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  #261  
Old 06-28-2010, 08:50 PM
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Icons are beautiful. But that is not what took over her life. I have done that cruise, too. She didn't lose "Most" of her family. She was too young to remember a brother who died when she was one. Yes, the loss of her mother would be traumatic and, perhaps, the death of her bother might have lingered with her, but she was 6. I lost a sister when I was 15 and my father and first husband died 1 month to the day apart when I was 47, but I went on with life, as most people do. I do not think this accounts for her dour and cold personality.
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  #262  
Old 06-29-2010, 10:25 PM
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Red face

Countess, forgive me, but I believe you are being just a bit cold here. Alix lost her sister May on November 15th and her mother on December 14th, both to diphtheria. At 6, she was quite old enough to understand those losses, especially that of her mother. To compare a six-year-old's reaction to two close deaths with that of a 47 year-old is unfair. At 47, you recognize that death is a part of life; at 6 you do not. For those who insist that she was inherently cold, please remember that her nickname in the family (given before her mother's death) was "Sunny", based on her temperament. That surely says something about the young Alix, at least, it does to me.
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  #263  
Old 06-29-2010, 10:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vasillisos Markos View Post
Erickson cites letters or diary entries written by Alexandra where she muses about the loss of people in her life and its affect on her, but although she mentions the death of May several years later, and the loss of her father, Alexandra does not mention once the death of Princess Alice. Curious.
Vasilliosos, not necessarily. The loss of her mother could have been SO painful to her that she found it impossible to discuss with others, even within her own diaries.
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  #264  
Old 06-29-2010, 11:02 PM
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Pamela, Your theory may be right. But I still find it strange that she could mention missing May when she was older but not mention her mother. Maybe it is suppressed anger at Alice "leaving" her as a young child that also caused her to omit mentioning her mother. Grief can take many forms.
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  #265  
Old 06-29-2010, 11:09 PM
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Interesting thought, Vasillisos, thank you!
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  #266  
Old 07-09-2010, 09:38 PM
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Alix and the Autocracy

I've got another question for all of you.

After her mother's death, Alix spent a good deal of time with her grandmother, Queen Victoria. Victoria was the pre-eminent monarch of her day, and reigned as a constitution monarch. While a bit stodgy and set in her ways, Victoria was a realistic woman (Prince Albert aside) and rather forward-looking. Consider how she and Albert prepared Vicky to be Frederick of Prussia's consort, and the plans that couple had to bring reform to the Prussian Empire.

Why then, with that background, did Alix so embrace the concept of autocracy when she married Nicky? Given her influence on Nicky, imagine what might have been had she gently prodded him toward continuing his grandfather's path toward reform!
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  #267  
Old 07-10-2010, 02:34 PM
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That is an excellent question. I, think, Alix's personality was one cause. She was morose and shy. She loved Nicholas a great deal and felt that autocracy was his due. She had few initmate friends in Russia and she surrounded herself with religious zealots and intolerant courtiers. Vikky was very intelligent and learned and understood the lesson of the changing world, I, think, Alexandra was overly bright and stuck to her guns out of fear.
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  #268  
Old 07-10-2010, 05:43 PM
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I think Alix's deep sense of morality played into it, and remember Prince Albert was often called a prude. She found the Russian court morally loose and felt she and Nicky were everyone's moral superiors. Perhaps this reinforced the ideas Nicky already had about absolute rule that came from his father and tutor. Some Romanovs had more liberal views but also lead liberal personal lives as well, so they were not to be trusted with political decisions if their they were scandalous in private. So Nicky was, in Alix's eyes, the best autocrat there could be: he had birthright and morally upstanding character.
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  #269  
Old 07-10-2010, 06:07 PM
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Countess, EmpressRouge, I can't tell you what a joy it is to be part of a forum where the contributors are so erudite and thoughtful! I must add Russophile, MAfan and Vaillisos to that list. I've participated in other forums where the discussions have been so shallow and superficial as to be quintessentially frustrating and no one seems to have a good grasp of either the history or the personalities involved. The Russian Imperial family, especially the penultimate and ultimate generations prior to the revolution, has been a passion of mine for years, and you all just continue to add to my pleasure. Thank you all so much!
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  #270  
Old 07-10-2010, 10:00 PM
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I think Alix wanted to support her husband and believed that the Russian people, not necessarily the aristocracy which she did not like, wanted a strong hand to rule them. It was her belief in her husband, and his autocratic powers, which probably blinded her to the reality that despotic reigns rarely end well and would have prevented her from embracing a constitutional monarchy. However, if Nicholas had been so inclined to move in that direction, she probably would have supported him. I think that if Alexander, Nicholas' father, had continued on the path of reform as his father had, Nicholas might have done so but because Alexander was an autocrat, Nicholas wanted to be one too.
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  #271  
Old 07-11-2010, 12:28 AM
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Cool

I enclose the following from Marlene's excellent blog. The last comment made by the Grand Duke tells it all. Nicholas wasn't about to change how he ruled and I'm sure Alexandra agreed with him. Her grandmother Queen Victoria is said to have disliked anyone Russian and her attitude may have been passed on to her granddaughter especially when Alexandra was exposed to the Russian Court life and it's lax morals. In addition the Russian population was poor and uneducated so they must have seemed crude to Alexandra in relation to the German and English people she was used to. I'm sure she fully supported the idea that for Nicholas to rule over his country, an iron rule was the only way to keep the peasants in check.

Link is courtesy of RoyalMusings Web Blog by Marlene Koenig.

Royal Musings: Grand Duke Alexander talks of escape
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  #272  
Old 07-11-2010, 05:44 AM
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Alix was the much in-love wife of Nicholas; in order to marry him she had to change her life under several points: she was a devote Lutheran, and had to convert to Russian Orthodox; she was German, but had to give up her "germanophilia" and tried to become as Russian as she could (at least politically; under several other points, she sensationally failed); last but not least, she marry the Tsar and Autocrat of All the Russias, and therefore changed her political views (even supposing that before her marriage she was a liberal and supporter of the Constitutional Monarchy) becoming a strong supporter of the autocracy: as wife of the Autocrat it was simply her duty.

Btw, under this point Alix wasn't the only "failure" among Queen Victoria's descendants: i.e. Alix' cousin, the German Emperor Wilhelm II, who despite being the son of two liberal parents and the grandson of Queen Victoria (and despite the strong admiration he felt for his grandmother) wasn't liberal at all and definitely preferred autocracy.
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  #273  
Old 07-11-2010, 08:43 AM
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It is true that both Alexandra and Wilhelm were very fond of Queen Victoria, but in their respective countries, their belief was "when in Rome, do as the Romans do"
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  #274  
Old 07-11-2010, 12:38 PM
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Alix was brought up to the end of the reign of her grandmother. She always ignored the problems of the beginning and the middle of reign. She was in the English Court as private individual and saw nothing of the English system or politicians. Victoria had the longest English reign also she was more than a queen it was the Queen, the symbol of England. Alix thus only saw the "Queen" - for her Victoria was her beloved grandmother (thus a queen necessarily good) and the Queen the English State.
His father reigned over a tiny principality where in pratice his absolute power meant nothing. It was up in fact to the German Empire, and quiet Hesse had perfectly agreed to share the power with councillors and municipalities
Alix lived in countries " without drama " and " without political blocking " where the Monarch was respected loved and installed comfortably in a democracy. She was never interested in why and how.
And when she arrived in Russia she found simply for her a monarchy. When she understood that it was still different from England she wrote to Victoria that everything was normal, that her grandmother did not have to ask her to be interested in the democratization of Russia, that the monarch was loved in Russia. He also held his power from God, and he the Russian sovereign had respected this responsibility and applied "rationally" all which ensued from the power of divine right: the absolute dictatorship. If the "servants" were good, then we could delegate them something.
All described her nature "autocratic". The Minister of Hesse as the English ambassador said she was a born autocrat, and her marriage allowed he to express it.
We have to understand that Alix was the last girl Hesse, and far from being the most attractive, the most graceful and the most opened. She had several cousins " descendants of Victoria " … It was not an interesting party, subjected to competition and it attracted no man except for the Czar who dreamt about own family and had an idealistic heart he felt in love with her when she was a child, when she considered him like a very serious crown prince. She was not like the others who thought that Nikolai was a good guy but not the Man of the situation.
I think that Alix was secretly a proud nature under her natural shyness. Many persons hide their pride behind the shyness.
When she became the wife of Nicolai, she not only became Czarina, she became somebody, not a ghost only known by her family.
Countess Kleinmichel described the mechanisms of the character of the Czarina and noticed that the Empress surrounded herself only with persons whom she could dominate, who were dependent on her: a Caucasian princess in wheelchair, a stupid lady's companion, modest aristocrats or servants. Who would have had without her no chance to enter in the Court and would not write against her.
Alix isolated herself because in spite of her rank, she dominated nobody. She hated the crowd and the ceremonies, but never created a new protocol, she relieved nothing. Better she required that the aristocrats stay in the Court, that the promotions depend on their place to the Court while she maintained nobody, and wanted the extraordinary pump of big ceremonies to show the imperial rank of her family.
Alix was shy, it was not her own fault, furthermore she suffered from her physical appearance: not only she blushed but all her person stiffened under the influence of her shyness and people did not perceive her shyness but rather her disdain and her coldness. Immoral or not, the good society was frightened by the condemnation of the Czarina ( no big personal expenses but Alix maintained legions of servants and won't simplify the organization on the model of the other royal houses, she fired Ninjinski, she proclaimed her moral superiority but had never opened the book of the orthodoxy the Philocalia, and frequented quacks), by her faith that she was more Russian than them while she understood nothing, she said loved the people but did not frequent them and her ideas nevertheless of divine inspiration brought no improvement, her help was in the charity but not in the construction of a better life and a system which would make the people escape the poverty.
She bore no contradiction. When a member her family pointed out t a fault or an opposite opinion, she answered that her husband was an autocrat. If Alix found the remark acerbic she fired the person. She fired her sister, took away the cousins of her husband.
When Kerensky denounced the political and moral failure of tsarism to the Duma, Alix wrote to her husband that it was necessary to make him execute (later the opposite Czar spoke with him and found him honest whereas his wife snubbed him and was hardly polished).
Her faith, for Madam Kleinmichel, Protestant or orthodox later, was the same. Alix knew that God did not make the difference between riches and poors. But she was never able to be resolved in it. With the drama of the haemophilia of her son, she convinced herself that God was going to make a gesture. It's normal and human, every religious parents wait for a miracle. But she exceeded widely the standard. She thought that by frequenting a mujik and by speaking to him , she would show humility, and that this poor man could be only the instrument of God, God lover and supporter of the dynasty and the absolutism.
I think that Alix was an autocrat much more by her real nature than by the idea which in front of not still educated people and enough developed economically only a strong power could hold. Unconsciously, she loved her peoples exactly because they could not question the tsarism (at least she believed it) the middle and high classes even from the farming community will want an evolution.
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  #275  
Old 07-20-2010, 10:06 PM
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reginalix, wow! That's a lot to wade through and digest, but I appreciate your response.
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  #276  
Old 07-21-2010, 12:10 AM
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Cool

Thank you for a very thought provoking response, you have delved deeply into Alexandra's personality and come up with an interesting point of view.
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  #277  
Old 08-08-2010, 12:12 PM
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Moving on from the Tsar's butt cheeks . . . I am reading Lili Dehn's biography of Alexandra, The Real Tsaritsa and although I am only a couple of chapters into the book, two things strike me. First, Alexandra explained to Lili that she cried at her brother's wedding not because she was being displaced as chief hostess but because if was the first "festival" since her mother had died and the memory of her mother was everywhere! Second, Alexandra told of her father's "intermittent" kindnesses.

The first item does not really surprise me but I would think her sister's weddings had also been festivals and didn't Victoria get married in Hesse (Elizabeth was married in Russia) thereby evoking memories of Alice? Second, and more importantly, I had always believed or read that the Grand Duke was very kind to his children and adored by them. Why would Alexandra talk of his "intermittent" kindnesses? Can someone explain?
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  #278  
Old 08-14-2010, 06:46 AM
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When done with this book try "Alexandra" by Carolly Erickson. Very interesting book. Alexandra does not come through as a quiet, religious, misunderstood, very sympathetic person.
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  #279  
Old 08-14-2010, 11:42 AM
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I'm thinking it's titled "The Last Empress" ??
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  #280  
Old 08-14-2010, 12:27 PM
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Right you are. Alexandra The Last Tsarina is the full title.
Did you read the book? What did you think of it?
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