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Old 02-10-2008, 11:58 AM
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Tsarevitch Nicholas (Nixa) (1843-1865), the first fianc of Marie Feodorovna

Hello,

I'd like to start a thread on Tsarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich, the eldest son of Alexander II and Marie of Hesse who was called Nixa by his family.

Nixa was born 20 September 1843 at Tsarskoe Selo, and died at the age of 21 on the 24 of April 1865, at Villa Bermon, Nice.

He was considered handsome, elegant, gregarious, very well educated and was very popular during his short lifetime.

Nixa was the first fiance of the young princess Dagmar of Denmark. At the age of 16, Nixa was declared of age and his parents searched for a bride for him. They first set their eyes on the captivating Alexandra of Denmark however, Alexandra married the Prince of Wales and the Russians began to look at her younger sister, Dagmar. Nixa played the suitor and visited the Glucksborgs in Copenhagen where he impressed everyone with his dashing good looks and courtly manner. Dagmar fell deeply in love (although as little as they apparently knew each other, one wonders whether it was puppy love. Nixa was certainly a dashing figure to turn a young girl's head) Dagmar travelled to Russia the fall of 1864 to meet her fiance. However, during a wrestling match with his younger brother Grand Duke Alexander, (the future Alexander III called Sasha by the family) Nixa received a blow to the stomach from which he never recovered and he contracted a brochial illness over the winter. Sasha had to take his brother's place in the cotillion dance planned to honor Dagmar's arrival and Nixa died the next spring.

Some pictures:

. .

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v6...s/Nicholas.jpg
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Old 02-13-2008, 07:37 PM
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I don't think he's very dashing, but then again, my taste is the 21st century and not the 19th!
Ysbel, Nixa? Why is that? It seems, to me, an unusual nickname.
Do you speak/write Russian??
It's been awhile since I've read about the IF, what happened with the blow to the stomach? Who gave it?
Does this remind you of the Tudors?
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Old 02-13-2008, 07:46 PM
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Well the Russian nicknames tended to end in a Sasha, Nixa, Mischa.

The weird thing was that the future Alexander III gave the blow to the stomach when the brothers were wrestling so it did seem odd that he delivered the fatal blow that made him the heir to the Russian throne.

I was always struck by how in love Minnie seemed to be with Nixa and how heartbroken she was when he died. And then how easily she switched her love to Sasha who was a totally different kind of man.

I can't say he reminds me of the Tudors (he's too thin for Henry VIII) but he does remind me in manner and looks to his father Alexander II.

I know a few words of Russian that is it. I just know French and German.
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Old 02-13-2008, 07:59 PM
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Sorry, that's my ADD getting the better of me. It's plain to ME that the situation, future queen going to distant land, betrothed, husband dies, brother next in line takes his place. I'm sure all I left unsaid wasn't as clear!
I thought they would call him Nicky. Like Nicholas II?
Back in those days, they "did their duty" so it doesn't surprise me that Dagmar went to the next in line. (Wasn't it Victoria that said that "Well, Girls HAVE to marry?") However, what was the situation in DenmarK? If Dagmar just went home, would that have been okay? Or would there have been a scandal?
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Old 02-13-2008, 08:19 PM
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After Nixa's death, a heartbroken Minnie went home where she remained until ca 1866. Nixa died from tuberculosis.
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Old 02-13-2008, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Russophile View Post
Sorry, that's my ADD getting the better of me. It's plain to ME that the situation, future queen going to distant land, betrothed, husband dies, brother next in line takes his place. I'm sure all I left unsaid wasn't as clear!
I thought they would call him Nicky. Like Nicholas II?
Back in those days, they "did their duty" so it doesn't surprise me that Dagmar went to the next in line. (Wasn't it Victoria that said that "Well, Girls HAVE to marry?") However, what was the situation in DenmarK? If Dagmar just went home, would that have been okay? Or would there have been a scandal?
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.
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Old 02-13-2008, 08:29 PM
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After Nixa's death, a heartbroken Minnie went home where she remained until ca 1866. Nixa died from tuberculosis.
Yes that's right. I remember reading that. Was it tuberculosis of the spine? I don't know if the blow to the stomach caused his spine to get out of whack or what happened but it appeared that the wrestling injury caused some chain reaction that culminated in his death the next spring.
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Old 02-13-2008, 08:31 PM
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It seems that TB was a constant death threat back then. Was it rampant? Like a neo-plague?
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Old 02-13-2008, 08:33 PM
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Tuberculosis of the lung was very common, didn't Nicky's brother George have it? I don't know about tuberculosis of the spine though.
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Old 02-13-2008, 08:36 PM
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I believe he did from what I remember. Also Roussodana Sert got it in the 20's? or 30's? She married Jose Maria Sert who was married to Misia Sert pal to Coco Chanel. I only say it because she was Russian as well. Did they not have inoculations then? When did the TB "cure" come out? I would have thought that since they were royalty, they would have had better care than the general public.
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Old 02-13-2008, 08:40 PM
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I think what fascinates me so much about Nixa is the similarity with his father Alexander II.

They had a great physical similarity but beyond that Alexander II seemed very educated, enlighted, and was called the Tsar-Liberator. He wasn't as liberal as people thought but he was far more forward-thinking than any of his relatives. Nixa seemed to have not only Alexander's physical appearance but he also seemed to have some of Alexander's learning and his forward-thinking outlook which Sasha didn't have.

Sasha was a solider; he was pragmatic, followed orders and gave orders well but he wasn't a visionary. Nicky, his son, didn't seem to be a visonary either. However, from what I can read of Alexander II and Nixa they both had that visionary talent which makes you wonder what would have happened if Nixa hadn't died.
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Old 02-13-2008, 08:42 PM
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I believe he did from what I remember. Also Roussodana Sert got it in the 20's? or 30's? She married Jose Maria Sert who was married to Misia Sert pal to Coco Chanel. I only say it because she was Russian as well. Did they not have inoculations then? When did the TB "cure" come out? I would have thought that since they were royalty, they would have had better care than the general public.
I think it wasn't until the 30s. Before penicillin the rich were taken care of more comfortably than the rest of us but they didn't stand a better chance of getting healed of certain diseases like TB.

These diseases were killers no matter your social strata.
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Old 02-13-2008, 08:45 PM
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I think what fascinates me so much about Nixa is the similarity with his father Alexander II.

They had a great physical similarity but beyond that Alexander II seemed very educated, enlighted, and was called the Tsar-Liberator. He wasn't as liberal as people thought but he was far more forward-thinking than any of his relatives. Nixa seemed to have not only Alexander's physical appearance but he also seemed to have some of Alexander's learning and his forward-thinking outlook which Sasha didn't have.

Sasha was a solider; he was pragmatic, followed orders and gave orders well but he wasn't a visionary. Nicky, his son, didn't seem to be a visonary either. However, from what I can read of Alexander II and Nixa they both had that visionary talent which makes you wonder what would have happened if Nixa hadn't died.
Wasn't it a given that the second son automatically went into the military? Though all of them seemed to have military training.
What was Nixa's military background?
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Old 02-13-2008, 08:45 PM
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Originally Posted by ysbel View Post
Yes that's right. I remember reading that. Was it tuberculosis of the spine? I don't know if the blow to the stomach caused his spine to get out of whack or what happened but it appeared that the wrestling injury caused some chain reaction that culminated in his death the next spring.
You know, I don't know if it was tuberculosis of the spine. I just remember reading tuberculosis.
I've often wondered how different Russia would have been had Nixa lived. I think he was more like his father. When Alexander III became tsar he basically reversed all of the reforms his father made and became more of an autocrat. I think that helped set the stage for the revolution.f
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Old 02-13-2008, 09:06 PM
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Wasn't it a given that the second son automatically went into the military? Though all of them seemed to have military training.
Yes and that was true of other famous second sons like George V of England who started as a Navy man when he was just 14 and was quite put out to find out that he was going to be King of England.
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Old 02-13-2008, 09:14 PM
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Hmm. Interesting that. It seems now that Prince William is getting military training AND training in Kingship. Did Nixa have the same?
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Old 02-13-2008, 09:16 PM
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You know, I don't know. I assume he did, but there doesn't seem to be a lot written about him.
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Old 02-13-2008, 09:26 PM
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Good idea.
He died so young, he really didn't have much of a change to accomplish anything noteworthy, I don't think.
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Old 02-13-2008, 09:36 PM
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Well Nixa was photographed in a military uniform but that may have been honorary.

There are some pictures of Nixa clowning around with his brothers but I can't seem to find them.

I've read some contradictory stories about their upbringing. First I read that Marie of Hesse doted on Nixa and saved the best tutors and instructors for him. With Sasha and the other brothers, I read she gave them less skilled instructors and more boring education so that their education and learning would not outshine Nixa's. I read that she apparently didn't want the brothers to challenge Nixa for authority and power when it came his chance to rule Russia.

However another story I read about Nixa and Sasha was that they were extremely close and they shared the same tutor. That same article mentioned that Nixa secretly taught his younger brother some things from his studies which would lead one to believe that they didnt' have the same tutors.

But if Marie of Hesse destroyed the younger sons training and education in favor of Nixa, you can see how vulnerable the Russian Imperial Family were when Nixa died.

I think for the Russian Imperial Family, this may have almost been a tragedy comparable to Alexis having hemophilia.
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Old 02-13-2008, 09:59 PM
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Isn't it frustration when you read conflicting accounts like that? The one I am most familiar with is that Marie of Hesse doted on Nixa, he was the favorite.
I am certain that Nixa was better prepared for ruling that his brother. Since he was not in poor health and was so robust, there was no reason to think he would have an early death. Marie of Hesse and her relationship with her husband is an interesting discussion too. Maybe another thread?
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