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  #61  
Old 07-02-2008, 03:50 PM
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Princess Alice has passed. Louis, her father has just given Alix a French tutor. She's 6 years old. So she was learning French. (This from the Christopher Warwick book.)
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  #62  
Old 07-02-2008, 04:15 PM
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I think there is a little confusion about this learning of languages and having a tutor in them. English children speak English but they learn English at school as do French children and other nationalities. To have lessons in a language doesn´t mean that they don´t speak that language, it is, as was said above, to learn an elegant turn to their conversation and writing and how to express themselves in a way appropriate for educated children and in this case royal children.
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  #63  
Old 07-02-2008, 04:37 PM
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But they weren't English children. They were born German.
In fact, Princess Alice, and English Princess, according to Warwick, when she knew she had diphtheria said "Ich bin mude." to her family. I'm just trying to get my research handled here.
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  #64  
Old 07-03-2008, 12:03 PM
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As I've explained, the only reason the British and Russian links to the Germans has been down played was because the English and the Russians fought the Germans in WW I and WWII. The British royal house even changed their title from the German House of Hanover to Windsor.

I think, the majority of us on this forum read mostly information about the European royals which is written in English which means we've read a lot more information produced by the English speaking countries than the Germans, therefore, we've been lead into thinking that the Windsors were completely English by the turn of the 20th century. Wrong. They were still carrying their German language, culture and gene pool until WWI when they had to distance themselves from "cousin Willie", the German Kaiser Wilhelm II and, later, WWII, Hitler's German Nazi Party, and, anything else that indicated they were German. There are some good genealogy sights that carry even more information. Somewhere over on AP I provided a pedigree chart showing all the Germans on the royal trees of the Windsors and the Romanovs. It might surprise many of you who are in high school just how German they two royal houses actually were.

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  #65  
Old 07-04-2008, 07:23 AM
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Bear, you are absolutely right. In WW1 members of the family fought on both sides, German and British. Several members of Queen Victoria's family were stripped of their British titles for having done so, one of them being Prince Charles Edward, Victoria's youngest grandson, who became Duke of Coburg at the age of 14. He then lost his German titles just after the war of course. He turned to the far right and was well in with Hitler. The house of Saxe Coburg Gotha (as it was called before Windsor) was German to the core.

Also, Prince Phillip's mother was a Mountbatten (originally Battenburg of course until WW1) and his father was a Schleswig Holstein Gluckstein. All of Prince Phillip's sisters married Germans and they were not allowed to come to his wedding in 1947.

The idea that members of this extended family didn't speak German fluently and regularly is not feasible.
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  #66  
Old 07-04-2008, 07:41 AM
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They spoke German but I believe they conversed with each other in English and French. I have read that King Edward VII spoke English with a heavy German accent and the Duke of Windsor liked to show off his German but from all accounts I believe that the IRF spoke English and French at home except when they were addressing the servants. French was the language of the Court and considered the polite language among the aristocracy.
Queen Victoria and her husband spoke German to each other but she was very proud of being the English Queen and was once said to say she disliked the Prussians, that was because of Willy, but it amused the courtiers.
There is no doubt that the British Royal family up until the marriage of the Queen and Prince Philip were, except for the tiniest drop of blood, purely German. This made some anti monarchist wit in a newspaper say that instead of getting rid of the royal family they should be expatriated to Germany.
BTW the name Windsor was a wonderful choice and Mountbatten works well too.
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  #67  
Old 07-04-2008, 07:46 AM
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One of our Swedish queens actually was a Mountbatten. She was born as "Louise of Battenberg" though, and as a matter of fact, she only became "Louise Mountbatten" after her father decided to become Brittish instead of German. So yes, the Brittish royal family was very German for a long time, and almost all of their spouses were German too. And even Alexandra of Denmark, Edward VII's queen, who should be the one big exception to this rule, had noticable German ancestry.
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  #68  
Old 07-04-2008, 10:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ferrymansdaughter View Post
The idea that members of this extended family didn't speak German fluently and regularly is not feasible.
Some of you seem to be missing the boat. No one has ever said that they didn't know German or speak it fluently, they spoke a lot of languages fluently, only they chose to use English. This tells us it had to have been their better and preferred language, proving they obviously felt more comfortable using it than German. When their diaries are in English, their personal letters to each other were in English, and they spoke English to each other in person, this tells you something. You may like to speculate and surmise that the Hessian branch must have used German because of your reasonings, but the evidence exists that they did in fact use English as the main language. Olga Alexandrovna did not say they didn't know German she said they never used it. It is also not to say so much that the older generations didn't know it well but it was the younger ones such as the Russian Imperial children who knew it less. People who knew them tell us the children learned Russian and English as babies, not German, this is meaning these were the familiar and used languages of the Imperial family. French lessons came later and some German lessons but all the evidence shows us the children were bilingual in Russian and English, learned French well and German not so well. Assuming based on what you guess does not eliminate the facts delivered by those who knew.
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  #69  
Old 07-04-2008, 12:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OlgaNikolaievna View Post
No one has ever said that they didn't know German or speak it fluently, they spoke a lot of languages fluently, only they chose to use English. Olga Alexandrovna did not say they didn't know German she said they never used it.
Actually, that seems to be what some people ARE trying to say.
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  #70  
Old 07-04-2008, 01:28 PM
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from everything i've read the family mostly used english (letters, diary's etc) the empress was reviled because of her german roots, i doubt it was spoken much, especially at court.
quoting from "The Lost Fortunes of the Tsars" by William Clarke pages 44-45
during captivity "the children, grown up though some of them were, still had regular lessons from 9 to 11 every morning, only Olga was excused. Lessons in Russian, mathematics and English were given by tutors, As in Tsarskoe Selo, Alexandra gave lessons in theology, history and german. Nicholas also helped Alexis with his history."
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  #71  
Old 07-04-2008, 01:34 PM
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I believe Alexandra never learned Russian.She spoke English very well, She lived a long time in England with her grandmother Queen Victoria.
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  #72  
Old 07-04-2008, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Martha View Post
I believe Alexandra never learned Russian.She spoke English very well, She lived a long time in England with her grandmother Queen Victoria.
Well gee, it was rather expected for a future Empress to learn the language of the country she was going to rule. Alexandra certainly had lessons in Russian when she was converting to Orthodoxy (see Massie's N & A) but it is true she had a very difficult time with Russian.
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  #73  
Old 07-06-2008, 06:32 PM
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They all spoke English, because, German, Russian or whatever, the nannies were Englishwomen. They ran the nurseries and the language the children were spoken to, was English, so, yes, they often spoke more English than anything else.
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  #74  
Old 07-13-2008, 09:00 AM
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Like others my understanding is that the Empress spoke English with the tsar and the Children, the children spoke Russian with the Tsar therefore two languages were used in the family on a day to day basis. French was known and spoken ( a diplomatic language across all courts) but the Empress must havek known German as she was brought up partly in that County but do not know that she used it in Russia.
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  #75  
Old 08-14-2008, 02:34 PM
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Actually, that seems to be what some people ARE trying to say.
It is true, that the imperial children did know some German, but they didn't use it officially. It wasn't nessesary because they weren't living in a German country. In Russia, French was spoken by the court and Russian was a native language spoken in the Romanov family. English was spoken with OTMAA because it was the language Alix usually corresponded in.

Yes, Alexandra learned Russian and French at the time when she was married to Nicholas. Her original language was English. She was born in Germany, but grew up in England with Queen Victoria. So, she mainly spoke English, at the time! I read that she was struggling with French, in a couple of her letters. Nicholas corrected her mistakes in French. But, she did improve in French a couple of years later. Alexei spoke only Russian and French fluently. He later learned English, and wrote his first English letter to Alexandra in 1916. He spoke to Alexandra all a long in French, there are many letters of them writing in French. OTMA just knew English, French and Russian fluently. Nicholas spoke to Alix in English. OTMA spoke to Nicholas in Russian and Alix in English. Alexei, OTMA spoke to him in Russian.
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  #76  
Old 09-20-2008, 01:16 PM
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All the yellow dotes show direct lineage that are German. Others like Dagmar, the mother of Nicholas II, also, have German lineage through their mother's side which isn't shown in this particular pedigree chart.

Each and everyone spoke German as their first language. Some, also, learned other languages through their nanny's in the nursery.

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  #77  
Old 09-21-2008, 10:16 AM
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Nicholas spoke Russian, French, and English in probably that order. Alexander III was very keen on using Russian and it is quite probable that he only ever spoke to Nicholas in Russian. The letters between Nicholas and Marie Feodorovna are almost all in French and Nicholas was known to speak French very well. French being the langauge of the Russian aristocracy. Nicholas probably spoke a minimal amount of German because Alexander III and Marie Feodorovna HATED Germany. It is possible that he could read Danish though it seems highly doughtful that he spoke it.

Alexandra was taught English and German probably simultaniously. She spoke French but while she was conversational she was often mocked for her lack of nuance, especially when it came to the use of the French idiom. As such she never felt comfortable in French. She began learning Russian from a tutor sent by Alexander III immediately after the engagement. While she spoke passable Russian her accent was thick and sealed her place as a foreigner in the eyes of Russians.

As for OTMAA there is some controversey over fluency though it seems likely that they all spoke English, Russian, and French. Some better than others. Also probably German in varying levels of adequacy, though I doubt any of them spoke it well. As for someone's comment that they spoke Danish... this seems unlikely. Danish was not a common language in Europe and if Nicholas didn't use it, it seems unlikey that they would. Especially when it is taken into account that the Dowager Empress rarely saw OTMAA, because of the strained relationship with Alexandra. She spent much more time with Sandro and Xenia's children, Irina being her favorite.

I know some of this info is recycled from the posts above but I thought it might be helpful to have it all in one place. I haven't sited sources for the above because I don't have two or three hours to do it. :) Since there is so much dissention about the topic, I've taken what seems to ME to be the mostly likely answers from a variety of books.
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  #78  
Old 10-25-2008, 11:22 PM
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she was a german princess. her brother was then german king i think. they wrote in diaries in english as well as their letters to each other. they spoke english to their children.all though they all spoke all three. a good book to listen to or read is the romanov prophies by steve berry. i could go on for hours but i wont.
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  #79  
Old 11-14-2008, 01:56 PM
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From the 'Life and Tragedy of Alexandra' CHAPTER II childhood
Samples of her handwriting at seven years old show it to be wonderfully neat and firm, and she had a very retentive memory. By the time she was fifteen, she was well grounded in history, literature, geography and all general subjects, particularly those relating to England and Germany. According to her letters to her eldest sister, she toiled without a murmur at dry works like Guizot's Reformation de la Litterature, the Life of Cromwell and Raumer's Geschichte der Hohenstaufen in nine volumes: compared with these, Paradise Lost, which she read in the intervals, must have seemed quite light reading! She had a French teacher, and though her accent was fair, she never became thoroughly at home in that language and always felt "cramped," as she said, in it, being at a loss for words. This hampered her later in Russia, where French was the official language at Court. English was, of course, her natural language. She spoke and wrote it to her brother and sisters, and later to her husband and children and to all those she knew well.

Listening to their conversation at luncheon, her interest in matters beyond her years was unconsciously awakened, and at thirteen Princess Alix looked and spoke like a much older girl. Her English point of view on many questions in later life was certainly due to her many visits to England at this most impressionable age.
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Old 11-29-2008, 01:01 PM
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>>English was, of course, her natural language.<<

After she joined her grandmother's, Queen Victoria's, she undoubtedly spoke English more than German, however, this was not her first language. German was. English came second in the royal German families. However, most of the royal children spoke many languages, therefore, they switched back and forth as those who know more than one language often do. What is meant that >>English ...her natural language...>> is that she personally felt more comfortable with English by the time she was engaged to the future Nicholas II. Why? She was surrounded by the English and hadn't been living in her father's Hesse, a German state.

You must realize that Queen Victoria's husband was German through and through. He prefer speaking German and the family did so behind closed doors.

The House of Hanover was German, not English. And, do take a closer look at the pedigree chart with all those yellow dots which show you the Germans walking around with grand titles.

During WWI there was a huge down play of the German heritages, including the use of German, in all the royal houses who were part of the countries fighting the Germans.

The House of Hanover was changed to an English name "Winsdor" which they borrowed from the royal residence [ The Royal Residences > Windsor Castle ]. It didn't make them less German it just made them appear English.

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