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My son Boris, myself, and my son KyrillYou would do well to bow and kiss my hand, or curtsy, whichever is the more appropriate. I am Her Imperial Highness the Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna the Elder, known in short-hand as the Grand Duchess Vladimir, and to my rather tiresome family as "Aunt Miechen." My husband, Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich, brother of Alexander III, passed away in 1909, but I remain an influential member of this family. My sons have been profound disappointments. Kyrill made the foolish choice to marry the ex-wife of Ernst-Ludwig of Hesse, the brother of that insufferable 'Empress' Alexandra Feodorovna. Boris and Andrei have married common women of questionable reputations, and my only daughter, Elena, married a Greek Prince--and provided me with my only hope.

Lord knows Nicky, that is, my nephew Nicholas II, and Alix have made a mess of everything! Does Alix even TRY? She is such a poor excuse for a hostess, so cold and unsmiling. Very unbecoming. Simplicity is the order of the day, and simplicity is for the simple-minded as far as I am concerned. The people want to see members of the Imperial Family in all their finery, I firmly believe this. They don't want their Emperor and Empress hidden away in the Alexander Palace or Livadia. They want to hear of glittering court life and magnificent balls, and imagine that someday, somehow, they might be a part of it. If they aren't in awe of us, we have no power over them.

I still can't quite believe Alix married Olga Nikolaevna off to the Prince of Wales. She threw a fit when Boris' name came up for the child, but she doesn't mind that she gets the Prince second, third, fourth hand because he is British, and more importantly, not a son of mine. If she likes Britain so much, she should have stayed there and spared us all her presence and meddling. Of course it is more surprising still that the British accepted the girl. I would have thought they'd have wanted Tatiana, who looks so much more the part of a Princess. Olga Nikolaevna is not as pretty, with the wide mouth, pug nose and large forehead, and generally looks too Slavic for sensible tastes. Acceptable, perhaps, for a Russian Grand Duchess, but hardly the visage of a Princess of Wales!

With my daughter ElenaTatiana, the poor child, really the prettiest and most promising of the four daughters, married to Christopher of Greece, of all people! I can see this as nothing but a ploy to keep the poor thing firmly laced to her mother's apron strings. Tatiana Nikolaevna could have made such a spectacular match. She is just the right sort of Imperial figure her mother is not. Even my Elena stands closer to the Greek throne than Tatiana and Christopher. Elena should do well to befriend the poor thing, a good ally to have, as Tatiana is so popular, and especially important to be on good terms with if--no, not if, WHEN--Elizabeth marries the Naslednik.

And Maria Nikolaevna! To allow her to marry some commoner! She could have done better. She isn't as slim as one would like, but she has a pretty face. Nor does she have the regal bearing Tatiana Nikolaevna has, she is so awkward and clumsy. How very convenient that the marriage laws need not apply when Their Majesties' children are concerned, but a stink must be made over my poor Kyrill! I almost wonder if the marriage was not some scheme to arouse sympathy--she married the soldier so soon after the revolution--that "Tsar's Daughter Marries One of Us" nonsense.

Anastasia Nikolaevna? Well, the girl is quite hopeless, I think. So uncouth, not as pretty as her sisters. Too short, and her figure leaves much to be desired. And now she is the crown princess of Belgium, married to that adorable Leopold of Belgium. A pity, really, such a good-looking boy with the plain and tomboyish Anastasia. He would have been so much better with one of my dear granddaughters, just as his father Albert should have had sense enough to have married my Elena and not that strange Bavarian duchess Elisabeth. Lord knows all those Bavarias are mad and completely unstable!

my granddaughter, Elizabeth, who will one day be Empress!Alexei Nikolaevich, the poor little Naslednik! I see how he looks at my Elizabeth, and I would be lying if I said it didn't please me immeasurably. Elizabeth might just be able to accomplish what I could not--become Empress. I had been so concerned with my sons' positions, it never occurred to me to think of one of my granddaughters and the Tsesarevich! I will work very hard to make sure Elizabeth is married to the Tsesarevich, and soon. Everyone knows his suffers from hemophilia, inherited from his mother's side of the family, and may not live a full, long life. He must marry Elizabeth and produce an heir before his illness does him in for good!

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The Romanovs - One Last Dance

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Aug 12, 2016 11:32 am

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