurse, then she  (IMHO) could also put them aside to do her job as Empress.

I think 'exasperation' is exactly the right word.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2009, 08:51:45 AM by Alixz »

Alixz

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #618 on: October 22, 2009, 09:18:40 AM »
I don't know that posters are shying away from this thread.

There are some new and interesting things being posted here.  Some of the new posters have opinions that are making me think in a new way. 

However, we have covered this subject many times in many other places, maybe some are just tired of covering the same material or they are afraid they will be bored with the same conclusions.

A lot of the postings are long, but well worth reading.

Offline blessOTMA

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #619 on: October 22, 2009, 10:30:45 AM »

As to whether or not Alexandra's illnesses were organic, even her doctors can't seem to be pinned down.

lol! The doctors  could not be pinned down  if they wanted to remain employed ! She would, at times,  contradict them and  tell them what was wrong with her!  One could agree with her or pack your  bag. For a woman of Alexandra's generation ( Victorian) being ill was the only way you could get out of doing what you did not want to do .You could not say "I don't want to" ...you had to say " I have one of my headaches" ....and she could have had them , because  she believed what she believed with remarkable ferocity. It'd almost impossible to know if her illnesses were  real or way to get out going , or cut short your time , at  public , even private events. She's missed many family meals because of her illnesses . It's impossible to know, but  her headaches and "rubbery" heart  were sure convenient weren't they?!

Royalty must work. You must go out among the people even if you have a headache or are shy. You must be seen enjoying being with the people and give a damn. Princess Diana, for one,  understood this.  Royalty is not a one way road . People feel unappreciated if they do not have a chance to express their loyalty to thier sovereign .Then that loyalty turns back on them,  begins to turn to dislike and then the sovereign is  in trouble.

Alexandra unfortunately watched her grandmother, Queen Victoria, removed herself from the people, and while great complaints were made about it ,  Victoria continued to rule without great consequences on that account . But 19th cent England was not 20th cent Russia, and it was a disastrous example for Alexandra to follow.

"Give my love to all who remember me."

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Alixz

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #620 on: October 22, 2009, 01:23:05 PM »
I agree.

Look what happened when Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip chose to "ignore" Diana's death and not put on a public display of mourning!  The Brits took offence and actually forced QEII to go on air and make that speech.

Diana was loved.  Alexandra was not.  Alexandra chose not to give anything of herself to her people.  She also continued to believe that the Russians were like "children" and needed their 'matushka".

She separated herself from the imperial family and the people of Russia.  That is why she is slandered and hated.


Offline Janet Ashton

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #621 on: October 22, 2009, 05:05:05 PM »


Also, when I said that most of us have read the same books, I also said that many of us have done much more.  I humbly acknowledge the research and the time and energy that some here have put into not only learning more but sharing it with us by writing those books.  



Alixz, this wasn't really what I meant to say. I don't mean to demand extra acknowledgement and respect for the opinions of those who do extra research; but equally I do not feel that new or different opinions should be dismissed derisively on the grounds that "we have all read these books". And there are many derisive-sounding posts in this thread.

For my own part, because I spent many years looking through all of this evidence, I find it easy to see when someone is posting something that is simply factually wrong. This makes it easy for me to reply, but that automatically casts me as  a "defender"; the more so as I am inherently contrary and will summon the reverse of what anyone is arguing in any thread. It also means equally easy for me to get tired of the discussion and see it all as "old hat" and annoying because I have been through it so many times before. Therefore I am not the best person to participate here and I withdraw from it. I have tended to have exploratory discussions in private with friends, rather than in public where they all too easily turn into personal insults, as some of the latest posts now effectively turn on me for suggesting that children are inherently children, and we are who we are, often in spite of the best efforts of our parents. Which has been my (personal) experience, with myself, my niece and nephew, and the children of my friends, all of whom have been known to act up. As I say, I think people tend to suffer from expecting this Romanov family to be perfect and actually over-react to finding that they weren't; that they argued and were sick and made mistakes in raising their kids, just like anyone else does. Alexandra's children had the burden of seeing their mother sick, just as many other children do; and suffered from it, as people suffer when someone they love is unwell. But at least they didn't have to prepare her breakfast before school, and it doesn't make her a psycho who kept her daughters locked in a basement. They had the luxury of space in this family. And, yeah, they weren't perfect - she didn't create a fairyland for them after all, despite the writings of Bokhanov and others, and despite the yachts and the other trappings of luxury. It was far closer to fairyland than many people get though.

Yes, of course there is "evidence" for organic disease in Alexandra, just as I am sure we all have known people who have "imaginary ailments" who died of them (well, I have); but if you (generically) are minded to reject this, you are minded to reject this, and nothing will convince you otherwise. Just as it obvious that Alexandra cared about public opinion and to that end urged her husband to show their son off, just as they both imprinted the image of their "perfect " family on the world media; this isn't a maverick view, though I came to it through reading their letters; Richard Wortman shares it. But it should be "new" here because it contradicts what is being said.

But it's good if anyone posted here makes anyone think in a different way at all, because that should be the aim. Please don't though, as moderator, forget to ask people for the evidence of what they are saying. That's all.....Like I said, I think I made a mistake in getting involved here.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2009, 05:31:49 PM by Janet Ashton »
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Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #622 on: October 23, 2009, 05:07:16 AM »
'Look what happened when Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip chose to "ignore" Diana's death and not put on a public display of mourning!  The Brits took offence and actually forced QEII to go on air and make that speech.'

Some Brits took offence, but not all! This is going off topic, but a substantial section of the population were of the view that the tabloid press behaved extremely badly and should have left the Queen and Royal Family to cope in the way they thought best, i.e. staying at Balmoral until the funeral and looking after the two boys.

Ann

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #623 on: October 23, 2009, 05:28:48 AM »
'I have tended to have exploratory discussions in private with friends, rather than in public where they all too easily turn into personal insults, as some of the latest posts now effectively turn on me for suggesting that children are inherently children, and we are who we are, often in spite of the best efforts of our parents. Which has been my (personal) experience, with myself, my niece and nephew, and the children of my friends, all of whom have been known to act up.'

Janet

I have no intention of any personal insults - I am simply disagreeing with you and using my own experience to justify my disagreement. If the way I express myself comes across as a personal insult, then I apologise.

For the record, I don't expect the Imperial Family to be perfect. To read about the odd ordinary failing is actually quite refreshing (to hear that my very conformist and serious-minded father once handcuffed a police sergeant to a fence with his own handcuffs makes me smile!) However, we're not simply talking about ordinary failings that only affected Alexandra's immediate family and companions. The effects of Alexandra's failings, whether 'ordinary' or not, went far beyond that.

Like you, I also have a contrary tendency and will argue against a consensus. Maybe I've just read too much syrupy stuff about Alexandra (not from you), just as I've read too much syrupy stuff about Diana.

Ann

Offline PAVLOV

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #624 on: October 23, 2009, 07:05:07 AM »
One must also remember that Alexandra came from a seemingy healthy family. Her surviving sisters ( except Ella ) of course, and her brother lived very long and healthy lives as far as I know. Her sister Victoria smoked like a chimney all her life, and so did her brother.

Normally good health is in one's family genes. I find it odd that Alexandra became so "ill" when so very young. Almost bedridden, or at least spending so much time on her mauve chaise.
 
I was watching the original movie of the opening ceremony of the Imperial family's private church close to the Alexander Palace, and Alexandra was walking along without any difficulty, looking quite well, and certainly not in a wheelchair. No limp either. The movie was slowed down
so the walking speed was normal ( not like in Charlie Chaplin movies)
So one does wonder.
I dont suppose we will ever know.     

Offline Helen

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #625 on: October 23, 2009, 09:42:17 AM »
One must also remember that Alexandra came from a seemingy healthy family. Her surviving sisters ( except Ella ) of course, and her brother lived very long and healthy lives as far as I know. Her sister Victoria smoked like a chimney all her life, and so did her brother.

Normally good health is in one's family genes. I find it odd that Alexandra became so "ill" when so very young. Almost bedridden, or at least spending so much time on her mauve chaise.
 
I was watching the original movie of the opening ceremony of the Imperial family's private church close to the Alexander Palace, and Alexandra was walking along without any difficulty, looking quite well, and certainly not in a wheelchair. No limp either. The movie was slowed down
so the walking speed was normal ( not like in Charlie Chaplin movies)
So one does wonder.
I don't suppose we will ever know.    
We probably won't. Whereas you watched a movie of the opening ceremony of the Feodorovski Sobor and think the Empress looked quite well, I watched original footage of the family entering a church in which Alexandra clearly was  limping and, probably, in pain.

Did Alexandra really come from a healthy family? We don't know what ages Alexandra and Ella would have reached if they had not been murdered, but your reference to Ernst Ludwig's, Victoria's and Irene's long and seemingly healthy lives does give a slightly distorted picture, as Ernst Ludwig, Victoria and Irene were just 3 out of the 7 children of Grand Duke Ludwig IV and Alice. Ella almost certainly had a hysterectomy in January 1908 and she may have suffered from kidney problems in earlier years, around 1895. Their brother Frederick was a haemophiliac, so wasn't a healthy child either. And May died from diphtheria as a child. Even if May had had a long and healthy life, the score would be that 3 out of 7 (42,9%) of the children were not the strongest and healthiest. And then there was Grand Duke Ludwig IV himself, who died relatively young, at the age of 54. I haven't seen his medical files, but Ernst Ludwig's biographer Manfred Knodt wrote that Ludwig IV died from a cerebrovasculair accident connected with a heart condition he had suffered from for quite some time.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2009, 09:50:40 AM 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"

Offline Helen

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #626 on: October 23, 2009, 10:32:05 AM »
I could be wrong, but all these references to "illnesses" and biblical miracles are far from dispassionate in tone, and this is where I am inferring the  condescension which scares people off responding in opposition to the consensus view you all seem to have here.   There are people on this board who have done rather more than "read all the same books", yet somehow most of them seem to fight shy of this thread.
Indeed!
"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"

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #627 on: October 23, 2009, 11:05:28 AM »
Alixz

Just to say that I hope all goes smoothly on 28 October and the problem is sorted out.

My similar views to yours on Alexandra's health are partly at least because I come from a family of Energiser Bunnies.

Ann

Offline Helen

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #628 on: October 23, 2009, 12:10:20 PM »
Alixz, I sincerely hope that your surgery on the 28th will go well and you'll make a speedy recovery!

As regards Alix and her resting on a sofa: I'm not sure Alix herself is entirely to be 'blamed' for this. In the years before 1894, Alix sometimes had trouble keeping up with relatives on walks in Scotland - that is to say, QV wasn't walking but driving in some kind of a mini-carriage and the others were simply supposed to keep up with her carriage. When she couldn't keep up, Alix sometimes went for a walk on her own, at her own pace. I don't know much about the medical advice Alix was given, but in 1894, before her marriage, a doctor recommended her to rest on a couch, as that would be the best 'cure' for her to make more blood flow into her painful leg. I doubt modern doctors would give her such advice and I've always wondered whether the remedy wasn't worse than the disease, as regards muscle strength, fitness, and posture. No matter what we think of it today, this was professional advice given to her. Alix initially seems to have disregarded this advice - she went on long walks with Nicholas - but she may have had second thoughts and have heeded it more and more when doctors ordered her to rest during pregnancies and the pain in her leg became worse.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2009, 12:18:13 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

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Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« Reply #629 on: October 23, 2009, 02:15:20 PM »
Thank you all for your kind words.

I think of Franklin Roosevelt when I think about bad advice given by doctors.  The massaging that was prescribed for his polio numbed legs was painful and probably made things worse.

I am sure that with our 100 years of medical growth and research, our doctors would prescribe different things to Alexandra.  

However it is also true that Dr. Botkin was often told by Alexandra what she had and not the other way around.  I know I need a source and I will get one.