Author Topic: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna  (Read 69150 times)

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Offline investigator

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Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
« on: February 07, 2004, 07:10:59 AM »
What sort of relationship did Empress Alexandra have with her mother-in-law?
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Offline anna

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Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2004, 03:49:06 PM »
Oh yes, there were great differences between the two empresses.

I think because of their anti-german feelings, Alexander and Marie opposed Nicholas wishes to marry Alexandra.
Maria also feared that this minor little princess was going to diminish her influence with her son. But, Alexander being seriously ill and at death's door, they gave permission to the marriage.

After Alexanders death and the wedding, N&A lived with Marie at the Anitchkov Palace. Alexandra feeling very lonely and Nicholas spending much of his time with his mother,still grieving.

Alexandra was now the young empress and Marie dowager empress. Marie had constant frictions with her daughter in law. According Russian protocol the dowager empress had precendency over the reigning tsarina. Alexandra couldn't stand this, she also disliked Marie's influence over Nicholas. There was also a dispute
about the royal jewels. Marie had great taste for jewels,she refused to hand them over to Alexandra. They(according Russian protocol) belonged to the reigning tsarina. Alexandra didn't want them anymore, she didn't care much, but (again protocol) had to wear them at official ceremony's. Marie considered her daughter in law a stubborn woman, with narrow mind.
The "stiff englishwoman".

Marie was a sparkling person, who was fond of clothes and jewels. She loved social life, balls and parties. She was very popular in St. Petersburg society. As for Alexandra , she hated society life. She was not brilliant at conversations, shy, frequently ill. She disliked St.Petersburg and wasn't very popular among society.
Because of Marie's coldness towards Alexandra, the latter drew back from court.
Nicholas didn't  ( or couldn't)do much about it.Het stood between his mother and wife, whom he loved both very much.

Both the empresses spoke to each other in polite but distant terms. There was no bond between these two women.
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Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2004, 06:37:19 PM »
Yikes, what a powderkeg of a question . . . "What sort of relationship did Empress Alexandra have with her mother-in-law"!!!  

It's one of the classic mother vs. daughter-in-law relationships of all time, in my opinion!   ::)

I do think Alix's German roots didn't help, because although Marie and her sister, Princess Alexandra of England (married to Edward, Prince of Wales) did have German ancestry, they were Danish princesses through and through, and very patriotic, and very resentful of Germany's political aggression.  So, Alix being German was probably a sticking point with Marie, although not the worst one.

In addition to all the resentments that can occur when a woman marries someone's "little boy," Alix and Marie had very different personalities, which included different approaches to childrearing as well as overall goals and values. The incidence of the Imperial jewels has been mentioned often as one of their initial contretemps; then, of course, there was the reluctance (understandable, to a point) of the suddenly widowed Marie no longer having the same sort of "clout" as she enjoyed while Empress.  Add into the mix Alix's inability to furnish an heir for so many years . . . then to furnish an heir who turned out to be hemophilliac . . . then her reliance upon an idiocyncratic holy man for the health and well-being of that heir!

From what I understand, Alix and Marie generally treated each other with polite civility . . . but nothing approaching closeness.  


Yet another reason to have some empathy for Nicky, caught inbetween two very determined and strong-willed women.

Offline Louise

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Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2004, 08:33:32 PM »
I doubt that the Dowager Empress held Alix's nationality against her. As already stated, Minnie's mother was of German origin, and so was her mother in law, the late Empress.

There was jealousy right from the beginning with those two strong willed women. The Dowager Empress was a young vibrant woman when she was widowed, and "lost" her position In Russia. In the same month as losing her husband, she lost her son to another woman. A woman that had no clue of her royal duties, and a younger woman who was now the Tsarina.

The fight for the domination of Nicholas started right at the beginning and in the end, Alix won.

Louise
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Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2004, 09:37:15 PM »
On second thought, Louise, I think you're right that Marie wouldn't consider Alix inherently German . . . but she may have been a tad apprehensive re: Alix's Englishness plus her close relationship with Queen Victoria, knowing how her own sister had to deal with her mother-in-law's tantrums and obstinancy!

Since Alix disliked her cousin Wilhelm, she and Marie were at least united in one opinion.

However, when the rumors swirled that Alix's brother Ernie was "secretly visiting" during the war years . . . well, I wonder what Marie thought of THAT!   ::)

Offline Joanna

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Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2004, 10:23:37 PM »
I have found that with the limits put on writers by publishers on the length of their books and what publishers will publish that will generate sales, there is never enough space to include more details and analysis. With Marie and Alexandra there has been an encaspulation of 23 years of their relationship resulting in a limited view of it and what prevailed at different times was in constant flux within the family. From what has been revealed I see Marie as very like her sister Alexandra who had a stunning childlike (her darling geogie letters) and extreme inability to let go with her children. I am sceptical like others here of the prevalent view that it was because Alexandra was German  that irritated Marie as she had welcomed Ella into the family. From the published letters Marie attended the births of Alexandra's babies or rushed there soon after. There was a desire I believe between both for a closeness. But there is a gap of fewer sources from the initial time of the marriage in late 1890's to the 1910's when the harsher view of their relationship takes over. I am constantly revising my thoughts on different issues as more is revealed. I was stunned when I read in posts here that Marie fled with her children from her husband when he was drinking!

Joanna

Offline Louise

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Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2004, 10:25:43 PM »
I adore the Dowager Empress and i believe she is one of the more entertaining Tsarina's and an Empress that knew her duty and her role. I believe the operative word is DUTY. She knew what was expected of her and her husband as head of the autocracy and society.
That said, I can also see the all too human side of Minnie. Jealous of her role, spiteful,  and controlling. I personally don't think any woman that married her darling dear Nickie would have any chance of winning her over.

Louise
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Offline Thierry

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Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2004, 04:42:07 AM »
Hi !

I do not think it is very accurate to talk about anti-German feelings in Empress Maria Feodorovna and Queen Alexandra. They had anti-Prussian feelings. At that time there was no Germany as a country, only Kingdoms (as Prussia, Bavaria, etc.), Principalities, Grand-Duchies, Duchies, etc.

In 1864 Prussia had invaded the Schleswig-Holstein Duchies, which were part of Denmark, and annexed them in 1866. From that moment, there was a great ressentment against Prussia in the Danish Family and their relatives.

Every year there was a big family meeting at Ruppenheim, that Queen Victoria so much despised : she called it "The Royal Mob". All the "participants" had one common point : their hate against Prussia, and Queen Victoria thought it could a threat against peace in Europe. She was not really wrong...

Offline RomanovFan

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Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2004, 08:10:14 PM »
Why do the movies about Anastasia always portray Tsarina Alexandra and D. E. Marie getting along when in all reality they almost hated each other? It's that way in every movie, not just the cartoon ones for kids.  ???
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Offline Annie

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Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2004, 08:30:31 PM »
I would not like to think they didn't get along, but it looks like that might have been the case. That is not unusual, a lot of brides have mother in law problems. In this case, I think it was due to the fact that they were just 2 very different personalities. MF was a party girl, who unlike most widows of the time did not retire from the social scene after she lost her husband. She loved fancy dress balls, crowds, parties and dancing. Alexandra was uncomfortable in crowds, didn't care much for balls or fancy outings most of the time, and perhaps worst of all (for her) she was more 'old fashioned' or 'Victorian' than most others in the rowdy St. Petersburg society of the time and this did not endear her to them. I recall one episode, sorry I can't remember the book to quote it, where she was at a ball and was appalled by the amount of cleavage being displayed by some. She went up to one girl and said, "excuse me, but in Hesse-Darmstadt we don't wear our dresses quite so low" to which the girl replied, after pulling her dress even further off her shoulders, "well, in St. Petersburg, we do."

Later on, when MF had a problem with Alexandra's devotion to and reliance on the advice of Rasputin, it got worse.

Offline Annie

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Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2004, 09:55:19 AM »
I never got any of my info from any film. True, it was mentioned in N&A that they were not friendly, but the things I mentioned came from non fiction books, not movies.

I have seen in several books that by mid WW1 Marie was so unhappy with Alexandra that there were actually 'pro' and 'anti' Alexandra forces in the family. Kiev was considered a 'Marie' stronghold.

For the record, I'm with Alexandra. I am not a party person, I don't like crowds, am not much for drunkeness and debauchery. If others want to do it that's their business, but I don't want to be around it. I'd rather sit in my boudior with pictures, kids and pets too.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Annie »

Offline LisaDavidson

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Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2004, 04:04:01 PM »
While their relationship was not good at the end, it is a mistake to characterize the womens' relationship as "bad". This was not the case in the beginning, as they got along well when Nicholas and Alexandra first married. And, there were many years in between when they were united in supporting the Tsar.

The two women had fundamentally different ideas about the duties of an Empress and this as much as their personality contrasts contributed to the deterioration of that unity. Alexandra felt wives should have the same political opinions as their husbands and that the Empress' "job" was to be a wife and mother first, and Empress second. MF, on the other hand, believed that a good Empress could influence her husband, as she attempted to do in steering hers  away from Prussia and toward Britain, where her sister was Princess of Wales. She was decidedly Empress first, leading society with a relish that her daughter in law never had.

Offline JonC

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Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
« Reply #12 on: December 22, 2004, 12:28:09 AM »
Hi Anna.

I have been re-reading the threads concerning Empress Marie and Alix, Nicholas's wife. I have a couple of questions. Why did Empress Marie call her the 'stiff Englishwoman'? She knew quite well that Alix was born in Darmstadt, Germany and her father was German. I have alway heard her referred to as German.

Secondly, I read on another thread that Alix always called Empress Marie 'aunty' all the way till her marriage to Nicholas where I read that E. Marie insisted Alix should now call her 'mother'.

Was Alix of her right mind? How or why would she call E. Marie 'aunty'?

In order for ' stiff Englishwoman', and 'aunty' to be true it would mean that Edward 7th and his wife Queen Alexandra, E. Marie's sister would have to be Alix's real parents. What's going on? Is there a secret history here that's been overlooked by everyone? JonC.

Offline Olga

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Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
« Reply #13 on: December 22, 2004, 12:34:19 AM »
Quote
Why did Empress Marie call her the 'stiff Englishwoman'? She knew quite well that Alix was born in Darmstadt, Germany and her father was German. I have alway heard her referred to as German.


Alexandra Fyodorovna was more English than German.


Quote
Was Alix of her right mind? How or why would she call E. Marie 'aunty'?


It's just a name. I call my mother's friends Aunty.

Quote
In order for ' stiff Englishwoman', and 'aunty' to be true it would mean that Edward 7th and his wife Queen Alexandra, E. Marie's sister would have to be Alix's real parents. What's going on? Is there a secret history here that's been overlooked by everyone?


No, no and no. Just like AGRBear, it seems like anything thing is plausible to you JonC.

Offline Teddy

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Re: Empress Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna
« Reply #14 on: December 22, 2004, 06:15:02 AM »
What would be the reaction of Maria F. if Alexandra F. had survived as only one of her family the excution?