Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Empress Alexandra under strain
January 10, 1908
Emperor Nicholas II's "handsome consort is an object of such universal sympathy and good will, especially in America, where she is popularly believed to have exerted all of her influence over the emperor in behalf of liberalism and against the reactionary advice of his other relatives," the Marquise de Fontenoy writes today in her column, published in the Chicago Daily Tribune.
Many of Empress Alexandra's international supporters will be "grieved to learn that she has become a nervous wreck." She is suffering from "melancholia to such a degree that her reason is unhinged."
Russian and foreign specialists have been "called into consultation" and all agree that the "only hope for a cure" is for the Empress to leave Russia and go abroad to "almost entirely different surroundings of a soothing and quieting order, free from every care and anxiety."
Alexandra is "passionately devoted" to her husband and children, especially her three-year-old son Alexis, the heir to the throne. She has great fear for the safely of her husband and son and believes they are in "hourly acute danger at the hands of revolutionists and nihilists." This fear has "contributed greatly to her present state of health."
She believes that her presence by their sides "affords to them a certain amount of protection," as she is reminded of the assassination of her husband's uncle, Grand Duke Serge (who was her brother-in-law) who was the subject of many threats, but the would-be assassins would not throw their bombs if Serge's wife, Grand Duchess Elisabeth was with him.
Her doctors believe that is is "imperative" for the Empress to leave Russia to "recover her health of mind and of body." But it is also certain that her mental state would become "more pronounced and possibly incurable if she is parted from her husband and children." She will only leave Russia if she is accompanied by her husband and children.
Nicholas may "yield to her wishes" and travel with her and the children to Germany or England.
If Nicholas does choose to accompany Alexandra, he will most certainly name his younger brother, Grand Duke Michael, as regent. Michael is fond of his brother and will do everything in the best interests of the Emperor with "loyalty and without any thought of serving his own acquisition of the throne."
The Empress has been away from the "public view" for some time. At first it was suggested that she was recovering from a "stubborn case" of influenza, but it soon became apparent that her mental health issues could no longer be concealed. She is unable to take part in the "festivities of the St. Petersburg season" due to her current health issues.
It has been suggested that the Empress is suffering from "pronounced melancholia and of a complete nervous breakdown."