Author Topic: Empress Marie Feodorovna - discussion and pictures, Part I  (Read 253290 times)

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Offline investigator

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Empress Marie Feodorovna - discussion and pictures, Part I
« on: February 02, 2004, 01:46:38 AM »
What sort of woman was she? She is considered one of the most tragic figures of European history.  What was her life like?  What sort of relations did she have with her son and his wife?  How did she live her life when her son and grandchildren died?
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
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Re: Empress Marie Feodorovna - discussion and pictures, Part I
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2004, 09:38:14 AM »
Art Beeche wrote a wonderful biography for us about Dowager Empress Marie Feodrovna.

Perhaps Art will be good enough to join us here and write more about her.
As an interesting note, the Dowager Empress always signed herself "Marie" when writing in any language other than Russian, although both Marie and Maria are acceptable spellings for her name.  She and her sister Queen Alexandra of England retired together to the family estate at Hvidore in Denmark and lived rather quietly there on a small stipend from the King of Denmark for the last years of their lives.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2011, 08:24:17 AM by Svetabel »

JamesHogland

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Re: Empress Marie Feodorovna - discussion and pictures, Part I
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2004, 02:11:12 PM »
The newest biography of the Dowager Empress Marie Feodorovna is "Little Mother of Russia" by Coryne Hall.
She has also written a biography of the Grand Duchess Xenia, I believe called "The Last Grand Duchess."

Offline LisaDavidson

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Re: Empress Marie Feodorovna - discussion and pictures, Part I
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2004, 12:34:09 AM »
Coryne's book, written with John Vanderkist (?), is titled Once a Grand Duchess".

James Hogland

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Re: Empress Marie Feodorovna - discussion and pictures, Part I
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2004, 02:38:37 PM »
Thank you Lisa Davidson for the correction. You are absolutely right. "The Last Grand Duchess: Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna" is a book by Ian Vorres about the tsar's younger sister. John Van der Kiste has also written two good books on the Romanov family. They are  "Princess Victoria Melita, Grand Duchess Cyril of Russia" (1991) and "The Romanovs 1818-1959: Alexander II of Russia and His Family" (1998).

Iain

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Re: Empress Marie Feodorovna - discussion and pictures, Part I
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2004, 09:06:40 PM »
This lady is one of the most  fascinating members of the Imperial family.As Empress and Dowager Empress she presided over society with flair and style and as such was the exact opposite of her German daughter in law,Alexandra.She did retire to Denmark after the revolution and eventually took up residence at Hvidore,the home she owned along with her sister Queen Alexandra but by this time the two sisters  had drifted apart and Alexandra never lived there.The recent Scandinavian programme "a Royal Family" comments on the cooling relationship between the two sisters after 1919,apparently the Empress was jealous of Alexandra's status in Britain as a much loved Queen Mother while she had lost almost everything.Just an another tragic part of the tragedy that is the Romanoff's.

Offline LisaDavidson

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Re: Empress Marie Feodorovna - discussion and pictures, Part I
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2004, 11:53:05 PM »
If anyone is interested in Maria F., I urge them to take the time to read "Little Mother of Russia" by my friend Coryne Hall. Coryne did literally decades of research and it really shows in her book.

As an Empress, MF had some strong and weak points. She excelled at being a leader in society, but failed to locate and support suitable mates for her children. So, while she was lovely to have at a party, she married her youngest daughter off to a man who had no interest in women. She could dance all night, but her youngest son received so little help from her in locating a wife that he had a number of improper relationships, the last of which resulted in a scandalous morganatic marriage.

Both MF and her sister had difficulties in dealing with their offspring as adults. But, they themselves came from a very happy family that had more success as a group than perhaps any group of royals ever.

Offline Janet_Ashton

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Re: Empress Marie Feodorovna - discussion and pictures, Part I
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2004, 12:40:36 PM »
Quote

Both MF and her sister had difficulties in dealing with their offspring as adults. But, they themselves came from a very happy family that had more success as a group than perhaps any group of royals ever.



This is something that rather puzzles me about Minnie (and Alexandra for that matter). To all appearances they came from a happy and secure family, yet their smothering posessive behaviour with their own children suggests great *in*security and fear of loss. I don't expect anyone has any answer to why this would be so, but it's just a thought I have.....

Janet

Offline BobAtchison

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Re: Empress Marie Feodorovna - discussion and pictures, Part I
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2004, 01:17:11 PM »
I think the constant fear of murder had a huge effect.  As mothers Marie and Alexandra handled it differently.  Marie took it upon herself to protect her children, while Alexandra turned to God for help.

It also seems to me that Marie and Alexander were VERY different people.  Marie may have felt she was protecting her boys from their boorish dad.

Bob

Offline Janet_Ashton

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Re: Empress Marie Feodorovna - discussion and pictures, Part I
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2004, 02:01:57 PM »
Quote
I think the constant fear of murder had a huge effect.  As mothers Marie and Alexandra handled it differently.  Marie took it upon herself to protect her children, while Alexandra turned to God for help.

It also seems to me that Marie and Alexander were VERY different people.  Marie may have felt she was protecting her boys from their boorish dad.

Bob



Hi Bob
     Sorry, I should have made it clear that I meant *Queen* Alexandra in my post. Where the Empress Alexandra is concerned, I think it's quite easy to see why she would have felt the need to be protective -  because of her own family history as much as anything. I actually don't though think that she was quite so selfishly posessive and difficult as either her mother-in-law or her aunt - I can't, for instance, see Alix ever accusing a potential son-in-law of "ruining her happiness" by asking to marry her daughter, as Minnie did with Sandro. I think Alix *expected* her kids to marry.
To my mind, one of the most disturbing letters Minnie wrote to Nicky was the one in which she told him she was *glad* he was upset to be leaving home for a few months, as it showed he cared about her!
I agree that the threat of murder may have played a part where Minnie was concerned - but that doesn't explain her sister Alexandra's behaviour. I wonder whether the fact that they both lost a child in infancy may explain the way they acted with the others - though this too was not so unusual an experience, and not all bereaved Victorian parents reacted the way they did....

Janet

Offline Jackswife

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Re: Empress Marie Feodorovna - discussion and pictures, Part I
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2004, 03:04:25 PM »
 I'm probably painting Queen A with too broad strokes here, but I wonder if her relationships with her children were colored by her relationship with her husband. He was a noted ladies man and perhaps Alexandra felt in some ways neglected by him, except as a decorative consort (the same might be said of Marie and Alexander), so she became devoted to her children in compensation. Just my opinion. I agree, Marie is a fascinating and tragic figure among the Romanovs.

Offline 3710

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Re: Empress Marie Feodorovna - discussion and pictures, Part I
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2004, 05:53:02 AM »
Janet,
is it not a typical parental behaviour - not to realise that their kids are grown ups and might wish to leave home etc? (I get it all the time from my Mum :))
There were lots of complains from Marie that she did not see N. enough even when he was not married yet, but it all sounds very normal and human to me.  And what she told Sandro's father about ruining her life etc can't be taken as such. What Mother would be happy to part with a daughter? She seemed to get on very well with Sandro later on and he had great affection for his Mother in law.
Her arrangement for Olga does not seem that odd, either. How to put it nicely...Olga was not that physically attractive (think of  Marie  of Romania - an inferior court-finding faults in Olga Nicolaevna's appearance later on and Queen Victoria's constant discussions with her daughters on the  merits of various princesses as if on a horse market) So  a marriage with a son of Marie's personal friend, which would keep her close to her family is not a bad idea in a (royal) way. Did she have any other options? Other then spinsterhood?
I was totally charmed by Alexander III letter to Marie, where he complains that Xenia never asks him for anything and does not wish to spend time with her Dad, while he hoped he would be taking her out when she grows up etc. Marie replied that kids would go mad with horror, if they knew that this is how he felt - they did not dare distructing him from work and wasting his time with thier requests etc. (It is not an exact quote). Does it not show them as a quite a normal family, like any other?
Galina
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Offline Janet_Ashton

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Re: Empress Marie Feodorovna - discussion and pictures, Part I
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2004, 03:24:30 PM »
Quote
Janet,
is it not a typical parental behaviour - not to realise that their kids are grown ups and might wish to leave home etc? (I get it all the time from my Mum :))



Me too from mine. I wish she wouldn't ring up to check on me every time she thinks I've walked home from the train station in the dark:-)
No, my problem with Minnie's style isn't so much her protectiveness per se as the suggestion in some of her quotes that she considered her children to be there mainly in the interests of her own happiness. That she didn't MIND if Nicky was unhappy since it made her feel OK. That may have been relatively usual and normal in Victorian families (Queen Victoria was not all that different with one or two of her children) but I still find it unfortunate. And I'm afraid I DO take her comments about ruined happiness quite literally, especially considering her awful behaviour later with Olga's second husband, who after all made Olga happy....We might see all these things as "normal" in royal terms, but we can still have the view that they are not a good idea...

Janet

Quote
There were lots of complains from Marie that she did not see N. enough even when he was not married yet, but it all sounds very normal and human to me.  And what she told Sandro's father about ruining her life etc can't be taken as such. What Mother would be happy to part with a daughter? She seemed to get on very well with Sandro later on and he had great affection for his Mother in law.
Her arrangement for Olga does not seem that odd, either. How to put it nicely...Olga was not that physically attractive (think of  Marie  of Romania - an inferior court-finding faults in Olga Nicolaevna's appearance later on and Queen Victoria's constant discussions with her daughters on the  merits of various princesses as if on a horse market) So  a marriage with a son of Marie's personal friend, which would keep her close to her family is not a bad idea in a (royal) way. Did she have any other options? Other then spinsterhood?
I was totally charmed by Alexander II letter to Marie, where he complains that Xenia never asks him for anything and does not wish to spend time with her Dad, while he hoped he would be taking her out when she grows up etc. Marie replied that kids would go mad with horror, if they knew that this is how he felt - they did not dare distructing him from work and wasting his time with thier requests etc. (It is not an exact quote). Does it not show them as a quite a normal family, like any other?
Galina


Offline Louise

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Re: Empress Marie Feodorovna - discussion and pictures, Part I
« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2004, 06:54:18 PM »
I agree that the book "Little Mother of Russia" is a wonderfully crafted biography on Empress Maria.

I have wondered about Minnie and Alix and the dominating influence that they asserted over their children. Motherly and attentive to their sons, and in my personal opinion, a mean spirited inclination towards their daughters. In the fishbowl that was royal life, their time, public and private was not really their own.

Their lives were controlled my strict court etiquitte. Their lives were scheduled from the moment they awoke until they closed their doors. Public events, ceremonies were planned in advance for months on end. This said, could the two sister who had little influence or control over their lives, acted in such a way that they asserted their control over their children?

Also with the sisters, they were both married to  powerful dominating men. From what I have learned here, Alexander was an alcoholic who Minnie had to flee from time to time, and Edward was a philanderer.

Again, the two women had  their children to turn to for comfort and love.

Just my humble opinion on Minnie and Alix.

This however does not take away from the brillance of Empress's Maria's influence on Russian Society and the Russian monarchy and autocracy.

I can't wait for the Empress to be brought back to Russia to lay next to her Sasha.

Louise
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Offline 3710

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Re: Empress Marie Feodorovna - discussion and pictures, Part I
« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2004, 09:06:29 AM »
I quite agree with you that Kulikovsky was not treated nicely by his Mother in Law. But we are talking about an old lady by that time, very stuck in her ways - she would not change her views on propriety, royal marriages etc. I understood that she only briefly met Brasova son, who was a spitting image of her Michael in immigration in London. Seems so tottally impossible for a grieving parent not to show much interest in M's only son, but nevertheless.... They definitely had their different royal  ways.
I have head that her reburrial is sheduled for this year.

Has anyone heard more on  A III  alcoholism other then much critisised tales of one of his officers?
Galina