Monday, September 28, 2009

Empress Alexandra provides for half-brother

Alexandra and new baby Anastasia 

September 28, 1901

The Marquise of Fontenoy reports in her column in the Chicago Daily Tribune that the Empress of Russia "is providing for the future of her 17-year half brother by securing for him a Muscovite title of nobility and a commission in the Russian army, Alexandra is also providing a liberal allowance to the young man.

It was Alexandra's older sister, Elisabeth, who is married to Grand Duke Serge, who suggested that something be done for their half-brother. Grand Duchess Ella "has always maintained a certain amount of sympathy for her fascinating stepmother."

The unnamed half-brother is apparently the result of the brief marriage between Grand Duke Ludwig IV of Hesse and by Rhine and Mme. Alexandrine Kolemine.

Madame Kolemine's first husband, Alexander, was a "drunken, brutal fellow," a very jealous man, "coupled with his wife's fondness for admiration and flirtation."

De Kolemine was the Russian Minister at Darmstadt. The Grand Duke was able to use his influence at the Russian court to secure a divorce for Alexandrine and to have her former husband transferred to the Far East.

The Grand Duke and Madame de Kolemine were married secretly on April 30, 1884, only several hours after his eldest child, Princess Victoria married Prince Louis of Battenberg. The news of the Grand Duke's marriage caused distress and consternation among Ludwig's family. To make matters worse, his mother-in-law, Queen Victoria (the mother of his first wife Alice) was in Darmstadt for Victoria's wedding. She was furious that this wedding "should have been celebrated while she was staying under his roof," and Victoria threatened to cut off an allowance she was giving him if he didn't have the marriage immediately annulled.

The Grand Duke was forced to acquiesce, and his new wife was quickly hustled out of Darmstadt. The marriage was ended, and Alexandrine was created Countess Romrod in her own right. She also received an allowance from the Grand Duke.

The Countess has since remarried, but her third husband should not be "saddled with the maintenance" with the Grand Duke's son. Mme. de Kolemine gave birth at Venice some months after the marriage was dissolved.

Empress Alexandra, "prompted by her sister, Elisabeth, has virtually adopted the boy and has undertaken to provide for his welfare, relieving his mother of all further anxiety on his behalf."

Elisabeth was the only member of the Grand Duke's family to show any kindness to Mme. de Kolemine. As Alexandrine was leaving the palace, Elisabeth sent to her, via a maid, "a bundle of rugs and a handsome fur" coat to use in the carriage. Elisabeth also expressed sympathy for Alexandrine's position, as she did not think it "a crime for a woman" to love her father.

[The Marquise, a nom de plume for the French noble wife of a British diplomat-cum-journalist, certainly had connections, but I think, at times, she was barking up the wrong tree.]


skindustrial68 said...

any idea who did the author of the article believed she was referring to? did Alexandrine actually have a child by the grand duke?

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

Most likely the story was false -- the Marquise was not reliable