The best site for all things about the Grand Duchess Vladimir is to look up Alexander Palace discussion forums" Some people on there have access to diaries and journals of the Imperial family. I read on there about where her nickname came from and I Think not 100 % sure it was from her youthful days in Mecklenburg Schwerrin. I have many great photos of her if you wish to send me a private email I can send them on to you. She is a tremendously interesting lady and deserves a biography.
What a treat! I find her one of the most interesting Romanovs of the later years. Nice that it is written by a Russian author, so the focus is not completely on the British aspects as is so often the case.
It seems that the book has 400 pictures, which makes me wonder if there is a lot of space for the actual biography. It seems that the book has been published by Arturo Beeche / eurohistory.
They say that Kyril inherited the pearls, Boris inherited the emeralds, Andrei inherited the rubies and Elena inherited the diamonds. After the revolution and war and they had no access to money it was vital they had these jewels to sell so they could live. Strangely there are not many photos of her rubies.
Do not feel sorry for the Dancer Mathilde. She was the one who dangled the two Grand Dukes on her hooks. They did not Pass her around as some suggest. She cleverly kept them baited and hooked. I love the little quote when a fellow dancer asked Mathilde what was it like to have Not One but Two Grand Dukes dancing at her feet. Her reply; And what is wrong with that! I have Two Feet!!!!!" After reading Imperial Dancer you will discover this lady was no ones victim.
Mathilde and her son Vova. She never revealed his paternity.
I have some quotes from the Alexander Palace discussion forums and quotes from Imperial Dancer by Coryne Hall. Hope this is allowed.
AP; It has been discussed many times that When Maria married Vladimir she was spying for Bismark in Prussia. Sasha -Tsar Alexander III - found out and told her off about it. This caused a bit of a rift between the two brothers Vladimir and Alexander. But it didn't last.
The restaurant scandal;
The actor Lucien Guitry was appearing in a play in St Petersburg, and one night at a restaurant Miechen and Vladimir found that he was present and invited Guitry and his entourage to join their gathering. Guitry along with his girlfriend joined the group, and as time went on and things got more and more raucous, a drunken Vladimir made a pass at Guitry’s girlfriend. Guitry then made a pass at Miechen (which I’m sure she did nothing to discourage) and an enraged Vladimir proceeded to threaten to kill Guitry. Naturally, Alex III was in a fearful rage about the whole thing and let it be known that M & V should leave town for France for a bit until things had cooled. [source ap forum]
Flight from Russia; from Imperial Dancer
After six interminable weeks the Semiramisa, an Italian liner arrived in port bound for Venice. The Gr Dss Vladimir paid for their fares by using a valuable brooch as security. The Semiramisa entered the Bosphorus on the 12th March and anchored in the quarantine area. The passengers were led to decontamination rooms where they were asked to undress. The Gr Dss refused. Apart from money and jewellery, which they were allowed to keep in a parcel, everything was fumigated including luggage and they were sent to the showers before being allowed back on board the ship. They spent 3 days in Constantinople waiting for visas. Once in Venice the Russian Consul procured a special train for the Grand Duchess on which they all travelled to the South of France. Andrei accompanied his mother to Cannes, the others went to Cap d’Ail where Andrei joined them later.
Rescueing her jewels;
Her jewel collection was safely locked
in a hidden safe in the palace and remained undiscovered
despite repeated searches by the Bolsheviks. Shortly
thereafter along with Bertie Stopford (the British SIS agent)
the 17 yr old Grand Duke Georgi (son of KR and Mavra)and his cousin Boris son of the grand duchess recovered the jewels from the palace. The jewels then found there way to Cartier in Paris in a diplomatic pouch. [how true the -dip pouch- is I don’t know.] Cartier has archival photographs of all of the Grand Duchess’s jewels taken in 1920. [edited from magazin de Russia]
Grand Duke Boris had to go on this dangerous mission back to St Petersburg as he knew the palace intimately having grown up there. He would have known the best way of sneaking in. Grand Duke Georgi possibly acted as a look out, and Bertie Stopford probably knew how to bribe their way in and out of the country. With revolutionaries and Bolshevik’s on the look out for any of the Imperial family, it was certainly a dangerous undertaking. No doubt the Grand Duchess spent an anxious time of it waiting for their safe return.
Meichens death; from Imperial Dancer
In 1920, Boris, Kyril, Andrei and Elena had all arrived at the Hotel La Souveraine in Contrexeville to find their mother desperately ill. By now, Miechen was in great pain. She finally lost consciousness and died on the 6th September. Her jewels were now divided among her children, Boris her favourite - received her magnificent emeralds; Kyril the pearls; Andrei the rubies and Elena the diamonds. Boris sold some of his mother’s magnificent emeralds to Cartier in Paris in 1927, and Barbara Hutton ended up buying some pieces also John D. Rockefeller bought the 107 carat emerald brooch in 1954 from Cartier.
I highly doubt that she was a spy for Bismarck, Maria didn’t like the Prussians whom Bismarck supported.