Author Topic: Royal & Imperial Mourning Customs & Funerals  (Read 40488 times)

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Offline kmerov

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Re: Royal & Imperial Mourning Customs & Funerals
« Reply #15 on: October 14, 2006, 07:58:39 PM »
Does anyone know what the mourning period was for royalty when a foreign monarch died (related or not related)? Did they have some etiquette about it, which i can imagine they did?

Offline Svetabel

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Re: Royal & Imperial Mourning Customs & Funerals
« Reply #16 on: October 15, 2006, 03:23:56 AM »
Victorian mourning customs on the Forum about Russian culture?????

This forum is entitled 'their world and culture'.  The Romanovs lived through the Victorian era, and Alexandra was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria and spent plenty of time in Victorian England.  Therefore, a thread on Victorian mourning customs, which did affect life at the Russian court, is perfectly pertinent, I think; mourning was a pretty prominent part of 'their world', wouldn't you say, Svetabel?




I think "their world and culture" is about ALL Russian history, world and culture  and not only about the time of Queen Victoria and Empress Alexandra which are a small part of Russian history. That's why I was  ???

Offline Ra-Ra-Rasputin

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Re: Royal & Imperial Mourning Customs & Funerals
« Reply #17 on: October 15, 2006, 05:50:09 AM »
Well, small part or large part, mourning still affected the Russian court.

It's certainly more pertinent a subject than some I see on here, let's face it.

Rachel
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David_Pritchard

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Re: Royal & Imperial Mourning Customs & Funerals
« Reply #18 on: October 15, 2006, 07:38:47 AM »
Victorian mourning customs on the Forum about Russian culture?????

This phraseology is confusing for those not from the English speaking world (UK, US, NZ, SA, Ire, Can, Aus). Unfortunately the term Victorian has come to mean not only the 19th century as a time period but also the early 20th century which is better referred to as Edwardian in the United Kingdom. Because of her exaggerated personal fixations, Queen Victoria has become the representative example of excessive mourning as a psychosis. In other words, in common English parlance the intention of the original poster's question is understood though it would not be historically accurate in either scope of time nor geographical area.

David

Offline Ra-Ra-Rasputin

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Re: Royal & Imperial Mourning Customs & Funerals
« Reply #19 on: October 16, 2006, 04:55:23 AM »
Victorian mourning customs on the Forum about Russian culture?????

This phraseology is confusing for those not from the English speaking world (UK, US, NZ, SA, Ire, Can, Aus). Unfortunately the term Victorian has come to mean not only the 19th century as a time period but also the early 20th century which is better referred to as Edwardian in the United Kingdom. Because of her exaggerated personal fixations, Queen Victoria has become the representative example of excessive mourning as a psychosis. In other words, in common English parlance the intention of the original poster's question is understood though it would not be historically accurate in either scope of time nor geographical area.

David

This is true.  In the UK, the blanket use of the term 'Victorian' for the period from the early 1800s almost up to the 1920s seems to be distressingly commonplace.  No one seems to know when the real Victorian period actually began and ended.

However, when it comes to the use of the term 'Victorian' to describe the period of time of Victoria's reign has always confused me when it comes to countries outside of the UK.  Do Americans describe their own 19th century as being the Victorian age? How about other European countries?

Rachel
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David_Pritchard

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Re: Royal & Imperial Mourning Customs & Funerals
« Reply #20 on: October 16, 2006, 05:19:51 AM »
An interesting question. I suppose that the period prior to 1776 is refered to in terms of political history as the Colonial Period followed by the Revolutionary Period followed by the Federalist period, Jacksonian Period, etc. In terms of cultural history, the periods are Colonial, Federal, Ante Bellum, post Civil War, etc. To the simplest of American minds time is divided into only a few periods: Early American (1492-1830), Victorian (1830-1920) and Depression (1920-1945), Modern (1945-present).

In Russia many of the Emperors have given their names to styles of interior design, decorative arts or entire ages as in Petrine and Pauline. In Spain, things that would be refered to as Victorian in England are called Isabelline just as the French use the terms First Empire and Second Empire to describe architecture or furnishings.

David

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Royal & Imperial Mourning Customs & Funerals
« Reply #21 on: October 16, 2006, 05:43:46 AM »
We all know Victoria made a fetish out of death, but who carved in stone these mourning rules and customs? They were pretty much univesal throughout most societies of the era, whether or not it was called "Victorian" I think.
What always amazes me though, with the attrition rate so high and the mourning periods so long, they actually had times NOT to be in mourning .
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Offline CountessKate

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Re: Royal & Imperial Mourning Customs & Funerals
« Reply #22 on: October 16, 2006, 11:25:17 AM »
Quote
What always amazes me though, with the attrition rate so high and the mourning periods so long, they actually had times NOT to be in mourning .

I think it may have been because of the high mortality rate, that people of the 19th and early 20th centuries wished to ritualise their grief - and also had the money to be able to do it.  There used to be a theory that people were less sensitive to death than we are today, because they saw so much of it, but that's no longer considered correct - diaries and letters testify to the agonies people went through at the death of their children and spouses, and they wanted to grieve.  But it was a very entrepreneurial culture, just like today, and all sorts of products and services were available to support mourning.  Crepe - the 'widows' weeds' - a matt black material which had no shine, and showed how serious you were about your grief, was invented at this time just for the mourning industry.  There were endless advertisements in the popular press about the correct things to wear and how long to wear them for - again this was the great age of etiquette books.  In addition, peer pressure, 'and keeping up with the Jones' helped to enforce what was perfectly genuine sentiment.  Of course this was just for the better-off, though the poor tried to show some sort of mourning even if just in a black armband.

Queen Victoria's mourning was rather too obsessive even for her family, and Marie Louise of Schleswig Holstein (I think) wrote about staying with her as a child and being put into mourning for a very obscure relative which her parents didn't at all approve of.  Queen Mary in her turn had indeed worn a great deal of mourning at Queen Victoria's court and didn't much care for it.

Offline imperial angel

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Re: Royal & Imperial Mourning Customs & Funerals
« Reply #23 on: October 16, 2006, 12:58:21 PM »
In the US, in my experience it is indeed called the Victorian era. I think sometimes Victorian and Edwardian are confused. Using the term '' Victorian '' to refer to things in  the'20s ( I have seen people do this) is a great mistake, but a common misconception. After all, the Edwardian era was long over the by the '20s.  ;) Much less the Victorian era.

About mourning customs- There was indeed a great ritual about them in the Victorian era, that says much about the culture of the times. Death was no less common than in earlier centuries, but in Victorian mentality, it was easier to memorialize the dead, and the loss in ways that were individual. In earlier centuries, there may have been less money devoted to mourning in the general population. The modern era is very much the era of the individual. I believe that Victorian mourning customs show the begining of this, as they offered individual options for mourning more, although these were also sanctioned by collective society. I am refering to customs such as hair wreaths and colors.

Queen Victoria, of course, offered a very public and easily sanctioned example of mourning that some might deem excessive. But she set the tone for the era, and who could disagree with her? Even in the Victiorian era, some deemed the mourning rituals excessive. In modern thought, they are almost always called so, and they are often called creepy. The truth is, they offered ways of coping and memorializing the dead that worked for those grief stricken in that era. What is wrong with that? But of course, there are always those who take things overboard.

Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Royal & Imperial Mourning Customs & Funerals
« Reply #24 on: October 17, 2006, 08:11:41 PM »
Victorian mourning customs on the Forum about Russian culture?????

We're going to try to give some leeway here. There's been some dissension about 'trivial' threads on some of the major forums--such as OTMA's haircuts, them being sunburned, etc... Some of these topics might be more easily discussed in a forum dealing with the culture of not just the Romanovs but royals of the general era discussed. These topics seem trivial to some but others enjoy them for helping gain an essence of what past times were liked--these tend to be Victorian/Edwardian since that's the period that Nicholas and Alexandra lived in. There are several other non-Russian, non-Romanov specific threads on this forum and, since it's a relatively small and quiet one, it seemed to be a good place to discuss the so-called 'wallpaper' threads--those topics that help form the background to the period and people we're discussing.
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David_Pritchard

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Re: Royal & Imperial Mourning Customs & Funerals
« Reply #25 on: October 18, 2006, 07:05:06 AM »
Funereal and mourning customs are an important aspect of social history. Hopefully someone will have information relating directly to Russia as I am unfamiliar with their customs both past and present.

David

Offline imperial angel

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Re: Royal & Imperial Mourning Customs & Funerals
« Reply #26 on: October 18, 2006, 12:33:30 PM »
Well, I don't know that much about mourning customs specifically in Russia. I think there is a thread around here that deals with that to some degree. I think Victorian era customs might not have changed as much country to country as we might think, but there is no reason for not discussing general mourning customs here. Social history is interesting; I have long been interested in it. It shows us the smaller parts of people's lives that often get lost in the whole.

Offline lori_c

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Re: Royal & Imperial Mourning Customs & Funerals
« Reply #27 on: October 18, 2006, 01:36:48 PM »
I can site one specific example of mourning in Russia during the "Victorian Age":  When Alexander III died suddenly in 1894 after Nicky and Alicky's engagement, the period of mourning was lifted for one day in celebration of the Dowager Empress' birthday and this allowed for Nicholas and Alexandra's wedding ceremony.

Offline CountessKate

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Re: Royal & Imperial Mourning Customs & Funerals
« Reply #28 on: October 18, 2006, 01:54:49 PM »
Certainly the mourning customs at the Russian court were very similar to European customs of the period.  Greg King's 'At the court of the last Tsar' goes into some of the rituals at the time of the death of Alexander III in 1893 and they seem very much the sort of thing Queen Victoria would have approved of.  There was much 'draping', i.e. hanging of black cloth over windows and doorways, swathing chandeliers in black tulle.  Servants were dressed in mourning liveries and uniforms.  Normal clothing was black, gradually lightening to lavenders and greys.  Black-bordered writing-paper was used (when you see QV's letters reproduced they are frequently written on paper with a deep black border, so the Russians were following general European customs).  The court mourned for a year, when there were no festivities or balls or other public indulgence in pleasurable activities, and it is clear from Tuxen's painting of Nicholas II's wedding which occurred the week after Alexander's funeral, the women universally wore white and silver, the acceptable alternative to black for such an event, but no other colours.  So even though mourning had been relaxed for Maria Feodorovna's birthday this did not mean that mourning was relaxed very much at all.  There was no wedding reception or any other festivity to mark the event and everyone went back into black immediately afterwards.  None of this would have been much different for a ruler in any other European capital and although when Queen Victoria died Edward VII truncated the extent of court mourning - for example I don't think much draping was done - and length of time it lasted, it nevertheless was firmly carried out and due respect was paid (mourning for Edward VII in his turn was even shorter, though I love the 'black Ascot' where everyone went to the races but did so in black. A clear case of having their cake and eating it!).   I would imagine that just as elsewhere in Europe, the aristocracy and the middle classes in Russia followed the court customs in mourning as far as money and practicalities allowed.  The very poor did what they could to show some respect, and the only really different customs would have been in remote or rather primitive communities where much older traditions prevailed (I am thinking of wakes in Ireland, sin-eating, etc. - I have no idea if anything similar happened in Russia).  

Offline CountessKate

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Re: Royal & Imperial Mourning Customs & Funerals
« Reply #29 on: October 18, 2006, 02:05:16 PM »
I forgot to mention that coloured stones were not considered suitable for mourning.  Pearls were OK and diamonds acceptable.  Hence Tuxen's great ladies of the Russian court are blazing with diamonds but not a coloured stone is to be seen.  Victoria did not wear coloured stones after Albert's death, with the exception of a gold and sapphire tiara which Albert had designed, which she wore rather late in her reign once or twice for sentimental reasons.  Otherwise it was pearls and diamonds all the way, and clearly this was considered proper in Russia as well.