in New York State (April 2016)
Monday, April 25, 2016
General Society of Mechanics & Tradesmen
20 West 44th Street
New York, NY
The Royal Oak Foundation with Co-Sponsors, The Hermitage Museum Foundation (USA) and The Victorian Society in America are proud to present an in depth lecture by Historian and Author, Helen Rappaport.
Following the Crimean War (1854-1856), an intense period of Russophobia took hold of the UK. While Queen Victoria had a deep mistrust of Russia—deeming it a place with an ‘unsafe throne’—rapprochement came as her grandchildren reached marriageable age and her ambitions for suitable dynastic unions became urgent. The Hesse Princesses Ella and her sister Alexandra were Victoria’s favorite granddaughters—she became a surrogate mother after their own mother Princess Alice died in 1878. While the Queen initially resisted Ella’s marriage to Grand Duke Sergey Alexandrovich, and Alexandra’s to Tsarevich Nicholas, eventually she conceded that both must be free to marry for love. Despite her misgivings, the Queen had an abiding influence over the upbringing of her great-grandchildren, who grew up in a very English domestic atmosphere at their home in Russia, spoke fluent English and revered their English ‘granny.’ After the Queen’s death in 1909, cordial relations between Britain and Russia continued and the entire Romanov family visited their English cousins at Cowes on the Isle of Wight. Sadly, this accord did not continue after the Revolution; King George V reneged on his offer of asylum to the imperial family, and Queen Victoria’s beloved granddaughters perished in the Russian Revolution of 1917. Spanning 80 years, from 1839 to the murder of the Romanovs, historian and best-selling author Helen Rappaport will explore the British Royal family’s tumultuous relationship with Russia.
This lecture is followed by a reception and book-signing.