Author Topic: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita  (Read 224913 times)

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Offline perdita

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Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
« Reply #375 on: July 31, 2012, 10:56:17 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 .

Interesting.

Given Missy's adamantly proclaimed revulsion for sex it is a wonder that she had extra marital affairs at all.

"Dearest Missy" page 273-4, quote Nov. 1896:

"Then comes the brutal revelation which really changes everything, you know that like you that it is to me, the intencest sacrifice each time & Mama dear, do you know that it always gets worse instead of better! I thought I would perhaps get accustomed to it, but not at all, each time is greater TORTURE....he begins to kiss me, then forgets that & tries to console me by giving way to just that, that I dread most on earth."

This is why it is difficult to take people at face value or pin down their truth. There exists too much self-deception (i.e., "the self-deception that believes the lie") or devious manipulation--consciously or not. On one hand, Missy insists to her mother that she is repelled by sex and dreads it "most on earth". On the other hand, in very short order, she would be collecting lovers right and left. Did Missy really mean that what she hated was not sex, but sex with her husband? If so, that was not the impression she endeavored to convey to her mother and with good reason.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2012, 11:10:49 AM by perdita »

Offline Eric_Lowe

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Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
« Reply #376 on: July 31, 2012, 11:22:38 AM »
I think Nando's clumsy approach to sex did make her repulsive to the whole affair with him. However in Missy's case, with the right lover, she could be a different woman. Her affair with Zizi and Boris seem to be a very different story. Which is why I think her letters to Ducky would be more accurate in these intimate terms. Missy would not dare to tell her mother her changed feelings about sex due to her lovers. Also you must remember sex gave her power over men, and that fits into her personality too.

Ducky was much more stable and less of a butterfly (Missy's nickname in the family) than her sister. She tried to love Ernie, but wasn't reciprocated in spades with the bisexual Ernie. She tried to get into his core, a place where a little boy felt hurt after his mother's death, but the place has already taken --by his sister Ella.  Even VMH knew she could not take Ella's place in Ernie's heart. What chance does the possessive and passionate young wife do ? Horseback riding. Meriel Buchanan wrote that Ducky would gallop for long periods of time by herself.

Offline perdita

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Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
« Reply #377 on: July 31, 2012, 11:50:37 AM »

As to VM's 'hero-worship' of Ernst Ludwig, we should bear in mind that she was extremely young and naive, plus EL was good-looking, and, whatever his sexual proclivities, a pleasant fellow whom people liked. I can imagine a young girl being carried away by his looks and charm. Maybe also she was keen to get away from home and be 'top lady' in Darmstadt!

Ann

Keep in mind:

The "deep--highly principled" VM consented freely to marry Ernie of Hesse at age 17, while her Hessian sister-in-laws held out for years in defiance of their English grandmother & beloved father determined to take their time & consider carefully when choosing their lifetime partner.

Marie Alexandrovna strongly advocated early engagements for her daughters (at age 16) to men they barely knew--& adamently opposed that her daughters marry English princes or Russian Grand Dukes.

Warts and all, Ernie made a successful marriage with Eleonore, and both proved loving parents to their two sons.

VM had long been besotted with the Grand Duke Kyril.

Defying the express wishes of the Tsar, "stickler" Marie Alexandrovna precided over the eventual marriage of VM to the Grand Duke Kyril in 1905.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2012, 11:53:36 AM by perdita »

Offline Eric_Lowe

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Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
« Reply #378 on: July 31, 2012, 12:30:29 PM »
I don't think you could be "deeply high principled " at age 17. Also please remember that Princess Alice was long dead and QV gave them a pass another not others will. Also remember Princess Alice's dying wish was for her children to marry "by their own wishes". The same rule does not apply to the Edinburgh household. Ducky was as naive about marriage as Missy was when she married into Romania. She at least know the bridegroom before hand. For that it would be enough. Think of how George & May Teck spent before marriage and you could see why that made sense to QV and the family.

Ernie made a good marriage to Eleanore because she did not demand the same emotional commitment from her husband that Ducky did. When Kirill tripped, Ducky did not forgave despite so many happy years together. She was "deeply high principled" then as she did rejecting a "sham marriage" offer from Ernie, who admitted that Ducky suffered greatly in the marriage.

Ducky did not became besotted with Kirill before Nicholas II coronation, where they met. Even after that she was willing to work at her marriage due to pressure from QV and the family to "try again" with Ernie.

Offline perdita

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Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
« Reply #379 on: July 31, 2012, 12:52:13 PM »
Reading all this, it seems that Marie Alexandrovna had a distinctly jaundiced attitude towards men, and I wonder where she got it from. She had six brothers, none of whom seem to have been particularly bad husbands, by the standards of the time,

Ann

Marie Alexandrovna was a daughter who deeply loved and revered her mother. Arguably, she got her distinctly jaundiced attitude towards men from her lascivious father who not only kept mistresses, but had his illegitimate children running about upstairs, within hearing distance in the palace, while her mother lay dying.

More quotations from Chairman Ma Alexandrovna to Missy: on subject daughters v.s. sons (Alfred).

"What is to be done with Alfred, he seems hopeless. I ignored him totally for Easter and he was quite alone at Potsdam. He simply DISGUSTS me and I send him through Ruxleban very painful message and refused to pay his new debt to his dirty mistress."

"Oh! You don't know what it is for me to have him (son Alfred) her in that condition, it spoils all my sejour in Russia on which I was rejoicing, I feel so ashamed of him."

"Missy you know perfectly well, that I as your mother, would NEVER turn against you, even if if you became still worse: in my house you will always find a warm reception and protection from everybody."

"Papa must not know a word of the whole truth for I don't answer, how he will take it; men are generally ten times more cruel than we are...therefore (he should) never know the whole truth about you." (i.e., As opposed to knowing the whole truth about Alfred.)

"Papa is happily patient with him (Alfred), otherwise it would have been real hell and I was thinking of sending him to Ducky, but she found him so dull, that she did not care to have him."

"That boy (Alfred) is a terrible trouble to us and I GIVE HIM UP. I ignore him totally and if he comes now, won't even make any reproaches or give good advise! What is the use of it all."

"Shall I come and fetch you (Missy)? Now that I know all, I see my way clear! Be calm now and tell me, what is the best to do? Your old Mama grieves, but will never abandon you. And help you always."

Marie Alexandrovna to Nanda: "I am not one of those mothers who abandons daughters at the least little fault & leaves their sad destiny at the mercy of those who believe they have the right to oppress and crush them morally, to kill their courage in life because of past faults."

Missy on her brother Prince Alfred:

"Mama hoping to find perfection was often disappointed in her son...She was never able to talk with Alfred; she thought that severity and religious principles must keep him straight; he found no mercy when he sinned, so he lost confidence in those who might of helped him, and later, when liberated from Doctor X and home rule, became secretive, led a double life, and made a mess of things." (Just like Missy.)

The angst ridden Marie Alexandrovna was a willfully "Titanic", extraordinarily complicated, and perversely manipulative/contadictory character quite capable of demanding that her children be virtuous while unwittingly putting then in harms way at every turn, encouraging in her daughters a taste for mindless self-gratifying amusements while lamenting their vainglory and lack of serious pursuits, arbitrating high standards while finagling unedifying schemes and plots,--ditto enforcing respect for the strict separation of generations while venting recklessly to her daughters without restraint.

For contrast, read Queen Victoria's letters to her elder daughter the Empress Frederick, keeping in mind the English queen liked men, liked sex, and although high minded was ultimately a pragmatist when it came to the foibles of human nature.

Reading the Duchess of Coburg's letters it's understandable why her young daughters were deeply attached & were held fast to their "tigress" mother, but ultimately Alexander 11's daughter was a tragedy, and there is no way at the end of her life she could have avoided that knowledge.

The same could be said of Ducky. Marie of Romania claimed her sister "died by inches".


« Last Edit: July 31, 2012, 01:04:03 PM by perdita »

Offline perdita

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Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
« Reply #380 on: July 31, 2012, 02:37:50 PM »
I don't think you could be "deeply high principled " at age 17. Also please remember that Princess Alice was long dead and QV gave them a pass another not others will. Also remember Princess Alice's dying wish was for her children to marry "by their own wishes". The same rule does not apply to the Edinburgh household. Ducky was as naive about marriage as Missy was when she married into Romania. She at least know the bridegroom before hand. For that it would be enough. Think of how George & May Teck spent before marriage and you could see why that made sense to QV and the family.

Ernie made a good marriage to Eleanore because she did not demand the same emotional commitment from her husband that Ducky did. When Kirill tripped, Ducky did not forgave despite so many happy years together. She was "deeply high principled" then as she did rejecting a "sham marriage" offer from Ernie, who admitted that Ducky suffered greatly in the marriage.

Ducky did not became besotted with Kirill before Nicholas II coronation, where they met. Even after that she was willing to work at her marriage due to pressure from QV and the family to "try again" with Ernie.

Unfortunate then, that the highly principled VM didn't demand, as did her young Hessian sister-in-laws, a deep emotional attachment before consenting to marry a man for a lifetime. Ditto, that she kept trying to conceive children long after she & her mother knew in their hearts that the marriage was "hopeless". According to Ernie he only "tried again" at her insistence.

Unfortunate too, that VM gave her daughter Elizabeth the distinct impression that she did not really love her.

Highly principled people DO NOT bow to pressure. VM might have had an inking that she was too young to marry at age 17 given Missy's miserable example.

It is difficult to conjecture when VM fell in love with Kyril. Marie of Romania wrote that from their earliest childhood there existed a great attraction for their Russian cousins but that their mother opposed her daughters marrying into the country of her birth.

If Ducky was "deeply principled" she might have kept her marital vow ("for better or for worse") and strived to maintain her emotional committment to Kyril after his physical lapse.

Keep in mind, Ducky was NOT so "highly principled" that she would refuse to neglect her duties as wife, mother, and reigning Hesse duchess. In fact, many relations and courtiers made clear she did not hesitate to do precisely that from the get go. Ducky also divorced a husband (against the laws of her faith & virtually unheard of in royal circles) who did not want the divorce, and then proceeded to marry a first cousin who's sworn allegience was to his Tsar who had strictly forbade the marriage on religious grounds. (VM & Kyril opted to marry without the permission of the Tsar.)

More likely, as was true of her mother the Duchess of Coburg, VM was fundamentally passionate, obstinately proud, ironically self-serving, and unyielding,--rather than "highly principled".

How is it known to what degree Eleonore had a sham marriage--deficit "emotional" attachment or understanding with Ernie?

Did Queen Victoria and Princess Alice's husband Ernest make clear to the Hessian princesses that they were only to marry "by their own wishes"? Apparently not, given QV's & Ernest's emphatic insistence early on that Elizabeth & Alix not marry Russians. Notwithstanding, both girls stood their ground against all prescribed comers & most certianly DID marry Russians. In fact, there were many princesses who held fast, refused to become engaged at 17, or to leave the country of their birth.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2012, 02:57:54 PM by perdita »

Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
« Reply #381 on: July 31, 2012, 03:50:54 PM »
We may want to take this to the Edinburgh thread in the Windsor section as it's veering too far away from the topic of the thread. It's a very interesting discussion and I would love to see it continue--perdita, you are on fire with your quotes! LOL--but in the rightful place.

There's also a thread on Marie Alexandrovna with some good insights into her life and mothering style:

http://forum.alexanderpalace.org/index.php?topic=6393.180

http://forum.alexanderpalace.org/index.php?topic=4305.0
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Offline Eric_Lowe

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Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
« Reply #382 on: July 31, 2012, 11:41:20 PM »
Yes. lets stick to Ducky and Ernie. I don't think it is fair to pit the Hesse princesses against the Edinburgh ones. Their situations are too different. Princess Alice did made sure that her children could choose their partners. Hessian Tapestry pg. 195 "Grand Duke Louis had promised Princess Alice that he would allow their children to marry for love."Not so for the Edinburgh Princesses that were rushed into matrimony at the age of 16/17. That was because Marie Coburg believed that her daughters should marry young before they develop "ideas".  The only exception was Baby Bee, who married much later and also a love match.

So I think before Ducky could develop "ideas" she was married to a cousin. The combined wishes of her father and grandmother was enough to make the teenage princess agree to marry her cousin, whom she did get along. She must felt better seeing her elder sister taken to a foreign land, while she herself could visit her parents and relatives from time to time. Yet, she had no idea about the complexity of her husband (bisexuality among others and emotionally distant). That realization came later. Even the successful paring of her Uncle Bertie (Prince of Wales) and his beautiful wife. Aunt Alix was not without problems. How can we expect a high minded girl of only 17 make sense of the entire situation ? Impossible. Even the marriage of Nicholas & Alix of Hesse could not have taken place had Grand Duke Ludwig IV had not conveniently died. He was the one who fired an angry rebuke to his daughter Ella, when she decided to convert of Orthodoxy. Alix did not even dare sent any encouragement to her sister (VMH alone did, while Irene cried & cried). It was the combined situation of her father's death and his brother's marriage decided her fate.

As for Ducky not being a Duchess of Hesse, would an emotionally & physically unfulfilled young woman care about fulfilling duties that was forced upon her. No of course. She rebelled against the system and became known as the "fighting Grand Duchess". It is very easy to blame Ducky for her failings, if we do not see those of Ernie as well. He traveled and has his interests (not to mention his possible gay liaisons). In fact, one observer noted that both "do as they pleased". I do not believe that Ducky had betrayed Ernie at least physically at the early stage since they were very viable when Kirill and his brothers visited Darmstadt. In fact, one photo shows Nicholas & Alix at the same party with Kirill and his brothers. Had they been involved at that time, it would be transparent to all. I think it is much possible that the love grew slowly as Ducky felt she was losing Ernie that she began to allow herself to attach to Kirill physically. Compared to the sticky situation with Missy pregnant with a baby that was announced as Kirill's brother Boris's (even though now it was believed to be Zizi's) and have to give birth in Coburg, and eventually accepted as Nando's. Ducky preferred a clean break. It would be strange if Ducky got pregnant by Kirill and raise the child as Ernie's. It would solve many problems, but the high minded Ducky said no. In going through the divorce, she was painted as the scarlet woman, although her former sister-in-law VMH did not believe so and agreed it was the right thing to do.

So I think both Marie Coburg and Queen Victoria were responsible for the fiasco. I have great compassion for Ducky in this situation.

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
« Reply #383 on: August 01, 2012, 03:25:20 AM »
Yes, I think Marie Alexandrovna's man-hatred stemmed from her father's behaviour, possibly reinforced by her own difficult marriage. However, I find it highly contradictory that she then rushed her two eldest daughters into marriage.

No, I do not find VM high-minded. I think she just wanted to get away from Ernst Ludwig.

Ann

Offline Eric_Lowe

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Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
« Reply #384 on: August 01, 2012, 07:59:20 AM »
I don't think Marie Coburg planned to get her daughters to marry so early, even though this was her belief and intention. The possible romance of Georgie Wales & Missy thrown her into action. After making Missy wrote a "Dear John letter" to his cousin, she schemed to get her married else where, while the British Royal Family wasted time by "waiting & waiting". In her heart, she did not want her daughter to live through life under her strict mother-in-law, but Romania ? In Ducky's case, she just let it happen as her mother-in-law moved "heaven and earth" to get Ducky for Ernie. 

After knowing of the contents of letters between Ducky & Missy, I think Ducky was high minded and trying to "do the right thing". The marriage was dead (at least to her) and moving on was the only logical solution that made sense. There is no guarantee that Kirill would marry her at that stage (they were first cousins and that according to the Russian Orthodox Church barred them from marrying, the same happen to Ducky's sister Baby Bee in her failed bid to marry Misha, Tsar Nicholas II's youngest brother). In fact Ducky wrote to her Uncle Serge explaining her situation passionately. It was in this letter, Ernie's "sham marriage deal" was revealed.It was not new, her cousin Ena (Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain) later also lived a separate life from her husband.

Offline CountessKate

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Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
« Reply #385 on: August 02, 2012, 01:10:06 PM »
Quote
It was in this letter, Ernie's "sham marriage deal" was revealed.It was not new, her cousin Ena (Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain) later also lived a separate life from her husband.

I'm not sure this comparison is very useful.  Since Victoria Eugenie did not marry Alfonso XIII until 1906, a "sham marriage deal" would indeed have been a new situation for Victoria Melita to contemplate in 1901.  Victoria Eugenie did not in any case seek either an annulment or a divorce, but had a separation instead, many years later.  Although the marital dissatisfaction of both cousins seemed to be rooted in the adultery of their spouses, in Victoria Eugenie's case there was the added problem of the haemophilia of several of her sons, which Alfonso apparently blamed her for, despite having been warned about the possibility of future children inheriting the condition at the time of their marriage, while Victoria Melita's other problem was that as far as can be determined, she and Ernst Ludwig had become sexually estranged.  However, there did not seem to be any problem with Alfonso's hetrosexual virility, rather the reverse; and there is some evidence that Victoria Eugenie would have been prepared for a reconciliation, had Alfonso ever given any indication of wishing this.  So the two cases were quite different.

Offline Eric_Lowe

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Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
« Reply #386 on: August 02, 2012, 01:43:06 PM »
The situation was quite similar in the fact that had Ducky accept the marriage in name only deal, she would be living like Ena in the years after her last child had been born. Instead of the women in Alfonso's case, it would be men or boys in Ernie's. Who knows if Ducky had decided to stay the course with Ernie, maybe they would reconcile in old age ? Ducky's Aunt Alix had to go through this phase with her husband, as a result focused too much on her children. As far as Alfonso XIII was concerned, he did not reconciled with Erna until perhaps the very end. Ducky wished for a real marriage of hearts and minds and purpose. Ernie's emotional unavailability was the main reason for her frustration and her unforgiving nature made it impossible to compromise on a hopeless situation. 

Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
« Reply #387 on: August 02, 2012, 04:26:26 PM »
Well, technically, aren't marriages 'in name only' unconsummated ones? Difficult to have children then. :)  Alfonso & Ena didn't have one of these marriages, rather they had a rather typical royal/upper class marriage of the time. 
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Offline Eric_Lowe

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Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
« Reply #388 on: August 02, 2012, 10:02:16 PM »
Well technically both marriages had been consummated and had children to show for. But what Ernie was proposing was an "in name only" after it had broken down. The same with Ena, in which Alfonso XIII had chosen to physically stop intimate relations with his wife. Ducky wanted a full marriage with her husband and not just one "in name only". That is the reason after Kirill's "betrayal", Ducky did the same like Alfonso and refrain from any physical intimacy with her husband until her death. That seem to suggest that Kirill & Ducky remained physically intimate until that point.

Offline CountessKate

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Re: Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig & Grand Duchess Victoria Melita
« Reply #389 on: August 03, 2012, 03:28:47 AM »
Well technically both marriages had been consummated and had children to show for. But what Ernie was proposing was an "in name only" after it had broken down. The same with Ena, in which Alfonso XIII had chosen to physically stop intimate relations with his wife. Ducky wanted a full marriage with her husband and not just one "in name only". That is the reason after Kirill's "betrayal", Ducky did the same like Alfonso and refrain from any physical intimacy with her husband until her death. That seem to suggest that Kirill & Ducky remained physically intimate until that point.

What evidence do you have for Alfonso XIII proposing a "sham marriage deal" to Victoria Eugenie to cover the lack of physical relations?  The evidence suggests the Spanish marriage just broke down, but as divorce/annullment was far less readily available, both parties did as grandduchessella remarked, "had a rather typical royal/upper class marriage of the time" in which both parties stayed together but lived separate lives, although there is no evidence that Victoria Eugenie was implicitly or explicitly given any right to her own lovers (and indeed, the eventual separation seemed to have been caused by Alfonso accusing her of adultery with a male friend).  The whole point of the unusual nature of Ernst Ludwig and Victoria Melita's divorce was that it seems that VL was offered the opportunity to have exactly that sort of arrangement, with the collusion of her husband but refused it.