Author Topic: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita  (Read 231671 times)

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Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
« Reply #345 on: July 17, 2012, 08:39:36 PM »
Missy struck me as more romantic than passionate. She writes in absolute horror (repeatedly) about marital relations. Whether she had affairs, flirtations or romances, I don't think she particularly got any enjoyment out of the physical aspect of a relationship. I think she was like her mother while Victoria Melita was of a more sensual nature like her father.
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Offline CountessKate

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Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
« Reply #346 on: July 18, 2012, 03:16:09 AM »
Missy struck me as more romantic than passionate. She writes in absolute horror (repeatedly) about marital relations. Whether she had affairs, flirtations or romances, I don't think she particularly got any enjoyment out of the physical aspect of a relationship. I think she was like her mother while Victoria Melita was of a more sensual nature like her father.

I always thought Marie's statement in her memoirs that "Nando....was terribly, almost cruelly in love.  In my immature way I tried to respond to his passion, but I hungered and thirsted for something more" was Victorian code for Ferdinand's being keen on sex and not very good at it, which together with his not being "a man of high spirits, nor.....imaginative" meant that she found herself in a very dreary marriage right from the word go.  I'm not so sure that she was averse from the physical side of love - it seems pretty clear from 'Dearest Missy' that she compromised herself in a way hardly in keeping with a purely platonic romantic relationship - but she certainly didn't find either sex or romance in her marriage.  I would question actually whether she was the greater romantic compared to Victoria Melita - one could argue that in the end, it was Marie who had a series of romantic liaisons which after the initial indiscretions, became rather more discreet but were nevertheless pragmatically kept within her marriage, while Victoria Melita could not compromise her ideals and do the same (and there is some indication that Ernst Ludwig would have been happy to go along with this). 

Offline Eric_Lowe

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Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
« Reply #347 on: July 18, 2012, 08:17:41 AM »
Yes. Ducky was too unbending in her ideals. Had Missy married Ernie, she would have been happy to live a separate life from him and still be happy with it having her own lovers along the way.

Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
« Reply #348 on: July 18, 2012, 09:51:02 AM »
Missy struck me as more romantic than passionate. She writes in absolute horror (repeatedly) about marital relations. Whether she had affairs, flirtations or romances, I don't think she particularly got any enjoyment out of the physical aspect of a relationship. I think she was like her mother while Victoria Melita was of a more sensual nature like her father.

I always thought Marie's statement in her memoirs that "Nando....was terribly, almost cruelly in love.  In my immature way I tried to respond to his passion, but I hungered and thirsted for something more" was Victorian code for Ferdinand's being keen on sex and not very good at it, which together with his not being "a man of high spirits, nor.....imaginative" meant that she found herself in a very dreary marriage right from the word go.  I'm not so sure that she was averse from the physical side of love - it seems pretty clear from 'Dearest Missy' that she compromised herself in a way hardly in keeping with a purely platonic romantic relationship - but she certainly didn't find either sex or romance in her marriage.  I would question actually whether she was the greater romantic compared to Victoria Melita - one could argue that in the end, it was Marie who had a series of romantic liaisons which after the initial indiscretions, became rather more discreet but were nevertheless pragmatically kept within her marriage, while Victoria Melita could not compromise her ideals and do the same (and there is some indication that Ernst Ludwig would have been happy to go along with this).  

I don't know--in Dearest Missy there are lot of references to how much she seemed to dislike the whole act of sexual intercourse. She seems to have been indoctrinated in this viewpoint--that it was a rather disgusting, base act--from her mother. Whether another lover was able to bring her more enjoyment in the act or whether she submitted to it more willingly because of her love for a certain individual (like a Barbo Stirbey) I don't know. I don't think she had as many consummated affairs as is speculated. I think Stirbey is probably a given and that he was Mircea's father but some of the others, it was hard to break through some of the coded references in my opinion. What would've constituted a great fall in Victorian times might not have been an actual physical affair. But this is really a subject for the  Missy and Her Lover's thread.

Victoria Melita, on the other hand, seems to have been much more of an earthy, passionate character. From reading Dearest Missy (which I just finished in its entirety this weekend) perhaps Missy (with her romantic, artistic, not-so-passionate nature) would've been a better match for Ernie than Victoria Melita was.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2012, 04:31:33 PM by grandduchessella »
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Offline CountessKate

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Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
« Reply #349 on: July 18, 2012, 11:03:39 AM »
Perhaps I'm a bit cynical in thinking that notable philanderers like Grand Duke Boris and Prince Barbu Stirbey don't hang around for more than five seconds if it's just going to be moonlight and roses and someone 'submitting' to their attentions - and why would a woman go for those sorts of chaps if she really didn't like sex - but in any case, Ernst Ludwig didn't seem like the moonlight and roses sort either, as he had to be pushed to propose to Victoria Melita in the first place.  I somehow feel another 'Edinburgh cousin' might not necessarily have been a better proposition!

Offline Eric_Lowe

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Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
« Reply #350 on: July 18, 2012, 11:16:50 AM »
Indeed. Missy later did developed a reputation as a vamp & a "man-eater". I read one delegation from the Paris Peace Conference tied to avoid meeting her because he felt she might seduce him on the spot ! Missy was a woman with a healthy appetite for sex as her string of lovers included also Waldolf Astor & Grand Duke Dmitri of Russia. Ducky wanted more meaning in her relationship than just wine & roses. However had Ernie became handicapped like Lady Chatterley's husband, Ducky would have been faithful to the end. It was the emotional disconnection between Ernie & Ducky that doomed the relationship. The gay thing is just a light to a fuse.

Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
« Reply #351 on: July 18, 2012, 04:30:37 PM »
Well, I think Boris liked the chase well-enough. Do we know for a fact they were lovers? Or Dmitri? I still wonder how much is conjecture and how much is known fact. As to Stirbey, that seemed a real love affair. Well, we'll just agree to disagree on Missy's nature, I guess.  :) And discuss it elsewhere. Perhaps the next volume of the Marie/Missy letters will shed more light on her later love life.

I also can't wait to read the letters that must've flown between the relations regrading the Victoria Melita/Ernie bust-up. Too bad Dearest Missy stopped right beforehand. Reading Grand Duchess Marie's insights on the marriage is enlightening--I wish there were the letters she must've written TO Victoria Melita in existence. I wonder how blunt she might have gotten--she was pretty matter-of-fact with Missy.
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Offline Eric_Lowe

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Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
« Reply #352 on: July 18, 2012, 05:51:21 PM »
I think from Missy's letters to Ducky and Dmitri's letter to Missy years later. Yes that was something going on. Nothing so sexy as a sexually mature woman with a younger man (Demi Moore/Ashton Krutcher). As for Boris, Missy declared her child ("Mignon") was Boris's in front of her father-in-law and went to Coburg for the birth. So I think yes they did have an affair.

Yes. But the crux of the letters would be the ones between the sisters. They would be more revealing than those to Marie Coburg.

Offline CountessKate

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Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
« Reply #353 on: July 19, 2012, 01:39:39 PM »
Quote
Perhaps the next volume of the Marie/Missy letters will shed more light on her later love life.

I also can't wait to read the letters that must've flown between the relations regrading the Victoria Melita/Ernie bust-up. Too bad Dearest Missy stopped right beforehand. Reading Grand Duchess Marie's insights on the marriage is enlightening--I wish there were the letters she must've written TO Victoria Melita in existence. I wonder how blunt she might have gotten--she was pretty matter-of-fact with Missy.

Yes, 'Dearest Missy' ended at a very tantalising point.  Those generations were great arsonists in respect of letters - in 'the correspondence of the Empress Alexandra of Russia with Ernst Ludwig and Eleonore, Grand Duke and Duchess of Hesse', letters for the relevant period of the divorce are missing, presumably destroyed.  Do we know that Marie Alexandrovna's correspondence with Marie of Romania is pretty well intact still?

Offline Eric_Lowe

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Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
« Reply #354 on: July 20, 2012, 12:17:48 AM »
I think the correspondence between the Missy & Ducky would be more revealing. In fact Ducky did pour her heart out to Missy about her problems with Ernie.

Offline perdita

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Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
« Reply #355 on: July 27, 2012, 09:36:56 AM »
I agree the publications of the letters would clear the air in some areas. On the reason why Ducky could forgive Ernie and not Kirill ? The answer lies in the fact that she could blame Grandmama Queen for arranging her match to Ernie (she went through a period with fellow QV hater Dona, Empress of Germany). But she could not blame anybody but herself for licking Kirill, she should have seen that "betrayal" coming but did not. In other words, she blamed herself as much as she did Kirill, and for that reason, she could not go on. In fact her death was her punishment to herself.

The strong-willed, obstinate, & "highly principled" Victoria Melita blamed Queen Victoria?

Did VM ALSO allocate blame--i,e., pointing the finger at herself and her own mother Marie Alexandrovna?

There was no love lost for Queen Victoria by the Duchess of Coburg. When it mattered this daughter of Alexander 11 was determined to have her way and she was only too delighted to thwart the designs of the English Queen Victoria at every turn boasting to her relations that one had but to "lock horns" with the queen to prevail. TRUE. Queen Victoria was also a sucker for "innocent romances" and was almost always sympathetic when her grand-daughters showed character and stood their ground on principle.

The young Hesse princesses were admirable characters in that they held out FOR YEARS in the face of the strongest opposition (and the schemes devised on their behalf) on the part of Queen Victoria, their beloved father, and all their relations, determined to marry the men of their choice, and to practice the religion they believed in. All remained devout--and deeply attached to their husbands.

The post 1901 divorce letters of the Empress Alexandra & the Grand Duchess Elizabeth make clear, that although both tried to keep on good terms with "dear Ducky" during her marriage to Ernie, they fundamentally disapproved of VM's character--i.e., her inattention to her duties as wife, mother, and reigning duchess, her frequent absences from Hesse, her need for constant "amusements" & advant-garde circle of friends (artists/actors, etc.,) her long time attachment to Kyril, and their pre-marital "affair".

Apparently, even little Princess Elizabeth had serious issues with VM questioning her mother's genuine love for her up until her death in 1903.

Offline perdita

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Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
« Reply #356 on: July 27, 2012, 09:46:49 AM »
Indeed. Missy later did developed a reputation as a vamp & a "man-eater". I read one delegation from the Paris Peace Conference tied to avoid meeting her because he felt she might seduce him on the spot ! Missy was a woman with a healthy appetite for sex as her string of lovers included also Waldolf Astor & Grand Duke Dmitri of Russia. Ducky wanted more meaning in her relationship than just wine & roses. However had Ernie became handicapped like Lady Chatterley's husband, Ducky would have been faithful to the end. It was the emotional disconnection between Ernie & Ducky that doomed the relationship. The gay thing is just a light to a fuse.

Seriously doubt that Waldolf Astor had a physical affair with Marie of Romania. W. Astor was a man of the highest integrity and character, descibed by his sons, and all who knew him, as unbending throughout his life in his moral principles & strait-laced behavior. The hedonistic Grand Dukes Boris & Dmitri far less so.

Since there was (in no way) an "emotional disconnection" between Ducky & Kyril why then did his infidelity doom their relationship?
« Last Edit: July 27, 2012, 10:08:58 AM by perdita »

Offline perdita

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Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
« Reply #357 on: July 27, 2012, 10:07:23 AM »
Quote
Perhaps the next volume of the Marie/Missy letters will shed more light on her later love life.

I also can't wait to read the letters that must've flown between the relations regrading the Victoria Melita/Ernie bust-up. Too bad Dearest Missy stopped right beforehand. Reading Grand Duchess Marie's insights on the marriage is enlightening--I wish there were the letters she must've written TO Victoria Melita in existence. I wonder how blunt she might have gotten--she was pretty matter-of-fact with Missy.

Yes, 'Dearest Missy' ended at a very tantalising point.  Those generations were great arsonists in respect of letters - in 'the correspondence of the Empress Alexandra of Russia with Ernst Ludwig and Eleonore, Grand Duke and Duchess of Hesse', letters for the relevant period of the divorce are missing, presumably destroyed.  Do we know that Marie Alexandrovna's correspondence with Marie of Romania is pretty well intact still?

Don't count on "nothing but the truth" between VM & "Missy". Sisters, however close, can be deceptive in their relationships engaging in conjecture--ditto self-serving excuses/justifications, unwittingly or not, to put the best face on their behaviors.

Re--The correspondence of the Empress Alexandra & Ernest of Hesse. A LOT was put to the fire & destroyed. If the reader is looking for an in depth accounting (OR ANYTHING) on subjects Queen Victoria's death, Ernie & VM's disastrous marriage & divorce, Ernie's impressions after the still born birth of his son & his emotions subsequent to his daughter's death, the assassination of the Grand Duke Serge and the aftermath for the Grand Duchess Elizabeth, Ernie's decision to marry Eleonore & his feelings for her, the outbreak of World War One, Rasputin, or the Russian Revolution you won't find it in the letters published in that book. Mostly the existent letters exchanged between Alix and Ernie are merely affectionate & superficial chit-chat. Nothing as revealing as the letters written between the Empress Alexandra and Nicholas 11.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2012, 10:18:26 AM by perdita »

Offline perdita

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Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
« Reply #358 on: July 27, 2012, 10:37:46 AM »
I think they liked each other but were not in love. There were success stories like George & May or Sasha & Minny, so a marriage made in mutual liking (if not love) did have a chance of success. The problem was that both wanted different things in their choice of life partners. Ernie wanted a freedom and space within a marriage that the more intense Ducky could not give.

In fact, wasn't it VM who sought to distance herself as much as possible from Ernie & her duties as the reigning Duchess of Hesse?

Victoria Melita was not adverse to decrying one thing while betraying the nature of her true feeling by acting out in the reverse.

The truth is VM felt an aversion for Ernie.

Offline perdita

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Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
« Reply #359 on: July 27, 2012, 10:51:26 AM »
[quote....So QV was certainly pushing an Edinburgh-Hesse marriage at a fairly early stage.  In 1893 she again wrote to her granddaughter to say that she had “had it out with Aunt Marie....[who] is most anxious abt. Ernie and Ducky & I have written twice to Ernie abt the necessity of showing some attention & interest.....Aunt Marie fears he no longer wishes it, wh. I am sure is not the case.  Georgie lost Missy by waiting & waiting.”  While the views of ‘Aunt Marie’ are a little opaque, the Duke of Edinburgh’s were much more positive - when the engagement was announced in 1894 he telegraphed to QV that "Your and my great wish has been fulfilled this evening.  Ducky has accepted Ernie of Hesse's proposal". 
[/quote]

Apparently, the Duke of Edinburgh's views were somewhat opaque too. Wasn't Prince Alfred's "BIG DREAM" that Missy marry Prince George of Wales? This is what makes it so difficult to pin anything down when dealing with family narratives.

There is no evidence that Marie Alexandrovna or Victoria Melita seriously opposed a match with Ernie of Hesse. The buck stops there--NOT with Queen Victoria.