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Old 02-14-2008, 01:16 PM
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Now why would she do that to the future of Russia? Didn't Catherine the Great take all her grandsons (not that THAT was the thing to do!!) and have them all taught equally from the best?? That, it seems to me, to be the most logical way to go about it!

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Old 02-15-2008, 06:13 PM
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Because she thought the future of Russia was in Nixa, not the other sons.

If you read about the genesis of primogeniture, its really fascinating. In the beginning, kings would divide their kingdom equally between their sons. That way Charlemagne's son Louis the Pious split up his vast empire between his three sons and Italian noble families split up their inheritance equally between all sons until well into the Renaissance.

However, splitting up property between all one's sons meant that in a few generations after equal splitting of the kingdom between several sons meant that each son's kingdom became smaller and smaller with each generation. After a few generations when the ties of blood became weakened, the cousins would fight bloody battles with each other and the kingdoms became too small to govern effectively.

So it became standard for kings to name one son as the sole heir to the throne. This was the premise of the movie The Lion In Winter, where Henry II of England had to choose his heir among his 3 sons. After awhile even that became less stable as kings on a whim changed who their heir was going to be.

In fact Peter the Great still maintained the right of naming his own heir but by his time, most kings left their kingdoms to the oldest son for the sake of security. People knew who the heir was, he had a lifetime to prepare, and the plan was that there were fewer surprises.

This worked overall surprisingly well, except when the oldest son died. As for why Marie and Alexander stunted the growth and education of their youngest sons I can only think it had to do with the fact that up till a few years previously, the crown of Russia didn't necessarily go to the eldest son. Peter the Great set expectations that his eldest son would not succeed him, Catherine the Great overthrew her husband, Peter the Great was succeeded by his wife Catherine I.

So the tradition of the first son inheriting the throne I don't think was as firmly ensconced in Russia and so Marie and Alexander may have genuinely worried that some of Nixa's brothers would try to overthrow him from the throne and so they sought to blunt their education and make them unimaginative dull creatures so that they would never even think of overthrowing their oldest brother Nixa.

Certainly if Nixa had been alive, the rather unpretentious and methodical Sasha would have never (I believe) led a coup to overthrow his brother. And I think that was the purpose of the difference in education.

However, when Nixa died, it had tragic side effects.

"One thing we can do is make the choice to view the world in a healthy way. We can choose to see the world as safe with only moments of danger rather than seeing the world as dangerous with only moments of safety."
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Old 02-15-2008, 06:18 PM
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Thank you Ysbel, for putting all of that together. I do think all hopes were pinned on Nixa because he was the oldest. You mentioned A Lion in Winter...what a wonderful movie I still enjoy.
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Old 02-15-2008, 07:12 PM
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Oh ditto Lex and Y!! (Or X and Y? )
Love, Love, LOVE the movie. Hepburn was FANTASTIC!!
But wouldn't they have wanted to marry off the men a la Albert to strengthen ties with other countries?
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Old 03-29-2009, 11:37 PM
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Originally Posted by ysbel View Post
Your ADD is no worse than mine!

I always thought Nicky was the English nickname for Nicholas like Alex is for Alexander. I thought that Alix gave Nicholas his nickname rather than his family and she was raised more English than German.

So in English, we have Nicky, Alex (or Alec), and Mike whereas in Russian they have Nixa, Sasha and Mischa. BTW when Jacqueline Bisset dated Alexander Gudonov she always called him Sasha in private, never Alex. She said Alex was not his name.

I'm sure that Minnie did the accepted thing by marrying Sasha but it surprised me how much she seemed to throw her heart into loving first Nixa and then Sasha. Queen Mary seemed to first dutifully stand by the Duke of Clarence and then George V but she didn't seem to throw her heart into each relationship as Minnie did.
I think Queen Mary did throw her heart into marrying George V actually, but she didn't show it as much because she wasn't that type of person. She was more reserved than Marie F. Marie F loved both brothers, but I think their shared grief over Nixa's death was one thing that really helped MF and Alexander III create a shared bond in the first place, whereas Queen Mary defintely wasn't in love with Eddy, but in time was indeed in love with her husband George V, their's was a very happy marriage as revealed if you read biographies of them and his letters to her to quoted in them. MF was lucky in finding a bond with both of the brothers she was supposed to marry, whereas Alexander III, in love with a court lady before his brother's death, had to work harder to love MF, although eventually it's obvious they loved each other equally. Nixa's death was likely more of a tragedy for Russia given his future potential for Russia, than a personal tragedy for MF or the Romanovs.

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marie feodorovna, marie of hesse, nixa, tsarevitch nicholas

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