Friday, April 11, 2014

Grand Duchesses rebel against arranged marriages

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April 11, 1914

There will be "much sympathy" in America for the young Grand Duchesses Olga and Tatiana of Russia, who, according to reports from St. Petersburg, are "manifesting a pronounced objection" to marriages arranged for them by "statesmen and diplomats.

Grand Duchess Olga was to have become the "consort" of either Crown Prince Boris of Bulgaria or Crown Prince Alexander of Serbia, while her younger sister, Tatiana was "selected" to be the bride of Prince Carol of Romania, the eldest son of Crown Prince Ferdinand.

These two young royals have been "afforded the opportunity of looking over the suitors for their hands."    A dispatch to the Chicago Daily Tribune notes that the two grand duchesses have given "expression to the most unvarnished disapproval of the swains."  They will "absolutely refuse to sacrifice their future happiness" to an arranged marriage and "lifelong misery: all for "considerations of policy."

Grand Duchess Olga and Grand Duchess Tatiana were encouraged by the example of the "lovely" Princess Elizabeth of Romania, sister of Prince Carol, who announced "her resolve" in refusing the hand of Crown Prince George of Greece.

At first, she appeared to support the planned marriage, but after the recent visit of Crown Prince George to Bucharest,  Elisabeth lost all interest.  The meeting appears to have had the "effect of destroying her illusions" concerning Prince George.  She has made it clear she will not consider him as a "future husband."

There is no longer a real need to force young royals into repugnant marriages without considering their own views.   History has shown that such arranged marriages rarely ever "strengthen the bond of amity" between the two countries.

When Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna married Prince Wilhelm of Sweden in 1908, many assumed that there would be a "radical change" between the two nations.  Unfortunately, the marriage collapsed.  Maria Pavlovna found her life in Sweden to be intolerable.  She left her young son and her husband and returned to live in Russia, and the marriage was dissolved.

As the two eldest daughters of Emperor Nicholas II,  Olga and Tatiana are aware of their important position, and they know they will marry well.  They have made it known that they will have a say in the discussions of their marriages.

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