Author Topic: Prince Friedrich Wilhelm (Frittie) and Princess Marie (May) of Hesse-Darmstadt  (Read 189657 times)

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Eric_Lowe

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Would love to see that.... :(

Offline Romanov_fan

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According to a book about Princess Alice little May was christened Maria (Marie) Victoria Feodore Leopoldine on 11th July 1874 at Heiligenberg in Jugenheim in attendance of Tsarina Maria Alexandrovna as well as her daughter Maria Alexandrovna, Duchess of Edinburgh and her son-in-law, Alfred Duke of Edinburgh.

I do not find a hint after whom of the two ladies May was christened Maria or Marie (the Protestant version of the name), probably for both. Regarding to a letter Princess Alice wrote to her mother Queen Victoria dated 13th of July 1874 I conclud it was Maria Alexandrovna Duchess of Edinburgh who held the baby during the christening and was her godmother.

Alice wrote: "Marie, ganz in Rosa, hielt ihr Pathchen, ..." (translation: "Marie, complete in pink, hold her godchild ..."; "Pathchen" is a diminutive of "Patenkind", english "godchild").

Had it been the tsarina  she would have written different. In other letters to her mother she called her either Aunt Marie (she was the aunt of her husband) or in the earlier letters the Empress of Russia.

Both german names, "Maria" and "Marie" have the same origin: the Holy Virgin, Maria, the mother of Jesus. Mostly the name "Maria" is given in Catholic families while "Marie" is more used in Protestant families. The English version of that name is "Mary" and "May" is an abbriviation. But "May" is also given as a name or nickname to girls born in the month of May.

Little May was born 24th May 1874, the same date as her maternal grandmother, Queen Victoria, who was a godmother of little May, too. She was not present at the christing of May but was represented by Princess Elisabeth, the mother of Ludwig IV.

She was close to her sister Alix, only two years elder. They shared the nursery and were dressed alike, so it was different to tell them apart.
Alice wrote about May that she ressembled her late brother Frittie. In another letter she found that she looked more like her sister Victoria at the same age only with light hair. Often she wrote to her mother that May and Alicky were a nice pair and that both were her sunshines.

Her brother Ernest-Ludwig (Ernie) was very fond of his little sister.

Doing my research I also came across the date of death of little May and was little shocked for she died 16th November 1878, the same date of death as her niece, little Elizabeth of Hesse (1903). The same date in 1937, the plane-crash at Ostende took place and Eleonore, Georg-Donatus, Cecile and their sons Ludwig and Alexander died.



What books are you quoting the letters from - the ones Alice wrote? It was very interesting to read what she said about May and Alix.

Clelia

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In the book "Alice, grand duchess of Hesse, princess of Great Britain and Ireland, biographical sketch and letters", Alice writes on January 18th, 1875:

"My little May has such a cold, which lessens her usual smiles. She is a fine, strong child, more like what Victoria was, but marked eyebrows, with the fair hair and such speaking eyes. She and Aliky are a pretty contrast ! "

On July 28th, 1877:

"The two little girlies (May and Alix) are so sweet, so dear, merry, and nice. I don't know which is dearest, they are both so captivating."

And on April 9th, 1878, she writes:

"Angeli is quite lost in admiration of Aliky and May, who are, I must say myself, such a lovely little pair as one does not often see"

That's all I found that she wrote on them together.

Offline Romanov_fan

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Thanks. I don't have that book, but I'm assuming that's the one Gabriella is quoting. Did you find the reference to her looking like Fritttie that Gabriella mentioned?

Clelia

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Did you find the reference to her looking like Fritttie that Gabriella mentioned?

Yes. On September 1st, 1874, Alice wrote:

"Sunny is the picture of robust health, and sweet little sister May sits up quite alone, and is very neat and rosy, with such quick eyes, and two deep dimples in her cheeks—a great pet, and so like my poor Frittie."

Offline Helen

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"The Correspondence of the Empress Alexandra of Russia with Ernst Ludwig and Eleonore, Grand Duke and Duchess of Hesse. 1878-1916"
"Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig and Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine in Italy - 1893"
"Ludwig IV, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine - Gebhard Zernin's Festschrift"

Offline Romanov_fan

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Thanks. I had a friend who had a copy of it and she didn't think much of it, but it has interesting quotes from Alice's letters. It's so easy to wonder about the might have beens with May, particularly because she was such a lovely child and looked so much like Alix and was so photogenic although it's hard to know how her personality would have developed. Maybe she wouldn't be debated like Ella and Alix are today, but it's interesting to wonder.

Eric_Lowe

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I think had she survived, she would have made another match with her cousins. QV most likely wouldn't have let May slip through her fingers if she could help it...

Offline Svetabel

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QV most likely wouldn't have let May slip through her fingers if she could help it...

Did Queen Victoria unfold her plans to you personally??? "Most likely" is a pure speculation.

Offline Ilana

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I'm afraid my speculation would be quite the opposite.  Since the death of their mother, the Hessian children's guidance came from their father, and mostly from afar, from QV.  Sometimes various Aunts and Uncles and Paternal Grandparents would visit, but from what I've read, the Grand Ducal couple wanted their children to marry, if possible, where they wished.  I'm certain (all things being equal) this would have been the case for May. 
So long and thanks for all the fish

Eric_Lowe

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Yes...But it did not stop QV from plotting for Ella (for Wilhelm) and Alicky (for Eddy). I agree the final decision has to be their own choice, but even Alicky said that they were expected to marry within the larger family circle of QV.

Thomas_Hesse

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Where did she mention this? And after all it would have been quite difficult to find a matching royal not related to Queen Victoria :)

Eric_Lowe

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In the new book based upon a lady-in-waiting of Thora. In it Alicky told her and Thora that who could they marry if not a cousin though grandmama ? She was rather candid about that, and it is refreshing to see Alicky acting natural within her comfort circle.

Offline Helen

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Eric, could you give the title of this book? Or did you mean Judith Poore's book "The Memoirs of Emily Loch", about the Princess Christian's lady-in-waiting?
"The Correspondence of the Empress Alexandra of Russia with Ernst Ludwig and Eleonore, Grand Duke and Duchess of Hesse. 1878-1916"
"Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig and Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine in Italy - 1893"
"Ludwig IV, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine - Gebhard Zernin's Festschrift"

Eric_Lowe

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That is exactly the book I was talking about. Have you read it ?