Author Topic: Young Alix - Before her Marriage  (Read 140634 times)

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Offline CountessKate

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Re: Young Alix - Before her Marriage
« Reply #255 on: July 03, 2011, 08:44:35 AM »
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I know that the Hessian Grand Ducal family were not rich, but I have wondered why Queen Victoria took up a snit against her daughter Princess Alice when Alice wanted to visit the queen in 1876.  From Greg's book:
In 1876, Alice asked her mother if she could stay at Buckingham Palace for two nights on her way to Balmoral, the queen's castle in Scotland.  She traveled with only two people, a colonel and his wife, who lived in Darmstadt.  But Queen Victoria said no, it would be too much trouble.  Alice was forced to say that she had no other choice - she could not afford to pay for hotels.  A courtier suggested that the queen could pay the bill for the hotel, to which Victoria replied that she would have to know how may nights were in question.  Alice cabled back two or three, the queen said she would have to think the situation over.  In the end, Alice tired of begging.  She traveled alone, unattended and staying in cheap hotles.

Queen Victoria was both very set in her ways and used to having her own way and often made difficulties if her children wanted to visit her at a time or place not of her own choosing.  The same thing - having a proposed visit turned down - happened several times to Vicky, when it didn't suit her mother.  It didn't necessarily represent any particular greivance QV might have had against Alice (although their relationship had its ups and downs), nor any special meaness - just that she didn't wish to see Alice at that time and didn't see why she should pay for Alice's visit.  She did sometimes feel also that Alice was a bit inclined to ask for handouts more than her other children.  However, when it did suit QV, she could as Eddie UK says, be very generous towards Alice and her family.

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Re: Young Alix - Before her Marriage
« Reply #256 on: July 03, 2011, 08:51:17 AM »
I have been re reading Hessian Tapestry by David Duff.  In it he talks about the time when Queen Victoria decided that Princess Alice was not welcome.  I have to go back and take a look at that chapter.  I'll post some information when I have time because it made sense to me when I was reading it.

Offline CountessKate

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Re: Young Alix - Before her Marriage
« Reply #257 on: July 03, 2011, 09:20:05 AM »
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It would seem that Alix popped in and out of England at the whim of the queen.  The extended period was after the death in 1892 of Ludwig.  Alix had a hard time coming to terms with her father's death.
There may have been other extended periods, but with all of the travel she did with her family it doesn't seem that they were as long as the one in 1892.

Queen Victoria wrote to Victoria of Hesse-Darmstadt in October 1890 that it is the "1st time since 11 years that none of you have been here with me!!".  There is reference elsewhere in 'Advice to a Grand-daughter' that Alix visited QV in 1888 with her brother Ernst, in 1889 she may not have visited because of her refusal of Prince Eddy, in 1890 none of the Hesse-Darmstadt family visited QV, in 1892 QV wrote to Victoria that the previous year Louis of Hesse-Darmstadt "and your 2 sisters were with me" (one of whom was likely to be Alix), in 1892 she had an extended visit, and in 1894 it appears she visited QV in the earlier part of the year, before the Coburg wedding in April.  So it certainly looks like Alix visited QV, if not annually, pretty near to it over a period of about 15 years, though probably not for the length of time as in 1892.

Alixz

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Re: Young Alix - Before her Marriage
« Reply #258 on: July 05, 2011, 01:36:18 PM »
Here is one quote from Hessian Tapestry:

Visits to Britain were less frequent now, and when the Hesses stayed at Osborne in 1875 it was the first time that they had seen the Island for six years.  Holidays were strictly limited by finance.

page 169

Alixz

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Re: Young Alix - Before her Marriage
« Reply #259 on: July 05, 2011, 01:56:53 PM »
Here is another quote from Hessian Tapestry:

From the time of the appointment of John Brown to be personal servant of the Queen, a marked change came over the relationship between Princess Alice and her mother.  The demands that the Hessian couple should spend much of their time in England ceased, giving place to a temporary reluctance on the part of the Queen to ask them to her homes.  Such was the price to be paid by a daughter who took an independent line.

page 116

Alixz

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Re: Young Alix - Before her Marriage
« Reply #260 on: July 05, 2011, 01:59:59 PM »
One more quote from page 117:

The Princess was in disgrace, the position exacerbated by the angry correspondence which passed between Windsor and Darmstadt.  One letter from Germany was considered so disrespectful that it was immediately consigned to the fire.

Offline Eddie_uk

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Re: Young Alix - Before her Marriage
« Reply #261 on: July 05, 2011, 02:44:09 PM »
Well lets be honest Queen Victoria, for all the respect & admiration I have for her, was not the easiest of mothers! For example I think the way she treated poor Leoplod at times was very wrong.

Queen Victoria would frequently compare one child unfavourably against the other particularly with the oldest four. As Queen Victoria's opinion of Alice would diminish she would often be praising++ the Crown Princess & vice versa. She did the same thing with Edward & Alfred. Obviously this is very wrong as you should never compare siblings as it leads to resentment.

Anyway, I think only Beatrice and to some degree Arthur escaped these unfavourable comparisons....
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Offline Clemence

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Re: Young Alix - Before her Marriage
« Reply #262 on: July 05, 2011, 04:13:24 PM »
Here is another quote from Hessian Tapestry:

From the time of the appointment of John Brown to be personal servant of the Queen, a marked change came over the relationship between Princess Alice and her mother.  The demands that the Hessian couple should spend much of their time in England ceased, giving place to a temporary reluctance on the part of the Queen to ask them to her homes.  Such was the price to be paid by a daughter who took an independent line.

page 116

How very interesting this about John Brown! It did seem a little odd how he was presented in the 1997 film (Mrs Brown) treating the prince of wales in such a disrepectful way ... and now to know this! Who knows what really passed between that man and the queen!
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Alixz

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Re: Young Alix - Before her Marriage
« Reply #263 on: July 05, 2011, 07:12:20 PM »
There is also mention that on a trip Brown was lodged in a far wing of the palace away from the Queen.  She never forgave those who did that.

I will have to look it up.  I can't remember where the trip was to or who assigned the rooms.

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Young Alix - Before her Marriage
« Reply #264 on: July 06, 2011, 03:21:15 AM »
Queen Victoria never visited Sandringham because the Prince of Wales refused to treat Brown as anything other than a servant.

But we are straying off topic again!

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Alixz

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Re: Young Alix - Before her Marriage
« Reply #265 on: July 06, 2011, 08:08:48 AM »
Yes, we are!

But young Alix before her marriage is a part of the story as Queen Victoria ignored or banished Princess Alice from visiting Britain and therefore her young family couldn't go either.

However, I have always thought that some of the Queen's worry about her Hessian grandchildren after Alice's death was guilt at the way she treated Princess Alice during her life.  QV was very hard on Princess Alice even though the princess was the "work horse" of the family and took care of everyone including QV when the need arose.

Queen Victoria was much less stern with all of her grandchildren than she was with her own children but it seems to me that she spoiled the Hessians and that some of that came from guilt.

Offline Eddie_uk

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Re: Young Alix - Before her Marriage
« Reply #266 on: July 06, 2011, 01:30:05 PM »
Queen Victoria did visit Sandringham in 1871.

I don't think Queen Victoria felt guilty over anything, she was ALWAYS right! And most of the time she was.
No, as she wrote in the letter to Victoria of Hesse immediately after Alice's death "the irreparable dreadful loss your darling mother is to you" & how "it is a great privilege to be her child"
I think Victoria recognised how the death of a mother is always a terrible tragedy, especially for children.
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Offline CountessKate

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Re: Young Alix - Before her Marriage
« Reply #267 on: July 07, 2011, 11:07:20 AM »
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Queen Victoria ignored or banished Princess Alice from visiting Britain and therefore her young family couldn't go either

That statement does not appear to be supported by the historical evidence.  Queen Victoria was not in a position to banish a married daughter from visiting Britain although she could be discouraging and refuse to help financially - as I said earlier, Vicky was sometimes put in the same position, so it wasn't just aimed at Alice.  Alice in fact was with Queen Victoria often during her married life, and in England where on a number of occasions she wrote to the Queen from Buckingham Palace (presumably to QV in Windsor or Balmoral or Osborne) or Sandringham, suggesting her mother's hospitality was not always limited either.  From references in Queen Victoria's letters, and from Alice's own letters to Queen Victoria, it is possible to see that she visited England in 1863, 1864, 1865, 1868, 1871, 1872, 1873, 1875, 1876 and 1877.  It is unlikely that she visited in 1866-7, during the Austro-Prussian war and its aftermath, or in 1870 during the Franco-Prussian war.  I'm not sure what happened in 1869, 1874 or 1878 - I haven't found any references, but she might well have visited Britain.  At any rate, Alix of Hesse could well have travelled to Britain four out of the six years of her life until her mother died and would have undoubtedly seen Queen Victoria on many occasions during that period.  Afterwards, Queen Victoria unquestionably felt she had taken Alice's place as a mother to the motheless Hesse-Darmstadt children and they visited her very frequently. 

I agree with Eddie that she did not feel guilty about her treatment over Alice - she certainly felt sorrow at her death, but in her correspondence whenever she complained of her behaviour she seemed fully convinced that she was right to do so.  Problems seemed to have occurred particularly in 1867, when QV felt Alice had criticised Princess Helena for not travelling to Germany with her husband Prince Christian, in 1868, when she thought Vicky and Alice encouraged Prince Albrecht of Prussia to court Princess Louise against both her and Louise's wishes, and in 1872, when the Queen thought Alice had spread a rumour that Louise had criticised Francis Knollys as an unsuitable companion for the Prince of Wales (Louise said Alice herself was responsible for the rumour).  It all sounds like the usual family rows - and they did blow over.  Queen Victoria could be controlling and ungenerous, but she could be kind and sympathetic also, and like most of her children, Alice was sometimes in favour and sometimes not.  But when she died, QV was genuinely upset and determined to do right by her children.

Offline Eddie_uk

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Re: Young Alix - Before her Marriage
« Reply #268 on: July 07, 2011, 12:18:41 PM »
Great work CountessKate! It is very interesting too see just how often Alice visited England! Thank you!

According to Packard, Alice & family did visit England in summer 1878 which is when they all went to Eastbourne (there is that great photo of them all standing outside the place they where staying in!). Apparently Queen Victoria realised Alice was much in need of rest and paid for the holiday! Queen Victoria was often extremely generous. I don't agree that Alice was ignored or banished at all.

Perhaps Irene's pregnancy also prevented Alice from visiting in 1866 & Alice was pregnant with Marie in 1874.
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Offline MademoiselleAndrea

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Re: Young Alix - Before her Marriage
« Reply #269 on: September 12, 2011, 01:45:57 PM »
I'm sorry I keep bombarding this thread with questions, but this picture in The Romanovs: Love Power and Tragedy set me thinking.

It's dated as 1887, when Alix was fifteen, and yet her hair appears to be up. I have also seen other photographs of her that are dated as being before her sixteenth birthday, and yet her hair is in a bun. Could it be that they are misdated: perhaps this one is 1888? Ella is there, after all--could be taken during the visit Ella and Serge made to Hesse for Alix's coming-out? (One other set of photos, which I thought to have been taken in 1884 in Russia, shows Alix looking more like seventeen than twelve--perhaps these are in fact from the 1889 visit?) But would there have been a reason for Alix to have her hair up earlier? I am 99% certain her hair is in a braided bun!
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