Saturday, March 21, 2020

"A being in close contact with the ineffable and divine..."

Grand Duchess Elizabeth in her nun's habit
Photo courtesy of Klimblim

"Although she is approaching fifty, she has kept her slim figure and her old grace. Under her loose white woolen hood, she was as elegant and attractive as in the old days before her widowhood when she still inspired profane passions… Her face in the frame of her long white woolen veil was alive with spirituality. Her delicate features and white skin, the deep, far-away look in her eyes, the low, soft tone of her voice and the luminous glow round her brow all betrayed a being in close contact with the ineffable and divine."

- From the memoirs of Maurice Paleologue about the Grand Duchess Elizabeth as a nun.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Marie of Saxe-Altenburg, Queen of Hanover

Queen Marie of Hanover
Portrait by Joseph Stieler
In the middle of the 19th century, the German kingdom of Hanover was ruled by King Ernest Augustus, a British prince by birth, who was also the Duke of Cumberland. Long before Ernest Augustus became king, he had married the rather controversial and scandalous Frederica of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Although their marriage can be said that it was out of love, their relationship with his family was quite sour. Frederica was disliked by most members of the British royal family and when Ernest Augustus became King of Hanover, he and Frederica wasted no time in setting up their court in Hanover. Frederica had only four years as queen and she died after an illness. She failed to endear herself with the people and as a result she did not become a popular queen.

Fortunately, her successor, the daughter-in-law she never met, was immensely popular with the people of Hanover.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Augusta of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, First German Empress

Augusta of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach,
Queen of Prussia and Empress of Germany
Empress Augusta, consort of Emperor William I and the first empress of Germany, was born a Princess of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach on September 30, 1811. She was the youngest daughter of Grand Duke Carl Frederick of Saxe-Weimar and Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia, a granddaughter of Catherine the Great.

Princess Augusta spent her formative years in the literary court of Weimar. She received a well-rounded education that was carefully supervised by her mother. Maria Pavlovna was a highly-cultivated woman who presided over the cultural development of Weimar, while Augusta's father was a simple and timid man who nevertheless enjoyed the works of Goethe. Maria Pavlovna instilled in her daughter the strict observance of etiquette and courtly manners, and above all else, the importance of performing one's duties. Thus, while Augusta grew up in the romantic atmosphere of the Weimar court, where Goethe and other well-known writers and musicians throughout Germany frequented the grand ducal palaces, she also turned into an intelligent and well-read woman who possessed a firm and independent character.

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