Author Topic: Consuelo Vanderbilt and Nicholas  (Read 13897 times)

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Offline Romanov_fan

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Re: Consuelo Vanderbilt and Nicholas
« Reply #15 on: February 14, 2007, 01:36:53 PM »
Indeed, she was never a fit with aristocratic life, despite the fact she became that through her marriage. She had more money than they did ( the Marborough family), and he married her to let money come into the family. Perhaps that fact, that she was just sold into marriage, made her despise aristocratic life at least in England, and realize that the Russian court and aristocracy at least had some money, and didn't need to go marrying heiresses to get it. The truth is, everyone was astonished by the wealth of the Russians, even the wealthy. It was a fabulous court, and way of life, which even then was fading. Thanks for the quote about what Nicholas thought of her. I've read that book, but that was before I became interested in the Vanderbilts, just this past summer, so I didn't notice. Meeting Nicholas must have impressed her,I would think, yet it it interesting that he came away with some strong impressions as well.

Katherine_The_O.K.

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Re: Consuelo Vanderbilt and Nicholas
« Reply #16 on: February 14, 2007, 04:27:23 PM »
Well, I imagine that Consuelo was so impressed not only by his title, but by Nicholas' stunning good manners and unassuming nature(her previous dealing with royalty- notably the Prince of Wales, Bertie, were not so hot (although Maud and Alix liked her).) And Nicholas was probably impressed by her unique figure- a perfectly symmetrical face, her luxurious black hair, impressive height and her very, very long neck.

Offline Romanov_fan

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Re: Consuelo Vanderbilt and Nicholas
« Reply #17 on: February 15, 2007, 11:25:22 AM »
Yes, I agree they would have been. I wonder how much they had heard about each other, because both of them were pretty famous, one was Tsar of Russia, and one was a famous heiress who had married into the nobility. They must have heard something about each other, even at a great remove, and it seems their impressions might have been better than that.

Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Consuelo Vanderbilt and Nicholas
« Reply #18 on: February 15, 2007, 04:34:08 PM »
Wasn't it the Duchess of Marlborough whom Daisy of Pless reported flirting with Henry of Prussia? They were onboard one of the Hohenzollern yachts--Daisy finding the female company, including Irene, and their card games very boring but the American Duchess very interesting. She reported that the Duchess disappeared downstairs with the Prince and other men which surprised Daisy as she wouldn't have supposed Henry had a 'soupcon' of flirtation in him.
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Offline Romanov_fan

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Re: Consuelo Vanderbilt and Nicholas
« Reply #19 on: February 15, 2007, 04:55:13 PM »
I guess Consuelo made men act that way, which isn't very surprising, at all. She certainly had all the charms. From what I know of Henry of Prussia, he wasn't the flirtatious type either, so it must have been Consuelo. Consuelo was unhappy in her arranged marriage, but I don't think she ever wanted to marry another titled person. Her second marriage was to a wealthy man, but he wasn't titled. I don't think she ever liked that world or felt comfortable in it. It was rumored she had an affair with some English aristocrat though. Yet, it seems she must have felt comfortable with royalty, although not perhaps nobility, perhaps because she was married to one, and it was so unhappy.

ashdean

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Re: Consuelo Vanderbilt and Nicholas
« Reply #20 on: February 16, 2007, 03:16:38 AM »
I guess Consuelo made men act that way, which isn't very surprising, at all. She certainly had all the charms. From what I know of Henry of Prussia, he wasn't the flirtatious type either, so it must have been Consuelo. Consuelo was unhappy in her arranged marriage, but I don't think she ever wanted to marry another titled person. Her second marriage was to a wealthy man, but he wasn't titled. I don't think she ever liked that world or felt comfortable in it. It was rumored she had an affair with some English aristocrat though. Yet, it seems she must have felt comfortable with royalty, although not perhaps nobility, perhaps because she was married to one, and it was so unhappy.
Consuelo had affairs with several men during her unhappy first marriage.It was the  liason with the future Marquess of Londonderry (whose mother Theresa & wife Edith were famous society hostesses) that led to the formal seperation in 1905 from Marlborough.indeed Charlie Castlereagh (as Londonderry was then known) & Marlborough were relatives.....the 7th Duke's wife the formidable Frances being a daughter of a Lord Londonderry& both Marlborough & Winston Churchills grandmother...

Offline RichC

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Re: Consuelo Vanderbilt and Nicholas
« Reply #21 on: April 15, 2007, 12:52:29 PM »
I took Bev's advice and picked up a copy of "All That Glitters" -- a very interesting read indeed!  Her story is hardly complimentary of either Russia or Nicholas.  Here are some of the relevant passages re: Russia:

As we travelled through Russia, the strange eeriness of her wite plains as seen under the pale light of the moon depressed me.  In St. Petersburg, then Russia's capital, at the Hotel de l'Europe a suite fit for foreign potentates had been reserved.  The enormous high-ceilinged rooms were somewhat gaudily furnished with stiff chairs and gilded tables.  A strange and stuffy smell caused me to fly to the window, but the manager explained that with the coming of winter they were sealed tight, a system of hot air providing the only ventilation.  I felt imprisoned.  The hotel could not compare with those of Paris and my first view of the city when driving through its streets revealed little of the Oriental splendour I had anticipated.  The wide wind-swept avenues were lined with modern buildings in doubtful architectural taste; only here and there a vast palace presented a facade of some distinction.  The Orthodox churches with their domes and spires, the grim fortress of St. Peter and St. Paul, were, however, distinctly Russian.

We were introduced to Russian society at parties in the British and Austrian Embassies....In this diplomatic world, so sensitive to social reactions, the undercurrents of the secret diplomacy then prevalent were inspired by Count Lamsdorff, Minister for Foreign Affairs in the Czar's government.  He struck me as a smooth and sinister personalge, an Oriental at heart.  I was told that he never spoke to women, so I was flattered when he spent the evening with me.

We were privileged to attend three glorious Court functions.  For the first, a great ball of three thousand guests which was given at the Winter Palace, Milly Sutherland and I donned our finest dresses....At the Winter Palace the stairs were adorned by a magnificent display of gold plate fixed to the alls.  There were hundreds of footmen in scarlet liveries and Cossack guards in flowing robes, who gave an impression of barbaric splendour.  In the great ballroom innumerable chandeliers threw a glittering radiance on the handsome men and graceful women assembled there. 


Offline RichC

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Re: Consuelo Vanderbilt and Nicholas
« Reply #22 on: April 15, 2007, 01:01:50 PM »
More "All That Glitters"  -- continued

With the entrance of the Imperial family to the inspiring air of the Russian anthem - the procession of Grand Dukes in splendid uniforms, the Grand Duchesses, lovely and bejewelled, the beautiful, remote Czarina and the Czar - the ball took on the aspect of a fairy tale.  With the first strains of a mazurka, the Grand Duke Michael, the Czar's younger brother and heir since the Czraevitch had not yet been born, invited me to dance.  It was a very different affair from the mazurkas I had learned at Mr. Dodsworth's class.  "Never mind," he said, when I demurred, "I'll do the steps," and he proceeded to cavort around me until I was reminded of the courtship of birds.  But he was young and gay and, carried away by the increasing tempo, I found myself treading the Russian measure with the best.  He was killed by the Bolsheviks in 1918.

Supper was served to the Imperial family and the Ambassadors on the dais.  The general company was seated at small tables of eight.  At my right was a vacant seat which, so my escort whispered, was destined for the Czar, who, with his staff, wasmaking a tour of the rooms.  In a moment he was there and unobtrusively took his place.  My first reaction was to notice the extraordinary likeness that he bore to his cousin, the Prince of Wales, later George V.  He had the same kindly smile, half hidden by a beard, the same gentle blue eyes and a great simplicity of speect and manner.  I was also struck by his youthful appearance, for was onlly thirty-two, having some to the throne at the age of twenty-six.  As he talked I began to realise the enormous difficulties he had to face.  There was at that time a contant and increasing agitation for reforms that he contended could not be granted without danger. 

More to come...

Offline RichC

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Re: Consuelo Vanderbilt and Nicholas
« Reply #23 on: April 16, 2007, 12:02:20 AM »
Vnaderbilt's autobiography continued:

When I asked him why he hesitated to give Russia the democratic government that was so successful in England, he answered gravely, There is nothing I would like better, but Russia is not ready for democratic government.  We are two hundred years behind Europe in the development of our national political institutions.  Russia is still more Asiatic than European and must therefore be governed by an autocratic government."  He went on to explain that his power was absolute, but that he saw his ministers every day in separate audiences.  I gathered that even a Cabinet did not exist.  He seemed fearful of any one minister's becoming too powerful - the fear that haunts autocrats the world over.  He also seemed to fear the great millions that were Russia - their ignorance, their superstition, their fatalism.  As he sat there at my side he struck me as pitiful; he, the Emperor of all the Russias, the Little Father, anxious and afraid - a good man, but a weak one.  He was dominated by the Empress whose fears for the health of her son later induced in her a state of religious exaltation and brought her under the influence of Rasputin, whose mystic powers often ehlped to cure the sufferings of the Czarevitch, a haemophiliac.

The Emperor had been talking simply and seriously like a man face to face with grave issues, when with what seemed to me childish pleasure he remarked, "I know everything you have done since your stay in Russia, for my secret police send me a dossier on the movements of foreigners; but will you tell me why the Duchess of Sutherland goes to see Maxim Gorky when she knows he is in temporary exile?" 

Constantinople

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Re: Consuelo Vanderbilt and Nicholas
« Reply #24 on: April 03, 2010, 06:06:56 AM »
Not to diminish Consuelo Vanderbilt's intellect but if you read the Gliitter and the Gold, you should know she used a ghost writer, Stuart Preston who was the art critic for the New York Times.