Author Topic: Emperor Alexander and Princess Ekaterina Dolgoroukaya  (Read 173580 times)

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Offline Nadya_Arapov

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Re: Emperor Alexander and Princess Ekaterina Dolgoroukaya
« Reply #105 on: March 29, 2008, 07:34:37 AM »

He was no commoner, no privatier, he was the head and (he should have been) paragon of the largest nation of the day...he had duties; Royals never belong themselves...

Considering that he lived in the 19th century, in an modern age....sorry - there is just one word: rotten

Yes, perhaps he should have been a paragon of virtue, never setting a foot wrong, but I don't think you'll find too many individuals who can live up to the standard of national “paragon”. Most royals didn't (and still don't) live up to that standard. Their upbringing, their expectations, etc., may be quite different from our own, but they are still flesh and blood, fallible human beings, not marionettes.

You have every right, of course, to dislike anyone you choose (dead or living). I just think you should take the man's entire life into account and not only one part of it.

Offline LenelorMiksi

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Re: Emperor Alexander and Princess Ekaterina Dolgoroukaya
« Reply #106 on: March 30, 2008, 04:18:01 PM »
Alexander II certainly hurt many people and possibly himself by his relationship with Princess Dolgorukaya.  Nobody can live up to the standards of "royal paragon".  Certainly, Alexander III & Nicholas II had exemplary family lives.  Yet both tended towards reactionary rule, in my opinion, whereas Alexander II really tried to bring some democratic principles to Russia.  No one can be perfect, no matter how hard he or she may try.  I find many aspects of AII's adultery distasteful, but it seems he really loved Pss Dolgorukaya.  It's easy to pass judgement.  It's much harder to try and step into someone's shoes and imagine why and how they acted the way they did.  However, it's worth the effort.
Grand Duchess Alice of Hesse:  "Each year brings us nearer to the Wiedersehen [reunion with the dead], though it is sad to think how one's glass is running out, & how little good goes with it, compared to the numberless blessings we receive.  Time goes incredibly fast."

Offline CountessKate

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Re: Emperor Alexander and Princess Ekaterina Dolgoroukaya
« Reply #107 on: April 02, 2008, 07:16:50 AM »
Quote
Alexander II had just lost his favorite son and heir. His wife retreated from the world leaving him emotionally isolated. From what I've read Maria Alexandrovna was quite a depressing figure, very morbid, in her later years.

I think the suggestion that Alexander II's adultery arose from being emotionally isolated by his wife's retreat is a nice bit of special pleading but not borne out by any evidence - and indeed Maria Alexandrovna's becoming a 'depressing figure' (depressed rather than depressing I think) is usually attributed to (a) losing her favorite son - not exclusive to her husband (b) ill-health and (c) her husband taking a mistress and not being discreet about it.  Plenty of husbands manage to remain faithful to their wives despite domestic tragedy and illness and plenty don't.  Alexander II was one of the latter camp and this relationship was not to his credit.   It doesn't make him an evil person or his lover a prostitute - but it doesn't make him a good husband, either.  Suggesting he had no other option than to seek a more sympathetic companion is basically the routine of "my wife doesn't understand me" - though no doubt Alexander II and Catherine Dolgorukaya saw that as an original and convincing line. 

Offline Nadya_Arapov

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Re: Emperor Alexander and Princess Ekaterina Dolgoroukaya
« Reply #108 on: April 02, 2008, 07:29:24 AM »
I never once suggested he had "no other option." I simply stated my opinion that he probably began the affair because he felt isolated. I never claimed that his feelings in any way excused his adultery only that they may have led to it. As I mentioned in the post you've quoted, I realize why Maria was depressed and I sympathize with her. I was not attempting to blame her in any way for Alexander II's infidelity. Of course, it wasn't her fault. It was his choice to break his vows. I don't admire him for it, but I think I can understand how he might have found himself drawn to Ekaterina (or anyone else young and full of life) when he was at his lowest ebb.

Offline LisaDavidson

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Re: Emperor Alexander and Princess Ekaterina Dolgoroukaya
« Reply #109 on: May 06, 2008, 01:04:15 AM »
Quote
Alexander II had just lost his favorite son and heir. His wife retreated from the world leaving him emotionally isolated. From what I've read Maria Alexandrovna was quite a depressing figure, very morbid, in her later years.

I think the suggestion that Alexander II's adultery arose from being emotionally isolated by his wife's retreat is a nice bit of special pleading but not borne out by any evidence - and indeed Maria Alexandrovna's becoming a 'depressing figure' (depressed rather than depressing I think) is usually attributed to (a) losing her favorite son - not exclusive to her husband (b) ill-health and (c) her husband taking a mistress and not being discreet about it.  Plenty of husbands manage to remain faithful to their wives despite domestic tragedy and illness and plenty don't.  Alexander II was one of the latter camp and this relationship was not to his credit.   It doesn't make him an evil person or his lover a prostitute - but it doesn't make him a good husband, either.  Suggesting he had no other option than to seek a more sympathetic companion is basically the routine of "my wife doesn't understand me" - though no doubt Alexander II and Catherine Dolgorukaya saw that as an original and convincing line. 

I don't know where you get that the adultery "arose from being emotionally isolated" and I don't see anyone suggesting he was a good husband, or anyone saying he had no other option. Please show us where these things were said, because I don't see them.

I know what I said, and perhaps I should repeat it because perhaps it was not heard the first time:

We don't know alot of things about the marriage of Alexander II and his first wife. We do know that the death of Nixa, their eldest son, caused a cataclysm in that marriage, though. (And this type of thing happens to non royals who lose children, too.). The wife became ill and basically withdrew from life. The husband continued chasing a much younger woman.

So, for those who want to judge these people - and many do - please don't overlook the fact that all were dealing with a great loss of one kind or another.


In this post, I clearly point out that Alexander's adultery predated his son's death. Yes, I feel compassion for everyone in this situation - certainly for the abadoned wife and but also for the adulterous couple and in addition, for Alexander's children. Several people said that Princess Dolgoruky was a prostitute - which she was not - and that Alexander II was "rotten". People often have many shadings and I certainly agree that he was a bad husband.

A little compassion could go a long way.

Offline Thomas_Hesse

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Re: Emperor Alexander and Princess Ekaterina Dolgoroukaya
« Reply #110 on: May 12, 2008, 11:35:25 AM »
Where did you read that the Empress withdrew from life? And what do you mean with that common phrase? Her letters speak another language... And I presume that you did not read a single one of those...
Meine Kaiserin

Offline LisaDavidson

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Re: Emperor Alexander and Princess Ekaterina Dolgoroukaya
« Reply #111 on: May 12, 2008, 03:19:32 PM »
Where did you read that the Empress withdrew from life? And what do you mean with that common phrase? Her letters speak another language... And I presume that you did not read a single one of those...

Who are you addressing? It's not clear from your post to whom you are addressing your questions.

Offline Thomas_Hesse

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Re: Emperor Alexander and Princess Ekaterina Dolgoroukaya
« Reply #112 on: May 12, 2008, 04:03:41 PM »
I am addressing you
Meine Kaiserin

Offline LisaDavidson

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Re: Emperor Alexander and Princess Ekaterina Dolgoroukaya
« Reply #113 on: May 12, 2008, 04:40:48 PM »
Where did you read that the Empress withdrew from life? And what do you mean with that common phrase? Her letters speak another language... And I presume that you did not read a single one of those...

The Empress was frequently ill and thus unable at times to carry out her duties as Russian Empress in public life. Yes, (I am being sarcastic here), I make statements without ever checking any facts.

My point in all of this "Thomas of Hesse", is that the marriage of the Emperor and Empress was their marriage and that they both suffered enormously when their young heir died so tragically. It has been your contention that His Imperial Majesty was "rotten" and I will concede he was not a good husband. It was your contention that Princess Dolgorukaya was a "prostitute", which I find sexist and incorrect. The Princess was left a ward of the Emperor by her father. That HIM abused his authority over Katya and had an affair with her is his failing, not hers.

Offline Mandie, the Gothic Empress

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Re: Emperor Alexander and Princess Ekaterina Dolgoroukaya
« Reply #114 on: May 12, 2008, 05:16:45 PM »
BUT, was Alexander nice to her after she became very ill, and death of two children? no!

 he treated Marie like if she was already dead when Nicholas, their son and Heir died, that's unfair! I still haven't change my opinion about Alexander or Catherine, and Thomas Hesse, I see nothing wrong with your opinion.

Offline Thomas_Hesse

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Re: Emperor Alexander and Princess Ekaterina Dolgoroukaya
« Reply #115 on: May 12, 2008, 05:18:08 PM »
I make statements without ever checking any facts.

Thank you for confessing. I think there are no further comments necessary.
Meine Kaiserin

Offline StevenL

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Re: Emperor Alexander and Princess Ekaterina Dolgoroukaya
« Reply #116 on: May 12, 2008, 05:36:44 PM »
he treated Marie like if she was already dead when Nicholas, their son and Heir died

How can you possibly know these things? A marriage is a complex thing in itself,
never mind a marriage strained by the tragic loss of a child. We cannot know
what went on between these people, or know what killed their relationship, or
even exactly when it ended.

Princess Dolgoruky was certainly not a prostitute. In fact it is completely ignorant to even say so.
If anything, she is to be pitied, having been seduced as a girl by her protector, who, from what
evidence exists, appears to have genuinely loved her. People are not always angels or "rotten."
In fact most of us fall somewhere like half-way in between.

Steven

Offline LisaDavidson

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Re: Emperor Alexander and Princess Ekaterina Dolgoroukaya
« Reply #117 on: May 12, 2008, 06:54:11 PM »
BUT, was Alexander nice to her after she became very ill, and death of two children? no!

 he treated Marie like if she was already dead when Nicholas, their son and Heir died, that's unfair! I still haven't change my opinion about Alexander or Catherine, and Thomas Hesse, I see nothing wrong with your opinion.

She was ill throughout their marriage. Was it "nice" for him to have his mistress and their children living in the same palace? It was horrible. I'm not looking to change any minds here - if all you are stating is your opinion and if you lack compassion because of the way he treated his wife, it is my hope that you are never in need of compassion from others. If you are simply agreeing that Alexander was "rotten" and Katya a "prostitute", then I have the same opinion of your opinion as I do TH's.

Offline LisaDavidson

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Re: Emperor Alexander and Princess Ekaterina Dolgoroukaya
« Reply #118 on: May 12, 2008, 06:55:54 PM »
I make statements without ever checking any facts.

Thank you for confessing. I think there are no further comments necessary.

Well, unless your tongue is firmly planted in your cheek, yes there are. I was being sarcastic and you are still a sexist.

Offline Nadya_Arapov

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Re: Emperor Alexander and Princess Ekaterina Dolgoroukaya
« Reply #119 on: May 12, 2008, 11:47:51 PM »
Where did you read that the Empress withdrew from life? And what do you mean with that common phrase? Her letters speak another language... And I presume that you did not read a single one of those...

If you are convinced that she was a far livelier, healthy, energetic person than other posts have suggested, fine. Perhaps Maria Alexandrovna was. However, every single account I've ever read described her as an invalid for many years before her death. MA's health was never robust. Her many pregnancies, combined with the Russian climate, absolutely ravaged her heath. Rather like another future Hessian-born Empress, Alexandra Feodorovna. MA may not have withdrawn from life intellectually, but physically she was forced to withdraw from many aspects of court life. She also withdrew from life at court in a more literal sense by spending considerable time abroad during the latter part of her life. So I don't see how you can accuse Lisa of being ill-informed on that score. You have a right to your opinion, Thomas, I have a right to mine, and Lisa has a right to her's. You don't have to be insulting, though. Why not just quote from some of MA's letters, instead, to prove your point about MA.

BUT, was Alexander nice to her after she became very ill, and death of two children? No!  He treated Marie like if she was already dead when Nicholas, their son and Heir died, that's unfair!

What Alexander II did, taking on his young ward as a mistress, abandoning MA, was certainly indecent. I’m sure everyone posting would agree on that point. It was a sad, shameful, pathetic chapter in Alexander II's life. I just don't feel that it nullifies any and all achievements made during the course of his life.