Tag Archives: Her storyline

2 PeasantOlga_and_Anastasia_Nikolaevna_with_peasant_children_in_Mogilev (1)

Anastasia’s Sisters: Olga’s Story

The fairy tale/alternative history movie, Anastasia, is a favorite. Her sisters have compelling stories and each deserve a movie as well.

Olga, the eldest of Anastasia’s siblings was sympathetic, smart, and rebellious. reading7!Olga_Nikolayevna,_1913
She worked as a Red Cross nurse with her sister, Tatiana, where she met normal people including common men…soldiers–whom she loved. Olga stands out in her family because of her  gift of foresight and sorted between through what was truth.

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A disgusting truth about her family was they shared an odd bond with Rasputin. Her mother relied too much on him. Olga clashed with her mother often. Olga seems to be the only one in her immediate family who was suspicious of him.
One of her boyfriends, a soldier named Dmitri Chakh-Bagov, told Olga he would kill Rasputin if she wanted. When Rasputin was killed by a relative, Olga considered that maybe it was best for Russia. She didn’t approve that it was a cousin who murdered him, though.

Fellow Red Cross nurse and co-worker, Valentina Ivanovna Chebotareya, reflected that Olga had dreams to “get married, always live in the country side winter and summer, see only good people and no one official.”

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Olga brought herself from her wishing thinking to reality. Gleb Botkin, son of the Romanov family  doctor, believed Olga “understood the general situation better than member of her family, including even her parents…She had little illusions in regard to what the future held in store for them, and in consequence was often sad and worried.”

Little brother, Alexei, and Olga on the train to what would end up being their final destination in 1918. This picture shows an aging and wise princess.

Little brother, Alexei, and Olga on the ship to what would end up being their final destination in 1918. This picture shows an aging and wise princess.



There’s a prayer in one of Olga’s notebooks that support that belief. The end sums up Olga’s feelings well: “Bless us with prayer and give our humble soul rest in this unbearable, dreadful hour. At the threshold of the grave, breathe into the lips of your slaves inhuman strength—to pray meekly for our enemies.”

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Sources:

Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna of Russia

Russia’s Lost Princesses Documentary 1/2.
www.youtube.com

Russia’s Lost Princesses Documentary 2/2. www.youtube.com

Images:

Olga with peasant children, circa

Grand Duchess Olga Nikolayevna. circa 1913

Olga Nikolaevna in the Mauve Room, Alexander Palace

Alexei and Olga on ship, 1918

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Review of Catherine of Braganza: Charles II’s Restoration Queen

Thanks to Sarah-Beth Watkins’ Catherine of Braganza: Charles II’s Restoration Queen, we finally get a solid biography of the Portuguese princess turned queen of England.

As the title suggests, this biography mainly concentrates on Catherine’s years as queen consort to Charles II. However, Watkins does nicely provide a rare glimpse of Catherine’s life before her marriage and after the death of Charles II.

Catherine book

Whether it was the beginning, middle, or ending of Catherine’s story, a reoccurring theme is the difficulties of being a princess and a queen. Through good storytelling, this biography gives information about what real life is like for royal women. They constantly get judged publicly, have obligations to follow, and have to pick and choose their battles carefully. Watkins gives the valuable insight: “A princess, and often a queen, must do as she was told.”

A common hardship being married to a king is often his affairs. Catherine goes down in English history as a tragic queen who had to deal with a husband who womanized a lot. Far too often, though, I read books and blogs that describe Catherine being “desperately in love” with her unfaithful husband. Watkins doesn’t jump to that conclusion. Instead, she gives us stories in which show the tension and tenderness between Catherine and Charles. We also get more details of what Catherine did away from the royal court and Charles.

Catherine of Braganza: Charles II’s Restoration Queen is a valuable read. The more you get to know this queen, the more you agree with the observation of Minette, Charles II’s sister, about Catherine: “It is impossible not to love her.”

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Link:
Catherine of Braganza: Charles II’s Restoration Queen

Grownup Elizabeth 2

Elizabeth Arline

I see the sweetest girl at church
Sitting in the front pew
So should I continue
This painful search?

Elizabeth Arline
I try to learn as I pray
But with my amen, you get away
Like you did at age nineteen.

I wish you could show
The start of your short life
To the last months you were a wife
I know there’s more to know.

I can still hear that lullaby
You sang as you left this earth
Just days after child birth
When carried to the sky.

Elizabeth Arline
I don’t know if you’re pleased
I don’t know if you’re at peace
It’s probably somewhere in between.

As for me, I’m not serene
You stay in my mind
And tell me to search and find
As our stories intertwine.

I will find your story
I promise I will
Sweet and lovely Elizabeth Arline.

 

(Picture from FamilySearch.com)

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Princess Lamballe: Dealing With Moral and Political Clashes

Early morning on  inauguration day. I  was browsing Facebook and came across some fantastic links about peace and coming together. Other people posted how they hate, hate everything about the new leadership. I think it’s understandable. It’s hard to know exactly what to do. How do we support our government without compromising our own beliefs?

Then a name came to mind.

Lamballe.

Princess Marie Louise of Savoy, also known as the “princess de Lamballe”, was a cousin-in-law and good friend to Marie-Antoinette. (For this post I will refer to princesse de Lamballe as Princess Lamballe.)

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Princess Lamballe was an intellectual, open to new ideas, but was opinionated and a staunch Bourbon royal family supporter. She even went to England in hopes of gathering supporters for the French royal family. She went back to France and was in the Queen’s service till she was separated from the royal family.

Princess Lamballe was brought to trial September 3, 1792 where she was asked to make a promise to liberty and denounce the King, Queen, and Monarchy.

This is a what-would-you-do moment. What could you do—would you disown yourself, people you love, your own belief system or give in to something you don’t believe in? What would keep peace?

I suspect Princess Lamballe had a feeling a moment like this would come.

She agreed to make an oath to Liberty and Equality but would not denounce the King, Queen, and monarchy. Her trial ended with the words, “emmenez madame,” which means, “take madame away.” She was then taken out to the street where she was tortured and murdered. When I found out about this particular murder in history, I was of course horrified. Just replace some nouns dropped in her trial, and you see how relevant her trial is to today.

I hope there won’t be violence no matter how much we disagree. I pray for peace and that I can act peacefully. I’ll still fight for what I believe in. I admit I’m still unsure how. That’s why I see Princess Lamballe, who lived in the eighteenth century, as a new kind of hero. I’m beginning to recognize these kinds of heroes more. They have such diverse beliefs than the new leadership yet show respect to the government and try to be unified. It’s fortunate we have such great examples living in these times because it’s tough. It’s easier said than done.

Sources and Further Readings:
“Elders Oaks, Holland counsel young adults regarding political divisions and life’s changes.” Deseret News. Accessed January 21, 2017
“The Death of the Princesse de Lamballe”  MadameGuillotine.org. Accessed January 21, 2017.
“Princess Marie Louise of Savoy”  Wikipedia. org. Accessed January 21, 2016

Images:
Portrait of the Princess of Lamballe by Anton Hickel, 1788.
Portrait of Madame de Lamballe by Louis-Edouard Rioult .

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The Princess, the King, and the Tyrant

It’s strange to start out with the moral at the beginning of the story, but that’s exactly what I’m going to tell you. No, Maximilien Robespierre will tell you:

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Maximilien Robespierre was a well-spoken leader who led with terror.

 

“Citizens, take warning; you are being fooled by false notions.”

Those words are taken from an address to justify the execution of Louis XVI.

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King Louis XVI of France wanted peace.

It also sums up what others would feel toward Robespierre as time went on. Basically, it leads to the question: What is truth?

Maximilien Robespierre had pushed for Louis XVI’s execution but wasn’t for Princess Elisabeth’s, the King’s sister.

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Princess Elisabeth of France. The King’s youngest sibling.

Yet, she was executed May 10, 1794. And a couple months later, Robespierre would be executed.

The lives of the Princess, the King, and the Tyrant were connected way before the French Revolution.

Losses

An important place to start is the year of 1764. It was important to both the Robespierre and the Bourbon families.

In May, Maximilien Robespierre turned six, and the royal Bourbons welcomed a baby princess.

In July, Robespierre’s mother gave birth—to a stillborn son. She died soon after. Robespierre’s sister recalled in her memoirs this death changed him. He lost his childhood. In addition to that, his father left the family. The man who was supposed to be one of the most important  role models in a young boy’s life distanced himself from his children. I consider this to be Robespierre’s first major rejection.

The Bourbon children lost their parents to death within three years of Princess Elisabeth’s birth.

Successes

Despite losing parents young, Louis, Elisabeth, and Robespierre were all very intelligent and accomplished individuals. Just to mention some examples: Louis excelled in languages; Elisabeth in mathematics; Robespierre in rhetoric. All three wanted to be models of virtue. The Bourbon children took a religious approach while Robespierre leaned on secular philosophies.

Elisabeth carried a certain charm from her earliest days. Despite being a wild child, Elisabeth grew up to be lovely and known for her piety and wit. There were three proposed marriages, but in the end, she and her brother, now King, agreed that she would stay with the family.

Sometime early in Louis’ reign, he and his wife stopped by the school Robespierre attended. In fact, Robespierre was handpicked to give a speech in Latin at the special ceremony for the King and Queen. It turned out to be a dismal day. It was rainy, the monarchs were running late, and when they did arrive, they stayed in their carriage for the speech and ceremony. They left promptly after the ceremony. Robespierre had just been rejected by high society.

Life’s not fair! Right, Robespierre?

But Robespierre was a bright student and would eventually move up his way into politics after completing school. He started on a small scale during the king’s early reign. Louis and Marie-Antoinette had more of a positive image then.

To someone like Robespierre, it probably seemed as if the King had everything. Besides not agreeing with the King’s politics, I think there were other things that Robespierre  would find bothersome about the King. Louis XVI had obtained power through family deaths. He had a beautiful family, and he had a live sibling born in 1764. The King got a free pass while Robespierre slaved away to get to the top.

Annoying Sister

Elisabeth annoyed her sister-in-law at times. She could surprise her brother. But there was never any doubt that these individuals cared for one another, and that the King and Queen would be eternally grateful to Elisabeth for staying with the family to the very end.

Elisabeth felt she was following God’s plan for her. She was heaven sent in the eyes of Louis and his family.

She was certainly a type of nuisance for Robespierre. If only she had escaped like some of her other family members, he wouldn’t have been caught in a desperate situation.  He fought for her at her trial. But he lost. He just wanted her to be exiled, not guillotined.

People marveled at her poise during her trial and execution.

She had just turned thirty the week before she was executed in May 1794.

Fooled by False Notions

More and more people considered themselves “fooled by false notions.” The new government had stressed equality and virtue— so why were so many being punished and put to death?

Robespierre and his comrades became distrustful of one another. They too felt they had been fooled. They weren’t as loyal as they professed they would be. He had helped to reform this new society, and now he and former allies were betraying each other. This was  Robespierre’s third and final rejection.

Robespierre was executed in July 1794. Had his stillborn brother lived, he would have turned thirty a few weeks before—the same age as Elisabeth, who had met her death in her birthday month of May for being loyal to family. An eerie coincidence.

While I don’t accept that Robespierre is scapegoat of history, I do feel sorry for him. He had all these ambitions and felt that to fulfill them, he needed to take away life. In the end, the curse he set on so many rebounded on him.

 

Sources:

Maxwell-Scott Mary Moniac. Madame Elizabeth de France, 1764-1794.

Robespierre, Charlotte. Charlotte Robespierre’s Memoirs: Part 1.By   http://revolution-fr.livejournal.com/2370.html  accessed August 16, 2016.

Ten Brink, Jan. Robespierre and the Red Terror. 1899.

Trail and Execution (French): de Beauchesne, Alicide-Hyacint

Images:
Princess Elisabeth of France by Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun (Public domain in U.S.) 1782

Portrait of Louis XVI by Antoine-Francois Callet. 1788 (Public Domain in U.S.)

Portrait of Maximilien Robespierre. 1790 (Public Domain in U.S.)

 

 

 

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Review of Marie-Antoinette, Daughter of the Caesars

Marie-Antoinette, Daughter of the Caesars: Her Life, Her Times, Her Legacy by Elena Maria Vidal left me a lot to think about. 

Elena Maria Vidal is a fantastic writer and researcher. She paints a realistic portrait of Marie-Antoinette with facts to back all of it up. It’s very exciting. This book is spiritual, adventurous, and sweet.

I was especially surprised to learn about two specific pieces of unique artwork. It was fun to find out that Louis XVI kept a certain, flirty picture of Marie-Antoinette on his desk in which she’s dressed like a goddess holding a vase with his profile on it. The other one was a tearjerker sketch of Marie-Antoinette entering heaven to her welcoming husband and her two children who died before her.

One of the most memorable scenes comes from a memoir of a servant who witnessed Louis XVI coming into Marie-Antoinette’s room. While he’s being comforted by his wife, she commands the servant to leave.

From other examples, it’s obvious he suffered from depression, but with all the exterior events and past memories, who could blame him? And shouldn’t Marie-Antoinette get the most dedicated wife award? She stuck with him despite the multiple times he wanted her and their children to go to safety.

The spouses gave each other strength and were concerned parents. After their deaths, their daughter was provided for thanks to Louis’ emergency fund and Marie-Antoinette’s diamonds that had been sneaked out of France.

Thank you, Ms. Vidal, for providing so much information that makes me want to learn more!

 

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Marie-Antoinette and Louis XVI: A Fairly Odd or Fairly Normal Couple?

Thank heavens Marie-Antoinette and Louis XVI married!

The marriage of Louis and Marie-Antoinette would affect brought light to future generations.

The marriage of Louis and Marie-Antoinette would bring hope to future generations.

Unfortunately, Louis inherited the last king’s heavy debts. His grandpa and great-grandpa also left the royal court in a disgusting state. It was embarrassing. Fortunately, he had a good companion by him. He was fifteen when he married fourteen-year-old Marie-Antoinette. It was good for the people and for them.

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For The People

American Power Couple

Marie-Antoinette and Louis were not Americans, but let’s face it–none of Americans’ founders were technically born United States citizens.

Louis provided supplies and military forces for the needy Americans and Marie-Antoinette was supportive and involved. I include the power couple among the founders of the United States. When I look at the list of American founders, I am embarrassed with the loose morals of some of them. I’m proud that Louis and Marie-Antoinette held on to their high standards. In a way, they remind me of Abigail and John Adams in the fact that they were  also a power couple that helped America become great.

I believe the marriage of Marie-Antoinette and Louis XVI was literally a match made in heaven. I’m very serious, and we should sincerely thank heaven for their marriage. Americans would not be enjoying freedom–or perhaps not be Americans at all–if it had not been for Marie-Antoinette and Louis.

The People’s Champions

You can say that the Queen and King were interested in freedom in general. He played tug-a-war with nobility. He wanted them to pay higher taxes to benefit the poor. Some of Marie-Antoinette’s stand out projects included a safe haven for unwed mothers and educating the less fortunate children with her own. The King and Queen were generous with their own personal funds.  Marie-Antoinette and Louis were very aware of France’s needs. They were true Christians who practiced what they preached.

rose-243630_960_720For Them

In the Beginning

They had a beautiful relationship. At first there was none–they were strangers. Plus, like many other in the French royal court, Louis was leery about an Austrian becoming queen of France someday. But gradually over time, they established a friendship, and eventually it went beyond that.

It’s mystified the past and present why Marie-Antoinette and Louis didn’t consummate the marriage right away. Some have thought of legit reasons and some are downright disrespectful and crude.

Whatever it was, here’s a simple fact:
Marie-Antoinette was fourteen and Louis was fifteen years old when they got married.

My conclusion:
Come on! They were much too young!

Forget royal expectations of starting a family right away. Whether or not they were attracted to another, both were still getting to know their own bodies.  I think it’s very probable that it wouldn’t have felt natural for these two individuals at this age. It would have been premature. Meanwhile they were developing a friendship.

Dauphin Louis Auguste in 1769. A year later, he would marry "the Austrian." He would associate that stigma with her the first part of their marriage.

Aw…Dauphin Louis Auguste in 1769. A year later, he would marry Marie-Antoinette. Some negatively used “the Austrian” to describe her.

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King Louis XVI at age 21 around 1776. Tall and well-built, he surely  knew by now that Austria wasn’t that bad.

I think the timing of the intervention by the Emperor of Austria, Marie-Antoinette’s brother, was perfect.

By now–seven years after their wedding– the couple was more ready for his frank talk. The couple soon acted like newlyweds and started a family the next year.

Marie-Antoinette was twenty-three and Louis was twenty-four years old when their first child was born. Much more natural.

In short and in order they were strangers, then friends, and then lovers.

Marie-Antoinette took an interest in hunting, one of her husband's favorite activities. Here she is looking adorable in hunting clothes at 16.

Marie-Antoinette took an interest in hunting, one of her husband’s favorite activities. Here she is looking adorable in hunting clothes at 16.

 

Here Marie-Antoinette is painted in her 1778 hunting garb. She's be a mother by the end of the year.

Here Marie-Antoinette is painted in her 1778 hunting garb. She would be a mother by the end of the year.

Throughout the Marriage

I believe they were faithful to another. Believe it or not, sensational storytellers, couples don’t have to be mushy to love each other. In the royal couple’s jobs and in child-rearing, they showed support one toward another.

I’m amazed the couple stuck by each other despite terrible and bogus rumors constantly surrounding them. Their love was shown through respect. That example of loyalty extended to their children and Louis’ sister. It reminds me of what Jeffrey R. Holland said, “The crowning characteristic of love is always loyalty.” That’s what Marie-Antoinette and Louis’ union and legacy are actually about.

Families Are Forever

The Bourbons’  writings in prison are touching and revealing of their deepest beliefs. Marie-Antoinette’s last letter is written to her sister-in-law, Elisabeth, and it is heart wrenching, but also full of hope. In regards to her late husband, she writes:

“I have just been condemned, not to a shameful death, for such is only for criminals but to go and rejoin your brother. Innocent like him, I hope to show the same firmness in my last moments.”

There’s tremendous comfort in Marie-Antoinette’s belief of being reunited with loved ones and family. She continues, “Where can one find friends more tender and more united than in one’s own family?”

Marie-Antoinette and Louis’ daughter, Marie-Therese, wrote her thoughts on the walls of the Temple prison, and you can feel her emotion and know she believes that she’s being watched over. The following tells how she feels about the afterlife, her parents’, and God:

“Live, my good mother! whom I love well, but of whom I can hear no tidings. O my father! watch over me from heaven above, O my God, forgive those who made my parents suffer!”

Marie-Antoinette and Louis believed and also instructed their children to forgive. One could argue the couple wasn’t always on the same page but they were always in the same book in the sense they shared the same faith and spiritual beliefs as well as doing all they could to better children and country.

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Fitting In

It’s hard to categorize the couple into one group. They weren’t your typical American patriots and they didn’t agree with all the royals’ lifestyles either. In that way they are odd. But you chip away their positions, though, and you’ll find they’re not so weird.

It’s time accept Marie-Antoinette and Louis were a good fit for each other, and they were a a very normal couple.

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Sources:

Holland, Jeffrey R. “The First Great Commandment.” Www.lds.org. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Oct. 2012. Web. 9 Aug. 2016. <https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2012/10/the-first-great-commandment?lang=eng>.

“Louis XVI of France” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 7 Aug 2016. Web. 9 Aug. 2016.

 

“Marie Antoinette.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 8 Aug. 2016. Web. 9 Aug. 2016.

“Marie-Therese” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 12 July 2016. Web. 9 Aug. 2016.

Vidal, Elena Maria. “Last Letter of Marie-Antoinette.” Tea at Trianon. N.p., 26 May 2007. Web. 9 Aug. 2016. <http%3A%2F%2Fteaattrianon.blogspot.com%2F2007%2F05%2Flast-letter-of-marie-antoinette.html>.

 

 

Images:
Featured image: Coronations commemorative medallions  of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Pd-Old.

Engraving of the wedding of Louis XVI & Marie Antoinette. {{PD-1923}}

Portrait of Louis XVI of France by Joseph Duplessis. 1776.{{PD-1923}}

Picture of Louis XVI, Marie-Antoinette talking to her brother  by Joseph Hauzinger.

Archduchess Maria Antonia of Austria, the later Queen Marie Antoinette of France, at the age of 16 years by Joseph Kreutzinger, 1771.  {{PD-1923}}

Queen Marie Antoinette of France, 1778 either by Antoine Vestier or Jean-Baptiste André Gautier-Dagoty.  {{PD-1923}}

 

Portrait_of_Mrs._McKinley another one

Meet the McKinleys

You know what couple I absolutely love?

Ida and William McKinley.

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Behind Ida is a portrait of her daughter, Katie, who died at three years old. William’s portrait is on the table.

While reading about Ida, there are times when I think she is the unluckiest and feel so bad for her. Then there are times when I think, oh the lucky diva!  Read on and see if you can understand where I’m coming from. (Also why I think hers and William’s story is so beautiful.)

Bring them back!

Ok, what I mean is bring a loving couple to the White House–a couple who is strong in politics and has integrity.

Hmm…perhaps that’s hard to find in the world of politics. But there are some exceptions.

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When the former Union major William McKinley set his eyes on Ida Saxton at a picnic, he was smitten. The bank manager didn’t seriously notice him till one of his speeches.  She admired his integrity. He would just happen to be passing by the bank to make small deposits–and give Miss Saxton bouquets of flowers.

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There’s a legend that shortly before or after they were married, Ida knew William was going to be President of the United States someday. What’s obvious is that William would always treat Ida like the First Lady.

The couple had two daughters who both died young. One died after a few months of being born. The other didn’t reach four years old.

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Ida and William’s daughter Katherine

Around these deaths, Ida’s health became more fragile, and she developed a seizure disorder. Both Ida and William went through depression. I still can’t go over the pleasantly surprising outcome of their marriage.

William was very attentive to her. She was as active as she could be and encouraged him in his law career and then when he was elected into Congress and became governor of Ohio. When William was in the running for president,  people had doubts if she could be First Lady. To show the doubters they were wrong, she threw a party for her and William’s 25th wedding anniversary which accumulated 600 guests.

During the presidential campaign, her face appeared on promoting badges. Her husband gets praised for his “front porch” campaign in which people from all over the country came and gathered to hear his speeches he gave from his front porch of the McKinleys’ house in Canton, Ohio. That was partially so he could be close to his wife. When she had the strength, she would join him outside. One time a boy asked why there were so many people at the house and why William McKinley’s picture was all over town. Ida said, “Because he’s a dear good man and I love him!”

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Ida absolutely loved it when William became president and she was the official First Lady.

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William made sure she sat by him at dinners; if she had a seizure, he would cover her face with a handkerchief and after it was done she would resume where she left off in the conversation. For more serious seizures, Ida was slipped away with the help of aides.

The public knew she could get sick easily, but very few knew she had epilepsy. Ida made sure she was by her husband’s side when he received guests or any public event when she was able. If she was looking unwell people applauded her for going on. Harper’s Bazaar reported that Ida was “an inspiration for women who for one reason or another are hindered from playing a brilliant individual role in life.”

William McKinley’s presidency dealt with money issues, the Spanish-American War, and making the United States a world power. He would travel a lot, but he would cut tours short if something plagued his wife.  He constantly worried about her well being. In Washington, William and Ida would take daily carriage rides. She was always on his daily agenda. The majority of his free time was spent with her. William’s adviser, Mark Hanna, said, “President McKinley has made it pretty hard for the rest of us husbands here in Washington!”

Pretty extraordinary, huh? Some didn’t approve how she was such a top priority for William McKinley. But William said to them that Ida was “the most beautiful girl you ever saw…She is beautiful to me now.”

Wow.

I don’t usually get sentimental like this, but to someone like me who can relate to Ida at a certain level, William McKinley is beyond impressive. This is where I get jealous of Ida a lot. The snot. Just kidding–but seriously, I think she was the luckiest girl in the world.

Ida was also concerned with her husband’s health and thought he overworked. Supposedly on their carriage rides, they talked about retirement after William’s second term and how they would live the rest of their lives back in Ohio.

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Their visit to Buffalo, New York in 1901, made Ida one of the unluckiest. She wasn’t feeling well enough to attend the Pan-Expo with her husband on September 6. Her husband was shot there.   He told people assisting him, “My wife–be careful how you tell her–oh be careful!”

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Ida showed strength. It looked like he would get well She would sit by his bed, but when it became apparent he would die, she said, “I want to go too.” He responded, “We are all going.”

He died on September 14. She said, “He is gone and life to me is dark now.”

Understandably, she was in a funk for a while. She went back to Ohio and found certain things to live for like being involved in the building of the McKinley Monument. She died four months before its completion. She, her husband, and two daughters are interred there.

McKinley Memorial

Ida and William McKinley died in the early twentieth century; yet I feel like they lived and died much closer to today. I’d like to imagine they got a chance to retire and danced to “The Way You Look Tonight.” I feel a sort of a kinship with them when learning how they took care of each other.

I’ve covered many people who didn’t really have the best of marriages, and it still leaves me heartbroken. In contrast, the McKinley marriage–though they had heartbreaks along the way–is heartwarming and uplifting. Even if you’re no romantic, you have to admit the McKinleys are good examples of caring for people.

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Sources:
Boller, Paul F. Presidential Wives. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford UP, 1988. Print.

“Ida Saxton McKinley.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 03 June 2016.

“William McKinley.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 03 June 2016.

 

Images:

President and Mrs. McKinley on reviewing stand at Plattsburgh Barracks, N.Y. / Woodward, Plattsburgh, N.Y. 1899. Library of Congress.

Ida S. McKinley, full-length portrait, standing, facing front. Picture of President McKinley on table beside her, and picture of daughter behind her. Circa 1897.  Library of Congress. Photographed by Frances Benjamin Johnston

“Temple of Music, Buffalo, NY (Where Pres. McKinley was shot) [on 6 September 1901]”- historical postcard; CARTHALIA – Theatres on Postcards: Buffalo, NY: Temple of Music http://www.andreas-praefcke.de/carthalia//usa/usa_buffalo_temple.htm

MikeTwekesbury. https://www.flickr.com/photos/7687126@N06/7411108344. “McKinley Memorial” Photo taken 6-19-12.

 

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What Changed My Mind About Marie Antoinette

I haven’t always liked Marie Antoinette. I still don’t. I admire her.
If you asked me eight years ago how I felt about the queen, I would say she’s horrible. I read a book about it. Yet also in the library was a book about the summer she and Louis fell in love and also how sickening rumors tore down her image. I had mixed feelings about Marie Antoinette. Information about her is so contradictory and confusing.
Mothers Day two years ago I was asked to give a talk in church. I was asked to include mothers–or mother type figures–in the talk. That was easy. Princess Elisabeth, the sister of Louis XVI. She had no children but helped her niece, Marie-Thérèse, become a survivor during the French Revolution. I had the Bourbon family fresh on my mind because I just read Susan Nagel’s book, Marie-Thérèse, Child of Terror: The Fate of Marie Antoinette’s Daughter.
The book left me plenty to think about. I was shocked by Marie Antoinette. Just how good of a mother, wife, and sister-in-law she was. I was touched when I read about a scene where Marie Antoinette counsels her daughter on how to present herself to the king with reverence and respect.
But it was the summer of 2014–my “Soul Searching Summer”–is when I officially knew I loved Marie Antoinette and that she’s a good role model.
I read a lot  on Elena Maria Vidal’s website Tea at Trianon –a site that presents straight facts that prove Marie Antoinette is a totally different from media portrayals and sensational biographies. My heart was softened when I read about other people’s memories of her and laughed at her interactions with Princess Elisabeth.
I came to love Marie Antoinette by learning about how she interacted with people. I’ve prayed and pondered about it. Marie Antoinette was truly good.
Image:
Queen Marie Antoinette of France and two of her Children Walking in The Park of Trianon  by Adolph-Ulrich Wertmüller
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Mrs. Hamilton: When You Only Got 97 Years to Live

Hands down I agree with the article by Cokie Roberts about how Elizabeth Hamilton–not her husband Alexander–should be on the $10  bill.

Now I don’t totally hate Alexander Hamilton—I mean he’s a founding father. I did a report on him in eighth grade and got a good grade but was weirded-out by his personal life. Then years later, a musical about the man comes out. It made me research him again—and nope—my feelings for him hadn’t changed. While I was on Wikipedia, of course I had to click on his spouse’s name: “Elizabeth Schuyler.”

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I was shocked.

“Ninety-seven? Ninety-seven. NINETY-SEVEN!” I couldn’t believe it. I told my roommate who listened patiently to how I can’t stand Alexander Hamilton but that his wife, Elizabeth, was extraordinary.

Martha Washington said, “She was always my ideal of a true woman.” In Alexander Hamilton’s farewell note he closed with calling Elizabeth “Best of wives and best of women.”

How did she make it to ninety-seven? Well, she and her sisters had been savvy in preserving themselves through the Revolutionary War. She proved she had a survival instinct. She was active. She was forgiving and loving. She had a purpose.

While preserving her husband’s memory (through gathering his papers and shutting down negative comments about him), she also had to pay his debts (was Alexander really qualified to be Secretary of the Treasury? Um…no!) and auction off their house . Miraculously, she was able to repurchase it. So who’s the real treasurer? (She had even helped him  draft his financial plans!) She was the brains. Elizabeth also founded the first orphanage in New York (plus she also took in orphans into her personal home) and helped Dolley Madison raise money for the Washington Monument.

Elizabeth died fifty years after her husband. She was a survivor, but I further believe she had a divine mission to accomplish.

She greatly contributed to having her husband—and the other men who founded the United States Constitution as well as the document itself—being remembered and revered.

 

 

 

Images:
Paintings: Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton by Ralph Earl